In the midst of the battle, one lone white Taurus stepped forward.
“My help? What do you mean?” he asked.
“Please, don’t fire. I mean you no harm. My name is Lucrezia Noin, and I came here to ask for your help.” the female pilot inside said, her face coming up on Sandrock’s left screen. Quatre lowered his weapons, taken by surprise.
“I came to ask all the Gundams for help.” she explained. “I need someone to help me protect my country. Have you ever heard of the Sanc Kingdom?”
“The Sanc Kingdom? No. Where is that?” Quatre asked, intrigued.
“The Sanc Kingdom stands for peace. It promotes total pacifism. Many counties have already joined in the Sanc Kingdom’s dream that one day the world will know peace through discussing problems, not starting wars. But this has made it a target for the Romafeller Foundation. I can’t protect it, all by myself. Will you help me?” Noin asked. Quatre smiled.
“I would be honored to.” he said.
Heero, Quatre, and their Gundams were flown to the Sanc Kingdom, where Relena Peacecraft eagerly awaited their arrival. She greeted them formally and cordially, no matter how many glances she stole at Heero. It was decided that they would pose as students in the Peacecraft Institution, and she gave them uniforms and rooms. They would begin classes the next day.
Relena entered the classroom, followed by two boys dressed in school attire. It fell silent for a moment, then whispers flared up like wildfire as everyone noticed at once that these were the first two male students to attend the Institution of the Sanc Kingdom. They quieted when Relena cleared her throat and gestured to the two Gundam pilots.
“Class, we have two new students joining us. I ask that you respect them and make them feel at home. Would you please introduce yourselves?” she asked.
“Quatre Raberba Winner.” the first said with a friendly smile.
“Heero Yuy.” the second said impassively. They were each assigned a seat near the front of the classroom and then Relena left to speak with Noin. For them the class passed slowly. Afterwards students were ushered to a larger room where Relena awaited them. They were to discuss the pros and cons of total pacifism to understand what the Sanc Kingdom stood for. This time the boys sat closer to the back, on the right side of the room. Relena began by discussing what total pacifism meant, then moved into how it worked. She frequently called on people to get their opinions and have them explain their point of view on the subject.
“So you see, with total pacifism, anything can be solved without having to begin a war that will only kill innocent people.” she said. “Total pacifism is the goal of the Sanc Kingdom.”
“Total pacifism is only an ideal upheld by the Sanc Kingdom.” corrected a voice coming from the far left corner of the room. Relena was taken by surprise.
“Why do you say that, Miss Brekke?” she asked.
“Miss Relena, forgive me for speaking plainly. But your hopes for total pacifism are, for now, just that. Hopes.” Brekke said calmly. Relena set her jaw stubbornly. This was not a new argument between then, even though this was the first time it was public.
“I am only trying to live up to my father’s ideals.” Relena said defensively.
“But those ideals have no basis in reality.” Brekke argued. “I am not disagreeing that a world of pacifism would be a world of peace and happiness. But for your ideals to ever actually work, all nations would have to agree to subject themselves to total pacifism. They have not. Even with the majority of the other countries joining to your cause, if one does not, it brings down the whole. It is impossible to solve problems verbally with a country that wants to fight. Do you see what I’m saying? Right now, we don’t live a world where pacifism can become a reality. There are times when the only way to protect what you love is to fight for it. Romafeller is a good example. The Romafeller foundation doesn’t care that you only want peace. It only sees that you are thwarting their plans for world domination. The only way to protect the kingdom that you love so dearly is to fight against them. When Romafeller is destroyed, you can continue to petition the other countries to join in your cause. But for now, if one group insists on fighting, pacifism will never become a plausible reality.” Heero and Quatre stared.
Brekke was standing to project her voice. She was not dressed in the school attire of the other girls, but in a long straight skirt of a slick fabric with two high slits up the sides and a tight white shirt of the same material with a low square neckline and sleeves that stopped just above her elbows. A sliver and malachite necklace adored her throat and she wore black leather boots with chunky heels that laced all the way up to her thighs. Daring to bring attention to himself, Heero stood.
“I agree.” he said. “Unless the entire world decides to practice total pacifism, it will remain only a dream of the Sanc Kingdom.”
“I agree as well.” Quatre added, also standing. “I hope for peace as well, but as long as there are countries willing to fight, it will never come by total pacifism.” Brekke glanced at them and her eyes widened a moment before she regained control of her expression and refocused her gaze on Relena. The bell rang before Relena could answer the argument, and everyone emptied out into the hall. Brekke stood immediately and left, causing the boys to scramble after her. They had to run partway down the hall to catch up with her. Heero reached out and grabbed her wrist, turning her around. Before she could accost him for the action, Quatre hugged her.
“Brekke, I can’t believe it’s you! I’ve missed you so much. Are the others here?” he asked. Startled by his sudden affection, she hugged him back silently, then regained her voice when he let go.
“Quatre, it’s good to see you.” she said then turned to Heero. “Heero.” she said with a nod.
“Brekke.” he said, nodding back. “Are the others here?” he repeated. She shook her head.
“No,” she said quietly, “I am the only one.”
“How did you get here?” Quatre asked.
“Shh, not so loud!” Brekke muttered. “There’s a girl here, from Romafeller. I don’t trust her.”
“How did you get here?” Quatre repeated in a whisper.
“I had nowhere else to go, so I came to Earth.” she said. “I heard about a nation desperate for peace. I came to protect it from Romafeller.” She sighed. “A new life, I guess. To help me forget…everything…” She broke off and shook her head. “I don’t think I even know why we’re fighting anymore sometimes.” Heero eyed her.
“You look sick.” he said flatly. “You’re too thin.” She glanced down at herself. She was almost twig-like in her appearance nowadays. She’d had little appetite since Trowa’s death.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you last.” she told them. “And it’s been hard.” Quatre hung his head. Heero just looked at her. She ignored both reactions.
“Does Relena know you’re a Gundam pilot?” Heero asked. Brekke shook her head.
“No, but Noin does.” she said. “I thought the few who knew, the better. Relena wants peace. Harboring Gundam pilots is no way to start.”
“I think you should tell her.” Heero said. Brekke set her mouth firmly. She didn’t like being told what she should do. But Heero remained firm.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because OZ knows who you are, and that you exist. It’s only fair to tell her so she knows what she’s getting herself into.” Heero said. Brekke scowled at him then sighed.
“Alright.” she relented. “Let Relena know that I’m a Gundam pilot. It’s probably for the best.” she admitted. She glanced up as she saw Noin come down the hallway.
“Quatre, Heero, Miss Relena would like to see you in her office as soon as possible.” she said.
“We can go right now, if you like, Miss Noin.” Quatre said brightly. Heero nodded his assent to the comment. Brekke locked eyes with Heero for a moment, then inclined her head to them and merged into the crowd, headed for her next class.
The two boys followed Noin down the hall. She held the door for them and shut it firmly when they were all in. Relena glanced up from her computer, then stood.
"Thank you Noin.” she said. Noin nodded once at the recognition but remained quiet. The boys stood waiting for Relena to address their presence. “Heero, Quatre, I need your help.” she said. “I want to launch a search to find the other Gundam pilots. Both Noin and Pagan have encouraged me in this. The Sanc Kingdom can be a safe harbor for you. And your influence would help the cause of the Peace craft Nation. Duo Maxwell, Wufei Chang, Trowa Barton. Those are the others, correct? I was informed that there are five pilots in all.” she said, clicking her keys and bringing up a file on each of them. She waited for an answer.
“There are six.” Heero said. Quatre nodded.
“Yeah, a girl.” he added. Relena stared at them.
“There are six Gundams?” she whispered. They nodded.
“Her name is Brekke .” Heero said. “Her mission was top secret. Not even the other Gundams knew about her existence.”
“I believe you know her.” Quatre said.
“Brekke…a Gundam pilot?” Relena stammered. So much made sense now, and yet she only felt more confused. “That explains her arguments, her disappearances…” She shook her head to clear it. She needed to get back to the point.
“Duo Maxwell. Do you know where he is?” she asked. They shook their heads.
“He escaped from the OZ base.” Heero said. “It was the last I saw of him.”
“Wufei Chang?” she asked.
“The same.” he said.
“What about Trowa Barton?” she pressed. Heero did not speak immediately and was startled when Quatre answered her.
“He’s dead.” he said quietly, eyes fixed on the ground in front of him. He fought back the tears that came with the heart wrenching guilt he felt every time it came up. Relena bit her lip.
“I’m sorry.” she said. “I will begin searches in their home colonies. I will have to hope that will be a good start. You may be excused.” And with that the boys quietly left the room.