While walking across the deck of a small sailing boat which is going up the river Weser in the North of Germany, Noin addresses the human figure standing in the bow.
"It seems we will be there just in time."
What Noin is wearing is not an OZ uniform, but a full dress of Sanc Kingdom, a country which was destroyed thirteen years ago by the Alliance. On the skyblue cloth, which symbolizes peace, golden epaulets and embroidery have been applied. She still has a military rank in OZ, but under the pretext that she is protecting the leading figures of the countries which compose OZ, she is now serving under the sovereign of Sanc Kingdom. It's of course Treize who arranged this.
"What's the matter?"
Looking at the sovereign of Sanc Kingdom... looking at the figure of Relena, Noin asks this looking dubious.
Relena is also in full dress of Sanc Kingdom. Here, embroidery done with gold thread is dazzling on a pure white cloth.
It's not because of the dress, which she is not used to wearing, that Relena has her arms crossed over her chest and is tapping the floor busily with her foot, seemingly in a bad mood. It's probably the fault of the huge figures that she is looking at, standing one beside the other alongside the riverbank.
Looking into the same direction as Relena does, Noin nods.
"These are Leos used for exhibition purposes. They are the main fighting force in the Alliance and in OZ."
The OZ mobile suits called Leo and Aries are standing alongside the riverbank as if they were overwhelming it. It's an unusual sight; where sculptures are usually standing, there are mobile suits.
"Why is the Romefeller foundation adhering to mobile suits?"
This is probably a question not about the mobile suits here, but about the fact that mobile suits are used in battlefields all over the world. Looking up to the Leos, Noin tells Relena her own thoughts.
"Humans are afraid of big machines. But at the same time they have also a strong admiration for them. They walk on two legs and the opponents fight while seeing each other. Battles between men, not fights which are determined by buttons and switches, are preferred."
"There is nothing formal about murder. If it were this way, it would be a game with people's lives. The honest way of living in battle is a reckless death."
Relena's words seem to point out somebody who knows this well.
"But I think that the action called war is something which does not bring anything about. Even if it's an action demanding freedom...."
Looking at the mobile suits standing one beside the other on the riverbank, Relena continues.
"What is the Romefeller Foundation thinking? I want to make sure of that today."
There is a strong determination in Relena's voice.
The Romefeller Foundation, which is the nucleus of OZ, has been founded by European royalty and nobility. Making good use of the vast fortune and lines of personal contacts, they have concentrated their energy on the development of weapons. They have made their present coup d'etat a success by offering mobile suits to the Alliance army and slowly increasing their influence through the foundation of OZ.
Then, when the Foundation did hold the power, they decided to hold a first meeting in the Foundation's State Guest House, located in the suburbs of Bremen, in the north part of the former Germany, and invited a great variety of guests. Relena appears here because she participates as the representative of Sanc Kingdom, which is being rebuilt.
There are many small and medium states which have been destroyed before because they resisted the Alliance. OZ has broken down the ruling system of the Alliance, and, by actively allowing the rebuilding of these states, they want to unite to them the anti-Alliance forces. Sanc Kingdom is one of these states. It's the natural course of things that Relena, as the only blood relation of the royal family, has been made the sovereign of Sanc Kingdom.
After the small sailing boat anchors at a quay, Relena and Noin get off and walk away on the path towards the State Guest House.
Then, before the heavy doors of the entrance, Noin walks around Relena and blocks her way.
"What's the matter?"
Bowing to the bewildered looking Relena, Noin puts both her hands on Relena's body. She does a body check whether there are any weapons. Noin is Relena's escort, but she is at the same time an OZ officer. The guarding of the meeting where many important people of the Foundation and OZ participate is also part of her responsibilities.
"I guess it can't be helped. I have various previous offenses after all."
Relena lets out a sigh.
"Behind these doors, there are people who have destroyed Mister Darlian and your kingdom. However, Miss Relena, today...."
"Understood. As the sovereign of the pacifist country Sanc Kingdom I will behave in the proper way."
Nodding resolutely, Relena goes through the door of the State Guest House, a door which is held open by a soldier on guard.
In the grand hall, the sovereigns and nobles which have already entered are enjoying quiet chats in the general noise. Compared to the nobles she met in Moscow, there are many here who are somewhat younger, in their forties or fifties, in the prime of life. Among them, not only Relena but also Noin are conspicuous beings. Both don't like this and they watch the happenings in their surroundings from the wall, without going to the center.
"So here is Marquis Dermail, agent of the Romefeller Foundation's representative."
Responding to the chairman's introduction, an elderly Marquis climbs onto the podium. His hair as well as his plentiful beard are snow-white.
"He's an agent? Who is the real representative then?"
"It's His Excellency's, Treize's grandfather, who deceased three months ago. Actually, there should be a general meeting held and official decisions made there, but in order to overcome the chaos through the Alliance's collapse, Marquis Dermail, as the closest member of the family, has provisionally become the representative."
During Noin's explanation, Marquis Dermail's speech has started. At the Marquis's words, spoken with a hoarse voice and somewhat heavy gestures, Relena's features become more and more grim.
"In the past, the 'United Earth Sphere Alliance' has demanded much capital and support from us for the world peace. We have not spared any collaboration for the realization of peace. There are many conflicts on Earth which can dnot be settled through something like dialogue. But, these idiots have started to look for peace through dialogue."
This is supposed to be idiotic? Would it be reasonable then to gain control through military power?
These are Relena's thoughts.
"Doesn't mankind need a control system? Then this will be realized in the form of ruling. Exactly by this peace can be maintained. The Alliance did not have the capability to rule. When ruling, many responsibilities are required. The Alliance wanted to escape these responsabilities through dialogue. Everybody here present has the tradition to be able to rule an era. The world has been corrupted with imperfect ideas of freedom and equality. The time has come that we enter again the political stage."
Clenching his fist, the Marquis ends his speech. Applause rises for him from the nobles and sovereigns composing OZ who are filling the grand hall.
"That OZ wants to rule the world in this way...."
Relena murmurs this without wanting to hide her feelings of hate. Since she has indeed lowered her voice, only Noin standing beside her can hear it.
This is a paradox formed by power.
The chaos brought about by OZ was all according to the plan of the Romefeller Foundation. Few people in the Foundation knew about this; probably only a handful of the innermost executives, at best. The people participating here praise the things the Foundation did without knowing this. They are induced to do this.
"When the Foundation was hiding inside the Alliance in the form of OZ, they did not make this thoughts public. Should the Alliance not bring peace to the world.... saying this, OZ has declared their true intentions."
Relena shakes her head at Noin's words.
"They'll continue with this war, won't they?"
"Without continuing to win, the ruling system will collapse. Exactly because there's a reward for winning, it is something which will be realized. The cause for ruling systems to collapse in the past were revolutions against poor politics which led to poverty. The states composing the Foundation want to continue this war if they don't lose. For this, the strongest mobile suit troops are necessary for the existence of OZ."
"If the Gundams were there, they would defeat OZ."
"OZ thinks of the existence of the Gundams as a threat. That's why, by attacking the colonies directly, they silenced the Gundams. The Foundation wants to beat the Gundams right away."
Even if for this they use means with more or less violence....
Noin is reminded of Lady Une's anti-Gundam Operation, where she used the colonies. These are Foundation-like means. However, the thoughts of Treize Khushrenada, commander of OZ, are very clearly different. The problem is not winning, but the means to win. That's where he is similar to Zechs.
"People who want to rule over many victims will not in their entire life understand the feelings of Heero, who wanted to throw his life away in order not to create any victims."
Relena mutters this full of rage in the middle of the noise.
"So, let me introduce here our knight, who commands OZ and fights bravely for the extinction of the Alliance as well as for bringing peace to the world. As a member of the Romefeller Foundation, he is the commander of OZ, Treize Khushrenada."
Reacting to the Marquis Dermail's hand, which invites him to come closer, Treize, with a dark blue cloak for official use thrown over his shoulder, appears on the podium from the foot of the stage.
"One may think that OZ with the military power of the mobile suits exercises excessive control. The word 'control' can be associated with an attitude of oppression.... with an action of haughtiness. However, I think it's a way of governing which holds down the unnecessary part of humankind's ambitions. God has left humankind to take care of itself. Humankind needs a system beyond God. A world from which battles do not disappear exceeds God's predictions. Our behaviour will certainly be understood by God."
While listening to Treize's most arrogant and insolent words, Relena can no longer suppress the anger in her heart.
"Let's get out. This is not our place to attend. No matter what we say to these people, who think too much that war is beautiful, it will be in vain."
Relena hears Noin's voice, but she suddenly leaves her side and steps onto the podium instead of Treize who has just come down. As soon as she has taken hold of the microphone, she raises an accusing voice, in a vehement tone hard like ice.
"You are mistaken! The Gundams will appear to correct these mistakes as often as necessary. As a messenger of the angry people who got trampled on by this whitewashing..."
Noin has noticed that Relena is not there anymore and comes running up to the podium, crying out in a suppressed tone "Miss Relena! Please stop!"
"No! I have to say more."
"I beg you, Miss Relena. You cannot solve anything here" implores Noin.
Also thinking of Noin's position as an OZ officer, Relena releases the microphone with a 'can't be helped' and follows Noin, stepping down from the podium.
"I appreciate your efforts, Lieutenant Lucrezia Noin."
"Please excuse me, Treize, Your Excellency. Goodbye."
After bowing to Treize, Noin demands Relena's attention.
Without even glancing at Marquis Dermail, who stands to the side, Relena silently looks up to Treize.
After burning the image of the OZ person responsible for killing her foster father into her memory, Relena walks away as requested by Noin.
Did Treize feel something at that look? He smiles casually and stares after Relena.
She has the same pure eyes of a fighter like the Gundam pilots. Just like them, Sanc Kingdom and Relena Peacecraft will most likely become important existences.
Looking after Noin and Relena until they disappear in the crowd, Treize turns then towards Dermail.
"Excuse me. She's the younger sister of a friend I invited."
Treize doesn't tell any details to Dermail. If he says something along the line that she's the sovereign of Sanc Kingdom, a state disliked by the Alliance, the situation might get complicated. And in that case, Zechs might face unnecessary trouble.
"What did she want to talk about?"
Dermail asks this with an expression saying that he didn't understand.
"She must have seen through our attitude that we're worried about the Gundams. That we should have more self-confidence."
Nodding at Treize's words, Dermails adds as if he's remembering something "There's that Gundam.... Wasn't it Zechs Merquise? Even if he's very skilled, for a pilot he has too much freedom."
"What do you mean by saying this?"
"It seems he's assembling the Gundam from the colonies in the Lake Victoria base... Gundam 01, which has self-destructed."
Two or three other executives of the foundation assemble, reacting to the word 'Gundam'.
"One cannot imagine that anybody with a sane mind would repair a mobile suit which could become a threat to us."
"It should be completely destroyed as a warning to the colonies."
Treize lifts his hand, restraining the opinions which only show the executives' fear, then nods.
"I understand what you are saying. I thought stealing the enemy's technology would be a valid tactic, but if it's the Foundation's decision, I will contact them and tell them to destroy the Gundam once more."
Murmuring 'stupid' mentally, Treize answers the executives who are more than twice his age.
In the evening of that day, in one of the rooms in the Lake Victoria base, Zechs receives a report from Noin.
"The rumours of the Gundam have arrived this high up?"
Basically saying that this is unexpected, Zechs is astonished.
"This is only because the damage to OZ through the Gundams was so great. It seemed that his Excellency Treize was against it."
"He can't oppose orders from above."
"Will you consent to destroying the Gundam?"
Zechs slightly twists his lips, which are not covered by his mask, and mumurs "I have to plan countermeasures...."
After a moment of silence, Zechs changes the subject.
"How is Relena?"
"She's very active. It's hard to be her guard."
In Noin's voice, a bitter smile resounds.
"How much does she know?"
"It seems that her foster father, Mr. Darlian, has told her quite a bit as he was dying. As for you, I told her that you are a trustworthy soldier originating from Sanc Kingdom. And that you were the only one on the scene when Gundam 01 self-destructed. Also, that you are assembling the Gundam. That's why she wonders whether the pilot... whether Heero Yuy may still be alive."
"Heero Yuy... is that the pilot's name?"
"It seems that also Relena has a connection to him. Same as you do."
"Understood. Thank you for the report, Noin."
"Won't you introduce yourself to her? Over and out."
After saying only this, Noin cuts the connection.
Zechs spits out the following words towards the blacked out monitor.
"I must not introduce myself to her. I am Zechs Merquise of OZ, who has repeated history smeared with blood. There is no reason why I should be qualified to be of Peacecraft descent and to inherit the total pacifism."
After shaking his head and thinking for a while, Zechs contacts the mobile suit factory with the communication device.
"Maser, there's a change in plans. The destruction of 01 has been decided."
After Zechs has informed the engineer, who has his hair cut short like a sports player, he lowers his voice.
"Instead there's something else I would like you to do for me."
Zechs' voice sounds unexpectedly cheerful.
At the same time, Treize thinks about his own speech while looking down onto the guests who are enjoying the dance.
"I may be punished as a sinner who profaned God. But, God is product of the human imagination. So the sin has to be as well."
Treize casually twists his thin lips.
"But then, somebody has to pay for the crime."
Having murmured this, he holds the blood red wine in his mouth.