Chapter 33

 

Changing Allegiance

Chapter 33


Relena stood at the large window and looked out over the grounds below her. Students littered the grass, studying, eating, chatting and playing games. She turned from the view below as the door behind her clicked closed and Noin walked across the room to join her.

"Well," the dark-haired woman said, leaning on the wall, "Dorothy Catalonia has been enrolled and should be arriving some time tomorrow evening."

"Good. Things will progress then."

"Relena, I have to warn you..." Noin started. She sighed in frustration then continued. "Dorothy is going to seem to fawn all over you, spout militaristic nonsense, go on about glory and death... Don't let it get to you. She's just playing a part, that's all. She's been invaluable to Treize, but she has to be seen as her grandfather's puppet for this to work."

"I understand, Luca," the princess replied, smiling slightly. "And as my part in the play, I'll 'attempt to convert her to my pacifist ways'."

Noin smiled at Relena's use of Zechs' pet name for her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. "In private, listen to her, Relena. Dorothy is a brilliant strategist, and knows some very important secrets. We couldn't do this without her. She may be just what we need to keep Sanc safe."

Relena nodded and walked to her desk. "So, anything from Treize? My brother?"

Noin nodded and a sly grin crossed her face. "It seems there's been quite the shakeup in camp."

"Oh?" Relena perched on the corner of her desk. "No one's been injured have they?"

"Well, Trowa was wounded in the shoulder, but that has to do with the shakeup... It seems Treize has a daughter. Heero and Trowa went to rescue her, and Trowa was shot -"

"And Heero? Heero is all right?" Relena cut in quickly.

Noin raised an eyebrow at her charge. "Heero is fine. They're all fine, actually... Relena..."

The blonde waved her hand. "I know, I know. Heero is Duo's, and while I'm not *really* fine with that yet, I won't do anything to interfere with them again. They've had it hard enough, and they deserve support, not me obsessing over *my* Heero..."

"Relena... Are you really listening to me? Or do you still only have a one track mind if Heero is mentioned?"

"Of course I'm listening. You said there was a mission, Heero and Trowa went in to.. Treize has a DAUGHTER?!" Relena stared incredulously at her 'sister'.

Noin nodded.

"Okay, Luca, I want details..."

~*~

Lady Une crossed the compound towards the mess tent, mentally thanking the 'Powers That Be' that Quatre's Mangaunacs were so self-sufficient... and reminding herself to thank them again.

**They certainly didn't have to bring that many supplies with them,** she thought. **I was just happy they had their own tents and camouflage netting. But to bring enough supplies to last the whole camp a few months... that was above and beyond the call. I wonder -**

Her musings, and progress towards a well-deserved dinner, came to a stop as a small, shrieking, parka-clad ball of energy flew around the corner and barrelled into her, knocking her off balance on the slippery ground and into a snow bank. Bright blue eyes sparkled at her and Marie's giggles made her smile.

"Lady! Lady! Save me!" the little girl giggled, lying on top of her. "The big bad snowmen are going to get me!"

"Oh?" Une replied, tapping Marie's nose. "And what did you do to make the snowmen come after you?"

"Nothing!" Marie giggled, blushing. "Well, I did dump a bucket of snow on -"

"Mariemeia Kushrenada!" a male voice called, coming closer. "When I get my hands on you I'm going to tickle you until you scream!"

"Uh-oh..." The little girl winced. "Maybe I should find a new stra - stragety."

"That's 'strategy', Marie, and that sounds like a good - KEVIN?!"

Une's eyes widened as her snow-covered boyfriend slid around the corner. Walker grinned triumphantly as he caught sight of his prey lying on top of his lover.

"Hi, Une," he said with a grin, grabbing the little girl's ankles then lifting her up and letting her dangle. "You, Marie, are in trouble now," he continued, snickering.

Une blinked incredulously as Zechs and Heero, also snow-covered, calmly rounded the corner. Marie, in her awkward position squirmed, then eeped.

"Ummm... Uncle Heero, Uncle Zechs... you love me, right?"

"Yes, Marie, we love you," Zechs replied slowly, nodding and winking at Une. "In fact, we adore you. Those feelings, however, are not going to save you now."

Heero raised an eyebrow at the little girl. "Every action has an equal reaction, Marie," he said, stepping to Une and helping her to her feet. Returning his attention to Marie, he continued. "Now it is time for that 'reaction'. Kevin, since you have possession of the prisoner..."

"Ah, yes. I know of a nice big snowbank with your name on it," Walker said cheerfully to the dangling girl, and started to walk off, followed by Zechs and Heero.

Une shook her head in amazement and started towards the mess tent when Heero called back to her.

"Give us fifteen minutes, Une, then would you have the cook dish up four large bowls of stew? I think we're going to need it..."

~*~

Johann Marco smirked as he slipped through a nondescript door right behind a passing doctor, barely making it through without getting caught. He'd spent most of the day with his maintenance crew getting a feel for the place. He'd conveniently left his gloves back in the locker room - the others left him behind as he doubled back and, with a smirk on his face, slipped through a doorway marked SECURE AREA.

He had been wandering for a few hours before he finally found his way into the heart of the complex. He knew he had to be getting close to something important - there were more guards than ever, and doctors wearing scrubs and masks. And there was one door in particular…

He waited for what seemed like hours before he got his chance.

Wearing a stolen set of scrubs and a mask, he caught the door before it closed and opened it silently.

Marco found himself in an observation room, surrounded by computers and beeping monitors that, he reasoned, had to be connected to the single occupant of the room beyond the glass, a slight figure, dwarfed in the huge, white hospital bed…

With a start and a sinking feeling in his belly, he realised he'd found what he was looking for.

The girl on the bed was twitching as though in a seizure, but it took only a cursory look at the monitors to know that wasn't the case. No, all her frantic movements… She was in pain, and lots of it.

Her chart lay on the countertop - he lifted it and quickly scanned it. Marco's anger grew as he read. He didn't understand the half of it, and yet…

**Six days. They've been watching her twitch in pain, watching her cry and scream for six days, and they've done nothing.** He set the chart back down carefully and turned to the computer at his side.

"Shit." He didn't have the password. After his second try, the computer began to beep loudly.

Johann turned and left immediately. It would not do to get caught yet, after all.

Not before he got his message out, at least.

~*~

Heero looked up as the conference room's door opened and Zechs walked in, carrying a pillow, blanket and the stuffed dog. He waited silently as the blond settled himself on the opposite couch.

Zechs sighed. "They should be starting soon."

"Hn. They should begin their infiltration of the base in approximately thirty minutes," the Japanese teen replied, glancing at his watch and rapidly making the time zone conversions.

"You know," Zechs said conversationally, "it's the wait and not knowing that's killing me. I *know* they're all more than capable of handling this mission, but -"

"But you can't help worry and wish that you were in their place, right?" At Zechs' nod, Heero smirked slightly. "That's exactly how Treize feels every time you step into Tallgeese. It's how I feel every time Duo walks out the door on a mission." He shrugged. "That's just how it is. All we can do is wait."

The room was quiet again until Zechs broke the silence.

"They should be starting about now."

"Hn. They've already begun..."

~*~

Treize and Wufei followed Duo through the shadows outside of the main facility of the Nairobi base, adrenaline running in their veins. Treize in particular was wearing a determined smile as he looked forward to what was to happen. He shot a look over at Wufei and allowed his smile to turn into a smirk. **This will be true justice.**

Duo held up a fist and the other two stopped dead in their tracks. They watched as Duo faded into the shadows to edge forward. Squeezing Treize's hand for a brief moment, Wufei inched forward along the opposite wall.

It was time for the changing of the guard. Little did the guards know, it was also time for a war to begin.

Treize listened.

The guard being relieved looked up as footsteps approached. "You're late, Jack. I thought you'd never get here."

The approaching man snorted. "I'm not – you're just anxious to get home to your jailbait girlfriend, is all."

"She *is* cute, though," the first man replied, pushing away from the wall and lifting his rifle, his finger nowhere near the trigger. "You gotta give me that much."

"You make me sick, Georgey," Jack answered.

"That makes two of us."

Both men spun in surprise as a third voice entered the conversation. Blue-violet eyes glittered at them, but before either could react, the voice spoke again. "Goodnight." Behind them, Wufei emerged from the shadows and chopped both men to the back of the neck, breaking the second vertebrae effortlessly. The two guards dropped to the ground.

Treize rushed forward to help Wufei pull the two bodies behind a nearby jeep. By the time they made it back to the doorway, Duo had the door open and was taking the time to reprogram the door codes. He turned to them. "Okay, in case we get separated, the new door code is 'Shinigami'. Got that?"

Wufei grinned. "Every door code?"

Duo shrugged. "They should have protected the program better. Their problem, not mine. We all ready?"

Wufei nodded. "Remember, you need to disable all outgoing comm circuits before you get in to Tuberov so our signal will be the only thing broadcasting out of here. You have thirty minutes to finish the first part of your mission. I won't activate the explosives until you give me the signal, and we will meet back here and leave together. Is that understood?"

Duo and Treize both nodded. Wufei clapped Duo on the back, then leaned in to place a gentle kiss on Treize's lips. "What are you standing around here for, then?"

~*~

Treize gave Duo a nod and waited for an acknowledgement before he tucked his gun behind his back and turned to walk right into the communications centre as though he owned this place. Behind him, Duo smirked. He *had* owned it once, actually.

"Inspection!"

The various men lounging at the communications stations snapped to full awareness as a loud voice that was clearly accustomed to command snapped out the word. "Sir, yes, sir!" the Officer of the Watch yelled, snapping to attention.

Treize gave a dry chuckle. "God, I've missed doing that."

To a man, the entire staff turned to stare at him, jaws flapping open. "Gen-general Kushrenada?" one man managed to stammer.

"The same," Treize smirked at them. "I thought I called for an inspection. Line up!"

The staff lined up against the wall for a proper inspection, but the Officer of the Watch shot Treize another look. "Sir… sir, I have to ask. What about the rumours of your …"

"My unfortunate demise at the hands of an unruly crowd of dissidents?" he asked. "They were wrong, obviously. Are you questioning my authority?"

"Never, sir!" The man joined the line.

Treize regarded them for a short moment with an unreadable emotion in his eyes, then called over his shoulder, "They're ready."

Duo smirked and strutted into the room. "Hi, boys."

Several things happened at once. While two of the men simply stared in shock, another man dove for cover while three pulled weapons. All of them yelled in horror, "Gundam pilot!"

Duo smirked, his own weapon trained on the group, and looked over at Treize, who was now also openly holding a machine gun on them, as well. "You see? I told you – that's what they always say."

"General?"

Treize smirked. "Very astute. I'm glad you've paid enough attention to our intelligence reports that you can recognise a wanted man when he walks in on you. Please put your weapons on the ground and kick them over here. No noise from any of you, or my colleague and I will not hesitate to shoot."

"Sir? What the hell…"

Duo lazily pulled a silenced handgun from a thigh holster and shot a warning round into the ground at the man's feet. "I don't miss twice."

Shaking, the men complied.

~*~

Tuberov woke quite suddenly to the sound of footsteps beating down the hallway outside his room, and sat up in shock as his door opened and two figures stepped in. A voice yelled, "Sir, stay down! We've got an intruder!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" he yelled back, reaching for the lamp at his bedside. "No one could *possibly*…"

"Oh, I'm afraid someone *can."

Tuberov froze, his last action having been to switch on his light. Standing right in from of him was…

"Kushrenada!"

~*~

Wufei snorted as he ducked through another doorway. He watched a sortie of guards pass by with a look of contempt on his face. **Fools! They didn't even bother to look around them. So safe and secure, since no Gundam attacks have been reported in so long… Complacency leads to mistakes, and they've made their last.**

Crouching low behind the door, he pulled out a small plan and consulted it quickly. He was done on the ground and first level; it was time to head to the lower level and finish his task.

He waited until he was certain the guards were gone before he snuck back out again. He grinned as he made his way to a side stairway, and patted his last bag of *tricks* as he slipped through the doorway. He and Duo had spent a few hours working on these little treats…

~*~

Tuberov glared hatefully at Treize and Duo as they finished tying him up and pushed him back to collapse onto his bed. "My guard…"

"Your *guard* is as incompetent as they've always been," Duo snapped back. He glared back at Tuberov angrily. "How could they possibly replace Treize with *you!?* You haven't stopped *whining* at us for a single *second*…"

"No one asked for your opinion, guttersnipe!"

Treize reacted faster than anyone could have predicted, reaching out and slapping Tuberov so hard across the face that the man's lip split and a slow trickle of blood ran down his chin. "Watch how you address your betters, swine," he growled, stepping between Duo and their victim before Duo could react and kill the man ahead of schedule.

The tall man turned to his young counterpart. "Get busy with the computers. We begin our broadcast in ten minutes."

Duo nodded, visibly controlling his anger. "Okay. But Treize?"

"Yes?"

Duo eyed the taller man carefully. "Try not to… go too far. It might feel good for now, but… It won't feel too good tomorrow."

Treize nodded, reading the carefully controlled anger in Duo's own face. **He won't ever forget what he went through in Siberia, at Tuberov's bidding. What a bitter pair we make!** "I understand. Get moving."

Duo's eyes glittered, and he turned to eye the computer terminal with a look bordering on gleeful madness. "Yes, sir."

~*~

Dermail woke up to a knocking at his door. "Sir? Please wake up, sir, it's urgent…"

He sat up and quickly felt around for his glasses. Marianne knew not to disturb his rest unless it was truly something important, and he could tell by her voice…

He quickly wrapped a dressing gown on and put on his slippers before walking over and opening his door. "Yes, what is it?"

Marianne was trembling, her face white. "Sir, your computer began beeping, and when we tried to shut it off…"

He brushed past her and walked briskly down towards the office. Growling under his breath, he burst through the doors and went directly to his computer.

It was still beeping at him, with a single text box showing "Click Me." Sitting down, he clicked.

~*~

Duo waved to get Treize's attention as the light on their small, portable camera went from red to green. The tall man stood and straightened to his full height. "My Dear Duke, how kind of you to join us."

Out of the camera's range, Duo waved for him to continue. He nodded. "As you can see, we decided to drop in on Tuberov for a little visit." He gestured to the bruised, frightened, angry, and gagged man in a heap on the bed, behind him. "He is a disgrace to the organisation, my dear Duke. Would you believe he begged me to leave him alone? He said he would tell me anything I wanted to know… To think you thought *he* could possibly take my place…." He shook his head. "I expected more from you."

He shot a dashing grin at the camera. "Before you send your worthy staff on a wild goose chase to either contact the base or to trace this signal, they will succeed in neither. So why don't you sit back and lend me your ear while I explain a few things to you."

~*~

Dermail was white with anger. Treize knew – of *course* he knew! The man had always been too smart for his own good. He looked past the aristocrat – on the bed, Tuberov looked to be trembling and shaking with fear. **How disgusting…**

~*~

Treize stepped around the bed again, and revealed to the camera that a weapon had been completely disassembled on the half of the bed not occupied by Tuberov. As he reached for the pieces, he began speaking again. "We are doing this in real time for a reason. Firstly, you should know that this signal is transmitting via an unregistered network to all military channels around the world. Thus you are not the only person to hear what I have to say to you. I thought for a long time about what could possibly be adequate for this moment. To your credit, I could think of nothing that was worthy to trouble you with. But fortunately, history has provided me with the necessary words."

He continued to assemble the gun with unhurried, competent movements as he spoke. "When in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.

"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness -- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." With a snap, Treize finished assembling his rifle. He reached next for a full magazine of ammunition, and continued his work unconcernedly. "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shown, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government."

Treize stood and slung the weapon over his shoulder. "Even though it was written over six hundred years ago, the American Declaration of Independence still rings true. It is the civic and moral duty of every citizen to stand up for their rights when a government goes to excesses and abuses the power it has been given. I recognise the role I have played in those excesses, and I would take this opportunity to tell the world how sorry I am for it. It is for that reason that I will now dedicate myself to the cause of bringing down the government I helped to build.

"For those of you who don't know the truth, let me set the record straight. Approximately two and a half months ago, I was deposed from my position as the leader of OZ because I opposed plans to further the Earth Nation's dominance over Colonies and solidify plans on Earth by the use of some controversial programmes, including pilotless mobile suits and a new space base of operations, from which the mobile dolls, as they have been christened, would be able to exert complete control over the Colonies. For opposing this, I was stripped of my position, my home and my place, and thrown into jail in Siberia.

"For those of you who think this is a joke, let me assure you. I have not died. I have not given up. In fact, I have found that I am not alone in this struggle. The few brave souls who fight the same battle…" Treize spared a smile for Duo, who grinned back, "and I are united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory."

He stepped around the bed again and dragged Tuberov – who was sweating heavily and shaking uncontrollably – to a sitting position. "As his last act as the Commander of OZ, Tuberov shall now assist me." He pulled the gag from the man's mouth and forced him to look into the camera. "OZ and the Romefeller Foundation have betrayed the Earth Sphere by incarcerating people who dared to speak their minds, if their ideas were counterproductive to the collective, have they not?"

Tuberov nodded. "Yes."

"The Romefeller Foundation is actively blocking Colonial governments from any useful work in order to force Colonial representatives to accept their rule, is that true?"

Tuberov nodded. "Yes."

Treize stood over the defeated, trembling man with a look of utter disgust on his face. "Romefeller has plans for the complete domination of the Earth and Colonies, does it not?"

"Yes."

Across the room, Duo held up three fingers. **Three minutes and the download will be done.** Treize nodded. "For these reasons and more, Dermail, you may consider this a formal declaration of war on my part. My confederates and I will not rest until peace and freedom have been achieved, and we will use all means at our disposal to stop you. We will fight to the death for what we believe in, and we will not fail."

Duo punched the air as the last disk finished copying and he hit the [eject] button. He turned to Treize and gave him a thumbs-up.

Treize drew a handgun from his holster and cocked it. "Remember my face, Dermail. I am back and it will not be long before I come after *you*. Enjoy your power – you shall lose it soon." He brought the gun up and sent a single bullet into the camera.

~*~

Dermail cursed as the screen went to static. "Damn him! Damn him to hell!" He grabbed for his mouse and rewound the movie to listen to the last few sentences again. "The nerve of that boy…" He stopped short, though – behind Treize, Tuberov's eyes, wide and frightened, were focused on the camera. And every so often, Tuberov was looking off to the side, as though to indicate…

"Marianne!"

The door opened, and Marianne slipped into the room almost instantly. "My lord?"

His eyes were riveted to the frozen image of Treize Kushrenada on the screen, before him. "I want my commanders in here immediately! Wessex, as well."

She curtsied. "As you wish."

He punched a line on his phone and waited impatiently, tapping the table…

"Cairo Base reporting…"

"SHUT UP AND GET ME THE BASE COMMANDER RIGHT NOW, SOLDIER!" he bellowed.

Y-yes, sir," the man stammered.

Within seconds, a white-faced man bearing the gold leaves of a major appeared on screen. "My Lord?"

"Send a full detachment to Nairobi immediately."

~*~

Tuberov stared up into Treize's face. "Just get it over with, Kushrenada."

Treize shook his head, though, waving Duo forward. The long-haired teenager gave their captive a smirk. "You don't deserve mercy, Tuberov. We can't possibly destroy all your dolls, and they are going to cause the death of hundreds of innocent people. And you laughed…"

Treize turned to stare down at Duo – the teen's eyes were burning with hatred. "You watched and I could hear your laughter. Those assholes nearly killed me, and you *laughed*…"

Treize reached down and clasped Do's shoulder in support.

With visible effort, Duo managed to get control over his emotions. He stepped back and cocked his gun as he lifted it. "You won't die right away, Tuberov. You will bleed out slowly, and when this place goes up –" Tuberov flinched at that – "you will still be alive enough that you'll know and you'll be as scared as I was when my only home ever went up in flames…" Duo and Treize fired at the same time.

Tuberov's howl of pain was drowned in the sound of alarms blaring, though.

Treize and Duo looked at each other, and the taller man said what both were thinking. "Shit!"

Duo darted across the room for his bag and slung it over his back quickly, but paused on his way out to turn-

Tuberov was reaching for a telephone with his bloodied, shaking hands.

Duo drew out a knife and threw.

The phone sparked and smoked as the knife drilled straight through it. Treize grinned down at Tuberov. "Farewell, *Commander.*"

The two disappeared out the door.

TBC...


 

On to Chapter 34

Back to Preventers' HQ



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