"I am very sorry, Your Excellency! It was a selfish action to attack the colonies directly."
In Treize's office, at the Luxembourg headquarters, Lady Une awaits the verdict while standing at attention. However, as usual, Treize raises his voice with a sigh.
"Well... let's leave it at that. We have come to understand that the Gundams are the resistance of a few persons with unusual offensive abilities. What we have to defeat are the Gundams. But, the movements of their support are on my mind."
"In space, isn't it?"
"We have to prevent the enemy's influence from growing any larger. Can I trust you with this, Lady Une?"
"Yes, Sir! I'll show you how to beat them completely."
Businesslike, Lady Une choses the military salutation.
Treize then suddenly gets up and gently puts his hand on Lady Une's left hand. Then, he makes her lower her hand from her forehead.
Treize smiles at the astonished Lady Une.
"The colonies' peace-loving people will not like military customs. You'll have to refrain from stiff salutations now. It will be fine if you announce in Moscow that you're going into space. It's a city where many noble people live who understand OZ. They'll lend you their strength. I'll contact them in advance."
After saying this, Treize takes one of the roses arranged in a vase, and stretches his hand out towards Lady Une's chest.
As if not letting escape the warmth of Treize's hand, Lady Une holds her left hand with her right hand. Her answer lacks her usual strength, but has a soft, feminine sound.
While letting the sound of their engines roar through the wasteland of the desert, the patrol planes fly away. It's quite a low-altitude flight.
However, they should have verified with the radar and their eyes, because they overlooked something big. In the shadow of a rocky cliff, a black Gundam is hidden. It's Duo's Deathscythe.
Deathscythe is covered by a Gundanium alloy armour with stealth material, which absorbs radar waves. That's why it causes no reactions with radars and metal detectors. A shapeless God of Death - Deathscythe is a reason to be afraid.
"With the guarding that strict, I can't move at all! Besides, if I want to steal a cargo plane, the nearest airport is on the other side of the desert...."
Looking into the distance on the monitor, Duo emits a seldom heard heavy sigh.
It's been already three days since the failed attack on the Taurus cargo planes. Even though he came south escaping the OZ's pursuit, he cannot move anymore from the spot where he entered the desert zone of the Arabian peninsula due to the dense search net.
Murmuring this in a rather carefree way for his situation, Duo has seen something flashing on the left submonitor when he was stretching himself in his seat.
Directing his gaze there, Duo can see in the near cliff the figure of a boy who makes a signal light send out the flashes. It's Quatre.
"Yeah, I guess that's how it is. With the patrol planes flying around so much, you guys can't budge either."
Thinking of the boy whose name he hasn't heard yet and his supporting troops, Duo shows a sympathetic smile. Honestly, they are fourty suits strong. Besides, none of them have Deathscythe's stealth function.
There's a message.
Duo reads the Morse code, something which was officially put out of use some centuries ago. Then he verifies that there is nothing on the radar, and lets Deathscythe step forward towards the rocky cliff.
Opening the hatch, he shows his face. Without any greeting, Quatre addresses his business with Duo.
"There will be a strong sandstorm in a moment. During that time, we will be crossing the desert. If that's okay with you, why don't you come with us?"
Duo does not have a choice. Shrugging, he answers conversely as if he were requesting earnestly.
"Yes please. Some sympathy would be great."
"I also would like to put in order my feelings...."
Quatre murmurs this with his head down, as if he were clutching his heart where some pain was left.
Just as Quatre had said, the sandstorm comes not even five minutes later.
Experiencing a sandstorm for the first time, Duo is at a loss. Somehow, relying on the radar, he advances alongside the Maguanac. Visibility is zero.
"Earth is a great place after all!"
Looking at the grains of sand striking the camera eye of Deathscythe and listening to the sound of the storm through the exterior microphones, Duo murmurs this as if he were deeply moved.
When they have crossed half the desert by cutting through the storm, the troop of fourty mobile suits put Quatre and Duo in the center, surrounding them, and then spread out.
"What's the matter?"
When a wondering Duo sends the message to Quatre, Quatre replies smiling "There's a base of various countries of the Middle East here, which is not affiliated with either OZ or the Alliance. They'll hide us for a while."
Duo is astonished that there is such a place. Before his eyes, the sand is lifted and the entrance opens wide.
"An underground base!"
Urging the astonished Duo, Quatre lets Sandrock go down the slope of the entrance.
The inside of the base is so wide that one is not reminded of the fact that it's underground. It's probably necessary since the fourty suits of the Maguanac troop, who could also be Quatre's bodyguards, are only a part of the army.
Quatre gets out of Sandrock and stands on a gangway twelve meters above ground, a gangway which is used for boarding the mobile suits. A somewhat fat man, with a thin moustache, comes to greet him in good humour.
"I'm so glad you could come, Quatre!"
"It has been a long time, General Sadaul."
Quatre replies politely to the greeting.
"Your missions since you've come down to Earth must have been tough!"
"No, the Maguanac troop here helped me very much. Thank you very much for everything!"
"When they could help you, they decided to do so by themselves."
Sadaul smiles widely, saying it's okay to forget about it.
"If we had any power, we could have damaged OZ a bit further...."
The commander of the Maguanac troop, Rashid, steps closer and, seemingly angry, clenches his fists.
"Damned OZ! Taking the colonies as a shield is not a human's action!"
After Sadaul has spit this out, Quatre shakes his head.
"We are responsible for it, since we should have stopped them."
"Ah, no, nobody blames you, Quatre. Well, this way."
Urging Quatre on, Sadaul wants to take him out of the base. Just then, Rashid addresses them.
"Sir Quatre, we will be doing the repairs on the mobile suits."
"Yes, please do so."
Having said that, Quatre adds "Rashid, furthermore...."
"I understand. We will do the two Gundams. Because they're not made for use in the desert, sand has entered the joint parts of the Gundams."
Rashid nods, showing a smile on his stern face.
"That's fine with you, isn't it?"
Quatre addresses Duo, who has just come out of Deathscythe.
"Yes! Everything is okay already! Please take good care of it."
When Duo has come up to him, Quatre opens his mouth with an apologetic face.
"Even if it's already the second time, I haven't introduced myself yet. My name is Quatre Raberba Winner."
Duo raises an astonished voice. If this is the Winner family, then they are very wealthy and have the leading voice and financing power in all Arabian countries. If Quatre is their heir, Duo can understand why he has some influence in an army base of the Middle East.
"The Winner family's intention is peace. Now that I've taken off to come here, I'm as good as disinherited."
"Huh, there are of every kind. I am Duo. Duo Maxwell. The Duo Maxwell who runs and hides, but doesn't tell a lie."
Duo holds out his hand and the two boys exchange a firm handshake.
After exiting the subterranean base, the two are in a room above ground. On top of the base, there's a medium sized town, and many civilians are living here.
Through the window, which can be raised to open, merry sounds are coming in from the outside. A splendid festival is being held there. It seems they are celebrating the safe return of the fourty Maguanac suits. There is no reluctance towards a military organization, they are greeted totally as if they were heros.
"Everybody's feelings are the same. That's where this country's cheerfulness lies."
Quatre says this while looking down from the window over the spectacle of the festival.
"Fighting till the end... With such a feeling, there is unity in a country."
"How about us?"
Quatre wonders about that as well at Duo's murmuring.
After silently shaking his head, Duo straddles a chair and crosses his arms over the backrest. Even without an answer, he already does know the answer. It wasn't the general will in the colonies that they descended to Earth and fought OZ.
Instead, Duo murmurs "There are five suits, aren't there."
"Yes, the five suits at New Edwards were all of them."
Nodding, Quatre seats himself on the edge of a bed close to Duo.
"I have come from the colonies" says Duo.
"Me too. Everything is exactly the same, our missions, the mobile suits and their actions. Also the aim to completely defeat OZ."
"OZ has disturbed the peace in the colonies. This is the revenge. I came here to fight with this mission."
"Same here. At that time, I was also given the mobile suit."
Exchanging a glance, the two open their mouths with a slight hesitation.
" 'Forget about the colonies and everything related to them. Kill before you are killed. That's your mission.' "
The words of the two start at the same time and end at the same time.
"It is the same indeed."
"It's exactly the same. Maybe the people who sent us in have somewhere developed the mobile suits together. Even their way of thinking is the same."
Nodding at Quatre's words, Duo lets his head droop onto his arms which are crossed on top of the backrest of the chair.
"If it comes to being ruled by OZ, dying is better. I've come to fight with this firmly in mind. However, could it really have been like this...."
"I... could not have died."
Quatre murmurs this seemingly sad. It's as if the pain felt by Heero is still stabbing his heart.
"He pulled it through, Heero that is. He's dead, that guy."
"The colonies have no intention to fight. The colonies can't be sacrificed. Your friend was perfect."
"No, I thought the guy was not quite that stubborn."
Duo says this with bitter smile on his lips, as if here were joking.
"When the Gundams move, the colonies will be targeted. Even if I know this...."
In order to suppress his anger, Quatre slowly chews on his lip.
Afterwards, a few hours later, Quatre and Duo have each talked about themselves.
Quatre has told how he has come from one of the colonies in the L4 cluster, a colony which belongs to the Winner family. Duo has told how he has come from the Sweeper Group in the vicinity of the L2 colony cluster. He has proceeded to tell in a humorous way how life was there. The Sweeper Group is a group who removes wreckage caused by battles from the space routes. Mostly without residing in the colonies, they live aboard their ships. That's why they are called "nomads of space".
But the common subject of their talk invariably becomes the way of thinking of the people in the colonies. How do the colonies now perceive the threat by OZ? There's no reason why the opinions of the organization which sent them here should always represent a majority.
A battle in which the country's feelings have not become one...
The situation in this town is totally different. As in the 20th century, when the capitalist countries staged a war against communism, when there is an invasion without the people feeling the same way, a soldier loses his justification. As far as a lonely soldier goes, there is no harder thing.
By the time the subject ends, the sun has begun setting over the horizon.
When the likely time for starting to prepare supper comes around, Quatre wants to get up from the bed.
Just then, Duo raises a slightly sharp voice.
When Quatre has stopped moving, Duo runs towards the window.
"Things are strangely quiet outside."
As he says this, the noises from the festival, which they heard until just a moment ago, disappear.
When Duo looks outside through the window, which is popped open, he can see OZ soldiers standing at the street corner. Three men are visible from there. In a desert town, where white and 'unbleached cloth' are the predominant natural colours, the moss-green uniform of OZ stands out, whether they want it or not.
"What is that?"
Duo's face becomes grim.
"I don't know."
Quatre cannot read the situation either, but it doesn't look like OZ has come to attack.
Waiting for the OZ army to leave, the two dash out of the house. Quatre discovers the figures of Rashid and the others from the Maguanac troop and runs up to them.
"Rashid, what's going on?"
Around Rashid, who has turned around, Auda, Abdul and Ahmed are squatting down around a wooden crate, which wide enough that one man cannot put his arms around. According to Rashid's explanations, the OZ troop has passed by to stock up on food and water, but it seems this was not their only objective.
"OZ bastards, they feigned ignorance, but came to put twenty bomb crates into this city!"
Auda shouts this while lifting his eyebrows angrily. The crate to his feet must be a bomb.
"If there's a timing mechanism, throwing it away would do it," says Duo.
"It seems there's a trick which doesn't allow it to be moved."
Investigating the timing device, Abdul pushes his black glasses up with a finger, then groans. It seems vibrations are triggering the explosion as well.
"Show me for a moment."
Squeezing himself between the three men, Duo gazes into the device. But with one look he himself admits that this is beyond his capabilities.
The interior of the crate is packed full with highly efficient explosives. In the gaps, vibrations sensors turned into black boxes have been installed so that the explosives cannot be taken out. Even looking at the triggering device, the content of the black box is still unknown. When not looking at it by X-rays, it cannot be touched at all.
If all the twenty crates explode, the city will be torn apart.
"These bastards are putting up pressure in this city...."
Ahmed with his moustache murmurs this. Then Abdul spits out, "It's the smoking out of the Maguanacs."
"They were so kind to set the bomb to twelve in the night. It seems they wish for a night fight in the desert."
Abdul says this while pointing with his finger at the timing device.
"The preparations for a night battle should be finished."
"Or it's that they wish for us to surrender until then!"
Ahmed adds to Rashid's words.
"Aren't the Gundams causing any of this trouble?"
"Yes, indeed! It's us they are following."
At Quatre and Duo's words, Rashid shakes his head.
"The attack method is well planned. This town has raised suspicions already earlier."
Then he nods with a stern face.
"There is already only one method left."
At Rashid's command, all members of the Middle East Army, including the Maguanac troop, are assembled in the subterranean base. Also representatives of the civilians have joined them.
"Everybody, listen to me! OZ has found out about this place and has come to attack. I guess we can't deceive them any longer. That's why we, on one side, will concentrate on aiming at the enemy's siege and attacking, while enabling the common people to escape on the other side."
Rashid raises his throaty voice while standing on the gangway used to board the mobile suits and looking down on his comrades.
"Then, there's another honorable mission! That is to make it possible for the two Gundams to escape. The Gundams are heros who have appeared on this Earth to defeat OZ. With OZ's dirty tactics, they cannot participate in this fight. But, one day, the Gundams will rescue us. Consider it an honour that we can show them our gratitude before! Did you get that, you rascals!?"
Answering to Rashid's call, the sound of all the men roaring at the same time comes back.
"Okay, everybody in the army, attack!"
The warriors of the Middle East Army disperse, returning to their respective posts.
The night has fallen.... Leaving two hours until the explosion of the time bomb, the Middle East Army start their attack all at the same time.
Against the OZ mobile suit troop which has been stationed at the exit to the surface, the Middle East Army attacks first with hover type mobile suits used in the desert, the Oliphants. With only beam canons and Gatling canons, but no arms, the Oliphants take full advantage of their high mobility, and make fun of the OZ mobile suit Tragos, which is equally used in the desert. With the very same capacity, the difference in quality of a warrior living in the desert comes through.
Put under pressure and retreating, the OZ army is this time attacked from behind by the Maguanacs. There is more than on exit.
The OZ mobile suit troops want to overcome the for them unfavourable battle situation and concentrate most of the army at one point.
My Goodness, OZ doesn't even understand that this is a feint operation. At this point in time, the main target of the Maguanac troop is entirely somewhere else.
At the exit called 'North Gate', three Maguanac suits have made their sortie and discover their target.
"There it is! Enemy cargo planes, yours to chose from!"
Abdul's message arrives at Rashid's place in the base.
"Okay! Take them over immediately!"
After shouting this into the radio, Rashid shows Duo, who comes running up to him, a truck for transporting mobile suits. Loaded onto it is Deathscythe.
"Please take this and meet up with Abdul at the North Gate. He should have taken over an enemy cargo plane."
"So sorry. We are only a burden and can't do anything. I'm so ashamed it makes me angry!"
Duo shows the sadness openly, with his whole body. Rashid lays his coarse hand on Duo's shoulder, then tells him as if encouraging him, "Maguanac, the name of our mobile suits, means in the language of the Tagalog 'family'. Duo, you are our family too."
As if saying 'is it okay that somebody like me comes in', Duo points to himself with his finger.
"Yes, indeed. Comrades who oppose a common enemy are as good as family."
From beside Rashid, who is nodding, two young women run up to Duo and present him a bunch of flowers.
"Huh? For me?"
Duo blushes, embarrassed despite himself.
"The Gundams are heroes. Don't forget that. The day we can fight together will come for sure. For the future!"
Looking at Duo, Rashid nods once again.
Duo looks up at Rashid's face and nods too.
"So, I will make my sortie as well. Till we meet again!"
After addressing Rashid, who goes towards his own Maguanac commander suit, Duo runs to the trailer.
"Hey Quatre! Here's your share!"
Duo throws a bunch of flowers to Quatre, who sticks his head out of Sandrock's cockpit.
"I swear upon these flowers! The day will come when we can fight again!"
After stating this to the flowers he received, Quatre jumps into the driver seat of the trailer.
While having the trailers head towards the North Gate, they are both very silent. The uneasy thoughts coming up inside them blame them for their helplessness.
Even as Quatre is loading the trailers into the stolen OZ cargo plane, his expression still doesn't hold its usual cheerfulness.
"Sir Quatre, be well!"
From the cockpit, Quatre salutes Abdul, who sees them off, and lets the cargo plane take off.
"Quatre, couldn't you circle in the air once for me? I can't do anything, but... but I want to do something!"
When Duo's message from the Gundam cockpit comes in, a smile returns to Quatre for the first time.
Answering loudly, Quatre inclines the control lever towards the fighting Maguanac troops.
Even as the Maguanac troop is suppressed by OZ, they continue fighting boldly.
"Don't falter! Continue firing!!"
Rashid emits an angry roar. He can see how the cargo plane with Quatre on board circles around and heads towards him.
In the rear hatch of the cargo plane, he can see the figure of a black Gundam, bringing a beam rifle into position. With precise aim, the Gundam destroys five and six OZ mobile suits from the plane. Then, he throws away the now powerless beam rifle.
The black Gundam salutes and Rashid returns the salute. The cargo planes flies off into the distance. After watching it disappear, Rashid fires off his orders.
"Okay, Mission accomplished. All suits of the Maguanac troop are to retreat!"
In order to meet up with the civilians, whose escape they made possible earlier, the Maguanac troop retreats slowly while inflicting attacks on OZ.
In the cargo plane high up in the sky, both boys look below with many emotions and thoughts in their heart.
Quatre murmurs this quietly while looking down onto the city, which he could also call his second home.
At that moment, the city is swallowed by a blinding light. The time bombs have exploded.
"When I come next time, the colonies and their feelings will have become one. For sure!"
Looking into the burning city from the cockpit of his Gundam, Duo swears this upon his conscience.