Re: Behind the Eyes of Cipher
The seventeen-year-old boy, standing at five feet eight inches with a rather stocky build, felt the sweat drip down his dusty, sun-tanned face. He felt his throat clench as air struggled to his lungs. He felt the quick, sharp movements of his chest as he gasped and grunted. All in a day's work.
"Move faster, boy. Let the noises distract you and you're done for. Out. Dead."
As if he hadn't heard that before. The drill that he was assigned to do was a test that he'd taken many times. It was a physically challenging drill that kept all underclassmen, like him, fit and vigilant; otherwise, good for working on short notice. Climb up a rope, knotted in several places, that lazily swung beside a vertical ten-foot-wall. Jump and land with a somersault, to keep you going. Crawl under the spiked and electrified wire. Spring back up and sprint for one hundred feet. Finally, knees up and don't touch the tires. The tires were three feet in diameter; the holes were almost one foot. And if that weren't enough, the splitting cries of those Pokemon to the side of his track, being trained in an equally pitiless way, piercing his ears in the tempo of his own heartbeat.
The reason people like Caiden were trained like this was because the Kishiro family believed that all trainees must be just as powerful as their team. As their "tools", Lord Kishiro called the partner Pokemon, with a tight smile on his stony face. Caiden had been with Cipher for only a year, and in one year his already muscular body had become toned to perfection. He could lift almost anything, and with one hand, too - the strength of a Machamp, he sometimes was praised, even though he knew that was impossible for a human.
That was the other thing. Caiden wasn't unliked by the instructors. Even some of the executives came to see him train. Through fitness, classes, and battle practice they watched him with glinting eyes, slowly nodding their heads and admiring his willpower. But where did we get him? Where the hell did he come from? most of them wondered.
And the truth was, Caiden happened to join Cipher because of his friends... or, his acquaintances; even better, those reckless, foolhardy teenagers who happened to know him. His life used to consist of street fights, between he and other boys. Sometimes it was Pokemon battles that broke into a rumble. Other times it was fighting for money. And Caiden needed that money. Living only with his mother and sister, he was the man of the house, and it was absolutely necessary for him to earn whatever he could to support the family.
Then one day, some of the boys on Caiden's street started saying they were going to work for Cipher. It was the darkest idea in the neighborhood, and the neighboring teenagers were all over it. Not long after, local mothers and fathers were phoneing Caiden's house, asking if he knew where their son (or in some instances, their daughter) had gone, or if they were just mad at his or her parents, because the caller just didn't know. Eventually, Caiden became impatient with all the calls about missing children, and he investigated the matter. Almost all teenagers had gone in, and never came out.
So, by some strange reasoning with himself, that's what he did. Caiden became an official member of Cipher. And without telling his mother or his sister. At least he'd said goodbye.
He finished the course for the fourteenth time and bent over, putting his hands on his knees, letting all the sweat fall off his face and his chest heave in and out. He didn't dare get any closer, for the sweat would get on the trainer's shoes. Which was completely unacceptable. Technically, Caiden wasn't even allowed to look at his instructors in the eye, because he was their "subordinate".
"You're done here," the trainer's voice barked. "Get to dinner before you're late. Dismissed."
Caiden immediately straightened his back and saluted his instructor respectfully, without making direct eye contact. It was a different person every day, but this man was especially tough. As soon as he turned briskly and strode away, Caiden spit in the place where he stood.
There were six main sections of Cipher's HQ. It was a large and hidden building, but it was funded and had all resources necessary to raise soldiers of Pokemon and young people. There was the dining hall. The rooms where Cipher's members slept, which was split into many parts depending on the ranking of the member. The cells for the subordinate Pokemon. The building that held the classrooms, where students were expected to learn diligently, or else they would face punishment. The outdoor area for physical conditioning. And the battle area, the larger section of the HQ's outdoors.
For a simple peon like Caiden, a regular day consisted of classes first, and then either fitness or battle practice. On rare occasions, peons were allowed to stimulate battle during classes. Those were Caiden's favorite classes, but they did not happen often. He would eat twice a day and sleep for about seven hours, maybe less.
Though it had been established that Caiden would not earn any money by joining Cipher, he had chosen to stay with the organization. He didn't particularly dislike it. Then again, the voice of the Kishiro family was projected to be the voice of gods, of eternal leaders. All the executives and administrators and instructors told boys like Caiden that Cipher was the best thing that had happened to this world. Sometimes he didn't necessarily agree, but other times he was strongly for the cause.
Some of the boys Caiden had once known tried to escape because they had despised it so. Always, they were caught. Always, they were killed. Fortunately, Caiden never saw the actual killing of those people he once knew.
After dinner, Caiden made his way through the winding corridors to his bedroom. It wasn't much of a bedroom at all; within it was one inferior bed, one sliver of a window, one desk and a chair for studying and classwork. It was about twice - maybe three times - the size of a walk-in closet. He was reaching for the old, creaky handle of the door when a strong hand grabbed his shoulder. A grunt, and an unexpectedly deep voice.
Caiden swiftly yanked his shoulder away and turned to face the stranger. He wore a navy blue suit, a belt full of silver-and-crimson pokeballs, and a black helmet with the visor pulled up. The man's face was expressionless, but his eyes betrayed emotions of jealousy and even wonder.
Caiden nodded uncertainly.
"Come with me," the man grunted, taking him by the hand. Caiden, once more, struggled against his hold. The man glanced back at him irritably, but otherwise did nothing about it.
They came to an elevator, which Caiden knew not to enter, because it led to the executives' rooms and offices. The strange man punched in floor 37. The Kishiros' floor. Caiden's eyes widened and he gulped down a lump of anxiety building in his throat. His heart pounded a little faster. What do they want? he thought nervously. What would they want with me...?
The man politely held his hand in front of the elevator doors, motioning for Caiden to exit first. He did so without thanking the stranger, and he was promptly led to a large door that read "Lord Kishiro".
"Enter," the man grunted again. Caiden opened the door hesitantly, and saw the same stony face as he had seen on that fateful day when he first joined Cipher staring back at him with the same pinched grin.
"Welcome, Mr. Hester." Caiden closed the door behind him and fell into a chair, sitting upright with apprehension. The president could immediately sense his tension and chuckled. "You are not in any form of trouble. In fact, you should be... happy. Do you know why?"
Caiden shook his head, feeling slightly more relaxed.
"Of course you don't," the president said tersely. The smile had never left his face. "It is because we - or I, shall I say - have decided to be generous enough to promote you to an executive."
Caiden's lungs froze. He sucked in a breath and did not exhale.
"You should be thankful, boy, for the skill we trained in you. Executive is a powerful position. Especially from your lowly position as a grunt."
"Thank you, sir," Caiden responded quietly, still overcome with shock. "I am honored."
Lord Kishiro's odd smile widened and he leaned back in his leather chair. "Of course you are. I need not explain to you why your job here has been upgraded, do I?" At Caiden's quick nod 'no', the president continued. "Very well. Your first task as executive of Cipher..."
Caiden lay in bed, shaking with excitement, nervousy, and a bundle of other emotions he could not name for the night. He wouldn't get any sleep, and he knew it. His task was enabling him to go some place that he had never gone before as a subordinate - to the chambers of Cipher's Pokemon. The weapons, the subordinates, the tools. Secretly, Caiden preferred to just call them Pokemon. He had used some of them randomly in battle, and he remembered every one of them. Charmeleon. Forretress. Swampert. Mightyena. Raichu. Quilava. Swalot. All of them he'd studied in class, about the types, the moves, and generation of the Pokemon. Caiden was good at his studies, and he was good at battling. Which was probably the reason he'd been promoted to an executive, and the reason he would get to choose battle partners for the subordinates, lowly and weak and uncapable of making their own decision.
Though, weren't all executives once subordinates?
Last edited by Silvyre; 04-11-2009 at 07:39 AM.