As soon as the coffee was ready, everyone gathered in the living room once more.
Looking over the rim of his coffee mug at his friends, Wufei felt a tremble of nervousness as he
realized that they had unconsciously arranged themselves in the same way that they had been
sitting that morning. Some of the horrifying memories of the assault in Berlin attempted to
reassert control as he recalled the powerful flashbacks he'd suffered through, but he forced
them back with a concerted effort.
Trowa was seated next to him on the couch and noticed his love's apparent distress,
automatically wrapping a warm and reassuring arm around Wufei's shoulders and asking quietly,
"Are you all right, Fei-kun?"
"I will be, angel," the smaller boy sighed and leaned his head against Trowa's shoulder for
support, obsidian eyes sliding shut as he concentrated on the physical contact he shared with
the present instead of the hazy relationship he had with the past. "I fear that my thoughts are
not as easily controlled as they once were."
The HeavyArms pilot sighed sadly as he asked, "Are the memories bothering you? Do you need
to talk about them? The others are here, should we discus that with them?"
"No," Wufei shook his head slightly without lifting it from its cozy resting place. "There is
nothing new coming forth and I would hate to spoil the announcement that Heero and Duo
were planning to make. I shall be all right as long as you stay beside me. Please, say nothing
of this to the others."
Trowa was not pleased by this, but agreed, "Okay, but only if you promise to tell me if that
changes. If there's more bad news, I want to know so we can cope with it immediately." In
truth, he was displeased that Wufei wanted to try to suppress his feelings again, but he
respected the other boy's right to chose when and if to speak with their friends about the
more painful matters that plagued him.
"You worry too much," the Chinese boy almost smiled. A feeling of warmth displaced some of
the chilling sorrow as he added earnestly, "And I am eternally grateful that you do, angel."
Biting back a remark that he had failed Wufei far too many times already and that he didn't
deserve his blind faith, Trowa turned his attention to where Heero was pulling out the laptop
and booting it up. As the Japanese teen prepared to speak, Trowa forced himself to focus on
matters beyond those that had held his attention so thoroughly in the last few days with
Uncertain how to begin, Heero looked at Duo and silently asked the natural-born speaker to
open the discussion for him. To his dismay, the braided boy shook his head and winked,
encouraging him to overcome the residual hesitancy to speak that was far less of a problem
for the Wing pilot now than it had been before the team had become so close.
After clearing his throat, Heero addressed his comrades, saying, "The good news that's been
mentioned on and off all evening is something that I've been working on with Doctor J for some
time. I have no idea how best to say this, so allow me to just introduce you to your future
Each of the three members of the team that hadn't heard anything about the project looked
bewildered and confused, yet hopeful. Before they could ask any questions, Heero turned the
laptop so that they could all see the image on the screen.
Barely suppressing a giggle, Quatre remarked, "It looks like a potato, Heero."
Peering at the image more closely, Wufei shook his head and remarked in amazement, "No, it
looks like an asteroid, Quatre."
Emerald eyes had narrowed in concentration then blinked in astonishment as Trowa asked, "Is
that a space station built to resemble an asteroid? We're going to be living in space? All five of
us? Together? How did this happen, Heero?"
The slender youth could scarcely allow himself to believe that his own concerns from earlier in
the day about finding a way to stay with Wufei were being answered so easily. Trowa had
been disappointed so many times in his life, he found that this serendipitous turn of events
was almost too good to believe.
Pleased with the reactions, other than the non sequitur from the blond, of course, Duo finally
stepped in and took over the explanations. "Yes, Tro, you could call Xanadu a space station,
but one of a very unique nature. You and Wu are both right, it *does* look like an asteroid,
that's what it's supposed to look like to help conceal it since we're planning to stay there
permanently and it would be best if we go undetected as much as possible."
The looks of hope followed by concern this statement received caused the braided boy to
hurry to add, "It wont stay in just one spot in space, though, that'd make us sitting ducks. It
will be relocated within various debris fields around Earth over time. Plus, thanks to a new
projection technology that G came up with, its outer appearance will change over time to
render it even harder to spot by our enemies."
With a grin, he ended with, "And, Q-Ball? Don't tell Howard that you think it looks like a potato!
He's already calling it the 'Great Space Tater' and driving everybody there nuts!"
"Howard's there?" Quatre asked with a smile, he'd only met the Hawaiian shirt-loving old
salvager once, but he rather liked the man's laid back attitude and pleasant personality.
"Sure enough." Duo's grin broadened as he added, "He designed the whole damned thing, I
kinda think he'd *better* be there!"
"Wait a moment, Duo," Wufei interjected, a touch of uncertainty in his voice. "Could you
perhaps tell us more about how and why this was built? While I find the idea of a permanent
base of operations to be extremely desirable, I find all of this a bit overwhelming at the
moment, maybe if I knew more it would be more conceivable for me."
The Deathscythe pilot nodded reassuringly and proceeded to explain to all of them the
background of the facility. He went on to mention some of the resources that would be at
their disposal on the base plus some of the personnel involved along with the areas that
needed to be completed before it was fully functional, easing most of Wufei's concerns.
Nearly two hours later the room was filled with the optimism and hope that had been sorely
lacking lately for the five Gundam pilots.
Xanadu would provide them with not only housing on a regular basis, it would also include a
fully-functional repair hangar that could easily allow all five Gundams to be kept in top
condition once the personnel roster at the station had been fleshed out more fully. Duo had
explained that while Howard had many contacts for supplies and construction crews that
would work in secrecy to build the new facility, he didn't have enough qualified individuals lined
up yet to fulfill Xanadu's potential in a variety of areas including equipment maintenance.
"I might be able to help with that," Quatre smiled as they were discussing the need for
experienced mobile suit technicians.
"Who do you have in mind, Quatre?" Heero asked with interest.
Part of the reason for opening discussions about Xanadu before it was ready for them was to
see if the other pilots might be able to help them identify personnel for a variety of positions
that remained unfilled. For anyone to be chosen for a position at the new base, they needed
to have a personal commitment to the peace efforts of the movement. They also needed an
unblemished security rating, there was too much invested in the new station to risk it on
Quatre hesitated, afraid that he might get everyone's hopes up for nothing, but then said,
"Well, Rasid and the Maganacs got driven out of their home in the desert some months back
when OZ went into the town and blew the place up. They've been living like nomads since
then and I think they might be as interested in a permanent home as we are."
"I remember that," Duo said with a nod, memories of flowers and dancing girls popping into his
head. "That was really shitty of OZ to do that to them, but I thought that Rasid and the boys
were all staying at one of your mansions these days, Q? Did that change?"
"Yes and no, Duo," the Arabian teen answered with a frown. "They do that when I tell them
that Sandrock or one of the other Gundams needs work, but for the most part Rasid keeps
them in the desert away from civilians so there won't be another huge loss like what happened
at their village."
"That makes sense." Duo shrugged, then asked, "How soon do you think you might be able to
find out if they're interested? Howard's been going nuts trying to line up a team for that and if
they're out there with their own mobile suits, that might answer our security needs, too."
"Won't that increase our need for housing, as well?" Trowa asked quietly, he'd been keeping
track of the number of people that would be stationed at the new base and he was beginning
to be concerned that they were planning on too many people to insure secrecy over time.
"Not really, Trowa," Heero remarked, drawing up the schematics for Xanadu on the laptop.
"We'd been planning on separate security and technical personnel, roughly a total of sixty men
and women were estimated for the two areas put together. There's only forty Maganacs, so
there's plenty of room at this point. Why are you worried about that aspect of things?"
Frowning, the emerald-eyed pilot commented, "It seems to me that part of the reason that
you and I have so little trouble infiltrating most OZ locations is that they are so large that the
staff doesn't even recognize one another. If Xanadu is to be kept secure, it would seem wise
to avoid making the same mistake."
"Point taken," the Japanese teen nodded. "However, this is something that's already been
addressed and if we recruit an entire army that has known each other for years, we'd be even
better off than we are now. For that matter, almost all of the staff we have already are
personal acquaintances of Howard or Doctor J and completely trustworthy since both of them
will be stationed there, too."
Wufei asked an obvious question, "What of the other scientists, Heero? What is their role in
this drastic change? Master O was not fond of my sharing living quarters with the four of you
here on Earth, he might have a problem with me taking up permanent residency with you in
The ShenLong pilot paused and almost chuckled at this before adding confidently, "Not as if
that would stop me, because it won't. Nothing is going to prevent me from taking advantage
of an opportunity as marvelous as this is. A chance to live with all of you without the dangers
of moving on a regular basis to unknown and poorly protected safehouses is far more than I
ever dared hope for."
"My thoughts as well, koi," Trowa remarked happily, clasping Wufei's hand in his own.
While the personnel issue had bothered the former mercenary, the very idea that he would be
able to live full-time with Wufei and the other three pilots appealed to him greatly. He was also
intrigued by the briefly mentioned references about the new station's medical facilities. Trowa
fervently hoped that these resources might help alleviate some of the cloud of depression that
he expected would continue to swirl around Wufei's soul as he dealt with the consequences of
the last few days' recollections.
In answer to Wufei's question, Heero commented confidently, "Actually, Wufei, that shouldn't
be a problem at all. They all agreed to our having a permanent base about six months ago
when Howard's team began construction. Granted, that was before he was keeping you
isolated from us, but I doubt he'd interfere at this point even though I haven't read anything
specifically about him in any of J's messages in quite some time."
"Good," Wufei nodded as he slipped one arm possessively through Trowa's, earning him an
encouraging smile from the taller teen. "Then I won't have to argue with Master O about it.
That is a relief, he can be a bit difficult to deal with at times."
Duo snorted in annoyance, "They *all* can be that, Wu! But you've never seen 'difficult to
deal with' until you're stuck in the same room with G and J when they're arguing! Geez, worse
than wet hens, those two!"
The braided boy stood and stretched, then flashed a big grin at the smallest pilot before
saying, "How about we give all this a chance to sink in and go ahead and get that cake out? I
could go for a celebratory slice, how about you, Wu?"
Wufei smiled shyly at his boisterous friend and nodded, "Hai, I think that some cake would be
marvelous, Duo." He glanced at Trowa who seemed reluctant to let go of his hand and cocked
his head before asking, "Is something wrong, angel?"
"No, I guess not," the emerald-eyed youth answered quietly, "It's just that this much good
news all at once makes me nervous. Is it even possible that our future can go from being so
dark to being so bright without paying for it somehow?"
Duo frowned, "Tro? What's on your mind, buddy? This is *definitely* good news and it's legit,
why are you so down about it?"
The HeavyArms pilot shook his head and then forced a half-hearted smile, "I'm not sure, Duo. I
guess it's just that these last three days have made me more skeptical of such sudden shifts
from bad to good. My life finally seemed to be improving and then it all went to hell and I'm
more than a little afraid that will happen again, I suppose."
Squeezing their clasped hands gently, Wufei brought the taller teen's attention back to himself
and he offered, "Angel? Please, give this a chance, koi. I, too, am somewhat disturbed by
vague feelings of disquiet, but if Heero and Duo are confident that this will benefit us, then I
think we should give it a chance."
"You're right as always, dragon." Trowa smiled before adding more playfully, "I think that Duo
still wants to get that cake out that you were so excited about, Fei. Or did you change your
mind and decide you didn't want any after all?"
"Me?" Wufei asked in mock-disbelief, trying to lighten the mood even though he still felt
uneasy. "Not want cake, Tro? Surely you jest!" He rose to his feet and stepped towards Duo a
soft smile on his face as he pushed a wayward tendril of black hair over one ear, earning him
an adoring smile from his lover who remained on the couch alone.
Duo chuckled and suppressed a desire to quote the infamous line about a man not being called
"Shirley" from the wonderfully bad old movie "Airplane" even as he accompanied the Chinese
boy into the kitchen to retrieve the much discussed dessert.
Quatre and Heero both smiled at their friends' attempts at humor, realizing that Trowa and
Wufei both would need a considerable amount of time to fully recover their faith in a more
positive future. It had been a difficult period in the lives of this unique family, and if anyone
deserved the hope of safety and the promise of peace that Xanadu represented, it was those
two and the other three pilots knew it all too well.
The group would spend a few more hours discussing the dramatic changes that having a
permanent base of operations would cause in their lives, eating devil's food cake, and relaxing
in the warmth of a promising future.
Full Author's Notes to Run at Conclusion.
End Notes for Parts 35 and 36:
Well? Did that finally answer the question of what is Xanadu and are you
Not since the ill-fated undersea base at Atlantis from "Ninmu shippai" have I
gone ahead and let myself answer one of the single most glaring problems I
have with the series in a major piece of fanfiction. What was "glaring"
enough in there to get on my nerves so badly? Um, I may not be a military
strategist, but it always seemed to me that if Operation Meteor was
originally a concerted effort by the five scientists, why the heck didn't
they get their operatives to meet up and work together once they made it to
Earth? Furthermore, what was up with always putting the guys in relatively
impossible to secure locations like boarding schools? Yes, most writers,
myself included, like to put them in various random apartments, cabins,
farmhouses, etc, and call them "safehouses", but that wasn't present in the
series to any great extent. Anything other than a school was invariably one
of Quatre's places or, strangely enough, OZ facilities like the one on the
My answer to both issues has been a long-term interest in seeing them in a
relatively remote location that they could use as a home and a base of
operations. I envision a place with most of the services that they would
undoubtedly need and people to support them much as they get at the end of
the series onboard Howard's "Peacemillion".
[pauses and takes a breath, shocked at himself for ranting the way Wufei
might on the same topic]
Forgive me for carrying on like that, but I've thought about it a lot and
this is my chance to build a place for the G-Boys and then populate it with
known characters all of whom have their own agendas and needs. Before anyone
asks, yes, the team *will* be going to Xanadu before too awfully long and
when they get there they just might find a serpent in their new Eden but I'm
not sure yet. There's definitely going to be some problems to work out, some
unexpected tragedies to face, and 'Angst In Space' on board the "Great Space
Tater", so stay tuned to "Gifts Arc" for more on Xanadu. Oh, and the name for
the place will be explained tomorrow night as you get the final answer to the
collectible questions, too.
[stops rambling, gets out the disco ball, starts it spinning, and says
Almost all of theses posting runs have been quietly dedicated to the folks
who send me kind words of encouragement and this installment is no different.
For tonight's walk down the "Hall of Fame", thank you's go out to: AJ from NZ
(who has been missed terribly! welcome back), Wild Child (waves at new
friend), Azzie, Rubious, Jan, SkyLark, Danielle, Nazarri, Trixie, and, of
course, Ryoko who has archived this monstrosity over at Sweet&Sweet, the
darling Tro-Fei shrine that I love so very much! Check it out at:
[ sweet & sweet ], you'll be
glad you did!