In AC 192, a young Duo is captured aboard a Sweeper ship while stowing away and stealing food. Professor G walks in and gives Duo his freedom. Five years earlier, Duo roamed the streets of a colony as an urchin stealing food. One day, he bumps into Father Maxwell and knocks him over before running off. Duo brings food to some other urchins and tells them he plans to sneak into the military warehouse the next day. The next day, they break into the warehouse and come under fire from Alliance soldiers. An adult calls them all fools and tells them that the Maxwell Church has offered to take them in. At the church, Sister Helen struggles with Duo to cut his hair. Duo refuses, and Father Maxwell tells her to let him have his way, so she braids his hair instead. Father Maxwell tells Duo that he no longer has to steal, and Duo takes that as meaning he has to beg now since a church lives off donations. Sister Helen wonders if Duo will be all right, and Father Maxwell believes that with some education, Duo could be a good priest. Later, Duo gets in trouble for starting a fight with some boys who insulted him. Sister Helen hugs him and encourages him to forget what other people say. Duo debates the existence of God with Father Maxwell and asks how there could be so many wars if God exists. Duo says the only god he believes in is the God of Death, because all he’s ever seen in life is death. One year later, rebels fight the Alliance in Duo’s colony and take shelter in the Maxwell Church. The rebels plan to attack the Alliance base, and Father Maxwell objects to using violence and wishes to follow the words of Heero Yuy. The rebels then smack Father Maxwell and Sister Helen, so Duo steps in and offers to steal them a mobile suit if they leave. Duo runs off to the Alliance base and steals a mobile suit carrier. When he returns, he finds the church has been destroyed. He discovers Sister Helen in the ruins, and as she dies, she tells him that Father Maxwell was worried about him and preached for peace during the Alliance attack. In the present, the Sweeper guards discuss how Duo is a survivor of the Maxwell Church Tragedy. Elsewhere, Howard and Professor G examine Peacemillion, and Howard decides to return to Earth to relax. Professor G is impressed that Duo sneaked aboard their ship, and Duo introduces himself as the God of Death.
On April 7, AC 175, colonial leader Heero Yuy is assassinated by the secret organization known as OZ. Thirteen years later, Odin Lowe and his “son” Heero board a shuttle headed for space Colony X-18999, which is currently under construction. Heero asks Odin why he came to the colony, and Odin answers that it is to abandon him. He tells Heero that soon a coup d’état will occur, and it is Heero’s duty to settle in afterwards. Heero asks Odin who he’s going to kill, and Odin says his last job will be on General Septem of the Cosmo force. After that, he wants Heero to lead a normal life, but Heero says he will decide what he wants to do. Quinze’s rebel forces steal eight Tragos suits from the Alliance and advance on the colony’s command center. In the command center, Septem blames Dekim Barton for his not being able to get reinforcements. The OZ Specials, led by a younger Treize, offer to help. Treize moves out into battle and tells Noin he is counting on good intelligence during the fight. As Odin prepares for his mission, he gives Heero one last piece of advice: to follow what his heart tells him. He says that years ago a fool fired a single shot and changed history. Odin says that after that, he left OZ and has lived from day to day. Two soldiers approach them, but Heero and Odin take them down. Odin puts on the soldier’s uniform and says goodbye to Heero. He sneaks into the command center and tries to shoot Septem, but another soldier gets in the way and takes the bullet. Dekim calls Quinze and tells him to retreat because reinforcements are on the way. As the rebels break through, Heero appears on the battlefield and fires a bazooka at Treize’s Leo. As Odin runs through the command center, he runs into Dekim and tells him he has the place rigged to blow. Dekim pulls out a gun and shoots Odin for revenge. Odin wonders if that was Dekim’s intention back when he hired him. Later, Heero finds Odin, and he tells Heero that he’s getting old. Before dying, he tells Heero that the years they spent together weren’t so bad. Heero sets off Odin’s explosives, which causes a massive fire across the colony. Later, Treize wakes up in a Barton medical center and is tended to by a nurse named Leia Barton. One day, as Heero wanders the streets, he meets Doctor J and is asked if he wants to be a Gundam pilot.
In AC 190, Trowa lives as a mercenary mobile suit pilot. While in the forest one day, he meets a girl named Middie Une. He brings her to the rebel camp to do kitchen work. She asks him why he saved her, and he says it’s because they are the same. He remembers being separated from his family as a young boy and being found by rebels. To thank him for helping her, Middie gives Trowa a cross on a necklace. Trowa’s rebels arrive at the circus, and Catherine yells at them to leave. She hates violence because in an air raid nine years earlier, she lost her parents and little brother. The rebels move out in their Leos to ambush the Alliance, but they come under attack and find that the Alliance was already waiting for them. As the rebel leader fights, two of his men betray him and attack. Trowa moves in and kills them, and he tells the leader he’s doing simply what he was taught: destroy all enemies. After returning to camp, Middie asks him if he could show the slightest bit of sadness at killing his comrades. He tells her that he used up all the sad faces of a lifetime already. Later, the Alliance begins a sweep of the rebel armies to wipe them out. As explosions rip through the rebel camp, Trowa jumps onto a motorcycle and rescues Middie. She tells him she won’t thank him, and he says he isn’t expecting any thanks. He sees that the rebel leader is dead and drives off. After escaping, he asks Middie how much the Alliance paid her to sell them out. He says he realized that her handheld game was a transmitter tracking their every move. She tells him she did it to get food for her family, and she also says the cross she gave him was a transmitter. Middie tells Trowa that she loves him, but she also hates that he’s an empty guy with nothing holding him down that can do as he pleases. He tells her she’s better off than he is because she has a home to go back to. He shoots her video game and then leaves, looking for a new place to go to.
In AC 191, Relena goes to school one day and sees a dirty Heero standing by the gate. Her friends wish that the school wouldn’t take in war orphans, and Relena wonders why they have to look down on people less fortunate. She runs into Heero in the hallway, and later she sees him watching her house with binoculars. Later, terrorists attack a nearby Alliance base, and General Catalonia of OZ sends in Treize and Zechs of the Specials to test their mobile suits. Treize wants to finish the battle in three minutes, but Zechs says he needs only one minute. He takes off in his Aries and begins attacking all the rebels singlehandedly. After defeating them, he leaves the cleanup to Treize. At the Darlian estate, Relena’s mother receives a phone call that terrorists from the assault in the base are in the area. As Relena takes a walk on the property, she runs into a terrorist, and he recognizes her as the daughter of Minister Darlian. He takes her captive, and Zechs shows up in his Aries. The terrorist orders Zechs to get out of the cockpit, which he does. Relena kicks the terrorist and gets away from him, and Zechs tells the terrorist to leave because he doesn’t want to kill in front of Relena. Though he wants to talk to his sister, he calls her Princess and tells her he is a Prince of the Stars. The next day, Relena finds that Heero is gone and hears that he was one of the terrorists who attacked the base the night before. She runs up to the roof, but he isn’t there. She wishes she had asked him his name and works on her introductions.
Quatre Raberba Winner
In AC 180, Catherine Winner dies while giving birth to Quatre. Thirteen years later, Quatre heads for Earth in a shuttle and thinks that the planet is boring. The shuttle is suddenly surrounded by the Maganac, and Rashid Kurama orders them to surrender. A servant asks Quatre what they should do, and Quatre says he doesn’t care and goes to sleep. The Maganac take him to the resource satellite MO-III, where Quatre meets with Rashid and Abdul. Abdul tells him he’s going to be a hostage, but Quatre thinks that’s pointless. He says he loves no one and is loved by no one, and that his father could easily grow a replacement for him in a test tube. Rashid negotiates with Quatre’s father, and Mr. Winner agrees to take the Maganacs down to Earth to see their families and evade the Alliance. Mr. Winner asks to speak to Quatre, and the two of them begin to argue. Quatre accuses his father of growing a family of servants in test tubes, and Rashid slaps him. Later, Mr. Winner speaks with Quatre’s sister Iria, and she realizes that he never told Quatre he was born naturally. Quatre meets Instructor H, and he tells Quatre that one must live a life they can be proud of, like the Maganacs. Quatre spots a Maganac named Yuda giving coordinates to the Alliance, so he captures him and brings him to Rashid. Yuda tries to shoot Rashid, but Quatre knocks him aside and takes a bullet to his arm. As the Alliance sends out space Leos to attack, Quatre asks to join the Maganacs in battle. Rashid agrees and lets Quatre use his custom Maganac suit. The battle begins, and Quatre gives orders to the Maganacs and helps them destroy most of the Leos. Rashid tells him he is now one of them, and they should go to Earth together. Quatre says he wants to go to Earth, but not to run away from himself. Mr. Winner receives a phone call about the battle and sees that Quatre truly is strong and noble.
In AC 194, Wufei is to be married to a girl named Meilan Long on Colony A0206. She prides herself on strength and calls herself “Nataku,” and she sees Wufei as a brat. Meilan tells Wufei he isn’t fit to lead the Long clan, and he tells her he doesn’t want to and storms off. Meilan criticizes him for sitting in a field of flowers and asks him why he doesn’t practice martial arts like the others. He asks her why she fights, and she says it is for justice. The two begin to fight, and Wufei easily beats Meilan and tells her that “Nataku” is an arrogant name to have chosen for herself. He says that justice exists only for convenience and is pointless. Master O tells Wufei that he failed to change Meilan, and that he also does nothing with his own abilities. Wufei says he isn’t concerned with that because he can’t change the course of history. Master O asks Wufei what to name the Gundam he is building, and he suggests Shenlong because the name Nataku is too weak. Elsewhere, Septem wants A0206 to be scrapped because he thinks there are rebels in the colony, and he orders Sally to kill all the inhabitants with a biological weapon. Sally refuses, and Septem sends in Treize and the Specials to attack the colony with mobile suits. Meilan steals a Tallgeese prototype to fight off the Leos. Wufei takes the incomplete Shenlong Gundam and discovers that OZ has biological weapons. When the OZ commander is killed, Sally falsely reports to Septem that the mission was a success. One of the Specials pilots can’t bear to lose face in front of Treize, so he moves in on Wufei. Meilan then slams into the Leo, and both suits explode. Wufei takes the gravely wounded Meilan to his field of flowers and tells her she is strong before she dies. Lady Une informs Treize that a mobile suit made of Gundanium alloy was spotted in A0206, and Treize decides to keep this information to himself. Master O asks Wufei if he wishes to pilot the Shenlong Gundam, and he agrees to do so for the sake of justice.
On April 6, AC 195, Heero watches Relena and her father. Doctor J tells him that the Barton Foundation wants to assassinate Darlian because they think he’s caught on to Operation Meteor. Doctor J gives Heero three choices: kill Darlian, save Darlian, or do his own thing entirely. Duo’s ship is chased by the Alliance, and Professor G tells him to escape with the Gundam Deathscythe, and Duo objects because he doesn’t want to commit mass murder. Trowa works on the Gundam Heavyarms and runs into Doktor S and the real Trowa Barton. The real Trowa shows him a picture of his sister Leia and her daughter Mariemaia, whom he says will someday rule the Earth Sphere. Instructor H argues with Mr. Winner about making weapons and waging war, and Quatre tells him of an abandoned resource satellite where he can continue his work. Quatre says he wants to fight to end the war, and Instructor H agrees with him. At A0206, Wufei argues with Master O and asks him if he built Nataku to drop the colony on Earth and kill people. Master O reminds him that the correct name is Shenlong Gundam and tells him to forget Nataku. Wufei punches Master O and says that from now on he will fight alone. Relena walks through a colony and finds the teddy bear of the young girl Heero accidentally killed earlier. Doctor J informs Heero that Operation Meteor has been set in motion. He gives him three choices again: go to Earth and massacre civilians, kill him and run away, along with another. Later, Doctor J discovers that Heero has placed explosives in his pilot suit that are connected to the Wing Gundam‘s self detonation system. He changes the Gundam’s detonation frequency so that the pilot suit will misfire. Wufei’s master gives him a gold Altron dragon to sell for money to use while fighting on Earth. Quatre leaves a letter for his father and prepares to launch in the Gundam Sandrock. After the real Trowa is killed, Trowa escapes with the Gundam Heavyarms and heads for Earth. Professor G tells Duo that he should steal the Gundam Deathscythe and do as he wishes to fight OZ on Earth. Heero prepares to launch in the Wing Gundam, and Doctor J gives him the code name Heero Yuy. The next day, Zechs enters the atmosphere in an SST and picks up the Wing Gundam on radar.
On April 8, AC 197, a terrorist group known as Epyon de Telos captures the Sanc Kingdom castle. They demand that their imprisoned comrades be freed, and they also demand one third of the Earth Sphere Unified Nation’s budget as ransom, or they will detonate a nuclear warhead. Wufei calls Sally to devise a plan, and he tells her he needs only four people to help him. Sally finds Duo sitting outside in space and asks him for help. Wufei visits Quatre at his corporate headquarters and tells him he needs his help right away. Quatre agrees, and the two go to the circus to get Trowa. After they all meet up, Sally says she couldn’t find Heero, and Quatre and Wufei explain he’s already there. Heero shows up and asks what the plan is. Their complicated plan involves Duo posing as a berserk soldier killing Sally, and Heero threatening the terrorists with a fake mobile suit made to look like his Wing Gundam Zero. With the plan in place, the five boys move out.
Well, Episode Zero is by far the longest of all the Gundam Wing manga. Katsuyuki Sumisawa’s afterword claims that these background stories were supposed to originally appear in the TV series, but staff and production problems made this impossible. Since Sumisawa wrote these, I guess they could be considered semi-official. While some of these stories are good, others seem a bit too much to accept and there’s a few too many coincidences. For example, it seems rather convenient that Heero happened to be the one that injured Treize on X-18999, which led to him meeting Leia Barton and fathering Mariemaia. It also seems strange that Heero already encountered Relena three years before the TV series. I don’t know if I even want to mention Wufei’s wife. This guy was married? And where did that extra Tallgeese come from, and why was it on Wufei’s colony? In Trowa’s story, who exactly is Middie Une, and does she have a connection to Lady Une? Finally, the inclusion of the story Preventer 5 seems rather pointless. Aside from not having an ending, how many times exactly can Relena be captured and have Heero and friends come to her rescue? Sumisawa says he didn’t include the ending because it would be obvious to anyone who has seen the series. Yeah, I can guess it would involve Heero and friends beating down the terrorists, and Heero making a cool exit as Relena tries to thank him. If you want more background to the Gundam boys than what is seen in Endless Waltz, this manga is for you.