Winds of Destiny
Disclaimer: I do not own Mobile Suit Gundam Wing or Star Wars. All rights go to respective owners.
(Italicized quotes represent Heero's thoughts)
Chapter 4: Survival of the Fittest
As Heero and Relena ran through the endless desert, they continued to hear the sound of gunfire, which echoed in the distance. Putting as much distance between themselves and the battlefield, as possible, they trekked further into the wasteland.
"Heero, what were those creatures?" Relena questioned. Although she was well aware that Heero would not have the answer to her question, she felt inclined to hear what he could decipher.
Heero sighed. Feelings of guilt clouded his mind as he calmly replied. "Judging by their appearance and use of rudimentary guerrilla tactics, they appear to be native scavengers or even bandits. Either that, or simple natives trying to defend their territory. Either way, shooting at them certainly didn't help the situation. It was supposed to scare them off. Instead, I did the exact opposite and angered them. With the fight we just gave them, it is unlikely we've seen the last of them. Then again, I am not sure if they will try to follow us, all things considered."
They continued their search for any form of shelter. Soon, it was nearly dusk and the planet's second sun could be seen over the horizon. Suddenly, Relena spotted a lone rock formation in the distance. Upon further inspection, they decided to set up camp for the night. Heero promptly removed a small stack of firewood from his rucksack. This surprised Relena at first, but she promptly considered how often she and Heero wound up in similar situations, thus proving the need for such preparations. As such, she quickly brushed aside her confusion, before unrolling two portable futons and placing them on the ground.
Upon lighting the fire, Heero removed a small bag of MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) and handed a packet to Relena. Then he began searching through his rucksack.
"We are going to need plenty of rest for tomorrow morning. As far as I am aware, we only have enough rations and medical supplies for six days. Water and ammunition aren't looking any better. Even then, with all those bandits out there, we'll be lucky to last a day."
Just as the words left his mouth, Relena donned a concerned expression. One question resting at the back of her mind.
"How long is a day?"
Heero was at a loss for words upon hearing this. This whole time, he was so focused on surviving, that he completely overlooked this factor. For all they knew, a day on this planet could be around thirty or even forty-eight hours. Irrelevant as this may seem, they would be unable to plan ahead, thus increasing the risk of certain death.
"There's no point dwelling on that question, at this rate. Right now, all we can do is wait until morning. Until then, we should get some rest. I'll take the first watch." Heero replied as they opened their MRE packets and ingested the contents.
Upon finishing, Relena fell into a state of insomnia on her futon, while Heero scouted the surrounding area, pistol at the ready. An ominous breeze blew in the distance as Heero refused to let his guard down. All thoughts were forced into the back of his mind. However, several strays burst through his walls. At that very moment, Heero was greeted by the last thing he would expect. Standing before him, was a young man identical to Heero in every way. Staring at his counterpart, the figure spoke.
"This is all your fault. If you had just been more persistent, none of this would have happened. To make matters worse, you foolishly provoked a group of natives. How much longer can you keep this up?"
Heero could do nothing more than stare at the figure, shocked beyond belief.
"Who are you?"
The figure simply laughed.
"Don't ask what you already know. I'm you. For some reason, you haven't been listening to me since last year. Despite my best efforts, I cannot find a logical reason to explain why you could be so foolish to the point of trusting a pacifist. She is nothing more than a naive little girl who wouldn't know the the concept of war if it hit her in the face."
"That's not true and you know it. Relena has been through more than enough to understand. She has dealt with the turmoil and consequences of war since she was a child."
"Who cares anymore? Don't tell me you've been going soft? Whatever happened to 'Emotions are for the weak?' You're supposed to be the 'Perfect Soldier.' That girl shouldn't be worth the dirt you stand on."
Heero was furious. If this weren't his own subconscious he would have beaten the man to death.
"You don't know what you're talking about. I was taught to act on my emotions, not dismiss them."
"How could I not? I'm you, remember? Weren't these your thoughts at one point or another? Do you really think that you could possibly belong in a peaceful world?"
These words left Heero mortified. He tried to speak, but no words came out. Instead he briefly closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. When he reopened them, the figure was gone.
Desperate to calm himself, Heero took a swig from his canteen, before continuing his patrol.
When the first sun rose, Heero and Relena packed up their supplies, and continued their journey.
Over the next five days, the two would follow the same routine. In order to ration their supplies, they would only survive on a single MRE packet every day. As such, they managed to surpass Heero's original expectations.
Unfortunately, this did not last. After ten days, their rations dwindled and their water became increasingly scarce.
Heero's training allowed him to survive without sleep for extended periods of time. However, even the most well trained soldiers could only take so much.
Relena, on the other hand, could not handle the trauma of killing someone in cold blood. She would relive the experience every night, to the point where the acrid smell of gunpowder still lingered, within her nostrils. Her outright refusal to discuss this with Heero only made the situation worse.
Soon, the two were drenched in sweat, and could barely stand. Only their sheer determination kept them from losing consciousness.
As they neared a steep gorge, Relena spotted an unusual vehicle speeding within the vicinity. However, despite her best efforts, she was unable to speak, much less call for help. Soon, everything went black as she and Heero collapsed from exhaustion, heatstroke, dehydration, and malnutrition.