"Solid Snake…number seven, here. Ha hah ha. Yep. I'm in action now. But for what? Now I'm working for what amounts to a bunch of government errand boys. And apparently I'm taking orders from the fourjawed alien commander who nearly blew us all up in the Halo wars. Working WITH a foureyes, a woman…and from the sound of it, some kid swordsman and a…ugh. I'd complain, but then I remember that this is the entire reason I got made."
Restrained and put into a special capsule, Pyramid Head was brought onboard the Master Chief. It took 4 soldiers to drag the metal sleeve of Pyramid Head's blade…and a lot more to bring in Pyramid Head himself. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he was aboard and the ship was ready to return to base.
Snake, Lara and Gordon walked back to the meeting room. Link acknowledged them coming in. Snake gave him an odd look, then muttered to Lara. "Is that kid in the exact same spot as when we left?"
"We weren't gone that long." was Lara's only reply. "No matter. Sit down, everyone. We're moving again."
Link asked. "Where?"
Snake smirked. "Oh, you'll see."
"...And that's a hundred. Heheh. That was one of the better blasts. A concert at the old abandoned Pokemon Centre sounded a bit weird at first, but I figured 'what the heck, let's go'. Looks like I won't regret…hey, whassat? Looks like a Pokemon…oh, man…What did they do to this Pikachu? Jesus Christ, it's still alive…"
Jimi opened his eyes slowly. Things had been topsy turvy for a long time…he remembered grabbing onto Casey when she had been snatched by that bizarre thing that wasn't a police helicopter, and then…
Jimi picked himself up and took stock of his surroundings. The first thing he noticed was the bars…He was in a cage!
Grabbing the bars, the Pikachu took a look outside. Best he could see, he was in a dark storage room. No-one else was in the room, far as he could see. No guards or even any other prisoners.
A brilliant yellow light lit up from inside the cage, accompanied by a powerful sparking noise. Then a thunderbolt tore at the metal bars viciously. The withered, blasted metal remnants were easy to break. Jimi leapt out of the cage and onto the floor. He had to find his mistress.
The door Jimi saw wasn't even locked…whoever had taken him and Casey hadn't figured that he was worth much effort to guard. Jimi smirked and leapt onto the doorknob, opening the door with a little effort.
Jimi glanced around to see if anyone was there. There wasn't even a guard in sight. Hah! Jimi ran out of the storage room into a hallway. The place had rich carpeting and some unusual pictures hanging on the walls. Jimi didn't really look though. He tore across the hallway…
And stopped dead in his tracks when he passed a window. Another long look outside convinced him he hadn't imagined it. Jimi looked outside with wide, shocked eyes.
"-this button and then you speak into it. Say whether or not we've accomplished the assignment. >Ahem< We have successfully picked up the last two operatives from Hyrule and Silent Hill. We lost one backup, Alexis."
"And the point of this is?"
"Arbiter, one of our sponsors asked that we record the results of all our missions on these audio diaries. For the sake of posterity."
"Posterity? Why would you need to record military assignments for posterity? I would have thought the results spoke for themselves, Lara."
"I don't know, Arbiter. And another thing…we need to have some sort of Chronicler, someone to record meetings, assignments and keep track of these audio diaries. Not one of the actual league."
"Do you want me to tell Rtas that one of his soldiers will have to be delegated to saying 'mission accomplished' to a box to satisfy our benefactor? This is ridiculous. Why do they need this?"
"Well…uh, guess I'd better turn this off…"
Link drummed his fingers on his seat. It had been a while since they had left Silent Hill. And he had not gotten an answer about where this 'base' was. The window was shut and covered as well. Where were they going, and what was he doing here?
Link noticed Arbiter and another of his kind walking in, speaking to each other. The other one had white armor and was missing two of his mandibles. Arbiter pointed to him, and then the palm of his hand. Link couldn't hear the conversation, but he could tell it was about him. The one in the white armor gave Link an intrigued look. Arbiter made an announcement. "We are approaching the base. We will be disembarking shortly. Be ready."
Rtas turned to Link and noticed the blinds on the window were shut. "Would you like to see it, boy?" Rtas asked. Link nodded. Rtas tapped the side of his headset. "Pilot. Are we able to remove the blinds on the windows in Room 17? Good." Rtas motioned to the window behind Link.
The blinds opened, and Link stared in shock.
They were deep underwater, at the bottom of an ocean. Fish and colossal Wailords swam by nonchalantly, seemingly not noticing the colossal ship in their midst. But that wasn't what made Link gasp.
It was a city. A huge city, larger than Castle Town, larger than the Master Chief. Tall metal buildings with lights from hundreds of windows were sprawled out on the sea floor. Walkways between the buildings connected the underwater city in a complex web of steel and glass. Spotlights shone throughout the city, illuminating the unusual designs of the skyscrapers…more like surfacescrapers. A city at the bottom of the sea.
Rtas read Link's mind. "Impressive, isn't it? This will be your home for the time being. Welcome to Rapture."
"I had to blow most of my cut from the Pokemon Centre Concert, but it looks like that Pikachu I found is going to be fine now. Good to hear. Mindy was telling me about this 'hardcore' movement that's come up in the alleys…didn't think much of it until I saw this little guy…anyway, I had to tell the nurse the Pikachu belonged to me so she would actually treat him. Protocol. Had me sign a bunch of forms… So, looks like I got a pet. Maybe he could help the band with our electric bill."
Upon hearing two people walking up, Jimi scuttled into the shadows. Two men in soldier's uniforms strode by, chatting.
"So I hear Diemen and the therianth got a couple of stowaways on their little errand."
"Yeah. They got 'em both locked up until the bosses decide what to do with 'em. Heh. Don't think the bosses know yet."
"Just the owner of this city. The creepy lady with the glasses." He pointed to a poster on the wall. Two very blue eyes stared out from behind horn-rimmed glasses in the image. The words under them were 'You are not alone.' "I think the alien hasn't come back yet. Some pick-up job."
"Huh. Where are these stowaways?"
"They separated them. There's one of them Pokemon in the storage room over there, and a girl. Well-endowed, I gotta say. Heheh. She's down in Medical Pavilion, under lock and key."
"Hot girl, huh?"
"Yeah. Totally. Punk trash, though."
A sudden bolt of electricity from the shadows rendered the speaker immobile. The other barely had time to react when another bolt stopped him. Jimi ran out of the shadows past the two guards. Now he had the name of a location…now he just needed the actual location. Luckily, a map labeled 'Rapture' was close at hand in the building. Judging from the 'You are Here' dot, Medical Pavilion was a fair distance away.
Jimi started running.
"Sofia Lamb. As the last 'ruler' of Rapture, she is the de facto representative of the city we're using as a base. Which means she has to have a part in everything we do down here. Rebuilding, fixing, adding new buildings for the phantoms…she always has to be there, watching us. I wouldn't have a problem with that, but considering Lamb's history down here…remnants of her cult of personality are all over the place- posters, propaganda, alters, not to mention the corpses- even as we clean everything up for the league. She'll excuse me if I don't salute."
A large docking platform had been created for the Master Chief. It ran adjacent to a building with a large neon sign proclaiming 'Welcome to Rapture' placed high on the surfacescraper. The colossal ship docked onto the platform, and a metal tube extended from the building to the exit. The pressure equalized in both, and a door leading into the building opened.
Lara led Link into the building through the walkway. Waiting for them was a woman flanked by two colossal creatures. The woman had blonde hair in a curious curl on her head, and wore horn-rimmed glasses. Her eyes seemed to look deep into a person's mind. A simple dress and cardigan with a blue butterfly brooch was what she wore. She had a thin cigarette in her mouth, breathing it calmly. Beside her were what appeared to be hulking masses of worms. The creatures were easily over twice her size, and wore armor that was similar to Arbiter and Rtas', with long metal shields and what appeared to be large cannons on their hands.
Arbiter grudgingly acknowledged the woman. "Sofia Lamb."
Lamb got up, smiling slightly. "I trust then the mission was a success." She noted, glancing at Link and the metal capsule containing Pyramid Head.
"Yes." Lara assured.
"Excellent." Sofia adjusted her glasses. "I still have not received word from you about the chronicler…"
"The matter will be handled in time, Lamb." Arbiter snapped in response. "Now, if someone could escort Link to his new quarters and move this capsule…"
"I'll show Link to his room." Lara volunteered.
"Good. Now, move the capsule to the designated area by Arcadia. Our benefactors want a word with 'Pyramid Head' when he awakes." Sofia issued orders.
Lara motioned Link to follow her. "This way to your room, Link."
"My eyes nearly popped out of me head when I saw this place …Rapture, a real-life Atlantis! Never seen anything like it. Of course, there's the actual job me and my brother were brought down here for. Helping to fix this place, which has countless rust and leaks from its violent days, is no easy task. Broken pipes at the bottom of the ocean are any plumber's nightmare! And this place has plenty of them. Mamma mia. Good thing the pay is very good."
Walking through the city was an amazing experience for Link. Even Lara had to admit it was an interesting walk no matter how many times you go down it.
Rapture had been built in the distant past, and was rich in art and breakthroughs in science…before the civil war. Anyone could tell from the torn walls and broken banisters that this place had seen a lot of violence over the years. In fact, when the league had first arrived at this incredibly promising base, there were corpses and blood everywhere. They had only recently cleaned it up and made the place useable for the group. But one could almost smell a bloody history in the halls. Windows had been repaired and reinforced, holes in the wall were covered up, and a smell of soap and disinfectant announced the place had been cleaned up thoroughly. On the walls were murals and art more beautiful than Link had ever seen. There were also posters of the woman Link had seen earlier…Sofia Lamb, with messages scrawled over them, ranging from 'Lamb will lead the way' to things that could not be put in print. There were also busts of a man in a small mustache, curious stone hands pulling a chain on the walls, and what Link guessed were advertisements for various goods and services. Judging from the age and condition of these posters, he imagined that he would not get a free 'Plasmid' from Dandy Dental now.
Lara led him through a glass walkway leading to a building with the sign 'Mercury Suites' on it. Link looked briefly out at the ocean as they strode inside. Going up a staircase inside the building, Lara showed Link a door with the number 213 on it. "Here's your place. Stay here for the time being. We'll inform you when we need you."
Link nodded and walked in.
It was much larger than his home in Ordon. There was a bookshelf with several books, a large bed with red covers, and another one of those mysterious paintings on the walls. Link sat down on a nearby chair, looking around him and wondering what would happen now that he was here.
"The Arbiter does not trust me. He regards me as yet another tyrant, clutching on to the city she once ruled, no better than the hierarchs he rebelled against in the war and the loyalists he struggles with on his world. I suppose I deserve that title. Regardless, the creatures he has ordered to…watch me…are fascinating to me. Hunters are a collective of thousands of individual creatures, all with a single mind, making them far more powerful than any of them could be on their own. The very essence of collectivism, being made to moniter a woman who once preached unity with…a fanatical fervor. The irony does not escape me."
Jimi scuttled through the metal vents as quickly as he could. He realized very quickly that these wide ventilation shafts were the best way to get around this city as quickly and quietly as possible. Going in the direction he had figured to be towards the Medical pavilion where Casey was being held, he moved as fast as he could.
Out of the corner of his ear he could hear a rustling. Was he alone in these vents? That rustling told him otherwise. He quickened his pace along the way. Without warning, he was jarred by a loud banging and rattling in the ventilation system.
Arbiter and Sofia heard the banging as well. They were walking along, discussing recent events.
"What was that?"
"A rodent. Or perhaps water pressure." Sofia answered him. "It's been occurring periodically for the last few months now."
Arbiter wasn't particularly satisfied with that answer, but it was enough. "Is there anything else to report, Sofia?"
"Just one thing. Lombardi and Diemen were successful in obtaining their target, but in their rush they picked up two stowaways. We have them sedated and in containment."
Arbiter turned to Sofia. "Stowaways?"
"Two thieves who took the mask before they had arrived. They opted to save time and take the thieves with them."
Arbiter was a little less than pleased at this news.
He was even less pleased when the two came across two paralyzed soldiers on their walk. "What happened?" Arbiter demanded when the soldiers were mobile enough to speak.
"One of the stowaways…a Pikachu. He heard we were… keeping the other one in… Medical."
"And it's loose?" Arbiter demanded.
"I guess it…got loose…"
That made Arbiter very angry indeed. "Lara, Snake, go down to medical pavilion. NOW. We have intruders…"