Episode 23:
Inner Turmoil

        With mistrust planted in the Senate by Kwannon Yokoshima, hearings take to the idea of revenge, violence, and war. Mars governor Milliardo Peacecraft's motives regarding the construction of new Gundams is in question and there is little that can be done to dissuade the Senate. Also, the anti-terrorist organization, the Preventers, is beginning to come under the Senate's fire.

        Sidra Peacecraft has once again gone 'under cover' in the guise of Roku, to learn what she can at the Senate hearings for her father. She and Shino serve as escort to Tiana, who wishes to still attend the hearings, despite the lack of a Venusian ambassador. On Mars, Siduri is allowed to become the pilot of the PMS designed Gundam, the Star-Streak. On a colony in the Earth Sphere, Tiffany has, to put it mildly, made the first move.

        Tiana sat in the guest room she'd been given in the Yuy household, bed covered in newspapers, news magazines, and a few select tabloids, going over the headlines and articles that they contained. Articles about her, her mother, Kwannon, and Venus. To say the least, she was not happy with any of them.
    "'Venus Abandons Young Girl To Act As Spy'!?" She flipped through the newspaper to their article. Why are they doing this?? 'On September 10th AC 216 Venusian peace ambassador Kwannon Yokoshima fled Earth after fatally shooting Vice Foreign Minister Relena Yuy, abandoning Tiana Pembroke, daughter of the Venusian governess. The fourteen year old girl is currently staying with the grieving members of the Yuy family, claiming to not have known about the assassination plot. She was sighted attending a recent Senate meeting with Preventers' agent Yoshino Yuy, and an unknown woman working with the Preventers. It is believed by many that her apparent innocence is a cover up for spying on Senate hearings and reporting back to Venus.'- Tiana's reading was interrupted by a knock on the door.
    "Come in..." She sighed, setting the newspaper down. The door opened quietly, Shino stepping in and closing the door behind him.
    "What.. are you doing?" Shino boggled at Tiana's choice of reading material.
    "... Seeing what everyone is saying about Venus and myself..." The girl picked up a tabloid, and showed the young Preventers' agent the cover, which featured a bad quality picture of her, and a large headline boldly stating she, along with 'Roku', was an alien...
    "... Um... That's just tabloid trash..."
    "Still! I don't get why they're going on about it. And it'd be nice if they'd try to stay in the realm of the believable." Tiana explained, exasperated.
    "They just want to sell their stuff, it's not that big a deal." Shino blinked, walking over to the bed to study other headlines regarding his house guest.
    "'Venusian governess Abandons Daughter' isn't a big deal!?" Tiana picked up another paper, "'Venusian governess, Nimeesha Pembroke, proving herself an uncaring mother, has abandoned her fourteen year old daughter on Earth, in the hands of the family with the most reason to desire revenge against the governess. Heero Yuy was unavailable for comment, though his son, Yoshino Yuy has been sighted attending Senate hearings with Tiana Pembroke in full Preventers uniform. Also accompanying her is an unknown Preventers agent. None of the parties have been available for comment and it is unlikely any will grant an interview.' There's plenty more if you want to hear it." Tiana looked up from the paper.
    "No thanks..." Shino shook his head, "Anyways, I thought you might like to know that my father is going to be attending the next Senate meeting as well."
    "He is? He doesn't seem very politically minded..."
    "... He's not, really... But he wants to try. I think he wants to... try to talk sense into the Senate before they do something stupid."
    "Well... I suppose it couldn't hurt to try. I wish they'd listen to me." Tiana flipped through a magazine, "Talking to them is about as effective as talking to Arthur about social equality."
    "He's that bad?" Shino weakly joked.
    "I think he's worse, personally. Chayton says he's a lot like my dad was, but I don't really remember much about him really, not anything political anyways. Though if he really is like Arthur, I'm almost glad I never knew him well enough to know that."
    Shino nodded slightly, not sure how to respond, especially since it had been assumed on Venus that Tiana's father was assassinated by the World Nation after suggesting Venus seceding from them.
    "That's why Arthur and Kwannon have never gotten along. Although Kwannon actually smacked him on the way here to Earth."
    "... Your brother came with you?" Shino inquired, suddenly interested. Tiana blinked, detecting a change in his tone.
    "Yes... Both Arthur and Chayton. Kwannon said they'd both had a special errand to run or something. They came disguised as members of the shuttle crew so they wouldn't be bogged down by the media when they got here..." Tiana trailed off, ashamed at her naivety. Her brothers couldn't have possibly meant any good.
    "They must have gone to Mars from Earth... So they must have definitely been the ones to kidnap the PMS." Shino mused. Perhaps he should have kept in better contact with somebody on Mars close the to matter, "I'll have to ask Uncle Milliardo about it sometime."
    "... I should have asked my mother more than I did about this whole trip to Earth." Tiana set her current paper down, "I can't believe I've been so ignorant..."
    "Hey, it's not your fault. You had no way to know what's going on. People in our age groups shouldn't have to think about stuff like that. And we trust our parents, so it'd be natural not to inquire much."
    "But if I had I might have been able to find out about everything that my mother had planned before it happen..."
    "She probably wouldn't have told you the truth. Why exactly did she send you here anyways?" Shino cleared off some of the newspapers and sat down on the edge of the bed.
    "Educational value. First hand experience, I suppose. I think she wants me to go into politics like her. So if I was here I could meet and talk with other major political figures... Like your mother."
    Shino nodded slightly, "I think there's more to whatever your mom has in store than she's let on to anybody."
    "What do you mean?" Tiana glanced at Shino, who shrugged in response. "... Well, it's almost like she wants me to eventually govern Venus. She's sent me to a private school that deals mostly with educating those who intend to become political minded. I won't mind being involved in politics, but I don't think I could serve as a governess. Especially to Venus now."
    Another knock came, and Roku opened the door, "Hey, if we don't get going, we're going to miss our flight to the Senate hearing. Heero's waiting downstairs."

        "See you tomorrow, Professor." Students quietly filled out of the large lecture hall, leaving their blonde instructor to herself. She sighed and turned on the TV in the classroom, switching the government channel. She'd dismissed her students early so she could watch this meeting.
    Heero Yuy is supposed to be at the hearing today, along with the Venusian governess' daughter. There's been plenty in the paper about her. As for Heero Yuy, he's never seemed like one to be a political speaker. I wonder what he has in mind... Dorothy Catalonia mused to herself as she settled at her desk to watch. In the years following the Eve Wars, she'd removed herself from the political scene, finding she instead enjoyed philosophical debate. She'd also removed herself from her 'friendship' with Relena, merely writing letters every now and then. But now Relena Peacecraft was dead.
    "All right... Lady Une has joined us today to discuss issues regarding the Preventers. Let's let her speak before we make up our minds about anything."
    "Thank you, Mr. President." Lady Une stood up, the camera zooming in on her, "In AC 196, the anti terrorist group, known as the Preventers, was formed to search for and eliminate threats to the peace established in AC 195, and reaffirmed in AC 196. We were also removed from direct political control to prevent corruption of any sort-"
    "Are you implying that this Senate is corrupt?" Senator Hedge accused.
    "I am implying nothing, I am stating why the Preventers is not under direct political control. As you are well aware of, terrorist action has increased dramatically since Venus started its campaign against the World Nation, which is not an act of terrorism, but one of war. Such matters are technically out of our jurisdiction. However, when we received word of Venus perhaps gathering forces, we were told we could acquire designs for mobile suits as a precaution. These designs were drawn up for us by the engineering group Prototype Mobile Suits, known for pioneering the field of recreational mobile suits. Currently only one model, the Gryphon, has been constructed, though we have plans for a second, the Basilisk. These suits are specifically designed for combating other mobile suits. I am under the impression you want us to use these suits to control terrorist attacks."
    "The standard methods aren't working, Lady Une."
    "These terrorist attacks are destabilizing the Earth at a time when we must all be unified against a common enemy!" Senator Neta voiced her opinion forcefully.
    "Our mobile suits were designed to deal with Venusian forces, being as the Earth Sphere has no other defensive group besides the Preventers. Using them against these terrorists is inhumane." Lady Une answered calmly.
    "Well," President Shanie took over, the camera now focusing on him, "Senator Perth has proposed a bill for placing your organization under tighter government control to more effectively deal with the situation." The camera pulled back to show the whole assembly. It didn't escape Dorothy's sharp watch that Lady Une stiffened slightly and Yoshino Yuy silently glared. But who was that dark haired girl who was also with Tiana Pembroke. She looks... familiar... But who is she? Hmm... she's probably hiding something behind those sunglasses. Hmm. What war wouldn't be complete without some masked 'Zechs Merquise' running around, after all?
    "Such a bill is not necessary, Mr. President. The Preventers are quite capable of dealing with the situation independently." Lady Une responded, eyes narrowed slightly.
    "Then why wasn't the assassination of Relena Yuy prevented!?" The ever annoying Senator Perth sneered, resulting in murmurs from everyone else.
    "We had no information to go on, and were not even aware Miss Yokoshima was at the Yuy residence. Nothing could have prevented the tragedy, unfortunately."
    Eyes briefly glanced at Tiana, who looked down.
    Perth was oblivious to the glares sent at him from two sets of Prussian blue eyes.
    "Speaking of the assassination..." Senator Ashford cut in, "I believe something must be done to show Venus how we feel about their actions. Some form of revenge MUST be undertaken! These people must be shown that we mean business! That we are not afraid to fight them for what is right!""
    Tiana stood up suddenly, a fist clenched.
    "Do you think that's really what is right!? Listen to yourselves!! Revenge?? In the short time I knew Mrs. Yuy, I learned enough to know that she wouldn't want this! And 'those people' you want to show that you mean business to... Those people, are for the most part, normal people. It wasn't all of Venus who decided to take Mrs. Yuy's life."
    "Miss Pembroke-"
    "Do you really think violently assaulting them in return is what is right!? It's not like it will bring anyone back to life! It'll just take more lives!"
    "Miss Pembroke, you are speaking out of place!"
    "Well somebody has to!" Tiana shouted, "You people, you're turning on your only allies! Mars, the Preventers!"
    Dorothy sipped her coffee and studied the screen. She seems to have a lot of spunk, all things considered. This could prove interesting.
    "Miss Pembroke, you are but a child. You can't possibly comprehend this whole situation."
    "So you're implying youth is total ignorance??" Tiana snapped, their stupidity bringing out a generally well kept temper, "I'm not so young as to not know what you want to do is wrong! I may be the only one here who believes this, but there's still a chance things can be worked out without slaughtering people!"
    "Miss Pembroke, we have tolerated your presence here, but Venus has made its intentions quite clear, and you are not fit to take up the role as a Venusian ambassador. I am going to have to ask you to step down from the former ambassador's seat and NOT return."
    "If you'd just stop and think about what you want to do-"
    "Step down, Miss Pembroke! Or I will be forced to call security and have you removed. Either way we will continue this meeting without you."
    It seemed to Dorothy that Shino perhaps was swearing under his breath, however the audio equipment seemed not to pick up any sound.
    "....." Tiana looked down, then slowly headed for the exit, her two bodyguards in tow. The camera focused on her until the door closed behind her.
    I hope she isn't planning on giving up that easily. She has potential.... Let's see... Didn't that newspaper say she was staying with the Yuys? I think it did... Well, if she could refine her public speaking,, she might be able to accomplish things. There's more than one way to fight a war after all. Dorothy picked up a pen and paper and stepped once more onto the stage of history.

    Heero watched Tiana exit the Senate hall, cursing to himself. And here he was, about to likely anger them even more, given the subject of his speech and how the Senate had reacted to Tiana's pointing out to them the obvious. But he had to try and stop this war from progressing. He had to stop it before it could escalate to levels of carnage like he had witnessed and helped cause in AC 195. Not again. It just can't happen again. He noted to himself. He refused to admit it, but he could not bear to bring himself to fight again. After the Mariemaia Coup, he had finally accepted the fact that he would never have to fight again, never have to kill again. That little girl should have finally been able to rest in peace. But Fate apparently was not so kind.
    "Heero Yuy, you have the floor." President Shanie announced, rousing the once Perfect Soldier from his thoughts.
    "All right then..." Heero cleared his throat before continuing. I'm not cut out for this. Relena... Heero forced himself not to think about anything but the task ahead- trying to convince the apparently trigger-happy Senate into not escalating the war. "You all seem to think the Earth Sphere should exact revenge for Relena's assassination. Just how do you plan to do that?" Heero leveled his infamous Death Glare at the assembly. "Amass a strike force and attack? Or will you send a few highly specialized units to wreck havoc there?"
    Heero heard a few low murmurs among the assembly at that. Taking a deep breath, he continued. "It should sound awfully familiar. Do you want to repeat history that badly?"
    "What are you getting at?" Senator Stockard demanded.
    "On April 7th, AC 195, five Gundams were sent to Earth to exact revenge for an assassination. It was believed that the colonial leader, Heero Yuy-" That sounds so strange out loud... "-was assassinated by the Earth Sphere Alliance for his pacifistic ways, as well as stirring a sentiment among the colonies for independence. I'm sure you all can remember what that led into."
    "The Eve Wars..." Senator Zosia murmured softly. Most of the current Senate had been children during the war, and hadn't seen the same brutal side of the fighting that the pilots had.
    Heero nodded and continued. "A bloody and unnecessary war, and the near devastation of the entire Earth." He remembered THAT all too well. Had Libra fallen, the Earth would have been blanketed by a new ice age, rendered uninhabitable for decades, if not centuries. "Do you want to walk right into that same cycle all over again?"
    "But they killed the very embodiment of pacifism!!" Senator Perth exclaimed indignantly. Heero leveled a glare at the man.
    "And you want to honor her memory by starting another war?" Heero retorted in a low, dangerous voice. "Just because Relena Peacecraft is dead-" He nearly choked on the admission of that fact he had been trying to deny the past few days. "-doesn't mean that her ideals died with her!"

        Tiana hung her head and ignored the reporters, who were surprised to see her leaving the hall so early.
    "Miss Pembroke!"
    Tiana ignored the microphone thrust toward her. She was in no mood to talk, especially to some strange reporter just dying to find something out that they could use against her. She tried to hide her face with her hands, not wanting anyone to see she was ready to cry.
    "No comment." Shino intercepted the reporter, trying to clear a path to the car, "Excuse me... Can you people move??"
    "Miss Pembroke, the hearing is still in session! Why are you leaving now??"
    "Can you tell us if the Senate has reached a decision? Mr. Yuy?? Miss Pembroke?? Miss Seks??" One of the reports inquired, reading the ID badges on Shino and Roku.
    "No comment!" Shino snapped, getting sick of this and trying to help Tiana through the mass.
    Roku handled the situation much more effectively. Though not as diplomatically.
    "SHE'S GOT A GUN!" One of the reporters exclaimed as Roku showed her pistol and fired a few shots into the air, resulting in a flurry of picture-taking and the reporters scattering in momentary panic..
    "Get the hell outta here!!" Roku hissed, brandishing the weapon. Shino and Tiana stared at Roku for moment before hurrying to the car in the distraction. Roku followed swiftly.
    "Si-er-ROKU, that wasn't the most tactful way to handling that! You could get in serious trouble for something like that." Shino scolded.
    "'Roku' can get into as much trouble as she wants." Sidra replied flippantly, taking off her sunglasses, "It's a Preventers disciplinary issue, and Lady Une's not going to do anything about it."
    "... You worry me." Shino sweatdropped slightly. Sidra shrugged and quieted down, apparently turning to her own thoughts.
    Tiana sat as removed from the two as she possibly could, staring out the tinted window. I ruined what was probably my only chance...
    Shino sighed and wished there was some way he could comfort Tiana, having picked up easily on her distressed state.

        "Ah, it's so good to be back!" Shannon hugged the box containing her long sought after animation cel while Jenna, Momoko, and Jeanie sorted through various tabloids. Stephanie was busy assembling her model, and Kiandra was watching anime on TV.
    "Prototype Mobile Suits: Technical Geniuses Or TERRORISTS'!?!?!" Momoko shouted, enraged, "ALL THIS STUPID POLITICAL CRAP IS SLANDERING US!!!"
    "How dare they call us terrorists, no da!"
    "Grr! If they want terrorists, we should give them terrorists!!" Jenna twitched.
    "Well, we did really break laws and build Gundams, which are, of course 'symbols of rebellion'... Of course we did it with Mars' blessings..."
    "MARS RULES AND EARTH DROOLS!" Jenna declared loudly.
    "... I can't get this light to work." Stephanie complained from where she was building her Perfect Grade Gundam Zeta model.
    "... She builds Gundams but she can't get a little light on a Gundam model to work right." Howard noted from the door way.
    "GO AWAY YOU USELESS ANNOYING OLD FART!" Stephanie grabbed her trusty wrench and hurled it at the old man, who ducked, much to her annoyance.
    "Guess that rules out 'Technical Geniuses'." Shannon noted, smiling at her sister.
    "You! Be quiet!"
    Silence fell, interrupted by the phone in Tiffany's office ringing.
    "... Wow... Who could be calling?" Kiandra glanced at the door to the office.
    "... Should we answer? Should we enter the Sacred Office of the Boss?" Jeanie blinked.
    Howard wandered in and picked it up.
    "....." Came the nonexistent reply, "What are you doing in my office, Howard?"
    "Answering yer phone."
    "Obviously. Get one of the others on the phone."
    "Right, right. HEY! Crazy ladies! It's yer Boss!"
    "TIFFANY-SAAAAN!" Howard was almost trampled by the stampede into the office. It was a  battle for the phone, but victory was obtained by Jeanie, who broke everyone's eardrums with a Araki Kai style shriek of 'TAMAHOMEEEEEEEE!!!!!!'
    "Ow..." Shannon winced. Howard and the other PMS members were currently scattered on the floor twitching.
    "Moshi moshi, no da!" Jeanie spoke cheerfully into the phone.
    "The hell was that about?" Tiffany snapped over the phone.
    "We were fighting for the phone, no da! Ne! Tiffany-san! The tabloids are saying very mean things about us!"
    "... Aren't you the least bit concerned as to where I might be?"
    "Well if you're calling, aren't you safe, no da?" Jeanie blinked, "Besides, we all bet Howard that Trowa would come and rescue you!"
    "THAT'S SO CUUUUUUTE!!!!" Shannon, Stephanie, and Momoko cooed in the background.
    "I wish Wufei had come for me on Venus...." Kiandra said wistfully before being smacked upside the head by a paper fan.
    "So did he, no da??" Jeanie pried.
    "Yes." Tiffany sounded slightly annoyed, "I'm currently with him at I guess what you could call his place. The circus."
    "DA!!!!!!  YOU OWE US MONEY HOWARD!! TROWA RESCUED TIFFANYYYYY, NO DA!" Jeanie crowed triumphantly.
    "So where is Tiff exactly anyways?" Shannon actually inquired seriously.
    "With Trooooooooooowa... " Jeanie mimicked Stephanie's tone from several episodes ago.
    "OH?" Kiandra raised an eyebrow.
    "I CAN HEAR YOU IDIOTS IN THE BACKGROUND!!!" Tiffany shouted loud enough so said idiots could hear her.
    "Well, we get more money out of Howard if there was fluffage." Kiandra sweatdropped, loud enough o be heard
    "'Fluf-'" Tiffany stopped mid question, "YOU BET ON THAT!?!?!? YOU PERVERTS! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU GUYS!"
    "Gomen nasaaiiiii!" Jeanie sweatdropped and held the phone away from her ear.
    "I'm guessing there wasn't fluffage." Stephanie stated.
    "Was there at least any foreplay? No da?" Jeanie squeaked fearfully.
    *click* Dial tone.
    "She just hung up on us... da....." Jeanie hung up.
    "You know what that means then!!!" Kiandra spoke up.
    "SHE DIDN'T WANNA ADMIT IT!" They chorused.
    "Hey, we could always star six-nine her and get her back on the phone."
    "... 69.... Why does it have to 69?"
    Silence fell painfully on the group.

        Tiffany hung up the phone and briefly considered the possibility of banging her head on the wall, but decided against it. She had a slight hangover due to finishing half a bottle of wine all on her own. Events that had taken place while she'd been drinking were slightly skewed and she wasn't quite sure if what she thought had possibly happened had in fact happened, or much of what was discussed. Other than liver damage, this would be only other down side to drinking I can think of.
    She wandered out in search of Trowa, not quite sure where she might find him, having never been familiar in any way, shape, or form with the circus.
    "Hey, did you get a hold of your co-workers?" Catherine smiled and walked over.
    "... Unfortunately yes." That reminds me... I doubt Trowa's told her anything yet.
    "I bet they must have been worried about you."
    "... No, not... really." Tiffany sweatdropped slightly, "They were much more interested in who I was with and what was happening to see if they'd won some bet they'd made."
    "Oh..." Catherine blinked, "They really are a strange bunch, aren't they-?"
    "That's putting it mildly... Do you know where I could find Trowa? I kinda need to talk to him."
    "I think he's still in his trailer... It's kind of odd actually." Catherine noted.
    "Okay, thanks." Tiffany smiled slightly and headed off.

        "Hey, ya in there??" Tiffany knocked on the door, "I want to talk to you, Trowa." She stepped back as the door opened.
    "Tiffany?" Trowa blinked, not really knowing exactly what else to say.
    "Well at last check that's who I was. Mind if I come in?"
    "....." Trowa stepped aside to allow her in, then closed the door behind her.
    "So... um... oh yeah. First, I wanted to talk to you about Catherine." Tiffany turned to face Trowa, "Aren't you going to tell her?"
    "... Yes... I just... don't know how."
    "You know if you won't, I will eventually. She seems really nice, by the way."
    "....." Trowa nodded in response, "I'm not sure how she'll react though..." I don't know how I'll react when I tell her either...
    "Well there's only one way to find out. And you'd better tell her soon."
    "I know that..."
    "Secondly, I talked with the rest of the PMS, and hopefully one of those perverted idiots will tell everybody where we are and that we're all right. They were their normal selves..."
    Silence got off its lazy butt (and the PMS), reclaiming its proper place.
    "... Is there anything else?" Trowa inquired, studying Tiffany's expression while she tried to figure out his.
    This was quite the role reversal.
    "All right, all right. Yeah. Um.... last night." Tiffany sweatdropped slightly and looked away, feeling a bit embarrassed by the whole matter.
    "You did." Trowa stated flatly.
    "How'd... you know I was gonna ask about that??" Tiffany stared at the pilot.
    "It's a logical assumption you might not remember after drinking that much wine."
    "I remember! I just... wasn't sure... Wasn't sure I actually did that or not..." Tiffany stopped staring and looked down.
    "I hadn't really expected that..." Trowa admitted.
    "Well... I hadn't exactly planned on it... So... Um... I'm just... gonna... go now." Tiffany hastily excused herself and fled from the trailer, her pale complexion perhaps having gained a bit of color.
    Trowa found himself smiling slightly as he watched her go, deciding not to try and stop her to talk more. I'll have to talk to her about it later.

        Ariana looked through the mail, having little else to do, though everyone had returned home. Tiana seemed like a changed person, Shino was in his room pacing at last check, Sidra was talking to her dad, and Heero had vanished it seemed.
    Junk, junk. Bill, bill. Oh, a credit card application for Shino. Junk, "You may already be a winner"... Yeah right. Coupons! Eh? Ariana blinked, A letter from Dorothy? Doesn't she know that Mom's.... hey! This is addressed to Tiana!?

Continued in Gundam Wing: A New Era, Episode 24,
"Family Ties"