Zechs Marquise/Milliardo Peacecraft

A Li'l Background (okay, a very long one): Zechs, of course, is actually Prince Milliard of the Sank Kingdom, a member of the royalty. He was born in A.C. 176, the eldest child and only son of King Peacecraft, the ruler of Sank, and one of the strongest proponents of Absolute Pacifism (AP). Milliard grew up in privelege, of course, but he also was ingrained with a strong sense of fairness and responsibility. In the series, Relena's butler Pargan recounts to her how he once fenced with the young Milliard and, when Pargan's sword was broken during the match, the small boy stopped pressing his advantage over his elder and grabbed a new sword from the race, holding it out for Pargan to use. It seems that even before age 6 Milliard was unwilling to fight when his opponent was handicapped. (What a nice guy, huh?) In A.C. 182, the Alliance, fearing that the Sank Kingdom is too popular a role model for other nations, stages a military intervention in the northern European kingdom. King Peacecraft is assassinated and the capital city captured. Prince Milliard's whereabout are unknown at the end of the battle. (But we all know, huh ladies?) Where Milliard goes after this is a complete mystery that was never revealed by the writers of Gundam Wing. It is the case, however, that Treize Khushrenada is said to have been acquainted with Milliard from childhood, so perhaps he was taken in or supported in part by Treize's family for the next 6 years. Milliard changes his name to Zechs Merquise after the fall of the Sank Kingdom and, as said above, goes into hiding for about 6 years. He graduates from Lake Victoria Base Academy (run by the alliances elite mobile suit corps known as the Specials) when he is 13 years old, along with fellow cadet Lucrezia Noin. The next time we hear from him, he is 15 years old and a member of the Specials, fighting with Treize (his commander) against resistance fighters near what is currently Japan. While doing this, he happens upon a soldier kidnapping a school-girl, who is none other than 12 year old Relena Darlian (ne้ Peacecraft.) Zechs easily takes care of the soldier and frees Relena, but does not tell her who he is. Three years later, it is A.C. 195 and we are at the start of the Gundam Wing series. Zechs has made quite a name for himself as an ace mobile suit pilot for the Specials. His skills in combat are so lengendary that he has earned the nickname, "the Lightning Baron" from his fellow soldiers. It should be noted here that the "ranks" of officers in the Specials (who were actually a cover for the secret group called "OZ")consist of aristicratic titles. Zechs' rank is first "Baron" and then, "Count." Treize's rank during the series is "Duke." So, the term,"Lightning Baron" refers not only to Zechs' skills on the battlefield, but to his rank in OZ as well. We first see Zechs in episode 1, when he intercepts Heero and Wing on their way to Earth. It is this intial encounter that sets up the series-long relationship between these two warriors. Zechs is clearly impressed by Heero's skill at fighting and MS piloting, but it is Zechs himself who gets the upper hand against Heero ( the "Perfect Soldier") Yuy and forces Wing's pilot to ditch the gundam into the sea off the coast of Japan. The awe that this battle inspires in Zechs for Heero's amazing MS, will come back again and again during the series. Zechs continues to think about his encounter with Gundam 01 and its pilot. This encounter, and his obvious love of mobile suits in general, compel him to finish building a gundam prototype MS, the Tallgeese, which has been found at Lake Victoria Base. It is Tallgeese that allows Zechs to achieve what he has been striving for these past 13 years - the avenging of his father's death and the destruction of his homeland by Alliance soldiers. In a stunning coup d'etats, officers and soldiers of the Specials unit emerge as the formerly secret group OZ and overthrow the forces of the Alliance. Zechs is able to take revenge on the Alliance officer who was in charge of the the Sank Kingdom's destruction, which was his real reason for joining the Alliance forces. He manages to rid the base at Sank of Alliance troops and is able to walk in the capial city for the first time since he was 6. While he is in the Sank Kingdom, Zechs visits what appear to be the ruins of the palace he lived in before the attack. As he enters the gutted building, he stops before a large portrait of his father, King Peacecraft. We get a very insightful look into Zechs' motivation for fighting in this scene. He expresses deep regret to his father for not living up to his expectations for Zechs as a peacemaker, and remarks that because of what he had to do to avenge the attack on Sank, his hands are now too blood-stained to allow him to assume the throne, as his father clearly planned for him to do. He hints that his sister, Relena, will be the one to take over the role of rightful monarch. (Aw, how sweet!) Zechs is clearly very disappointed with himself and with the way he's had to lead his life in order to come back to Sank. He desparately wants his dead father's approval and believes that he has failed to be the son King Peacecraft would have wanted him to be. This sense of personal failure and of an obligation to do more to prove himself to his father will be seen to influence much of Zechs' later behavior in the series. Zechs has very high expectations of himself, and becomes deeply upset when he thinks he has failed to live up to them. This scene is one of the best in the series, I believe, because of the insight it offers into why Zechs is involved with the Earth/Colony dispute, and why, depsite acheiving the vengeance he sought for so long, he still feels inadequate and, often, sad. After the "liberation" of the Sank Kingdom from the Alliance, Zechs tells Treize that he would like to stay on with OZ and work with them awhile longer as they battle the renegade gundam pilots. It's my opinion that one of the main reasons Zechs decides to stay on at this point is for the chance to meet up with Heero Yuy and fight what he considers to be such a worth opponent again. In the scenes where OZ soldiers are attacking Alliance bases, we get the first sense that, to Zechs, one of the most important things about being a warrior is fighting fairly. When two of his former underlings go rogue and begin to kill Alliance soldiers instead of just having them surrender, Zechs is so outraged by what he sees as utterly dishonorable behavior that kills them rather than let them put more lives in jeopardy. This is the first of many signs that fairness is of utmost importance to Zechs. Zechs and Heero do indeed meet again at a battle in Siberia, during which Lady Une threatens to blow up a colony if the colonists themselves (including the gundam pilots) do not surrender. The pilots, who are all fighting at the Siberian battlefield, are stunned at the threat, as is Zechs. In his cockpit, fighting Heero, he wonders aloud, "Why can't she fight fairly?" Speaking for the colonists, gundam engineer Dr. J surrenders but says that they will not give up the gundams. To Heero, this is a clear sign that he should use the self-destruct device on Wing in order to prevent it falling into enemy hands. As Heero walks out of the cockpit holding up the destruct button, Zechs is stunned to see the age of the pilot he's been fighting and is horrified when Heero self destructs. It's obvious at this point that Zechs believes the pilots, represented by Heero, to be highly committed and noble warriors, deserving of respect. He suggests later, to Noin, that they are actually the better soldiers because they have a cause they are dedicated to and fight for it no matter what. From this we can infer that Zechs himself has lost his motivation for fighting, other than to finish the duel between himself and Heero. This is a strong piece of foreshadowing, although as viewers we are really quite unaware of it. At this point in the story, the leadership of OZ begins, very slowly, to change from being controlled entirely by Treize to becoming a military arm of the Romafeller Foundation. One thing that Romafeller insists on is the destruction of the gundams (and their pilots, of course.) Putting himself squarely at odds with this order, Zechs retrieves the remains of Wing from the battlefield in Siberia and has a large shipment of gundanium alloy brought to earth from resources satellites in space. With it, he secretly begins to have Wing rebuilt. Obsessed with a sense of fairness, Zechs wants to finish his fight with Heero, which he has come to think of as an old-fashioned, aristocratic duel between himself and pilot 01. It's important to note here that at this point in the story, Zechs is no longer fighting with OZ or on behalf of the Romafeller against the colonies. In truth, that never was his fight and he abandons all pretense of being involved with it here. The only thing he is truly fighting is his own sense of failure as a soldier. He believes he can prove himself to be worthy by winning the duel with Heero. When the Romafeller discovers that one of its heros is secretly rebuilding one of the rebel gundams, they order Zechs to destroy it publically. He agrees to do this and does destroy a mobile suit, but it is one that he built to look like Wing - not Wing itself. The actual gundam is flown to a base at the South Pole, to which Zechs invites Heero for a rematch of their fight. Noin brings Heero and Trowa to the base for this purpose. While the two pilots are fighting, Zechs' sister, Relena Peacecraft, finds them and flies into the middle of the battle, trying to get Heero to stop fighting. When this doesn't work, she "orders" Heero to kill Zechs, but Noin steps in and finally tells Relena that Zechs is her long-lost brother Milliard. At this point, an investigative group from the Romafeller, complete with their own set of mobile suits, also catch up with Zechs. He tells Heero and Trowa that he will take care of this battle and asks them to leave. The Romafellar group arrests him, and Zechs is ordered to be executed for treason. Treize Khushrenada, as the head of OZ, is technically the person who is to give the order for the execution of Zechs Merquise. He asks Zechs to admit that he was wrong, and whether he feels he can return to the Romafeller side. When Zechs tells Treize he cannot, in good faith, do that, Treize is forced to go ahead with the execution. He believes, however, that executing an highly-respected officer who is considered a hero by a great majority of OZ troops would be dangerous to morale, and would make OZ look heartless to those outside of the organization. In order to both kill Zechs and present a good face within and without OZ, Treize puts Zechs an OZ battleship and stages a fight between the ship and several former Alliance MS pilots. The pilots will attack and destroy the battleship and Zechs Merquise will die a hero, trying to put down an ugly resistance movement. But Treize, who sees Zechs as his best friend (maybe more?) has made sure that Tallgeese is on board the battleship so that Zechs can escape before being killed. Instead of being grateful to Treize, Zechs sees this as yet another way in which he remains under the superior officer's control. With the help of a soldier loyal to Treize, Zechs does this, and tries to fight off the attacking mobile suits as the ship explodes. The battle is a difficult one, as Zechs and Tallgeese take on roughly 50 mobile suits. Significantly, even in the heat of the battle, we hear Zechs talking to Treize, telling him that he wants to live up to his expectations. I think this highlights the very real bond between the two men, and the strength of that bond to continue, in spite of the profound differences in their viewpoints. At one point during the battle, Tallgeese plunges into the ocean. Perhaps it's the increased pressure under the water, or the strong g-forces generated by Tallgeese, but at this point Zechs' mask begins first to crack and then shatter the silver mask that Zechs has worn since joining the Specials. Zechs calls out to the absent Treize once again, telling him that he will continue fighting (for his own freedom?) until the mask is gone. As the mask crumbles and we see Zechs' face, and the blond-haired ace declares, "Treize, I can no longer be your friend." What I see happening in this crucial scene is the man who was Milliard Peacecraft reasserting himself as a son of the Sank Kingdom, even in the face of his love and respect for Treize. This is a very difficult thing for Zechs; he's not a strong leader in my view, but is better at making a leader's plan happen. For him to act this independently is truly a personal triumph, if not a triumph for his or Treize's ideals. However, in staging his death and then escaping it, Zechs now feels he can finally walk away from a long and blood-soaked chapter in his young life. Treize represents that period better than anyone else for him, because it was probably Treize who was the architect behind it. Zechs/Milliard sees that part of his life as over. He no doubt feels a great sense of freedom, which is represented in a highly graphic way in the shattering of the mask. Now that he can truly be himself, Zechs wants to put everything related to that era behind him and that includes Treize. To make this change even more profound, he declares, "Zechs Merquise is dead." Treize himself, however, is clearly not ready to forget about Zechs. As his best friend is escaping, Treize wonders aloud about OZ and what it will be like without the young man from Sank. He stares up at the sky and asks Zechs to return soon because, "There will only be unworthy people left if you are not here." Having barely escaped death at the hands of the Romafeller Foundation, Zechs crashes onto the beach, where he is rescued by Howard, the leader of a salvage operation and also former engineer who drew the original plans for the blond warrior's mecha, Tallgeese. Howard nurses both Zechs and Tallgeese back to health and tells Zechs that space "needs great people." Zechs decides to go to space to argue against the colonies acceptance of OZ. In this scene, Zechs' background as the heir to the Peacecraft throne returns in a big way. Now that he has avenged the destruction of his home, Zechs wants to leave the path of the warrior and follow in his father's footsteps, and he is at a loss as to how to do this until meeting Howard. Zechs sees Tallgeese's creator as the motivational spark that he needs to move to the next phase in his life. In fact, he declares quite clearly to Howard, "Zechs Merquise is dead." Obviously at this point Zechs wants only to move on and put his past behind him. To do this, he decides to visit the colonies as an ambassador from the Sank Kingdom. He tells the colonial leaders that he has seen what organizations like OZ can do - that he knows all too well what happens when nations build up their military arsenals. He hopes to discuss this experience with colonial leaders who are considering allowing OZ to take over the governing of the colonies. Obviously, it it his fervent wish to persuade them not to accept OZ, but to strive for a peaceful independence.

Looks: Okay when he is known as Zechs half of his face is hidden under a sliver mask. When not he has this very long blond hair that looks almost white, and these cute blue eyes. Makes you want to run your hands through that hair, doesn't it ladies? And the mask gives him that oh-so-suave mysterious air.

Voice: I think his voice is so soothing. It makes me sigh when I hear his voice.

Ideal Girlfriend: If Noin wasn't his girlfriend his idea would be to have someone to understand his feelings.