Disclaimer: I don't own any part of GW nor its characters, and what a pity that no money is made writing stories about them.

Warnings: Maybe some language, a little angst, and a wee bit of violence, though not much.

The Forewarning - Part 3
Duo's Friendship Arc 24
by Dyna Dee

The trap door snapped shut instantly, leaving the boy falling ten dark feet to the floor. Having not seen the distance he was falling, Duo was unprepared when he landed, and he landed slightly off balance. When his foot did make contact with the solid metal surface, he felt a sharp stab of pain in his left ankle and strangled back a cry of pain.

"Duo?" Quatre's voice came from his left.

"What the hell is this?" Duo asked in alarm, seeing nothing but darkness. He quickly brought his body into a more comfortable position and began to carefully examine his right ankle with his fingers to see if it was broken. It felt more like a sprain, but damn, it hurt.

Above the pitch dark place they were trapped in came the only slightly muffled sound of the loud, obnoxious music. It made sense now why the carnival worker had it up so loud; no one would hear them shout for help. Suddenly from above them came a harsh scraping of metal on metal followed by sounds of movement from outside the metal structure that housed them.

"I don't think this is part of the fun house." Trowa's voice came out through the darkness from a different direction in the darkness. "In fact, I'm sure of it."

The room shuddered, and the sound of an engine starting was heard.

"We're being moved," Quatre cried out, his voice indicating his alarm. The three felt movement like that of being in a trailer that was being towed.

"By Allah, it's happening again," Quatre gasped, fear and a touch of hysteria evident in his tone of voice.

"Keep talking Quatre, I'm coming," Trowa said, his voice purposely modulated to a calming tone.

'I... I... don't know what to do," the blond teen uncharacteristically stuttered and sounded unsure of himself.

"Keep talking," Trowa advised, his voice coming closer. "Tell me how your sisters are."

The former Sandrock pilot obeyed the request, focusing his mind on talking about his sister, Sahara, and her new baby. After a few moments he felt a gentle hand touch his leg, then a pair of strong arms pulled him into a sheltering embrace, halting his random speech.

"Whoever it is and whatever they want, Duo and I won't let them hurt you," Trowa said firmly, knowing that the not-so-distant memory of Quatre's previous kidnaping and its near fatal outcome was now brought back with force to the Arabian teen's mind just as it had been to his own thoughts.

"I'm sorry," Quatre apologized. "But just the thought of going through being kidnaped again has me...unnerved."

"There's nothing to apologize for, Quatre. It's understandable," Trowa replied as he rubbed his friend's shoulder, trying to sooth the trembling he felt under his hand. They both sat quiet, realizing at the same time how wrong the quiet in their moving prison truly was.

"Duo?" Trowa called out into the darkness. "Duo, are you alright?" he tried again.

Quatre's trembling lessened when his concern turned to his silent friend. He shifted under Trowa's arms to the direction he'd last heard Duo's voice. "Duo? Are you alright? Answer me." His voice took on the tone of a command.

"There's... no air... coming in," came a small voice not far from their position. "We're in a....sealed metal box and...there's no air coming in."

"Damn," Trowa whispered just under his breath, realizing he now had two friends dealing with different phobias due to separate traumas: Quatre's kidnaping and Duo's near fatal incarceration and suffocation with Wufei on the moon base. They'd learned early in their acquaintance that Duo was claustrophobic in small windowless spaces, and that fear was exacerbated by his experience in a closed-off cell and having the oxygen shut off. "Can you make your way over here?" The Heavyarms pilot called out to his friend.

"I.. I.." Duo's stopped trying to speak and his breathing, which was much too rapid and short-winded, could be heard in the near empty metal space they were trapped in.

"He's hyperventilating," Quatre whispered.

"Let's go to him," Trowa suggested and the blond teen immediately moved out of Trowa's protective hold and onto his hands and knees to begin crawling over the uneven metal tracks that were molded into the metal floor in the direction of Duo's panicked breathing. The slight sound of movement behind him told him that Trowa was following closely behind.

Quatre found Duo first, and when Trowa reached out his hand in the darkness, he felt not one body, but two clinging to each other for support and comfort.

"It's alright," Trowa said in a comforting tone, hoping to calm his two friends. "There's three of us, and together we're serious trouble for whoever has us," he reminded them in a tone of firm confidence, something that belied his true feelings at the moment.

"Do you think this is because of me?" Quatre asked, sounding apologetic again.

Trowa took a moment to think. He was now sitting on the other side of Duo with his arms around that boy's shoulders and felt when the former Deathscythe pilot pulled his long braid up and over his shoulder to hold onto it. It was something Trowa had seen Duo do several times during the war whenever he was extremely worried or upset.

"If they wanted just you, Quatre," Trowa said quietly, "I don't know why they would take Duo and myself. They could have dropped you in here and taken off with us still wandering around in the maze. They clearly waited until Duo joined us before taking off."

"Maybe they were afraid you would sound the alarm or follow," the Winner heir guessed.

"Damn right we would have," Duo muttered just under his breath.

"I think they wanted the three of us." Trowa speculated.

"The gundams?" Duo asked, his voice sounding grim.

Trowa wished he could see his friend's face to determine his level of panic before he answered, "I wouldn't doubt it."

The three quietly sat huddled together and contemplating what it would mean for someone with a cause to get a hold of the mighty war machines.

"I think we should destroy them." Quatre spoke up in a small, clearly sad voice. "As long as the gundams are around, people who have a bone to pick with the Earth or a particular government, Earth or Colony, will come looking for us to side with them, and it's not difficult to assume they would use any number of means to coerce us into fighting for their cause." He paused a moment before continuing. "They might use our loved ones or even a colony against us to force our allegiance."

"I agree," Trowa spoke up with conviction.

Duo, who had been sitting and listening, suddenly began gasping for oxygen, panicking once again. "No air," he choked out.

"There's air, Duo." Trowa assured him and lowered his arm to friend's back and began to rub large, soothing circles on it.

As Duo's breathing failed to slow, Quatre said from next to him. "Cup your hands and put them over your mouth, Duo. Then try to calm your breathing."

Trowa heard the rustling of material as he imagined Quatre shifting to help their friend. Anger welled in his heart. 'Dammit,' he thought. 'Whoever has orchestrated this little kidnaping is going to pay for bringing these fears back to my friends.'

When at last Duo's breathing seemed to slow somewhat, Quatre spoke up again. "I'll arrange to have the gundams destroyed," he said.

"How?" Trowa asked, curious as to what the blond was thinking.

"I've got a semi-working, derelict resource satellite at my disposal," the blond answered. "I can put the gundams in that and send it into the sun."

Several moments of silence ensued and when it was broken, it was Duo's voice that did it. "I'll help," he whispered.

The three huddled together and braced themselves as the metal container that held them slowed to a stop.

"Ready yourselves for when a door opens," Trowa warned, and crouched into a position from which he could launch his body. He could hear some shifting and knew the other two were doing likewise.

The container lurched sharply, and a loud metal sound reverberated throughout the space they were held in. It felt as if their mobile prison had been taken hold of by a magnetic trans-lifter. Then another sensation was felt.

"We're being lifted," Quatre announced grimly.

"They're taking us to another colony," Trowa guessed. "I imagine we're being transferred from the truck to an inter-colony transport.

"Maybe Ramal followed us," Duo said with a trace of hope in his voice.

"I hope so," Trowa replied.

"If he did," Quatre spoke up with no trace of humor in his voice. "I'll give him a bonus he can retire with."

The sound of a winch working as it hauled the container upward was not only heard, but felt by the three trapped within the metal walls. Then the room swayed as it was moved into another direction. The sound of large metal doors closing was audible above the other sounds the three strained to hear. Several moments passed and they hadn't realized they were being lowered until they felt the floor beneath them settle onto a solid surface and a slight jolt was felt as the magnetic clamp released the transported container.

They held their thoughts, listening to the footsteps of someone outside and from the four corners of their prison came a succession of drilling sounds.

"We're being secured in place," Duo said, familiar with the sounds from working with Howard and his crew on his space and earth ships.

It wasn't long after that all became silent for a few moments. Then shattering that silence and startling them came the sound of metal against metal and suddenly, fresh, warm air could be felt as it was pumped into the room void of light.

"Thank God," Duo's voice was but a whisper, but it clearly verbalized his relief.

"They obviously don't mean to kill us outright," Trowa thought out loud. "The air is heated so we won't freeze to death."

The three breathed in the fresh air, relieved but still in a state of readiness.

"Gundam Pilots." A male voice startled the three, causing them to jump with the loud volume that reverberated off the metal walls. "We intend you no harm." said the thin, slightly nasal voice.

"That voice seems familiar," Duo whispered, and the other two listened more intently for any clue as to the identity of the person that held them captive.

"We have need of your services and your gundams," the voice continued. "The war for colonial independence goes on, and the time to strike is now while Earth's government is still in the process of forming and has a weak infrastructure."

"We have peace and we're not fighting any more," Duo yelled back, not knowing if he could be heard or not, but his frustration demanded that he vent it in some manner.

Evidence that they were being monitored came when the voice replied back to his outburst. "I'm afraid you have little choice in the matter. But we would prefer to have your co-operation rather than having to coerce you by other less pleasant means."

"There is always a choice," Quatre called out. "We've had enough of war. We just want to live our lives in peace."

"It is rather premature of you to make a decision without all the facts," the man said in a calm manner. "We already have one strong ally who has seen the righteousness of our cause. He has persuaded us that you three can be brought to reason."

"Who is this ally?" Trowa asked, returning calm for calm.

"That's not for me to say," the faceless voice replied. "But you will be reunited with him after a short journey. I'm sorry your accommodations are less than comfortable, but we were told of your abilities and that the utmost caution should be taken in securing you. Our destination will be reached in several hours and there you will be directed to a room prepared to hold you until you learn the facts and make your decision whether or not to join us."

"And if we refuse to cooperate?" Duo snarled.

"Then you will remain our prisoners until our victory is complete," the man replied calmly, obvious not put off by Duo's churlish attitude. "As I said before, we wish you no physical harm, but neither do we underestimate your potential threat to our plans if you should refuse to join us. Rest while you can. I'll speak to you again when we reach our destination.

That was it, the voice was gone and the silence that followed seemed heavy and fraught with dark possibilities.

"Do you think they're still listening?" Quatre asked, speaking just under his breath.

"I would think so," Trowa answered. "I think we should do as he suggested and rest. It's early morning by now and I don't want us to be exhausted when we meet our captors."

Quatre reached out blindly to find and take hold of Duo's upper body. Situating himself behind him, he pulled his friend's unresisting body up against his chest. "Lie down, Duo," he said firmly, knowing Duo could be very stubborn when agitated.

Reluctantly, the boy in his arms slowly and stiffly complied and lowered himself down to the cold metal floor as Quatre moved along with him, wrapping his arms around him as he spooned up against him to offer comfort and to share the warmth of each other's bodies against the cold metal floor. As they settled, Quatre felt Trowa's questing hand, then his taller body took the exact position behind him so that the three lay huddled together on the floor. Their shared warmth wasn't enough to chase away the cold entirely, but it allowed each of them to doze off and on, getting some slight amount of rest.

A loud sound and a jolt of the container roused all three boys from their restless slumber.

"Are we being moved again?" Duo asked in an alarmed voice.

Another jolt caused the three to sit up. "That felt like the ship's shields are either in an asteroid field or we're under attack." Quatre said with a tinge of hope in his voice.

"A rescue?" Duo asked.

"I hope so," Trowa answered, still resolutely calm.

The next jolt was even stronger, and was followed by a de-escalating moan from the ship, signaling the shields surrounding it had gone down. Even within the cargo hold, the three felt the magnetic grappling hooks clamp onto the sides of the ship carrying them.

"We're being rescued," Quatre exclaimed excitedly, his hands clasped onto Duo's arm and Trowa's shoulder, feeling the need to make a physical connection with them.

The three soon-to-be-rescued teens sat in the darkness, tense and ready to spring into action the moment a door was opened. The passing time seemed almost endless as they attuned their ears for any sounds outside their prison indicating their release.

Then it came, the sound of a metal bar being lifted and snapped into place. The three jumped up and faced the direction of the sound. Suddenly the door was flung open and bright, unbearable light spilled through the open doorway and burst into the darkness of their prison, the suddenness of it causing all three to become temporarily blinded.

They were only given a moment to adjust when the dark silhouette of a tall, thin man in the doorway spoke to them. "Come with me," the voice they'd heard over the intercom ordered.

"No," Duo replied stubbornly.

A report from the man's gun being shot into the container was horrific, causing the three inside to instinctively cover their ears.

"You have no choice in the matter," the man said in a hurried voice. "You will either come with me now or die where you stand."

"We'll come," Trowa answered and gave the other two a gentle nudge on the middle of their backs, urging them to walk forward to the open doorway and the man with the gun trained on them. It was then Trowa and Quatre became aware of Duo's severe limp, that he was favoring his right foot. Seeing their concern, Duo signaled with a wave of his hand for them not to worry about it.

Moving together towards the brightly lit cargo hold, the three stopped short of exiting the container they'd been held in when they recognized their captor. "Aren't you Cannes?" Quatre asked, having seen the man before on a recorded message that was transmitted from the White Fang to the Earth and Colonies during the last days of the first war.

The man looked startled for a moment, then hearing the sound of battle approaching, he narrowed his gaze on the pilots. "We are under attack," he told them, ignoring Quatre's question. "I have a shuttle in the next hanger. Let's go." He motioned with a movement of his gun to the direction he wanted them to move. "Mr. Winner first, please," he pointed the gun directly at the blond teen.

"No!" Duo said firmly, knowing whoever was the first out the door would probably become the hostage used to keep the other two in line. "Take me first."

"Duo, no." Quatre turned to his friend in protest.

The long haired teen looked into his friend's eyes and spoke to him softly. "I don't want a repeat ending of the last kidnaping attempt, Quatre. Don't make me go through that again."

"If you're going to take his place, Mr. Maxwell, I'd suggest you come now before I start shooting." Cannes threatened, obviously nervous as he kept taking a quick glance behind him as if expecting un-welcomed company.

Duo promptly limped forward until he stood in front of the tall, blond man.

"Turn around," Cannes barked. The boy from L-2 did as he was told, only to find his hair roughly grabbed at the base of his neck and the gun pressed painfully into his back.

"Alright now, you two come out." The man barked out his order. "And I don't want any problems or Mr. Maxwell will be the one to suffer for it."

Quatre and Trowa deliberately walked at a distance from each other as they exited the metal container, making it a little more difficult for their captor to keep his eyes on the both of them at once. Stepping into the light of the cargo bay, their eyes, still weak from the darkness, met their friend's eyes, narrowed with pain from the tight pull of his hair. Their frowns clearly let him and his captor know their unhappiness at the situation.

Duo wasn't any happier then they were. Cannes's hands were gripping tighter, and not only was he pulling on his braid, but also the small sensitive strands of hair at the base of his neckline, causing his eyes to water. His friends moved in the direction the gun waved as they glared venomously at the man holding him hostage.

"Go!" Cannes ordered, nodding towards the door behind the two facing him. With the gun muzzle poking uncomfortably into his back and his hair held distressingly tight, Duo found himself easily guided as he was led, limping heavily after his friends, his mind furiously working and considering various way to escape and punish the man behind him.

As soon as the four opened and exited the cargo hold, they found themselves standing in a corridor with the lights above them blinking on and off in warning and a claxon sounding that hadn't been heard before they exited the hold.

"Quickly," Cannes ordered and motioned to his left. Trowa turned and grabbed hold of Quatre's upper arm to pull the unhappy Winner heir along.

"Run!" the man all but screamed as the sound of hand to hand fighting and the dull zipping sound of a stun gun came closer.

Trowa shot a quick glance at his blond friend. "He said to run." He repeated the order just under his breath. "Keep up with me," he added.

Quatre, still frowning, nodded, and followed the instant Trowa bolted down the corridor towards the bend approximately fifty feet away. He did his best to keep up with his fleet-footed friend, the fastest runner of the five gundam pilots, whose long legs and athletic physique always gave him an extra advantage and speed. Quatre stayed within five to ten feet of Trowa as they flew down the corridor, ignoring Cannes' shouts and threats to stop. After running and turning down several corridors, they'd successfully lost their kidnaper and came to a stop.

Both teens took a moment to listen for any sounds of pursuit. After catching a breath, Trowa turned to look at his blond companion. The smaller teen's face was taunt in concentration and his blue eyes raised to meet green. "That was taking a big chance on Duo's life," Quatre said unhappily.

"The man wasn't going to shoot his only hostage once we were gone." Trowa replied.

"This is Duo we're talking about Trowa. He can work anyone up into a rage to kill him when he gets into one of his obnoxious moods."

With a sigh and a nod, Trowa agreed.

"Let's go get Duo," Quatre said. His tone of voice offering no deviation from his intended purpose of rescuing his friend.

Trowa's only response was another nod of agreement, then led the way as back down the metal corridors they ran.

The ship was a surprisingly large one. It wasn't the standard, small scale space freighter they had imagined, but a mid-size military-type transporter, and both teens wondered to themselves what government or political faction had instituted their capture. Who or whatever it was, they had a lot of money backing them if they could afford this type of a ship to capture three of the five gundam pilots for their cause.

The two ran swiftly, stopping at every corner they'd run around previously to see if they were being followed or if they could spot their kidnaper.

"We have to hurry Trowa, or he'll take Duo from us." Quatre's face and voice were both filled with worry.

They moved forward quickly, and were almost to the point where they'd left Cannes and Duo behind. As they cautiously spied around the corner, they came up against the sight of a most welcomed party.

"Rashid!" Quatre called out, and twelve Maguanacs turned as one towards the young man they'd sworn to protect with their lives, relief evident on every one of their faces.

"Master Quatre," The head Maguanac's deep voice rumbled with pleasure and relief at seeing the teen free and unharmed heading towards them.

"The man known as Cannes has Duo as hostage," Trowa told the tall, imposing man as they met. "He was headed towards another hanger housing a ship he intends to use to make his escape from here."

Rashid's eyes narrowed and he moved toward the area they hadn't searched yet, his band of imposing soldiers behind him. Approaching the door marked Cargo Bay III, they noted the light above the door remained green, indicating the large room was still properly pressurized. Rashid took the lead and quickly threw the hatch door open, and stepped back in case gunfire was shot his way. Hearing nothing but silence, Trowa peeked his head around the corner of the metal door to see two people down on the floor.

"It's alright," he told the other's behind him. Rashid entered first and his eyes immediately went to the two and he cautiously approached. Cannes appeared unconscious and Duo was in a half raised position, propped up on his right elbow as he examined his left leg that rested against his right thigh, which was resting in a growing puddle of blood.

Trowa moved ahead with Quatre at his side as they quickly approached their comrade. "Duo!" Quatre exclaimed in alarm to his downed friend as he threw himself down on his knees, to land next to him.

The braided teen looked up, clearly unhappy. "What took you guys so long?" he complained. "Thought I was going to bleed to death before someone finally showed up."

"You must be slipping if he was able to get a bullet into you?" Trowa teased, trying to calm Duo as he knelt down to examine the wounded limb. His poking and prodding brought a lot of complaints and found two wounds, an entry hole where the bullet entered the back of Duo's thigh, and an exit wound six inches lower on the front side just above the knee. "With any luck the bullet will have missed the bone completely." Trowa observed.

"Idiot!" Duo snarled through gritted teeth. "He wouldn't let go of my hair. When I elbowed him in the ribs, then spun to take him down with a kick in the jewels, the jerk shot me."

Then a different look crossed the wounded teen's face. "Quatre?" He sought out his friend's face.

"What Duo?" the blond stood ready to do anything the other boy asked.

"Do me a favor?" the long hair boy asked.

"Anything Duo, just ask me," Quatre prompted.

Duo nodded with satisfaction and his eyes narrowed suspiciously as he motioned to the unconscious man in front of him. "Give that bastard a good kick in the ass for me. He ruined our weekend and I'll probably spend the rest of it in an emergency room."

The Winner heir hesitated. "But Duo, he's down and out. I can't kick someone who's defenseless."

All those in the room looked down at the wiry, middle aged man who didn't look the least bit dangerous when he was unconscious and without his big gun.

"Looks like you already kicked his ass, Master Duo," Abdul said, seeing the man's face was discoloring.

"His kneecap is shot to hell also," the long haired boy said proudly, thinking of how he'd beaten the man up in anger after he'd been shot in order to disable him, not feeling his own pain until the man was out cold. Then suddenly, he frowned. "But dammit, he made me feel things that I thought I'd gotten over."

"What did he want from you?" Rashid asked as he bent without expressed permission and picked up the wounded teen who moaned loudly, protesting the pain the movement brought.

Quatre then went on to repeat the conversation they'd had with the unconscious man being picked up by two other Maguanacs. After relaying the bulk of it, he continued. "He said their organization already had one powerful ally that we would know. He said we would be reunited with him," he said thoughtfully, his eyebrows pinched together in concern as the large group quickly made their way out of the cargo bay and through the captured ship's corridors, led by Abdul.

"Could it be Zechs Marquis?" Trowa guessed. "He still has Epyon and he traded sides quite often during the war."

"Well, it's not Heero or Wufei," Duo said in a strained but adamant voice, his face pinched from the pain he was experiencing. "We fought too hard for peace to let another war to start."

The group of men walked for a few more moments before Quatre spoke. "How did you find us, Rashid? Did Ramal follow the freight container we were trapped in?"

The tall Maguanac leader gave the boy a worried an hesitant look., suggesting the boy asking the question would not like the answer. "Yes and no," he told him.

Quatre waited, staring at the tall man with an intensity that signaled that he wanted a full answer.

Rashid cleared his throat. "Ramal came back to where he'd left you and waited, thinking you were still inside the fun house." He began to explain as they continued to walk. "The woman who had admitted you into that place told him that you had exited and moved on. He waited for a few more minutes, knowing you would not leave the area when you said you would wait for his return. It was then that he noticed the trailer behind the fun house move away and left the carnival grounds at a suspiciously fast speed. He called for back up immediately."

"Did he follow the trailer?" Trowa asked as they came to the obviously newly drilled docking hold carved into the captured ship.

"There was no need for him to do so." The imposing man replied, avoiding the faces of the three curious teens. They watched as he keyed the coded panel next to the sealed hatch. It swished open, allowing them entry to the short tube that led to the Maguanac ship. With Duo secure in his arms, he bent down so that his large frame would fit into the passageway connecting the two ships.

"Dammit, Rashid," Duo growled out, feeling impatient and irritable from the constant throb and fire in his leg. "Just tell us how you managed to track us to this ship?"

Rashid held his response until he was inside their own ship and the last of those in his crew were on board and accounted for.

"Release the docking bay after the hatch is sealed," he barked out his orders, which were immediately obeyed. "Akbar, take the prisoner to the holding cell and see that he is made comfortable until we can get him some medical help. "Nasser," he turned to another of his men. "Secure the magnetic grappler and engage the tractor beam. We'll tow the barge to L-4 and give it to the authorities." He turned back to the three boys impatiently waiting for an answer to their questions.

He ignored them as looked behind them as Ramal entered the ship and stepped forward to make his report. "They erased their logs and wiped their navigation computer clean," he said with a frown. "So we won't be able to tell the authorities exactly where they were going, but we can inform them of their trajectory before we captured them."

Rashid gave the younger man a nod of satisfaction, then turned with the wounded teen in his arms and moved towards the seating area. With surprising gentleness, he eased the pained and pale teenager into one of the soft seats and called out for a first aid kit. Moments later it was set next to the boy and Trowa knelt down to attend to the wound with practiced efficiency learned during the war.

Without hesitating, he cut away the black, blood drenched jeans to expose the wounds in his friend's upper thighs.

"Trowa!" Duo protested loudly. "Damn, just expose my ass to a whole room of people why don't you?"

"I have to get to the wound, Duo," the Heavyarms pilot answered calmly as he hit the button on the side of the chair that promptly sent the complaining boy onto his back, earning the cabin a loud squawk of protest and swearing which only grew louder as the entire pant leg was cut off.

In seeing that Duo was being taken care of, Quatre turned to Rashid for the long awaited answer. He displayed his great patience when the man put up his hand indicating for him to wait just a moment, then turned to the cockpit door.

"I want us to set course to L-4 as soon as the ship and our tow are ready," he ordered to whoever was piloting.

"Roger that," came back a reply from the room.

As soon as the ship began moving, Rashid turned to face the frowning blond heir to the Winner fortune. The tall man bowed his head in humble apology. "Forgive me, Master Quatre, but I'm guilty of doing something without your permission that you probably wouldn't have approved of."

Quatre's facial expression softened and he no longer appeared perplexed. "Rashid, you don't have to ask permission to do anything unless it involves me personally," he told him.

"Which is why I beg your forgiveness," the older man replied.

The blond eyebrows drew together and the frown returned. "What did you do Rashid?" Quatre asked in a low, demanding voice, planting his fists on his slender hips.

The feared leader of the Maguanacs kept his head bowed as if in shame, and the entire compartment became still, everyone listening to their conversation. "When you were kidnaped on Earth last spring while under the care and protection of Earth's government, we arrived at the hospital to take over guarding you since they had done such a poor job." He looked up to see the blond boy's eyes boring into him, giving him no escape from the truth. Quatre nodded for him to go on, knowing the Maguanacs had taken over the wing of the hospital he recovered in from the gunshot wound he'd received.

"While you were in intensive care and still unconscious, I had a tracker chip implanted under your skin. If activated, it will pinpoint your exact location within two thousand miles," the large man confessed, looking amusingly sheepish before the smaller teen.

Quatre's blue eyes opened in shock. "You did this without my permission?" he asked in disbelief.

Rashid nodded, his eyes moving to the floor as several tense moments passed.

"Well, it was a good idea and it saved us, didn't it?" Trowa, not looking away from his treating Duo's wounds, interjected softly into the awkward silence, and silently appealed to his friend's sense of fairness in judging his trusted man's decision.

"It would have been nice to have been asked," the blond teen replied with a weary sigh, then moved to ungracefully flop himself down into one of the vacant seats nearby. "And it would have been comforting to know we were being followed while in that absolute dark tin can."

"I'm sorry," Rashid apologized again.

"Apology accepted," Quatre said with a wave of his hand. "Where is this chip, if I may ask?"

"On the back of your upper left arm," Rashid said. "I didn't think you'd discover it there."

"I didn't, obviously," the blond retorted disgustedly.

The cabin quieted as Trowa finished bandaging both wounds and then examined the injured ankle. He could see that Duo was going to be laid up for a while and felt momentary pity for both he and Quatre. Duo did not like to be bed ridden. He was grateful for the package of medications that were included in the first aid kit, and gave Duo a couple of pain pills after covering his very exposed limb with a blanket. He then sat next to his wounded friend to keep him still until the pill put him to sleep.

The Maguanac ship stayed thoughtfully quiet as those on board contemplated what had happened and what it might mean to each of them. "So, is there another war in our future?" Duo asked in a very sleepy voice.

Trowa placed his hand on his friend's shoulder and patted it. "I hope not, Duo," he sighed. "But I'm afraid this attempt to capture us and use our gundams is a clear forewarning that the peace we earned is threatened."

"So what do we do?" Duo persisted though sleep was nearly upon him.

"We go on with our lives," Quatre answered from across the way. "Though we now must move about our lives with more caution. If they needed us badly enough to go through all the trouble they did to kidnap us, they undoubtedly will try again."

"I'll send Heavyarms to you," Trowa said, his head turning to meet Quatre's gaze. "If we eliminate the gundams they may leave us alone."

Quatre nodded. "I'll contact Heero and try to reach Wufei. Duo and I will take care of destroying them."

With that said, those in the cabin of the Maguanac ship sat once again in contemplative silence, wondering what the future would bring


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