“My Gun…dam…” she moaned, then shut her eyes again. Her breathing slowed and she slipped into unconsciousness. They were all staring wide eyed at her.
“That’s it!” breathed Heero. “That’s where I’ve seen her before. She’s the sixth Gundam.” Duo stared at him in shock.
“I’d heard rumors that there was a sixth Gundam, a female. But I never believed them. I thought that the colonies were just confusing one of ours for another.” Wufei said, studying her.
“A sixth Gundam, are you guys serious? If there was a sixth one, why weren’t we told?” Duo argued in disbelief. “I’ve never heard of a sixth Gundam. Why didn’t we know?”
“Because no one did.” a voice said. They all glanced to the girl. She was awake now. She stared back at them calmly. “I was top secret. No one was told about my existence, not even the other Gundams. I was to hide myself and fight from the shadows. And I did, for a while. I helped you all in varying degrees, trying to help out and stay hidden at the same time. It wasn’t easy. And then you all went out to space. I tried to follow you, but you all went in opposite directions. My superiors weren’t sending me any more specific missions either, I had to use my own discretion. So I hid and continued to fight Oz from behind the scenes. But then I was discovered. They took my Gundam. I came here to get it back. But apparently I failed that mission.” she muttered bitterly.
“On Earth.” Heero said. “I saw you on Earth.” She nodded. “I was destroying a base in Southern Europe. I was ambushed. You came out of nowhere and helped me finish them off.”
“I got out of my mobile suit to make sure you weren’t wounded. You were not, and I left.” she finished. Heero nodded.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Brekke.” she said. “Pilot of Gundam Guardian Angel.”
“Heero Yuy.” she finished for him. “And you are Wufei Chang, and Duo Maxwell.”
“How do you know who we are?” Duo demanded. She smiled, then grimaced at the pain the small gesture caused.
“I knew all about you. It was you guys who didn’t know anything about me.” she said. “They made sure that I was well prepared. There were two others, Quatre Raberba Winner and Trowa Barton. Are they dead?”
“No.” Heero said. She sighed in relief and smiled softly to herself.
“I watched you kill eleven men bare handed.” Duo said in awe. She glanced at him.
“Did I really? That's not counting the ones I shot trying to get here.” she said. She shrugged. “Like I said, they made sure I was well prepared.”
“No kidding.” Duo said. Heero stood and walked to the door.
“Hello? I need water and bandages. If the girl isn’t cared for quickly, she’ll die. Please, just water and bandages.” he called. A guard walking by snorted at his request.
“Let the little bitch die. She killed 23 men before she wound up in there.” he told Heero flatly. Trowa walked around the corner.
“Lady Une demanded that the prisoners be kept alive.” he warned the guard. “If one dies, she will not be pleased with those who neglected them.”
“Yes, Officer Trowa.” the disgruntled man muttered, abashed at the threat from a higher ranked soldier who was younger than he. He shot a glare at Heero, then scurried off to bring what the Officer had demanded. Trowa walked forward and looked into the opening.
“Who is it that you’re trying to save, Zero One?” he asked shortly. He did not let his curiosity show. Heero locked eyes with him.
“The sixth Gundam.” he said quietly. Trowa’s green eyes flew open wide before he could compose himself.
“Brekke's here?” he asked in shock tinged with anxiety. Heero’s eyes narrowed.
“You know her?” he whispered fiercely. Trowa’s eyes narrowed.
“Get back from me, prisoner.” he said coldly. Heero caught sight of the returning guard and obediently stepped back from the door. He was used to Trowa's sudden mood changes when others were about.
“Here are the things you requested, Officer Trowa.” the man said shortly. Trowa dismissed him with a nod as he took the things and unlocked the door. It slid closed and locked behind him.
“Where is she?” he asked simply. Heero pointed. She sat in a shadow, her breathing low and hoarse. A trail of blood led his eyes to her, and a pool of it glistened at her feet in the dim light. She was dying. He knelt. “Brekke?” he asked, setting down the water and bandages. “Brekke, can you hear me?” Her eyes slowly flickered open. The bleary pupils vaguely focused on him.
“Trowa?” she murmured.
“Yes, it’s me.” he assured her. “What are you doing here? Where have you been? I lost track of you after…” he trailed off.
“I know. I tried to follow you, Trowa. But you all scattered and I was too late… I hid and tried to carry on with the original mission to destroy Oz. But they discovered me. And they t-took my Gundam. I came here to get it back.” she whispered hoarsely. The effort it took for her to drag each word from her throat was obvious. But she continued stubbornly. “They…knew I was coming. I panicked.” Trowa soaked a cloth in the water and carefully wiped the blood from her face. She sighed and let him, even though it only added to her pain. He locked eyes with her for a moment.
“How much damage did you do?” he asked her quietly. It had to have been a lot for the guards to have beaten her this severely. She tried to shrug but it ended in a grimace of pain.
“She killed 23 men.” Heero said for her. “23 trained Oz soldiers. 11 she killed with her bare hands. After she’d been shot.” Trowa only nodded. He was not surprised. He pulled her shirt up from the wound and she cried out as the fabric ripped away from it. Even in the dim light he could see the swelling and the bruises on her torso. Firming his resolve, he cleaned the wound and bandaged it.
“I’m going to send you some food. Make sure you eat it. You need the strength, if you want to live. Things are not as bad as they seem. But remember one thing. I am dressed as an Oz soldier. I will act accordingly, and you must treat me the same. Are we clear?” he asked. She studied his face for a moment, trying to decide what he was implying, then nodded when she understood.
“Crys-tal . . .” she breathed.
“Good. Trust your instincts, Brekke. They’ve always seemed to work for you before. I don’t doubt they’ll help you now.” He stood and pointed to the remaining bandages. “If she has any other wounds, I suggest you take care of them, or she will die. She’s lost a lot of blood. And make sure the one she has now stays clean. See to it that she eats. Force her if you must. Lady Une will not be pleased if she dies.” he added in a commanding tone as a troop of soldiers came to escort him away. He left them alone. They remained where they were until the footsteps faded away. Then the three young men crowded around the girl. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was labored.
“How do you know him?” Heero demanded. Her eyes flickered open again.
"Trowa Barton and I met in much the same situation as did you and I, Heero. Only for a longer amount of time.” she said finally. The tone of her voice made it clear she had answered him because she had chosen to, not because he had demanded it, and she would say no more on the subject. He was not her superior. Duo edged closer to her. He glanced over her.
“Are you hurt anywhere else?” he asked in concern. Her eyes darted over to take him in, then she softly smiled at him.
“Right now, everything hurts.” she whispered. “But no, the gunshot is the worst of it.” She shifted. “Trowa is exaggerating. I’ll be fine in a day or so. I heal quickly.” she assured him. He nodded and sat next to her. Wufei sat at her feet. Heero sighed and sat on her other side. She was now putting all her energy into just breathing. Heero studied her.
She was quite muscular, but she had the thin look of someone who had been underfed for a long amount of time. Her chest was more than ample and her waist was tiny. She was dressed in a white halter top and jeans that were tight from her waist to her knees, but widened at the bottom to cover heavily soled black boots. Silver dog tags dangled from a chain around her neck and she wore a black cargo vest. Her hair was a mass of dark curls pulled back into a loose, unruly tail that was longer that even Duo’s braid. Her face was beautiful despite the fact it was hidden under a mottling of bruises and swelling.
She looked different than when he’d first seen her, bounding down out of her Gundam to see if he was wounded. She had seemed younger then, more innocent somehow. He recalled the vision of her grabbing the man’s neck and wrenching it to the side. In his mind he heard the snap. The girl in front of him was definitely not the sweet child that she appeared to be. She was a weapon, pure and simple. Like him.
Footsteps brought him out of his thoughts. Heero met Trowa at the door. He took the plate full of food silently. Their eyes locked.
“Make sure she eats it all.” Trowa said. Heero’s hand closed protectively around the small parcel taped to the bottom of the plate. He stared back silently. Trowa inclined his head at him, then turned and left. Heero took the plate to the girl and took out the small package. He dumped the pills into her food and made her eat everything. Then he took out the small jar of salve and handed it to Wufei, who rubbed it into her skin.
“You should rest now.” Heero told her. She nodded agreeably and stretched out on the floor. Duo lifted her head and placed it in his lap. She smiled thankfully up at him, then her eyes slid shut and her breathing evened out. She was asleep.
“A sixth Gundam. And a girl, too. I wonder where she’s been hiding all this time.” Duo mused, staring down at her. Wufei shrugged as he returned to the spot he’d claimed as his own.
“She could have been anywhere. There are abandoned bases scattered throughout outer space. She could have been in any one of them.” he said.
“Oz has her Gundam. Not pieces of it to rebuild, but a real, working Gundam.” Heero said grimly. “I wonder what they’ll do with it.”
“I fear to think.” Wufei murmured. They drifted off into silence.