Let Me Sleep
Written by Cynthia Joy Finnegan
Based on the Anime series "Mobile Suit Gundam Wing", created by Katsuyuki Sumizawa
Rated M for depictions of torture, brainwashing, and both English and Chinese profanity (loosely translated into English)
Characters, mecha, and concepts are not mine, just the story. Gundam Wing belongs to Bandai. I used them without permission and not for profit.
Gundam Wing © Sunrise. Used without permission and not for profit.
Summary: How Zhang Wu Fei wound up willingly working for the Mariemaia Army.
December 10th, AC 196 ...
Damn, this is my last clip, the battered last heir of the Dragon Clan thought grimly as his licked his dry lips. Somehow, his cover story of being a disaffected mobile suit pilot looking for another war and an easy paycheck had been blown all to Hell and gone, but he was determined that if he went down, he was going to go down fighting.
Zhang Wu Fei's unofficial "mission" was supposed to be simple: find and rescue an eight-year-old little girl before her insane grandfather could use the child to further his mad scheme to take over the world, and bring her into protective custody. Simple, right?
Wrong. He had almost forgotten that the little girl, Mariemaia, was the illegitimate daughter of Treize Khushrenada, the man who used Wu Fei and his Gundam, Altron, as a suicide weapon nearly a year earlier, and that she was also the granddaughter of Dekim Barton, the mastermind behind Operation Meteor, and the man who took over much of the pilots' training in an attempt to make them into his ideal of Perfect Soldiers. Worse, someone found out that the young Chinese man wasn't what he was claiming to be, told Barton, and now the Gundam pilot was running for his life.
Wu Fei slapped the last clip into his Sig Sauer P238 and quickly pulled the hammer back, then took careful aim and fired off two shots. The first one creased the scalp of one of his pursuers; the other one ricocheted off a large packing crate and embedded itself into the wall, causing the rest to duck and giving Wu Fei the chance to sprint towards another hiding place. All he needed was a few seconds to contact his friend, Sally Po, and have her send in a Preventer team to arrest everyone ...
If I ever find out name of the baboon's asshole* who blew my cover for me, I'm going to go Yui on their asses, and they're all gonna die slow and very painful deaths. Dammit all, I told Trowa keeping that name would come back to bite us all in the ass ...
The slender youth slipped behind another stack of crates for cover, then took two more shots at his pursuers, clipping one in the shoulder. He had five bullets left, and would be disarmed after that.
Okay, the way I see it, I've got three options, Wu Fei thought, smiling grimly to himself. One, I can keep running 'til I get to the hangar and hope I don't get shot while trying to board Nataku. Two, I can surrender and hope I don't get shot, period. Three, I grab the deadman's switch from Nataku's cockpit and use my last bullet to commit suicide, which will make my hand spasm and cause her to self-detonate, thus saving the Earth and taking most of these assholes with us. I'm screwed either way, so ...
Damn, I'm really beginning to sound like Hiiro used to. Neither surrender nor suicide is an option, just the easy way out. I have to live through this and try to escape, so maybe I can put a stop to this insanity before another war starts. There's no way in Hell I'm gonna die two days before my sixteenth birthday.
While he'd kept most of his pursuers occupied, another group had snuck around behind the young Dragon, jumped him, and began beating on him mercilessly. As he lost consciousness, Wu Fei's mind traveled back to his visit to Sally Po's new office at the equally new Preventer Agency, two weeks earlier.
It had been the first time he visited the pretty blonde doctor since the war ended, and he'd wanted to catch up. Instead of just socializing, she offered him ...
"A rescue mission?" Wu Fei had asked innocently.
"Yep," the doctor replied, handing the young pilot a photo. "It's a little girl, one you've already met."
"Yeah, I remember her. Said her name is Mariemaia Khushrenada, and Treize was her father. Cute kid, but she's a total brat who needs a major attitude adjustment."
"From what we've been able to gather so far, that "attitude" comes from her grandfather, Dekim Barton," Sally offered. "He practically raised her."
Wu Fei turned pale for a moment and said "Please tell me you're joking."
"I would, but I'd be lying. Why?"
"Dekim Barton was the mastermind behind Operation Meteor and the man who financed the building of the Gundams. He's also the father of the real Trowa Barton."
"The real Trowa Barton?"
"Yeah. The guy we call Trowa Barton isn't the real one," the Chinese youth elaborated. "Dekim Barton's son was shot a few weeks before we were sent to Earth, and our Trowa, who was one of the mechanics working on Heavyarms, took his place as the pilot. He never said who killed the guy, but our Trowa didn't sound too upset by his death."
"Hmmm ... maybe something bad happened between them," Sally speculated, rubbing her finger against her chin.
"Maybe ... Sally, count me in. I feel the need to make a little mischief," Wu Fei finally said in a determined tone. He'd been itching for something to do since the war ended, and if he could do anything to stop another one from starting, a little off-the-books undercover work for the newly-formed Preventer Agency was right up the slate-eyed Chinese boy's alley. He stood up and added "If you weren't old enough to be my big sister, I'd kiss you."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, short stuff, just not with me. By the way, happy sixteenth birthday, even if it is a couple of weeks early," Sally replied with a grin, then gave her young friend a sisterly hug and kissed him on his high forehead. Physically, Wu Fei had grown up some since she'd last seen him on MO-2, but he still had determination in his dark slate gray eyes.
"Thanks. And I'm not that short anymore."
"I've noticed that. This is your ... what ... third growth spurt this year?"
"No, second," Wu Fei quipped. "So, when can I start?"
"Tomorrow. There's a mobile suit carrier waiting at the Spaceport. All you need is Altron."
In the Present ...
Wu Fei woke up shackled to a chair and knew his torture would begin soon, with Dekim Barton personally supervising every step.
Master O had been right about the man and his methods. At least when he'd been captured by OZ, they had only resorted to the occasional beating. He was about to discover that Barton's methods were far more subtle ... and far crueler than anything OZ could ever devise; that being beaten was the least of the "punishments" Wu Fei was in for. From the look of the room he found himself in, water boarding and sleep deprivation were also on the menu.
What the elder Barton wanted was simple and two-fold: he wanted to know who shot his son, and for Wu Fei and the other pilots to implement Operation Meteor as it was originally planned out. Wu Fei refused, and received a blow to his handsome face.
"Go screw yourself," Wu Fei replied to Dekim Barton in Mandarin, a defiant grin creasing his bruised features. The man in the black suit, the one who had approached him twice, once alone and the second time with Mariemaia, curled his hands into fists and used one to backhand the Chinese Gundam pilot, splitting his lower lip.
All that did was make Wu Fei more defiant than before. He added "Eat shit and die, old man! I'll never help you commit mass murder, and neither will any of the others!" in a shout.
"We'll see about that," Dekim replied, signalling to the thug who had just struck the boy to twist a knob attached to a pipe. Wu Fei was barely able to get any air into his lungs before the spigot over his head was opened up and a powerful stream of freezing cold water struck him full in the face.
A week of no sleep, little food, beatings and ice water passed, and Wu Fei began running a fever from of all of it. With exhaustion threatening to overwhelm him, the proud heir of the Dragon Clan finally broke.
"Please ... stop ...," Wu Fei begged, shivering from being nearly drowned with icy cold water. The Chinese boy's head bowed as tears of pain and mind-numbing exhaustion began streaming down his bruised bronze cheeks. "I'll ... I'll do anything you want ... I'll serve you willingly, but ... please ... for the love of God ... let me sleep ..."
"I'll let you rest as soon as you tell me what happened to my son, Trowa," the oily old man promised. His dignity shattered, the Altron pilot told Barton all he knew about his son's death, and of the young, nameless man who took Trowa's place.
Blackthorn's Circus, two weeks later ...
Cathy Bloom looked out at the pitifully few patrons at the evening's performance with a growing sense of dismay. She knew this was one of the poorer colonies in the L3 cluster, but a circus was still a cheap way to have fun. Standing next to the pretty knife thrower was a young man with cinnamon-colored hair that shielded part of his handsome face.
"Perhaps they're into other forms of entertainment," the youth calling himself Trowa Barton replied softly, looking at the group of armed men standing at the tent's entrance.
"Other forms ...? What do you mean, Trowa? Trowa ... ?" Cathy asked before she noticed he was no longer there. The young clown had walked off, leaving his half mask on the ground behind him.
When she caught up to the young man she thought of as her kid brother, she found him kicking the asses of the men they'd seen at the entrance. From the look of things, the thugs tried to get the drop on the young Gundam pilot, and he beat some sense into them. Trowa searched the man he'd just knocked unconscious, and found an ID card in his inside breast pocket. His eyes widened in shock when he saw the logo above the man's name.
The logo said "Barton Foundation," and Nanashi knew he'd been found out.