"Alex Mercer is not human. Not anymore. Once he was a scientist, developing a deadly virus on commission from a clandestine agency. He died, and the assimilating virus took his body over. He feeds on any biomass, human or…otherwise, and uses it to augment his shapeshifting abilities. Once, he was able to release an antidote for the virus into the city where it was unleashed, and could be called a tragic hero. But now this 'Zeus' virus has taken full control. He has razed entire cities, using the biomass of the citizens to increase his power. And he has immense power. I don't think we should refer to him as Alex anymore, but Zeus."
He had just gone out to fish. The boy on the Wailmer always went far into the sea…there were always bigger fish there to catch. Riding his Pokemon, he didn't expect any surprises.
Then he got one.
First, the sea began to rumble. A deep and loud humming sound seemed to come from below the surface. He had first assumed it to be a Wailord, but his Pokemon became incredibly scared as it grew louder and louder…as if it was coming up to the surface. What more, it was coming from everywhere under them.
And then, a huge purple thing erupted from the sea, almost right below him. The boy stared wide-eyed at the thing that was bigger than any whale he had ever seen, sleek and metallic. The thing rose from the ocean, spray falling off like waterfalls all around it.
And then there was another one, farther off but no less loud or majestic. A third colossal ship rose from the depths, to the boy's wondering eyes. Lifting itself high into the air, the huge ships blasted away into the distance, leaving behind a stymied and partially deafened boy and his Pokemon.
Every soldier onboard the three ships was nervous. They had all heard the stories about Alex Mercer's – or Zeus' – powers. How he had wiped out an entire military force within hours and destroyed a city in days. A videotape someone had managed to get of Alex's rampage in Brickstown had been shown to all. The creature had used monstrous metal appendages to tear apart countless people and…consume them in a way that no-one could adequately describe, or want to. No-one was eager to face him. Almost no-one.
In the deployment bay of the Master Chief, most of the soldiers was nervous for another reason. In the room was the colossal Pyramid Head, resting his hands on the huge knife he was chained to. He never seemed to move, which unnerved the rest of the soldiers even more. They had all given him a wide berth. He didn't seem to notice or care.
Lara glanced at all the scared soldiers. "Think they're afraid more of that guy than Alex?" She remarked quietly to Snake.
"Could be." Snake muttered. "He ain't the most pleasant companion."
"Compared to Alex? You saw what he can do."
"Well, he ain't in the room."
"Snake, be quiet." Arbiter walked into the room. "Everyone be ready. This monster is more dangerous than anything you can imagine. We cannot afford any carelessness. We must destroy this thing. The city has been evacuated, so we can use our more powerful ammunition. There is an army attempting to contain this creature…they've given us his location. We will be arriving shortly. At the risk of repeating myself, BE READY."
With that, the soldiers were loading and readying their weapons. Lara glanced at Pyramid Head. The huge man was tapping his blade, adjusting the gears on the handle.
"Is it just me, or does that guy look enthusiastic about this?"
"Hard to tell. I ain't enthusiastic enough to notice."
"That's quite an odd one Lara's dug up. When he does talk, which is almost never, his sentences are short and clipped, like a kid that doesn't know much about speaking. Always sits or walks by himself and looks real uncomfortable when someone…especially a girl…comes close. But this Link guy faced down one of Rtas' elites with that sword, and got bull's-eyes with his arrows at that shooting gallery each time. Makes me wonder what he could do with a real weapon."
Link paced through the underwater corridors restlessly. He, Casey, Sofia and a few others had been left behind at Rapture, Arbiter not wanting to compromise the safety of everyone. He didn't figure Link could handle himself against this 'Alex Mercer'. Maybe he was right.
But Link was rapidly becoming restless. He had been doing very little in these past few days except eat, sleep, and wander the halls of the city-base. His feet were getting sore. The view was always spectacular, but he needed…something to do.
Casey was right. He was bored…but he didn't fancy meeting her again right now. She made him very nervous, the way she acted. Very uncomfortable. He had never been one for…well, close relationships. He had always preferred to be by himself, whether farming or adventuring. The closest friend he had, had…left a long time ago. He wasn't keen on getting too close again, especially with that girl…Sighing quietly, Link decided to walk back to his room and get some sleep.
Then something clattered behind him.
Link couldn't see what it was in the shadows…he never noticed how dark this city was in places. Lights had been shot out or burnt out. It was down what could be considered an alleyway in Rapture…a dark area between two structures, likely used by repair crew. Link was driven by curiosity, and cautiously peered around the corner.
Something was thrust on his face, and everything began spinning. He felt his bones getting rearranged painfully, and every light, sound and smell attacked him at full force. Link screamed and howled in pain and surprise.
Then everything went black, and an eerie smile peered through the darkness before vanishing.
"Every…thing…I've ever consumed…they're all screaming. Screaming. I won't be able to block them out forever. All those memories, dreams, drives…tear at me like crows feasting on carrion. This…thing, 'Zeus' calls for more and more…I can't say no for much longer. Alex Mercer will soon die…and God help the world then."
The three Phantoms approached the city where Mercer had been located. The pilot summoned Arbiter to the control room. The Sangheili came into the room.
"What is it?" he demanded.
The shaking pilot pointed at the window. "L-look sir."
Arbiter looked. San Fierro had been torn apart. Only a handful of the once-proud skyscrapers were still standing…the rest were either toppled or with huge holes in them. But that wasn't what the pilot was pointing at.
A legion of tanks and soldiers were being ripped apart by…what could only be described as an abomination. Alex Mercer could have once passed for a normal human with extraordinary metallic appendages. Now he appeared to be a chaotic mishmash purely comprised of blades, tentacles, shields and heaven knows what else. Whirling blades and barbed tentacles tore apart the soldiers bravely attacking the monster.
Arbiter would have wanted to save those fighters. But by the time they arrived, Mercer…no, Zeus…had sliced the last soldier in two pieces amid the red remains of his comrades. The seasoned soldier winced, and then relayed orders to the soldiers.
"No ground troops. It will be suicide. Everyone take position on either one of the turrets or the airships. Do not get close, and fire everything you have at that abomination. We take him down this day!"
"Woof woof woof! Give your children a sweet puppy from Argo's pet shop. A wonderful companion providing years of fun for your family. Only $75.00 at Argo's pet shop in Ryan Amusements."
A cheery recorded voice woke Link up. He shook himself awake, feeling warmer than normal. Everything was blurry, but he managed to register himself in a grassy field filled with cracks…no, a concrete bunker with a field painted on it. There was a thin, half-broken gate hanging limply nearby. He got up on his paws…
Link was fully awake now, and looked carefully at where his hands should have been. They weren't. Paws covered in dark green fur had replaced his palms, with sharp claws instead of fingers. Link's eyes grew wide.
There was a bowl of water nearby, and Link went over. It was old water, with mold growing on the bottom of the bowl, unfit for drinking. But it reflected enough to show a dark-colored wolf with white markings and blue eyes staring back at Link.
He was a wolf.