Author's Note: This is my first Jak and Daxter fic, and it's a work in progress—any advice you have, please give. Constructive criticism accepted, appreciated, adored. The story may be mildly AU as I have not finished the game series yet and so do not have a perfect knowledge of canon.
Disclaimer: Jak II and all related characters, cities, situations and technologies belong to Naughty Dog Incorporated. I am not making any money off this story, as the only part of it I actually own is the story itself.
One: The Dark Eco Captain
The man cocked his head to one side, eye narrowing. "Don't you have anything to say?" He waited a long moment, but the only reply given was a narrowing of blue eyes and clenching of white teeth. The Baron sighed and turned away, back to his prisoner. "Fine, keep quiet while you can. We'll have you talking soon enough."
Jak continued to glare as the men in red dragged him away from the man called the Baron. He straightened and began to walk on his own, nearly-bare feet padding on the cold metal steadily. He glanced sideways at either of his captors, if only so he would know who to hit later, and found only reflective screens of black staring back at him. He let out a long breath and lowered his eyes, thinking.
What did they want with him? That Baron character hadn't said, but Jak had a terrible feeling that went far beyond the ache of the bruise forming on his forehead. He had fought Gol and Maia with little trepidation—the only problem he had was that he and Daxter might very well die in the process of destroying the eco-tainted siblings. These people, though, were already people to him. Gol and his sister had been monsters, twisted by the power they so admired into something barely recognizable as elfin, but these were men. Soldiers, maybe even murderers, but they were elves.
He wondered if he'd be able to kill another elf.
A door was opened and the two crimson-garbed men shoved the youth in roughly, one hand between his shoulderblades and another on his head. He stumbled into the dark room and turned to look at his captors—but they were already gone.
He gave a sigh and looked around the room. First things first—figure out the easiest way out of this place, and use it before the Baron could do anything to him. After that he would find Daxter, and from there Keira and Samos. Simple.
The prisoner next door was screaming. Whatever it was they were doing to him, it hurt more than Jak could probably have any hope of describing. The screams had long ago gone ragged but still they persisted, so loud and so full of emotion that the pale-haired youth reached up and covered his long ears, bringing his knees up to his chest and clenching his blue eyes shut. That was what the Baron mean by talk—they weren't trying to pump him for information, as he initially thought, they were going to hurt him. They were going to make him scream.
The cries at last faded out and Jak let out a relieved sigh, more for himself than the poor soul neighboring him. He wondered how long one could manage to stay sane in this place, surrounded by screams and wondering when yours would join them.
His eyes narrowed slightly and he reached up to touch his neck, bare fingers brushing over his throat. He wouldn't scream for them he couldn't scream for them. He couldn't even speak.
He could recall making only one sound in his entire life, and that one was part of a clouded memory that he had never been able decipher. Light and heat and dirt everywhere—or was it stone? Sand? He remembered strong hands picking him up, and that as he was lifted he gave a single whimper. A lone whine that he would never repeat, the only sound he ever made. He wondered how he had done it more than why—children cried all the time, he had probably fallen down and scraped his knee or something. But when it came to actually making the sound, it was impossible. He wasn't just quiet, he had no voice. Samos himself had explained to Jak's uncle that the boy was mute; there was something wrong with his vocal cords that left him incapable of making sound.
So how could he have whimpered, all those years ago? Was there some sort of accident that left him mute, something he had blocked from his memory? Had that lone noise been before whatever it was that struck him silent?
He raked a hand through his green and gold hair, wrapping an arm around his legs and leaning his chin on his knees. Now was not the time to be asking himself questions about his past—he had spent the last three days looking for some weakness to this room, some bolt he could dislodge or floor plate he could upend to escape and found nothing. If there was anything he should have been thinking about it was how to get out of here.
The door creaked open and Jak raised his head. The man that stared down at him was nothing short of terrifying, even though he stood barely hand a taller than the youth. His skin was pale, paler than Jak had ever seen, and his face was covered in bizarre geometric tattoos of deep grey.
His uniform was similar to that of the men then had brought him here, but he had apparently opted not to wear the black mirror of a helmet. He also wore a scattering of blue and yellow amid the scarlet, a sure sign that this man was not like the rest.
"So you're the new one," he said, his voice a hiss, yellow eyes narrowing as he looked the youth up and down. "Not much to look at, but if the Baron's right about you…" He turned to look over his shoulder and nodded; the two guards flanking him came in, taking hold of Jak by the arms and heaving him to his feet.
He glared and pulled free off one gloved hand, standing tall and straight without their urging.
The man—Jak had labeled him the Captain of the Guard, though he couldn't be sure as yet, chuckled. "Spry little thing," he said, tilting his head ever so slightly to one side. "Going to walk on your own?"
Jak gave a single nod, clenching his hands into fists.
The Captain nodded in reply. "All right, fine. Walk." He turned around and crossed his hands behind his back before starting off. Jak followed, a guard on either side but free of their grip. They passed by the room with the screaming man and he couldn't help but wince at the ragged breathing he could hear from within. Apparently he had passed out, judging by how steady that breathing was. Jak was glad for him; sleep was a good escape from pain. He hoped it would keep him.
The Captain followed Jak's line of sight. "Don't worry about him," he said with a smirk. "He's not going to last much longer; he just can't channel it right."
Jak's brow furrowed. Channel? Channel what? He always used the term in reference to eco, but who couldn't channel eco to the point that it hurt? He kept walking.
"Awfully quiet, aren't you?"
Jak shrugged as they turned a corner, daring a half-smile. If he could convince the Captain that he was quiet only because of his strength things could very well turn out better. Maybe he could intimidate him.
Another look at the armored man banished the thought. This warrior did not intimidate easily; the steely glint in his yellow eyes proved that he had seen his fair share of battle. Compared to that, Jak and his unnatural silence were nothing.
They turned another corner and the Captain stopped; Jak kept moving until he was even with the older man, looking at whatever it was the Captain saw. The youth found himself looking at a chair; at first glance it appeared to be nothing more than a simple metal chair, but further scrutiny proved otherwise.
As they moved forward Jak saw that there were restraints on the armrests and the legs, to strap down wrists and ankles. Above it was a large circle of metal, filled with thousands on pinprick-sized holes, like the waterspouts Keira used to clean his Zoomer and her other machines, but at least five times the size. Above the dimpled metal was a translucent cylinder—glass? Jak had never seen so much in one place, much less part of one structure. But then, this place was very different from home in Sandover, so Jak supposed he should have expected rarities to be in abundance here.
"Have a seat," the Captain said, still moving forward. Jak held back, a familiar scent assailing his olfactory senses. His eyes narrowed—that smell was familiar. It reminded him fleetingly of Daxter, of fighting, and of Gol and Maia. His eyes widened and he looked back up at the rainmaking spout, this time looking up past the glass cylinder—which he realized at that moment was meant to lower over the person sitting in the chair—and following a pipeline that stemmed from the spout.
It twisted and bent, curled and came around until it attached to a massive tank over the door they had entered. Jak's blood went cold as he recognized the surging, shimmering, oily liquid inside. Violet and pink and yellow flared, but overall it was black; it reeked of electricity and stagnant air, of water left to sit too long and charred earth.
"That's right, little boy," the Captain said with a smirk. "You're going to take a little shower, courtesy of the Baron."
Jak turned, staring in shock at the tattooed man. They were going to douse him in dark eco? What could they possibly accomplish by doing that? And where in the world had they gotten that much dark eco in the first place? It was as if they had transported the contents of an entire silo into this one room
"Please, have a seat." The Captain's eyes narrowed, though the smirk never left his face. "Or, if you prefer I can make you sit. It won't be as pleasant, though."
Jak straightened his shoulders and set his jaw, daring the man to try. The Captain's grin broadened slightly and he too straightened, popping the knuckles of one hand and taking a deep breath in preparation for the match.
It wasn't much of a match at all.