Disclaimer: Don't own any part of Gundam Wing or the characters, more's the pity. This is for fun...no profit involved.
Warnings: swearing, non-explicit yaoi, violence, spookiness
Pairings: 1X2, 3X4 implied (not really important to the plot)
A/N: I'll try to have the rest of this up later today, but no promises. Depends on how crazy work is, and whether I find time at lunch, and if I can write after work, or have to help the ex-to-be work on the porch, which is finally coming along.
Chapter Two: Research
After the bombshell I'd dropped, all five of us more or less slipped into soldier mode, finishing out our work day with ruthless efficiency, and clocking out almost as one, before proceeding back to the apartment Duo and I shared.
We were settled at the kitchen table around my laptop by the time the evening news was coming on. Needless to say, we had no interest in a boring broadcast; our minds were far more occupied with the data that lay before us.
"Explain," Wufei demanded, fixing both Duo and me with a piercing gaze.
"As I told you," I said carefully. "A message was sent to Duo's computer today. It appears to be from some inside source—someone who wishes to remain anonymous, but tip us off about a threat to the peace we fought so hard to achieve."
I proceeded to show them the lists of supplies and internal memos we'd been sent.
"How odd," Quatre commented, speaking up for the first time. "There appear to be as many medical supplies as there are materials for manufacturing weapons. There's microscopes, sterile solutions—things more suited to a hospital than a weapons factory."
"Yes, but those shipments of plastic and steel could be part of a new gun or missile," Duo pointed out.
"It mentions a 'human interface circuit,'" Trowa pointed out. "Maybe a way a soldier could control it from a distance? Or something to improve reaction time?"
"Like the Zero system?" Quatre asked in horror.
"Those all could be part of almost anything," Wufei said sternly. "We're not going to find anything out by looking at schematics and requisition lists. We need some firsthand information."
"Has anyone from the State, or an outside authority been in there since the new owners took over?" Quatre wondered.
I scrolled through more of the files. "No. The proprietors claim it's a toy manufacturing facility. But apparently that's just a cover, if the information we've been sent can be believed. More is being manufactured there than just innocent toys and dolls."
"Mobile dolls?" Duo asked in a whisper, voicing our biggest fear.
None of us wanted another war. We'd given up our youth and innocence to end the last one. And we were still giving, in order to preserve the hard-won peace. If someone was making weapons of mass destruction, we would make it our personal vendetta to end their work—and if necessary, their lives.
"What's our first move?" Duo asked the room at large.
"Infiltration," Trowa replied matter-of-factly. "We need to get inside that facility and take a look at what's actually going on."
"Wouldn't data gathering tell us just as much?" Quatre asked rather hopefully. "Surely we can infer what they're up to if we study their inventory and deduce what could be made from it."
"That's assuming those inventory lists contain truthful information," Duo noted. "Maybe what they've listed as plastic molds are actually plastic explosives. And maybe sterile saline is a code for nitroglycerin or some other liquid. Without getting inside the place and procuring a few samples, we'll never know."
"And why shouldn't we bring this to Une's attention?: Wufei asked coolly. "She's our commander; head of the entire Preventer's organization. Surely she's above suspicion."
To my surprise, Duo nodded his head in agreement. "I'm with 'Fei. No matter how much I tease the scary lady, I really do respect her. She may be a hard ass; but she's also more committed to protecting the peace than anyone I know."
"The informant very clearly stated that Lune Industries has some sort of 'in' with the highest levels of the Preventers."
"Well Peacecraft is second to Une," Duo mentioned. "And I'd be a lot more suspicious of him, considering he once tried to destroy the Earth."
Quatre's attention seemed to be fixed on my computer, as he studied the facts and figures displayed on the screen. "Lune?" he said pensively.
"Maybe it's supposed to be pronounced 'loony,'" Duo suggested with a grim smirk. "It'd fit, if the bastards want to start another war."
"Is that their goal—or are they simply after a conquest?" Wufei proposed. "In this era of peace, perhaps they think they can amass a force capable of running roughshod over any opposition. The Preventers are well-trained and organized, but limited in numbers."
"And if someone in the upper ranks is part of their scheme, they might be able to find out our strategy if we mount a defense," Trowa added.
"Lune," Quatre repeated. And then he smiled.
We all stared at him as if he were a bit daft.
"L. Une," he said slowly and carefully.
"Shit!" Duo exploded. "It can't be!"
"I don't know," I said dubiously, thinking it seemed pretty obvious now that Quatre had pointed it out.
"You mean to say you believe that Une's behind some sort of scheme to take over the world?" my lover blurted.
"It—wouldn't be the first time," Quatre replied with a small shrug.
"Yes, but—." Duo floundered to a halt, unhappy with the conclusions being forced upon us.
"I say we confront her with this," Wufei said firmly. "If the five of us go to her office and bring our suspicions to light, she can't possibly expect to continue on the course she's begun."
"You talk like it's a foregone conclusion she's part of this," Trowa said with a frown. "Perhaps the company name is merely designed to make us doubt her."
"Oh—yes!" Duo said hopefully. He really seemed to dislike the notion that our leader might be embarking on another ambitious plan for world domination. And to think, his most all-encompassing goal a week earlier was to plan the perfect practical joke to perpetrate on her.
I think he was secretly quite fond of our stern, efficient boss.
"We're back where we started," Wufei spoke up. "We need to get inside that facility and actually look at what they're doing."
"Agreed," I said firmly.
"Agreed," Duo repeated.
Trowa nodded, and Quatre added his positive vote as well.
"Now that it's settled—when do we start?" Duo asked, rubbing his hands together eagerly.
"No time like the present," I suggested. "Let's choose roles. I'll handle knocking out their surveillance—cameras, microphones, alarms. We can pull up a blueprint of the place, and plot the best route into the storage areas, where we'd be most likely to find their projects in progress. I'll clear that route, as well as an escape."
"Sounds like a two-man job," Quatre spoke up. "I'd like to volunteer to assist. If you handle the computerized systems, I can be on hand to revamp the plan if something goes awry. Between us, we should be able to grant our infiltration team clear access and a safe exit."
"You know I'm going in," Duo pointed out, glaring at me as if expecting a disagreement. "I can pick locks, disable keypads, and steal samples with the best of 'em."
"That would be me, then," Trowa said with a firm nod. "The best. Hell, I could steal a guard's uniform without him even realizing he'd lost it—and I could play the part, too."
Wufei raised his chin a bit. "I shall gladly offer my services as backup and distraction. I will cover you both as you go in, be there to receive any data or samples you wish to pass along, and if you are discovered, I will take on any and all opposition to ensure your escape."
"We've got a plan!" Duo said with a Shinigami grin.
And so, we spent the rest of the night digging up the detailed information we'd need to break into a facility that was locked down far tighter than it had ever been when it was a prison.
We needed model numbers for locks and cameras, so we'd have the best chance at defeating their security. The names of guards and staff were equally important, in case either Duo or Trowa had to pose as an employee if discovered.
Likewise we had to spend plenty of time analyzing the layout of the place, and determining where they were most likely to store equipment, where they might do the actual assembly of whatever they were building, and where they could store the finished product, be it explosives, guns, or mobile dolls.
At some point in our planning, someone went out and brought back take out food, so we could eat and work at the same time. And someone else took the time to pass out paper plates and forks. But I couldn't say what the actual meal consisted of; I was far too engrossed in the details of our upcoming mission.
God—as much as we used the word "mission" for Preventer operations, it didn't cause the same gut-clenching reaction it did when it felt like it was just the five of us against the world. For some reason, thinking of us five Gundam pilots taking on an unknown enemy, with no backup or even sanctioning by the organization we worked for, felt way too much like those life or death missions from wartime.
"You know we have to be particularly careful not to harm anyone during this?" Quatre pointed out cautiously. "As far as we know, the place could be exactly what it claims to be—a toy factory. Those guards could be honest men doing an honest job."
"I know that," I said tightly, hating when he picked up on my emotions and responded.
"You seemed a bit—focused on the results," he said with an apologetic shrug, pointing to a marginal note I'd made, labeling the sentries as "hostiles."
Okay—so maybe it wasn't all empathy. The man had uncanny observational skills as well.
"We will not harm civilians," I told him firmly. "Clearly they will consider us the intruders, if we are detected, and they will be doing their job in trying to apprehend us. If that happens, we may have to surrender and accept whatever punitive legal action they may take."
"You mean—we can't even defend ourselves?" Duo demanded unhappily.
"Of course we can," I soothed. "By any non-lethal means necessary."
"And if we find a shitload of mobile dolls? Can we kick their butts then?"
I gave a short nod. "I'd say it would be acceptable. If they've got a completely assembled mobile doll, they know damned well how many laws they're breaking, and they should expect whatever countermeasures we take."
"That's a yes?"
Duo gave me a tight smile, and I caught a flicker of something in his eyes that suggested he might be in the market for a little stress relief before we embarked on such an uncertain venture. I let my gaze linger on his face just long enough for him to see the reciprocal feelings.
"So when will we move on this plan?" Wufei asked, interrupting our "moment."
"Tomorrow night," I said firmly. "It's a Friday—so we will all have the weekend off. No one will be the wiser if we have to spend all night sneaking in and out of that place. Plus, we'll have time to analyze whatever evidence we're able to gather, and still show up for work on Monday."
"Aw, man," Duo moaned. "We'll miss the annual Halloween bash the apartment complex holds every year. And I had my Jack Sparrow act down perfectly!"
"There's always next year," I told him, not at all disappointed I wouldn't have to dress like Will Turner; I hated those floppy sleeves.
"You hope there's next year," Wufei said coolly. "Depending on what Lune Industries has been making, we could be hip-deep in another war next Halloween."
"Am I the only one who hopes this is one big, false alarm?" Quatre said quietly.
Trowa slipped an arm across his shoulders. "Of course you're not. We all feel the same," he assured the blonde, giving him a companionable squeeze.
"Y'got that right," Duo piped up.
The others left shortly thereafter to prepare for our upcoming espionage, and they were no sooner out the door than Duo tackled me onto the couch, kissing me until we both had to come up for air.
"Y'know I love you, right?" he said breathlessly, looking down at me with those big, dark eyes and an expression that could've melted Gundanium.
"Right back at you," I said with the half-grin he'd told me drove him crazy.
"Ooo—you know what that does to me," he replied with a gratifyingly husky tone to his voice.
"I'm counting on it."
We didn't get any more mission prep done that night; but we certainly took care of enough stress relief for the next century or two.