Chapter Sixteen:In Deep
Something thuds and lingers against the full face diving mask. Something black and mushy.
"You're dead, Yuy. Deader than dead. I'm going to kill you slowly. I'm going to tie you down, cut off your skin in inch-wide strips, then throw you to the crows."
*Duo, stop talking.*
"Oh, and I'll talk the whole time. I'll not shut up until the birds rip off your-"
*Duo, shut it.*
"No, you shut it! Or you come down here and make me shut it!"
I'm not normally so aggressive towards my lover, but then, he normally doesn't come up with plans that have me swimming through a major sewer system.
The water is warmish, but somehow I can't seem to forget that it's because of fermenting raw sewage rather than, say, because I'm in Maui. God help you, Yuy, if any of this gets into my hair. I must have thought this at least a hundred times in the past half hour. Heero's ears must be ringing like air-raid sirens.
Of course, to be fair, Quatre, our tactician, decided we were going to go for this target, and Trowa, who knew the place from a previous infiltration, suggested the weakness in their defences. But it's my lover who agreed and drew up the plan and as a result it is yours truly who is swimming through raw sewage goddamit!
Heero hadn't even looked sheepish when he told me not suggested, mind you, told me- what the plan was. He did help me get ready for it, despite the fact I spent the whole time chewing him out thoroughly I think he's learned to tune me out by now.
Oh yeah, that was another thing. He helps me to get ready, right? And we had loads of time, right? And this getting ready consisted of me in trunks, a drysuit, a can of Vaseline and the perfect soldier, all alone because the others had left to avoid hearing me bitch at full volume. Now what was the enjoyment factor that we drew from those promising components? I'll give you a hint. It has some relation to Wing's advanced computer/mind-screwing system. That's right. Zero. ‘Cause we were preparing for a mission and those things are serious (when you're perfect). And because I was hopping mad too, but he could have at least made a pass!
"I'm there." I mutter, as I see the ledge of the tunnel up ahead.
*About time. You are four minutes behind schedule.*
That's it, Yuy. You are so not having sex for at least a week.
I grab the ledge and haul slowly, rising out of the gunk like the swamp creature. I lean forward on my arms, the sewage still tugging at my waist.
-Flashback, plunging into Heero arching beneath me in a silent poem of strength and passion-
At least three days. I sit on the ledge, trying to be as silent as I can despite the small shluup of the sewage relinquishing me reluctantly. I lean back against the tunnel wall, trying to see ahead in the darkness barely lit by my very grimy headlamp.
-Flashback, leaning back against Heero's firm chest as I slowly ease myself down on him, legs and arms twined, every inch of our bodies in contact-
Well he's certainly not getting lucky tonight!
That's fairly likely, you moron, since this mission will last until then and you'll be lucky to be home before midnight.
Well so at least that's one promise I can keep, I think, simmering, trying to shake some of the crud off of me while I look for the clean water outlet that should be around here. I'm on a stealth mission so I need to get out of the drysuit without getting anything nasty on me, ‘cause I'm not going to be very stealthy if I'm surrounded by a visible miasma of sewage. Plus if I get any of this on my skin I will have to kill my lover, and that's the kind of messy ending to a relationship that I try to avoid.
The clean water cascades down on me, hard and smelling of iron when I finally lift of the face-mask. I carefully rinse off the drysuit and the waterproof bag I'm carrying, then turn the water's release handle reluctantly, vaguely wishing I had some soap. Or industrial strength bleach.
I squirm out of the suit still chary of touching a thing so contaminated- and flip the uniform out from the bag. It's an OZ trainee suit, with a cap to hide my hair as much as possible. When I'm in infiltration mode, most people don't look at me much anyway. I'm good at blending right in.
I wipe off sweat and stray Vaseline from my skin with a cloth Heero thoughtfully provided and struggle into the uniform. Then I check the mike and commlink.
"Still hearing me?"
"Is Trowa still going to kill me if he finds out I commandeered this?"
"Well I won't tell him if you won't."
The ‘this' in question is the sweetest little infiltrator tool ever. It's a throat mike that is little more than a thin film of circuits in flesh-coloured plastic that can pick up my voice even if I talk sub-vocally, and pirate the nearest receiver to carry the signal. It's pasted in a long line onto the flesh of my throat, in the fold of the neckline, and is all but invisible. It works off the electric differential of my skin so there's not even any energy pack to give it away. The earpiece that goes with it is tiny as well and fits right down in my auditory canal, it can't be seen unless you dig it out with a Q-tip.
Dr S sent them to Trowa, our main infiltrator, and inasmuch as Mr Laconic cares about anything besides Quatre, he loves these babies. I'll be putting them back in his bag as discreetly as I had, ah, borrowed them, once I get back, but I just can't resist a new toy. This is not a mission where continuous communication is vital, but I'd still managed to find some excuse or other to wear the things, and get Heero to wear the controller set and listen in.
In fact the only use I've had for them so far is to flay him verbally during the sewer dive. The wonders of modern communication. I expected him to hang up after the first three minutes. Actually I was surprised he agreed to listen in at all instead of putting his gun in my face and ordering me put the things back in Trowa's room. But no, he's still on the line, listening in on my mission. Though I'm not getting any warm fuzzy feelings about how much he cares/worries about me; I frequently hear the patter of keys near the mike on his end, while he works on his laptop and probably ignores every nine words out of ten I send winging his way.
I smooth down the uniform and compose myself. I get into the skin of a fresh-faced eighteen year old cadet on his first real job in the force, a helpful lil' go-fer who's only too willing to lick someone's boots if they'll kick him up a rung in the ladder in return. I hate myself instantly, but then it's certainly no worse than swimming through a sewer. And if I do it right, I can walk out of the base instead of swimming out the way I came in. Ahhh, incentive.
I double-check that my OZ-regulation side-arm is loaded and ready on my hip, and that my less-than-regulation blade in its spring-load arm-sheathe is ready for anything unexpected. From the water-proof bag I take out my secret weapon a manila folder that has ‘I'm busy working for someone else so don't ask me questions' written all over it- and head out into the base as if I'd been here for months.
My synapses crackle with silent swearwords as I have to backtrack again to get around another check-point that wasn't on Trowa's map. It had been months since he'd been here, and security has been tightened. It's only a minor ground vehicle maintenance and paper-chasing outpost, none of us had thought of looking into the layouts of this low-priority target. Trowa had only been here for a couple of days, in transit to another, more crucial posting. It was amazing he remembered anything at all. I have a good sketch of the building and its perimeter, but the security posts have been switched around. Oz has known several military defeats and political infighting in the past months, and even minor posts like this have learned to be careful.
*Are you in the central core yet?*
"No." I whisper as I brush my nose to hide the movement of my lips. "Security." Maybe having Heero listening in wasn't such a good idea. He's not used to improvisation, Shinigami-style, and he's already sounding antsy.
*Hn. Can you bypass?*
I'm walking along a very busy hallway, open to one side to the truck park. My nerves are humming, though this is not apparent in my body language. There are a lot of enemy around, if any realize who I am…
"Gonna have to." I mutter. Maybe I should try breaking in the hard way. I don't have the ID to go with the uniform, it was useless to cook it up as any check-point guard would know I didn't belong in the base. There aren't enough people here to not know every cadet. If I break into the ventilation system I can bypass all the checkpoints and get in easier. It'll be slower than just walking in, I'll have to disconnect-
The thing about war is that it's so fucking random.
I'm walking near the wall, in shadows, to avoid any prolonged look at me. The door just in front of me opens as I walk right into it. Random. I'm shoved back my reflexes get my arms up to protect my head from the violent smashing of the door- and fall heavily. People turn to look at what the commotion is about. The man who burst through the door he looks so mad I briefly wonder if his lover sent him swimming through a sewer today- turns to me quickly. His scowl changes to a sneer as he takes in my uniform. Turns into something else, his ‘Watch where you're going, newby!' dying on his lips as he takes in…
My cap has fallen off and my non-regulation braid has hit the floor with a tap behind me.
And this guy isn't stupid.
Neither are the other two men who are pointing guns at me three seconds later.
Sorry love. Maybe I should have stayed in the sewer.
On to chapter seventeen
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