Title: Young Offender
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: 004/002 and 009/003, mentions of Albert with Hilda, mainly Albert mourning her. Even a little bit of Jet crushing on Jean-Paul :)
Summary: AU, 009/003, 004/002, the first generations cyborgs escaped right after their surgery and spend decades avoiding the Black Ghost and stealing from them. The second generation cyborgs are tricked into believing their loyalties are with the Black Ghost and are sent to hunt them down. A lot of time is spent on the relationships being built between Ivan, Jet, Francoise, and Albert.
Warnings: alternative time-line here, foul language, some intimacy later in the story.
Author's Notes: Well, it's me again. I chose to use my NaNoWriMo this year to push me to finish this. I have to get it done now.
Disclaimer: Cyborg 009 is owned by Shotaro Ishinomori. Named after the New Order song that inspired this story. Still one of my favorites by New Order!
Beta Reader: WingedPanther73, my wonderful hubby!
Date: reissue November 1, 2016 (12:01 am)
Word Count: none submitted
Young Offender, Part One:
Francoise took a deep breath and forced herself to sit upright in spite of her throbbing headache. Her purse, overcoat, and hat were still with her. Memories slowly came back: the men in dark suits, the sedan sent to take her to her new ballet company, and Jean-Paul waving farewell from their balcony. She remembered one of the men pushing a white handkerchief over her nose and mouth. That memory shocked her into awareness.
She slid off the operating table she had been lying on and balanced on unsteady feet. She glanced around. Her foggy vision was clear enough to see she was in some sterile hospital room. There were several men in white lab coats tending equipment she didn't recognize.
"Where am I?" she asked.
Only one, short, balding man in a lab coat turned towards her. He glowered and marched towards her. Francoise couldn't help but notice a young, teenage boy in plain, yellow pajamas walked behind him with slumped shoulders and a downcast expression.
"Get back on the operating table!" His French was passable, but he had a harsh accent she couldn't identify.
"No! I want to go back home! My brother is waiting on me."
The man turned and bellowed at another man standing by the doorway. Francoise's heart pounded. That man was her kidnapper. "You moron! She has family!"
"Sorry, Doctor Gamo. Doctor Uranus put in the order to take her."
"Of course," he snarled. The man shook his head and eyed Francoise. "Well, too late now. I'll work with her."
"What do you mean? Where am I?"
"Silence, woman! You'll do as you're told from now on! Ivan, put her back to sleep," Doctor Gamo ordered the teen.
"Please, Father, the American isn't doing well, and she doesn't want to be here, either. I can read their minds. This isn't what you and Mother promised me!" the teenager said in harshly accented French.
"This organization will take us to new heights. You'll stop being so defiant!"
Francoise saw the scrawny teenager pale and tremble. The man grabbed the front of the teenager's pajamas and shook him slightly. "Do as you're told if you want to see your mother!"
The teenager stepped forward and stretched his hand towards Francoise. "I'm so sorry," he said. The teenager looked up and she saw he his left eye was brown and right eye was blue. She gasped when his right, blue eye started to glow. Francoise's legs gave out; she slumped forward, and her vision grew dark.
Francoise heard waves in the background as she woke up again. This time, everything had an unreal quality to it. Now she was on a beach at sunset, wearing her favorite pink dress. But she had been wearing her nice, gray suit to meet with the art director for the ballet; he had hired her two weeks ago. The teenage boy sat next to her; his heterochromatic eyes were fixed on the gently lapping waves.
She sat up and turned towards him. "Who are you?"
"My name is Ivan Gamo. You're, technically, inside my consciousness. I brought you here so I could talk to you. Alone. They have ears everywhere, but they still can't figure out how to pry into my head. Only Mother can do that, and she's gone."
"What? That's... incredible," Francoise murmured.
No, this had to be a dream, and this boy was a manifestation of her fear. She was kidnapped and drugged, nothing more. But why had they targeted her? They took her right under Jean-Paul's nose. A stab of fear hit her. What if they attacked him, too?
"I'm not a figment of your fears or a side effect of the drugging you suffered," Ivan explained passively.
Francoise started. The boy had actually echoed her thoughts. She asked, "I've been kidnapped, but by who and why?"
"The Black Ghost."
"Yes. They're a science and research organization that's funded by a group of ruthless men that call themselves the Merchants of Death. Those men have tremendous influence, but they desire more power over world governments. Their goal is world domination."
"But...?" Francoise felt her brow furrow as she tried to accept Ivan's information. She looked down at her bare feet. The cool, wet sand clumped as she dug her toe into it. If this was really Ivan's mind, she couldn't tell.
"You're still not convinced," Ivan stated, rather than asked.
"I'm a ballerina. What would they want with me?"
"You're an experiment to them, just as I am. They were looking for someone that wouldn't be missed by a family, someone from the streets, but they chose wrong with you. Your brother, Jean-Paul, will be looking for you. I believe Doctor Uranus is to blame for choosing you, but I couldn't figure out why."
"How did you know about Jean-Paul? They told you?"
"No, I read your mind. They don't allow me any access to our files. They... they're... afraid of me. They made me, and now they don't trust me."
"So... you really can really read my mind?"
"Everyone's mind, and I can do a lot more. I'm keeping a close telepathic link to the other one."
"There's someone else here?"
"Yes. He's an American. They have him under a deep sleep right now."
"What for? What are they doing to him? You haven't told me what they're doing to us."
Ivan turned his face towards hers. His grim, tense expression elicited a sense of dread. "They're surgically altering us into prototype weapons. They're augmenting our bodies with mechanization and electronic enhancements so we can be sold to aggressive countries. Once the planet is engulfed in total warfare fought by altered people, the Black Ghost will take over the weakened countries and rule. They'll keep the secrets of reforged men to themselves for that time and use our weakness to bring us to their side once again. We'll be their slaves if we don't leave."
"This is not real! It can't be real! I don't believe any group of people could be that evil!"
"There must be evil in most men. It's what keeps the Black Ghost alive."
Francoise flinched at Ivan's bitter, cool tone. She looked over at him again and laid a hand on his shoulder. He felt real and solid, not like a dream.
"Please don't say that. We have to have hope." She slowly released his shoulder. "So when is this going to happen to us? We have to escape before then and help that American."
"It's happening right now. Jet is almost finished. He's the American. They're prepping you for surgery. Pretty soon, you'll not be the same. You won't be entirely human any more."
"You have to stop them!" She shook her head and sobbed, "I don't want this! This is not my choice!"
"I can't. They have Mother as leverage over me. They're very careful to not let anyone on the island know where she's located right now. Not even Father knows her whereabouts. Besides, they keep me medicated just enough so I can't concentrate to use the rest of my abilities."
"That man I talked to? Is he really your father? Is he...?"
"One of them? Yes. He's the reason I'm here. He convinced me this was for the good of humanity. He lied to me with Mother's aid. I'm the first of their experiments here."
She felt a surge of pity for Ivan. "How could your own father do this to you?" Francoise took a deep breath and shook her head when he didn't answer; his expression was so bereft of emotions. She slowly absorbed what she had been told and then glanced at Ivan again. "You look very young, but..."
"But I sound old? I may appear fourteen, but I'm actually..." He gave her a rueful twist of his lips and shook his head. "...a lot older."
"I wish you would stop finishing my sentences. I'm convinced you really can read minds."
Ivan let out a sharp gasp and leaped to his feet. His eyes were trained to some far off point in the deep, blue sky. Francoise got to her feet and gave a slight shake to his shoulder.
"What is it, Ivan?"
"Jet is waking up in pain. He needs me. Also, Father is up to something. I have to go."
"No! Don't leave me! Please!"
"I'll do what I can to help you, but I can't do much of anything right now." Ivan turned towards Francoise. He placed his hand on hers and squeezed. "I swear I'll be back after I check on Jet and see what's going on."
She squeezed his hand back. Slowly, his hand felt cooler and cooler. Francoise watched the teenager's presence fade away into a shade of gray, then nothing. She took a few steps and glanced around. She was now alone on an empty, unfamiliar beach.
Francoise sank to her knees and let tears flow. She crossed her arms and murmured, "Jean-Paul," over and over. Her voice carried over the waves, but no reply came. Her stomach twisted in fear.
/Jet! I heard you./
The lanky New Yorker looked up through his haze. His dry throat was painful. A man in white, surgical garb was laying aside a large, serrated knife. It had a dull, crimson liquid on it now. There was a blinding gleam above him from a light.
He looked over towards another surgeon at his other side. Jet raised his head to see better what the man was doing. His thighs had deep crimson grooves on them. The surgeon grabbed Jet's left leg and slid it away smoothly. Horrified nausea hit as he struggled to scream out.
/Jet! Don't look any more! Sleep again./
/My legs! They're taking my legs! What the...?/
Jet felt a cool wave hit him, and then blackness. He felt as if he were floating again, and then, as if he were being tugged downwards. The smell of grass crept over the pungent antiseptic. His hands felt cool and good. He slowly sat up and realized he was now in a deserted park during the early evening. The grass felt slightly damp under his hands.
It unnerved him to see an empty park. New York had people everywhere; now, he was totally alone, and it unnerved him. A panic hit as he jumped to his feet. There was no way he was in New York. He waved his fist in the air and shouted, "I know you're here! Show yourself, kid!"
Jet swirled around and glared at the short, skinny kid looking up at him with those eerie eyes: one blue, one brown. "There you are! I saw you earlier. What the hell is this? Where were you? I just dreamed I lost my legs."
"This is the dream. That was the reality."
"What? You mean...?"
"You woke up during the surgery to alter you. It won't be over for several more hours."
"So you mean I was really kidnapped?" Jet shook his head and forced a laugh. He flopped down on the grassy ground and gave Ivan a lop-sided smile. "Right," he said sarcastically. Then he jumped up and walked around, getting the creeps when he realized the park started fading into a thick, bluish fog, and he couldn't really push through it.
Jet wasn't sure how, but the kid was keeping him in this strange place. He marched back to the kid and waved a fist towards his nose. "Get bent, kid! I probably drank too much and this is my hallucination in the drunk tank. Damn, why couldn't it be pink elephants?" He didn't believe in any weird ghost story stuff. He wasn't going to start now.
Ivan stood before him with too stern of a look for a kid his age. It only made Jet laugh hard. He gasped suddenly as his legs felt like searing fire hit them. He grabbed at them and stifled a cry of pain. He bit his bottom lip, hard, as Ivan slapped his palm against Jet's clammy forehead.
Minutes later, the pain lifted. Jet regained his breath as Ivan's hand dropped. He watched the boy stay standing, barely, on shaky legs. "I must go check on the others. I'm afraid one more has joined us."
"Hey! What others?" Jet shouted after Ivan's fading form. "Get back here, you little ankle-biter!"
To be continued.