here it is! chap 4!
it's a little boring and filled with background stuff but it's finished! yay! i'll hopefully be uploading another chap soon...we'll see.
R and R


An effulgent craft sped through the dark swarm of space as it proceeded to the gleaming hour-glass shaped container, called PLANT ('Productive Location Ally on Nexus Technology' which was then reformed to 'People Liberation Acting Nation of Technology' after the First War to reflect their status of having an independent state).

As the base opened, the shuttle entered the PLANT known as Januarius One. Scoping the scene, one could possibly assume that there were about 120 of these PLANTs within the area, all free floating just beyond the earth's atmosphere. Each taking decades to build and prepare for human life and excruciating amounts of money to build, with the funding supplied by the Eurasian Federation, the Republic of East Asia, and the Atlantic Federation.

Since hostilities bloomed between the coordinators and naturals, the PLANTs became independent nations governed exclusively by the Supreme Council.

Thick tension still hung bitterly between coordinators and naturals even after the Peace Treaty had been signed.

Almost unwillingly, the PLANT allowed the small craft access and engulfed the metallic body.

Lifting tired eye lids, the representative of Orb was startled by the tumultuous motion the shuttle was making. Looking cursory towards the window, the princess vaguely noted that they had in fact, made it to PLANT and were attempting to land.

Land, if that is what you would call it. It seemed more or less like they were trying desperately to halt before they ran into some building.

Wasn't that a pleasant thing to wake up to?

The shuttle jolted again, sending Cagalli's tray hap-hazardously out of its socket and only a few inches away from her lap. Scoffing, she secured the plastic board back onto the chair in front of her.

Feeling her seat belt digging into her stomach, she shifted slightly trying to relieve some of the pressure.

She'd probably have permanent red marks from it. Fabulous.

Massaging her stomach she straightened her spine, stiff form sleep and wear.

"Thanks for waking me." Cagalli stated sarcastically noting that her escort was staring blankly into nothing. The 'nothing' must have been fairly interesting, because the pilot seemed so transfixed that he didn't even acknowledge her until she jabbed him brutally with her index finger.

"ouch." Looking irritated, Yzak turned his attention to the girl sitting beside him. "Did you have any particular motive for poking me, or was it just for amusement? Because I assure you, it wasn't very funny."

Men.

Distinguishing the faint boredom etched into Yzak's expression, her eyebrows knit together and her mouth pressed into a thin line. He was sooooo preoccupied doing nothing he couldn't even of bothered to inform her that they were now arriving? After spending how many bloody hours sitting beside him, he couldn't even open his mouth to say that maybe it would be a good idea to wake up?

"Not everything's about you, you know. Jeeeez. You should have woken me up earlier." Shifting her gaze back to the window, Cagalli exhaled audibly and crossed her arms in an attempt to convey her annoyance. Some escort he was.

"If waking you had been an option, I would have. For the past few hours I could have sworn you were out cold….if it wasn't for the snoring." Smirking, Yzak leaned back into his chair.

Did he actually think he was funny?

Fuming, Cagalli shot piercing rays of death glares into the side of her escort's head. "I do not snore."

Conversation over.

Do not snap. Do not snap. Must hold in anger.

She had to have at least some self restraint after dealing with the other members of the Orb Council. And Yunna….Cagalli mentally shuddered.

If she was going to be stuck with the arrogant ZAFT pilot for the entire trip, she'd go insane. In fact, she'd probably end up jumping off something….or pushing him….off of a really tall balcony…or off of PLANT….

Brushing thick, matted blonde hair off of her forehead, Cagalli looked down at her creased suit. Laying her hands flat on her stomach, she attempted to smooth out the wrinkles. Unfortunately it seemed that, like her hair, it didn't seem to want to be tamed.

Well fine.

Waves of knots swam through the princess stomach, objecting to the decline the shuttle was making. Nausea settled harshly in her system.

She hated flying. In fact, she also hated councils…..and men…..and her escort…..and Athrun….

okay, maybe not so much Athrun….

After a few more jarring motions, the shuttle sputtered and came to a halt. The contents of Cagalli's stomach slid back to their original positions.

Inhale…..exhale….inhale…..exhale…..

….she would be glad to get off the shuttle. Once everything was over, she would go home, have a bath, read a murder mystery and never, ever play 'scavenger hunt'. Nope. Not after she'd spent hours trying to stop the shuttle from blowing up….then having everything reversed and no one else knew what happened…

Unless someone else on the shuttle did know what happened….

Had everyone actually been asleep?

What about the man who had given her the note?...

Inhale…..exhale….inhale….exhale….think about this later.

"Are you going to get off the plane, or are you planning on going back to Orb. Believe me, I really couldn't care either way." Yzak seemed to feel the need to interject.

Removing her arms from her middle, Cagalli could hear shuffling around her. Peering up, she saw passengers gather their belongings and one by one, leave the shuttle.

"I'd rather stay here thanks." Why was she here again?

"mmm. That's too bad." Picking up her carry-on, Yzak turned and walked down the isle towards the exit.

Springing to motion, Cagalli fled after her escort and poor carry-on.

"Damn coordinator." Mumbling audibly, the representative of Orb and her escort made their way through the airport. Lines of people meandered through the halls and hoards of children and parents shuffled their way through the chaos. The sonorous atmosphere of the airport seemed to increase the volume of voices and movement around her, and the heavy ache seeped back to her temples.

Slumping under the weight of her carry-on, Cagalli groaned. The buzz of people around her was unnerving. Swarms of men and women rushed past her, adding to the disarray and noise of the airport.

Tautness assaulted her shoulders, stretching across to meet firmly at her back, than spiraled up to her neck. Deep darkened patches arose just under her eyes and gravity seemed to be mocking her. Under her silver ring a red area of skin embraced her finger, indicating a particularly sore spot.

Truthfully, if physical exhaustion had been the extent of it, she would be in great shape.

Her headache had relaxed slightly, but thoughts streamed in and out, tearing their way in and out of Cagalli's conscious.

The flight…ZAFT…..Athrun…..sore…..illusion?...real?...blue wire?...orb council….man on flight…..note…..transmission….time…..hope…

…..If she was in fact supposed to die on the shuttle….what was going to happen now?...

…..The Orb council had tried to set off a chain reaction….they would have needed help from someone on ZAFT…..but they had sent Yzak to accompany her…..and he definitely didn't know.…he was a commanding officer….

…..Which means that only a select group knew about it. And it also meant that Yzak wasn't as valuable to ZAFT as he used to be.

…..And what about the man on the shuttle? What did he know? He had given her a note….and what about Athrun? And the transmissions he had given her?

Wasn't her life stressful enough without having mutiny and possible insanity to add to it?!

Although, perhaps the realization of insanity actually made her sane.

Sane in a slightly twisted way.

Struggling to keep up with Yzak, Cagalli quickened her pace. It would be just her luck to get lost.

She could just barely see his silver hair flickering in and out of the crowd of people, weaving toward the exit. Trying not to knock anyone over, including herself, she darted around the people standing in line following the path of her escort.

Her life is just one bloody big maze.

And she wanted a coffee.

Black. No sugar.

And perhaps a popsicle to go with it.

Why not?

And then she wanted…..

The door came suddenly.

Practically out of no where.

If she had seen it, she wouldn't have run into it.

Smack.

Her poor battered up nose.

Her poor deflated ego.

Rubbing at her reddened nose, Cagalli stumbled outside. The fresh air swept across her face and poured around her, as if cleansing her lungs and breathing cool breath on her aching muscles. Allowing her eyes to close, the representative of Orb stood on the curb outside of the airport and felt the wonderful feeling on sunlight. Warm rays of existence melted the heavy clouds that were suppressing her mind.

Inhaling, she heard nothing, but the wind whistle past her face and the faint murmuring of the world around her…..

"ahem."

…and Yzak.

Was he still here?

Had she not managed to throw him off something yet?

Sigh.

"yes?" opening her eyes, she looked over at where she assumed he would be standing. And there he was. There, beside a tall black car, with shadowed windows and a driver.

Grasping the door handle, Yzak swung the door open and gestured for the princess to 'get-in'.

No.

She'd rather walk.

No.

She would not get in a car.

Not after she'd been sitting for hours on a shuttle.

And definitely not with him.

One more comment and she would snap.

Nope.

No way.

Noticing her hesitation, the coordinator seemed to be able to read Cagalli's mind. "you're going to a hotel, where you can sleep, eat, and wash up before your appointment with the PLANT council. So get in, or you'll be paying for gas."

Hotel?!

Bounding over to the open door Cagalli bent over, ignoring the pains shooting across her back, and slipped away into its confinements. Sleep…..eat…..wash up, like a bath!...

Leaning her head back, Cagalli felt the car begin to move, with her, Yzak and the driver. This was going to be a very dull car ride.

Slowly, the car pulled out of the spot it had been parked in and began gliding down the road. The soft hum of the engine filled her ears. It wasn't like the shuttle engine. It didn't have the heavy cough that signaled that she would be trapped in space if it died. Instead, the car engine sang. It gave her a slight feeling of comfort.

Swiftly progressing down the road, she could see that they would be approaching lines of tall office buildings. She supposed the hotels would be located on the other end.

Tired muscles molded into the seat supporting her. She felt worn.

"Let's do something." Cagalli spoke up suddenly, interrupting a conversation Yzak and the driver seemed to be immersed in.

Lifting one eyebrow, the ZAFT pilot turned in his seat to face her and stared. "do something?"

"I'm board. Can't we all talk about something?" Cagalli practically pleaded. She was tired but she knew that any sleep she got now would be restless and plagued with dreams of chaos, loopholes and the flight…..and probably Athrun.

She wanted to keep her mind off everything, right now.

The driver shifted uncomfortably. "What would you like to talk about, Representative Athha?" he uttered his question with thick emphasis on the last two words. There was an uncomfortable note of displeasure that oozed off his tongue.

Sputtering, Cagalli looked shocked and couldn't help portraying her disappointment. "My name's Cagalli."

Representative Athha?

The driver shifted once more but remained silent.

So she obviously wasn't the most popular person in PLANT.

"Perhaps it would be wise if you thought through what you're going to say at the meeting?" Yzak stated it. It didn't sound like a question. Turning around, he immediately began speaking to the driver quietly. It looked as though they were picking up the conversation where they had left off.

Fine.

Some company you lot are.

Deciding to amuse herself, she let her head loll to one side and she stared out the window. Truthfully, she couldn't handle dwelling on what happened with the flight. Not any more. She'd have to unravel everything later. Nothing was adding up anyway.

How to amuse her self? Eyes glued to the scenery outside the window, Cagalli kept track of the things that passed…

Car.

Tree.

Bush.

Car.

Car.

Mailbox.

Sign.

Big sign.

Car.

Okay. That was dull.

The car pulled up to an enormous building. Staring up, Cagalli could see long glass panels that swept down the length of the figure, gleaming under the sunlight. Wide refulgent steps peaked out from under the shadow of a flowing archway, molding into the building itself.

Wow.

"This would be the Januarius One Liberty Hotel. This is where you will be staying, and where the meeting will be held." Yzak craned his neck to stare up at the elegant archway. "it certainly is a statement." Speaking quietly, Yzak kept his face neutral, but turned slightly towards Cagalli.

Tilting her head to one side, she heaved her carry-on onto her shoulder. "it is. I hadn't accepted it to be so elaborate." The hotel was beautiful though.

"I wasn't commenting on the hotel." Turning, the ZAFT pilot made his way up the stairs and opened the large glass door, looking over his shoulder to ensure that the representative was following.

What was he commenting on then? Cagalli, tired and feeling very lazy, trudged up the stairs after him and entered the hotel.

Winding staircases and roomy elevators laced the lobby. Yzak, after checking in, took the stairs.

Great.

What was wrong with the elevator?

Each flight of stairs seemed to be longer and more elevated than the last.

It seemed to take days to reach the seventh floor and find her room. Numbly, Cagalli could only stare slightly stunned at the beautifully embellished structure around her. Paintings and flowers adorned the walls emphasizing the curved ceiling and glimmering floor tiles.

She felt odd walking down the hallway. She felt out of place. A motel would have been fine.

Rounding a corner, she made her way down the last stretch of hallway. Royal blue and gold swept across the wall, causing it to look as though paint had been splashed fortuitously.

Uh. She was staying here?

Standing in front of the door with small gold numerals matching the ones on her card-key, she blinked.

"the meeting begins at 3:00pm on the second floor. It's now 8:00am. Don't be late. Any questions, call the desk down in the lobby and they'll direct you to my room phone and I'll answer any questions. Though I'd prefer you didn't call me unless you lit something on fire, and if that was the case, I don't think I'd do anything about it anyway." Pausing, Yzak glanced over to the person he was speaking to, ensuring that she was listening.

"…..okay…" slowly Cagalli tried to take in what he was saying.

"change into something less…." The pilot's gaze swept over the Representative of Orb seeming to be searching for an appropriate word to describe her attire. "…wrinkled…and eat something. Go over the notes you were given by the Orb Council and be prepared to speak in front of the assembly."

For a moment, Cagalli wanted to reply. She wanted to tell him that she didn't actually care what the Orb council thinks and she didn't actually want to be there. She thought better of it. There, beside her, stood yzak. She hadn't actually noticed how tired he looked. Heavy weight seemed to press down on his shoulders and his tired eyes looked dull and unfocused.

"Maybe you should get some sleep…" Cagalli let the words tumble out. He was no use as a body guard if he was falling asleep.

His eyes flicked and narrowed. "get to work Athha."

Well. That's the last time she would try to be nice.

"Besides, I think we both have a lot on our hands right now." He suppressed a sigh. "sleep it seems is out of the question."

So he did sleep. He's at least part human then.

Soldiers don't exactly have the easiest job though. Mentally Cagalli lingered on the memory of the last time she had seen Athrun….

After a moment, it seemed that Yzak didn't have anything further to say. Turning on his heal, he strode down the hallway, to turn a corner and escape Cagalli's sight.

Uh…now what?

Sliding the key across a metal scanner, the box beeped and turned green. Enveloping the auriferous knob with her one hand, Cagalli pushed open the door to reveal her room.

It could have been a hole in the wall and she couldn't have cared.

Tossing her bag on the floor, the princess flung her body onto the bed.

A moment swelled and became a couple moments. Nothing happened. Though plagued with fatigue, her mind would not succumb to sleep.

Go figure.

Sighing, she rolled onto her back and stared up at the ceiling. Maybe she'd have a bath.

There was a good idea.

Heaving herself off the bed, Cagalli walked into the bathroom and reached over the tub to turn the faucet. A thick stream of hot water gushed out.

Inhaling, she smiled feeling her muscles begin to melt just by standing near the warmth of the water.

Carefully undressing, she hung the wrinkled suit on the railing above the bath tube. Hopefully the steam would smooth it out. Hopefully.

Sigh.

Tingling warmth trickled through her sore muscles and ebbed away at the knots that had tangled themselves in her stomach.

Twenty minutes dwindled by as Cagalli allowed her self to wash her face and relax. Truthfully, she figured it would be the last time she would get to enjoy not rushing about. In fact, it was probably going to be the last time she would get to relax and think while she was the representative of Orb. Although, she supposed that could also end in the near future….the representative part.

Wearing a house coat and socks, the princess emerged from the bathroom. The lines etched into her suit were slowly fading, but it would most likely take another hour.

It was only about ten o'clock now, so at least she had time left before she had to go speak with the assembly.

…..the assembly.

Uh….

What was she going to say?

'hi everyone, I'm not going to talk to you about what the Orb council wants, because they're all a bunch of stuck up old men who tried to kill me on the way here…but I'm the only one who remember it.'

Maybe not….

Plus, how many people were going to be there?

There would definitely be a representative for every ten or so colonies….which meant at least 12 members representing the PLANT nation….then the elite members of the Supreme Council (Yuri Amalfi was one of them), and Chairman Gilbert Durandal (who would at least listen to what she had to say)….there would probably be a representative from the Atlantic confederation, the Eurasian Federation and the Republic of East Asia….they would probably have a member or two from the Earth Alliance and the ZAFT army….plus a few who she didn't even know the names of…...so that would make…50?

After the Peace Treaty was signed, they Councils agreed to meet every couple years.

Great.

She just loved giving pointless speeches.

This wasn't going to be a friendly visit though. Cagalli was sure that the meeting was called for a reason. In fact, if the Orb Council and a few members of ZAFT wanted her dead…and she was supposed to make some sort of pact with Orb, even though there were a couple members of Blue Cosmos involved, something must be happening. Whether everyone knew it or not.

She couldn't let another war break out.

Not after the devastation the last one caused.

She now knew that there would be quite a crowd at the meeting. All representing a certain aspect of society. In fact, there would probably be a couple members of FAITH….

Maybe Athrun would be there….maybe not. Yzak had mentioned that Athrun wasn't exactly friendly with either side at the particular moment….

Most of the Gundams used in the war were 'dormant' and supposedly unused unless for transport and scouting. Any weapons that contained nuclear equipment or didn't abide to the 'necessary' standard, were supposed to be shut off and destroyed. Although this was the law, obviously it hadn't happened quite to that extent. There was bound to still be nukes and massive weapons out there that some idiot would stumble across and light a match and…..

…..….BOOM. there goes humanity.

There had also been an uprising not very long ago in one of the PLANTs….it took months to clear it up. It seemed someone had sparked a rebellion when a group of Naturals had visited.

Surely people could accept each other.

There still was so much hostility.

She couldn't keep track of everything any more.

In fact, she didn't even know where her brother was. Shouldn't he be here? Supporting her or something?

Okay, so maybe she didn't know what to say.

The fact remained that she needed to keep everything neutral. That's what Orb stood for after all. Equality, liberty, justice, freedom and trust. The foundation.

She would walk in and present what she stood for. The people. Naturals and coordinators. She stood for peace. For her father.

Pressing her palms against closed eyes, Cagalli felt consciousness slip away. She would have to rest before attempting to use her useless brain to any greater extent.

Thick fatigue caused the light around the representative of Orb to dim and the room around her faded into a blur.

Carefully, the princess rolled onto her side trying to suppress the want to fall back asleep. A clock ticked quietly on the bed side table indicating that it was now 1:30pm…

Sunlight swept through the tall window and flooded the tiny room, illuminating even the corners.

Why was she here again?

Ah yes, the meeting….

did she have to get up?

Yes.

What was she doing now?

Hmm….oh, the suit….she'd have to make an attempt at looking decent….

And, she'd have to stop talking to herself….even if it is only in her head. It really isn't dignified.

A huff of air escaped Cagalli's dry lips as she pushed hair out of her eyes. Grudgingly sliding off the bed, she stood hesitantly on her feet. Reaching both arms in the air, she allowed her spine to pull upwards trying to correct the posture it had been immobilized in for hours.

Ah. How she hated getting up.

Flick. After turning the coffee machine on, the Representative of Orb meandered to the bathroom. A maroon suit hung just above the bath tub. It looked a little less tired than her, and thankfully the wrinkles had come out.

…it took ten minutes to drag a brush through her hair….ten to get the blasted suit on….ten to brush her teeth and go through four pairs of bloody tights, which did not want to cooperate…and two to prepare her coffee…..

mmm…..coffee…..

black…..

…..what was the point adding milk and sugar to coffee? Didn't that take away the entire point of coffee? Why dilute it?

Her neck was feeling better and it seemed she had regained some mobility of her shoulder blades. The strangest thing though was that the area under her ring still burned.

Great.

Glancing down, the princess stared at the silver ring. The metallic band that hugged her finger gleamed back at her. Maybe it would be best if she didn't wear it to the meeting….

Maybe it would better if she went into the meeting without the ring, because there were already so many stereotypes about her out there….the ring would just add to them.

Carefully, she slipped the ring off.

It made her feel as though something inside her broke. Something small. But it hurt. She missed Athrun.

Grasping the ring in one hand, Cagalli placed it on the counter in the bathroom and turned to go out the door.

Once she had made her way across the room and entered the long hall, she was having second thoughts. She really didn't want to be doing this….the meeting…

Allowing her strides to carry her to where she saw the incandescent doors of the elevator, she clutched a folder of papers and pen. This was it. She was here for Orb.

A nervous sinking in her stomach caused her fingers to clench around the pen. Any feeling of being prepared had been swept away and were replaced by the twisting of her stomach.

Stepping into the elevator, the Representative of Orb pushed the button with a golden two embroidered into it.

The doors began to close.

Two brilliant blue eyes stared transfixed on her from just beyond the elevator. A thin familiar streak of intensity shot through Cagalli's insides.

He was the one on the plane.

Opening her mouth, Cagalli tried to say something but the walls around her darkened. He didn't blink.

Nerves at the back of her neck prickled, sending waves of hot sensations down her spine. She couldn't break eye contact. He wanted to tell her something. She needed to know.

His eyes blazed and bore into her. Azure depths pierced her own gaze.

The elevator doors closed.

Blinking, the numbers at the top of the elevator moved.

Level 6

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2…..

Nothing moved. Air ceased moving.

Shifting her gaze to the doors, Cagalli waited a moment….they didn't open…

Instead she felt the world fade around her and dissolve to black….

Slipping the ring off and placing it on the counter, Cagalli felt empty and hurt. She missed Athrun. And this meeting wasn't going to be icing on the cake.

Inhaling, she turned and left the bathroom and the ring on the counter.

Making her way across the carpet and then out into the Hallway, Cagalli closed the room door.

Tension gripped her sides. Déjà vu.

Shaking her head, the princess took quick strides to the elevator at the end of the hall. Clutching her folder and pen in one hand she used the other to reach out and press the button beside the metallic doors. As if one queue, the sprung to life and revealed the small confined space within.

Walking in, she pressed the button labeled two.

Glancing up, Cagalli felt her vision fog over and everything became slightly hazy. Confusion burned at her scalp and threatened to over power her senses.

Pain shot through her spine and burned at her finger.

Blazing sapphire eyes stared at her.

Memories rushed through her.

What was going on?

Not breaking her gaze, Cagalli watched as his mouth moved.

"Third time's the charm?"

The doors closed.

As the elevator descended. The numbers at the top flashed the level.

Level 6

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2….

Thick air clung to her body as she was plunged into darkness, a flicker of white hot particles embraced her limbs…

…..

Carefully placing the ring on the counter in front of her, the Representative of Orb inhaled and walked out of the bathroom. Nervousness plagued her system.

Walking across the room, Cagalli felt a strange sense of unease bubble inside her.

Opening the door of her room she froze. Wait.

Something wasn't right.

Hadn't she already done this?

Maybe she really was loosing it…

What was she supposed to do?

Turning back, she jogged back across her room and slipped back into the bathroom, picking up the small silver ring. The ruby shone.

Nerves at the back of her neck twined.

Gracefully the band slid across her skin to adorn the reddened patch it lay over. The skin looked even redder now that it had moments ago.

The ring seemed to fit there...on her finger.

Flexing her hand a couple times Cagalli turned and left the room.

Long strides engulfed the hallway as she kept her eyes on the path in front of her.

Approaching the elevator, she allowed her senses to wander. Her ears strained for any noise as her eyes scanned the hallway. Nothing.

Opening, the metallic doors slid apart.

Stepping in, the princess reached out and pressed the number two button.

And there, not ten feet away, was the man she knew was standing there.

How she knew? She just seemed to.

Blue eyes shone through his scraggly bangs and the smallest of smiles adorned his lips.

"Good luck." Blinking, he turned and began walking away.

The doors closed.

Gripping the folder and pen, Cagalli felt the elevator drop and the numbers moved downward.

Level 6

Level 5

Level 4

Level 3

Level 2…

Inhaling, Cagalli felt her spine straighten and elongate.

The small silver ring graced her finger.

The elevator doors slid open revealing the very meeting Cagalli Yula Athha had been dreading.


annnnnddddd there you have it.
loved it? hated it? hmmmm...
please review!