Different Cells of A Prison
[ Monday, 4 May 198 A.C. ]
The doctor stared silently at the young man in front of him. Flipping through the files he had on the youth, and from his observations of him for the past few weeks, he concluded that he was almost done with his research. After they answer his questions, he will use that information to come up with the reason why people chose to willingly fight and die in a war. Of course, he would’ve had more time to prepare if his first appointment didn’t show up forty five minutes early.
“Thank you for coming Mr. Yuy, and for participating in my study. It means a lot to me.”
“Hn,” came the quiet reply.
‘Sally did say he was the least verbal one of the group,’ the doctor thought to himself, but dismissed that thought. Now was the time for him to be verbal. “Now Mr. Yuy, I know you’ve seen me hanging around you and the other former pilots lately, and that Sally did tell you some details about what I’m trying to do. My name is Dr. Freud, and I’m doing research on what causes young people like yourself to fight in a war. Not what side you pick, that’s really depending on where you live and what you know. What I’m interested in is the “why” in why you fight. I’m well aware of your history with Dr. J and of the other pilots’ histories as well. What I want is your feelings on the matter. Understand?”
“Yes,” was the short answer.
“Good. Now, Mr. Yuy, why did you accept the role of being the pilot for Wing? Why did you follow Dr. J’s orders?”
He didn’t hesitate. “Because I had to.”
“Yes, but why did you have to?”
Heero’s eyebrows furrowed in agitation. “I had to protect the colonies. I had to follow Dr. J’s orders. If not, OZ would’ve taken over everything.”
“No no no, Mr. Yuy.” Dr. Freud sighed, rubbing his balding head. “That’s exactly what I want you to get away from. I don’t want rational thinking. I want YOUR feelings on the matter. I know you were created to fight against OZ. I know you were bred to be the perfect soldier. But that doesn’t mean that you’d mentally turn out that way. You’ve made a great deal of progress emotionally over the years in your dealings with the other pilots. That wouldn’t happen with someone who is entirely emotionally severed. Do you understand what I’m trying to say?”
Heero didn’t respond. He just sat there and stared ahead of him, almost burning a hole in the wall. Dr. Freud took his glasses off and sighed in his hand. His research couldn’t be completed without Heero’s cooperation.
“I didn’t want others to be like me.”
His head snapped up, and he nearly poked his eyes out trying to get his glasses back on. “Pardon me?”
“I didn’t want others to be like me.”
“Like you how?”
He leaned forward, resting his arms on his desk. “You were in prison?” he asked incredulously.
Heero sighed. “I was being held as a prisoner. I was only let out when something needed to be done, then put back in. I obeyed orders. I slept, ate, and basically breathed when I was told to. I stared at the same gray walls night and day, and was only released to train. I was going to fight for freedom, but I wasn’t free myself. If I didn’t do it, they probably would’ve killed me and found someone else to take my place. So I did it. I obeyed my orders. I listened to Dr. J. I stayed inside those gray walls. I was in... prison.” He smiled slightly. “Until I got into Wing, then I wasn’t a prisoner anymore.”
Dr. Freud sat back heavily in his chair, as if a realization suddenly hit him in the chest. He smiled at the quiet young man before him, nearly speechless from his explanation. “I see,” was all he said.
[ Tuesday, 5 May 198 A.C. ]
“So...Mr. Maxwell, why did you become a gundam pilot?”
Duo sat back in the chair, tapping his foot against the floor. “Well, I figured I was chosen to pilot Deathscythe.”
“Why is that?”
He blew air through his bangs. “I... had no life. I lost my parents when I was real young. Then I lost Solo, then Sister Helen and Father Maxwell with the church. Everyone I ever knew and loved was dead and buried. No one would miss me. I didn’t have any attachments to anyone or anything. I was the perfect candidate.”
The doctor leaned towards Duo, nearly crawling out of his chair. “Tell me more. What else was going on in your head?”
Duo shrugged. “I told you, man. I didn’t have anybody. I had nothing to lose.”
“But why? Why not pass it up and let someone else fight? You were going to destroy Deathscythe at one time. Was it Dr. G’s influence?”
Duo jumped up from his seat. “Hell no! He had nothing to do with my decision!”
Duo dropped back into his chair, completely spent. “I felt like I was in a glass-windowed prison. I was in my cell, trapped but protected as I watched others around me die. My whole colony was like some type of confinement. Nobody could leave, and nobody could come in. Whatever position you were born in, you died in. No matter what you did, you would be stuck in your spot.” He looked at the doctor then, with unshed tears in his eyes. “Believe it or not, I didn’t want to be on the street anymore. I didn’t want to be stuck in my spot. I didn’t want to die. Despite everything I lost, I wanted to live. I wanted to survive.”
Dr. Freud sighed sadly for his participant. “And the gundam was the key to your survival. It was the key needed to set you free, to move you from being stuck in your spot.”
A solitary tear ran down Duo’s round cheek. “Yes.”
[ Thursday, 7 May 198 A.C. ]
“Alright Mr. Barton...why you?”
“Why not me?”
The doctor smiled at the circus clown. “Well, let’s see. You were in the mercenaries all your life just about, but nameless. You worked for the Barton foundation, and was good friends with Dekim’s only son, Trowa. You would’ve been on the side of the victor had Trowa not been killed. Also, you didn’t know about the other gundams. So as far as you knew, you would be the only gundam pilot. Am I correct in my information?”
“Yes, you are.”
“Then why take his place on the opposite side?”
“Well, their intentions weren’t good to begin with. Many innocent people would’ve died because of an old man’s grudge against someone who had been dead for two decades. But like you said, I was a mercenary all my life. I already knew how to fight and wasn’t afraid of dying. I didn’t have an identity, so I could go anywhere unnoticed, and I could be anything they needed me to be. They couldn’t have asked for someone better.”
“But Mr. Barton, I want more. Did you feel it was your... duty or purpose in life to fight?”
Trowa smiled slightly at the aging doctor. “I didn’t want other children to end up as I did. Innocence is what makes a child a child. If they lose that, they aren’t innocent anymore. If it happens early enough, they will never be innocent and won’t know who they really are. I’ve never been innocent and I don’t know who I really am, and probably never will. It would be tragic for others to end up that way when someone could’ve stopped it, or at least tried.”
“But why the gundam?” he whispered softly.
Trowa took a deep breath. “Because I didn’t want to be... trapped as Nanashi. I wanted to be enough of a person to have a name.”
The doctor chewed on his pen, staring intently at Trowa. “You wanted to break free from that prison.”
Trowa’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion before the understanding dawned on him. “Yes.”
[ Friday, 8 May 198 A.C. ]
“Now, Mr. Winner-”
“Please, call me Quatre.”
“Now, Quatre, out of all of the pilots, you are the one that puzzles me the most.”
Quatre laughed good-naturedly. “I’m not surprised. Everyone says that. When I first met Duo, he couldn’t believe it either. ‘It takes all kinds’ was what he told me, and he was right.”
“But why Mr. Winner-”
“Call me Quatre.”
“But why, Quatre? You had everything. You were rich, young, single, and heir to the most powerful fortune in space. Why risk your life and inheritance?”
Quatre snickered quietly to himself. “That’s what most people don’t understand. The money that you make binds you to the life of privilege. If you get too caught up, you can become obsessed and unable to live without it. And my youth was like a magnet for every young woman seeking a fortune. I felt as if I couldn’t trust anybody new. Lastly, my inheritance was a huge burden on me. I didn’t think I could ever run my father’s company. I found that out the hard way when he died. Besides, it wouldn’t do me any good to have the company if OZ or Romafellar decided to take it away from me.”
“But Mr. Winner-”
“Quatre, why? I can’t imagine anything about war that would compel you to leave your family and lifestyle.”
He only shook his head. “Trust me, Dr. Freud. That mansion and those estates were nothing but an expensively decorated cell surrounded by a beautifully built stone wall.”
[ Monday, 11 May 198 A.C. ]
“How are you and Sally doing?”
“Fine,” was the short reply.
“Okay Mr. Chang. Why?”
“Your deceased wife?”
He sighed at the memory. “She shouldn’t have died. It should’ve been me fighting in her place, but I was too weak. But it was more than that.”
The doctor folded his arms across his chest. “How?”
Wufei crossed his arms, seeming to withdraw into himself. “I wanted to study. I could read books all day. But then I had to marry a total stranger. Do you know what that means?” The doctor shook his head no. “I was going to spend eternity with someone I didn’t know and maybe wouldn’t ever like or care about, who was as stubborn and defiant as me.”
“And you felt trapped in the marriage?”
“No. The marriage wasn’t the problem. But, I felt helpless when she died. I felt even more helpless when my colony...sacrificed themselves. Everybody that I knew was being hurt and killed in my stead. I couldn’t do anything about it. I couldn’t reach anyone without killing them. I was stuck behind bars, unable to help anyone, and they paid for it with their lives. Then finally, justice was placed on my fingertips.”
Dr. Freud smiled. “Nataku?”
Wufei nodded. “Nataku.”
Dr. Freud strolled down the hallway, carrying the manila folders from the week’s interviews. He felt satisfied and almost giddy at the opportunity of seeing the heroes of the world without their masks on. He was able to see what it truly takes to make a hero, and what the future holds with people like them.
“So what did you find?” Sally asked as she inputted some data into the computer. “What do they have in common with each other, if anything at all? Those five are so different it’s not funny.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” Dr. Freud said remorsefully. “They do have something in common. It was their homes. Their lives.”
Sally stopped in mid-type to swing around and face the doctor. “Are you kidding?! How do you figure that? Heero was born to be a soldier, literally, Duo lived on the streets all his life, Trowa was a mercenary, Quatre the son of a rich man, and Wufei with his clan on L5. I don’t see how all of that is similar.”
The good doctor only shook his head, staring in front of him without seeing anything. “No Sally, it’s not that. Their lives and homes were the same, just different cells in the same prison.”