A Wronith's duty was to his people first, and the pride of his people second.
Hadn't these lessons been drilled in Wels since he was a small boy? Unlike many of those who served with him here, he was pure Wronith. This gave him no extra status as far as his career was concerned; Wronith genes were considered so far above Setan that they completely overwhelmed the latter in those of mixed parentage. However, the government couldn't regulate feelings, and there was a sense of pride among pure bloods, even if they didn't advertise it.
So why was he feeling torn on this? He had been given an order, he would obey the order. Why this weakness?
"This is wrong." a voice said beside of him, and he glanced down at his partner Reli.
Maybe because Reli was echoing the words in his own heart, or maybe because they had finally been spoken out loud, but Wels temper flared.
"You have your orders." He said in a tight voice.
"And I obey. It doesn't mean I agree." The men following behind them muttered assertion.
"Then stay here. Wait for the humans." Wels snapped. "Our reports show they have other ships headed this way. Most of our own fleet has been wiped out."
"Yes, we can't win." Reli nodded, walking faster to keep up with Wels. "But why this??"
"Because if we can't win, neither will they." Came the swift reply. "They came for the girls; those girls are already dead. And now, they come to steal our children. Have you no honor? Do you wish the young ones to be raised Setan? Taught to hate their fathers?"
"No, Wels, of course not."
"Then what other options do you propose?"
"I have none. I will follow our orders." Reli bowed his head.
Wels felt a flash of disappointment that Reli hadn't argued more rabidly, pleaded his point, managed to sway him...
In my life, I have seen horrors.
And I, in my arrogance perhaps, thought that I'd seen the worst of them. Not that worst that could be; I knew that at least was untrue. I knew things worse than I had ever witnessed existed.
I just never thought I'd have to look at them.
I tried to stand in front of Linra so she would not see, but Sheld and Marti's daughter has seen horrors of her own, and would not be held back. She pushed past me into the room, and froze.
I put my hand on her shoulder. Maybe to steady her. Maybe to steady myself. I don't know.
They lay before me on the floor like tiny soldiers. So small... such very small children. I knelt down next to one and touched his chest. I knew that he was gone. But I had to know for sure. I watched Linra move among the other ones, weeping openly as she gazed down at them.
Perhaps there were those who would not have pitied them. These were half-Wronith children as well. A good many of them had that odd, off-look we'd come to associate with the Wronith. An ethereal, not-quite-right beauty.
"WHY?" Linra managed. "These were their own KIDS!"
"Because they knew we were coming." I told her, my heart breaking. "And they would have rather seen these children dead than taken from them."
"Fucking monsters." She was shaking. "Oh, Duo. They were just babies..."
I pulled her close, knowing time was short. "I know."
We stood that way for a moment. "Come on. There's no reason to stay here any longer. Let's get back to the ships."
She nodded, and then took my hand. "I'm never going to forget this."
"Neither will I." I bit my lip. Forgive me, children. Forgive me...
"We failed." Sheld whispered. "We weren't able to save them."
Hilde was shaking her head. "We did the best we could. "
"It wasn't enough!"
"It's too late for that now." Hilde shot back. "Our duty is to the living."
"I forget." Sheld's voice crackled. "You used to be a soldier. I guess you know how to deal with this."
"Never." Hilde argued back. "But I do know that tears and what-ifs don't do any good. We do what we can; we're lucky to be able to do anything. And we're not done yet. My son isn't dying on this ship and neither is your daughter!"
Wufei wrapped his shirt around his hand and punched the glass of the window, shattering it. He reached inside gingerly and turned the lock. "Come on in."
The terminal was very small indeed. Most of the people landing had their own planes, and only stopped here to refuel or to grab a quick snack. But for the moment, it suited their needs.
The power was out to the building, so there was no way to use the computers or teleporters. Wufei thought for a minute, then led his small band of refugees through a small door into a workers office.
His hunch had been correct. There was a small cooler in the back, and although the power was off, the various items it contained were still cold enough not to have spoiled.
The smell of the meat making him ravenous, Wufei located a loaf of bread and began creating haphazard sandwiches.
"Here, baby." He offered one to Meishel.
Wufei stared at her, perplexed. "No? What do you mean no? You said you were hungry."
She gave him a steely gaze. "That's stealing, Baba. Stealing makes Jazz sad."
Wufei slapped his free hand to his forehead. Even when they weren't here, the Maxwells still managed to make things difficult for him.
"Look, Meishel. It would make Jazz a lot sadder to know you were hungry. We're just borrowing. As soon as the war is over, I'll come back here, and I'll pay for everything. I promise."
She cocked her head for a minute. "Okay, I guess." She took the sandwich.
"Nataku, grant me patience to let these children live to be fully grown." Wufei sighed, making another sandwich for Shan.
"Who's Nataku?" Macus asked, handing some food to Denea.
"Oh, please don't get him started." Denea begged.
"She's the Goddess I worship." Wufei said, pleased at the young man's interest. "We have a bit of time. Would you like to hear about her?"
"Yes, please." Macus said eagerly. "I've felt for years there was someone guiding me, but I wasn't sure who or what it was. Maybe it's her..."
Denea immediate covered her ears, as Wufei launched into his favorite subject.
Luke listened politely for a moment, then, finishing the last of his sandwich, slipped away to explore.
The terminal was boring, he decided a few minutes later. Not as boring as the plane, but still boring.
"Luke?" Rosie walked up next to him. "Wufei said to stay together."
Luke sighed. "Sorry, Rosie, but he's making me really tired."
Rosie, who had heard the virtues of Nataku most of her short life, and had yet to be impressed much, agreed.
Suddenly, Luke grabbed her hand. "Rosie! Look!" He pointed at the window.
The girl grabbed his hand and ran back to the next room.
"So she has many names." Wufei was droning on. Denea was almost comatose, but Macus and the twins were listening avidly. "But..."
"Wufei!" Rosie interrupted. "Those Wronith people. They're outside. They're headed this way."
"Disabled, Wels." Reli pointed to the ship. "It's not going anywhere."
"This one as well, Sir." A young Wronith nodded.
Wels examined the planes, admiring them. No doubt it was the Wronith influence on the planet that had led to their design. Maybe he would have time to study them a bit. No, he sighed. His time was short. What a pity...
"HEY!" A voice yelled. "GET AWAY FROM THOSE!"
A grown man, two boys, and the girls suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Before Wels could react, Reli was in front of him, jerking in an odd sort of dance before falling to the floor. The other Wronith quickly fell as well.
Wels wheeled around on his attackers, and then smiled.
"Drop your weapon." The man snarled. "Do it."
Wels gazed at the girls. Some of them already carried Wronith young. The blood would continue. Diluted and forgotten, perhaps, but it would continue anyway.
He raised his en-gun to his head and pulled the trigger.
His last thoughts would have made no sense to anyone but Duo and Linra.
Forgive me, children...
"Damn it." Heero looked at the planes. "They've disabled one of the bad ones and one of the good ones!"
He glanced at the children behind him, torn. The mission had been to rescue the girls. They had done that. But did he take one of the good planes, and keep them alive? Or one of the bad ones, and leave the good one for Duo?
He took a deep breath, and made his decision. "Everyone inside. It's going to be tight but we can fit if we try."
Rylan and the girls climbed inside, but Jazz paused. "We're not leaving yet. Pops and Linra aren't here."
"They'll be fine." Heero assured him. "Let's go."
"NO!" Jazz stared at him in shock. "What are you saying???"
"Jazz, we don't have time for this." Heero barked. "Get in this plane! Your father can take care of himself. He'd be furious if he knew I put our lives in danger to wait for him."
"Then you go." Jazz punched the side of the plane. "I'm not leaving without them." He turned on his heel and ran back down the corridor.
"Jazz!" Heero started after him. "JASON MAXWELL, YOU GET BACK HERE!" But the boy had vanished into the maze of tunnels.
"SHIT!" Heero snarled.
"What's up?" A voice panted behind him.
"Duo." Heero let out sigh of relief at seeing his maclen and Linra in one piece. "Where are the children?"
"Dead." Linra spat. "The Wronith knew we were coming for them. They killed them."
"Let's get out of here." Duo sighed. "Did you get the girls?"
"They're on the plane with Rylan. But we can't go yet." Heero admitted. "Your son just ran off a second ago to try and find you."
Duo muttered something under his breath. "Which way did he go?"
"Take Linra and leave." Duo instructed. "I'll go find Jazz and catch up with you."
"Duo..." Linra whispered.
"Please, babe. Do this for me." Duo urged softly. "Please?"
She didn't need to ask Duo to promise to find him, so she hugged him instead.
Duo leaned over and kissed Heero quickly. "See you soon, big guy."
And then he, like Jazz, was gone.