Path of Endurance Chapter 24
In Buddhism, the first Noble Truth of four is that life is suffering. When a child is born, they suffer, and their mothers suffer. When people age, they face mental and physical suffering. They grow old, their bodies don't work, they suffer for that. The Buddhists say that even dying is suffering. If nothing else, then suffering of the mourning relatives.
Bryan had suffered this all already, but his sufferings wouldn't end here.
It felt like every one of his cells would explode any second. The pain tore him violently, if there had been anything in his bowels it was definitely in his pants now. Fortunately his bowels had been cut out, straightened, washed, rinsed and replaced, just like pretty much every vital organ of his that had been saved. The rest were replaced with artificial equivalents.
The electric current shook Bryan's body on a metal surgery table. He would've flown clean off, had he not been strapped tightly to it. And just as suddenly as it had started, the electric current disappeared, leaving Bryan gasping for breath.
The shout came from the same room, not many meters away from him. A bald, old man wearing pink safety glasses and a lab coat straight out of some sci-fi movie. There was something strangely familiar about this man, but what... that Bryan couldn't put a finger on. The man grinned. "Welcome back..." he said. "Do you know who I am?"
Bryan stared, eyes round like a dollar coin.
"Do you know who you are?"
"Good, very good... your memories were completely erased. I so do hate when my creations claim autonomy on account of their former lives... perhaps you won't disappoint me."
He opened up Bryan's straps, letting him sit up. "I am Doctor Abel, your creator," he said. "Your god, if you like, but let's keep it informal, shall we. You, on the other hand, are Z-03 prototype model of a re-animated human. A cyborg. Since you're my first prototype that didn't go wrong, I will call you by name. A name that you might remember."
Abel turned to him, too close. "Fury. Bryan Fury."
Bryan attempted to speak, if only a word, but nothing came. Speaking was too heavy, or something was amiss. Abel gave a minor, sadistic chuckle. "You want to say something, my boy? Go on. You should be able to speak, though I don't guarantee..."
"Ah, yes. 'What is going on', he asks. Well, I'll tell you, you see, you were killed."
Letting Bryan pull one of the most priceless faces he had ever seen, Abel sat down on a comfortable seat and leaned back. This would be quite a story. "You were a police officer, doing your duty, when you walked into an ambush," he said, as if he was reading a bedtime story. "Your comrades were far away from you, and most likely weren't bothered about your distress. Your body was brought to me, and I revived you, so you could do a few iddy-biddy favors for an old man like myself. Still following?"
Abel smirked only inwards; he knew how the Devil fooled mortals. Add in a slice of truth and the lies become one with it. He could almost see the rage building up within Bryan, though whether it was the anger he just gave him or the uncontrollable fury that had been built up and held down all his life, that he couldn't tell. It didn't even matter, it would all serve his purpose. His pet the destroyer... sweet killing machine.
While Bryan was in an explosion point, Abel turned and took a folder from his desk. Opening it up in front of Bryan, he showed various blurry photographs, mostly of a man in a mask, an unmarked black motorcycle Kawasaki Ninja and a vision of a mechanical hand, a frame taken just before the security camera that took the image was destroyed. Upon seeing it Bryan momentarily felt he couldn't breathe. It was... familiar. He must've seen it before. Something inside him screamed, trying to remind him of what he had forgotten, but he couldn't understand. He could almost feel the hand's metal in his fingertips, but it was too distant.
"This man is a dangerous terrorist," Abel described. "He runs a vicious group of the like. They call themselves the 'Manji Clan'. We have very little information about its number of members and how wide-spread they are. The leader operates under codename 'Yoshimitsu'. No one has seen his face and lived to tell about it, but we have acquired a photograph of a man we believe to be none other than him."
He gave Bryan a black-and-white photograph, bad quality and blurred, but one could see a man, approximately in late twenties, early thirties. He hid part of his face under dark sunglasses, but they didn't hide a painful-looking scar that ran across his face. His long, black hair was tied to a tight ponytail on top of his head, and he was talking to a mobile phone with a slightly miffed expression on his face. Apparently he could've used a cigarette.
No way. He doesn't smoke. Does he? At least he didn't smell like it.
Bryan was slightly startled by these thoughts. Did he know him? Had he met him if he knew what he smelt like?
Ignoring Bryan, Abel carried on his briefing; "We know very little of codename Yoshimitsu. His real name, accurate age, location and the like are a great mystery even to the most skilled agents, but we do know where to find him soon."
He took an envelope from the pocket of his lab coat and handed it over to Bryan, who tore it open and pulled out its contents. An invitation, to a fighting tournament called 'Tekken' ? Iron Fist. "I am aware of your good close quarters combat skills," Abel said. "And I did what I could to save your skills while bringing you back to life. You are most welcome to re-discover them, as a matter of fact, we insist that you do ? we have built a sparring hall for you. What we want in return, is that you enter this tournament, and find this man. You have to face codename Yoshimitsu, defeat him and bring him to us. He has been linked to a rival of mine, to a certain Dr. Boskonovitch. Once we get Yoshimitsu, we will squeeze all the information we need from him, and bring these criminals to justice. After that is all done, you can carry on with your li... er, unlife, or however you like it. Do we have a deal?"
It didn't occur to Bryan until much later that he never had any choice. He spent his time practising his skills with various dummies and the like, including a less-than-intelligent guard that challenged him. Poor dear couldn't turn his head to the right any more.
Bryan's living quarters weren't a lot bigger than a prison cell, and it even looked something along the lines of that. He had a bed, a desk and not really anything else. All his belongings were returned to him, along with his wallet that still had the detective's badge in it. He browsed through it every night, trying to find clues about his life that he no longer remembered. His driving license gave away his name, nationality and age, but nothing much else. He found a note, directed to 'major B. Fury', telling the new drill instructors would arrive on time and that the mess should be informed as well.
He was about to put his wallet away and go to bed, when he noticed that there was a rather big rip in the seam inside the wallet. Taking a closer look, he saw something hidden into the hole the rip had created. He pulled out an old photograph that had been neatly folded to fit the rip in the seam. In the photo there were two people, one of which Bryan supposed was himself around the age of ten, give or take. The other one, a young woman in her early twenties or so, had wrapped her arms around him protectively and rested her chin lightly on the top of his head. She looked surprisingly much like him; their facial structure was near identical and their eyes shared the same icy colour, but her hair was black like coal.
Hmm..., ah, yes, that's right. I'm partially an albino, my hair doesn't have colour pigments.
It was almost like a sound in his head, the thoughts that took their own courses. Something inside him was trying to wake up, scream, be heard, but he couldn't hear nor understand. What was it that his former self was trying to tell him?
Bryan kept staring at the woman in the picture. She awoke feelings inside him, but he couldn't tell what it was, or why. He didn't even know who she was. She could be a relative, since they looked very much the same, and judging by their positions they had been very close. Whoever she was, she had been of great importance to him.
Folding the photograph neatly into its hiding place again, Bryan put his walled aside and switched off the lights. He would need to rest and calm down now. Tomorrow he would enter the third Tekken Tournament ever held, do what that crazy doc had asked him to and get the hell out of there, back to USA where he had born. Maybe he could find answers then.