Re: Behind the Eyes of Cipher
Street 40, Gateon Port, Orre
One year before present
The boy, in his teen years, was not one to be messed with. An early bloomer, he would no longer grow taller than five feet eight inches. Muscles rippled down his arms; however, his body was a little scrawny from lack of complete nourishment. Occasionally, one could see the veins pulsing out of his thick neck. Wind rushing down city streets blew his curly, auburn-brown locks across his face, yet he didn't seem to care. His intimidating structure and nearly black eyes made it impossible for anyone to stare him in the face without cringing. Or flinching. Or turning away. They always did. And he would never tell anyone that he hated that aspect of himself.
Suddenly, he appeared from the doorway of his small, pitiable house. The midnight moon was the boy's only light. He stalked the dark streets, walking in one specific direction with one certain goal on his mind. Win.
Win for his mother, Mrs. Rose Hester, and win for Sandy, his younger sister, almost always sick, emaciated, and sickly pale. In fact, he usually needed the money to get the right medicines for his sister. By day, he was a neglected teenaged boy. By night, he helped his overworked mother get the money the family needed to survive. But just barely.
"Hester," his opponent growled. "You did show."
The boy said nothing in response. He wasn't one for words; he generally spoke with his actions. Most usually in battles.
The other, heftier and larger boy, grunted. "You don't know who you're dealing with, you pathetic son of a dog." The opponent flicked his head forward and spit. The vile saliva nearly landed on the boy's feet. "Who do you think you are, betting that kind of cash in a battle against me? You're not scary like they say, you're just a pathetic, scrawny dog."
From a belt holding three pokeballs, all won in prior battles against other reckless teenagers in the neighborhood, the boy released a Hairyama. Though it wasn't necessarily friendly toward him, it fought well enough. It was the boy's primary choice.
"Tch." Spitting once more, his opponent shook his head and released his Pokemon. A Typhlosion. "You know, those Cipher kids say you're the boss. Give you all kindsa praise. So let's see."
Cipher kids. They had already gone. Left their families behind to fend for themselves, because every kid in the neighborhood was just like him. Lately, one could find an unknown man, at any time of day or night, in the outskirts of the port. He'd been there several times, and he'd seen the man, talking in hushed, threatening voices to some of the kids that he had once known. Apparently, the man was recruiting people like him into Cipher. Any word that passed around about Cipher was top secret, kept on the down-low. The boy was sure only the port neighborhoods had heard of the organization, and it was mostly the teenagers. The boy had completely dismissed the idea of Cipher until recently; he sometimes thought about talking to the scout and discussing what joining Cipher could do for him. Was there a more exciting life there? Something else? It was true, just the idea made his skin burn and tingle with wonder. After all, he hated his life here. It was just pointless fighting for money that he wouldn't even keep. For his constantly ailing sister. For his uncaring, ignorant mother. Nothing for him.
It was a short battle. The boy left his opponent to slink back into the shadows, humiliated and degraded, leaving with all three pokeballs and a substantially thicker pocket. His pace was slow and thoughtful, but a passerby couldn't tell that he was fighting himself internally.
He walked back into the house at dawn, meeting his furious mother. He endured a screeching, brutal lecture, in which his mother nearly spit at him, "You should be caring for this family a lot more than you are, because you're damn ignorant about what I need and what I want. Think about someone else besides yourself for a change." With little more argument, the boy solemnly stated that he was leaving for good. He uttered a forced but trembling goodbye.
Finally, he made his way to the room he and his sister shared. His hands quivered and shook, but he spoke with a quiet, gentle voice, kissing his sister and stroking her before saying goodbye. And with that, he promptly left the house, making his way down the newly sunlit streets into the port. Knowing the way to go, he sought out a small hut where a well-dressed, foreign and anonymous man answered the door after only one knock. With a slight grin, the man immediately sent him to the carrier, a small machine that submersed itself in the water separating Gateon Port and the faraway reaches of the islands surrounding Orre.
And with much doubt and vagueness as to where he was going, the boy left his family and his old life forever.
Before meeting with Lord Kishiro again, Caiden had tried to shake off the haunting feeling of guilt he had woken. It had been yet another rough night lacking proper hours of sleep. Considering he very rarely thought about his family and their welfare - as early on he'd established a mental wall between his past and his future - this was a bizarre dream, lingering constantly in the back of his mind. But he had to let it go. If anything affected his work, he could potentially be stripped of his executive status.
Caiden was not much of an executive. At this time, he was merely carrying out simple chores that the Kishiro family wanted him to do. But it was better than being a subordinate, and he'd had enough training to be given a break. In fact, he felt somewhat useless and fragile because of his lack of conditioning in the past several days. Anything to please Lord Kishiro.
Waiting only a few seconds for it to rise, Caiden stepped out of the elevator and into the grand office of Lord Kishiro. It was the third time that week that he had seen the lord, face to face. He sat down and addressed Lord Kishiro humbly.
"Good morning, sir," he said quietly. Finally, Lord Kishiro, eyebrows furrowed, turned around in his chair, holding a small card key. His pale, rough face was accentuated by grayish-blue eyes, icy and merciless. Even the lord's black hair, so glossy it seemed constantly wet, made his figure all the more intimidating. Caiden shuddered, a little unnerved by the motion.
"Executive," he said briskly, a notoriously feigned smile appearing on his face. "So good of you to return to your duty to Cipher." He nodded slowly and tapped his sharp fingernails against his desk. It was clearly an obligatory line. "And your task today... let's see. I suppose you've become acquainted enough with our subordinates?"
"Yes," Lord Kishiro snapped. His eyes squinted cruelly for just a moment. Then the thin, forced smile returned. "The... Pokemon. What I want you to do is take the item I am about to give you. When you go to their chamber building, swipe the item through the keypad. The rest will follow." He paused, his eyes searching Caiden's. They flicked back and forth over Caiden's face. "I trust you are capable of carrying this out in secrecy, are you not?"
Caiden swallowed, nonetheless continued just as powerfully. "I am capable, sir."
"Good. Neccer will be there to guide you through the rest." Lord Kishiro relaxed his face, and the fake smile he wore disappeared altogether. "Dismissed, executive. I expect a lot from you."
A grin tugged on Caiden's mouth, and he was barely able to contain himself. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir." He reached out to take the second card key and left with haste. As he closed the door, Caiden let out a sigh and smiled.
Caiden was slowly getting used to the tainted, poignant cries of the trapped Pokemon in their cages. Although on the first day it scared him some, he no longer masked his emotions with an overly powerful feeling of control. He now simply saw the Pokemon as they were. Trapped, frightened, furious, lonely. He found himself not caring.
He slid the different, smaller card key in the master keypad. Caiden lost himself wondering why this key was black and a dull gray, as opposed to the conventional silver and crimson red scheme; he was startled out of his thoughts when a loud groaning noise sounded from the elevator and echoed through the huge room. The Pokemon became more agitated and frantic in their cages, and some that had been sleeping awoke with a sharp cry. Most began clawing and attacking their cages. The room became significantly noisier and thus more daunting.
Caiden ignored the cries and briskly made his way to the elevator, closing the door as quickly as possible. Though he thought he was in control of himself, he realized that his breathing had become short, quick gasps. He was even more surprised when the elevator started moving on its own. It dropped downward rapidly for what seemed like almost a minute. Caiden held onto the bars, wondering again what he'd gotten himself into.
The elevator halted unexpectedly. Caiden felt his stomach fly into his throat and then drop down again. When he had relaxed himself and calmed his breathing, he stepped out of the open doors.
The room he stepped into was a dull gray; Caiden had to adjust his eyes to see in the darkness. The walls vaguely reflected the white-yellow bars of light hanging from the ceiling, which was about fifty feet above him. There were more lights, too, of different colors; most likely for X-rays and other operations of the sort. He realized that he must have gone down more fifty feet below the ground level to be here. Caiden had never heard of this sector as a subordinate, and he figured that none of the others had either.
But clearly the strangest thing in the room was the multitudes of columns of neon green fluid. Inside the columns and floating in the green fluid were Pokemon. They were everywhere, all different sizes to fit different species of Pokemon. Almost every one of the creatures had wires attached to their heads and limbs, and they were all unconscious. Caiden wasn't sure if they were exactly alive or not, but he didn't dare to think about it. The voices of the two hushed scientists flew into his mind. But the first one... this has gone too far. He froze and stared at the closest contained Pokemon. A Teddiursa, drained of color. Are these... experiments?
"Executive Hester?" A harsh voice called. The infamous Neccer appeared, wearing a uniform resembling Caiden's but more advanced and upgraded. The features of his face were large and bulgy. It evenly matched his large and wide frame. His wrists were crossed coolly behind his back, in a smug way. "Come with me. You've business to do with Lord Kishiro, correct?"
Caiden was still stunned. "Yes, sir."
"Right, then. Do you know what we'll be doing, Hester?"
Uncertainly, Caiden shook his head, but focused his eyes on Neccer's huge face. "No... sir."
Neccer promptly turned and began walking, gesturing to the columns of green fluid. "Hester, do you know what this is?"
"Not at all." Caiden cleared his throat uncomfortably, deciding against calling Neccer "sir". He took in the bustle of scientists and saw the several trained and armed soldiers surrounding the area, stalking the chamber silently.
His gaze settled on a particular column as they walked. A large, fiery-orange Pokemon floated powerlessly in the green fluid, bubbles rising slowly around its body. Though its eyes were closed, Caiden could feel the invisible power of its menacing, all-knowing stare. Caiden's chest froze as he and Neccer passed the Blaziken. Those fierce, fiery eyes...
He was abruptly startled out of his daze by the sound of Neccer's voice.
"You shouldn't know. This laboratory is top secret. It is where we... experiment on our Pokemon." Neccer paused. "I know you've been taught that Pokemon are our subordinates, our tools for fighting. We think that initially, Pokemon are weak, just as humans are. So we train them. But Lord Kishiro has found a better way to gain power from them." He stopped completely and turned around to look Caiden directly in the eye. "A greater power that only Cipher can control. With it, the Kishiro family and the rest of Cipher will indefinitely become the strongest union in all of Orre. We will have the most power in one people. Thus, Lord Kishiro plans to take his place as Supreme Governor of Orre."
As he explained, Neccer's eyes beamed and glistened. Caiden frowned, out of befuddlement and ridicule. Acts like he worships Lord Kishiro... like he could be him. Averting his gaze, Caiden snorted. Neccer had already continued walking, giving commands to some of the lab workers.
What really consumed Caiden's thoughts was the idea that Cipher could be the most powerful organization in all of Orre. He lost interest in the Pokemon floating in the green fluid. He realized that Cipher could do anything they want with such power. How they came to it he wasn't exactly sure, but Neccer had made it sound like a dream come to reality.
Then, they came to the experiment room.
Neccer grinned sadistically as two massive steel doors automatically opened. Inside, a master control panel was situated in the middle of the chamber, with other computers lined up beside it. Several scientists strode briskly around the room, and others, bearing helmets and earpieces, worked the computers. Behind all of this was a large cubicle, protected by bulletproof glass. It contained some sort of mysterious beast that made Caiden's eyes widen with horror.
It was alive and conscious, unlike the other experiments he'd seen. But it was abnormally large; its eyes, clearly visible, were bloodshot and monstrous. As if its greatest desire was to kill. Though Pikachu was a normally gentle species, this thing was a monster. It wheeled around and slammed the walls around it, then stopping to release all the electricity in its body. When that wasn't enough, the creature screeched and bit at its own tail. Its ears swiveled up and down madly. It seemed insane; Caiden could clearly see veins popping out of its head and body. Blood dripped from its tail where the creature had bitten and ripped at it.
"What... what is that?" Caiden murmured to Neccer. He didn't take his eyes off the experimented Pokemon. The Pikachu continued to leap into the walls and discharge electricity.
Neccer laughed a haunting, booming laugh. "This, Hester, is a shadow Pokemon. Commonly referred to simply a Shadow. It is our newest creation and the most powerful kind of Pokemon." When Caiden was silent, Neccer continued. "Do you see the extent of its power? It hasn't yet run out of electricity."
"But it will," Caiden replied in a quiet, dark voice. "It will eventually. It might kill itself at this rate."
"That isn't my point. It can last longer than any other Pikachu in battle, in terms of energy."
Caiden turned to face Neccer, not bothering to avert his eyes from direct eye contact. "Why is that? What did you... do to it?"
"Oh, the scientists found some chemical that stops the flow of another chemical in its blood. In all, I believe it's lost its ability to be friendly, that's it." Neccer laughed again. "For this power, I think the price is worth it, don't you?"
Caiden did not know how to respond. "I... suppose so... sir."
"Yes. And more of these creatures will be made for our use and our use only." Neccer took in a deep breath. "And it's all because of Lord Kishiro and his funds for the research," he added softly, with noticeable admiration.
The Pikachu struggled and snarled. Its mouth began to foam a little, and its body discharged electricity involuntarily. Caiden could tell, even from a distance, that it was trembling.
Neccer inhaled sharply. "Anyways, Hester, you've an assignment from Lord Kishiro. What you need to do is help tame and contain these Shadows while the lab workers create more of them. They're becoming a bit of a nuisance and in any case, we will need to know how to keep them under control when we begin training with them." His wide chest faced Caiden, and he nodded. "How you will do that is up to you. Now, I am done here. See to it that the job is done."
For about a minute, time seemed to slow and halt entirely. Caiden felt like he was suddenly trapped in a place that he no longer wanted to be; it was a situation that could not be solved. Never before had he felt this feeling - it was always a matter of putting up with obstacles. Now it was something completely different. And he'd known it from the beginning. The other Pokemon in the columns of green fluid would eventually be transformed into monsters. There were so many of them, which meant so many monsters for Caiden to train and control.
Though he knew all too well that he was safe, Caiden flinched every time the atrocious Pikachu threw itself against the walls, clawing in agony. He could hear nothing of the creature's voice, but from the sound of the thick walls rumbling, he could tell that this task was all the more difficult. Maybe dangerous. Possibly life-threatening.
Last edited by Silvyre; 04-21-2009 at 04:27 AM.