Episode 9:
War Begun, Hell Unchained

        The year is After Colony 216. After Venus' declaration of war, the World Nation scrambles to prepare itself. In the meantime, the Gundam pilots gather on Mars to take control of new Gundams to help combat the Venusian menace.

        Stung by her parents' "betrayal" a bitter Sidra Peacecraft disowns her parents and steals the Tallgeese Gundam, and headed for Earth. Wufei is being invited to Mars to handle his unruly daughter, Meiran, who assisted with the daring theft. Siduri, whom also assisted in the theft, is "grounded for life".

        Siduri sighed. Why am I always stuck picking people up? Once again, he was parked at the space port waiting for one of his uncles to arrive. This time it was Quatre he was waiting for. This so sucks... So I helped Sidra steal a suit and punched Dad... Big deal... Okay... maybe it is.... Hrm...
    Siduri's music blared, as usual, annoying anyone within fifty feet of his car. I hope Sid's okay... I've heard that suit gave Dad a heart attack, and that was with the old boosters... The new Vernier II's are even more absurdly fast. Or at least, that's what he'd heard listening in on the technicians.
    It wasn't long before Quatre spotted the ungodly green car he'd been told to look for (with a yellow smiley face of the hood).
    "HMM? OH! HI UNCLE QUATRE! CLIMB IN!" Siduri yelled over his music.
    "I CAN'T HEAR YOU UNCLE QUATRE! SPEAK UP!" Siduri yelled again.
    "I CAN'T- HEY!" Siduri twitched as Quatre reached in and turned the stereo down, "If you wanted me to turn it down, you should have said something."
    "I did... Repeatedly."

        "Hey! Quatre! Long time no see!" Duo waved from his perch on Deathscythe's foot, "Check out the engineers- OW!" Stephanie whacked him with wrench. Her sister, Shannon, bounded up in front of Quatre.
    "O-KA-NE!" She held out her hand.
    "Excuse me?"
    "MONEY." The head of finances waited, "You pay me, I pay the employees. You get your Gundam. We all go home happy. Pay up. Last month's check was late, also."
    "Sorry... I don't have my check book. Can you wait 'till I unpack?"
    "... GO UNPACK THEN!"
    "Yeah! I've almost got enough for the Perfect Grade 1:60 scale Zeta Gundam model!" Steph yelled from behind Deathscythe, "Do you KNOW how expensive those things are!?"
    "They're kinda weird, aren't they?" Duo ducked before the hammer hit him.
    "Damn! I missed!" Stephanie went back to work.
    "Case in point-"
    "WE ARE PROUD OF BEING WEIRD!!!!" A pink haired girl yelled.
    "Damn right Momoko! But do you have to yell?? Maybe you should lay off the sugar??" Stephanie sweatdropped slightly.
    "I am the Queen of Insanity! Of course I'm weird!" Kiandra grinned from where she was studying the blueprints for Altron.
    "I LIKE MY SUGAR! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH!" Momoko waved her bag of sugar in the air.
    "Moving right along.... " Duo eyed the crazy women, "How ya been? I hear you had Meiran over for awhile too. She's in biiiig trouble now... She helped Sidra steal Milliardo's Gundam."
    "She's here? I thought they'd call Wufei out here..." Quatre looked slightly surprised.
    "Apparently she had a duel with her old man and kicked his butt. Serves him right... cutting my braid like that.... But I think Wufei will be here soon. Noin called Sally about Meiran's behavior." Duo examined the end of his braid. He was still miffed about it being cut, but he was plotting his revenge. I'll get you for it, Wufei.... Just watch! He looked at the bright pink of Momoko's hair. Pink is such a pretty color for a gundam..... heheheh....
    "Duo? Hello?? Duo???"
    ".... I don't think I want to know... I'll be unpacking-"
    "REMEMBER THE CHECK BOOK!!" Shannon yelled from wherever she'd vanished to in the hangar.

        "The girl is dead..." Wufei grumbled as he packed his things, "She probably gave Sidra the IDEA."
    "Wufei... calm down!" Sally leaned in the door way of their room, watching him pack.
    "I am calm!" Wufei snapped.
    "No you aren't. You are pissed off, it's been a week! Calm down, it's not as big a deal as it seems!"
    "Stealing mobile suits is 'not a big deal'?? The girl-"
    "The girl is your daughter! Refer to her by name, Wufei." Sally sounded Not Happy.
    "... Meiran, had no respect for her elders or other people's property."
    "Maybe she was defending a cause she felt was right. Something I'm SURE you can associate with."
    "I suppose we'll see when I get there." Wufei slammed his suit case shut.
    "Either way, being angry about it right now isn't going to do anything but raise your blood pressure and increase your odds of getting gray hairs. I think I saw one the other day..."
    Wufei twitched. Sally walked up and examined his head, then plucked out a hair. She held it up for him to see.
    "I rest my case!"
    Wufei twitched again. It was indeed a gray hair.
    "Anyways, they said Siduri would pick you up and that you wouldn't be able to miss his car. It's bright green with a yellow smiley face painted on the hood. They also said you'd be able to HEAR it playing 'music' from as much as fifty feet away." Sally smiled a bit, "He also helped Sidra steal the Tallgeese. And no, you may not kill him. Or Meiran."
    "I wasn't going to."
    "Just making sure, dear." Sally kissed Wufei's cheek, "Come on, you have a shuttle to catch."

        Sidra awoke to the smell of hospital food and the occasional beep of equipment.
    "Oooooh... Where.... where am I?" She tried to sit up, but was gently pushed back down.
    "Mom! Dad! She's awake!" Ariana's all too perky voice rang in Sidra's ears. She opened her eyes and took in her surroundings. Indeed, it was a hospital room. Ariana was looking at her.
    "You told your parents I was here?" Sidra mumbled.
    "You passed out! What else was I supposed to do once I got you to the hospital?"
    "They didn't notify Mom and Dad, did they-?"
    "Not yet. They just got back from another trip."
    Relena and Heero walked into the plain room.
    "What are you doing with the Tallgeese?" Heero asked, sounding Not Happy. Of course, with him, that was a fairly normal tone.
    "I ran off... and it was the only suit able to get into orbit on it's own." Sidra replied, wishing she could pass out again.
    "Heero, she just came out of a coma, relax." Relena scolded, "She doesn't need to be interrogated right now!"
    "How long was I out-?"
    "A week. You had a heart attack, and according to the doctor, some irregularities because of severe gravitational forces. How are you feeling?" Relena sat down by the bed.
    "Like crap." Sidra sighed.
    "You're lucky you're alive." Heero, so politely, pointed out.
    "You aren't gonna tell my parents.... are you??" Sidra asked, most fearfully.
    "Pleeeeease Mom! Dad! Don't tell on her!" Ariana pleaded on her cousin's behalf. Relena nodded.
    "You just rest. We can talk about your parents later."
    "Relena-" Heero objected, but was interrupted.
    "THANK YOU MOM!!!" Ariana cheered. Sidra blissfully passed out.
    "Keep it down, you just made your cousin pass out." Heero glared at his daughter, who frowned.
    "Soooorrrrrrrrry Dad.... But you aren't gonna tell on her either, right?" Ariana stared at her father, debating on glaring or puppy eyes.
    "He isn't. Right?" Relena shot Heero a 'look'.
    "... At least until we find out why she's here." Heero reluctantly agreed.

        "We just spotted a group of mobile suit carriers heading for Earth!" Sally exclaimed over the comm, already back on the job after seeing Wufei off.
    "Right. We'll send up the new Gryphons and the Tauruses! How many carriers?" Mariemaia replied over the comm.
    "3 carriers. That'd be thirty suits. Plus a few of those new Serpents acting as escort. Milliardo sent us the information he got when Mars was attacked. Watch out for the Serpent's weapons!"  Sally read off the technical data.

    "Commence operations!" Lady Une shouted, climbing into one of the new Gryphon suits. It's been awhile since I last had to give that order. She thought to herself. The counterattack force consisted of 20 of the Gryphons, and 20 Tauruses, all manned by former OZ and Alliance pilots. The newer pilots were preparing to go to Mars for training, while old military pilots had been called out of retirement to fight in this defensive war.
    The Venus carriers had already unloaded their troops when the Preventers arrived, immediately unloading the Gryphons and Tauruses.
    "What are those?" a pilot pondered over the comm. The enemy force consisted entirely of suits similar to the Taurus.
    "No time to think about that now!" Lady Une exclaimed, dodging the first round of the attack. "Shoot them down!"
    The two forces clashed, the Venus Orions doing better than the Tauruses overall, but getting pounded by the newer Gryphons. The fact the Venus force was outnumbered became swiftly apparent.
    "Watch it! The Serpents are entering the fight!" Mariemaia shouted over the comm, monitoring the battle from Preventer HQ.

    "Damnit! When did they have time to produce new mobile suits?!" Kwannon slammed her fist down on the console. One by one, the blinking dots representing the Orions winked out, far faster than the Preventer force was shrinking. "And where did they get pilots skilled enough?! They haven't had time to train up new pilots!"
    "How's it going?" Nimeesha walked in, watching the console.
    "... They seem to have already produced new suits." Kwannon pressed a button and brought up the visual from one of the Orions, showing the new suits. "I wonder when they had time to get them designed."
    "They were probably already designed ahead of time just in case. It wouldn't take much effort to produce them if they needed to." Nimeesha replied, relatively uninterested. "Attacking them head on like this won't get us anywhere. We need to destabilize them, throw the World Nation into chaos by removing the one vital link that holds the entire thing together...."

    "AAUGH!" Another Taurus went down, but used the remaining booster power to charge head-on at one of the shielded Serpents. The two suits both exploded violently as the rest dodged out of the way.
    "There's only a few left!" Lady Une coached the remaining Gryphon troops. "C'mon!"
    The Orions had essentially been wiped out, leaving two or three Serpent IIs left to contend with. The enemy pilots, not being too stupid, banded together and used the combined shield pods to cover their little cluster.
    "The shields won't hold up against the talons! Get in close!"
    The Gryphon unit scattered, dodging the rain of fire the Serpent cluster threw out, suddenly boosting in at them, head on, as the beam talons activated and flicked forward into the attacking position, clawing out the shields and leaving the ammo depleted Serpents defenseless except for beam sabers, which were unwieldy weapons in the massive suits' hands.
    "Surrender! You can't win now." Lady Une commanded the cluster. "You're outnumbered, outgunned, and out of ammunition."

    "Damnit! The Serpents are toast!" Kwannon muttered some curses to herself.
    Nimeesha walked over to a console and type in a sequence of commands. "They can't be taken hostage, and can't be trusted to detonate themselves before they get captured. So we'll just have to detonate them from here." She entered the final command.
    "Remote detonation confirmed." the computer chirped.

    "What the-?" one of the Serpent pilots looked down at his controls.
    "Self detonation in 5... 4..." the computer blinked.
    "Wha-?! Oh no!" the pilot tried frantically to unhook himself and get out of the suit.
    "2... 1...."
    The three Serpent IIs exploded in a massive fireball.
    "What in the world-?!" Lady Une gasped. "They detonated themselves?!"
    "I don't think so!" Mariemaia came on the line. "We picked up a communication shortly before they blew up. They may have self detonated, but it was done by remote!"
    "They'd kill their own forces just to keep them from being captured?!"
    "Apparently." Mariemaia sighed. "Sending in carriers to pick you guys up. How'd the new Gryphons do?"
    "Pretty well. I think they'll ultimately end up replacing the Taurus as the primary space combat suit we use." Lady Une replied, landing back on the carrier along with the remaining Preventer force. "How's the development going on the NUCU unit?"
    "Slowly. Hopefully the prototype will be ready in a few more weeks." Mariemaia looked over the reports.
    "Any idea who the test pilot for it will be?" Lady Une had a feeling she already knew.
    "Yeah." Mariemaia sounded awfully happy. "What better person to test out the NUCU system than a cripple?"
    "Don't worry, Auntie Une!" Mariemaia chuckled. "See you back at HQ in awhile!"

        Siduri sat in his car and twitched. What am I? A taxi driver!? Well... I guess this is better than doing the dishes in cafeteria or cleaning the bathrooms... He sighed. That's what he got for helping his sister steal a suit and punching his father! His music blared, once again annoying anybody within fifty feet of him.
    Wufei spotted the hideous green car and walked over.
    "HI UNCLE WUFEI!" Siduri grinned.
    "....." Wufei climbed in and turned off Siduri's stereo.
    "Hey! I like that song!" Siduri twitched.
    "That isn't even music." Wufei replied tartly.
    "Maybe not to an old geezer like you!" Siduri turned his music back on, but not quite as loud as before. (It's only annoying people within ten feet now!) "My car. My music." Siduri started his car and headed back to academy.

        Duo sat in front of a vid comm talking to Hilde. He hadn't been expecting a call from Hilde. A bit of a surprise. He shot a glare at Wufei as the Chinese pilot walked in, closing the door in Siduri's face.
    "OW!" Siduri grumbled and went to go inform his 'cousin' Meiran that her father was here.
    "Duo! I've got a surprise for you!" Hilde beamed. It was a psychotic sort of beam, but beaming none the less.
    "Eh.... A surprise...?"
    "Yeah... I've been feeling sick in the mornings, so at a neighbor's insistence I took a pregnancy test-"
    "EH! NOT HERE! DON'T SAY IT HERE!" Duo freaked. Wufei raised and eyebrow, as did Trowa, Quatre, and everybody else in the hangar. Everyone gathered round to watch.
    "Why not!?" Hilde demanded, mood swinging from happy to annoyed in 0.2 seconds flat.
    "Everybody's listening! And... and..."
    "Ahhhh! HILDE! I - I..... " Duo stammered at a loss.
    "Congratulations, Duo!" Steph slapped him on the back, then grabbed his hand and shook it, "You're gonna be a dad!"
    "Eh...." Duo paled. Shannon threw some confetti (where she got it is a mystery).
    "Three cheers!" Jeanie yelled.
    "HIP HIP!"
    The engineers some how managed to throw a mini cheering party before returning to work.
    "They're the engineers." Duo squeaked. Wufei blinked.
    "They are?" He frowned. Duo ignored him.
    "Don't worry, if I tried anything, they'd severally injure - OW!" A bag sugar landed with a 'thud' on his head.
    "Damn right we'd injure you if you tried anything!" Momoko yelled before retrieving the sugar.
    "Case in point... Meiran would also." Duo sweatdropped slightly.
    "Okay. I forgive you. Talk to you later Duo-kinz! Love ya!" Hilde blew a kiss and shut off the comm. The engineers could be heard chuckling.
    "Duo-kinz? She calls you that??"
    "I feel sorry for you." Wufei crossed his arms.
    "I feel sorry for me." Duo was a lovely shade of red.
    "YO! 'DUO-KINZ!' GET YER BUTT OVER HERE! NEED YOUR HELP ON DEATHSCYTHE!" Stephanie shouted from atop said suit's head. Duo turned a brighter shade of red and headed over reluctantly.
    Wufei studied the scene. Several women were at work building the suits. One of which would be his.
    "Hi!" One of the engineers, Kiandra, bounded up to Wufei, "I'm in charge of working on Altron! I'm Kiandra! Nice ta meet ya!"
    Wufei promptly turned and left to track down Meiran.

        Meiran grumbled to herself and opened her dorm room's door. She'd wondered how long it would take her father to find her. She sat down on her bed and waited for the lecture that was bound to come.
    "I heard you helped Sidra steal the Tallgeese..."
    She didn't reply. Wufei continued.
    "That is inexcusable! You are a guest here! You shouldn't help somebody steal your host's suit! Don't you have any respect for other people's property or for them, girl!?" Wufei snapped.
    Meiran looked away, uninterested in the conversation.
    "Don't ignore me! I ought to send you home! Stealing! Are you out of your mind!?"
    Meiran twitched. You can't send me home, Daddy. I earned the right to be here. You lost any right to control where I go.
    "Are you even listening!?" Wufei scowled.
    "Not really." Meiran replied flatly.
    "I am your father-"
    "I wish you weren't. Get out."
    "I hate you. For all I care you can just drop dead."

Continued in Gundam Wing: A New Era, Episode 10:
"Famous Last Words..."