Late at night... the dormitory annexed to the campus.
Lights-out has long passed, and the pupils are deeply asleep. However, not visible from outside, in only one room a small table lamp is still burning.
Using the computer terminal, Heero wants to receive information from the colonies, though not directly, of course. The data goes through a few communication satellites, and additionally, what he receives is encoded. Besides, the L1 colony cluster he comes from has to be located on the other side of Earth at this time.
The deciphered code has turned into characters and flows across the screen as he starts to read. The information is about the Taurus transport operation by OZ. It's a large-scale operation. On the ground and in the air... there are two transport routes, and no matter how they are guarded, this is not comparable to the bases so far.
Suddenly, the characters disappear, and an artificial hand divided into a three-pronged fork appears.
It's the old man who raised him, trained him and made him the pilot of Wing. He understands this well enough with just the artificial hand. But it's the first time he contacts him in real time since he descended from the colonies.
It's not a common thing.
Thinking this, Heero frowns.
"The Taurus suits are a problem. They were equipped with the function to learn from past battle data and to give feedback. I would like to trust the OZ control system, but there's still the possibility that in the worst case the suit will move against the will of the pilot. If the suit does murder or anything similar by itself, the reaction to such things will be significant. Destroy them! They are about to become a menace to humankind."
After Heero has murmured this, the Doctor disappears as if he were satisfied. Immediately thereafter, Heero senses somebody over at the door.
At the same time as he turns around, there's a gun in Heero's hand. In front of the muzzle, a black-clothed figure is sneaking into the dim room.
"You can't shoot here, now can you? You'll wake everybody up!"
Raising both hands, Duo says this in his usual cheerful tone.
"What do you want?"
"I've come to say goodbye. I have a really bad feeling about this. OZ's transport plan is perfect. Besides, information has come in on two transport routes, in the air and on the ground. Both have no weakness. If we don't have some strategy on our side, we will be done for this time round."
Duo's voice is seldom so serious. And he has received the same information and mission as well.
Pointing away the muzzle, Heero waves towards himself with a jerk as if saying 'come here'.
When Duo looks into the computer, almost the same information he has received just shortly before is displayed. The map with the transport routes is exactly the same.
"As you said, I cannot manage both."
Heero says this while pointing at the map. Distance-wise, the two routes are not very far apart. However, when taking into consideration the extent of the defence, it's impossible to conquer both of them.
"I'll take the sky."
Saying this, Heero points to an airport before Moscow where the cargo planes have to interrupt their journey in order to refuel.
"Then I'll strike at the ground route."
Duo points at the narrow passage between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. It seems he intends to attack the train when it is crossing the mountain district there.
"I wonder what moves the others will do later on?" says Duo.
Heero turns cold eyes towards Duo.
"I don't rely on other people and the like."
"Well, I guess that's the way you are."
"And what about you?"
"Me? I don't make a hobby out of trusting other people. But if they're coming, I'll give them a big welcome" says Duo and shrugs.
"If an occasion presents itself, we'll meet again."
With a silly grin, Duo leaves the room.
In the dark room, Heero silently puts the gun on the desk and turns again towards the computer.
As the sun starts going down, a slight fog lies in a forest in Northern Europe, as if to repel the entrance of any human. Its seems totally as if the fog came out of the ground itself.
At the border between the plains and the forest, the tents of the circus troupe are gathered. As if under cover of the fog, Trowa leaves the tent alone and climbs up a tree nimble as a monkey. Then he takes out a communication terminal, fastens a parabola antenna to a branch and establishes a line with the colonies.
While following the incoming data in details with his eyes, a grim look comes to his expressionless face.
"It seems the only way is to attack during the transport. It's an elementary dummy operation, but if they handle the information perfectly, they can disperse our fighting power well enough."
Trowa concludes that this may be an operation to annihilate the Gundams. But, considering the scale, it's not a bait. The transport operation as such is real. The problem is the route through the air and on the ground... which one is the real one? If considering the chances of success....
"The air route...."
Trowa derives the answer. The rest is only acting upon it.
Finishing with the antenna and the computer, Trowa descends to the ground without making any noise.
As the sun goes down, the desert quickly loses its heat.
However, giants made out of hot metal are gathering in this desert. It's the forty suits of the Maguanac troop and the Gundam Sandrock.
"We'll take the land. It may be the sky. This way, if we hit the land first, we can notify the others as to which one is the dummy."
Quatre tells this to all machines through wireless communication. Quatre has learned of the present Taurus transport operation through information received yesterday evening from his supporters. However, he doesn't know on which route the Taurus suits have been loaded. The confidentiality of the OZ information is that high.
"Will the other Gundams come?" asks Commander Rashid skeptically.
"This is beyond just our own abilities. But the other four Gundams will certainly come."
Quatre says this with deep conviction. For the colonies, the prevention of the present transport operation is very significant. He can't believe that they won't make an appearance.
"The point of attack is the former Georgia at the Black Sea coast. Everybody, let's go!"
At Quatre's exclamation, the fourty men of valour raise an angry roar.
A small lake located in a plateau in southern China.
Even if it seems to be a place where hardly anybody passes by, an electrical sounds mingles slightly with the faint wind.
A mobile suit is there, with its upper body sticking out of the lake and being illuminated by the moonlight. It's Shenlong, its right arm with the dragon-like claws.
The cockpit is open and it looks like the electrical sound can be heard coming from there. It seems to be the summoning sound of a communication device. However, the pilot who is supposed to react to this call stands stock still on a rock in front of the mobile suit.
"I... I cannot fight in my present condition."
Wufei lowers his head.
Despite following the blood coursing in him and coming to China after parting with Trowa, the pain of being defeated in the one-to-one duel with Treize has taken away the willpower to fight from Wufei.
"Scold me, Nataku!"
Wufei's pain filled voice resounds over the surface of the lake.
The next morning, Relena descends from her limousine at the main gate of the school at the coast of China. She is stopped by her classmates coming running towards her. Already two weeks have passed since Relena has transferred to the school where Heero and Duo are located.
"Good morning everybody."
Holding back Relena, who greets them in her usual polite way, they all raise their voices.
"Relena, it's terrible. Just terrible!"
Looking at their condition, Relena suddenly understands.
"Heero has transferred to another school, hasn't he?"
All the faces looking at Relena as she calmly says this become astonished.
"Relena, you knew this?"
"We couldn't even become friends with Heero and Duo."
All the pupils raise their voices. However, Relena understands where Heero and Duo have gone to do what.
You've gone to fight, haven't you, Heero.
Totally as if she knew where Heero is now, Relena looks up to the northwestern sky. A firm decision is reflecting in her eyes.
I will be going towards my own battleground.
Relena turns her back on her astonished classmates and gets into her limousine again. Then she has it drive back the way she came.