Pairing: 1x2 (1=2)
Disclaimer: They're not ours.
Warnings: crack, au
Summary: Duo and Heero are agents of a very special task force... and protecting the Universe against the most heinous villains.
Wordcount: ~ 6500
Beta:koryou(you earned yourself a mars bar ^_^)
“I don’t believe it,” Duo shook his head almost stunned. “The bastard’s really trying to run!”
Heero looked up from his display and followed Duo’s gaze. Sure enough, the little blip on their monitor which was their target had turned around and moved away from them.
“Hn,” Heero grunted. “Shows only that D’Siil isn’t particularly smart.”
Duo snorted while he increased the speed of their fighter and raced after the fugitive. “Understatement of the century. Does he really think he could get away with it? We hailed him more than once and he ignored us every time. And now he’s fleeing. What is he thinking the judge will make of it? He could as well have made a confession.”
Heero shrugged. “Beats me. I don’t know what’s going on in his head – not much at any rate. Didn’t Quatre and Trowa stop him on exactly this route and search him the other day?”
“Yeah,” Duo nodded while handling the controls of the small space ship and catching up to their target constantly. “They didn’t find anything – probably because he didn’t have the goods on board yet – but couldn’t he have thought that he would be stopped again sooner or later if he comes past here again?”
Heero shrugged again. Like he had said earlier, D’Siil wasn’t really on the bright side of his species. But Heero didn’t really mind – if the smugglers came to them they didn’t have to waylay them. Less work for him and his partner.
Besides, the fact that D’Siil had turned tail and run as soon as they appeared on his sensors and hailed him promised a big catch. The whole cargo area – and every other bit of free space inside the ship if Heero was correct about D’Siil – was probably stuffed to the ceiling with smuggled goods.
So they would arrest him, confiscate the goods and tow the little cargo-ship back to the base. The following interrogation and the paperwork would occupy them for the rest of their shift so that he and Duo wouldn’t have to go out today again.
One minute later they had closed in on the little cargo-ship and incapacitated it with one well directed shot – that was Heero’s job. Duo was the better pilot while Heero could hit everything that was within reach of their weapon systems.
It took only moments to dock their ship to that of the fugitive. When the doors of the air lock opened both Heero and Duo were ready. With one hand on their guns they waited to enter the other ship. D’Siil wasn’t really known to resort to violence, but one never knew.
D’Siil was already waiting for them on his side of the air lock. “Hey!” cried the little Trajan. “What’s the meaning of this? I protest! I am a citizen of the Free Alliance! What is the meaning of this raid? Why did you shoot my ship without any reason? Injustice!”
“Raid?” Duo asked quizzically. “D’Siil, D’Siil, D’Siil, you know the rules. If we hail you and tell you to turn about your ship for an inspection, then you should do exactly that. If you run it’s a felony. Then we have permission to use all means to stop you.”
“Hail me? I didn’t hear your hail. My com-system seems to be broken.” D’Siil’s eyes twitched nervously from Duo to Heero, who was just passing him to enter the cargo-ship. His nose, which had an astonishing semblance to the trunk of an elephant, trembled. All clear signs that the Trajan wasn’t telling the truth.
Duo sighed theatrically while following Heero into D’Siil’s ship. The Trajan was an old acquaintance of them, so to speak, and it wasn’t the first time that they caught him smuggling. But until now it had been only small amounts. And never before – at least as far as Duo knew – had D’Siil tried to flee.
“Silly, Silly,” Duo said while he laid his arm almost companionable on the smuggler’s shoulder. “You surely know that we can and will check it, don’t you?”
D’Siil cast Duo an angry look from the corner of his eyes but didn’t react otherwise to the hated nickname that Duo had used. What made Duo more than a little suspicious at once. D’Siil was one who always and immediately whined about every bagatelle, that the man was now so subdued and almost obedient wasn’t normal.
Duo frowned but didn’t say anything. He and Heero would find out what D’Siil was hiding eventually. At that moment Heero came back from the cockpit. Duo raised one eye-brow questioningly and Heero shook his head silently. Just like they had assumed, the com system was alright.
“Now, D’Siil, then show us your cargo,” Duo addressed the man beside him cheerfully.
“But I didn’t do anything wrong!” D’Siil protested weekly. “You can’t simply…”
“Ah, ah, ah!” Duo made and shook his finger. “D’Siil, you’re an old hand. You know how it works. We have every right to search your ship, especially after you ran away from us. Don’t make it worse now. We can do it the easy way, or we can dismantle your ship into thousands of pieces with our laser.”
D’Siil’s shoulders dropped, then he turned around and shuffled in the direction of his cargo area.
“After the way he has acted so far I would have thought the smuggled goods would hit us in the face as soon as we opened the air lock,” Heero murmured to Duo while they followed the Trajan.
“There was nothing in the cockpit?” Duo asked just as quiet.
Heero shook his head. “Only the allowed amount for personal use. Besides, he doesn’t belong to one of the endangered species.”
Meanwhile they had arrived at the cargo bay. D’Siil hesitated a little bit, but finally he didn’t have another choice than to open the door. Shoving the Trajan forward – not that he’d try anything stupid behind their backs – Heero and Duo entered the room.
First they couldn’t see anything suspicious. Several boxes, containers and barrels were scattered messily throughout the room. It was obvious that D’Siil didn’t think much of any kind of order – or securing the cargo.
Heero looked at the little man with a raised eyebrow but didn’t say anything to the state of the cargo bay. Instead he pulled his hand-held scanner out of his belt and started scanning the room. As expected the tool didn’t show anything out of the ordinary. But D’Siil wasn’t quite that stupid. So there only remained the good old way.
Together with Duo he started to open one container, box and barrel after the other. At first they didn’t find anything else than scrap – stuff that Heero wouldn’t have thought to be worth enough to be transported anywhere. But then Duo finally discovered something
“Heero,” he said with a quiet voice.
Heero immediately went on alert. Duo didn’t speak so low because he didn’t want D’Siil to hear him. No, Duo’s voice sounded like that only when he was shocked or incredibly angry. With some quick steps Heero was at Duo’s side and stared inside the open container.
For a long time none of them spoke, then Duo suddenly turned around and started to open the container close to the already opened. Silently and unbelieving Heero watched as more and more of the stuff appeared.
Finally Duo turned towards D’Siil. “Whole milk?” Duo’s voice sounded disbelieving. “You’re smuggling whole milk chocolate?”
D’Siil cowered under Duo’s look and fidgeted on his spot, but didn’t answer to the question.
“Why would anyone smuggle 500 kg of whole milk chocolate?” Heero interjected.
Duo shook his head. “Beats me. If it had been dark chocolate with 70 or even 85 percent I would have understood. But this is,” Duo took one of the chocolate bars out of the container and cast a brief glance at it, “35 percent at the most. That’s legal even on the constricted planets. At really moderate prices I might add. And there isn’t an embargo at the moment of that I know, so why would anyone…” Duo’s voice softened more and more and finally fell completely silent. His eyes on the other hand grew bigger and bigger. “Bloody hell!” he whispered.
“What?” Heero asked.
“Laktaran. The cargo is meant for Laktaran!” Duo spun around and his glare bore like a dagger into the Trajan. “The bastard wanted to smuggle whole milk chocolate to Laktaran!” He cast another look at the bar in his hand. “And mint-flavoured at that!”
Heero felt all colour leave his face. But Duo had to be right; it was the only thing that made sense. Nowhere else would it make sense to smuggle chocolate to that was freely accessible in the rest of the known universe.
“No, no, no!” D’Siil raised his hands averting. “That is not destined for Laktaran! I’m not crazy! No, that is – uh – it’s for my private supply, that’s it, for my private supply!”
Duo stared at him disbelieving. “500 kg? For your private supply? Not even the lifespan of a Trajan is long enough that anyone would need a private supply of 500 kg!”
D’Siil wrung his hands desperately. “I SWEAR I have no idea how the stuff got inside there! Really, you have to believe me!”
Heero measured the man with an icy glare. It was one thing to provide sensitive species with high-percentage chocolate. The worst that could happen was that they became addicted, but that could be cured. They didn’t die because of it. But to provide Laktaranians with low-percentage chocolate… One could as well blow up the whole planet. Even if both methods led to the sure death of the population sooner or later, at least the latter method was significantly more merciful.
When D’Siil noticed that he couldn’t soften Heero he turned his pleading look towards Duo. “Maxwell, you know me! I would never…! Someone set a snare for me! Exactly! Someone tries to play a mean trick on me! I swear!”
Duo only looked at him disapproving, then he turned to Heero. “You better attach the cuffs. I fear I’ll strangle the bastard if I get near him.”
Heero nodded fiercely, yanked out his hand cuffs and constrained the still begging and whining Trajan. Then he shoved the man inside their fighter and took him to the small containing area meant for prisoners.
After Heero and Duo switched D’Siil’s ship to towing mode they opened the docking clamps, secured it with a tractor beam and towed it back to the base.
When they arrived there they left D’Siil where he was. It would take a while to load the chocolate from the transport to the floating pallets, and none of them was keen on listening to the Trajan’s whining the whole time.
After the chocolate was loaded Duo grabbed the remote control for the floating pallets. “Take D’Siil down to the interrogation room, I’ll just take the chocolate to the evidence room and then I’ll join you.”
Heero turned around quickly. “What?” he said, stepped quickly to Duo and took the remote control out of his hand. “Oh no, you’re not!”
“Why not?” Duo asked indignantly.
“You know exactly why,” Heero answered. “I want the evidence to eventually reach the evidence room and not to mysteriously ‘disappear’ again.”
“Wha…!” Duo stared at him open-mouthed for three whole seconds, then he put his hands on his hips outraged. “ONE TIME! It happened only one time that I – accidentally! – ate the evidence! I was hungry and it was just one single bar! ONE SINGLE TIME! And now you’re always rubbing it in!”
Heero shook his head. Oh no, he already knew that routine. He wouldn’t let his mind be changed by Duo. He would stand firm. Commander Une wouldn’t be very happy if there were another incident with the evidence, she had made that particularly clear the last time. And he also didn’t want to risk that D’Siil could squirm out of this affair, just because the evidence had been tampered with. It might have been only one bar at that time, but they hadn’t had more evidence than that. After Duo had eaten said bar they’d had to let the smuggler go.
“You’re going to take D’Siil to the interrogation room, and I the chocolate to the evidence room,” Heero said determined and pushed Duo towards their fighter, where D’Siil was still sitting inside the containing cell.
Duo pushed his lower lip and pouted, but didn’t protest any longer – aside from the faint mumble about injustice.
Heero smirked briefly – really briefly, Duo wouldn’t think it very funny if he caught Heero at it – then he turned around, pressed the button on the remote control and started with the floating pallets down to the evidence room.
After Heero duly put the contrabands to the evidence room and cleared all the paper work, he hurried to the office of Commander Une. He knew that his Boss had gotten informed about their big coup and would like to get a full report on the events.
In fact the arrest of D’Siil had been rather uneventful –apart from the escape attempt – but looking at the type of contrabands, they needed to document every single move. Smuggling of low percentage chocolate to Laktaran wouldn’t be punished with some sort of fine, in fact it was a high crime. Heero wondered how D’Siil could have come up with such a bad plan. He must have been desperate for money to take such an enormous risk. And absolutely unscrupulous on the boot, considering what this kind of chocolate did to the Laktaranians.
As expected, Une was delighted about the unexpected catch. At the same time she was appalled over the seriousness of the crime. Even in her position she did not come across such a down and dirty move more than once or twice. “Yuy, I want the people behind this mess. This stupid looser D’Siil doesn’t have the brains – and the guts – to come up with such a Machiavellian plan.” Lady Une all but vibrated with outrage.
Heero had a hard time to suppress a laugh – which would not have sat well with his Boss at this point of time, but the thought had crossed Heero’s mind, that they would only need to put Une in her current state of mind together with D’Siil into one cell and the smuggler would give them all his secrets in two minutes flat. Une had this kind of effect on thugs and even her subordinates were not immune to it.
But Heero knew that this was not an option. Une wanted him and Duo to open up D’Siil. It was their catch anyway, their responsibility. They should be the ones to clean up this mess.
“Take all appropriate measures, Yuy. I want the brains behind this!”
Heero nodded an affirmative and left Une’s office. She wanted the persons behind this crime, she would get them. On a silver plate. After all, this was their damn job.
The tasks he and his colleagues worked on gave Heero the feeling of utter satisfaction all the time. It was essentially for the stability of the alliance. They not only prevented crime, they were also responsible for lasting peace.
Who would have thought only 80 years ago, that Earth would take such an important role in the Universe? Even mankind hadn’t been so presumptuous to dream of such a thing.
But then everything had changed. Until 80 years ago, Earth had been under a sleeping beauty spell. Humans had not even been in the position to reach the outer limits of their own solar system and still thought that building up the first labs on Mars and Venus were the achievement of the century. In addition there were still quite some conflicts between some of the countries, and big parts of the world population had still lived in utter poverty.
But then the A’ndras had come. They had found the remote planet Earth during one of their travels and they had revealed themselves. Humankind had reacted with astonishment, but also with joy, to finally have proof that they were not the only intelligent life form in the Universe and they had welcomed the A’ndras.
In hindsight humankind had had utter luck that it had been the A’ndras who found them. Because although these lizard-like beings did show big interest in Earth’s resources, they fortunately were merchants, not conquerors, and so there had been trading negotiations and big barter deals instead of war.
Certainly, the A’ndras had not been interested in the slightest in the human technology, which would have looked like museum pieces to them but they had been head over heels for the beverages Earth offered. They bartered the newest technologies for coffee and tea, and for chocolate the A’ndras paid even more.
And yes, the A’ndras surely fleeced the humans with those first trades, but all the new technologies with which they paid for Earth’s commodities enabled humankind to develop further and to be prepared for the new situation.
Over the next years a brisk market for Earth’s quality goods arose and it wasn’t only the A’ndras who came to barter. Especially chocolate made a big impact on all known planets. However, it soon became apparent that not every species could tolerate every kind of chocolate. For example the Drriyys and the Fahojs couldn’t eat something stronger than milk chocolate without becoming addicted, unlike the Laktaranians, for which chocolate with a lesser cocoa-percentage than 80 was lethal. And the Adjanas could only tolerate chocolate with an arsenic filling. Of course those limitations only meant that these dangerous kinds of chocolate brought the most profit on the restricted planets.
And something else became also apparent; it was not possible to grow chocolate outside Earth’s solar system. Coffee and tea were synthetically reproduced a few months after the first contact, but chocolate could not be copied. And every attempt to grow the cocoa-beans on a planet outside the solar system failed. The A’ndras – who of course attempted to avoid the increasing fees of Earth – even tried to grow the cocoa-beans on space-colonies on real Earth soil and using artificial light in with the exact characteristics form the Earth-sun, even the water was an exact copy of that of Earth.
But it still didn’t work. All plants died and the A’ndras made big losses.
In the meantime the humans made a quantum leap in their development in a very short time. Of course at the beginning only the countries which grew cocoa-beans, or which had the most developed chocolate-fabrication-technology gained the most from these trades, but soon enough all countries realised that for the first time in history it was possible to provide wealth for everyone. And that it would make sense to work together instead against each other. The first Earth-wide government was created. This administration saw it as one of its most important issues to encourage the chocolate trade as much as possible. The person in charge of this government was Dorothy Catalonia, a woman who was still highly adored by everyone.
One of the first acts of this government was to control the growing of cocoa and to limit the trading a bit. Quite a number of countries had nearly destroyed their environment in favour to the promises of fast earnings. Now there were rules to control the producing areas, and lots of old fields became jungles and woods again.
To be still able to fulfil the growing demand for chocolate, the government searched for new possibilities to grow cocoa, whereas the moon was a lucky pull. These days the whole sun-side of the moon was a huge growing area for the mass-market. The automated chocolate-converting-plants were located on the dark side. Sure, this chocolate had a lesser quality as the Earth-grown one, but most of the other species could tolerate it without any problems and due to the sheer quantity it could be sold on a moderate price-level.
There were also first cocoa-fields planted on Mars, but only in smaller amounts and with a huge effort. This special chocolate had such an unusual taste that it could be sold for top prices. There were not many who could afford this chocolate, but still enough to make a big profit.
Humankind had even started to create their own first artificial colonies close to Earth to grow the valuable good there too, when suddenly some other species decided to not tolerate each other anymore.
Nobody even remembered the original reason for the problems between those races anymore. It had been going on and off for ages and after some decades of more or less ignoring each other they were at each other’s throats again, more than ever.
Both parties did fight to the end and they pulled other races into their dispute as well. They had the power to bully them into the fight. If you were not with them, you were against them and had to face the consequences.
At first humankind was not affected by this war. It was too far away and not really connected to anything on Earth. But all too sudden they had to realise that ignorance may be bliss but that the others wouldn’t let them stay out of the conflict. Everyone knew about Earth and both parties wanted to conquer it for themselves.
The reason for that was quite simple. While Earth was not a place of high technological value, they were specialised on chocolate. The most sought-after substance in the known Universe. The chocolate promised immense wealth, and money always was what’s most needed in a war.
The two races – the Dshinn and the R5Ts – showed up with big fleets in Earth’s orbit at the same time. And both demanded that Earth would yield to them and become a part of the respective Empire.
This really could have been a futile situation for humankind. They did not have the power to fend off even one of the aggressors, even though Earth had upgraded their technology in the past due to the riches they earned with the chocolate. It would have been hopeless but for the cleverness of Dorothy Catalonia.
She was the president of the united Earth and when the Dshinn and the R5Ts contacted her to demand the surrender, she bluffed them. She convinced both parties that the people of Earth would rather destroy each and every last cocoa plantation than bowing their heads to new masters. This way she outsmarted both races, for the only other option for them would have been to destroy Earth, meaning that the chocolate would also have been lost forever.
After tenacious negotiations they accepted defeat and allowed Earth to be neutral in this conflict and to sell chocolate to both sides.
But this was not the end of it. Some of the other races which had been dragged into the conflict by force asked Earth for help. And Dorothy Catalonia found a way to give it.
One planet after the other declared to be part of the Earth territory, and with that move they got the same neutral status and protection. The Dshinn and the R5Ts couldn’t do anything about it, because Dorothy threatened them with a chocolate embargo. With this trick the neutral zone became bigger and bigger, and finally Dorothy Catalonia felt she had enough power on her side to really enforce a big embargo on both warmongers.
Her plan was amazingly simple and successful. After two years the war finally ended for good and both parties got disarmed. They had to fold to the pressure of their own people who wanted a stop of the chocolate embargo. This was the first time in the history of the Universe that a war was ended by a neutral force through the power of luxury food.
Earth gained even more importance for the co-existence of all the different races after that. Soon afterwards the Universal Court of Justice was settled on a small pacific island and guard troops from Earth patrolled all over the known Universe to secure the peace.
But even this big success was not enough for Dorothy Catalonia. She created the Combined Human and Outsider Corps for Law and Territory-Regulation Enforcement – short C.H.O.Co.L.A.T.E. - a kind of police unit with the purpose to stop chocolate thefts and smuggling. They also made sure that endangered species didn’t get chocolate with a too high or too low percentage of cocoa. And they enforced every chocolate embargo, declared for individual rights abuse.
The task at hand was not an easy one. Smugglers were ruthless especially as chocolate promised extremely high profits, but the agents of C.H.O.Co.L.A.T.E. were the best of the best. They never gave up and fought for a just cause. For Heero it was an honour to be part of it, even as a child he’d never wanted to become anything else. This was a job where he really could make a difference, if only he was able to stop his partner from eating the evidence.