Letting the weak light of the flashlight glide over the floor, the old guard goes away with his steps pounding on the hard floor.
It's a library in some town in the South of France. Taking up all the walls, shelves full of books, which were not converted to electronic form, stand one beside the other, and the surroundings are full of the peculiar smell emitted by old books. Here books are stored which were published before electronic media became common.
It is a reminder of a bygone era, yet even here, there is a room where terminals have been set up for online connection with other libraries.
Two human figures slip into the now empty room.
They are Heero and Trowa.
After sneaking into the pitch dark room, the two head towards one of the eight communication terminals. Soon the muffled clacking of tapping on the keyboard is resounding through the library room.
Heero takes out a disk from his breast pocket and puts it into the slot. Then he fires off a command and makes the system restart. The terminal, which should require a card and a password, starts working without any problem. It's the same disk as the one that Sally Po judged to be a program disk used for computer hacking at the time Heero was held in the Alliance hospital. At that time, Heero could not retrieve the disk. The one now is a copy of Trowa's disk.
Heero takes the disk out of the slot with his left hand. As he tries to put it away in his breast pocket, he emits a groan. The disk falls from fingers stiff with pain to the floor.
"Do treat it carefully."
Nodding, Heero picks up the disk. Trowa shakes his head at him as if saying 'not that'.
"Your body that is."
Under the rolled up left sleeve of Heero's shirt, a tape used for medical treatments is visible. Because the left arm was badly hurt, the rehabilitation takes longer. He should not use any force if there is no stiffness to be left when moving. That's what the taping is for.
Heero turns back to the terminal and, tapping onto the keys, connects to the databases in this region. Then he starts searching for the desired information.
Soon, the figure of a young girl appears on the monitor.
She is about the same age as Heero and the others. She has light brown hair and a smiling, seemingly nice face.
"So that's her... Sylvia Noventa."
Heero murmurs this as he reads the text.
"You will really start there?"
Heero nods while looking at the figure of the girl.
"Let's go. The guard will be back soon."
Heero gets up, switches off the computer and steps out into the corridor. Trowa follows him with light-footed movements, like a shadow.
Almost two months have passed since Heero has been lured into a trap by the OZ's Operation Daybreak and has killed Field Marshall Noventa of the United Earth Sphere Alliance and all passengers in his shuttle.
Field Marshall Noventa was a person who objected to the expansion of armaments which was supposed to serve as a deterrent. He also wanted to pass a vote for armaments reduction in all countries of the world and in the colonies, as well as for a demand to cancel armaments on all sides. For OZ, which had ambitions to unite the Earth Sphere through military power, and for the Romefeller foundation behind OZ, the ideas of Field Marshall Noventa and the persons agreeing to these ideas were only an obstacle.
In order to ask the relatives of Field Marshall Noventa for a judgment on his own mistake, Heero wants to go to Marseilles, where Noventa's granddaughter, Sylvia, lives.
If possible, and if he is still alive afterwards, he wants to do the same with the other members of NoventaŐs family from there.
While watching these actions of Heero with great interest, Trowa accompanies him silently. For Trowa, no matter where he was told to go, there's no purpose to it. Now, if it is decided that he has to do something, it's only to hide his own Gundam called Heavyarms.
The port town Marseilles in the South of France.
In the Alliancy army's building, a girl is standing in the room which Field Marshall Noventa has used as his office before his death.
It's Sylvia Noventa - the soon to be fifteen year old granddaughter of Field Marshall Noventa.
In the completely cleared out room there's only a desk made out of rosewood. Placed on top of it is a photostand which Sylvia is staring at.
In the picture, a smiling little Sylvia is being hugged by Field Marshall Noventa. It's a picture taken already six years ago.
As she silently picks up the photostand, a soldier in the moss green uniform of the Alliance addresses her from the open door.
"Miss Sylvia, please do hurry up. The OZ army is approaching and if you don't escape from the city quickly, you will be dragged into the fighting."
"Thank you, Captain. You're very kind worrying about me."
Sylvia smiles at the captain she knows by sight.
Around the world, OZ is putting all its force into rooting out the remaining military forces of the Alliance which are continuing their resistance. The remaining military forces of the Alliance in the South of Europe have gathered here in Marseilles. OZ is developing an attack operation with this as the target. Up to now, there was also the aspect that the existence of the Alliance base was connected to protecting the city, but ironically, the fact that there is a base has on the contrary now become connected to danger as a result.
"I understand. But leaving the memories of a life with Grandfather here has taken some time."
At Sylvia's sad smile, the captain bows his head.
"Field Marshall Noventa was a noble person. He always thought of true peace."
"Even if Grandfather has died, his heart remains. I intend to take good care of it during my life."
The capitain bows his head, seemingly deeply touched by Sylvia's brave words.
At that moment, a soldier comes rushing in and immediately calls out "Captain! There's an enemy attack!"
"So they're here! How many?" asks the captain of his subordinate as his head snaps up.
"We have confirmed ten Aries."
"Why did they conclude they can take this place by storm with only such a small war potential?"
Biting his lip with an anger at standing corrected, the captain exits the office.
"Don't worry. There is also willpower on our side. You go quickly to a safe place."
After saying only this to Sylvia, the former Alliance captain runs away.
The whole city of Marseilles, which is crowded with fugitives, looks up to the sky together with Heero.
"It has started."
Heero murmurs this while he is looking up as if searching the sky, where nothing is visible. The Aries' form is not yet visible, but the ear catches their roaring noise.
"Yes, indeed. They are coming at a difficult time."
Heero also reacts calmly.
"I'm used to difficulties."
After saying this without changing his facial expression, Heero quickens his steps.
The closer they come to the city center, the less fleeing people come towards them. Probably most people left the city before the Alliance issued the recommendation to escape. The people staying behind are likely to be either very optimistic or some may want to take out a lot of baggage. Or they intend to share the fate with the city.
"Do you know her whereabouts?"
"Maybe she's in the Alliance's branch where the Field Marshall's office used to be."
Answering the question from Trowa, who is following him, Heero starts running while he threads his way through the fleeing people.
After a whistling sound, as if something has flown by, a very loud noise resounds. The Leos on the Alliance's side have been hit with a missile attack by the Aries'.
Immediately after Heero murmurs this, grey Aries pass by overhead. Flying off, the machine guns emit a roaring noise and scatter bullets over the ground.
"They do it even if not all the civilians have fled yet...."
Murmuring this in a suppressed voice, Trowa listens to the sound of roads and buildings being destroyed.
The counterattack by the Alliance follows immediately thereafter. The sweeping fire of the Leo's machine guns shoots down one Aries.
Heero sees immediately that an Aries is crashing nearby and, without hesitation, runs towards it. When the pilot comes crawling out, he silences him with his fist, then slips into the cockpit.
"The Alliance Leos are retreating into the underground waterways. I think this is their main battle force."
Immediately after switching on the communicator, voices come flying in.
Trowa frowns a bit as he hears this.
"Everybody thought of using the underground waterways it seem."
"Don't mind me. I am a burden now."
Heero nods to Trowa, as if saying 'go quickly'.
Trowa goes back the way he came. He has hidden the trailer transporting Heavyarms in the underground waterways.
Heero looks after Trowa until he disappears in the row of fleeing cars, then he hurries towards the building of the former Alliance's South European branch, whose location he has verified beforehand on a map.
"There it is...."
After discovering the solid block building, which makes its era felt, Heero runs there without hesitation.
At that moment, a girl appears from the building.
It's at the same time as he is verifying that the girl's figure is the one he saw in the picture that Heero sees Aries' approaching.
Without a moment of hesitation, Heero starts running.
Sylvia calls out in surprise at the human figure running towards her. Heero tackles her, embraces her with his whole body and tumbles with her behind the building.
Immediately afterwards, the blast of an explosion rips through the vicinity where Sylvia was standing just before.
"Are you all right?"
As soon as Heero gets up, he verifies that the Aries have flown off and turns towards Sylvia.
"You are?" an astonished Sylvia asks Heero as she is looking up at the unidentified boy who has saved her for an unknown reason. There is no fear in her eyes.
"My name is Heero Yuy."
With these polite words, Heero introduces himself to Sylvia, who looks curious.
As Trowa descends into the underground waterways from the byway they passed through earlier, three OZ Aries have cornered four Leos of the Alliance. Are the Leos protecting the trailer upon which Heavyarms is loaded? They are involved in a heavy gun battle as if they were doing so.
In the narrow passage, the sound of shots booms and the place grows misty white with the smoke.
Covered by that smoke, Trowa slips into the cockpit of Heavyarms.
An explosion occurs and the canvas covering Heavyarms is torn away by the blast. As the Aries discover the white and vermilion coloured mobile suit, their moves change. One suit wants to retreat from the underground waterways. Because the radio waves don't reach down here, he intends to go outside and report the discovery of the Gundam.
"I don't intend to interfere in the battle between OZ and the Alliance. But I can't allow them to see the Gundam. I will strike before he establishes a communication."
As Trowa sets the systems in motion and rises the upper part of the body, the Leos which have resisted to the end are destroyed.
Three Aries are coming towards Heavyarms.
After easily pushing out the Gatling canon in the left arm, Trowa presses the trigger button.
A roaring noise much heavier than the machine guns of the Aries resounds, and the three suits are devastated and turned into scrap iron.
Making Heavyarms get up from the trailer, Trowa ignites without a moment of delay the Vernier engines in direction of the one remaining suit.
Extending the blade in the right arm, Trowa lets it flash twice from behind.
The hull of the Aries is cut in two with one stroke, the engine goes up in flames and explodes.
"I have to protect the secret of the Gundam."
Trowa murmurs this as if explaining it to himself. Then he turns back towards the trailer after he wrenches his eyes away from where they had been staring at the remains of the destroyed Aries.
"Here is Grandfather's grave."
Sylvia has led Heero to one side of a graveyard, which is located on a hill overlooking the sea, and shows him a gravestone made of marble.
The name of the grave's owner is written there, below it the characters 'Rest in Peace' have been added and there's an inscription saying 'Killed at the Beginning of the Road to Peace'.
"Heero... Heero Yuy you said, didn't you?"
Sylvia asks this while turning towards Heero who is putting flowers on the grave.
"What can I do for you?"
Heero looks directly into Sylvia's eyes and tells her in a clear voice "I am the one who killed Field Marshall Noventa."
For an instant, Sylvia blinks, and her friendly eyes reflect confusion, as if she couldn't understand what was said.
Heero continues talking.
"Through my fault, the shuttle with Field Marshall Noventa on board was shut down and he was killed together with many other people who were hoping for peace."
"This is the only thing I can do now, Sylvia Noventa."
Saying this, Heero holds the sliding barrel of a pistol which he presents, grip first, to Sylvia.
"This is something that cannot be undone. I hope that with this gun, the anger of the family that loved the Field Marshall as well as the regrettable soul of the Field Marshall can be appeased."
Sylvia seizes the pistol as if she wants to tear it away, and, releasing the safety, points it at Heero.
The muzzle of the gun aims at Heero's head. Force is applied to the finger on the trigger. At this distance, no matter how clumsy the opponent is, he can surely hit the target with the bullet.
Heero is standing firm while looking directly at Sylvia.
Sylvia on the contrary suddenly averts her eyes, and her body starts shaking bit by bit. With the body shaking, the muzzle of the gun sways from right to left and back.
"You are a coward! You just want to feel relieved by making me do this!"
Lowering the pistol, Sylvia shouts this out.
"This is all that I can do."
"Coward! You're a coward...."
"Please understand that I have not come to cause you pain."
Nodding towards Sylvia, Heero continues "I will go then and meet with your grandmother. I heard that she is in Sicily."
At Heero's words, Sylvia holds her breath. She has realized that Heero intends to do the same and ask for their judgement. Then, as if she didn't understand it, she shakes her head and calls out "IsnŐt war only ugliness and murder?! Why do you think it's beautiful?"
Silently, Heero turns his back on Sylvia. Then he goes away towards the trailer where Trowa is waiting.
He murmurs to himself "This is the only way of living open to me."
"He will ask the entire family for judgement on his mistake. All that guy does is well thought through, all Heero Yuy does that is."
Trowa murmurs this from the driver's seat as he is looking at Heero coming towards him.
"It's correct to act according to your feelings.... I thought these words were not like him at all, but maybe they are. He's a strange guy."
Trowa directs his gaze towards Heero, who has gotten into the passenger seat, and asks him "Is it okay?"
Responding to Heero's short answer, Trowa releases the sidebrake and steps onto the accelerator.