Mind Over Matter
The one thing I will never get used to during stakeouts, is the
waiting. Nothing to do but sit still, shut up and pay attention. I
snorted - it was too much like school.
I shifted slightly from my sprawled position on the low hill near the
base I had been sent to destroy. Normally I'd just rampage in there
with Deathscythe, have a wicked good time blasting the thing to high
heaven and waltz outta there with nothing more then a scratch, but
this time, G sent me some pretty cryptic instructions.
Find out what they're doing and let me know!
That alone had made me giggle - contrary to popular belief, G did
have a pretty good sense of humour. For him to send me this kind of
note, it meant that something mighty interesting was going on in
there, and he was dying to know.
A searchlight panned the area and I ducked my head just before it
washed over where I was still lying. Reaching over, I felt my duffel
bag, confirming my explosives, my extractor disks and my lockpicks.
One set anyway. The other set was secured away over various locations
of my body including my braid. See? It has its uses.
The light flickered by and no alarms went off so I figured I was
safe. Hauling myself to my feet, I slung my bag onto my back and
fingered the gold cross at my throat for a minute, as I always did
just before entering a battle. The familiar wave of pain and sadness
filtered through me and I closed my eyes, breathing deeply,
remembering who I was doing this for, who I was always doing this
for. Then I squared my shoulders and jumped over the tiny ridge at
the crest of the hill, hitting the ground in a crouching run.
I kept to the shadows, keeping one eye trained on the ever-circling
light. From my observances, I knew that there were two guards at this
particular entrance; a storage entrance where the trucks filled with
supplies tended to enter. There weren't a lot of objects large enough
to hide behind, but it was times like these that I blessed the
gentics that went into making me short and skinny.
I made it to a small stack of empty crates, dropping to my belly and
slithering like a snake through the maze of boxes silently, until I
could just see the faint outline of the moon tracing the first guards
Checking my watch, I saw I had two minutes before the second guard
came back from his little patrol that he did every half hour that I'd
been up on the bluff watching. I prepared a small dart with a trigger
on it. I hesitate to call it a needle, and it wasn't a gun; it looked
like one of those old-fashioned Bic pens - ya know, the ones you have
to press down where the eraser should be until the lead came out?
Clicking the button would inject one of my little concoctions into
the guys bloodstream, and knowing the particular batch I'd whipped up
the other day, it would take mere seconds.
The second guard came back, right on time, tagging off the first, who
strode off in the opposite direction. They kept in radio contact but
I think on the whole, I saw them speak once, all night. Works for me -
lazy guards equals better chance of me getting my ass out in one
piece. I have approximately thirty minutes before the first guard
comes back. The second guard gives the area a cursory glance before
yawning, stretching his arms over his head, eyes shut in ecstasy as
he cracks his back. I pounce.
Five seconds later, Mr. Security person is doing a remarble
impression of Sleeping Beauty. I search him briefly, finding the keys
hooked to his waistband- inside his pants. I shuddered. The things I
do for the mission...
The door has two locks - presumably the other is for the first guards
key. No matter. The first lock is disabled in seconds thanks to
napping Neddy, and it takes about thirty seconds for me to pick the
second one. A beeping sound indicates I should punch in my access
I take out another special little device of G's. This was my pride
and joy - something I helped him design actually. What - you think me
calling myself the best thief on L2 was something I said to impress
people? As if! This little baby works wonders on vaults and safes. A
small electric screwdriver removes the outer plating of the lock, and
I connect the wire from my decoder machine into the lock itself. The
decoder links with the machine - completely undetected. Am I good, or
am I good? This thing has nearly the stealth capabilities of
Shinigami - and that's saying a hell of a lot.
Another minute has the numbers flashing across the screen. I breathe
a sigh of relief - all systems go and only three minutes into my half
hour. There's a reason they choose me for this kind of work.
The self-patting of my back can continue later. I reach out to push
the door open, fumbling to put my decoder back in my duffle, when
something changes. I freeze, extending my senses to their limits,
searching for whatever it was that set my internal alarms on panic.
Another scan confirms that no one's around. I blink and dismiss it as
my conscience getting back at me for burying my guilt and sense of
remorse miles beneath my subconscience and resolve to drink my
craziness away when I returned to the safehouse later that night.
Stupid paranoid self.
I skitter down the hallway, breathing shallowly through my mouth to
maintain absolute silence. Very few people can wear sneakers and walk
silently on metal. It's a talent.
I know from the scan I did of the building, that most of the energy
output and electrical currents either generate from or congregate
towards the center of the entire complex, so I make my way through
the maze of corridors. I figure if I follow the Do Not Enter Unless
Authorized signs were a dead giveaway as to where I wanted to go. Ah -
there's my first one!
Before entering the hallway, I check the walls, the floors and then
the ceiling. Nothing visible. I snort - if it were visible, it
wouldn't be very secure, would it?
Back into the trusty duffel bag, and out comes a small, grenade-
shaped ball. Another result of me and G's collaborative efforts.
About to click the trigger--
What the.....My head whips around again. There it was, that feeling,
that...whatever, in the back of my head. Sadness...lonliness...pain?
I can feel faint whispers of emotions dancing across my brain,
darting in and out so quickly I couldn't get a grip on them. Suddenly
they were gone again, and I staggered slightly.
" What the fuck?!" I cursed out loud, still careful to keep my voice
no higher then a whisper. Whatever it was, it felt damn familiar.
That freaked me out more then anything. Suddenly the weight in my
hand snapped me back to attention and I clicked the switch, dropping
the ball to the floor. White tendrils of smoke wisped out, specially
designed to avoid triggering fire alarms. It had the thickness of dry
ice, and did a marvelous job of revealing the infrared beams that
barred my passing. I did a quick mental calculation - only about four
feet worth and nothing I could tell beyond that. Fine.
I picked up the grenade and pressed the switch that shut it off.
Smoke stopped billowing out, and I knew from past experience that the
remaining wisps would fade away in seconds. Making sure my bag was
secure, I backed up slightly and took a running leap, easily clearing
the beams of light. Landing, I rolled once and came up in a crouch,
ears trained to pick up any sounds of military personel. Nothing. I
glanced back at the distance I had made and grinned. Maybe after the
war I'll become a long distance jumper.
After the war....ya know, I didn't really think of that too often.
After the war implied a time of peace, and for a street rat like me
who's stolen all his life, peace just meant less soldiers around to
catch me. There was something about the thrill of a well-pulled off
heist that was such a rush - I couldn't see myself settling down to
the domestic life. Neither could I see Heero doing that. Heero's my
partner, my best friend. My secret crush too, but hey, nobody's
perfect. Well. Except him.
GAH! Where'd this come from? I shake my head and keep walking, eyes
open. Suddenly, people appeared at the other end of the hallway and I
froze, flat against the wall. The darkness helped conceal me but I
knew the time for sheer stealth was over. Just beyond the approaching
personnel, I could see my target - the main lab.
The four soldiers came closer and I attacked as soonas they came into
range. My foot crushed the larynx of the first one, as my knife
buried itself in the throat of the second one. The third whipped his
gun out, but I snapped my foot out, catching his hand, breaking the
bones in his fingers and sending the gun flying. The fourth raises
his own arm to fire and I turn, grabbing the third and shoving him
in front of me as I duck out of the way. Number four kills number
three and by that time my own gun was trained on the last remaining
sucker. Elapsed time: fifteen seconds.
I pause for a second, catching my breath and calming myself. Taking
my own gun, I fire a single round into each head to make sure they
were down permanently. I don't worry about the noise - the silencer
on the end takes care of that.
That grisly task over and done with, I turn and head for the lab. My
time has been cut in half, if not more so. Through the main doors, I
see another lock. Hmm. I take a minute to tilt a heavy metal filing
cabinet over, blocking the doors I just came through to buy me some
breathing room when more security oafs come to check on their dead
buddies. I then crouch behind it and lob a grenade towards the final
set of doors.
Fire explodes and alarms start going off but there is now a nice big,
if somewhat smokey, hole where that cumbersome lock - and door - used
to be. And suddenly fear like I'd never felt before raced through my mind,
sending me reeling. I was terrified; my knees shook and a low whimper
issued from my clenched teeth. I couldn't understand it - but then
again, fear isn't the most rational of emotions. Then, just like
that, it was gone again, leaving something else behind in its place.
I blinked, and the feeling of puzzlement didn't leave. It was quickly
followed by uncertainty, and I had a vague impression of someone
digging through my mind, burrowing through memories.
" Christ!" I smacked my forehead, trying to dislodge the mental
intruder but nothing changed. I gripped the obliterated side of the
wall in an effort to keep my balance and felt the intruder find
something. How do I know this? 'Cause I could've sworn I heard
a 'DING' go off in my head. If I looked up and saw a lightbulb, I
wouldn't be surprised.
Well, whatever they'd found, it apparently won them over. The fear
dissolved completely, leaving behinf a friendly warmth at the back of
my skull, suggesting whoever it was, wasn't my enemy.
:: No ::
Huh? I looked up, amazed I could hear anything over the screech of
the alarms. Oh SHIT!
I raced through the hole and quickly found the main computer
terminal. Grabbing one of my special disks, I inserted it into the
drive and waited for it to bust through the passwords encrypted on
the computer. That would take a minute. I scanned the room again,
wondering where the voice had come from.
:: Here ::
My head snapped up - and stared right into blue eyes, flecked with
violet. That was all I could make out - shadows swathed the cage in
" Hello?" I asked, somewhat nervously. It was a small cage, but
:: Hello ::
" Holy flying fuck," I muttered. " I did not just hear my own mind
:: Help? ::
" Fuckin' certifiable," I said again, taking a step towards the
cage. " Who are you?"
:: Help? ::
" I heard ya the first time. " I moved up to the cage and peered in.
It was still too dark. What could be in there?
" Are you a guy or a girl? Prisoner? " I swallowed. " An experiment?"
There was nothing. Then a faint tinge of fear went through me again,
and I could feel a sense of helplessness and apprehension and I
jerked my hand away from the bars as though I'd been scalded.
" It was YOU in my head!" I gasped, crouching down to try and see
better. " How are you in my head?"
A beep went off beind me and I turned away for a minute. Returning to
the computer, I typed a few commands and slipped a CD into the drive.
Hitting enter, all I had to do was wait for it to download and every
scrap of info on that machine would be mine. I looked back at the
cage. Something was wrong. Well...not wrong. Different. A thought
" You're...not human, are you?" I asked somewhat hesitantly. It
wasn't a word that came back to me, but a mental shake of the head. I
swallowed again, my throat suddenly drier. Not human. Telepathic.
" What are you?"
Again, nothing. Then the shadows rustled and I saw something move.
then it came into the light and I blinked.
And blinked again.
" Oh my god."
My knees gave out suddenly and I was left staring at the creature
that stepped forward into the light. At first glance, I thought it
was a delicate looking, miniature cat. Until I saw the wings.
Yes, wings. Slender, nearly transluscent wings that shimmered
slightly. The creature was covered in golden-yellow fur, and the
wings sparkled when the light hit them.
" Good lord," I whispered, in awe and no litle fear. " What ARE you?"
The creature tilted its head at me and let out a small whimper. I
shook myself briskly.
" Whatever you are, I'm guessing you're not too happy in that cage,
especilly with those...wings," I got out somewhat shakily. The 'cat'
nodded its head. Another beep signalled the end of my downloading,
and at the same time, I could make out angry shouts coming down the
hallway. I blinked. Racing back to the desk, I ejected my CD and
slipped it into my duffel bag. Then I turned around and stared at the
creature. A voice spoke in my head again.
:: Help? ::
" Uh...I guess so..." My voice trailed off, as I knelt down in front
of the cage again, searching for the release button. It needed a key.
I brought the tail of my braid around and reached into the elastic,
pulling out a slender pick and went to work. Seconds later, the cage
door swung open and the cat-creature stepped forward cautiously. I
admit, I watched with caution too. But the thuds
on the outer doors reminded me that I had little to no time before I
was swamped with people and I had to get the disc out of here.
" Well, go! You're free! Get out of there!"
More fear. I sighed.
" Listen - do you want to be caught again?"
Vehement denial. The gold creature launched itself at me, and I fell
back slightly at the impact, my hands coming up automatically to
catch it. I touched the wings and my eyes widened. Soft and silky,
they felt too fragile and flimsy to ever lift the creature. Then I
realized that it's mass was deceptive. I thought it wuld way close to
twenty or thirty pounds, based on size of the body and wings
combined, when it probably didn't even equal twelve to fifteen. Wierd.
I stood up, cradling the cat and cleared my throat.
" You won't...bite me, or nothin' will ya?"
A shake of the head, and the cat buried its head in my chest, butting
and nudging until it carved a space out for itself in my arms. It's
claws extended just enough to grip the fabric of my jacket and I
" Good idea. You can hang on in case I need both hands."
Another affirmative. A part of me realized how absurd this was but
reality was swiftly catching up on me. I had to leave. Questions
could wait until I reached Deathscythe.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out another grenade. The windows
in this room were small, and high up on the ceiling, near impossible
to get to. But I could make out the tops of trees at the fringe and
knew the outside had to be on the other side of the wall.
" Why didn't I just come in that way?" I muttered, and then shrugged.
I pulled the pin, tossed it and threw. Once explosion later, I jumped
up, pulling the brim of my hat down over my eyes and threw my self
out the window, wrapping my arms around the slender creature in my
arms, hoping I didn't hurt it. The fall was short - only about ten
feet, and I rolled to my feet and ran. Bullets suddenly peppered the
ground behind me, and without pausing I threw two more grenades. One
lit up the sky with a satisfying explosion and the other released
more plumes of smoke, similar to what I'd used earlier but thicker,
more congestive. Concealed in the resulting mist, I ran faster.
Deathscythe wasn't far away - his cloaking capabilities were so good,
I could've parked him in Oz's driveway and they'd never notice.
Shouts and more alarms went off behind me and I knew it was only a
matter of time before mobile suits showed up. Bullets began flying
again, even though I knew they couldn't see me, and I just pushed
myself harder. My breath was coming in gasps, and it felt like there
was a band of iron around my chest, making it harder to breath. Fire
and fatigue overtook my arms and legs and I knew I was close to my
limit - the stress of the whole situation had not been accounted for.
Suddenly, the pressure in my lungs eased a bit, and energy flowed
through my arms and legs, easing the fire that had been burning.
:: Help ::
Glancing down at the furry bundle in my arms, I saw concerned blue-
violet eyes staring at me, and I felt the warmth that I'd had at the
base of my skull since entering the complex, intensify. The little
bugger was giving me his energy! Was that even possible?
:: Help? ::
" Yeah, you helped, ya little furball," I chuckled, and felt an
answering happiness in my head. This was going to take some getting
I was nearing the place where I'd left Deathscythe, and I hit a
button on the black watch/communicator on my wrist. Sudenly,
Deathscythe loomed out of the darkness, systems coming online. Hollow
eyes glowed yellow, and the animal in my arms gave a squeak of
terror. Claws suddenly punctured right through my jacket and stabbed
me. All ten of them.
" YEOW!!" I tried to pull it off but the thing refused to let go. "
It's okay - he's my partner! Well - sort of! He's not even real!"
That got the cat-things attention. Narrowed eyes peered warily over
at my mechanical buddy and I held perfectly still, not wanting to
make it anymore nervous. I could feel it searching my mind again,
looking for, I guess, confirmation of my words. Then, just like at
the complex, the fear left and it snuggled back into my arms. I
blinked. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.
:: Trust ::
That made a lump well up in my throat for a second. Trust - now
THERE's a rare thing in todays world. I felt the cat shift and knew
those piercing eyes were staring at me again, and I shook my head,
moving forward. Shinigami's lift was waiting for me and I jumped on,
reaching to grab the rope with one hand. The other I kept wrapped
around my furry companion. I could hear the sounds of engines
nearing and knew that there were mobile suits on the way. The hatch
opened and I ducked inside, sitting down in the pilots seat. I set
the cat-thing down on the ground and closed Deathscythe's hatch,
punching my code in as I did so.
" Look. There's gonna be some loud noises and big bangs in a few
seconds. I need ya to stay out of my head - if I feel your fear,
we're gonna be in big trouble." I stared at those purple-flecked
eyes. " Can you do that?"
:: Trust ::
" Good enough."
I pulled back on Deathscythe's throttle and felt the machine rise
into the air, the jet packs under the black wings powering me out of
the small clearing where I'd hidden him. Nervousness radiated from
the small creature curled up at me feet, tucked in amongst the
controls and my duffle bag but I forced it out of my mind. Incoming
suits to my left.
My thermal scythe flashed into existence and I decimated two Aries in
one blow. I glanced into my side viewer and saw a few soldiers and
scientists on the ground looking up at me and shouting. I snickered -
I could just BET one fo them was screaming, " It's a GUNDAM!"
Ah well. Targets to the left of me, targets to the right. I worked
the controls like the professional I am, obliterating one opponent
after another. It was such an easy thing to do, I almost forgot they
were suits and not dolls. I was killing again, the angel of death
come to play. A grim chuckle escaped me and I charged forward. I
raised Deathscythe's arm and fired the thermal Tri-blade at the
There was nothing but a smoking crater, filled with debris as the
initial cloud dispersed, leaving behind a few raging inferno's and a
lot of black smoke. i could make out a few charred bodies, but I
hardened my heart.
" Them's the breaks," I muttered, even as a small part of me was
screaming. I forced that part of me back into the shadows of my
subconscious as I always did, and scanned the area. Nothing. It
wouldn't stay that way for long - reinforcements would be arriving
and I wasn't planning on party crashers.
Activating the stealth on Deathscythe, I punched in the coordinates
of Quatre's nearest safehouse. I'd arrive there in about two hours.
Plenty of time.
That settled, I undid my safety harness (miracle of miracles that I
did it up to begin with) and reached down. Picking up the creature, I
set it on the dash part of Deathscthe's main console and grinned.
" Okay - what are you?
" I'm just...fine."