Now I'm really starting to wonder whether this was a good idea.
Whatever unease I sensed in them earlier, has become much worse.
Heero doesn't speak much - the few times he does, some random line from Duo or Wufei meant as a playful retort or a matter of fact has the effect of shutting him up like a clam. A clam longing to aim a howitzer at all those present, without any of us able to grasp why.
Duo talks all too much, but the message gets lost. He keeps giving me these looks, like there's something very important he wants to tell me, but just can't. I've tried to corner him when he's alone, and maybe figure it out, but either one of the others unwittingly interfere, or Duo escapes me.
Trowa, on the other hand, can't seem to look me in the eye anymore. Yeah, you could say that his long bangs would make that difficult anyway, but ever since he got here, he's been oddly skittish. He's still the calm, tall guy he was during the war, but I know something is wrong - I just can't figure out what.
Wufei... Wufei I can understand. He's been bitter, sullen and mostly unpleasant ever since he got here. At first, I thought he was angry with us. He's made no secret of the fact he feels our choices in the aftermath of the Mariemeia wars were wrong. He's made it very obvious he felt we should all have signed up with the Preventers immediately - not out of patriotism, not out of dreams of stature, power or respect, but simply because it was the right thing to do.
Yet, he's not angry. If anything, I'd say he was disappointed in us, like my father was in me when I went against his pacifist ideals. It doesn't mean Wufei still doesn't care for us. I know he does. He just lacks a way of expressing that, since we no longer share the visions of justice, liberty, freedom - any of those lofty ideals that are supposed to make everything better.
I tend to agree with him, but being a CEO has taught me the value of a dictatorship structure. In Europe, the ideal was once to be ruled by an 'enlightened despot', the sort of 'strong man' figure that could lead his nation in all matters; military, financially, socially - and do it well enough that only the die-hards objected. The idea was that if there was a single, brilliant mind wielding all that power unhindered, great things could be achieved. There is concrete proof to the wonders absolute dictatorship can bring - the Pyramids, the Great Wall - most of the grand monuments of times past could not have come without a strong central government - or the suffering of a great many.
And that would be the problem of the 'enlightened despot'. Usually, you could only get the latter half. The most recent one was Dekim Barton, and I would certainly not call him anywhere near enlightened. Mariemeia, perhaps, once she had gotten another lifetime to grow up in, but for Dekim she would never have been more than a figurehead.
So, we do know that Wufei is right. We have to weed out all the remaining seeds of chaos, all those with aspirations to become masters over others, without giving their victims the benefit of an honest day's pay for the privilege. The problem is, we no longer wish to take part in it. It is time others stepped up to the plate - those who called themselves civilians in the past conflicts, or claimed 'they were only following orders' if they were enlisted men in any faction.
For all his bluster, Wufei isn't simply an idealist.
I think he sees his tour of duty with the Preventers as a penance - for forcing the people of the Earth Sphere to realize they must never again tolerate a despot, enlightened or not.
He'd never admit this.
I'd settle for knowing exactly why he came, instead. Even if Sally strong-armed him, he could easily have 'gotten lost' on the way here, dishonorable as he might have thought that to be.
Like the rest of us, he's chatting, not talking.