Chapter 6: Zaibatsu Strikes
Mishima Zaibatsu Holding Cells
Nina Williams felt her stomach growl once again. The Zaibatsu hadn't fed her since she broke a guards arm when he tried to get a little too frisky. Normally, Nina was able to pull herself through any situation. However, going several days straight without any food whatsoever was beginning to take its toll on her. Nina was also coming to realize just how much of a bore prison life actually was. All she had to entertain herself with was four plain looking walls that she could stare at. She silently cursed herself for the thousandth time for having put herself into this situation. If only she ignored the invitation to begin with, she would not even be in this mess. Nina had dealt with a lot of shady characters in the past, but doing business with the Mishima Zaibatsu was defiantly something she should have avoided. Though she hadn't heard much about this Heihachi character, the Zaibatsu itself had a very bad reputation even in the underworld. If she ever did manage to escape her cell, Heihachi was going to pay the price for messing with her.
Nina suddenly thought of Anna once again. Whoever that woman was, she seemed very familiar to Nina. Still, no matter what relationship they might have had in the past, Anna was still the main reason why Nina had been captured in the first place. Anna would suffer the most for having attacked Nina from behind and then locking her up in this hell. That bitch even had the nerve to come visit Nina once her consciousness had returned. It was Anna herself who revealed that she was the one who attacked Nina back in Heihachi's office. Nina immediately felt rage boiling inside of her upon first seeing this woman. Anna didn't even have to say a word and Nina already wanted to kill her. Perhaps facing Anna in battle would release some of Nina's locked away memories.
Memories were not the first thing on Nina's list of priorities. Still, it would be nice to know a little bit more about herself as a human being. Even if she had created a new life for herself already, knowing more about her past life would still be nice. Nina knew she had always been an assassin by trade. There was no other use she could find with the skills she already possessed. Jobs were rolling in the minute she had been awakened from cryosleep, so she must have acquired quite a reputation in the past.
Anna had also mentioned to Nina that they were sisters. This could be the reason why Anna seemed so familiar to her even though they had only met once before in a previous tournament. However, Nina was not about to allow Anna off the hook just because they were related to one another. Blood ties meant little to her when she had no prior knowledge of any sort of relationship between them. Anna was nothing more than another target for her now. Once Nina was free, Anna's life would be over. 'Say your prayers you bitch!'
Marshall peered out the window of his dojo. It was getting late and it would be almost time to close up the place. Another boring day had gone by with little activity. Marshall was beginning to worry that he would not be able to keep his place open for much longer if this streak of inactivity continued. The bill collectors were already on him like dogs as it was. If he was unable to come up with the money to make this months payment on the building, he'd lose his dojo as well as his home. Law let out one gigantic sigh. It seemed as if the economy would be the toughest opponent he'd ever faced. Marshall was beginning to take what his mother-in-law said about him being a deadbeat fighter seriously. Since Marshall hadn't once been able to take home the prize at the King of the Iron Fist tournaments, perhaps fighting was the wrong career choice. However, if his dojo failed just like his restaurant had, then what was left for him'
'Any news on Jin?' A familiar voice caught Marshall's attention. Hwoarang looked up towards Marshall from the corner he had been leaning against for the past few minutes. He'd been staying with the Law family for quite a few days until Marshall could track down Jin for him. In reality, Hwoarang wasn't in too much of a hurry to find Jin since the Law family had quite a large house. Besides, he was allowed to stay for free as long as he helped out around Marshall's dojo everyday. Since the place was always dead, this job was the easiest Hwoarang had ever had. He also managed to pick up a few pointers each day when he spared with veterans like Marshall and Paul Phoenix. Both men were more than enough training to greatly improve his skills. They were also far better competition than Hwoarang could ever find in the streets of his hometown. The young Korean never realized how fun a good match could be without having to go through the trouble of picking fights with every punk he came across until someone worthy happened to come along.
Marshall let out a sigh and began shaking his head. 'No'. I still haven't been able to get any information on Jin Kazama or anyone related to him. Don't worry; I have some sources looking into it.' Marshall wanted to help the young man out, but located Jin was beginning to become a hassle. There weren't many people out there who knew Jin personally and could help with his whereabouts. Despite these problems, Marshall was starting to enjoy Hwoarang's company. There were very few men out there as gifted in fighting as he was. It was also nice to have another martial artist around to help sharpen Marshall's skills. He had to admit that Hwoarang was a great help around the dojo and he didn't have to pay him either. Most of Marshall's other workers had already quit when the money stopped coming in. Even if the place was not very popular, it was still a chore to run it without any kind of help.
Something inside Hwoarang suddenly snapped causing him to slam his fist into the wall. 'Damn that bastard! He's hiding from me, I know it! When I get my hands on him, he'll wish he'd never been born!' Hwoarang was usually able to control his temper as long as Jin wasn't involved. He hated everything about Jin. 'He's probably somewhere close by' watching me with that smug look of his!' The young man didn't even notice the concerned look Marshall was now giving him. Hwoarang hated not being the best. Ever since that public humiliation he suffered during their last battle, Hwoarang had been dead set on taking revenge. In his mind, a tie was almost as bad as a loss. He couldn't stand not knowing what the outcome would have been if the fight was allowed to continue past the time limit. His rage was further fueled each time he missed his opportunity to face Jin at the past few King of the Iron Fist Tournaments. If he could only manage to get Jin into the same ring with him again, he'd be able to beat him in front of the entire world without having to worry about a time limit draw. Being able to fight until someone actually won was one of the things which drew Hwoarang to those tournaments in the first place. Fame, fortune, and plenty of women were the other main reasons why he went each year. However, he could safely say he had none of those things after competing in two straight tournaments. Hwoarang still wasn't widely known, he was still dirt poor, and he still had the same lousy luck with the ladies. It all wouldn't have been a total loss if he had managed to get a match with Jin at least once. Alas, it just wasn't meant to be.
Hwoarang was beginning to wonder if he actually was as skillful as he thought. Sure, most people cowered in fear when he walked by. Still, Hwoarang wasn't considered the best. The first Iron Fist Tournament he entered turned out to be a complete failure. He did manage to defeat Forest Law as well as a veteran Hong Kong police office who was a master of many different forms of martial arts. However, his dreams were literally cut short when he got matched up against a freak using armor and a sword. How someone like that managed to get into the tournament was beyond him. His next tournament wasn't much different from the first. He did beat a young, pretty Capoeira fighter but he ended up being beaten by Kazuya Mishima. The thing that made that loss so bitter was the fact that Kazuya happened to be the father of Jin Kazama, his mortal enemy.
'This place sure is quiet?' Paul Phoenix called in from the open doorway in the front. Neither one of the two men had even noticed Paul walking up towards the dojo with Forest close behind. Both of them had just come from the sporting store where they were buying some supplies for the yearly camping trip Paul and the Laws took. Paul had two large sleeping bags in each arm and Forest was lugging one of the tents they had purchased. 'I got an extra sleeping bag in case Hwoarang decided to join us this year.
'That won't be necessary, I've burdened you enough already.' Hwoarang replied with the slightest hint of sorrow in his voice. In all honesty, it sounded like fun to him. However, he didn't have time to sit around a campfire and play childish games with people he barely even knew.
'Darn it Paul! Why do I always get stuck carrying the heavy stuff?' Forest whined as he lugged more equipment into the dojo.
'Oh just stop whining and hurry it up! You're a growing boy and you need to build up your strength.' Paul remarked sarcastically.
Marshall began to chuckle while watching the two. He always enjoyed the way Paul would pick on his son. Though Marshall loved Forest, he had to admit that the young man needed to learn a bit of humility. Arrogance was not the sign of a true warrior. Marshall just hoped that his son would learn that before it was too late. He also liked to see Forest show a bit of respect towards his elders. Perhaps he might have been better behaved if his father wasn't always out fighting in silly tournaments. However, such were the results for the life Marshall had chosen. This was one reason why Marshall didn't want Forest to follow in his footsteps while making the same mistakes he had. He did want Forest to become a great warrior and inherit the dojo, but he did not want to see him neglect his loved ones like Marshall had. Just then, the faint noise of a helicopter caught his attention. Having lived in a busy city like San Francisco for so long, such noises were a common occurrence. However, this helicopter sounded as if it was slowly making its way towards them.
Forest began making faces behind Paul's back as he lugged some of the more heavy equipment into the dojo. He'd grown quite tired of the abuse Paul had been putting him through all day. Being a younger man definitely didn't pay off on some occasions. Forest had spent his entire life trying to live up to his father's legacy. Of course, this left him open to a lot of bullying from both his father and Paul Phoenix. They would often force him to do work around the house and dojo while making claims that Marshall had to do most of that kind of work when he was in training as well. Forest was about to open his mouth and protest once again but the overwhelming noise from a helicopter overhead caught his attention.
'Damn, it almost sounds like that thing is just hovering over the dojo!' Paul remarked towards to himself. The noisy machine was almost making it impossible for Paul to even think.
Marshall looked up towards the skylight and almost fell over in surprise. 'That's because it is?' As he watched the helicopter slowly, he almost thought he saw ropes being dropped down out of the sides. He was about to write this off as a hallucination when several men suddenly jumped out of the helicopter and began descending towards the roof.
The three confused warriors began to watch on in awe. Hwoarang slowly walked towards the others to get a look at what had caught their attention. Just then, one of the men raised a pistol towards the glass and began firing. Forest, Marshall, Paul, and Hwoarang dove for cover as bullets and broken glass began to rain down from the ceiling. Nine heavily armed men had already descended from the helicopter and were now pointing their weapons towards the martial artists. The man who had shot the window earlier stepped forward. Due to the differences in his uniform compared the other soldiers; it was easy to see that he was the leader of the attack group.
'Surrender immediately or you will all die!' Cypher barked out at them. Though in reality, they would all die whether they surrendered or not. However, it would make his job a whole lot easier if they didn't resist.
Paul slowly got back to his feet and dusted his uniform off. 'Sorry pal, but we aren't about to give in to the likes of you. If you're going to shoot us, get it over with!'
'Hey uh... Wait a minute Paul! Aren't you going to ask the rest of us how we feel about that?' Marshall remarked nervously. The thought of taking on nine heavily armed men didn't sound too promising, even to a world class martial artist like himself. The only problem was that Paul would be too thick headed to back down from any challenge, no matter how great the odds were. Marshall was also worried about the safety of his son. He would never put Forest's life on the line for the sake of honor.
'I agree with Paul. I will not give in to a couple of wimps and their toys.' Hwoarang stated coldly. There was no way in hell he would surrender to them when he still had other important things to accomplish in his life. He would never allow himself to die before he got the chance to beat that chump Jin Kazama. This cowardly attack definitely reeked like the Mishima Zaibatsu. If he could get to the bottom of it, he might end up finding Kazama.
'Very well then... Men, put away your weapons! I want to see them suffer first.' Cypher knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to take them on first before anyone was killed. Though he was a cruel man, he still felt all warriors deserved an honorable demise. Shooting them would be far too easy to be any fun at all.
'Oh a fight you say' Well bring it on! Don't you realize that you guys are messing with the strongest fighter in the universe?' Paul cried out while shaking his fist towards them.
Marshall covered his face with his hand to hide his embarrassment. It was hard to shut Paul up once he started on one of his ridiculous ramblings.
'Is that so' Well, we will just have to see about that!' One of the guards remarked as he slowly closed in on Paul's position.
'You can have the other grunts, but the leader is mine!' Forest blurted out with confidence in his voice. He wanted to prove once and for all that he was capable of becoming just as good a fighter as Paul Phoenix and his father. Of course, he also enjoyed shutting up a loudmouth every once and a while.
'Very well kid... You shall be the first to die at my hands.' Cypher coldly replied. The assassin began slowly circling around his prey. He knew Forest Law would be more than a worthy opponent, but it was nothing he couldn't handle. He'd have to finish him off quickly since he had bigger fish to fry. Cypher made several quick jolts in an attempt to get the younger fighter to make the first move. Sure enough, his veteran maneuver paid off. Forest started off the battle with a straight right punch towards Cypher's face. The assassin moved his head away to the right, allowing the punch to whiz right by his face. Quickly, he reached up and wrapped his left arm around Forest's bicep to prevent him from escaping. Cypher landed a quick right hand to Forest's abdomen, knocking the wind out of him. After doing so, Cypher rotated his body completely around so that his back was now facing Forest. As he did this, he pulled Forest's arm with him and then he tugged on it with all of his might. The young warrior was thrown completely over Cypher's shoulders and he crash landed on the floor in front of him.
Marshall could do nothing but watch on as his son was easily disposed of by the mysterious fighter. He was so caught up in the moment that he barely had time to see the soldier's kick coming towards him. Marshall blocked the man's foot with both hands and threw his leg hard to the right. 'Bad move?' Marshall remarked as the soldier was sent spinning in a complete circle. As he turned to face Law once again, the crafty fighter caught him with four quick punches to the face, followed by a hard uppercut to knock the man out. His unconscious body was sent flying through the air into the wall close by.
Hwoarang easily disposed of two lackeys with one spinning kick. He turned his attention the man who was now pummeling a helpless Forest. The young taekwondo master decided he had seen enough. He charged right for the man, plowing through several of his underlings in the process. When he came within several feet of the man, he jumped toward him and attempted to catch him off guard with a kick to the side of his head. Cypher took notice to his attack and ducked under it at the last minute.
'What' You want some of this too you little bitch?' Cypher bluntly remarked. He could see that he'd already struck a nerve in the kid. Whoever he was, he wasn't supposed to be at the dojo. Though Cypher had no data on him, he looked so familiar. Something about his eyes just reminded the man of someone he knew. However, he'd have plenty of time to ponder that later on. As he looked at the opponents in front of him, he knew his chances were dwindling. Only a few of his men were still standing after several had been disposed of quicker than he originally thought. Cypher needed a way to quickly turn the tables on this battle. He shrugged his shoulders and drew his pistol from its holster. In a nonchalant fashion, he aimed and shot Forest right in the thigh. Forest collapsed onto the floor almost instantly.
Marshall looked on in horror as his son fell to the ground. What had once been a controlled situation had now gone spiraling out of control. All that was going through his mind now was helping his son. He rushed toward son's fallen form only to find himself staring face-to-face with the barrel of an assault rifle. Apparently, one of the soldiers had decided that he had enough of playing fair.
'That's far enough! We can't have you interrupting the boss's fight. Move and inch and I might let myself get a bit trigger happy.' The guard smugly noted.
'Hey Forest, are you still alive over there?' Paul called out while holding one of the soldiers up by his collar. He turned quickly and tossed the man into another grunt who was trying to sneak up behind him. Both men fell to the floor and did not return to their feet.
Pain shot through all of Forest's body as he tried to figure out what had just happened. One minute he saw the man draw a gun and the next he woke up on the floor. His hand darted down towards his right thigh and confirmed what he already had known. He had been shot and was now losing blood quickly. He stared up at the man in disbelief. Forest was not only surprised by the man's abilities, but also by his shear lack of concern for others. From the look of things, Hwoarang was about to try his hand at defeating the mysterious fighter. Forest wanted to cry out to Hwoarang, to wish him luck so that he would not fall victim to a similar tactic. However, he decided to remain silent and put his faith in the proud young fighter since he knew it would probably be what Hwoarang wanted.
'I'll make you pay for that!' Hwoarang remarked as he stared down the attack squad's leader. The anger inside of him only grew more intense as the soldier began to laugh out loud at his remark. Hwoarang had to hand it to him, not only was the man confident, but he seemed to be the only one of the enemies to display any kind of skill. It was obvious that if he defeated this man, the others would easily fall.
'If anything else, this kid should be good for a laugh!' Cypher thought to himself. Having been so caught up in his thoughts, Cypher was almost knocked out of his boots by a spinning jump kick from the young man's left leg. It registered within the assassins mind immediately that his opponent was using taekwondo, one of the many styles Cypher himself had come to learn. Though he managed to duck under the first blow, Hwoarang managed to recover, switch his stance, and send another jump kick from his right leg. This time, however, Cypher caught the kid's leg with his left arm and flattened him with a punch from his right.
Hwoarang slowly returned to his feet after that embarrassing display. He was quickly realizing that the man was a much more experienced fighter than he originally anticipated. It would take a good deal of trickery on his part if he was to gain any kind of an advantage in this fight. Hwoarang raised his right leg as if he were about to attack. He hopped forward one step, getting the response he had hoped for. The man raised his guard, and then dropped it again for a brief instance. This was all Hwoarang would need to launch his surprise attack. Within the blink of an eye, Hwoarang jumped straight in the air and launched a lighting fast kick from his left leg aimed at the man's jaw. The kick connected, knocking the man back a few feet. The dull thud of his gasmask bouncing across the dojo floor could be heard.
'How could I let this happen?' Cypher thought to himself as he recovered from the attack. Not only had the young man managed to knock off his mask, but he also caused him to bleed from the mouth. His entire body began shaking in anger as he looked back toward the young punk who'd just made the biggest mistake of his life.
A smirk quickly formed on Hwoarang's face when his sneak attack had paid off. From the looks of things, his opponent wasn't enjoying himself anymore. That would teach the cocky bastard a lesson in humility. Just as Hwoarang was about to make a remark, he caught sight of the man's true appearance. The look on Hwoarang's face quickly changed from one of arrogance to a look of complete shock. The man standing before him had short, spiky blond hair. What was instantly recognizable about his facial features was the small scar on his right cheek. While Hwoarang struggled to believe it, deep down, he knew it was true. The man standing before him was the same man who had murdered his parents all those years ago.
Cypher couldn't understand what was going on. The minute the kid saw his face, it was as if he'd seen a ghost. There was also the mystery of why this fighter seemed so familiar to him. He was smart enough, however, to take advantage of this huge opening. With one fluid motion, he swung his right leg up and caught Hwoarang right in the side of the face. The young challenger was sent airborne and skidded to a halt several feet away near Paul Phoenix. Paul immediately knelt down to see if he was alright.
Marshall had seen more than enough. The distraction of Hwoarang's fight with the gang's leader was enough for him to catch the soldier off guard. Marshall quickly kicked the man's weapon away with his left leg and knocked him cold with a right hook. The solider was unconscious before he even knew anything had happened.
'Hwoarang, are you alive?' Paul called out as he shook the young man. After a minute or so without response, Hwoarang's eyes slowly opened and looked up towards Paul. The man must have gotten quite a good shot in since it seemed as if Hwoarang no longer even knew where he was. He turned his attention towards the fighter, who appeared to be the only enemy left standing. Whether he liked to admit it or not, it might take a group effort to defeat such a skilled warrior.
'This whole plan has gone to hell.' Cypher muttered to himself. He had completely underestimated the skills of these fighters and he overestimated the abilities of the Tekken Force. Now that he was alone, he was facing at least a two on one situation barring the fact that Hwoarang did not get back up after that kick to the face. Hwoarang' that's what Phoenix had called him anyway. Cypher found it funny that even the kid's name seemed familiar. He'd have to look into it later once he returned to base. Just then, he caught sight of Forest, who had somehow gotten up onto his knees. It seemed like he was attempting to exact some sort of revenge at Cypher's expense. However, the assassin quickly put an end to that with a knee to the jaw.
'Forest! You bastard, I'll kill you for that!' Marshall screamed out towards Cypher.
Cypher ignored the petty threats. He reached down for the radio which was strapped to his leg. After removing it, he raised the device to his mouth and pressed the button. 'Mission failed, initiate Plan B.'
Paul, Marshall, and Hwoarang didn't even get a chance to ponder what was going to happen next when the noise of the helicopter overhead suddenly grew louder. All their questions were answered by a rain of bullets from overhead. The three men scattered, quickly realizing that they were now cutoff from Forest. The shower of automatic fire continued to follow them as they darted for the backdoor. They hadn't even noticed that one of the Tekken Force soldiers had regained consciousness and was now running for his life as well.
Cypher smirked as the three insects darted away to their hole. If anything, at least this plan appeared to be working. He waited momentarily for them to drop the rope ladder from the helicopter. He decided it best to take Forest with him just to insure that they made their way to Zaibatsu Headquarters like Heihachi wanted. As Cypher lifted up into the air with Forest under his left arm, he motioned his head towards the chopper. Moments later, several grenades were tossed down into the dojo. If this didn't kill them, it would sure piss them off a whole hell of a lot. Either way, Cypher would be happy with the outcome.
Paul kept running despite the fact that he didn't even know about the grenade attack. As he busted out the backdoor of the building, a huge explosion erupted from inside the dojo. The four men that had managed to escape the building had now been sent hurdling through the air from the shear force of the grenades. Marshall, Paul, Hwoarang, and the solider remained motionless for well over a minute.
As Marshall regained his senses, his thoughts immediately went to Forest. Last he saw of him, Forest was being taken away by the leader of the men who had attacked them. At the very least, Marshall was glad to know that Forest wasn't killed in the explosion. However, that still left him no clues as to where his son was being taken. However, upon spotting the solider that had escaped with them, he knew he'd get his answers soon enough. He grabbed the man by his shirt collar and slammed him against the brick wall of a nearby building. 'Who the hell are you people, and where did you take my son!' He screamed.
Hwoarang moved in closer to hear what the man's response would be. Though he cared about Forest's safety, he was more interested in finding that bastard who murdered his parents.
Everything was going according to plan. After getting a status report from Cypher, the ruthless billionaire was pleased with the results. Not only was Manji Clan destroyed, but Marshall's dojo was gone and Forest was now in custody. His scouts had also informed him earlier that day that King was now on his way. It seemed as if that note from Marduk that Heihachi forged worked just wonderfully. 'This calls for a celebration!' Heihachi joyfully blurted out to Anna.
'Mmm' What did you have in mind?' Anna remarked. She was a bit confused seeing as how they had just finished making love only minutes earlier.
'Pick out the nicest outfit you can find, I'm going to hold a Zaibatsu ball tomorrow night. By the way, make sure ALL of our most valued employees find their way to it. I have an announcement I want to make.' Heihachi remarked calmly. As if on cue, the phone in his office began to ring. He picked up the phone, raised it to his ear, and then set it back down a few seconds later.
Anna looked at him with a hint of confusion in her face. 'What was that about?'
'It's time'.' Heihachi cryptically remarked.