Chapter 2: Prisoner of War
I stared at the point of the bayonet, mere centimeters from my nose. The Nidoking holding the rifle glared at me, unmoving. For a minute that lasted forever, battle blazed around us unabated, as if we didn't exist.
Then, the Nidoking moved the gun slightly and grunted, "Alright, get up...you're comin' with me." He shifted the gun to the side slightly to allow me to get up without getting cut by the blade. "Get up, ya little cretin."
Trembling, I stared up at the Nidoking for a few seconds longer, the rocky pokemon's demands barely registering. Finally, I got to my feet slowly, still shaking. The Nidoking beckoned me before him; I only too happily obliged, what with the blade poking me in the back. Thus did we begin a march through the raging battlefield. All around us, gunfire was constant. There were yells of rage and invigoration, but these were drowned out by the screams of agony. It wasn't pretty...
Miraculously, most bullets missed us, save for a couple that pinged harmlessly off the Nidoking's impressive armor. However, one eventually grazed my knees, making them buckle, and causing me to scream in agony. I shot out my hands to prevent myself from falling face first into the dirt, but now my hands smarted as well. I squeezed my eyes shut in pain, stifling a whimper, and the Nidoking laughed cruelly. "Better get used to pain, boy...there's a lot more where yer goin'."
Very soon, the sharp sting subsided, leaving only a dull, throbbing pain that was more endurable. I slowly opened my eyes, expecting to be gazing at my hands. However, what I saw nearly made my heart stop, even after all the wierd things that had happened today.
What I saw were not my hands, but yellow paws...exactly like those of a Pikachu.
Time seemed to halt entirely for my as I stared at these hands...these paws. None of this could possibly be real...could it? Now that I'd seen my paws, actually...I began to notice other odd things about myself...such as the lightningbolt tail sticking out of my rear, or the long ears lowered on my head...I even noticed that I was covered in yellow fur, the only thing separating me from total nudity.
Time eventually caught up to me, though, and a sharp prod in the back brought my attention back to the world around me. The Nidoking stared at me with a look of utter confusion. "What's the matter, never seen yerself before?" He asked harshly.
"...Apparently not..." I muttered as I stood up. With another hard poke to my back that opened the skin, I resumed marching in front of the Nidoking, oblivious to the world around me as I buried himself in my thoughts. I so desperately wanted this to be another nightmare, but I was quickly being forced to believe that this was all real...that some force, mystical or otherwise, had turned me into a Pikachu and brought me to this war-torn world of Pokemon...it wasn't very encouraging.
The sounds of battle began to die away as we marched on. Soon, we were joined by many other Pokemon, all yelling and talking jubilantly; I supposed they had been victorious in this battle, though against whom, I didn't have the slightest idea. A Gligar, carrying a type of machine gun, came walking up behind the Nidoking. "Hey Johnson!" He called out, "Nice job out there today!" He glanced around the Nidoking to look at me. "Y'know we don't usually take prisoners. How do you think the General's gonna act?" He asked.
"Oh, he'll be plenty pleased with who I've got." Johnson said with a small grin to him. The Gligar walked up next to me. I looked over at him though the corner of my eye, and saw the Gligar's eyes open wide.
The Gligar looked back at Johnson. "A Pikachu?! Again, nice job!"
"Thanks, Yarsan." Johnson responded. I kept myself from snapping a retort at the Gligar; it'd be a bad idea to snap at the friend of the one who's got a knife sticking in my back. Johnson looked over to Yarson, who'd taken to walking beside him, and started a different conversation.
I wondered about what the two had said; what about me being a Pikachu made me so special? And how was my capture significant? It's not like I put up much of a fight...or even any of a fight, for that matter. No answers came to me as they continued marching. I was becoming more and more depressed by this lack of answers I was getting.
It was an hour before we neared a bunch of buildings crammed together in a fenced-off area. A large gate flanked by sentry towers loomed before us. There was a loud whistle from on top of one of these towers, and the gates began sliding open on wheels. The large force of Pokemon began flooding through, now evidently marching. Lines formed up, and all the Pokemon stood straight and serious; apparently, there were some high standards here, I thought.
I was forced to march as well, and the puncture wound that had clotted and closed earlier was opened and continually prodded until I painfully got the hint to march with them. Furiously, almost rebelliously, I consented, just to stop Johnson's prodding.
The marching column eventually split into a single line before a massive building. When the end of the line was reached, they stopped marching, only to mark time in place. I was stopped in the middle of the long horizontal line. Luckily for me, I wasn't forced to mark time, and took the time to rest my aching leg muscles; I just wasn't used to it, at all.
Suddenly, a Pokemon called out from the building, yelling, "Battalion, HALT!" In unison, the Pokemon stopped marking time, keeping completely still and silent. Then, two calls went up, one on either side of the line. On my left, one pokemon yelled, "Right Face!", while on my left, another said, "Left Face." As one, the Pokemon lined up turned to the front, facing the building they lined up in front of. The only sound for a long time was the wind on their faces. I glanced around, looking for the ones who gave the orders, and what these Pokemon were waiting for.
With a great cracking sound, the wall in the part of the building before me split open along a perfectly straight line, about six feet from the ground to the top of the line. Then, the two parts of the wall slid open, like automatic doors. I realized after a moment it was an ingenious door design; it was impossible to find except by those who knew exactly where it was and how to open it.
From the new opening in the wall, a Golem stepped out, his hands behind his round back. He sported a type of hat I recognized as one the Marine Corps in my world wore; this Golem must be a high-ranked official in this army. "Battalion, atten-SHUN!" one of the Pokemon on one end yelled. The line of Pokemon saluted him in a single movement. I stared at him, eyebrows furrowed in anger at my captors. The Golem stepped before me and gazed down at my face, the same look of anger on the Rock-type's face.
Finally, he looked up to Johnson and spoke. "You captured him, knowing full well that the orders were to take no captives, only eliminate or drive out the enemy?" The Nidoking nodded and lowered his saluting hand. The Golem loked into Johnson's eyes for a minute, scrutinizing him. Then, he cracked a smile and patted him on the back. "Good job, Johnson. This may give you a promotion, if I have anything to say about it."
Johnson saluted once more. "Thank you, sir!"
The General stepped back and looked along the line of pokemon. "Johnson, bring the Pikachu with you and follow me. The rest of you," he shouted so the rest of the Pokemon would hear him, "are dismissed for Detail!"
"SIR!" They yelled as one before they all dispersed, talking casually amongst themselves.
Suddenly, my arms were grabbed and held together behind my back. "Hey!" I cried as I struggled against the hold. I soon realized it was the Nidoking, Johnson, again, especially after I was lifted by the arms into the air and moved forward. "You bastard! What's the meaning of this? Let me go!"
"Gladly, if you let me have the pleasure of keeping your arms!" Johnson growled in his ear. That shut me up, though I still struggled in his hold.
The hallway past the hidden doorway was dark, especially after the wall closed behind Johnson. my eyesight was another thing I noticed was amplified, as I could still see well in this darkness. I went limp in the Nidoking's grasp, letting myself be carried to what may be my doom...
The hallway suddenly opened into a gigantic, circular room, filled with many screens on the walls, showing black-and-white pictures of the buildings and the surrounding area, among other things. There were raised diases in the very middle of the room, the top one of which I couldn't see what was on it. Pokemon of all kinds milled about, doing their jobs.
The Golem General from before stood at the base of the lowest dias. As Johnson walked up to him, he called up towards the top dias: "Commander, Johnson is here! He has someone you may want to see!"
Johnson stopped ten feet before the General and looked up. I followed his gaze. What I saw made me stare in awe.
Floating down rather quickly from the top dias was Mewtwo. As he landed before Johnson and gazed upon me, his expression went from something of serious neutrality to one of fury.
"So, one of you still live, eh?" His voice was very calm, but eerily icy. It dug into my skin, my very soul, and made me tremble once more.
"Mewtwo..." I whispered in awe, staring upon the Legendary before me. I glared upon the Psychic being. "What do you want with me, exactly?"
"Oh, as if you don't know," Mewtwo responded with a chuckle. He looked back to the Golem. "What are the Zenos Army's plans, traitor?!" He said.
"Zenos army? What the hell is that?" I spat at him.
Mewtwo glared at me before looking back at the Golem. "Take him to the torture room. If he doesn't give an adequate answer...you know what to do." Mewtwo said with a glint in his eye.
The Golem saluted and said, "Of course, sir."
My eyes opened wide in fear at what I heard. "Torture?! What the hell did I do?! I don't know anything, I'm telling you the truth!" I yelled as I was carried into another hallway by the Nidoking. "Stop, please!"
Five hours later, I was tossed, bloody and wracked with pain, into what looked to be a prison cell. Despite the soft hay covering the stone floor, it didn't soften the hard landing. I coughed harshly, spitting blood on the hay, before laying still, groaning in pain. Outside the barred window above my head, the night sky gazed through the opening upon my pitiful form.
Obviously, the Golem had been unable to extract exactly what he wanted to hear from me. For five hours, I'd told the same story over and over. My words, however, were recieved with laughter, scoffs, and another dose of torture. My pleads for mercy fell on deaf ears, and I was repeatedly brought to the brink of death before allowed to rest and recuperate...if only for a few seconds. It was absolutely maddening.
My thoughts were interrupted when the door to the cell building opened. I perked his ears and listened: a single pokemon was approaching. I sat up, pressed myself against a wall, and steeled myself to fight off the approaching Pokemon if he tried to take me to a horrible fate. As the footsteps came closer, I grew more afraid, but I refused to show it.
A light brightened the stone building before a Charmander came into view, carrying a tray of some kind. As he began messing with the lock to the cell, a smell reached my nose. The smell was definitely of food, and it made my mouth water, because I hadn't had anything to eat since that morning. I calmed down as I decided to see what the Charmander had for him.If he brought food, it couldn't be all bad, right?
"Hey, sorry about this..." The Charmander apologized, "The Commander isn't usually so fierce with captives, despite us having so few, but...well, you are a Pikachu."
"And just what the hell does that have to do with it?!" I snapped, exposing my teeth fiercly.
"Sheez, no need to bite my head off!" The Charmander said, offended, "It's just that...wait, you don't know?"
"It's a long story." I said, averting his eyes.
"Well, if you tell me, I'll tell you what you being a Pikachu has to do with your...situation." The Charmander said, sitting down.
"Wait, one thing's first: What's on the tray?" I said, pointing to the covered tray letting off the succulent aromas.
"Oh, right, totally forgot about this." The Charmander placed the tray before me and slid it across the hay to me. "I managed to snag some food for you. Just because I'm in this army doesn't mean I totally agree with everything they do. I just want to do the right thing, and stop the enemy from destroying us."
"Oooo...kay...thanks, uh...what's your name?" I asked as I took the cover off the tray, revealing a small loaf of bread, a bowl of what seemed to be Onion soup, and a cup of water.
"I'm Jordan." The Charmander responded, "Jordan Scotts. And you?"
"I'm Van." I grabbed a piece of the bread, dipped it in the soup, and popped it into my mouth, savoring the flavor. I swallowed it whole, not even bothering to chew it. "Oh God
"Go, ahead, I can wait." Jordan folded his arms and waited as I filled his starved belly, scarfing down the bread quickly. I tried to make sure I wasn't rude, but it was so hard, because I had never gone so long without a single bite...it was kind of pathetic, really.
Finally, I finished and wiped my mouth with my small arm. "Heh...sorry. I should've told you the story before bein' so rude."
"Again, no problem." Jordan just smiled. "Anyway, care to expain?"
I lowered my ears to my head. "I'm pretty damn sure that even if I tell you, you'll think I'm crazy, like those guys who tortured the hell outta me..."
"Try me." This time, Jordan grinned.
I stared at him a second, then shrugged and told him everything I had told the General when I was being tortured. I felt calmer and had an easier time telling the story, seeing as how I wasn't being shocked with electricity levels too high even for a Pikachu or being slashed and cut.
When I had finished, Jordan merely stared at him, rapt. "See? Toldja." I muttered.
"Wow...I always thought that humans were a myth, since there aren't any in this world, but if your story's true, then you're living proof!" Jordan said excitedly.
"There are none here?" I asked, confused.
"As far as I know, there never were any."
"That's...interesting." I then remembered what Jordan had said. "Okay, I've told you my story, now, please tell me what me being a Pikachu has to do with my abuse."
"Huh?" Jordan looked at me, confused, before he remembered. "Oh, right! Well, to start off, there weren't many Pikachus to begin with before this war. However, a large number had joined our military forces in peacetime. Soon after, however...things began to go wrong..."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
Jordan sighed before continuing. "No one but the Commander really knows, but he told us that the entire Pikachu population in the military rose up and tried to stage a coup on our government and the heads in the military. Mewtwo was so angry and distraught that he attacked mercilessly, killing most of them right off."
"Jeez..." I breathed out this word.
"The ones that escaped made it back to a neighboring country called Zenos. According to Mewtwo, they were an entire legion of spies tasked with eliminating and taking control of the military and the government in a hostile takeover...So, a war was started between Zenos and us, the proud country of Eugaria. Within the first few battles, the rest of those traitors were killed...unfortunately for them, they were all done in by the Commander himself, each and every one."
"Woah..." I whispered, mostly to himself.
"So now I think you understand why Mewtwo is so hostile with you." Jordan finished.
"Yeah, ya think?" I chuckled.
Jordan laughed with me until a sudden noise atracted his attention. "Crap, someone's coming. Listen, I gotta go; I can't risk myself getting caught here. You understand, right?"
"You have no idea..." I laughed inwardly as I remembered sneaking out to talk to Dani when she was grounded to her room. "No problem. Hey, if I live through whatever they ave in store for me, we're friends, right?"
"Sure." Jordan gave a thumbs-up before taking the tray and leaving, closing the cell door behind him. "See ya!" He whispered hurriedly before running off. The light of his tail faded as he left.
I sighed and just decided to lay down until I fell asleep. Nothing to do now until tomorrow, when my fate was decided...
My sleep was dreamless and uninterrupted, even by the forgotten pain I was in. I regained a little of the strength I was sapped of the previous night. However, all good things must pass, and all too soon I was shaken awake and hefted out of the prison building by Johnson, the Nidoking from before. The pain returned to my body, so I tried to prevent it by going limp in Johnson's grasp.
I didn't see where we went from the building because my eyes were closed, but when we entered a shadow much cooler than the sunlight pounding on me, I opened my eyes and recognized the hallway of the large building; I was being brought straight to Mewtwo, no doubt.
Two minutes later, we entered the large room with the raised diases. Suddenly, Johnson stopped and threw me towards the lowest dias's base. I skidded on the ground painfully. I breathed raggedly, pain lancing throughout my body.
"So, are you prepared for what is in store for you?" Came that same eerily icy voice from the previous day.
"As ready as I'll ever be..." I groaned, looking up at Mewtwo. I was lifted effortlessly as Mewtwo raised his left hand. Damn Psychic powers...
I thought. Then I snapped at the Legendary, "Kill me if you must. At least this pain'll be gone."
"Oh, I won't kill you...yet." Mewtwo said snidely, "First, I'm going to probe your mind and gather what you know about the plans of our enemy."
"And what'll hapen to me if what you find is that I've been telling the truth this whole time?!" I growled at him.
Mewtwo smiled a cruel smirk. "If it IS that case, which I doubt, then I will apologize for this whole...mess, and I'll let you join our forces, after you get healed from yesterday's little session. Now, let's begin!"
I cried out in pain as I felt Mewtwo's mind probe strike painfully into my mind. Mewtwo was invading every part of my mind, my feelings, my experiences, and even the personal parts of my brain. No...you don't belong there...
I thought with a little effort as I felt him sift through one of my memories of Dani. Whether my thoughts were heard by the intruder, however, was unknown. The pain became so intense that I finally submitted all thoughts to the probe, hoping the pain would soon end.
After a particularly painful spike, I felt the probe begin to leave. Thankful that it was over, I sighed in relief. When the probe was gone, my senses slowly returned to the real world. Stars erupted in my eyes as I tried to focus. "Well?" I said, impatient.
Nothing was said, until, "Van, I am truly sorry," Mewtwo said, knowing my name from the probing, "I thought you were one of those who tried to destroy our country's government...Will you accept my apologies, as well as my offer to join our army?"
I had to truly think about this: I was captured, tortured and maimed, I may have suffered brain damage, and all this because of a misunderstanding?! It riled me to no end! However...it was tempting...The memory of what Jordan told me the night before felt heavy on my mind. Maybe by joining this army, I can help them defeat those that are evil, and do the right thing. Finally...
"Yes...I'll accept your offer. I'll join your army."