Chapter Nine:  And the Morning Comes

 

            A day had passed since the Gundams had departed on their mission.  The building that housed the Sanc Kingdom collapsed on itself, killing all the inhabitants.  The public press reported that it was an unfortunate accident that resulted from a support beam buckling from repeated modular transformations.  It was a tragedy that would be felt all over the SDF-1 and the Earth once they had returned.  The Princess Relena was dead and with her, the Sanc kingdom.

 

            The military press had different to tell.  The investigations concluded that it was an act of murder performed by a group bent on destroying the UEG.  With the symbol of peace and unification destroyed, the UEG would be destined to fall.  Intelligence pointed to only one person that stood to gain from such a move, Treize Khushrenada.  He and his elite group of soldiers had destroyed the Sanc kingdom to destroy the symbol of the Council of Unification.  They didn’t expect to return to the SDF-1 after being sent off on their suicide mission.  Speculation said that they probably didn’t go on the mission.  They probably went to Earth to the waiting army of the Romefeller faction.

 

            They ordered the immediate arrest of anyone associated with Treize and his faction.  They also charged Captain Gloval with aiding and abetting.  They knew that he and Treize had had several secret meetings, and that he must have been a part of this the whole time.  He was sent to the brig to await punishment when they returned to Earth.

 

            Onegell was very proud as he sat in the Captain’s chair with all the bridge bunnies glaring at him.  Almost a week had passed and he was convinced that the Treize and his Gundams were dead, Relena was dead, and Captain Gloval would join them after ‘tragically being shot while trying to escape’. 

 

Now there was only one loose end to tie off.  Fiery Une and Lucrezia Noin had barricaded themselves into the main Gundam staging area.         They were the last ones that could rally any support for Treize, and they were soon to be eliminated.  The hallways had been cleared to allow the Destroid regiments to pass to the bay door.  Several Excalibers, Gladiators, and Spartans marched up to the huge bay doors.  One Spartan stepped forward.  “This is the Marauder Destroid Squadron.  You’re under arrest for conspiracy!  Surrender, or we’ll be forced to blast open the door!”

 

Noin turned on her short wave communication array.  “Well, Une, should we surrender?”  She asked sarcastically.

 

From her cockpit, Une pushed her glasses up on her face.  “Mr. Treize would be VERY disappointed in us.”

 

“We’ll give you till the count of ten.”

 

Noin powered up.  “Nice of them to give us time to prepare.”

 

Une nodded her head as the count started.  “Very.”

 

“8…9…10!  You have refused to come peaceably, we have been authorized to use lethal force!”

 

Noin rolled her eyes.  “I just wish they’d get on with it!”

 

Une narrowed her’s.  “Patience, Noin, patience.”

 

The Spartan in the lead opened up his missile compartments and fired a volley of missiles at the bay door, blasting it open.

 

Noin and Une could only imagine the looks on the Destroid pilot’s faces when the smoke cleared to reveal two new Gundams standing in front of them.  One of them was blue with a large disk on its shoulder and a large rifle on its arm.  The other was red with a rather large beam saber in its hand.  There were several small black disks floated around the two.

 

The commanding Spartan stepped back into the line of destroids.  “OPEN FIRE!!!” 

 

The Destroid line fired everything they had at the two Gundams.  The shells and particle beams all were deflected by a shield held in place by the flying disks.

 

Noin watched them all empty their magazines in vain against the energy shield.  “Come on, Une.  Let them have it.  They’re obviously too stupid to live.”

 

Une shook her head.  “They’re still soldiers just following orders.  They do not deserve to die because they failed to think their orders through.  However, this is getting us nowhere.”

 

Several lights on the disk attached to the back of the Gundam Vayeate’s shoulder spun and emitted a sharp whine.  With the push of a button, half the line of Destroids were destroyed.

 

Une checked her readouts.  “It will take me a few minutes to recharge the Buster Cannon.”

 

“Don’t bother.”  Noin in the Gundam Mercurius flew forward and raised the beam saber.  Within a few slashes, the remaining mecha were nothing more than molten piles of scrap metal.  “All right.  Now what?”

 

“We go back to one of the original holds and wait for Mr. Treize to return.  He’ll tell us what to do from there.”

 

“How can you be sure that he’ll return?”

 

Lady Une smiled.  “Nothing can stop Mr. Treize.”

 

 

 

A day passed and the Gundam carrier had returned.  Onegell from the Captain’s chair spit out the coffee he had just been sipping.  “It can’t be!  Scramble the Skull and Grey squadrons!”

 

Lisa Hayes relayed the order, but didn’t like the attitude the new ‘Captain’ had developed.

 

Sammy Porter, from her station, opened up several other lines of communication to the Oz squadron members spread throughout the ship.

 

Roy Fokker in Skull One addressed the incoming carrier.  “Gundam unit.  Surrender and submit yourself to arrest.”

 

             “What is the charge?”  Treize’s voice came back from the other end.

 

            “The murder of Relena Peacecraft.”

 

            “What?!”

 

            “Relena Peacecraft has been murdered and you and you’re unit are the prime suspects.  Hold and prepare to be towed into hanger three.”

 

            Heero was the only one not attached to the carrier.  While most of the Gundams were attached to the outer hull, the Tallgeese was still under repair in the cargo hold.  Heero fired his engines and charged straight at the oncoming veritechs.  Treize slammed his fist onto the communication’s switch.  “Heero!  Get back here!  We’ll sort this out without shedding our own blood!”  Has he developed feelings for the girl?  I didn’t think Heero was capable.  Treize thought.

 

            Duo rushed to Deathscythe’s cockpit.  “Ah man!  Heero’s going to commit us to having to kill our own people!  This is so uncool!”  He rushed to power up the reactor of his Gundam.  The other pilots, except for Treize and Zechs, were doing the same.

 

            The Gundam Zero-One stopped a few kilometers from the veritechs and mechamorphed into Battloid mode.  “Stop!  All of you!”  Relena’s voice came over the tactical net.

 

            Onegell’s jaw hit the floor.  It CAN’T be!  It JUST CAN’T BE!

 

            Sally, Treize, and Zech’s were surprised as well, as the video pickup came on and showed Relena Peacecraft, quite alive and sitting on Heero’s lap in the cockpit of the Gundam Zero-One.

 

            Sally was snickering while Treize and Zechs were trying to regain their composure.  Treize stifled his own laughter.  So that’s why his video communications were ‘broken’.

 

            Zechs clenched his fists.  I’ll kill him!

 

             Relena continued on.  “Stop all this immediately!  As you can see I am very much alive, and Treize and his unit has done nothing but protect me at the price of their own lives!  Someone else has been trying to kill me.  The only reason why I haven’t died long ago is Heero!”  She turned and put a hand on Heero’s shoulder.

 

            Duo was laughing from his cockpit.  “Heero’s blushing!”

 

            Trowa, from his cockpit, had a confused look on his face.  “What do you mean?  His color hasn’t changed.”

 

            Duo was still laughing.  “Trust me, he’s blushing!”

 

            Zechs relaxed a little bit, but not much.   I can’t kill him, but I can still beat the hell out of him!

 

            Septum, from his situation room, gritted his teeth.  That fool Onegell has killed us all!  I have to do something!  Luckily, Onegell ordered one of the squadrons loyal to us to be out there.  He switched to a tight beam communiqué.  “Grey One!”

 

            “Yes, sir?”

 

            “Destroy Zero-One!”

 

            “Right away, sir!”

 

            Heero’s sensor’s sounded as the veritech group shot forward and fired several missiles at him.  He brought the Buster Rifle to bear and opened fire, detonating the missiles and blasting several veritechs.  “No you don’t!”

 

            Treize narrowed his eyes.  “The time has come.”  He toggled a few switches on the communications panel.  “Lady Une?”

 

            “Yes, Mr. Treize.”

 

            “Are the troops ready?”

 

            “Yes, sir.”  He could almost hear the smile on the other end.

 

            “Excellent.  I have revised the plan once more.  Eliminate only those loyal to Onegell and Septum.  Leave the others.”

 

            “Sir?  Won’t they cause us problems later?”

 

            “Just do it.  With that final revision, Operation Daybreak is a go!”  Trieze had toggled the communication to the entire tac-net for the last sentence.

 

            Heero pushed his throttle to maximum and brought his beam saber online.  He passed through the remaining Greys and sliced them to pieces with ease.  He turned to confront the Skull squadron.  The other Gundams were now on the scene.

 

            “Hold!”  Treize commanded.

 

            Heero looked at Treize’s image on the screen.  “What?”

 

            “Roy Fokker!”

 

            Roy’s image appeared beside Heero’s on Treize’s board.  Roy did not look happy.  “Are you planning to let us plead for our lives before you slaughter us as well?”

 

            Treize’s expression never changed.  “You all have been very much deceived.  We are not the enemy.  Onegell and Septum have been lying to you all this time, as you can plainly see by the fact that Miss Peacecraft is very much alive and well.  My only ultimatum to you is, are you with them, or against them.”

 

            Roy grit his teeth as he saw the Gundams Deathscythe and Shenlong ignite their beam weapons.  He had no intention of letting his men die in a fight they can’t win.  “We’re with you.”  For now.

 

            “I didn’t ask you to join us.   I just asked if you were against them.  I have no plans to take over the ship.  I’m just going to rid it of the real murderers of our people.”

 

            Roy was getting irritated at the uppity aristocrat.  “We’re against them.”

 

            “Thank you.  He changed over to the circuit that connected him to the bridge of the SDF-1.  The shocked face of Onegell and the amused faces of the bridge bunnies greeted him.  “Onegell.  Surrender.”  He said simply.

 

            Onegell’s expression twisted in anger.  “Never!”

 

            Treize expression still remained neutral.  “This is Treize Khushrenada.  Execute Onegell.”

 

            Sammy rose from her chair and pulled out a pistol.  “Yes, sir.”

 

            The bridge crew was shocked to see their youngest and most pacifist member holding a gun on their acting captain, although they’d would probably do it themselves if they had had a gun.

 

            Onegell tried to back away from the girl.  “Stop right there!  Get on your knees and turn around!”

 

            Onegell, shocked beyond belief, did as he was told.  So this is how it ends, execution style just as I have reached my goal.

 

            Sammy smiled.  She stepped up behind him and pushed the barrel of the gun into the back of his head.  “This will give me a lot of job satisfaction.”

 

            Lisa couldn’t believe that Sammy, THEIR Sammy, could be so blood thirsty.

 

            “Just kill me already!”  Onegell shouted.

 

            Sammy smiled and withdrew the barrel.  With a swift motion, she pistol whipped him across the back of the skull and knocked him out.  “I would, but somebody else has dibs.”

 

            The bridge crew could only stare in shock as she pushed a few keys on her panel.  “Send the MPs to arrest acting Captain Onegell.”  The troops came swiftly to retrieve him.

 

            Septum was running frantically toward the hanger of his loyal Destroid regiment.  He found all his men scrambling madly to get their mecha moving.  Septum mounted his Raider X and powered it up.  “We need to get out of here!”

 

            Just then, a blade of pure energy pierced the armored door of the hanger.  It made a circle in the door with ease.  The cutout fell forward into the bay to reveal the red Mercurius.  Noin pointed the sub machine gun in the Gundam’s other hand at Septum.  “Power down, and step out of your mecha.”

 

            Septum fired a blast from his double-barreled laser cannon at the outer hull, causing it to rupture and the decompression to pull everything out into space.  The Mercurius held onto the bay door to keep from being sucked out as well.  Septum fired his small stabilization jets to propel him away from the SDF-1.  “You’ll never take me alive!”

 

            “My thoughts exactly.”  Heero’s voice came over the comm.

 

            Septum turned in horror to see the Gundam Zero-One above him with it’s beam saber held up high.  He watched as time slowed down and the plasma blade passed through his destroid’s hull and hit his reactor.  In a relatively small explosion, Septum was no more.

 

            Heero turned to Relena.  “After today, I won’t need to watch over you anymore.”

 

            Relena’s expression saddened.  “Please, Heero.  Don’t leave me!”  Tears started forming in her eyes.

 

            Heero watched her, and he suddenly felt a surge of emotion come over him.  It took him a few seconds to control them enough to keep them from showing.  “I won’t leave you.  I promise.”

 

            Relena rewarded him with a smile as she wrapped her arms around him in a fierce hug.  “Thank you.”

 

            Heero could only stare out into space.  I’ve got to get these emotions under control.

 

           

 

            In swift order, the groups loyal to Onegell and Septum were routed and either killed or imprisoned.  Captain Gloval was released and returned to the bridge, where Treize was waiting, sitting in the Captain’s chair.  The Captain pulled his cap down to give him a serious expression.  “So what now, Commander Treize.  Do you intend to take the ship for yourself, now that you’ve eliminated the competition?”

 

            Treize gave the newly reinstated Captain an easy smile.  “Nothing of the sort.  I’ve just been keeping the seat warm for you.”  He stood up and stepped aside.  He bowed and gestured to the chair with a flourish.  “It’s all yours once more, Captain Henry Gloval.”

 

            Gloval snorted.  “You’ll understand if I don’t completely believe that you would return the ship to me this easily.”

 

            Treize stood back up, his expression serious.  “I will be frank with you captain.  The original intent of Operation Daybreak was to take control of the SDF-1 and subdue it’s commanders, returning to earth with the might ship under the control of the Romefeller Foundation, but things have changed.  I’ve come to respect your leadership abilities, and have decided that you are indeed the correct person to be in command of this ship.  There have also been some other factors to my decision to leave everything as it was, but I will keep those to myself for the time being.  You have my solemn vow that I will not attempt to take control of this ship again.”

 

            Gloval considered his words.  He nodded his head as he came to a decision.  “The respect is mutual.  You showed great leadership yourself when you left with those kids on that apparent suicide mission.”

 

            “I couldn’t in good conscience order them to do anything that I wasn’t willing to do myself.”

 

            Gloval took his seat and steepled his fingers.  “Exactly.  For that you have my respect for you and your vow.  You are dismissed.”

 

            Treize saluted and stepped off the bridge.  The door shut as Gloval started to consider everything that had happened today.  He pulled out his pipe.  Now maybe we can get back to getting back home alive.

 

            “Captain!”  Sammy shouted.

 

            Gloval’s eyes went wide.  Now what?  “Yes, Sammy?”

 

            “There’s no smoking on the bridge!”

 

            The Captain shook his head and groaned.  At least Sammy is back to normal.  “I was only holding it.  I wasn’t going to light it.”

 

            Lisa smirked.  “Whatever you say, Captain.  What do we do now?”

 

            Gloval looked up through their windows into the darkness of space.  “We proceed to Mars and resupply.  The Gundams have bought us the time we need.  Let’s not waste it.”

 

           

 

            Down below in the brig, Onegell was sitting in his cell wondering who it was that had ‘dibs’ on him, as the bridge bunny had commented.  It must be Treize.  He probably wanted the satisfaction of doing the job himself, the sick bastard.  He heard the outer door the cellblock open.  Here he comes to finish the job.

 

            “Daigo Onegell.”

 

            Daigo looked up when the voice didn’t belong to Treize.  “Who?”

 

            The figure stepped into the light, the masked face of Zechs Marquise was revealed. 

 

            “Zechs Merquise?  What?  Why?”

 

            “You know me as Zechs Merquise, but long ago I had another name.  A name that I wore proudly until the day that you lead your men into my homeland.”

 

            “What are you talking about?”

 

            “The homeland that you took away.  The Sanc Kingdom.”

 

            The former general backed away from the front of the cell.  “No!  It can’t be!  I killed everyone except that brat Relena!”

 

            Zechs removed his helmet to reveal his face.  “You left one more ‘brat’ than you thought.”

 

            “Milliardo Peacecraft!”

 

            Milliardo pulled his pistol from his holster and leveled it at Daigo.  “You killed my family and put my homeland into slavery.  For that I cannot forgive you.”

 

            Onegell held up his hands.  “You can’t kill me!  It’s cold-blooded murder to kill a man in a cell!”

 

            Milliardo’s eyes narrowed.  “You’re right.  For that I can never return to my homeland again as its ruler.  But you’ve left one other ‘brat’ to rule.  Long live the queen!”  He pulled the trigger.  “Vengeance is mine.”

 

            Onegell’s body slumped on the floor in a pool of blood.  Milliardo put his helmet back on and marched out of the cellblock as Zechs Merquise.  The guards watched him leave.  “Any trouble, sir?”

 

            “The former general has committed suicide with a pistol he snuck into the brig.  You may take him to the morgue.  Tell the MPs that I will submit a full report later.”

 

            “Yes, sir.  Understood, sir.”

 

            Zechs continued on his way.  Now, what do I do about Heero Yuy?

 

           

 

            “Man, Heero’s one smooth operator!”  Duo said as he and Quatre walked out of the hanger that would serve as temporary staging area until their original was repaired.

 

            Quatre turned to him.  “How so?”

 

            “He scams his way into spending an entire week alone in close quarters with a hot chick!  The dude is a freaking genius!  And here I thought he’d never hit puberty.”

 

            “I’m sure he still has all the hormones the rest of us have.”

 

            “Yeah, but he’s so repressed you wouldn’t believe it.  I only I find a chick that’s that good looking.”

 

            “You know he probably was just doing it only to protect her life.”

 

            They both stopped and looked at each other.

 

            “Naaaah!”