Ninmu shippai (Mission Failure)
A day and a half before a key mission, Heero Yuy staggered into the safehouse he'd been sent to by Dr. J, the
scientist who controlled his daily existence. He was tired, exhaustion mingled from many sources with very little
relief. He'd endured several harrowing back-to-back missions, all of them solo ones, and he was nearing his limits,
both physically and mentally.
//Wing is a mess.//
His Gundam had taken heavy fire in the raid executed at dawn. The damage was so great, it had been difficult to
make it out of the battle and then find this remote location. The rustic house at least had heat and running water,
but not much else for amenities. What seemed more valuable to the pilot were the electrical connections to what
had apparently been a livestock barn behind the house. Here he could repair his machine given time.
But at this moment he needed to allow his body to repair. Exhaustion exacts a terrible price even on the most
highly trained young soldiers and he now faced the signs of sleep deprivation as well as simple hunger.
//I have *got* to remember to carry something to eat in Wing like Duo always does on Deathscythe!//
He shook his head, remembering the time he'd given his partner a hard time for such a trivial matter only to learn
the hard way that it wasn't trivial at all. Recalling the time Duo had saved him from his own pride, he actually
smiled. No, food was anything but trivial.
((Backstory presented in "Deprivation #1---Food"))
However, that night he had indulged himself in a few cans of the same protein drink Duo had given him the night
he had possibly saved his life. Despite the overly sweet taste, it brought back fond memories and gave him
something to think about when he went to work repairing his Gundam.
After staggering back from performing the repairs on Wing as best he could, Heero collapsed, exhausted, onto the
bed in the shack and expected to be asleep within minutes. Unfortunately, he wasn't, sleep deprivation had hit too
hard and he'd gotten to the point where he couldn't sleep.
//Duo went through this months ago.// He lay in the darkness trying to will himself to sleep, yet his mind could
not stop thinking; to distract himself, he thought about his lover.
//It had been a rough mission for us, yet he was worse off than we were. He'd been on assignment for a week
previously infiltrating an OZ base. I recall he'd forced himself to stay awake most nights trying to get the data G
required. Sleep deprivation and stimulants really messed him up, too.//
((Backstory presented in "Deprivation #2---Sleep"))
Relaxing while he thought of his vivacious lover, Heero's mind finally quieted enough that he fell into a deep but
Waking, Heero found himself only moderately rested.
//Something's not right about this.//
His mission orders had been explicit. He was *not* to contact any of the other pilots regarding the assignment.
Again. Dr. J had clearly told him he still felt it was possible one or more had been compromised. This was why he'd
been sent to this remote ramshackle building, cut off from civilization.
//To Hell with it!//
Heero decided he was not going into a potentially lethal situation *again* without contacting Duo. It had been too
long and he missed his long haired lover immensely. They'd been apart for almost a month due to J's suspicions.
Sitting in Wing's cockpit, he'd sent a message to Shinigami, yet received no response. This surprised him, since
Duo rarely left his incoming messages unanswered.
((Backstory presented in "Deprivation #3 - Communication"))
Remembering the damage of one such interaction, Heero decided to ignore J's warnings entirely. He sent a
message requesting any of the other pilots contact him since he had no idea where they were or what they were
doing, he thought someone might know where Duo was.
As patiently as possible, he awaited an answer. He got one from his best friend, Trowa Barton.
"Heero, where have you been? It's been nearly a month. We thought you might be dead." Trowa was concerned,
but as usual, his expressionless face gave none of it away. Heero, however, knew the boy's eyes were filled with
worry, something he'd learn to recognize during the terrible weeks the pair spent together searching for the
relatives of Marshall Noventa so they could take revenge on Heero Yuy if they so desired. None of them did,
though, and it had turned into a voyage of discovery for the two young men turning simple mutual respect into
"Not dead, Trowa, but cut off by, well, you can imagine who." The wry statement seemed atypical of Heero Yuy's
usual silence, but he was worried as well.
"Dr. J." Trowa remarked dryly, nodding his understanding. "Regardless, your message indicated you sought Duo,
but he isn't with any of us. We heard from him a week ago, however. He is concerned about you, but Quatre
assured him that his uchuu no kokoro never detected any serious injuries from you, so he kept going. Last thing I
knew he had some new infiltration assignment, but I don't know the details. What is your status?"
"I've got a mission to complete this morning, but then I'm going to meet up with the rest of the team if you are in
one place. I don't know what's bothering J, but I'm tired of playing cat-and-mouse with the only four people I
trust with my life." Heero looked understandably tired and angry, too. The lack of sleep and food from the previous
mission still bothered him and the lack of information on his violet-eyed lover worried him greatly. Something felt
very wrong here.
Trowa didn't bother to question him. "Understood, Heero. We were going to meet up at Quatre's estate in two
days. Meet us there if you so choose. Barton out."
The line closed, Heero had made his decision. He returned to the shack and retrieved the few personal effects he
had left behind. Wing easily lifted off the ground, only partially repaired, but functional. Turning in mid-air, he made
a fairly deliberate choice to annoy his mentor, and left the shack in flames by way of a single powerful burst of his
Gundam's buster rifle.
Streaking towards his target, he found himself slipping into a light doze at least twice and shook the sleep away
from him as best he could.
Landing, Heero quickly draped the camouflage netting over Wing and then moved towards the OZ facility he had
been assigned as his destination. Somewhere within the complex in front of him was a woman who was supposed
to die by his hands that day. The misnamed "Lady" Une.
Heero Yuy despised the cold-hearted OZ official who so overtly kowtowed to Treize Khushrenada that even he
wondered why the young OZ leader tolerated her existence. However, she was supposed to be addressing a group
of new graduates from one of OZ's training academies and should be an easy target for assassination. The
Japanese pilot had no compunctions against killing women any more than he did men; if he was certain they were
not innocent victims of war, then they were valid targets.
He easily snapped the neck of a guard who wasn't exactly working hard, he was sleeping on duty actually, and
Heero once more slipped on an OZ uniform to conceal his identity. Once he had hidden the body and memorized
the name on his uniform to better maintain his cover, he accessed a computer terminal to locate the ceremony Une
would be at. Seeing it would be several hours before the appointed time, he strode purposefully over to the
Easily gaining access, he had climbed into the catwalks above the stage where the ceremony would occur. While it
wasn't planned, he did locate a comfortably dark corner high above the stage and found enough room to try to
get some desperately needed sleep.
Hearing people begin to assemble beneath him, Heero forced himself into awareness and reconfirmed the security
of his position. While he did not have a totally unobstructed view of the stage, it was sufficient and he settled back
into the silent waiting game all predators played as they prepared for their prey. He confirmed that both of his
pistols had full clips in them and then he waited.
Disinterestedly, he watched groups of people mill about doing various tasks. He almost laughed when one man
called out that a security check confirmed the area was clear of danger.
//Wrong. Very wrong. But I won't do your job for you.// He smiled a feral grin and remained silent.
Eventually, the auditorium had filled to capacity, but there was still no sign of Lady Une. He began to wonder if
there had been some change of plans when he heard her distinctively annoying voice. She was walking out to the
stage from behind a curtain, based on her voice, and Heero prepared to fire. There was no need for the dramatics
of shooting the woman during the actual ceremony; he wasn't interested in making a political statement, only
getting a job done so he could make good his escape and return to meet his friends and hopefully locate his
"Well?" Une demanded annoyed. "If you've got what you claim, prove it! Bring him out here!" She had paused then
came closer to Heero's line of fire.
Failing to look away from his target, he never saw the struggling form of a prisoner being lead across the stage
towards the woman who had finally stepped out of the curtain's embrace. As Heero prepared to fire, the hapless
captive was shoved towards the woman, the movement catching the corner of Heero's vision yet not registering.
[[BAM! BAM! BAM!]]
Three shots rang out in rapid succession followed by an agonized scream. Through the temporary adrenaline rush,
it hit the assassin that it wasn't a woman's voice which had screamed. He looked down at the stage and his blood
froze. There, laying in a pool of deep crimson blood, lay a figure he would never fail to recognize.
The long chestnut braid was coated with bits of broken bone as well as becoming drenched in blood. It was Duo.
Pandemonium broke out as the OZ personnel sought the location of the shooter totally failing to consider the
ceiling. As the reality of what he had just done sunk in more fully, Heero let loose a savage cry and began firing
into the crowd in carefully chosen yet seemingly random locations to cause as much havoc as possible. Swinging
his legs free of the catwalk, he dropped to the stage and searched for the target, but she had already been taken
away to relative safety. Crouching by Duo's supine form, he searched for a pulse, yet had difficulty locating one.
The damage he had inadvertently done to his lover was enormous.
He had shot him through the right shoulder, shattering it and sending fragments of bone flying free. It was some
of this sickening mixture of flesh, bone, and blood which now penetrated the braid. One bullet had penetrated his
upper chest passing cleanly through, puncturing a lung on it's way in and again on its way out. This also caused a
nick on a major artery which would have resulted in massive internal injury as well, but the blood was currently
pouring forth in a steady stream from the shattered chest. The final bullet, however, had penetrated the abdomen
and lodged against a bone. There were indications of damage to either the liver or a kidney or both.
All of the bullets had entered from the back as he had been flung face forward at Une, and the stricken pilot now
lay dying choking in blood which oozed from his slack lips and even drizzled from one nostril.
Realizing the imminent death of his lover as well as himself if they failed to leave immediately, yet also knowing that
doing so now meant the mission would be a failure, Heero took action. Pausing to fire additional rounds into the
crowd which had somehow regained some semblance of control, he snatched Duo's body up from the wooden
floor and ran for the nearest exit intending to make good their escape during the confusion.
Clutching Duo's shattered body tightly to his own, Heero ran full speed to where Wing stood concealed. Driving his
heels firmly into the ground, he launched himself at the Gundam, not bothering to remove the camouflaging and
slammed one fist onto the emergency hatch release. Clambering inside, he held his precious burden tightly as he
initiated engine ignition. During the brief moments it took for Wing's engines to come on-line, he heard the first
//They're too slow.// He thought grimly, then looked at the ash white face of the ravaged body still in his arms.
//But I am too slow as well. Duo, don't die on me! Don't leave me now, koi!//
As soon as the engines were fully on-line, he launched Wing Gundam into the sky, not bothering to retaliate
against the relatively useless attacks from the ground forces. He was clear of the range of handheld weapons in
But his love was not clear of danger. Far from it.