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Oreno tameni
By Ken Hidaka

 

Ore no Tameni
by Team Bonet
1997

Part I Laoshi Fei

"Cowards!" The young boy clenched his fists, his nails hurting his skin. "Get away from me, all of you
cowards!"

The boy closed his eyes, the sting unbearable. He raised his hands, trying to cover his eyes from the
sand the other boy was kicking at him. He cursed himself, as he began to cough. The other boy
laughed. Hearing the other kid mock him, Wu Fei forced himself to stop, closing his hand tighter
around his small sword.

Shuan Ho laughed wickedly, his lips curling, his slanted eyes flashing evil. He kicked sand at him
again. "Looser!"

The sand didn't hurt him like the boy's words did. Shuan Ho smiled, knowing that his words hurt the
little boy. Wu fei lowered his head. Shuan Ho had proven to be a better fighter. A better man than
him. He closed his eyes, telling his mind to stay calm, that the other boy wanted him to loose his
temper. He wouldn't get anything from this.

Shuan Ho smiled wider. He bowed low, mocking the boy with a small gesture with his sword. He
laughed again, as he turned and joined his friends and walked away coldly.

Wu Fei swung his sword at the sandy floor, embedding it in it. He clenched his fists harder. "Next
time, I win," he shouted at the boys. "I'll return over and over to challenge you!" Shuan Ho didn't
look back.

The wind picked up, the sand blowing over his bare feet. The sounds of bitter laugheter rang in his
ears. Wu Fei bowed his head lower, his ponytail swinging down his neck. Days. He had spent days
training for this fight, and still he had lost. What had it mattered that he had spent hours at night
sweating as he practiced? all for nothing. Shuan Ho had won. The boy was better than him, more
prepared, more concentrated. Wu Fei felt his heart about to brake. Why?

He shook his head, making his thoughts go away. He frowned. He must put this new scars behind
him, make the pain subside. He turned around, his shoulders not quite steady. A shamed man.
 

The smell of the flowers outside her house made his nose cringe. He ran his hand over it, thinking
about the many times he's been to this house. The familiar scent of its modesty and its aged beauty.
He stares up at the hanging green vines. A beauty marred by the opresion of the ones that in a past
had been their safety.

A lot had changed since the Federation had become what they are today. Obasan seemed to
remember a time before this opresion that he would never understand.

He frowned, removing his pilot goggles. She would never know about his actions. He would choose
when to tell her.

The house was quiet, the old woman's small rooms adorned with her natural flowers silent. He stood
in the living room, listening to the shimes in the windows, looking at the paper lanterns in the back
porch. Swinging back and forth in the breeze. Wu Fei bowed reverently at the small shrine that the
old lady kept by the door. he walked softly, his bare feet treading quietly on the wooden floor. He
could not hear Obasan. He held his breath wondering if she was alright. He heard that many people
had been hurt in the last Federation patroling. He bit his lip. Those people should have never gone
against them. They were weak compared to the soldiers. He bit his lips harder, hoping that Obasan
had been wiser and had stayed in her house.

He frowned as he entered the old woman's room. It was dark, the long curtains flowing in the wind
over her bed. Wu Fei gasped, his voice echoing in the room.

"Shao erzi,"

The old woman was in the small garden that lead outside her room. The young boy walked outside,
joining her. Obasan smiled at the child, running her hand on his cheek. She smiled as he bowed
respectfully.

"Goodness child," she said. "Times are rough and you come to visit me?" Wu Fei smiled at her. He
bowed again, his pony tail bouncing.

"Anything to see you, Obasan." The old woman held him close to her breasts affectively, stroking his
pony tail. He smiled, feeling her warmth, smelling her maternal scent. It was worth going all the
troubles a child faces trying to get through the city of the colony these days. He had wanted to see
her.

She had cared for him since he was a baby. He had hated to have been separated from her when his
family moved from the Ling Chen district to the west side of the colony.

"I hope that you have been a good boy, shao," she said. He nodded. "How about you help me water
these golden Verdolaga flowers and then we can have tea and some fresh baked cookies?" She
picked the bucket of soil by her side.

Wu Fei laughed. he loved her cookies. He frowned, letting her walk before him. He pulled his long
shirt over his waist. he bit his lip, hoping Obasan wouldn't notice what he carried there. He cursed
for bringing them with him, but there had been no time for returning them back home and run all the
way to her house. The lab was so far away from both houses. He ran his palms on his face. He
hoped his grandmother wouldn't notice the strange reddish color around his cheeks and eyes, nor the
small marks on his wrists. He shook his head softly. Obasan wasn't looking for those things. She was
just happy that her grandson had come visit her.

Wu Fei sent those guilty thoughts to the back of his mind. He followed her closely, smiling at her as
she watered the plants kindly. Each bud bending under the water. He stared up at her face. Her
arms were as strong as they had always been. Like when she had cared for him when he was a
baby. Her white hair hung down her back in a long braid. Her long red chinise dress moved softly as
she walked slowly across the garden. She was just as he remembered her to be.

She seemed fine in her easy manner, watering the plants. He felt his cheeks color in shame. He had
ran all the way to her home's door steps beliving that she was sick or hurt. He startled. She was
talking to him.

She was telling him about the small seedlings she was growing. He smiled, watching her take the
small seeds tenderly. The smell of greenry soft in the air. Driving away the sickening smell of metalic
chrome from the lab that he could still smell.

Wu Fei went to her side, wanting to help her. The Old Woman let him have the a small shovel so
that he could help her burry some new seedlings. Obasan removed the soil carefully, placing it over
the plants. Wu Fei immitated her, his child's face brightening as she told him how to do it right. He
tried not to dig too much soil, covering the seeds kindly, like his Obasan.

His grandmother stood back, laughing as he bit his lip, trying desperately not to mess up. She smiled
wide as the boy got on his heels, reaching up to the plants. She lowered her eyes sadly.

She had noticed the strange smell in the boy, the marks on his white skin, the way his eyes moved,
the way he was breathing. She frowned sadly. She didn't have to see the things he carried on his
waist. She knew. Wu Fei didn't notice how she was looking at them as if they hurt her eyes.

"Wu Fei san," she said. the boy turned to her, noticing the sad tone in her voice. He droped the
shovel, gasping silently. Obasan had seen them. She turned from him, going back inside her house,
her shoulders hunched. The small boy closed his eyes, willing the look she gave him to leave.

He walked inside his head bowed. She was walking hurriedly, like when she is dissapointed, to her
small living room. She stood before the huge statues she kept before the windows, looking at them,
her eyes glazed. Wu Fei felt his head hurt. She sighed heavily, turning to him.

"shao, times are dangerous," she said. "There is so much grief in the colonies, and you have turned
foolish."

Wu Fei wanted to speak, but a child only listens as his elders speak. He felt Shuan Ho's defeat
again, hard in his chest. He wanted to rip the goggles apart. Obasan was talikng again, her voice
passinate. "I thought you had become a man."

The boy bit his lip, his eyesight clouding. He raised his eyes, hoping Obasan would see how he felt in
them." You came here to see that I was safe? Well, shao, I am safer than you. I can take care of
myself unlike what the others in the family say. I am strong woman."

Wu Fei bowed his head again, his eyes hurting. His heart racing madly. He had thought she was hurt,
lowered her to the state of a weakling. Her, who was older and wiser than him. He was a fool. He
droped to the wooden floor, knealing before her, ashamed to be such a grandson nto to trust his
elders. Obasan closed his eyes as he knealed. She stopped talking, her eyes sad. The boy bowed
his head low over the floor. She walked closer to him, her slow pace soft on the wood, her bare feet
wrinkled. He closed his eyes tight. She reached down to touch his shoulders. He startled.

He raised his head. Her eyes searched his soul, her eyebrows lifted alarmingly. "Who is making you
do this, shao?"

He gasped looking at her eyes, seeking to drive away the fear she was giving him. He drew back
from her touch, his eyes wide. She gasped. She felt her heart rip to pieces as she saw a strange new
madness in his eyes. A feverish look in them. He frowned at her, his eyes wild. "I want to do this,
Obasan!"

She cried out to him, as he got up with an agility she had never seen his master. He didn't listen,
turning away from her. She reached for him, her old wrinkled hands gropping after his fast
movements. The house felt hot now. He closed his eyes, and ran outside the room. Down the
wooden steps. Away from her. Away from her pityful eyes, his bare feet burning in the hot sand. She
lowered her hands, a small tear trailing down her cheeck.

"Wu Fei..."
 

The child screamed his fingers clawing at the arms of the metal chair as the elcetrical shocks burnt
him. He snarled, his hand brushing his balck hair out from his eyes, concentrating on doing better.
The incredible speed that the machine was reaching made it imposible for his arms to control the
rotating seat. He cursed, tasting blood as his teeth broke his tongue.

He screamed again as his back slammed into the metal seat.

He lay limp, letting the spinning machine move freely, his arms and mind tried to concetrate. His eyes
lost their focus. He closed them, his brows knitting together in anger.

He gasped, releasing a small scream as the machine stopped, the impact smashing him him fowards
into the stearing mechanism. He yelled as the bar that held him in place gave way and he droped to
the ground. Hard, solid in his face. He lay there strangely numb and shaken.

"The rotating motion of the machine sickens you child?" The old man came closer to him. His shoe
heels clanking loudly in the floor. He reached down to help the young boy to his feet, steadying him.

The boy leaned into him grasping the professo's white lab coat. He felt nausea coming on strong.

"You have to master it completly or I wont be able to put you in the cockpit model. You have
become weak after all the way you had come, child." The old man brushed the boy's messy hair
back from his face. He pulled the boy's hair out of the messed up pony tail and combed it with his
fingers. He re did the ponytail.

Wu Fei wanted to speak, to tell the professor that the machine was fine, that he could master it soon
enough, that it didn't matter how much his bones threatened to brake, hos much his insides hurt. He'd
master it. The old man helped him to a seat next to the simulator. The old man stood before him
looking at the boy's shaking body, noting scientifically all the changes he was going through. He was
dissapointed in Wu Fei's performance.

"The Mobile Suit is going to be a lot more than that spinning machine. It's going to be harder, nerve
jutting."

Wu Fei raised his head in deyiance. He was fully aware of what the Suit would be. He gritted his
teeth, his eyes angered. His body refused to become hard. He frowned. The professor would have
to apply stronger chemicals on him, make him harder. He pulled at the skin in his arm feeling it like
rubber. The surface cells peeled off in layers. The professor put his hand on his shoulders.

"Something in your head is blocking your abilities, " he said. "Whatever it is, take it out. In this you
have to be strong, forget the things you know-"

Wu Fei gasped. He frowned. "I am strong professor! Trust me!"

The old man's eyes glew with a strange light. He smiled, a bit wickedly, his lip twitching. "Wakateru
yo" The old man crossed his arms over his chest. Wu fei clenched his fists, getting up from the seat.

"Put me on the machine again," he said.

The old man turned around and lead the boy back to the simulator. He looked back at the boy. Wu
fei reached a hand up to steady himself with the machine's body. He felt his head spinning, the floor
dancing beneath his feet, the walls twisting. The air smelled putrid, his bones felt weak, his belly
hurted. He gripped the machine's harness, ready to get on it again. He doubled over in pain.

The professor smiled to himself as the boy's body twisted over convulsing as he wretched on the
floor his arms wrapped over his belly.

He bent down and pulled the boy straight, pulling him closer to his body. He reached down and
cleaned the boy's mouth with his lab coat. The boy's body danced dizzily on his arms. Wu Fei
looked up at his face, his eyes sunk in dark pits.

"Go home, Wu Fei-"
 

It must have been something that Ching's mifan had caused him. Or maybe it was that he had eaten
too many dangao. He held on to the small bathroom sink as his body shook with convulsions. He
threw up again. His head hurt so much and everytime he bent over, the room shifted.

Wu Fei, are you ok in there?"

He startled. His aunt knocked on the door again. The knocks seemed to loud, to shrill, like glass
shattering. The boy covered his ears. He his senses have become too keen. The woman knocked
again. He closed his eyes willing the pain to go away. He opened the door.

"You don't look too good, Wu Fei san," she said. She ran a hand over his brow. "At least you don't
have a fever. Did you eat too much?" He lowered his eyes, slightly irritated. Ching was talking too
loud. Her perfume was too penetrating.

"Onagai, Ching sama," he said in a low voice. her shook his head. He walked back to the living
room where the rest of the family was assembled. Ching shook her head smiling. She never
understood the boy.

Some of his cousins were playing a small ball game by the garden door. He sat with them, trying to
forget. Ling, the eldest greeted him and welcomed him into the game. Yi Yi, smiled at him, glad to
see his cousin after so long.

Ching frowned. Her father called her attention to the table. Ochisan was congratulating her fine
cooking. She smiled, barely listening to the old man. She was looking at her nephew. She noticed the
boy was acting a bit strange. She frowned. He seemed a lot keener to each little noise. His eyes
narrowed as if in pain at the minimal sounds, the other kids talking. She served her guests some more
baicai filling her plates like a robot.

Wu Fei, she noticed, acted faster, more alert, tahn any of the two boys. He didn't miss any of the
times his turn came. He was quicker, almost feral, and ten times more astute, it seemed to her. When
his turn was over, though, he'd close his eyes as if he were extremely tired. His lips parted slightly.
She shook her head. she must be seeing things because she was worried over him. She turned her
attention back to Ochisan.

She stopped pouring the food, her gaze falling on Obasan. The old lady, still and silent, was looking
at Wu Fei intently just like she had been doing a few moments ago. The old woman's face had an
expresion of pain.

Ching gasped silently, her attention grabbed by the kid's again. Ling was shaking Wu Fei's shoulders
intently, trying to make the boy snap up. Wu Fei raised his hands quickly pushing the small boy
away. He snarled. Yi Yi frowned drawing away from him slightly worried. Wu Fei lowered his eyes,
his face blushing, his eyes refocusing on his cousins. Ling crossed his arms, angry at him, but Wu Fei
didn't seem to be aware of the boy's anger, or what he had done.

Ching was about to leave her place by the table and walk over and stop her children from quarreling
with the boy when she heard Obasan's voice. The young woman turned to look at the old lady.

"Leave them be, Ching san," The young lady nodded, accepting the older woman's wise advise.

Ling talked loudly, his eyes angry, asking Wu Fei what was wrong with him. Wu Fei wasn't apying
attention to the boy, his face twisting as if something was hurting him. Ling's voice hurt his ears. The
boy brought his hands to his ears. Yi Yi whimpered, scared by Wu Fei's actions. He looked like a
mad man. Ling drew back from him.

"Ting!" Wu Fei screamed his voice harsh. "Your screams are hurting me, Ling!" He tried to get away
from the two boys, drawing backwards. Both boys gasped letting him get away.

Ching gasped, her heart hurting. The boy's yelling had caught the adult's attention. Wu Fei lowered
his head, realizing that he had screamed, feeling his family looking at him. He felt his cheeks color.
Their soft gasps were like sharp scratches on a board to him. He gritted his teeth and ran from the
living room. His cousins looked at him worried.

Ching was about to cry out when Ochisan got up from his chair, pushing the table foward slightly, his
face worried.

"Wu Fei shao...?"

The young woman brought her hand to her mouth, her brows knitted. She turned to see what
Obasan would say, but as she turned to look at the old lady, she gasped.

The old woman was not in her seat.
 

He slammed his head into the matress, the hard surface driving the noise in his head away. He felt
hot tears slide down his cheeks. He brushed them away, ashamed that he'd managed to cry. He got
down and reached under his bed bringing out a small metal box.

He opened it carefuly and sat down on the floor next to it. He took out the long needle inside and a
small silver bottle. He bit his lip, working with agility, filling the needle with the reddish liquid inside
the bottle. Careful not to spill it, his hands worked with dexterity. He frowned.

The professor had warned him that the effect of the drug would wear off leaving behind terrible pain.
He had warned him to keep inyecting himslef often or the chemical wouldn't work. His head was
spinning just like when he had gotten on the Mobile Suit's cockpit. He gritten his teeth. He needed to
become stronger or else he'd never be able to drive Nactac. his colony, the professor, none of them
needed a weak man. his mind, his body, his whole self must become stronger- even if it hurts. He
moaned soflty as the hot fluid broke into his veins. His senses quieted down, the noise resinding.

The small boy relaxed letting his body fall back on the paper wall next to his bed.

He gasped.

She gave a horrend cry, ripping the needle from his arm. She tossed it to the corner, her eyes wide
with anguish. Wu Fei had no time to cry out as his grandmother's hand slapped his face. He stood
still, his eyes wide, her form over him. Her was face full of grief as she stared at the place where the
needle had been. It was now bleeding.

"How could you do this, shao?" She grabbed him by his shoulders, dragging him up from the floor.
"You have betrayed your father's memory and your grandfather's trust. Do you realize what you
have done, Wu shao? What is this venom that you are putting into your veins? This evil that they
have caused you?"

Wu Fei whimpered, his thin arms limp by his side, his eyes in pain. "Ting xialai!" he begged. "Please,
Obasan, let me go!" She released him.

A soft whimper excaped his mouth. He lowered his eyes, his face blushing horribly. His arm hurt.
She stood before him quietly. Wu Fei rubbed his arm. She stepped towards him, her white braid
bouncing as she moved. "Who is doing this evil to you, Wu shao?"

His eyes grew wide, scared. She pressed on, her wrinkled face angry. He lowered his eyes.

"It's... a secret project..Obasan..."

"Secretly killing youself? Is that it?"

"Obasan," he said. The child looked up at her. "I am fighting to free the colonies." He raised his
hands holding towards her. She drew back, bringing her hands to her mouth, her face becoming
pale. "I am working with scientists in a secret operation that will get the Federation to leave the
colonies alone. I am training so that I can pilot my very own Mob-"

Her hand slap sent him crashing into his night table. The things on top of it fell as he hit it, scattering
about the floor. The old woman stood before him, her hands clenched, her body shaking with grief.
Wu Fei touched his cheek, his eyes filling with tears that he swallowed. He looked up at her. She
shook her head, her eyes burning hideoulsy at his, her voice like a cruel knife.

"Uruseinai!" she yelled, her voice ragged. "If one knows that he is going to loose, there is no point in
fighting!"
 

The cold, unfeeling eyes of the huge machine looked down at him. Looming magestically above him
with its huge frame and impresively built arms, it stood against the darkened meatl walls of the empty
hangar. It was quiet, like all the other machines in there.

The young boy leaned his head fowards, resting it on his arms folded over his upbrought legs. He
closed his eyes tight, willing his mind to stop thinking. It wouldn't stop, punishing him. He heard
heavy boot steps in the quiet halls outside the hangar doors. Every now and then, one of the rebels
would open his or her door and exit his room. Wu Fei would raise his head, his now sharp hearing
making out who he or she was. He'd wonder about what they were doing in their rooms. Probably
working on the project, like they all were, sweating over his computer in his hot room. Sweating, his
eyes full of vigor and anger as he plotted, created, dreamnt about each perfectly planned point in the
operation.

Wu Fei let his head fall again over his hands, closing his eyes.

If only Obasan would see the reason, Nactac," he said talking to the huge machine behind him.

The boy ran a hand on the leg of the machine, his dark eyes gleaming. the sound of another rebel
walking down the hall came to his ears. He looked at the hangar doors. That reason moved all of this
people that he's gotten used to being with towards taking this risk. It makes them go against sanity,
against civility, to acopmplish what they need. Freedom. He opened his mouth as he felt the word fall
of his tongue. The price to get it would be great, but he was not a coward.

The hangar doors opened, one of the doors slidding apart. A thin man popped his head in through
the opening. He smiled at the boy, whom he knew would be sitting in the dark room.

"Oi, Wu san," he yelled. The boy got up, brushing his thoughts aside. "Come on boy, the professor
wants to see you. It's time."

Wu Fei ran to his side, his eyes exited. The man ran a hand over his head, drawing him near
affectionately. They walked up the hall headed fro the professor's office silently.

It was time.
 

"Nactac Shenlong!"

The old man grabbed the young boy by the shoulders, gripping hard onto his small body. He yanked
the boy, one swift brutal pull, free from the cockpit. The boy clawed at the man, swqinging his arms
back towards the driver's seat. The man snarled, taking him out of the cockpit forcefully.

The child held on to the Gundam's door, crying to be put back inside. Another man, taller than the
professor, came up to help the old man. He took the boy's arms, holding them tightly. The boy
jerked his head backwards.

"Please, let me go! I want to drive him again!"

The professor jumped down from the huge machine, taking the boy with him. The other man closed
the driver's door, locking it. The lights of the huge Gundam's eyes went off.

Wu Fei lowered his eyes sadly, calming down slowly. The professor still held him, but he wasn't
paying attention to him. The old man was rutinarily checking his vital signs, his heart rate and blood
preasure. Wu Fei bowed his head, dissapointed that each time he got on the huge machine he always
had to be taken out. It was a strange fascination what he felt behind the control mechanisms in the
driver's seat.

He gritted his teeth as the professor inyected some strange cold liquid into his arm. His dark eyes
stared up at Nactac a small smile in his lips. The time would soon come when he would get to drive
the huge machine all he wanted. He wanted that time to get here even if it meant going to earth, a
new strange land to him. He wasn't afraid. He wouldn't be alone.

He needed to be strong for the sake of all of those that were looking at him from their places behind
their machines and monitors. Loooking at him from up stairs. All of the engineers and scientists, the
people that have grown to be his family for the past few months. He smiled, his mind easying into a
bliss as the fluid ran though his veins.

The professor held him close to his chest. The old man laughed. The boy looked up to his face
quietly. The old man's reddened face burst with joy, smiling down at him.

"I'd say we're ready, Wu Fei," he said. The man standing next to him nodded, returning the needle
they had used into its box. "I'd say we are more than ready to lounge Operation Meteo. What do
you say, boy? Are you ready to go to Earth?"

The boy nodded, his pony tail bouncing. The men and women that had been looking at him from
upstairs came down from their places. They now stood close, all of them gathered near the
Gundam's leg. Close. The boy looked at each one of their faces, theirs looking at him, searching their
souls. Their strong faces. All of them looked at each other, knowing that they were each other's
hope. Maybe, each other's last hope.

Wu Fei jerked his head up in alarm. He gasped silently. Something was wrong.

"I think not, gentlemen," The voice in the shadows materailzed in the form of a man, a heavy gun in
his rams. Several more men stood behind him, their uniforms grey and green, their eyes dark with
malice. The old scientist clenched his fists sensing the alarmed looks on his fellow scientists. One of
the women snarled. Wu Fei gasped, gritting his teeth.

The man by the door cocked his gun once and smiled wickedly. behind him, his men smiled as well.

"Your petty attepms end here."

The fired shot broke the silence. Wu Fei watched as the men around him broke into action. The
proffesor fired again, his eyes evil, taking one of the Federation soldiers down with his hot. The man
leading them ran foward, his men spreading. There was a look of hatred in his eyes at what the
doctor had done. He hadn't expected the doctor to be ready for an assault.

"Kill them!" he shouted. The soldiers rushed at the scientist, liek madenned wolves, and opened fire.

Wu Fei ran towards the huge Mobile Suit, but he turned around in his run as he heard several shots
next to him. From one of the railings, one of his friends had taken a shot at a uncoming soldier. That
same friend, a woman engineer, screamed as the soldier recoiled and opened fire on her. She
couldn't duck on time and got hit in the neck, her blood spraying down from the rail. Wu Fei
swallowed his grief, his soul screaming. The boy snarled as he saw the same soldier open fire on
another scientist that was about to activate the central defense mechanisms. Her cries pierced the
room as the intruder soldier emptied his gun on her body, laughing wickedly. Her hands clawed the
wall, her blood mingeled with the metal wall.

The little boy gasped as the proffesor jumped up the stairs calling his attention. Wu Fei snarled,
ashamed that he'd just been standing withou doing anything. The professor ran up the stairs, turning
evry now and then to open fire at his followers. He was screaming at one of his men up in the
monitor area.

"They want to destroy our secret! They must leave this place alive. Open fire! Set fire to the
complex!"

One of the rebels yelled, slamming down the mechanisms of the central defense, the elctriacl wireing
that manuvered the whole building. Some of the fuse boxes caught fire imidiately. The soldiers kept
on coming, their leader yelling that the scientist would suicide, but allow their proyect to escape.
 

Part II Doushode Laoshi

Wu Fei snarled, climbing up to his Gundam machine. He opened the door to the cockpit and jumped
in, his eyes full of anguish. He gasped as a shot landed next to his arm, almost hitting him. He turned
around and looked down at the person that had shot. It was the Federation infiltrator's leader.

"Is this the secret weapon you were building, rebels?" the man yelled. "A Gundam Machine?" He
began to laugh, yet his eyes could betray his awe at the sight of such a great machine. It loomed over
him like a god, impresive. The leader had never imagined simple scientists to recreate the invinsible
gundanium and build such a fantastic Mobile Suit. The man's eyes burned with a sudden hatred.

He laughed harder, watching the room become engulfed in flames, the machines destroyed, the
paper plans burning along with the flesh of those who had dared create them. He laugher harder still
as he caought the look on Wu Fei's face. The boy stared blankly at the hangar amist the fire, his
small eyes almost blind.

Wu Fei felt his soul dying as he looked across the hangar, realizing that the rebels were dead. Each
one shot before they could get away. The young boy gasped, feeling his eyes harden, his tarined
sight searching for the professor, but he couldn't find him. All he found were the stares of the
Federation soldiers, looking at him with mock defiance.

Wu Fei clenched his fists and bowed his head. he jumped inside the cockpit, ignoring the commands
the soldier was giving him. He cried like a wounded animal as he yerked the machine to a start, his
trained hands working with inmense dexterity. He heard the Federation leader laugh again, but he
bloked him away. A small smile had formed on his lips as well.

He heard teh small noise of teh soldier's fire arms against the legs on the Gundam machine, pityful
against the gundanium. He laughed as the soldiers drew back, amazed at their inefectiveness, their
faces angered.

"The driver must be dead!" their leader yelled. "This crazed boy doesn't know how to use the
controls."

Wu Fei grinned as he raised the Mobile Suit's masive arms, raising the powerful machine to its full
size. The machine's arm, shaped like a dragon's head, opened its mouth. And fire shot through it.

"Bakayero da!" Wu Fei screamed. "I am the pilot!"

The soldiers screamed as the fire ate them, the incredible Golden Dragon crushing their bodies. The
soldiers, the leader among them, screamed louder, death upon them, their bodies scorched by the
flames. Wu Fei looked at them silently, at their withering bodies without pity. His soul serene as he
piloted the Dragon of Death.

"None of you must live, Federation cowards."

The hangar began to melt under the incredible flames, the metal ceiling falling, the scientific machines
began to explode, the fire and smoke dancing madly under the Dragon's rage. The bodies of bothe
the professors and the intruders melted in the falmes, hideously deformed.

The hangar was completly destroyed in a few minutes, only a few stairs and walls remaining intact,
the bodies blakened against teh walls.

Wu Fei smashed himself on his monitor, a sob excaping his body. They were dead, all of them,
dead. The family he had grown to love for this past months. The builders of the freedom dream, of
the revolution. None of them had witnessed their operation in action, not even before their deaths.
The young boy brushed the tears on his cheecks, angered that he'd cried.

The latch of his cockpit opened loudly, its sound echoing loudly in the empty hangar.
Echoing...echoing...

Wu Fei leaned his body against the Gundam's leg, fighting to regain courage to think about what this
destruction meant. Suddenly, his head yerked to the left, his ponytail hitting his face as it did. He had
heard a soft whimper.

He held his breath trying to follow the voice up a tatered stair case. His heart stopped as he reached
the top. On the last step, black and bleeding, lay the hand on the professor. It moved feebly.

The boy frowned, moving closer to the old man, bending down next to him. He felt his eyes sting,
realizing the old man was agonizing yet.

"Gomen nasai..."

"N-Naze... desuka?" Wu Fei gasped, his mind hardly beliving that the old man could talk while
almost dead. He reached down to do as the scientist was telling him and helped the old man to a
sitting possition. He fought hard not to break under the grief, as he brought the old man up. He
buried his head into the man's chest, his heart breaking atlast.

The scientist's bloody hand enfolded his shoulders, holding him near. The boy felt the old man's harsh
breathing in his chest. He tried to understand what the old man was saying, but his speech was all
garbled and wheezed.

"I told you, b-boy...that..you needed to be ready to.. to d-die in this operation..."

The old man laughed weakly, looking at Wu Fei's grim smile. The professor whipped the trail of
blood that ran down his mouth, and instructed the boy to help him to his feet, leaning hard on the
boy.

"Those bastard Federation..." he wheezed. "they ruined our b-beautyful hideout. I-it's all gone
now..."

Wu Fei nodded. He held the old man steady, frowning to himself. He felt a strange stillness in his
own chest, but ignored it, listening to the old man talk. Sudenly, the old man's hand gripped him
stronger, telling him to stop. Wu Fei's senses froze.

The professor jerked his head to the left. He screamed and dived back, into the wall. he pulled Wu
Fei's body with him roughly, knocking the breath out of the boy.

The shot hit one of the metal hand rails that they had just been about to use.

Wu Fei's head hit the wall, pain shooting through his spine, blinding him. He tried to control himslef,
but his hands refused to listen as they clawed the wall despretly. He expected the killer to shoot
again, as they stod trapped by the wall. The professor's hot, harsh breathing hit his ear, the old man's
bloody hand gripping his wrist. Holding him from getting killed. Wu Fei closed his eyes.

He could feel the killer moving, relouding the gun, grinning at the pinned animals he had cought. The
dream was dying. Just like those who created it. Wu Fei's eyes flew open, his breath quicker than
before, his pupils delated like a madman. He could sense the professor's chest moving madly,
striving not to die. His own body lost and afraid, crying out to be alive. It wanted to live. Wu Fei's
inhuman looking eyes searched for a way to excape. He gasped.

There was the sound of the gun cocking in the darkness.

"Enough!"

The darkness became red, a flash of silver lighting. The boy screamed, his voice horrible in the
darkness.

The shot rang again in the darkness. The professor cried out, his body smashing against the wall.

The Federation soldier's body fell with a loud thud to the floor, it's head baring a horrible whole. The
youngs boy thin body collapsed backwards, falling into the old man's feet, his eyes rolled backwards
in terrible pain. The boy's hand covered his stomack, were the shot had penetrated, dark blood
caking his hands. The professor struggled to his feet, dragging his sorry shape to the boy's side,
putting hsi gun on the cold floor.

"Why child?" he said, his voice ragged, old and unable to go on for much longer. "Why did you do
this?" He brought Wu Fei's body agaisnt his own. The boy looked at him, blood gurgling out from his
mouth.

"I-I'm ready...professor..to b-begin Operation...M-Meteo..." He smiled, his face twisted in pain, his
dark eyes no longer seeing anything.

"I-I'm ready to...die..."
 

The night wind had picked up, the leaves on the Ginko trees outside rustling madly, the branches
brushing against the paper windows. The sound of her wooden rocking chair the only other noise in
the room. She folded her hands on her lap, stooping the small prayer she had been chanting over and
over in her head.

There was someone at the door.

Her bare feet moved fast on the floor, her old woman's pace mild as she reached the door. The
knocking came again. She unlocked the door, mumbling about the need for patience with old folks.

Her breath died in her throat, her small scream frozen in her lips as her hands fell, like stones, to her
sides. The light from her house ran outside into the steps and into the porch, watching over the old
man that now stood there, his long jacket conceiling his face, and the small boy he carried in his
arms.

"He's not dead."

The old man walked into her small living room, closing the door with his foot as he came in. He
removed his shoes hastily, tossing them to a corner and walked past her as if he lived there too. The
old woman frowned at such an invasion. She turned to face him, angered, but with eyes full of worry.
She wrung her old hands together, her eyes becoming tearful. The old man turned around to face
her.

"How dare you, sir." The old lady drew closer, her fear residing, as angered replaced it. The old man
smiled, his slanted eyes worried as well, his legs about to give way beneath him, the child heavy in his
arms.

"Wu Fei has spoken of no other home but this one, so I brought him here."

The old woman frowned, her eyes narrowing. She cursed her stars, but Wu Fei moaned in the old
man's arms. She gasped, her heart aching. She wanted to kill the old man, wanted to slap his strange
looking face for all he had done to the boy. How dare him come to her house like that. She felt her
eyes glaze as she looked at her grandson's face, twisted in pain, caked blood temple on his temples.

"I hate you," she said.

the wooden floor and white paper walls echoed darkly, her voice croaking. The old man blinked in
silence.

He felt his body fall to one side, his left leg giving in under his heavy frame and the child's weight. The
old lady clenched her fists tighter, her grief twisting her face.

The old man turned, leaving her staring at his back as he headed for the only room with a bed; hers.
She followed him, her steps hurried. He closed his eyes, pain engulfing his whole leg and moaned as
he put Wu Fei's body in her bed. The child moaned as he was laid on the silky covers. The old man
let his body collapse on the bed, his face twisted in pain, and reached down to rub his leg, grimacing.

The old woman walked in, starring hotly at the old man, her teeth gritted. He let his hurt body lie
back on her matress, his head falling wearily on her pillow. She'd break her his skull for this, but she
couldn't bring herself to do it. Were was her courage now that she wanted to make that evil man pay
? She drew closer to Wu Fei's still body, her hands reaching maternaly for him. The old man's closed
eyes opened slightly, looking at her as he pretended to sleep.

She was murmuring an old Budhist prayer, her lips moving fast and feverishly, her eyes wet with
sorrow. She had known, he concluded, what the boy had been up to. She, no doubt, never
expected to open her door one night to find him and her grandson in the shape they were in. His
smile wearily. The old woman had reasons to feel this way, not to trust him, to grief like this. She
bent down over the boy's body, her hands caressing his forehead, her nose redened as tears fell
down her cheeks.

"He's a courageous child," he said. She didn't look at him, but he could tell she was listening. "There
is a force in him that I cannot understand...I wish I were a bit more like him: ready to die."

The old woman turned to look at him, her eyes hard and angry. "This little boy should never have
been in that place getting killed--" He stared at her, his temples begining to throb.

"It's always someone else, Obasama," he said "someone else suffers. someone else dies. Someone
else fight."

"Monster," she said. He drew up from her bed. "He's too young, too fragile."

"No"

Both of them let the word fall heavy on the floor. The bamboo outside hit the paper windows as the
wind picked up once more. The paper lampterns danced madly, the chimes loud like brass bells.
She clenched her hands, noticing that he now leaned on the walls, his eyes narrowed, his free hand
absentmindedly rubbing his leg. He raised his head, his old eyes like mirrors to a world. A world that
she had always believed too far away to touch her. She gasped silently, refusing to fall out of control,
to pity the scientist, to care.

"Obasama, onegai," he said. "Please. Federation soldiers came to our lab and killed all of the other
scientists and engineer. They destroyed the lab, and we were the only survivors. We and the
machine--"

She cursed under her breath. "I wish they'd killed you."

The old man's eyes begged silently. "Obasama, we are dying."
 
 

The wind storm had picked up outside, beating strongly against the house. The rafters were making
terrible noise, and the chimes seemed insane. It had begun to rain, the night air cold and hostile.

She closed the windows, drawing the curtains over it. The child lay just as she had put him, after
giving him a bath, on her bed, his eyes closed. She dimmed the red light on the night table.

"Why, Wu shao ?" She turned around to look at the old man, who had come in limping with his
cane. She lowered her eyes, resting her hands on the bed. He smiled, looking at the boy.

The scientist had been right. Both men would have died if she had not cared for them in time. She
had bitten her tongue as she had cared for him, her face devoid of feelings, her eyes darkened. She
had worked mechanicaly, the ancient heeling knowledge she possesed helping her. She cleaned the
old man's wounds, sown them, and washed in iyodine. He had been quiet, looking at her as she
worked in silence, respectful. She had stripped herself of her pride as she cleaned his blood.

She had fought hard not to loose her control over her emotions as she undressed Wu Fei and had
discovered the huge bloody gap on his chest. She had cursed her ill fate as she cleaned him, aware
that the old man was looking at her from the chair were he lay. She had bathed him on her tub, her
heart liek a solid rock on her chest, her hands scrubbing away the fylth that covered his body. He
fought hard to keep his head up as she washed him, but he had lost so much blood that he felt too
weak. His small arms sagged in her arms, almost liek a dead man, but his dark eyes were concious
of her work. She silenced him as he had tried to talk, barely a mumble.

The old man had stood by the door to the bathroom, watching her as she battled to clean the boy
who fell limply on her arms. He had come closer to her, reaching down into the tub to grasp the
boy's naked chest as held him up. Wu Fei's head had fallen thankful into the old man's tender grip.
She had been about to complain, but she noticed her grandson's new found strengh, teh old man's
hands, and she had fallen silent.

The scientist had lifted the boy's body from the tub, taking him up on his arms while she fished a
towel and wrapped him. She had taken her grandson from him, almost roughly, but he had only
smiled and handed her a towel for her face.

Then, he had left her alone in the room, walking off to a couch by the statue shrine. He had stared
silently at the old photograph of the woman's son on the shrine. She had been grateful that he had left
her alone with her grandson. She had brushed back the hair on his face, listening to the garbled
things he was saying, half talking in dreams.

He had taken her hand, speaking nonsense, still shoked by the pain, his voice barely a whisper, then
he had fallen asleep. Watching his small lips pressed tightly, she had let her tears fall, her anguish
over whelming her.

She shook her head now, brought back from the memory. The old man was talking to her, his old
drooling speech echoing in the room. It was almost midnight.

"Use this," he said.

She looked at him as he produced a small bottle from one of the pockets in his jacket. She
wondered how long, and why, the old man would carry such a beautifuly decorated bottle in his
jacket. She took the small thing quietly.

"It's florid alcohol water," he explained. "Rub his body with it."

The old man sat on a small wooden chair by the door, looking at the boy's breathing and taking in
with his scientific mind the condition the boy was in. The old woman was looking down at him,
wondering whether she should trust the bottle to be safe.

"It's to drive away bad spirits, " he said. Those that threaten to take his soul." He was looking at Wu
Fei like only a father would do, his small dark eyes proud of everything the small boy had endured
for the Operation, feeling in his heart a sense of pride that he'd been able to meet the young boy. The
old lady brushed some of the white hair from her face, her mouth drawn tight. He was smiling at her,
sharing a paternal joy she would never understand.

Obasan ran a hand down Wu Fei's body, covered by the bed sheets. Too long. She has lived too
long to forget that it can be painful to die. She sat down and drew the sheets from the boy's chest,
removing his shirt. She saw the boy's eyes open slightly, a soft smile on them. Obasan bit her lip,
chanting so that Death's look would leave her grandson's face and opened the bottle. She rubbed the
water over his bare chest, its soft aroma filling her nostrils and the room. She saw Wu Fei's skin
recuperate some color, his lips smiling wider as the smell went into his lungs. She rubbed him
stronger, her old hands forcing Death away from the child's body.

The Old man was looking at her silently, mumbling absentmindedly to himself, watching her as her
able hands worked on the boy. He coughed, the silence broken by his coarse throaty whimpers.
Obasan turned to look at him, but there was something in the way she now looked at him. She was
searching for a reason, a reason for the old man to care for Wu Fei, other than because he had
trained him.

"You don't trust me," he said, lowering his eyes. "Still, thank you for your cares, Obasama." She
nodded, her gray hair falling into her face again. He stood up from the chair, arranging the folds on
his jacket taking care to close all teh pockets one by one. He softened all the wrinkles the jacket had
so carefully that the old lady began to wonder whether that was the old man's secret madness. He
wasn't paying attention to her now, only to his task. He was a very weird old man, she though. She
was old enough to recognize insanity. When he looked at Wu Fei, his eyes shone with a strange light,
one that revealed other worlds, other feelings. Death and Life. She was fearfull, because she had
seen the same light on her grandson's eyes, as he fell asleep.

The smell of the florid water filled the whole room, drawing the evil away. Crushed flowers on an
ancient tomb's water. Obasan looked up at the old man as he leaned back on one of the walls,
staring at her again. People like her, he though, would get in the Operation's way. He nodded to
himself. She was the boy's grandmother, it was only logical that she'd act as she was. He
remembered teh many times Wu Fei and him had discused the day when he'd leave for earth. He'd
wanted to say goodbye to his grandmother, that ha'd been his only wish. Ths professor had admired
the boy's honor and had valued his promise. Looking at the old woman's wrinkled face, so much like
her son's and her grandson's, there came a strange, dark glow to his old eyes. This was the last
goodbye.

Obasan covered the bottle and drew the covers over the boy, taking his small white hands and
placing them over the sheets. Her tired, hurting back ached as she got up from the bed. She turned
around to face the old man, her face blank, her eyes tired. She startled as he lay a hand on her
shoulder, holding in a gasp. Such a bold cat from him made her angry, but in her eyes, he saw, there
was no longer the same hatred. She remained silent, grateful, in a way, that she was not alone.

"There are times for brave people," he said. She gave him back the bottle, wich he placed on his
pockets again, closing three buttoms over it.

"Thank you, kind Obasama."

"He took that bullet for you, didn't he?"

He laughed softly, tapping the cane on the wooden floor. She raised an eyebrow, as he stopped and
looked at her again.

"Yes he did," he said. "He's more of a man than I was his age. His mind is so much older tahn his
body betrays. No matter how many times the soldier fired, or much I begged for him to stop, he
wouldn't. He kept going."

Obasan lowered her eyes, ashamed at the foolish way she had acted towards the old man, at her
own insecurities. She was a shamed woman, not to see what the spirits and fate had chosen for her
grandson.

She walked out from the room, him following her slowly. Her head bowed she walked over to the
small shrine she had always kept for the dead, for her son and his wife. She stood silently before it,
not apying attention to the old man as he sat on one of the rocking chairs behind her. The small
shrine was full of both dead and living flowers, darkened except for a small yellow candle, and filled
with bean rosaries.

Obasan looked at the yellow photagraph in the middle and reached to touch the small chu xue leaves
next to it, feeling her eyes well with tears. The young man on the photo, his dark slanted eyes silent,
reverent, so much like Wu Fei's, his mouth set tight, his long hair tied in a small, thin braid over his
chinese dress, seemed to look back at her. She wanted to cry out to him, but could only whisper.

"Fate calls strong to yoru son, erzi," she said, runing her fingers on the photo. She stared at the young
chinese woman on the phot next to his, her lovely dark eyes smiling, her small face so much like Wu
Fei's when the child smiled. The old woman brushed her tears, truning to face the old man, who had
been looking at her silently.

"Like his father, Wu Fei is a strong young man," she said, her voice deep in the room. The old man
nodded, and smiled, her dark eyes grateful that she had released the boy from his grief. Her soul
became free from her body as she smiled back at him, her mind at ease at last. She bowed at both
her son and his wife, her soul finding a peace. She saw the professor admire her as she displayed
such reverance and turned, no longer ashamed to belive in the dream. The colony, he though, still
had hope.

She sat in the rocking chair next to the one he was on, both remaining silent, as the wind began to
blow harder, the storm harsh against the walls. Against their souls.
 

The child had woken up at midnight, reaching out to the old woman, who had come to lay next to
him, guarding his body while he slept, short after the old man had fallen asleep in the small room she
prepared for him. His small hands gropped for the sleeping robe she wore, drawing her near. She
woke up, a small gasp escaping her.

"Shao, what is it?"

The boy had said nothing, his mind still lost in the dreams he was having. He buried himself to her
chest, closing his eyes, holding her. She frowned, her soul aching and reached down to embrase him.
He buried himself deeper into her breasts, her skin, falling into his dream again, feeling her arms
enfold him. She ran a hand over his hot face, over his eyes, his hair. The child was speaking, his
voice barely a whisper, his mind lost in the dream.

"Obasan..."

She narrowed her eyes, trying to understand what the boy was saying, but she couldn't. He was
talking waht seemed gibberish, running his small hands over her tenderly, like when he was a small
child. She closed her eyes, melancholy taking her, as he ran his small lips over her breasts, his old
sweet childish gesture. She ran her gray hand over his shoulders, over his free long hair, combing it.

"Rest, Wu shao, rest..." she whispered. The wind howled outside. "The dawn is almost here."

Wu Fei hugged her tighter, his white hands holding her feverishly. He was speaking again, mumbling
louder, talking to someone in his dream.

"Obasan...goodbye...Obasan..."

She closed her tighter, listening to him, her soul crying. The rain changed dirrections outside, teh
lightning rolling down like waves. The smell of teh florid water filled her nostrils, the storm ringed
outside. She felt her tears well again.

"Goodbye..Oba...san.."

She felt her sould die as the boy pressed himself to her, shouting in his dream.

"No..Obasan...no..."

"Wu Fei," she spoke, her voice a tired drone in the darkness, her tears falling freely to the bed
sheets, on the boy's hair. She gasped, her lungs unable to breath. The smell was too strong. Her
mouth gasped for air, begging. She drew in air, wanting to live atleast a bit longer. She smiled, her
eyes sadly looking down at her grandson. She wanted to live, but felt her soul already departing. The
harsh wind banged loudly at her window. She gasped. It was difficult to breath again, her mind
realed in pain, but she looke down at the boy, holding him near.

"Wu Fei," she said. "Listen to fate...it can hold nothing but honor for you, shao...I belive...Wu Fei."
She closed her eyes tighter, feeling the boy's fingers on her face. "I couldn't see you grow up,
child...become a father, a s-strong m-man, and marry." The child moaned, his hands grasping her
white braid, curling it on his fingers.

"Such was not o-our..f-fa..te."

It was harder to breath now, her lungs buried in the smell of the strange, florid water. She could
hardly see, her eyes full of tears. She looked down at him. The boy would never be able to finish the
childish duel with Shuan Ho, such were petty things compared to what waited for him, thsi she knew,
and fully understood now. He would have greater dules against fate. She ran her fingers through his
long, dark hair, over his small lips, his cheeks, his eyes and thick brows. Making a memory
photograph of his sweet face, of his lovely, innocent, childish face. Still free of death and blood,
shame and murder. She gasped as she noticed that he was doing the same thing.

He traced her old, wrinkled skin, her eye lashes, her small thin brows and forehead. His small hands
drew a picture across her chest, her breasts, her thin, strong arms, her maternal figure. He was
talking in his sleep as he did this, his soft voice calling her. She smiled, feeling her throat ache. She
wouldn't be here when he would wake. She felt his fingers on her nose, but she couldn't stand the
pain anymoer. The pain came harder and harder on her chest. Like a knife. And he was talking to
her.

"Muquin...mama...goodbye..."

"Goodbye...Wu..." Her voice died on her lips, her eyes rolling out of control, her breasts ceasing to
fall and rise rithmycally, her heart slowing down. She reached to hold the boy, locking him to her in
one last embrase, her lips fixed on a beautiful smile even in death.

Wu Fei buried his face into her arms, eyes closed, smiling. The nightmare had finally ended.
Obasan's soft arms had brushed all the pain away, keeping Death away. He fell back to a placid
sleep, smiling as he nuzzled his face agaisnt the old woman's tender body.
 
 

 

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