"Taming this little guy ain't a picnic, but it's not as hard as I would've thought. I managed to get him to use the mat for sleepin' and convince him not to run away...still looks at me a little off though. Doesn't trust me just yet. I can't tell what he wants half the time 'cause he can't talk...then again, it wouldn't be much different if he could, from what I hear. Anyway, since I don't have a license, I gotta think up some way t' make sure he doesn't get snatched from me. Maybe a few good old fashioned labels..."
It was all fuzzy for Casey when she woke up. Everything whirled around for a bit when she sat up. She vaguely remembered being pulled towards a light, struggling with...something before being hit with a needle, and now...
It all stopped whirling and Casey registered where she was. It was some sort of hospital room...the floor was tiled, and she was on a cot that had seen...quite a bit. She hopped off quickly and struggled briefly to get her pins together. She was still wearing the black t-shirt and jeans she had when she burgled the salesman's house. There were no windows in the room, just a bright light and a few posters advertising 'Steinman's surgical procedures'. At least, that was what she thought they advertised...most of them were mangled beyond recognition. Being here was not very comfortable. Was she aboard a ship or something?
Casey muttered, still in the middle of waking up, when she realized something that made her snap back to reality.
Jimi wasn't with her!
"Jimi..." She called a little hoarsely, still groggy. Then she shook her head clear and yelled "JIMI!" With her head on straight again, she ran to the door, only to find it locked. Dammit! She rattled with the lock angrily before yelling out. "WHO'S THERE?! WHERE THE HELL AM I?!? JIMI!!" It seemed nobody heard her, so she got louder. "WHERE'S MY PIKACHU? IS ANYBODY THERE? HUH?! WHERE IS THIS FRIGGIN" PLACE?! JIMI!"
A sparking on the door stopped her from yelling anymore. She backed off.
The electric lock on the door spurted out like an overloaded amp. Then it blew up with a fizzle, and the door swung open slowly. A Pikachu ran through the door and hopped right into it's mistress' arms. Casey Lynch was relieved beyond belief.
"JIMI! Thank God...At least you're good. Any idea where the hell we are..."
Suddenly, a man in a grey bodysuit blasted through the open doorway, a gun at the ready. Upon seeing who was there, though, he let out a snort of irritation.
"Is THIS it?" Snake snorted.
Casey felt stung, she could tell it was an insult. "Yeah, that's it, bucko! What's it to you, huh? Now where the f@%$ am I?" Casey demanded. Jimi snarled silently at the man, beginning to spark threateningy.
Snake didn't move, and didn't point the gun down. "You shuttup, kid. This is what they get me out for? Some punk and her pet? This isn't what I -"
Snake didn't finish. A bolt from the punk's pet hit him full force, knocking him down. His suit protected him from the majority of the shock, but he was still floored right in front of Arbiter and Lara Croft, who had just arrived themselves. Snarling, Snake attempted to get back up, only to find his muscles weren't to keen on obeying.
Lara and Arbiter looked inside at the creature that had escaped confinement and was able to infiltrate their base, paralyzing several guards and Snake. Arbiter stepped into the room, looking at Casey Lynch hard.
Casey's tough veneer vanished at the sight of the colossal alien. "You're one of the...woah..." She gulped, wide-eyed. She had heard stories about the 'halo' fourjaw aliens, both that they existed and that they didn't exist. And now here was one. Jimi started to spark again, but Casey stopped him. "Easy Jimi...I don't think we wanna make this guy mad..." Jimi obeyed.
Arbiter stared hard at Casey before speaking. "What is your name?"
"Uhhh...Casey. This is Jimi..."
"How did you get here?"
"I-I'm not sure...I was sleeping, I just woke up...Last I remember a...uh...ship thing was grabbing me..."
"You had an item two of my operatives were searching for. What were you doing with that item?"
"Item? You mean the mask? Uh..." A lie buzzed thorugh Casey's head, but she decided it'd be best to tell the truth. "The guy who lives there...insulted me, so I decided to take somethin' of his...that seemed like the best thing to take..."
Arbiter stared at Casey and Jimi harder than before. Then Lara came in.
"One last question, Casey." She held up an audio diary, a small plastic thing with a tape-recorder inside. "Do you know how to work this?"
"Uhh...yeah, course I do."
Arbiter glanced at Lara. Lara smiled slightly. "Arbiter, can I speak with you for a minute?"
Arbiter figured out what she was getting at. He looked back at Casey. "Stay here. I may want to speak to you later, Casey. And I do not want to hear about any more trouble. Is that understood?"
"Yes sir..." Arbiter had a curious aura about him...spealking with him, one was compelled to say 'sir', no matter how well you knew him.
Arbiter walked out with Lara, getting the stunned Snake back on his feet. Snake scowled at the two before walking away slowly.
Casey and Jimi looked at each other. Now what?
"Lara is not a soldier. She is a mercenary, accostomed to working alone, without superiors or direct orders. This makes her tough and clever enough to handle herself, but...it also makes her somewhat insubordinate. She talks back, she suggests options I do not find favorable, sometimes she even ignores orders completley! However, she is very creative, and certainly knows how to finish an assignment. I suppose I should tolerate her for the time being. But if she steps too far out of line, I will deal with her as I would any insubordinate."
"You cannot be serious."
"Why not?" Lara retorted.
Lara and Arbiter were standing outside one of the reinforced windows, looking out onto the sea. Chinchou swam by, illuminating the window and making them look like silhouettes.
"You mean to bring this stranger onboard as our chronicler."
"She knows how to work the diaries. You said it yourself, it's just a matter of saying 'mission accomplised' into a box. What could be the problem?"
"The sponsors insisted on a chronicler. You don't want to have one of the backups delegated to that job. We've got someone here, she's capable, and she has a pet that could prove to be useful. This is actually very convenient, really."
Arbiter was quiet for a bit, thinking. "My main concern is not that. Can she be controlled?"
"She was pretty scared of you. I think we can handle her."
Arbiter mulled for a minute, staring out at the underwater city. Then he heaved a sigh.
"I will inform Sofia."
"Mindy, you will friggin not believe where I am right now! I am at the bottom of the Atlantic ocean, in friggin' underwater New York, playing recorder to a government team that includes one of of those fourjawed aliens...yeah, they're real. It's crazy, but a mask I stole from that creep of a salesman was something they were after, and they took me and Jimi with it and now...Holy cow. I was looking forward to some excitement, but this is insane! OK, now for the bad news. The woman in charge, Lara, tells me I probably won't be topside for a while...in fact, you probably won't even hear this, everything is top secret. Sigh. Well, if ya do get this, I'm alright."
In another room in Rapture, far away from Lara, Arbiter, Casey and Jimi, Pyramid Head was rousing.
He had been put in a spartan room, with a door that had been reinforced several times. There was nothing in the room except a large screen and a big cot for Pyramid Head to rest on.
The huge man got onto his feet and noticed something. His robe and helmet had been cleaned...there was no blood or rust on them anymore. And his blade...
His blade wasn't in the room with him. He looked and the chain that bound him to his knife was going through a small hole in the wall...doubtless to where the blade was. He was ready to tear away at the hole when the huge screen flickered on.
"Ah, so you are...finally awake."
The man appearing on the screen was clean cut and had eerie eyes. He had Pyramid Head's undivided attention now.
"What do you hope to do now? Break out? To where? You are at the bottom of the ocean. Now you answer to us and...go where we tell you too. But don't worry...this will be good for you.
I know you. You have a need...to punish the guilty. You are retribution. But tell me...who is there to punish in your town? All have left. What good is an executioner...when there is no-one to execute?"
Pyramid Head watched as the screen changed. Now a man...no, a monster, was attacking a city. The creature had what appeared to be a huge tentacle thing, and it was grabbing screaming people left and right and...eating them, it seemed.
The man came back on the screen. "There are other monsters to punish in this world. Like that...creature. Alex Mercer. Many evils, preying on the innocent. And you want to punish them. So...if you cooperate...we can bring you to the evils you need to destroy. Because that is what you are made for."
The wall opened, and Pyramid Head was able to get his blade again. It was clean and sharpened.
Fine. He would cooperate and get at the evils he had to destroy.