Episode 19:
Thus Passes Away the Glory of This World

         "Heero..." Relena looked up at her husband, a red stain spreading rapidly across her white blouse.
    "Relena..." Heero choked out, gazing down at his wife.
    "Take care of the kids... please..." She whispered.
    "Don't talk like that, Relena." Heero ordered her, even though he knew such a gunshot wound would be fatal. He couldn't believe it.
    "M-mom..." Ariana still stared, tears coming to her eyes. Shino dashed back in.
    "An ambulance is on the way..." He said, voice hoarse, as if he too did not believe this was happening.
    "Ariana.... Yoshino..." Relena coughed, "Heero... I... I love you all...."
    "Mom!" Yoshino cried out, "You'll be fine! Just hang in there!"
    "Mom..." Ariana whimpered. Relena closed her eyes and went limp in Heero's arms.
    "R-relena..." Heero's eyes widened in shock, shining with unshed tears. I.... I love you too.... I failed you... Relena...
    "Oh my God......" Tiana stared, also not believing this could have happened.
    Sidra came back in, soaked, her face grim.
    "Kwannon Yokoshima did it."

        Shino was the first to react, spinning on Tiana, drawing his gun, much to the red headed girl's surprise. Heero set Relena down carefully and followed suit a second later.
    "You KNEW about this!!" Shino accused through teary eyes. Tiana was too stunned to speak in her defense, still trying to compute that it was Kwannon who had caused this.
    "You knew, didn't you!?!" Shino demanded again, his gun arm quavering.
    "I... I...." Tiana stared, eyes wide, like a deer caught in headlights.
    Heero leveled the Pembroke daughter with an icy glare, not speaking, tears falling silently and unnoticed down his face.
    Sidra stood in the doorway, paralyzed.
    "We trusted you!! Sidra was right... you are an enemy!" Shino started to pull the trigger, his emotions getting the better of him.
    "Shino! Dad! Stop!" It was Ariana who took action, stepping in front of her terrified friend. Her brother stopped. Even Heero's pistol dropped an inch in surprise. Ariana gave the perfect soldier and her older brother a fierce teary eyed glare.
    "You didn't know she was gonna do it, did you? She didn't tell you, huh?" Ariana glanced over her shoulder.
    "I-I had no idea..." Tiana managed to choke out.
    "Okay... why don't you get out of here while these two calm down-?"
    "Ari..." Shino looked at his little sister, who glared defiantly back at him.
    Tiana bolted past Sidra out the door and out into the downpour.
    "Ariana..." Heero growled.
    "You let her get away!" Shino stared out the door.
    "You're both stupid idiots!!" Ariana finally shrieked as the reality fully hit her, "You would have killed her and been no better than the person who shot Mom!!" She burst into strangled sobs and fell into Heero's stunned arms. It was about then the ambulance pulled up. Sidra had vanished from the room, mumbling something about calling her father and mother.

        Much to Noin and Milliardo's surprise, their vid-comm beeped at them as they were getting ready to go to sleep. Grumbling, Milliardo put a shirt on and went to answer it. He was greeted by the sight of Sidra, pale hair soaked and plastered to her face, pale with some sort of fright, tears streaming down her face.
    "Sidra!? What's wrong!?" Milliardo asked, immediately concerned. Noin came down to find out what was going on.
    "Sidra?? What is it!?" Noin stared at the screen. Siduri peered over his father's shoulder.
    "Sis! Dude! What is it!? Speak!"
    "T-the ambassador shot her..." Sidra choked out. It didn't click with the rest of the family yet.
    "Huh?" Siduri blinked. Milliardo was filled with a sense of dread.
    "Aunt Relena's dead!" Sidra cried out. Milliardo froze.
    "Are you sure, Sidra!?" Noin gasped, putting a hand on Milliardo's shoulder. Siduri was silent.
    Sidra nodded solemnly.
    Silence. Cold, empty silence. Eventually, Siduri broke it.
    "Sidra... What about you?? Are you okay, sis???" Even the generally cheerful Siduri was mellowed by the news his twin had brought. Sidra shrugged.

        Tiffany watched as the two suits she and her fellow engineers had built returned from practice. She was hoping she'd finally have the chance to talk to Nimeesha's sons about the fact their mother could basically blow them up at anytime. Unfortunately, Chayton took off immediately after, saying something to one of the tech workers about helping out with some of the repair work on one of the water plants, leaving her with only Arthur to consult on the matter. Sighing, the tired albino walked toward the black haired youth.
    "Hey. I need to talk to you about your suit."
    "Aren't you supposed to be locked up after that little stunt you pulled on my mother?" Arthur sneered.
    "They let me out to observe the practicing." Tiffany shot back, "I've seen much better pilots from the Defense Force's academy lowest class." Arthur bristled slightly.
    "Well what the hell do you want then? If it's about the suit, I suppose I'll be willing to listen." He turned to face Tiffany.
    "I doubt anybody told you or your brother, who, by the way, pilots much better than you," Tiffany began, delightfully adding another insult, "that there are remote detonation devices in your suit."
    "So what?"
    "Allow me to put it into words you can understand," Tiffany rolled her eyes, "Your MOM can BLOW YOU UP at ANY given time she wants. In other words, if you screw up and are given the chance to surrender, you won't live long enough to accept that chance."
    "She wouldn't blow her own son up." Arthur denied the news.
    "She's already blown up her own forces you know."
    "Well either way, it won't have to be used. So don't worry yourself about it, Miss Geslacht." Arthur smirked. Tiffany narrowed her eyes.
    "You're willing to gamble your life like that!?"
    "I only bet on a sure th-" Tiffany hauled off and smacked the younger Pembroke son across the face. Arthur narrowed his eyes.
    "You total and complete imbecile! Don't you get it! Your mother DEMANDED we install them in those suits! IF YOU SCREW UP IN BATTLE AND LOSE YOU'RE DEAD! D-E-A-D! DEAD! Do you understand that!?! Must I define the word!? That suit is too good for you, which isn't saying much! I can't believe how arrogant you-"
    Arthur hauled off and struck the angry PMS founder back in return, resulting in her head jerking to the right.
    "Somebody get this woman out of here!" Arthur looked at the guard who he assumed had brought Tiffany to the hangar. They were, to say the least, a bit stunned by what they'd witnessed. Tiffany regained her senses and glared at Arthur, who glared right back at her.
    "Fine. Forget it. Get yourself killed for all I care." Tiffany snapped, "But at least inform your brother."

        By now, the clean up and investigation were underway. The paramedics had left, taking Relena with them. The rest of the Yuy family had somewhat, if barely, recovered a bit in the time that had passed.
    "Hey... Shino." Ariana looked over at her brother, who was staring at the floor.
    "Yeah, Ari?" He didn't look up.
    "You'd better go apologize to her. You scared her out of her wits. I know Dad won't. But you'd better. Or I'll never forgive you." Ah, the worst threat a little sister could make. Shino nodded slightly.
    "I'll see if I can find her." He grabbed a flashlight and headed out into the rain.

        It didn't take him too terribly long to find the girl, perched on a rock by the koi pond. Tiana looked up as the flashlight's ray fell upon her. She scrambled to get away.
    "Wait a second...." Shino sighed, "We need to talk."
    "....." Tiana sat back down on her rock, pulling her knees up, "I didn't know... Kwannon said something about wanting me to be ready to go late tonight... but I didn't think it was important..." She sniffled. Shino sat down unceremoniously on the mud and grass and listened.
    "... So if you came out here to get some sort of revenge, just get it over with already." Tiana looked down, "I can understand that you need somebody to direct your anger at. But I wish it wasn't me."
    "It's not you." Shino replied, surprising the girl.
    "Then it's Kwannon?" Tiana looked over at him, "... She... gets orders directly from my mother..."
    "... Ariana wanted me to apologize. So, I'm sorry..."
    "I thought Kwannon was really here to talk about peace and ending this war." Tiana wiped her eyes, "But now the World Nation is going to fight back, isn't it?"
    "....." Shino was silent. They probably would.
    "... I'm really sorry about it all... Kwannon isn't a horrible person... I know she doesn't like doing what she does..."
    "... Then why does she do it?"
    "She thinks she owes my mother... She's really loyal to her..."
    "... This 'fire' has gone on long enough." Shino stood up. Tiana looked up in surprise.
    "W-what are you doing to do?"
    "It was Kwannon who killed my mom. You said she gets her orders from your mother." Shino looked over at Tiana.
    "Y-yes..." He's not going to... is he? Tiana paled, "You... you aren't going to...?"
    Shino turned to go.
    "Wait! What are you going to do!?"  Tiana stood up.
    "Kill them." Shino glanced over his shoulder and looked Tiana in the eye, leaving the drenched girl with little doubt he wouldn't. He turned off the flashlight and vanished into the darkness.

        Kwannon sighed. It was going to be a long trip back to Venus and she was tired. It didn't help that something was amiss, but she hadn't had time to figure it out during the take off. She studied the people on board her shuttle with her. Of course.
    "You." She got up and looked at brown haired man who was NOT part of the shuttle crew. She ran through a mental list of possibilities as to the person's identity. The man calmly looked back at her. Within moments Kwannon came to a conclusion and pulled out her pistol, surprising the rest of the shuttle crew.
    "Yes?" The man replied, unperturbed by the gun pointed at him.
    "You're not a member of the Venus Military, Trowa Barton." Kwannon narrowed her eye.
    "Hmm. So you know who I am." Trowa replied, not asking, merely stating.
    "I made it a point to know my crew and my enemies. You have a nasty habit of sneaking into your enemy's organizations. I looked into the backgrounds of you and your fellow pilots before this whole thing started. Where's the man you knocked off to get that uniform?"
    "Earth. He's not dead."
    "... So what brings you here then? Planning on assassinating me? Nimeesha Pembroke? Or getting revenge for Relena Yuy's assassination?" Kwannon studied him. Trowa's eyes widened slightly in surprise at the news.
    "... So that's why you left Earth in such a hurry. So now that you know who I am, what are you going to do?" Trowa asked flatly.
    "I doubt there's much harm you can do right now on this shuttle. You'll be guarded." Kwannon nodded to two of her guards, "And we'll see what happens upon arrival on Venus. However, it might be in your best interests to tell me why you're here." Kwannon sat back down as the two guards approached. Trowa put up no fight, but instead sat down in one of the other seats.
    "Not going to answer? Not surprising." Kwannon put her pistol away, "So did the PMS get back all right? I heard it was a pretty shoddy take off."
    "..... Yes. And the PMS member who didn't escape? Where is she?"
    "..." Kwannon looked over, "Oh... I see now. So that's why you're here? Well, I see no reason to withhold that information. To my understanding she's still alive and well."

        The pre-dawn stillness was shattered by the roar of mobile suit boosters.

        Sidra visibly jerked and looked over her shoulder in surprise at the noise, still talking to her family on the vid-comm.
    "SHIT! FalconWing just took off!!!" She left the comm and bolted out the door, leaving a very confused Noin on the other end of the line.
    "What's going on over there!? What just happened!?"

        Sidra zoomed by Ariana and Heero.
    "ARIANA! FALCONWING JUST TOOK OFF!" And then the blond was out the door heading for the Tallgeese.
    Heero looked over at Ariana, who had paled and looked up and away from her father.
    "The what just took off?"
    "Ah.. um.... well... you see..."
    "No, I don't. That's why I'm asking."
    ".... Um... FalconWing... ah...." Ariana was in trouble.
    "Go on." Heero leveled his daughter with a glare.
    "Is... my suit! Yeah!" Ariana blurted out, hoping that would satisfy her father.
    "Describe it." Apparently it hadn't.
    "It's.... um... a.... Gundam." Ariana squeaked. Heero's eyes widened. His 14 year old daughter built a GUNDAM!?
    And I didn't know about it? Heero blinked, a bit confused for a moment, then scowled at his daughter.
    "Where did you get the gundanium?" He inquired.
    "Um... the wreck from your old Gundam?"
    "And how did you get a hold of that?" I thought Duo had all the scraps and parts...
    "Uncle Duo." Ariana meekly replied.
    "... I'll kill him." Heero said, more to himself than Ariana.

        Sidra found Tiana standing in the scrap heap watching the FalconWing become a small speck in the sky.
    "What the hell happened!?" Sidra looked down at the girl.
    "Yoshino... He's going to Venus!" Tiana sounded distraught, "He said he was going to kill my mother and Kwannon! I tried to stop him. One mobile suit couldn't possibly make it through the defenses Venus has! I know because I live there!"
    "Don't worry! I'll go after him, so get back. I'm going to take off fast!" Sidra threw her flight helmet on and headed up into the Tallgeese. Tiana backed away.
    Once again the roar of mobile suit boosters disturbed the pre-dawn silence. Tiana headed to the house to inform the others of what was up.

        "Ariana! Mr. Yuy!" Tiana came in, "Yoshino took off and Sidra went after him! He said he was going to Venus!"
    "IS HE CRAZY!?!?" Ariana squeaked, "Dad! We have to go after him!!"
    "One last question, Ariana. Did you install the ZERO system in FalconWing?" Heero sounded more serious than usual, which disturbed Ariana slightly.
    "The what?" She blinked, "I... don't think so... um.... I don't know what it looks like so I don't know..."
    "Did you ever hallucinate while piloting?" Heero interrupted.
    "Um.... no... not really.... Occasionally, I guess... It was really short and didn't really effect anything... That's what that was???"
    Heero swore under his breath.
    "We have to go after him." Heero vanished into a room and returned with a pistol. He handed it to a very surprised Ariana. Tiana was even more surprised.
    "You stay here." Heero eyed the Pembroke daughter, who nodded.
    "Ariana, come on." He headed out the door.

        "Um... dad.... CAN'T WE JUST TALK TO LADY UNE ABOUT BORROWING THE SUITS!?!?" Ariana ducked around a corner to avoid gunfire from the Preventers security.
    "The paper work would take too long. Follow me." Heero returned fire before taking off down another corridor. Ariana sighed and dashed after him.
    Mom would KILL YOU for this, Dad!

        "The attackers left a note, Ma'am... It's from Heero Yuy and his daughter."
    "We also just got a report from Sally Po of an unidentified Gundam being followed by the Tallgeese!"
    "The two events are probably connected. Get me a radio." Lady Une ordered.
    "Yes Ma'am!"
    "Should we pursue the two stolen Gryphons and the carrier?"
    "Don't bother. They'll be returned eventually."

        "Could have asked." Lady Une appeared on the screen, "Mind explaining about this unknown Gundam since you obviously know something about it?"
    "Ask her." Heero looked over at Ariana, who shrank back slightly, "She built it."
    "..... She... what?" Lady Une blinked.
    "Well... You see, Ma'am.... It's a long story... but... it's mine and my brother is trying to take it to Venus and we're going to chase him or something and try and bring him back..." Ariana whimpered.
    "The rest." Heero glared at Ariana, "Tell her what's in the suit."
    "Um... well... I think... it has... the... ZERO system." Ariana looked very interested the sleeve of her jacket, "So... we... may... um... have to like, shoot my brother down to bring him back.... so Daddy decided we needed suits and that I had to come because this is my fault and that it would take too long to just ask you because of paper work so we broke in and stole some..." The brown haired girl rambled.
    "I see. Do you want any back up?"
    "No." Heero answered sharply, "The last thing we need is for Shino to go crazy from the ZERO system around a bunch of your pilots."
    "But going crazy around your daughter is fine?" Lady Une raised an eyebrow.
    "So.... it's okay... if WE get killed, Daddy? But not their rookies?" Ariana paled considerably.
    "We won't get killed."
    "I hope you're right." Ariana sweatdropped.
    "Good luck then, you two." Lady Une's image faded from the screen.
    "How good a pilot are you, Ariana?" Heero inquired.
    "Uh... well... I think... pretty good... I've been practicing with Sidra... when you and Mom were gone... she taught me what she learned on Mars when she was at the academy there and she was the best student they had... So... I think I'm pretty good..." Ariana didn't sound too sure.

        "For the last time today, the new design isn't done yet. If you keep bothering me, I'll never get them done." Tiffany didn't look up as the door to her room opened. It'd been a lot quieter without the rest of the PMS.
    "... They're making you design suits?"
    "....." Tiffany looked up, "Trowa?" .... What the hell is he doing here??
    Trowa nodded and looked around the room. It was rather simple, and a bit of a mess with crumpled up papers scattered here and there.
    "So what brings you here?" Tiffany returned to her work.
    "....." Trowa reached into his jacket and pulled out the envelope out. Tiffany blinked.
    "If you came here just to deliver that, I'm going to grab you by your follicly over-active hair and yank." Tiffany grumbled, not her generally cheerful self (and with damned good reason).
    "It's the results from the DNA test. I thought you deserved to see them." Trowa put the envelope back in his jacket, "We can look at it later once we get out."
    "Oh? And how are we going pull that kind of stunt off?" Tiffany raised an eyebrow, "I've already tried plenty of things, even the laptop they gave me is useless. It's totally isolated from their networks. It's impossible to hack into anything from it."
    "... You know how to hack?" Trowa raised an eyebrow.
    "I learned more than basic programming in college. I nearly got kicked out for it." Tiffany muttered.
    "... So how'd you make sure the rest of the PMS got away safely?" Trowa changed the subject.
    "I threatened to kill the governess." Tiffany snorted.
    "And you didn't." Trowa noted.
    "I'm not willing to sacrifice my humanity. Some of us aren't trained soldiers." Tiffany snapped.
    "So does that mean I've lost my humanity?"
    "On some level, yes." Tiffany continued to work, "But I have on some level by designing weapons that kill."
    "Do you regret your actions?" Trowa walked over and watched over her shoulder. She shrugged.
    "Even if I had killed her, I'd probably still be here. If I wasn't executed for it. Nimeesha believes that at this point in time, her death would only strengthen Venus's will to fight the World Nation. She's probably right too."
    "You know, it was probably a real stupid move to come here, Trowa." Tiffany glanced at him.
    "I'd do it again." Trowa shrugged. Tiffany looked at Trowa in surprise.
    "..... You what? So you'd be an idiot all over again if you had the chance?" Tiffany set her pencil down, awaiting a reply.
    "A friend once told me the only way a to lead a full life was to follow my emotions." Trowa replied flatly.
    "Gee, you don't sound like you have emotions to follow." Tiffany once again resumed work. Either way it was still stupid to come out here.
    Tiffany's thoughts and work were interrupted by Trowa's hand on her shoulder, spinning her chair around so she faced him.
    "Do you really believe I don't have emotions?" Trowa looked at her, his expression distinctly pleading. Tiffany was speechless.
    "....." She blinked and looked down, "I... well, sometimes it doesn't seem like it..."
    "... I see." Trowa responded and started to look away when he noticed the bruise on her face, "... How'd you get that?"
    "Huh?" Tiffany blinked, "Oh... That. One of Nimeesha's sons and I had a little spat about remote detonation devices." Tiffany frowned, "Idiot doesn't think his mother will blow him up if he screws up. Hell, he doesn't think he'll screw up."
    "Which one of her sons?" Trowa sounded surprisingly Not Happy.
    "It was Arthur... The younger one." Tiffany sounded a bit surprised.

        The Tallgeese darted in front of the FalconWing and blocked its path.
    "Idiot! Stop!" Sidra shouted over the comm.
    "Get out of my way, Sidra! I'm going to avenge my mother!" Shino snapped back.

Continued In Gundam Wing: A New Era, Episode 20:
"Sorrow and Heartache"