Story: MS Gundam Wing: True Protector (chapter 1)

Authors: Shanejayell

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Chapter 1

Title: One: Just Communication

Part One: Just Communication

"You son of a bitch," Noin said softly, furious.

Zechs stood uncomfortably on the other side of the desk, his eyes dark and sad. "I'm sorry Noin," he said softly, "but I can't continue to lie to you any longer. I never meant to hurt you and I thought you knew..."

"You never meant to hurt me?" she echoed him disbelievingly. "You come in here, tell me you're gay, and that, basically, the only reason you were with me so long is that I'm boyish enough for you to get it up with, and you don't want to hurt me?!" she all but roared.

Zechs flinched under her gaze, but he continued, "I am sorry. I'm leaving, and I don't plan to be back. Good luck, Noin."

After he left, she just put her head down on the desk and cried.

The soft knock on the door brought her back to reality with a bump. She hastily dried her eyes on her sleeve, and called out "Come in."

Releena entered the room quietly, gently pulling the door shut behind her. She looked worriedly at Noin. "Are you going to be all right?" she asked Noin softly, as she sat down in the chair in front of her desk.

"I'll be fine," Noin said to her softly. Releena didn't answer, just looked at her steadily, and again Noin was struck by the strength of that gaze. Releena obviously knew she wasn't all right, even if she didn't say so.

"Do you want to take some time off?" Releena asked. "I can arrange it with Lady Une. She still holds me in some regard."

Noin shook her head, smiling over at Releena gratefully. "No, thank you. I want to try to concentrate on something right now."

"How about a potentially difficult new job?" Releena offered. Noin looked at her with a raised eyebrow. "Lady Une will give you a full briefing on it, but here's the gist: I've been targeted by a group of former OZ soldiers who say they want me dead. To make matters worse, they have got a technology that can take out a Gundam."

"How did they manage to do that?" Noin said, honestly surprised. Their new suits were state of the art, if not a bit better.

"A new solution: a very nasty little computer virus." Releena said and shook her head at the idea. "So would you like the job?"

Noin looked at the young woman who stood there and realized that Releena was a little afraid. 'Of course, with Heero gone, I can't blame her. I forget, sometimes, how alone she is,' Noin thought. "Yes, as long as Lady Une allows it," Noin answered.

Later that day, Lady Une used her pointer to direct Noin, Releena, and several other officers' attention to the map at the front of the room. "Sally Po," she said, "along with Wu-fei, went to check out rumors of a possible insurgency in this region." She paused, and pointed at the section of the map. "They encountered three modified Virgo mobile suits, and attempted to open communication. They received only what they thought was white noise, but a few moments later, their Peacemaker suits suddenly shut down. Only critical life support functions were left on-line."

"So the virus was transmitted to the Gundams over the radio," Noin said thoughtfully. Suddenly, Une whapped her on the head with the pointer. "Oww!"

"The Peacemakers aren't Gundams. No gundanium allow, just similarly designed," Une prissily corrected, in that moment she looked a bit like a school teacher, not a military commander. Releena smirked at Noin's discomfort, and received a whack herself for her trouble.

"That hurts," Releena complained. Rubbing the bump, she asked "So what do we know about the enemy?"

"They're a previously unknown faction of former OZ soldiers, who call themselves 'the real OZ'," Lady Une said with a wry smile.

"How terribly original of them," Noin commented dryly, a sour look on her face. She may have left OZ years ago, but she still didn't like seeing the name dragged down.

Une smiled sympatheticly at Noin, "They have a rather unusual demand: that Earth's government reverse the general amnesty offered to both sides after the war. They want war-crimes trials for White fang members, OZ soldiers, and the Gundam pilots."

Releena looked honestly confused. "But why on Earth would they want that?" she asked them, surprised.

Noin smiled a bit. "I'll handle this one," she said to Lady Une. She turned to Releena. "You see, because there were no trials, the OZ soldiers believe that in the eyes of the public all OZ soldiers are regarded as criminals. In a way, they feel their honor is in question."

Lady Une nodded. "If we don't give in to their demands, they say they will try to assassinate Releena, who they regard as the primary source of their troubles." Une smiled and shrugged. "Noin and I, after some discussion, have decided to embark on a three stage plan. First, we'll put a double in place, second, we remove Releena from the public eye, and third, we dismantle this 'Real OZ'. Noin, you're job will be to move Releena into a secure location and guard her." Noin nodded grimly. Lady Une's lips twitched, as if she was resisting the urge to smile "And here's our Releena double."

The young woman walked in wearing Releena's typical uniform, and a long brown wig matching Releena's own hair. But Releena didn't think she had ever stomped around the room like that or had ever had that sour of a look on her face. "Hello, Hilde," Releena said, smiling. Hilde just growled loudly.

As Releena and Noin left, Releena saw Une walk over to Hilde. "We'll try to keep this as short as possible," Une said to her with surprising gentleness.

"Thank you very much, ma'am," Hilde said to her with icy formally. Une winced a bit, taking a step back, and Hilde took the opportunity to leave.

Releena looked around the upper story apartment with no little awe. The living room alone was massive, and from what she could see the other rooms were almost as large. She ran over to the window and looked out at a spectacular view of the city below. She turned to look at a smiling Noin. "I wasn't expecting this!"

Noin laughed. "You should be safe here. There's no buildings anywhere around this building near this height, so no one can shoot in easily. I've registered us here under a well established alias with a verifiable history. Also, I've used this place enough times, tipping generously, that the staff doesn't ask any questions." she explained.

"How did you find it?" Releena asked curiously.

"Remember back when I was running missions for you and the Sank Kingdom? I established this as a safe house then." she smiled. "I've always liked to have a fall back position, as well."

"What do you mean?" Releena said, frowning. "Why here?"

"In a standard Taurus mobile suit, I could have you evacuated out of the Sank and over here in an hour." Noin explained calmly. "Just in case."

Releena looked at her in a bit of surprise. "You made sure you could save me," she said softly, looking at Noin fondly.

"Just doing my job," Noin said wryly.

"Above and beyond the call of duty," Releena said smiling. "Have I ever thanked you for how well you've protected me over the years?"

"Not so well, and I had help," Noin said dryly. "The Gundams, Preventers, your brother, Heero..."

"I mean, you've been the one that's always been there for me," Releena patiently explained. "From when Zechs first sent you to guard me." Then Releena blushed a bit, realizing who she had mentioned, "I'm sorry, Noin."

"It's all right, Releena," Noin calmly assured her. "I'm not over him yet, but I do think I can bear mention of his name." She smiled across to her. "I'm sure you can understand, what with what happened with Heero and all."

Releena nodded. "Anyway, I just wanted to thank you, for all you've done for me over the years. In your line of work, I doubt you hear that often."

Noin was actually blushing brightly, smething Releena found herself secretly enjoying. "You're welcome. Now could we please get off this topic?" Noin pleaded.

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