by Blue Soaring
Pain lanced through Duo’s side as he struggled to sit up. His execution was scheduled today; that much he had learned from the soldiers holding him captive. They were going to use him; use his death to solidify their power.
The sharp sound of military boots on metal alerted Duo to the fact that his time had arrived. He had to stall, needed a way to get out of this. He had to either escape or prevent them from using his death to further their control. A tiny part of him hoped that one of the other pilots would come for him. But if one did come, it would probably be to end his life, not preserve it. The need for survival, however, had long since been permanently embedded into his brain.
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Duo knelt on the cold, metal floor of his cell, hands clasped around the tiny gold cross at his neck. His lips moved steadily, his voice filling the small space.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Duo’s voice was even, no trace of anxiety evident in his tone.
The door to the cell opened; three guards wearing OZ uniforms appearing in the entry. One faced the bare hallway, the second; his uniform bearing the markings of an officer, stood just inside the door. The last, his face adorned by a small beard stepped into the cell, his weapon trained on the pilot.
“Get up,” the bearded soldier facing him said. “Your time is now, boy.”
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters,” Duo continued, seemingly oblivious to the gruff command.
The cell was eerily quiet in the brief silence that followed the steady cadence of Duo’s voice.
“Leave him to his prayers, Clarke,” the officer stationed just inside the cell door spoke up. “Even though it won’t do him any good now.”
The soldier identified as Clarke grunted. “Hurry up, boy. You’ll die either way.”
The braided pilot made no move to hurry, but continued on in an unwavering voice, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.”
“This is ridiculous,” the man facing the hallway said. “They’re waiting for this little piece of trash to be executed. Pick him up and let’s move.”
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Duo’s eyes were closed as he prayed, the glow from the open door bathing half of his face in light while leaving the other half shrouded in darkness.
“I said let him finish, Branson,” the officer snapped. “He’s almost through.”
“You bet he’s through,” Clarke said with a snort. “Permanently.”
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Duo stayed perfectly still on the unforgiving floor, only the movement of his lips betraying the fact that he was living flesh and not carved of stone.
The officer nodded to Clarke. Both men took up positions on either side of the kneeling boy, waiting for the final verse to spill from his lips.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever,” Duo concluded, falling silent.
“That’s it, get up, boy,” Clarke said.
Duo remained unmoving.
The men flanking Duo reached down to haul him to his feet. Before either one could touch Duo, the entire area was plunged into inky blackness. The emergency lights flickered to life; barely piercing the sudden darkness. Flashing red lights announced fire in a separate part of the complex.
Duo’s eyes snapped up. Red light splashed over his face, revealing the slow twisting of his lips. An evil perversion of a smile emerged, highlighted in gruesome red for a split second before shadows once again fell over Duo’s features.
“What the fuck!?” the one called Branson shouted, turning on his heel to face the interior of the cell.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want,” Duo began again, surging to his feet. His voice remained unchanged; his words measured and even.
The soldier beside him doubled over in pain as Duo’s fist connected solidly with his side. Taking a quick step forward, Duo brought his knee up sharply, striking the man in the center of his chest. A sickening crack echoed in the tiny room, followed by a loud thud as Clarke’s body hit the metal floor.
The emergency lights failed, leaving only the sporadic flashes of red as illumination.
“Bring him down!” the officer shouted to Branson, even as he brought his weapon up, searching for a target.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures,” Duo’s steady recital continued, unaffected by the chaos.
Duo’s fist snapped out, hitting the man squarely in the face, breaking the officer’s nose. Then his weapon went flying out of his hand as Duo whipped around, kicking the officer’s arm with enough force to break it.
“He leadeth me beside the still waters.” Duo dropped to the floor, dodging Branson’s attempt to strike him. He rolled to the side, snapping his foot up and breaking his kneecap.
The soldier collapsed, howling in pain. Duo wrenched the gun from the stricken man’s hands. The officer with the broken nose looked up in time to see barrel of the weapon pointed directly at him before Duo pulled the trigger.
“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake,” Duo recited evenly, turning away from the ruins of the officer.
Branson, groping for a weapon, jerked around to face Duo as the shot echoed painfully loud in the confined space.
Duo raised the gun and pulled the trigger in one smooth motion, saying, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”
The soldier screamed in pain, falling backwards into a wall. He clutched his side, blood seeping through his fingers and marring the clean perfection of his uniform.
Duo advanced on the mortally wounded man, lowering the gun to his side. Flickering red light showed brief flashes of Duo’s face before vanishing, leaving Duo hidden in blackness once again.
Hands scrambling over the wall, the soldier lunged at the braided pilot, desperate. Duo sidestepped the clumsy move, bringing the butt of the gun down sharply on the back of the man’s head. He fell to the floor with a grunt, the sound quickly turning into a shriek of pain as his wounded side met the unyielding metal.
Duo rested the barrel of the gun beside the soldier’s face. “For I am Death,” he said, bringing his lips close to the man’s ear. A jumble of words gurgled in the soldier’s throat.
Duo dropped the gun, seizing the man’s chin in one hand and grabbing a fistful of his hair. “And this is my valley.” He jerked his arms in opposite directions, snapping the man’s neck.
Releasing the dead man, Duo retrieved the gun. He straightened, glancing quickly around the carnage he had wrought. A flash of metal caught his eye. Duo picked up the fallen officer’s gun. Armed with two weapons, Duo stepped over the bodies, moving toward the cell door.
Pausing in the opening, Duo turned. He looked directly at the small camera inside the cell, brought one of the guns up at an angle and aimed. Duo winked, then pulled the trigger. The camera shattered, sparks floating softly to the floor.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Heero cursed, slamming his fist down on the now useless screen. He spun around, eyes flickering over the monitors that displayed the halls surrounding Duo’s cell. He switched the angles, searching for Duo.
Heero snarled in frustration. Duo was gone. The idiot would probably be captured again. Stepping back from the line of screens, Heero raised the small automatic he carried and methodically destroyed them one by one. Letting the empty clip fall to the floor, Heero turned his back on the burning monitors and reloaded. Cobalt eyes flashing, Heero whirled and fired one last shot at the monitor that Duo had winked at before he left the demolished control room.