In The Memory Part 8

Heero revved the engine, urging the car to go faster. He sped around the corner, taking no notice of the stop sign. Dialing Duo's number on his cell phone for the fifth time since leaving his apartment, he hit 'Send' and waited as it rang. Just like the many times before, there was no answer. Heero angrily threw the phone into the passenger seat and cursed.

A red light forced him to stop the car. He hit the steering wheel in frustration. He didn't know why he was so anxious to get to Duo - he knew he had to talk to him but something was pushing him to do it as soon as possible.

"-urging citizens to stay in their homes and await further instructions from the Preventers-"

Heero frowned and turned up the radio. As he did so the car shook... the whole street shook. He looked out the car window and saw smoke rising in the distance.

"-sent out a warning several hours ago but did not wait in initiating an attack. Lady Une is calling all Preventer agents to Headquarters in hopes of forming a response that will stop these terrorists from attacking our colony-"

"Shit!" Heero got out of the car and watched the smoke floating across the colony. Something exploded, echoing with a loud boom, and fire erupted near the tower of smoke, causing the colony to quiver again. He ducked behind the car door as dust and debris went flying through the air.

A ringing reached his ears and it took a moment to register that it was his cell phone. He quickly climbed back into the car and grabbed his phone, glancing at the caller ID before flipping it open and putting it to his ear. "Une? What's going on?"

"Heero, I need to call in the reinforcements, I need you at the Preventers' office... now." The command was thick with stress and Heero sensed an urgency he had never heard in her voice before.

Heero looked around, checking the street sign and realizing he was only a few streets over from the office. "I'll be there in a few minutes, I'm not far," He told her as another tremor wracked the colony.

"Hurry," was all she said before hanging up.

People were screaming and running in the street now, car alarms were going off and smoke rolled through the air. Looking around, Heero realized he would not be able to drive to the Preventer Headquarters - the streets were too crowded with panicking colony citizens. Tucking his cell phone in his back pocket, he got out of his car, locked it, and started down the road. He went as fast as he could, maneuvering his way against the crowd.

There was another explosion, this one so close it knocked Heero off his feet. He dived for the ground and covered his head as yet more remnants of the colony rained upon him. Despite his chaotic surroundings, Heero found he was rather calm, old instincts kicking in. Before the air had even cleared, he was back on his feet and running down the sidewalk.

He turned the corner and the Preventers office came into view. He sped up and soon reached the door. He pushed past several agents going in the opposite direction - field agents, Heero assumed going out onto the street to calm people down and direct them to safe houses.

As Heero reached the seventh floor, he noted the office was in the same state of havoc as the street below. Phones were ringing endlessly and agents were rushing from desk to desk, attempting to answer all the calls and collecting files from various cabinets.

A hand grabbed Heero's arm and he turned, coming face to face with the man he now recognized as Trowa Barton. The green eyes stared at him in complete seriousness. "Une wants us all in her office," he said in his usual calm voice. "Wufei, Quatre and Duo are already waiting for us."

Heero nodded and they walked briskly down the hall.

"How did you and Quatre get here so fast?" Heero asked as they walked, remembering now that the two didn't live on this colony.

"Une called us last week, asked us to come to L2. We've been staying with Duo."

A knot twisted in Heero's stomach as he thought about Duo being so close. He knew Duo had had similar training and experience as a Gundam pilot as he did, but he couldn't help the apprehension he felt when he thought of Duo working with them to fight terrorists. He was worried.

Trowa and Heero entered Une's office and she looked up from behind her desk. Her hair was pulled back into a loose bun and she had discarded her glasses, leaving them on top of a stack of papers. Three other faces turned as they came in. Wufei, Quatre and Duo were all seated opposite Une, waiting.

"Finally," Une said, relief plain in her voice. "Please sit." She motioned to the two empty chairs beside the other three men.

Heero sat down, taking a quick glance at Duo, who avoided his gaze and stared intently at his lap. Trowa took the seat next to him and Une began.

Looking between Duo and Heero, Une started her speech by apologizing. "Duo, Heero, I'm sorry but I can no longer respect yours and Dr. Levitz's wishes. As former Gundam pilots, you're needed now. Wufei told me you both know what happened as far as having your memories modified... Do either of you remember anything?"

Heero glanced at Duo again, but Duo showed no signs of speaking. He continued to stare at his fidgeting thumbs. Heero looked back at Une and nodded. "Yes," he said flatly. "I remember everything."

Une nodded back. "Good. And you?" She turned to Duo.

Duo finally looked up. "Yeah, I think so."

"Good," Une said. "The E.R.A. is attacking the colony, as you probably guessed. They sent a warning just an hour ago, telling us to evacuate the colony. However they didn't give us enough time before they started their assault. They're using modified Taurus models and several Virgo dolls. Their pilots are well trained and the dolls have advanced programming, making it very hard for even our mobile suit trained agents to do much damage against them. We're losing men faster than they are and I'm sorry, but I have to call on your skills here. It's been several years, but I would hope you guys haven't gotten terribly rusty..."

"Are we going to use Preventer mobile suits?" Quatre asked.

Une shook her head. "We have some special suits prepared."

~ ~ ~

Heero stared in awe at the five suits. Une and the five pilots stood at one end of a vast hangar, upon a raised platform. Housed there were five large, specialized suits. Looking reminiscent of the Gundams, each was different and modified to have similar abilities to the original five suits. One sported a buster rifle, one held a thermal scythe, one packed two massive blades, one was heavily laden with long-range weapons and the last one had a whip-like extendable arm. They weren't as big as the Gundams, but just by their looks, Heero could tell they operated alike.

He looked fondly upon the suit he knew he would be piloting, admiring the buster rifle and mentally noting the differences in it's make compared to Wing. His eyes roamed over its multi-colored surface, seeing the extra compartments on its shoulders that obviously held long range guns, and the stylistic designs around it's head that made it look remarkably like his old Gundam. He glanced sideways at the others and saw similar looks of wonder and curiosity on their faces. Wufei, however, looked less surprised and Heero had a strong suspicion that he had known this was coming.

"You'll be piloting these," Une told them. "I've had engineers working on these for the past year. With the building threat of the E.R.A., I knew it was a matter of time before they would be needed. As you can tell just by their appearances, they're based off each of your Gundams. We modified them a little, but made them as much like the Gundams as possible. You should have no trouble piloting them."

"How did you base them so closely off the Gundams?" Trowa asked.

"We contacted the scientists that originally designed the Gundams," Une replied. "They were reluctant, but eventually they agreed and sent us the Gundam blueprints. We didn't want to replicate the Gundams completely, just enough to form an adequate defense against the E.R.A."

"Are they made of Gundanium?" Quatre asked, taking a few steps toward his suit.

"A fusion of Gundanium and other alloys. They're lighter than the Gundams, but still have the durability."

Heero walked forward to stand in front of his new suit. The others followed him, placing themselves before their respective suits. Heero looked over and Duo. The braided man still avoided his gaze. Heero watched as he gripped the railing and stared up at the suit that was so much like Deathscythe. He understood how he felt, he was feeling it himself. He was excited to be piloting again, but at the same time he was disappointed that his skills were needed again. He had thought it was over, that he would never have to do this again. But here he was, standing in front of a Wing look-a-like, ready to call on his training again to defend the colony. He would have to kill, something he never thought he would have to do again. He hated it. But he had no choice.

As he watched Duo lean heavily against the platform railing, Heero knew matching thoughts were running through his head. He glanced at the others and knew they were all thinking it.

There was a low rumble and the platform shook, causing them all to grab the banister for balance. Une looked at them all with extreme urgency in her brown eyes. "There's no time to waste - GO!"

The hangar stopped shaking and they all steadied themselves. Heero immediately jumped over the railing and across the small gap between the platform and the cockpit of his new suit. He climbed into the pilot seat and strapped himself in as the compartment door closed him off from the world.

The control board lit up in front of him and Heero felt a smile grace his lips. The system was identical to Wing. All the switches and buttons were in the same place... all the controls were the same. Heero's fingers flew over the controls with familiar precision, starting up the suit's support systems. Three digital viewing screens opened before him, showing him the surrounding hangar and the other suits. He was smiling despite himself - he couldn't help but like the feeling of being back in a mobile suit.

He saw the other suits warming up next to him and he hesitated for a moment as he saw Duo's suit move, flexing the right arm and powering on the thermal scythe. Something stirred in Heero and he wanted to tell Duo to stay behind, to stay out of danger. He knew he couldn't, and he knew Duo was perfectly capable of handling a mobile suit fight, but he was still worried.

Wufei's face appeared in the corner of one of Heero's screens and his attention was drawn back to the task at hand. "There's approximately a hundred enemy Tauruses, and about fifty Virgo dolls. Radar detects approaching backup, count unconfirmed. We need to take the battle as far away from the colony as possible. Any ideas, Quatre?"

Quatre's face materialized next to Wufei's. "I say we focus on the dolls first, since they seem to be the bigger problem."

Wufei nodded. "Roger that." And his face disappeared.

Quatre's screen also flashed off, and Heero watched as the others began to move out. Quickly turning his own suit, he started up the jets and propelled himself out of the hangar just as it's massive doors opened for them. The mobile suit controls operated smoothly and the suit body reacted to his slightest adjustment. Heero chuckled in satisfaction.

The others fanned out beside him as they headed towards the large E.R.A. army. Heero blinked at the mass of suits before him, readying himself for battle. His mind was switching gears, transforming his thoughts to focus completely on his goal of destroying this enemy. He had to eradicate them - to protect the colony he had to concentrate on destroying them all. Pushing his worries about Duo to the back of his mind, he urged his suit forward.



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