In The Memory Part 9
Heero swiftly shot down several mobile dolls, smiling as the explosions lit up his viewing screens. He maneuvered his suit around to face another group of enemy Virgos and fired his buster rifle at them. For a moment, sparks of light flickered before him. The next second there was nothing but empty space.
He glanced sideways and saw Trowa shooting madly at several E.R.A. suits. Wufei was not too far off, and Quatre was beside him, busily destroying the enemy. Heero turned in the other direction and saw Duo spin his scythe and take out half a dozen Tauruses.
About twenty Preventer suits, all that remained from the small Preventer army, were fighting with them, doing their best to draw the E.R.A. away from the colony. It was working - the E.R.A. was slowly following them out into space.
Heero grinned and with one more shot of his buster rifle, he demolished the few remaining Virgo dolls. Quatre's satisfied face appeared in the corner of his left screen.
"Now we have to draw the rest of them into space," Quatre said. "We're down to about sixty Tauruses and there's at least a hundred more on the way."
"Just Tauruses or more dolls, too?" Heero asked.
"There don't seem to be any dolls with the approaching reinforcements," Quatre replied, "But that's not definite."
Heero nodded and headed away from the colony with several E.R.A. suits in tow. He quickly whipped around and shot them into oblivion before they could even react. He smiled as he easily engaged more enemy Tauruses and destroyed them with experienced precision. The familiarity of it did not escape him. He felt as if he had never left the cockpit of his old Gundam. As if he had never left the battlefield. It was something he had thought was over, but that he now willingly returned to. His old instincts returned full force and with amazing ease, he piloted his new suit and annihilated the enemy.
He could see around him as the others took to the fighting with similar fluidity. They effortlessly overcame the opposition, and as the enemy reinforcements came into view, the five ex-Gundam pilots led the Preventer forces out to meet them.
They were now well out in space and could safely continue fighting without worry of doing more damage to the colony. An explosion nearby caused Heero's suit to shake, and when he looked up, Heero saw well over a hundred suits headed his way.
Driving his suit foward, Heero attacked the nearest E.R.A. suits and quickly demolished them. The others were fighting just as easily. He nearly laughed at how much stronger they were than the enemy fighters. Until he saw four Tauruses jet towards them... carrying a large beam canon.
Heero watched as they charged up the weapon, and a thick energy beam shot in his diretion. With honed reflexes, he darted out of the shot's path. He turned just in time to see Duo, in his Deathscythe look-a-like, take the hit to his left side.
Several explosions wracked the suit's side and when the fires dissipated, the remaining half of the suit just drifted there. Pieces of Gundanium scattered into space, floating around Duo's mauled suit. Wires and cables were exposed on the side of the suit and a few pathetic sparks lit up before quickly dying. Half the cockpit was open to space now, and Duo's still form could just barely be seen. Heero let out a breath he hadn't realized he had been holding and tried to connect to Duo's suit through the comm-link. The call wouldn't go through.
He turned his suit, preparing to jet over to Duo's aid, but a call came through and Wufei's face appeared in the corner of his viewing screen. "Heero, you need to concentrate!"
"Duo's been hit," Heero told him urgently, "I can't -"
"Heero we have a bigger problem on our hands right now." Wufei glared at him from the small screne. "Duo was a Gundam pilot too, he knew the risks and he came anyway. If we don't stop the E.R.A now, they will destroy the whole colony and move on to the next."
Heero's jaw clenched. He knew Wufei was right and he knew what he had to do. Frustration built in him and he was torn between wanting to help Duo, and needing to fight the terrorists. A sick feeling filled his stomach as he nodded and turned back to the approaching Tauruses. He cleared his mind of thoughts of Duo, forcing himself to be numb, and urged his suit foward.
The Tauruses holding the beam canon prepared to fire again, but Heero was too quick. Pulling out his beam sabre, he darted from enemy to enemy and viciously slashed them into nothingness.
A deadened stiffness came over Heero as he forced the sabre through the beam canon, slicing it to pieces. He turned and shot after more Tauruses. Quatre jetted foward out of the corner of his eye, chasing down several terrorist suits. Trowa was next to him, and in the distance Heero saw Wufei take out a several more.
The fighting became automatic for Heero. He was no longer thinking about anything - simply controlling his suit and fighting the E.R.A.. Long minutes passed and it all became a blur to him.
Next thing he knew, the handful of remaining E.R.A. Tauruses were retreating. Frowning, he saw the others pulling back. He took one last glance at the remains of Duo's suit and, an angry determination set upon his face, he turned and chased after the retreating suits.
He first thought of simply firing his buster rifle and taking them out in one shot, but something stopped him. He thought of the phantom "Marshals" and knew that the E.R.A. leaders would not be doing any of the fighting themselves. Consquently, he knew that if he shot down the retreating suits, he would lose any chance of finding the source of the E.R.A.. Making a decision, he slowed down his suit, keeping the enemy suits just on the edge of his vision. He continued to follow them, but just out of sight.
Soon he could no longer see the L2 colony, and after another good hour, another colony appeared in the distance. By its location, Heero could tell it was the L4 colony.
The Tauruses he was following made a sharp turn and headed for some drifting space scrap. As Heero drew closer though, he could make out a much larger object hiding amongst the debris. A ship, approximately 200 yards long and 100 yards wide, was nestled in the floating trash. Heero ran an analysis on it, but could not gather much information. It was a custom ship, with no records.
Heero's eyes narrowed and he watched as the Tauruses entered the ship through a small porthole and disappeared. He saw the porthole closing and quickly fired his jets, shooting himself into the hangar just as the doors closed behind him.
His entry did not go unnoticed - the handful of Tauruses immediately turned their weapons on him and began firing. In one swift movement, Heero retaliated and cut through the group with his beam sabre. Violent explosions shook the hangar and Heero's suit was thrown back against the ship wall. The seat straps kept him in place, but he still felt the wind get knocked out of him.
He recovered almost instantly and as soon as the pressure equalized in the hangar, he switched off his suit and jumped out of the cockpit. He landed smoothly on the hangar floor and immediately darted for the nearest door. Flattening himself against the wall, slowly opened the door, peering around the corner and into the hallway. It was deserted, though alarms were starting to sound and red alert lights began flashing everywhere. They knew he was here.
Running down the hallway, he turned corner after corner, searching for a clue as to where the Marshals would be - a security room, some guards to question, anything. Dashing around another corner, he came to the end of the hallway and smiled when he saw the only door labeled 'Security'. Throwing his back against the wall next to the door, he kicked to the side and busted the door open. He then waited while a rush of bullets immediately zoomed through the open doorway.
Heero glanced into the room, quickly pulling back to avoid being shot. His brief look was enough though and he was able to count six guards scattered about the room - two near the door, one in the far corner and three stood on the opposite side of the room, near the security control board. All had guns trained on the door.
"Cease fire!" one of the guards shouted, "Just wait!"
The gunshots stopped and Heero took his chance. Throwing himself into the room, he did a quick spin and kicked the first two guards to the floor. He dodged more bullets and threw himself at the next nearest guard. He easily twisted the gun out of the other man's hand and knocked him out with a swift punch. And finally, in a graceful spin, he fired three shots and took out the remaining guards.
The room grew silent and the sudden calm was unnerving. Heero wasted no time though. He locked the door and set to work at the security controls. Searching the files, he pulled up the video surveillance. He rapidly clicked from file to file, eyeing each room that appeared on screen. He went through several dozen screens before he finally saw something promising.
He pulled up a screen that showed five men sitting at a conference table. Each one looked well into his fifties, and overly distinguished. They all had stressed expressions on their faces and were talking rapidly. And although there was no audio, Heero had a hunch they were discussing what to do about their intruder. Several armed guards surrounded them, but Heero wasn't worried. So far the E.R.A. wasn't proving too hard to handle.
Heero's eyes narrowed and he stared at the screen for a few moments, thinking. An idea came to mind and his fingers flew over the controls. He watched with a smile on his face as the group of men in the conference room immediately erupted into panic as the door whooshed shut and locked itself. Heero reset the password, effectively locking them in.
He set about closing and locking the other sections of the ship, closing off any backup.
Once all doors were closed and locked, and all passwords reset, he perused more files and found the ship's blueprint. He located the room with the Marshals and committed it to memory. Satisfied, he shut down the security computer and stood up.
He looked up to the ceiling and quickly spotted the vent he was looking for. Pulling a chair underneath it, he climbed onto it and punched the grate out with the side of his fist. He slid it aside and pulled himself into the vent with relative ease. Once he was in the vent, he slid the grate back into place and began his long crawl to the conference room.
It took a good half hour for him to locate the right room and when he did, he peered down through the grate and watched the men for a few moments. He studied their face, immediately recognizing a few of them.
On man stood at the head of the room, talking to the others. He was older and had a graying beard and thinning hair. His face was lined with age and Heero recognized him from the suspect files he had been looking over just days before. His photographic memory told him this man's name was Edward Mathers. He was 52 years old and a veteran soldier from the United States.
Heero scanned the other men and recognized them all as ex soldiers.
Eyes narrowing, Heero watched as one of several guards walked just underneath the vent. As he passed, Heero kicked out the grate and jumped into the room. He kicked the guard's legs out from underneath him and snatched his gun from his belt. In the single swift movement, Heero gained control of the room.
The Earthling Revolutionary Army leaders all turned to stare at the intruder, and their handful of guards all slowly raised their hands away from their weapons.
Heero smiled. "You are the Marshals?"
Their leader, Mathers, smirked back at him. "And you must be the famous Heero Yuy. So they've set the Gundam pilots on us... Which of the five of you was blasted in half, I wonder?"
Without meaning to, Heero flinched, and in that moment one of the guards pulled out his gun and fired two well-aimed shots. The first tore the gun from Heero's hand. The second dug itself into his side, sending a burning pain throughout his body and knocking him to his knees. He held his hands over the wound and blood began to seep past his fingers. He looked up in time to see Mathers approach him, a gun in his hand.
A smug smile spread across Mathers' face as he stood over the injured pilot. "Must have been Duo Maxwell, the one we used to see you with. I thought you pilots were expert fighters..." He leaned over Heero, putting their faces only inches apart. "You shouldn't let your guard down so easily, young man."
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