Couple of reasons for this fic: first, despite never watching The Departed, I saw the original Hong Kong version (Infernal Affairs). I wanted to incorporate elements of this film in a fic, and I thought Tales of Symphonia would probably be the perfect place to do it.
Second, although TOS is a great game, I felt too often fans focused on one or two traits of characters in their fics (ie: Lloyd is a stubborn idiot, Colette is always clumsy, Genis is a boy-genius, etc). This makes characters at best 1-D, and at worst Mary-Sues/Gary-Stus (especially with romance and love-triangles). What I want to do is tap into the enormous potential of each character, something that Namco never tapped into.
So here it is, a Tales of Symphonia/The Departed/Infernal Affairs crossover, done as a modern and slight AU fic. This chapter is meant to be the opening, done to the style of the trailer of The Departed. Regular font is regular sequence. Italics is the narration.
(Cue: guitar riff from Gimme Shelter by Rolling Stones)
She was an aspiring novelist, off to a book convention to promote her first novel…
"Ladies and gentlemen, I present you, all the way from Iselia, Mrs. Anna Irving!"
The crowd erupted into cheers as a young woman with shoulder-length brown hair stepped up to the podium. "Well, thank you for that wonderful welcome," Anna said into the microphone.
During the next few minutes, she described her career as mainly a short story and essay writer, and how she was inspired to write her first full-length novel. "To end it off, I want to dedicate this book to my two main sources of inspiration: my husband Gilbert, a police officer, and my six-year-old son Lloyd," she announced to the crowd, "Gil has promised me that everyone in his unit will have read the book at least once by the end of this year." The crowd howled in laughter as she concluded her speech.
(Cue: "Suspense" drum roll)
But after finding out a deadly secret, she would not return to see her home…
"Boss, she knows about it! Two of our guys got busted because of her, and who knows how many more are going down?" The young man seemed almost fearful.
"Relax, I've already called my associate from Iselia," the older, bald man replied, "according to his plan, she wouldn't even leave Iselia's airport alive. Our operations are still slated to start, regardless of anything."
And now one police officer is about to take drastic action to stop this gang…
"Gil, I know you're upset over your wife's death, and being in a unit where the case is being processed doesn't help. So why don't you take a couple of days off, and let it all cool down, then you can come back to work?" the captain suggested.
"I know, I know," Gil snapped, "but just let me know what the plan for the next move is. Tell me that much and I'll leave you alone."
The captain sighed. "Please try and keep this as confidential as possible," he said, lowering his volume, "but I've talked to the Special Investigations Unit, and we decided that this gang is way too dangerous with too many associates across Sylvarant. We were thinking of sending in a mole to infiltrate the gang and see what they're up to. Assuming that SIU has someone available for us, we're moving ahead as soon as possible."
"Wait," Gil interrupted, "no need to send someone from SIU. Send me instead."
(Cue: instrumental of I'm Shipping up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys)
He enters a dangerous world, entirely different from his own…
"Now that the chief and SIU approved of this mission, there are a number of things you should note," the captain briefed Gil, the soon-to-be mole, "Your records from the department will be entirely erased. This back-up file is kept in a locked cabinet for the chief and me, as we are the only ones to know your true identity."
The captain put away the file folder. "Also to note, we will be limiting our meetings. You will relay the info mainly to me, but should I not make it, the chief will be there. Other than that, you're pretty much on your own. We can't directly help you, and if you get arrested, it may take a while before we can bail you out. You could also be killed, and don't forget that you also have a young son to take care of."
After some final reflections, Gil looked up at his superior. "I'm ready."
…putting his life on the line, as he infiltrates the group, trying to find out more…
"This newbie, Gil, will be joining us at our next mission. Before we get going, why don't you make him feel welcome?" the leader announced. Gil saw a bunch of faces giving him unfriendly looks, some even suspicious of Gil.
As soon as the leader left the room and closed the door, a heavyset man gave Gil a two-handed shove to the back. Gil stumbled forward, only to get taken down by a close-line hit from another man. "What was that all about?" Gil snapped, glaring angrily at his two assailants.
"We don't want some stupid human getting involved in our business. What makes you think you can come in and start messing around with us?" the heavyset man growled.
"Hey, the boss clearly put me here! Take it or leave it!" Gil replied sharply.
"Just because the boss allowed a human to work with us doesn't mean we allow it," the second assailant sneered as other gang members began standing up, "we'll take you alright, but let's see how much you can take." With that, he kicked Gil in the stomach, causing the undercover police officer to double in pain.
The next few minutes were a blur to Gil, as a barrage of punches and kicks flew at him. The attack finally stopped as the gang left for their mission. Gil lied on the cold concrete floor, vision still blurry and his body in great pain. Slowly, he tried to get back up, knowing that this would be his life indefinitely.
(Cue: Electric guitar suspense music)
…while threatening to tear his life apart, alienating him from his friends and his son…
A young boy peered out into the living room, where his father sat with a couple of family friends. This youngster was Lloyd Irving, Gil's son. Although he was supposed to be asleep, he could not help but eavesdrop on what his father had to say.
"Guys, all I'm asking for is that when I'm out of town, please let Lloyd stay over with you guys and take good care of him," Gil pleaded his case to a bespectacled man and a grey-haired woman, "I know Lloyd and I are going through a difficult time, with me out of the force and all that, but this new position really requires me to travel, and I can't reject this job. So can you please help?"
"Sure, Gil, anything for a friend," the man responded, "But what job requires you to travel that far for that long? Surely you don't have to leave for months at a time, right?" he asked, concerned and somewhat stunned.
The elderly woman nodded, agreeing with her friend. "While I do agree that income and saving up for your son is very important, I'm not sure if it's in his best interests to have you take a position that keeps you away from him for that long," she added, "Lloyd is only six years old, so it could affect the relationship between you two. Please reconsider, Gil."
The undercover police officer struggled at his words. "I want to tell you, but I can't," he stammered as his two friends gave him suspicious looks, "Besides, Lloyd shouldn't be too badly off, right?" He turned to the bespectacled man, "Frank, your daughter is around Lloyd's age, I'm sure they'll get along. And Lynn," he turned to the old lady, "you babysat your grandkids before, so you can handle Lloyd, right?"
Gil's friends were even more worried now. "Gil, you haven't been the same since Anna passed away. Are you sure you're alright? Is there anything we can help you with?"
"I just want you to do this for me," Gil pleaded, "Do it for a good friend, I beg of you. Please take good care of Lloyd while I'm gone."
He's gone? What does that mean, Lloyd thought to himself. Seeing the adults still preoccupied, he sneaked back upstairs into his room, uncomfortable with the thought.
(Cue: Chorus of Uncomfortably Numb by Roger Waters and Van Morrison)
And such was his life for years, forever caught between two worlds…
"Get the info out of their Iselia branch, and we should have all their associates covered. We'll have enough info to foil all their plans across Sylvarant and crack them in no time," the captain explained as he met Gil in an alley, "When that's done, you can go back to your regular life, and all this will be nothing more than a distant memory."
"That's what you said when I cracked their first operation for you," Gil yelled, "I spent three years for Asgard, three for Palmacosta, and now I'm back in my hometown of Iselia and you're still pushing me to do this?" Gil slammed his hand against the building, "When I first started, Lloyd just got out of Kindergarten, and now he's in secondary school. You know what that means? It means I'm in this forsaken business for too long, almost a decade to be exact!" Gil ranted, jabbing his finger into the captain's chest.
"Just keep hanging on. Once we know enough about this group, we'll round them all in," the captain replied.
"So how much longer will that be?" Gil challenged his superior, "Until I've gone completely insane, and they have to drag me out in a straight jacket, heading to the nearest psychiatric ward? Is that it?"
But the final, most recent breakthrough may be a greater risk than anyone had anticipated…
"Our Tethe'alla associate has prepared the final stages of the plan. We will proceed with it by attacking the main source on this planet. Once that's done, everything will be controlled from our outside base, and the operation should not fail from there." Gil listened intently to the recording he made of a meeting with the Iselia head.
He jotted down some notes, while thoughtfully mumbling to himself. "If they would attack the main source, cutting off or disrupting the balance, assuming that it does this damage…oh no!" Immediately he grabbed the phone and called the police station. "Yes, I'd like to speak to Captain…he's not in now? Then send me to the chief of police, it's an emergency! I need to speak to him now!"
After a short wait, the Iselia chief of police finally picked up. Gil described his recordings to the chief, who listened with great interest and concern. "Did they reveal a time or location to this operation?" he asked.
"No, they just said the operations will start in the near future," Gil replied.
Since there was not enough information, the chief only asked Gil to sit on the lead and not take action yet, much to Gil's dismay. "Chief, this thing could cause mass destruction here, and you're telling me not to act?"
"It's a matter of national defence, which is in the military's jurisdiction, not ours," the chief responded, "once you have enough info on that, I'll pass it forward to the military and we'll depart from there."
…and thus begins the story of…
TALES OF THE DEPARTED