Zechs Merquise (ゼクス・マーキス Zekusu Mākisu?, taken from German Sechs, lit. "six"), is one of the main characters and the final antagonist from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. Renowned for his amazing skills in combat, his exploits earned him the title "Lightning Count/Baron". A personal friend of OZ leader Treize Khushrenada, Zechs was often the commander of important missions, and received his orders directly from Treize. His real name is actually Milliardo Peacecraft (from Italian miliardo, lit. "1,000,000,000", is "one thousand million" in long scale, "one billion" in short scale; "miliardo" in Italian literally translates to "billion", and is alternatively spelt "milliard" in English, with two "l"s, hence him having two "l"s in his name while the actual word in Italian only has one,) the heir to the Sanc Kingdom throne, a country known for its commitment to pacifism. After the destruction of his homeland by UESA forces, he donned his iconic mask and left behind the name Peacecraft, for his new moniker, Zechs Merquise. He is also the older brother of Relena Peacecraft and serves as the main rival to the Gundam pilot Heero Yuy during the series.
Full of pride and self-loathing, living the life of a soldier has brought great internal conflict to Zechs. Despite his reputation as a great mobile pilot, Zechs feels that he has betrayed himself and his father's ideals. As a result of his many battles, he believes that he is not worthy to his family name, as his life as a soldier contradicts his father's pacifistic ideals. This is shown when Treize referred to him as "Milliardo Peacecraft" his real name to which Zechs responded to with great shame. This is not his only conflict as his reputation as "The Lightning Count/Baron" is put to the test when meeting Heero and the other Gundam pilots. When at first he fought with Heero, Zechs was unaware of the fact that he was a 15-year-old boy as he fought like a veteran soldier. He also wasn't afraid to sacrifice himself and his Gundam suit to make sure Oz didn't get their hands on it. Impressed with the young pilot's resolve to his mission to keep the colonies safe, as well struggling to master piloting the Tallgeese, Zechs began to view himself as weak realizing that he lacked the absolute resolve to lay one's life on the line for a greater purpose. This internal conflict was what drove his motives as he struggled to find the balance between his former identity as his father's son, and the uncompromised warrior that he felt he needed to become. This led him into getting kicked out of Oz and eventually being in charge of the White Fang. Declaring war on the Earth using the battleship Libra, his main objective over targeting the Earth was to stop humanity from fighting each other and to have his sister Relena lead the people in a new age of peace. However, it was also a test he put on himself to become a relentless warrior. It is not until he fights Heero at the end of the series that he accepts that he was once again defeated by Heero, and convinced that Heero and co. were capable of carrying out their ideal of peace. Later, he pledged to continue acting as a warrior, however, this time for keeping peace in the world, thus finally reconciling his two identities into one.
Frozen Teardrop (Past)
As a young cadet in A.C. 186, Zechs Merquise was chosen from Treize Khushrenada's class of soldiers at the Victoria Academy to take part in a test run of the feasibility of mobile suit corps. Alongside Lucrezia Noin and others, he followed Treize's direction in the Battle of Mogadishu, earning a flawless and total victory. Due to the performance of the cadets at this battle, the Specials, or OZ, were used more often by the Alliance for battle.
When a revolt at the lunar Marius Plant forced action, the cadets were again called to service. However, one of Zechs' fellow cadets, Elve Onegell, revealed that he knew Zechs' true identity- Milliardo Peacecraft. Son of the Alliance general who led the destruction of the Sanc Kingdom, Elve tells Zechs that while would not rat out a "war buddy", he harbors hatred towards the Peacecrafts. During the events the ensuing battle at the Marius Plant, both soldiers vanish, not to resurface until years later. After this point, Treize and Zechs seemed to make an effort to hide their past connection.
In A.C. 191, Zechs Merquise received his nickname, the "Lightning Count/Baron" when he was sent on a Specials mission to repress a terrorist organization's attack on the Earth Alliance base at the J.A.P. point in the Pacific Ocean. Piloting the newest model Aries mobile suit, Zechs claimed that he only needed one minute to crush the rebellion, saying "...this battle will end the moment I land." Treize, witnessing Zechs' fight, commented that Zechs was not just talk and that he "fights like lightning."
The surviving terrorists retreated towards the Darlian estate. Zechs, leaving the defense of the base in the hands of Treize, pursued them. One of the fleeing terrorists encountered Relena, who had wandered away from her house, and took her hostage. While wondering whether she was going to die right there, Relena saw a "shooting star", which was Zechs approaching in his Aries. After the terrorist identified that his hostage was the Darlian girl, Zechs, recognizing Relena as his sister, dismounted his mobile suit. While the terrorist was gloating about his victory and his capture of the latest model Ares, Zechs shot his gun-wielding hand. He then allowed the man to flee, not wishing to kill in front of Relena. Zechs then began reminiscing about Relena's first steps, not realizing that he was still brandishing his gun. While holstering his weapon, Zechs reminded himself that he no longer had any right to even touch Relena because he had abandoned his Peacecraft name and his father's pacifistic ideals. He then addressed Relena as "princess" and asked her if she was alright. Relena, bewildered as to why she was being called a princess, asked Zechs if he was then a knight on a terrible dragon. Zechs replied that he was a "prince of the stars", and left.
On April 7, A.C. 195, Zechs was en route to Earth in an assault carrier when he first encountered Heero Yuy making his descent to Earth in the Wing Gundam as part of Operation Meteor. Zechs engaged Heero in a Leo, but was forced to latch onto the Gundam and abandon his mobile suit as it plunged with the Gundam into the Pacific Ocean. After trying and failing to search for the sunken Wing Gundam (thanks to Duo Maxwell and his Gundam Deathscythe), Zechs began searching for a mobile suit he could use to fight with the Gundams on a level playing field. He was ultimately introduced to the Tallgeese, the ancestor of all mobile suits. Before he could pilot the suit, he was involved with Operation Daybreak, in which OZ overthrew Alliance. In the midst of the coup, Zechs finally got his revenge by executing the commanding officer who led the attack on the Sanc Kingdom.
Soon after that, Zechs piloted his newly acquired Tallgeese during his attempt to destroy the Alliance's headquarters in the Sanc Kingdom. However, the Tallgeese's dangerously high thrust-rate proved to be nearly fatal for the Lightning Count, and he was forced to retreat. At the OZ camp near the Sanc Kingdom, Otto, Zechs' right-hand man, took the Tallgeese against orders and crashed it into the Alliance base, destroying it and killing himself in the process.
Later, Zechs used the Tallgeese for a re-match with the Wing Gundam in Siberia, only for their duel to be cut short after Lady Une threatened to shoot down the colonies unless the Gundam pilots surrendered. Doctor J appeared on the monitors, offering his surrender instead. Zechs then watched as Heero emerged from the Wing Gundam's cockpit and revealed himself to be just a teenage boy, much to Zechs' surprise, and he watched in further shock as Heero self-detonated his Gundam in response to the surrender. In an act of chivalry, Zechs chose to cease his attack and allowed Gundam pilot Trowa Barton to recover Heero's body and escape. Afterward, Zechs quietly took away the Wing Gundam's remains and began to secretly rebuild it under OZ's nose. A couple of months later, Zechs learned that that Heero was still alive and offered him a rematch in Antarctica, which Heero accepted. Not wanting to accept charity from Zechs, Heero chose to pilot Trowa's Gundam Heavyarms instead of his own. The rematch was interrupted again, this time by Relena, who learned that Zechs was actually her older brother, Milliardo. OZ's search party descended on them and Zechs flew into battle allowing Relena, Noin and the Gundams pilots to escape.
Zechs' good friend Treize intended to use his clout to prevent him from facing a court-martial for sparing the enemy's life and even repairing the Wing Gundam. But the Lightening Count was already forced to destroy numerous Alliance mobile suits during a battle he wasn't meant to escape. Towards the end of the battle, Zechs' mask shattered, signaling the end of his friendship with Treize and his relationship with OZ. He flew away and was eventually taken in by Sweeper member and Tallgeese-designer Mike Howard and the former Alliance engineer repaired his Tallgeese. Howard suggested Zechs should go to space which Zechs did. He encountered two new mobile suits, the Mercurius and the Vayete, piloted by Heero and Trowa, respectively and introduced himself to the pilots by his real name, Milliardo Peacecraft, goodwill ambassador from the Sanc Kingdom.
After saving Lady Une in battle and being told by colonial leaders during a meeting that they were going to avoid war by arming themselves and embracing OZ, Zechs donned his mask once again and begins destroying OZ mobile doll carriers in space using Howard's Peacemillion as his base. He soon discovered that OZ was planning to destroy the confiscated Wing Gundam Zero and battled with numerous mobile dolls before self-detonating his critically damaged Tallgeese and jumping into the Wing Zero. He then disposed of the remaining mobile dolls and manned unit. After his brief encounter with an angry Chang Wufei who rejected his call for an alliance, Zechs received the disturbing news that Relena was dissolving the newly resurrected Sanc Kingdom and surrendering herself to the Romefeller Foundation. Zechs immediately rushed back to the Sanc Kingdom in the Wing Zero, only to accept a challenge from the new mobile suit, the Gundam Epyon, piloted by Heero. The two fought a fiercely to a stand-still before giving up under the mental strain of their ZERO Systems and then trading Gundams. Depressed that the Sanc Kingdom has collapsed again, Zechs had no use for the Epyon until a mysterious man named Quinze Quarante approached him and offered he be the new leader of the colonial rebel group, White Fang. Quinze stated that Gundams are perfect symbols for rebellion. Zechs accepted the offer and ironically decided to go by his original name Millardo Peacecraft in leading the White Fang.
Under his leadership, the White Fang quickly fought OZ near the space station Barge and in an incredible display, Zechs single-handedly destroyed the space station, solidifying his position as ruler of outer space. Zechs would later use White Fang's space battleship Libra to fire on a remote place on Earth (despite Relena's best efforts to talk him out of it) as a declaration of war to the recently installed World Nation which was being led by his former friend Treize. When Treize led his troops to battle in the Tallgeese II, he challenged Zechs to a duel to decide the fate of both Earth and the colonies. However, Zechs refused and fired Libra's main cannon at Treize only for Lady Une (in the Wing Gundam) to push him out of the way and take the brunt of the blast and miraculously survive. As the battle between the World Nation and White Fang began, Zechs left Libra in the Epyon with three mobile dolls under his control and fought the Gundam pilots in battle but was unable to prevent Peacemillion from ramming into Libra's main cannon. Undaunted, Zechs decided on dropping the heavily damaged battleships on Earth to cause an endless winter.
He engaged in a final duel with Heero that took them through Libra and Heero emerged victorious by slicing off the Epyon's left arm. Rather than kill him, Heero decided to spare Zechs' life for Relena's sake and destroy the last block of Libra that was still falling. With his Gundam out of ammunition, Heero attempted to self-detonate the Wing Zero in the main generator room to destroy the block until Zechs intervened and said the people would need someone with a strong heart and that Heero was too pure to perish. Zechs then destroyed the generator himself, declaring that he will live the life of a warrior and promised Heero they would meet again before a blast enveloped the Epyon.
In the aftermath, Zechs was presumed dead by everyone except Noin.
On December 24, A.C. 196, Zechs returned to what was now the Earth Sphere Unified Nation and volunteered to be a mobile suit pilot for the Preventers (an elite intelligence agency designed to stop aggressive conflicts before they are executed) under the codename "Wind" during the attempt to overthrow Earth's government by Mariemaia Khushrenada, Treize's pre-adolescent daughter. Zechs piloted the Tallgeese III mobile suit and flew into space where he destroyed the Mariemaia Army's mobile suit carriers. After destroying MO-III but failing to kill Dekim Barton, Zechs returned to Earth and fought against Mariemaia's army alongside Noin and three of the Gundam pilots in Brussels (Heero later arrived in the Wing Zero to destroy the enemy shelter). At the end of the conflict, Zechs disappeared once again with his faithful companion Noin for Mars where his sister, Relena, had begun a terraformation project.
Frozen Teardrop (Mars Colony)
Some time between A.C. 197 and MC-0017, Zechs and Noin marry and have twins, Naina and Mille. Zechs, under the alias 'Cyrene Wind', travels to Mars with his daughter Naina while Noin's elder brother Nix-Deuf Noinheim poses as him. Searching for the murderer of his former OZ comrade, Major Elve Onegal, he runs into Father Maxwell, who is also searching for the killer in order to take the bounty on his head. Zechs asks Father Maxwell to take Naina to Hilde Schbeiker's orphanage in the Lanigreen Republic, and continues to pursue the murderer on his own. Later, on Christmas Eve of MC-0017 Next Winter, he returns to rescue Naina from kidnappers attempting to steal her away. Father Maxwell notes at that time that the vehicle Zechs appears to be piloting sounds like a Gundam, however Zechs is years later revealed to be piloting a new version of the Tallgeese series, Tallgeese Heaven, when he uses its anti-nanotech weapon to disable the Mars suits that are overpowering the Gundam pilots.
- Zechs' character is based on Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam. Both were exiled princes whose parents (Zeon Zum Deikun and King Peacecraft) were killed and they later become soldiers for the enemy government (Zeon for Char and OZ for Zechs) under aliases in order to exact revenge from within. They also each wear similar masks and uniforms during their service with Zeon/OZ. Furthermore, they both become rivals with the main protagonist of their respective series (Amuro and Heero), and their sisters (Sayla and Relena) become strong allies of both Char and Zechs' rivals.
- Similar to Char's nickname "The Red Comet", Zechs had the nickname "Lightning Count" for his achievements. Treize also once referred to him as "Lightning Baron", a title never used anywhere else (except in the Glory of the Losers manga).
|Mars Century Characters|
Heero Yuy | Duo Maxwell | Trowa Phobos | Katherine Oud Winner | Father Maxwell | Doktor T | Instructor W | Master Chang | Kathy Po | Dorothy T. Catalonia
Relena Peacecraft | Dix-Neuf Noinheim | Lucrezia Noin | Cyrene Wind | Naina Peacecraft | Milou Peacecraft | Katherine Oud Winner
Catherine Bloom | Sister Hilde