Author's Note: Once again, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a complete up there. For more information, read the very end. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing.
Den of Wolves
The clattering of metal on stone floor echoed throughout the chapel.
Rushing in to investigate, Father Maxwell came upon the sight of Yuuan, the boy dressed in an acolyte's uniform and staring out into space, a trail of tears moving down his cheeks. For the past few days, Yuuan had been nothing but a busybody, always trying to be helpful and doing so with great cheer. To see him like this was not just an incredibly rare occurrence; it had never happened before.
"Yuuan?" Father Maxwell said aloud, approaching the small boy. "Is something the matter?"
Yuuan did not reply as he continued to stare off in to space with tears leaking out of his eyes.
Placing a large hand on the small boy's shoulder, Father Maxwell knelt down and turning the boy's body slightly to get a look at his face. Worriedly, he asked, "Is there something wrong, child?"
A gasp of air escaped the boy's mouth and it seemed like Yuuan was about to break down. The priest, clueless as to why the boy was in this state, prepared to comfort the boy in any way that he could.
Finally, Yuuan breathed out a single word before descending into cry of sorrow.
A misty dawn greeted the ruined city of Los Angeles, inhabitants of the city emerging from their shelters and casting confused looks at their changed landscape, some in fear and others in awe.
From his spot in one of the few remaining skyscrapers, Solo just stared out at the enormous tree before, no sign of emotion on his usually expressive face.
It was only just yesterday that he had been walking around in this very city, kicking ass and taking names while he was at it. This place was almost alien and he wanted nothing more than to ditch it. But where was he going to go now? He still needed to find Duo and Dorothy's vague story of his friend vanishing, literally, into thin air wasn't much of a starting point.
Speaking of the girls, he eyed the two huddled forms of Dorothy and Relena as the two continued to sleep heavily while leaning against each other and a concrete wall. Those two were very quiet, at least in Solo's recent memory they were, and the only noises he had heard from them were when Dorothy had told him her tale and Relena was sobbing over her dead Chinese boyfriend.
For some reason, he had the nagging feeling to say that boyfriend was Japanese but that urge was easily squashed as he focused his attention on more important things.
What was he going to do with those two now? He felt it in his gut that he couldn't take them with him. He had done such a good job with Duo and that guy was missing-in-action. Who knew what would happen if he took those two along. Dead would probably be a good bet since he knew what he was going to do as soon as hie left this Godforsaken place.
He was going to find his way back to that underground base and shove his foot straight up all those asshole's asses.
There in lied another problem: how was he going to find his way back there when he couldn't remember the way to it? Sure he had run away from it but things looked different when you were going in a certain direction. He didn't know how long he had been running for anyway so he couldn't trace his footsteps back.
What was he going to do then?
Guess he'd just have to make a pest of himself, he supposed with a wry upturn of his lips. They'd send others after him and they would be his ticket back.
Casting one last look at the two sleeping girls, he face hardened as he came to a decision. He was going to have to ditch the girls and go alone from now on. Sure they may hate him for it but if they stuck around him, they were good as dead. Look at Trowa; the guy still hadn't showed up and judging by the size of that tree out there, he must've used a lot of energy to make it.
Besides, Trowa would've contacted him by now and he hadn't. Then again, if he was laying low, the blond wouldn't blame him. Being dragged back into something he had run from a decade ago was a good enough reason, in Solo's opinion, to scram out of this. Lord knows he would do the same thing if he was in the same position.
Heh, now he's thinking about that asshole, God. Lord knows? He was losing his mind, that had to be in. Then again, he was never in his right mind before so how would this be any different?
He didn't bother to leave a goodbye behind as he left the two sleeping girls and headed for a staircase, his intentions clear and solid.
"Please! For the love of God—Ahhhhggggg!"
"I just love the smell of death in the afternoon," Septum sighed pleasantly, watching a Congressman be smothered and crushed by his own bodily fluids.
Taking a look around, Septum felt as if he would blow a load in his pants at the sight of the carnage. He was a military man and it had been years since he had last seen combat. This brought back old memories of a time when he was a mere private advancing up the ranks.
None of these House of Representative Congressmen would understand that, though. Petty bureaucrats, every single one of them. It had been luck that he and the two weapons had arrived at a time when the House was in session. It made displaying Brett and Rex's powers that much more satisfying. If his luck held out, then the Senate was also convened and ripe for a visit from him.
Outside the House Chambers' doors were multitudes of his own loyal men, military men from all the branches of the armed services and all them keeping guard as Septum slowly took over the capital that was Washington DC. Soon this great nation's stronghold of power would be under his control and he would be the next President if he had his way.
All that was needed was to take care of the three branches of government and eliminate the current elected official who sat in the Oval Office and then it would be him in charge. Project Maxwell was finally paying off and it was none other than him who was reaping all the benefits.
And he would use these benefits to put this country back on track, that he would. No more of this cockamamie politics or checks and balances. He would be the Legislature, the Executive, and Judicial branches all rolled into one. It would make things so much simpler.
"Done here yet, boys?" he asked aloud to the two weapons. "We have another room full of people to kill and time is wasting…"
"All finished here, sir," Brett announced as he emerged from a section of the bloodied Congress Chamber, drenched in the crimson fluid but unaffected by it.
Nodding, Septum turned his attention to Rex. "And you?"
A flare of flames were his answer which was followed by the approach of the combustionist who gave a thumb's up to indicate he was through.
"Very good then" Septum said. "Follow me then boys. There's never a rest for the wicked so lets get back to it."
The two weapons followed after the general silently, both eager for a new batch of people to slaughter. It was just too much fun for them to pass up and besides, they were under orders to listen to this man until told otherwise.
Until then, it was just going to be a party for them.
It had been a long twenty-four hours for Quatre but it was going to be worth it in the end. All he had to do now was bring his father in on the loop and things could go on from there.
And that was what he currently was doing. It was times like these that he rued the fact that his father was so busy. It was taking away time from them, time that could be better spent in his opinion.
But good things come to those who are patient, he told himself repeatedly. He needed to have patience; he would eventually take over his family's corporate business one day and he needed all the virtues he could get his hands on until then.
A heavy knock interrupted his thoughts and he called out a command to enter. Telling by how heavy the footsteps were, he correctly guess that it was Rashid and that something had come up.
"Your father has arrived, Master Quatre," the bearded man rumbled.
The Winner heir could hardly contain his glee. Finally! Now he could get this over with and move on to the next thing. "Thank you Rashid," he replied. "Bring my father here and I'll take over."
"As you wish," Rashid said and quietly left his master.
Several minutes passed without incident but the blond held on to the fraying shreds of his patience. It was foolhardy to rush one of the most powerful men in the world and he just so happened not to be in such a position.
Then he heard the sound of approaching footsteps and he knew he didn't need to wait for much longer. He could hear the bit of irritation in his father voice as the man said, "There better be a good explanation for this Quatre."
Turning around to look at the man, Quatre studied the man he knew as his father, Raberba Winner, for a few seconds. The man looked like a rugged pioneer, very manly and chiseled, not even looking like the younger of the two except for the color of their blond hair and their crystal blue eyes. Powerfully built yet sinewy in frame, the two relatives were of about the same height, Quatre making up in height what he didn't have in girth as his father did.
"As a matter of fact, there is," the younger Winner greeted.
"Well? What is it?" the elder Winner demanded.
"We came across something last night and acquired it just this morning," Quatre explained as he gestured for his father to follow after him. "According to what we know, what we found has something to do with something called 'Project Maxwell, some sort of weapons program."
"'Project Maxwell,' huh?" Raberba said aloud as he followed after his son. "I've heard that term before but what does it have to do with this?"
"Everything," Quatre answered as he entered a staircase and rapidly began to descend them. "From some reliable sources, we've been able to determine that we have gotten our hands on a real product of the project. You see, Project Maxwell is an experimental program that takes normal, everyday people and turns them into superpowered titans."
"That sounds familiar too…" Raberba said under his breath. Thinking that his father had only knowledge that he himself had, Quatre did not suspect that his father was thinking of something else, something that he had come across years ago.
"Anyway, last night we found someone from the program and appropriated him when it was convenient," Quatre continued. "For now, we're keeping him here until we can get some trained specialists down here to take a good look at him. However, I wanted you to see this first to make sure that I have your approval, so to speak."
"And when has not having my approval ever stopped you before?" Raberba asked wryly.
"Ever since I found myself involved with this," Quatre answered, exiting the stairwell and leading the way further into the complex. "Recently, according to Trieze, two more of these people from Project Maxwell have popped up in the capital and they're tearing everything apart. General Septum is keeping everything under a tight lid there so no one knows what's going on, meaning he too knows something about this."
"Septum, eh?" Raberba commented. "If he's involved, you can bet that XAI is not too far away."
"What makes you say that?" Quatre asked, giving his father a puzzled look.
"Septum has never dealt with WEI or involved himself with Romafellor," Raberba said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure out that he's been with XAI and whenever Xavien's involved with something, Septum's name can be traced to it."
"No, Septum just doesn't like me or old man Romafellor. Now, about this Project Maxwell fellow?"
Taking a few turns, Quatre led his father to a holding area, heading for a certain metal door with a small window embedded in it. "He's in here," Quatre told his father, stepping to a side to let the other man take a look.
"He doesn't look like much," Raberba commented, "but his hair is a little off. Maybe a side effect?"
"That's what we think too," Quatre replied.
"Tell me son, what do you think we can gain out of this?" Raberba questioned pulled away from the small window and looking straight at his son.
"Who knows?" Quatre shrugged. "A lot, nothing at all? It'll be nothing more than an investment when you come down to it but I think there's a lot of potential. I mean, why else would Septum try to keep this all quiet for ten years if there wasn't something important he is getting out of it?"
"True, true," Raberba acknowledge. Looking back through the small window, he said, "I'll give you an answer first thing in the morning. We need to tread carefully here."
Through the window and in the cell-like room, a slight boy dressed in raggedy clothing sat on a cot, arms resting on his legs and his head bowed downward. As the elder Winner continued to watch him, the boy lifted his head up to reveal the green-streaked, blue eyes of Jason Ciliars.
Having taken his usual dose of his "youth formula," Xavien placed the airgun injector down on his desk as he sat at ease in his office, watching a television screen that continually showed the devastation in the middle of Los Angeles. It was as if the news stations had nothing else better to report but that was all fine and dandy for the businessman. It gave him more time to ponder about that tree and to go over the reports given to him by the only two survivors of it.
According to Stone and the pale artfan, everything had gone as planned except for #14376 going out of control and wrecking the place. Of course, that had been the plan alone, for 14376 to go "out of control." Ignoring the bits of mindless drivel about the kinds of art Romafellor had once kept, he had pieced everything to together as to the best of his ability
He still did not know how that tree came to be, though he had a nagging feeling about it that he immediately suppressed, but other than that, the whole thing was a success.
Well, it was almost a success. 11085 hadn't been recovered; according to the report they weren't able to find it. That meant that 11085 was being held elsewhere or had been destroyed when Romafellor's HQ demolished. No matter which one it was, it still rankled that he had been outplayed, again.
Still, on a lighter note, things in Washington were going quite smoothly. By now, Septum had probably wiped out both the House and the Senate, keeping alive only those that stuck to his side in his endeavor. It was only a matter of time until the general made a play for the big boy seat and start his own presidency.
At that end, everything was going as planned. With a certifiable lackey in charge of the most powerful nation in the world, he himself might as well be the one in control. All that was needed now was to tie up some loose ends and figure out a way to dispose of the Winners.
There was no need to rush it, though. Things like these took time and he would make sure that none of it was undone. Of course, there were still the failures to recapture 11085 and 12093 and those were thorns in his side that never left. He almost saw red just thinking about those two. Only 12093 remained completely unaccounted for but it could probably be found following the trail of destruction it left in its wake. If only there was a way to incapacitate it long enough to get it back here…
With the press of a button, he turned off the screen, a light luminance glowing from the now-black screen and slowly dieing away, encompassing the man into near total darkness.
"Things are coming together," he spoke aloud to himself as he rolled his sleeve back down his arm, musing over everything. "Septum is proving to be an excellent pawn out east while one of my most competitive rivals is out of the picture. All of this and more can be attributed to the applications of Project Maxwell and this is only the beginning. The possibilities are nearly limitless and no one else has the resources or the vision to stand up to this.
"So dance, you little fools, you mindless puppets. Dance for me, go about your measly little lives like the pathetic worms that you are. The times are changing and there can only be one outcome. Everything here, everything around us all…
"…will be mine…"
To Be Continued…
To see what happens next, check out part III
The Maxwell Prodigy
Author's Note: I know, many of you weren't expecting this, now were you? We have a trilogy on our hands, but will it stay a trilogy or will it continue? Who knows? Probably not but it's still something to think about. Due to other commitments, i.e. school, it'll be a bit before I begin posting The Maxwell Prodigy but I will do so, you can count on it. Where is Duo? What is the fate of the world now that Septum and Xavien are moving in? Who's going to die next? All that and more will be answered in part 3.