Tekken: Kings and Queens
Oh how Jin Kazama had longed for the stillness of absolute slumber.
With all the atrocities he had committed, if this was supposed to be hell, then divinity had an unusual sense of humor. If one had to make a list of atrocities the once great King of Iron Fist had committed, the list of sins would be quite long. Amongst them, deception, extortion, murder, terrorism, war, strife, and the list would grow longer by the minute. Years before, he gave the world a single enemy to fight, a single enemy to hate, and he gladly bore the weight on his broad shoulders.
Yes, to save the world… any other mad dictator would probably justify his acts as such. Jin, however, chose to be honest. Though he bore the marks of a supposed savior and he, indeed, saved the world from the clutches of evil on more than one occasion, the blood he spilled was far too great a crime to be ignored.
Again, divinity had an unusual sense of humor.
Either that or someone in the heavens made a grievous mistake. A very grievous mistake.
Jin allowed a chuckle to escape his lips. After all, if the heavens indeed made a mistake, sooner or later, fate will correct itself and reclaim its prize. For now, the only thing he could do was sleep. Rest, while fate turns a blind eye away –
…away from him as he continued his –
…slumber… peace… a moment of…
"Are you deaf? I said get up!"
…noise… pain… torment…
"Open your eyes, boy!"
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
"I did not risk life and limb to retrieve your carcass just so that you may sleep the rest of the day! Get up!"
…worse than hell…
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
Jin groaned as he meekly fought off the hands hitting his face. It had finally come to his attention that he was neither in heaven nor hell. In fact, he was very much alive (much to his chagrin). The stings on his cheeks were the first reminder that he is still alive. The flush of crimson was the second.
"Awake now? Good. Open your eyes, boy!"
The noise would be the third. A very familiar one at that.
"Open your damned eyes before I peel the lids off of them!"
With a grunt, Jin groggily rubbed the sweat off his brow and grudgingly obeyed the voice. Slowly but surely, he peeled back one eyelid and squinted as the cones from the retinas screamed from the sudden burst of light. Gritting his teeth, Jin gave himself a (brief) moment to adjust from the sensation, then, with his right hand providing shade, gradually opened his eyes all the way. When the haze settled, what he saw was perhaps worse than any hell or demon he had ever dreamed imaginable.
"How much longer must we wait?" Kyuuto Ishida asked impatiently, glaring at the scientist across from his desk.
"For as long as necessary, Mr. Ishida," Kalina Romov answered in a straight monotone, undeterred by the question. For the scientist, this has become a routine part of the job, walking into Kyuuto's office and putting up with his incessant complaints on the project's schedule.
Kyuuto looked at the woman incredulously. The middle aged business man was used to doing things on schedule. In fact, Kyuuto loved schedules; schedules means order, order means no surprises, and no surprises means profit. Profit for him, of course, means filthy rich and a bigger office.
That was how he managed to move up the ladder in Soleil Inc. and land this particular assignment, which involved a major breakthrough in genetics started by the once great Mishima Zaibatsu and now championed by Soleil. Should this project be successful, it would leave ripples in the science community and change the world forever as he would know it. What that translates to in business terms would be another promotion, which meant more profit, and of course filthy rich and an even bigger office.
The only thing keeping him from being filthy rich would be this emotionless, brown haired, brown eyed foreign scientist standing before him. Unfortunately for him, the slender woman happens to be a very big stumbling block to his endeavors. Stumbling blocks which could lead to surprises, and surprises means throwing Kyuuto's well planned schedule in jeopardy. Kyuuto Ishido is not one for surprises. He looked at the woman with rage in his eyes.
"You say that every time we meet, yet time is against us!" he snapped. "The master is practically demanding when she will be ready!"
Unmoved, Kalina adjusted the collar of her lab coat and looked the businessman straight in the eye.
"The master will just have to be patient," she replied. Not the kind of response the businessman wanted to hear.
"We have been patient with you these past three years!" Kyuuto stood from his seat and shouted in frustration. "The master has grand plans for Soleil, and this project is the key to its success! We can't afford any more delays!"
"Then let me put this to you in simple terms," Kalina explained for what was perhaps the fiftieth time to her recollection. "This is a very delicate stage in her development. If she is to master her newfound abilities, we cannot rush her whatsoever. Unless, of course, you wish to break her, to which this project would be for naught. I am sure the master can afford a little delay."
Kyuuto let out a dry laugh. He has heard this explanation countless times in the past, each time less believable than the last. It was all he could do to keep himself from striking the woman down with his bare hands.
"The master won't be pleased," he growled.
"She will be ready when she is ready. No more, no less."
"You do realize this is getting us nowhere."
"I'll kill you!"
Where was all that energy when I needed it before, he thought. He had to admit, despite coming from a near comatose state, Jin still had plenty of pent up energy in his system. Of course, all that spunk meant nothing coming from a man that barely recovered from what was yet another attempt of over-glorified suicide of sorts, and currently has the strength of what he perceives a weak kitten. Still, the constant lunges and the baring of canines were rather impressive, if not utterly futile. Entertaining as it may seem, time was a very rare commodity.
And at this very moment, Kazuya Mishima, former CEO of Mishima Zaibatsu and G-Corporation, had very little time to waste.
"Jin… Jin," Kazuya grunted in his usual, smooth, sardonic tone, still pinning the struggling man down.
"I would love to continue this, but… Jin… listen, boy – "
"I'll kill you, Kazuya!"
"This is not the time…"
Kazuya reeled as one of Jin's fists managed to connect to his jaw. Not bad, he thought to himself. A decent right hook from the weak kitten, one that actually stung. A punch that father would pay back his son in kind…
CRUNCH! SMACK! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRACK!
Finally, after two hours in that grueling office and now rid of that nagging nuisance, Kalina made her way down the halls towards the Soleil laboratory. As she made her way to the massive sliding doors, the scientist reached into her pocket and fished out a small keycard. Standing on front of the interface, she punched the card into a small slot, one that barely fit the card itself, leaned towards the speaker, and began another routine of identification to the computer before her.
At the sound of her voice, the machinery whirred to life as the computer quickly scanned a light beam over her eye, and processed both her voice and the information contained within the card.
Retina scan complete. Voice pattern recognition confirmed.
With a resounding hiss, the massive doors slid open, and Kalina stepped into yet another security checkpoint. The moment she stepped in, the doors immediately hissed shut behind her.
Oh how Jin had longed for the stillness of absolute slumber.
Jin awoke with a start, beads of sweat dripping from his brow as he struggled for breath.
"My apologies," Kazuya grunted, casually peeling back the duct tape over his son's nose, though took care to keep his lips absolutely sealed. "I over estimated the size of your mouth, so – "
"Yes, to the point… though it may seem a little excessive, since you wouldn't listen to me while I was trying to be hospitable, well… it had come down to… this," the scarred man finished his thought. 'This' as in binding his son to a wooden chair, ropes knotted so tight, circulation to his wrists and ankles barely flow. The duct tape to the face though, that was for fun.
"Ugh…" Kazuya rolled his eyes. "Now you listen to me, boy," he emphasized with a snarl as he grabbed Jin by the hair and violently jerked his head back. Kazuya himself leaned over till both men were staring at each other eye to eye, his voice straining to keep his temper in check. "Given your… current situation, I could snap your neck any time I want, putting an end to your very existence. And given that you're about as annoying as a cockroach, believe me, I would take great pleasure doing so. However, there are more pressing matters at the moment that need my attention, and though I would love nothing more than to toss you down a bottomless pit," he spat, glaring at Jin with his crimson left eye, "there is a very good reason why you are still alive, one which I would gladly explain if I was given the chance. Unfortunately, my patience is quite thin. Do not provoke me any further, or you will face the consequences. Understand?"
Jin simply glared at his host in silence, but offered no other resistance.
With that, Kazuya ripped the duct tape off of Jin's mouth.
The lights of the checkpoint shut itself out, enveloping the scientist in darkness save for the computer in the background whirring to life. The scientist waited patiently as red beams encircled her, the system doing a sweeping scan of Kalina while checking for any unwanted and miscellaneous items. Before she knew it, the beams stopped its dance, and the security system blinked shut.
Scan complete. Identity confirmed. Welcome, Dr. Kalina Romov.
At that moment, the lights in the room suddenly blared back on, and a second door at the opposite end opened. Kalina walked out of the security checkpoint, and into a passage of dim lights and cold steel.
"Tell me, have you heard of Soleil Inc.?" Kazuya asked.
Jin's face still stung from the duct tape ripped from his mouth, and the wrists still felt sore and tingly from the binds, but decided not to press the matter any further. At least not at the moment.
"If you mean what the public knows, most definitely," he replied. "Considered to be the next major powerhouse in the medicinal business, amongst other things."
"That's what the company wants the world to think," Kazuya added.
Jin nodded in agreement. "I've had some dealings with Soleil when I was Mishima Zaibatsu's CEO, though really, Soleil itself is just a cover for an even bigger organization of sorts. I'm more than well aware of their… other practices. Amongst other things, genetics is one of their specialties, but especially of the kind we're both familiar with."
"Sounds like you don't need much explanation," Kazuya grinned. "Good. Let's move on." Reaching over a dusty countertop, he pulled a yellow envelope and emptied its contents.
"Here," Kazuya said, handing the papers over to his son. Jin took the items from his father and began to sort through the items in question. Various charts, diagrams, papers with financial information and scientific jargon that he cared not to see. His eyes caught a glimpse of a photograph, along with some papers clipped behind. Curious, he began to examine these pictures, those labeled in red letters –
That's what everyone else called her.
In another lifetime, she had a different name; what that name was, it was long forgotten. She also remembered other things, like the rhythmic crash of water against the side of a cliff, mountains tall and majestic reaching towards the heavens, and the warmth of sunshine caressing her face with a smile.
There were other memories she could recall. She remembered the laughter of children playing in the sand, an old dog yelping and scampering about, the splash of opening a bottle Ramune for the first time, or the taste of onigiri from the corner store. She even remembered other little details, such as that little blue bow tied on her head, or having brown eyes.
How did all this change? The sounds of the waters were replaced with the low monotonous hum of machinery. The massive walls of steel and computer terminals surrounded her instead of the mountains. The cold stare of blinking green and blue lights greeted her everyday instead of the warmth of the sun. No longer any children laughing or the old dog barking, now Hanako is surrounded by men and women in lab coats, studying her, probing her constantly. She was denied even the luxury of a simple snack or a real bed, her time spent mostly inside a glass container.
And her hair… her hair no longer tied up or held by a bow. Now nothing held her shoulder length mane, left disheveled and brushed back save for some strands parted in the middle and drooped against the sides of her forehead. Her cocoa brown eyes were traded for a pair of golden orbs… hideous golden orbs.
And one other feature she noticed. A black mark just below her right shoulder… or perhaps more accurately, a brand… The mark of a demon…
"How is Hanako doing?" she heard a voice chime.
"Dr. Romov," another replied. "Readings are more or less the same. How was your meeting?"
"Productive as usual," was the response. "And the seals?"
"Still keeping the beast in check. The last transfusion was pretty heavy for Hanako to handle, but the binds haven't broken."
"Good. Prepare for the final phase."
Dread took hold of Hanako as she heard those words, yet she was too paralyzed for her body to respond.
"Now? We only just completed the last phase not too long ago. Are you sure of this?"
No… No… No… No…
"As much as I would like to take my time with this, we have a schedule to keep and the master is awaiting results. And the less visits I take to Mr. Ishida's office, the better. We will take the necessary precautions, but we shall begin the procedure once I get Hanako prepped."
No… No… No… No…
No… No… No… No…
Her thoughts froze as a face stared back at her through the glass. Again, Hanako was too paralyzed for her body to move, not even to scream…
"I see you're interested already," Kazuya mocked, watching his son seemingly marvel at the photograph. Jin nearly dropped the photograph in his hand at the remark, and simply replied with a stone cold glare. All this managed to do was add more fuel to Kazuya's teasing.
"Don't give me that look, boy," Kazuya chuckled. "We're both men, it's only natural to look at pretty women. A little on the pale side, but not all that bad, and if I was twenty years younger, I would love to – "
"Spare me the nonsense," Jin let out a growl. "What exactly do you want?"
"Would you believe me if I told you I wished to save the world?"
Jin glared at his father.
"You're right, that wasn't even funny at all," Kazuya shuddered. "However, Soleil does have something I want… something I wish to save."
Jin did all he could to keep himself from laughing.
"Really? Never mind the fact that it's crazy to believe that the great Kazuya Mishima has something he wishes to 'save'. The very idea of helping you makes my skin crawl. Damn you, the very idea that I'm even your offspring makes my skin crawl! Give me one good reason why I should even bother with you!"
"What, you mean that picture wasn't enough?" Kazuya chuckled. Jin cleared his throat in response.
"To the point," Kazuya sighed. "I shall give you not one, but two reasons why you should assist me. Well, aside from saving your worthless life and providing you with pictures, of course."
Jin let out an audible growl at the words.
"The first reason," Kazuya continued, "Amongst the files you so conveniently skipped included a possible 'cure' for your… curse."
"Genocell?" Jin scoffed.
"No, nothing like that," Kazuya assured him. "I am talking about a true agent that can neutralize the Devil Gene, one without the mutations or side effects, one that won't outright kill the patient, and more importantly, one that won't require you to kill off another monster or jump off a cliff."
Jin looked at his father quizzically, and scanned the rest of the files in his hand.
"No offence," Jin said while tossing the files on the table. "I don't believe you. I don't believe there is a cure. In fact, I bet there is another plan within this 'offer' of yours, one which, no doubt, involves gaining more power and something to the extent of ruling the world. Even if such a cure exists, how can you be certain it even works? Again, what exactly do you want?"
Kazuya's lips thinned at the remark, and though his face or posture betrayed no other hint of emotion, Jin could almost swear his father seemed a little pained at the question asked. Finally, the former G-Corporation CEO reached into his pocket, and handed Jin over a small, delicate object.
Reason number two.
As much as he hated his little meetings with Dr. Romov, Kyuuto dreaded his meetings with the master even more.
For one, the setting always gave him the creeps. Though Soleil meant 'sun' in French, the office of the master was anything but sunny. In fact, it was virtually devoid of any light, merely a large windowless expanse of pitch black, save for a single desk and a spotlight at the other end of the room. For another, it's the master himself. Shroud in darkness, enveloped in mystery, no one save for only the most trusted employees have ever seen his face. Even now, the master sits comfortably with his chair swiveled to the wall, affording not even a glimpse of his figure. Kyuuto himself, in spite of the dialogue he had in the past few years, has never seen the master's face once, yet he swears he isn't human. He couldn't understand how his mind came to this conclusion, and Kyuuto is not one to make wild speculations. Perhaps it's the chills that constantly run down his spine, the pressure that constantly weigh in on him down to his very core. And the voice…
"What did the good doctor have to say, Ishida?" The voice was deep, smooth, yet chilling all at once.
It was enough for Kyuuto to feel agoraphobic. The middle aged man swallowed a lump in his throat, and approached the desk with as much courage as he could muster.
"The same damn thing like last time," Kyuuto replied. "My apologies, master. I told her many times this cannot wait, yet Dr. Romov insisted that Hanako needed more time."
"Yes," Kyuuto cleared his throat. "Again, my apologies, master. I realize how important Hanako's completion is to both you and the company. I shall personally see to it that Dr. Romov does not delay this any further and – "
"Spare me, Ishida," the master interrupted in a bored voice. "I have also heard those words countless times."
Kyuuto winced and shirked back.
"My… my apologies…" The man was rendered speechless. A moment of silence passed, though to Kyuuto it felt like decades.
"See to it the good doctor keeps her word and completes Hanako in time," the master finally spoke. "In the meantime, we have other matters to deal with, including our preparations for our special guests."
Jin sat dumbfounded at the revelation.
Kazuya kept a stoic appearance, arms crossed over his chest as he watched his son struggle to process the latest information. For the first time since the day started, both father and son saw eye to eye on a subject, and given the shock he initially felt when he received this news, Kazuya remained silent.
Meanwhile, Jin's hands shook as he did all he could to keep his emotions in check. He wasn't sure how to feel at this very moment, never mind knew how to even take the news.
"You're lying to me," Jin hissed.
Kazuya slumped against the wall and glanced up towards the ceiling.
"I was like you when I found out myself," he explained, the edge in his voice softened. "I also thought it was a lie, yet the evidence is as plain as day. Look at it again."
Jin hung his head low and clenched his teeth hard. He cursed to himself silently as his body shook. Jin opened his mouth as though wanting to say something, yet felt his voice crack as he attempted to speak. Flustered, he cursed to himself again. Kazuya merely watched his son quietly in the background, allowing the information to be further digested.
"Damn you, Kazuya…"
Jin slowly stood from his seat, approached his father with defiant steps, and gave him his most menacing glare.
"This better not be some sick joke, or else…"
"Believe me when I say this… this is something I would never lie about," Kazuya looked back at his son and met his gaze with a stone cold expression. "Not even to you."
Jin huffed as he turned away from Kazuya. Inwardly, he told himself he shouldn't help this monster whatsoever. After all, a Mishima is fated to betray each other, and this cursed bloodline was doing this ever since his grandfather, the late Heihachi Mishima, did so to his very own father, the legendary Jinpachi Mishima. The memory of being shot by Heihachi and the Tekken Corps still ran fresh in his mind as though it was yesterday. Kazuya himself is no different than Heihachi himself in that regard when he threw him off a cliff so many years ago. Hell, even Jin followed in his fathers' footsteps and brought the rest of the world into his war, and the thought of that was enough to make his blood freeze.
And yet, despite his tough exterior, Jin could sense a hint of emotion in his father's words. A small hint, but a rather obvious one nevertheless. It was perhaps the one chink he found in what was otherwise Kazuya's impenetrable armor.
Jin stared at the object in his hand once more and held it tight. A moment of further contemplation from all the evidence, he shook his head in disgust and cursed to himself for what he was about to do.
"Where do we begin?"
Kazuya's bushy eyebrows furrowed as he reached into his pocket, and procured a pair of smaller envelopes, both adorned with a very familiar red seal.
The seal of the King of Iron Fist Tournament.
"We begin by answering the invitation."
"Pardon me for asking, but are we certain they will show up?" Kyuuto asked.
He could feel the wind change in the room as the chilling voice replied, "They will come." Kyuuto felt like kicking himself for even asking such a foolish question.
"A… Again, I apologize…"
"Your apologies are empty to me," the master snapped. "I keep you around because you are still of use to me, but do not test my patience any further. Is that understood?"
"Good. See to the rest of the preparations, and keep me informed. You are dismissed."
With a quick bow, Kyuuto steadily made his way towards the door, and gladly let himself out of the office, leaving the master alone in the darkness. The dim spotlight flickered against his lips as he leaned back on his chair, and allowed himself a malicious smile.
"Kazuya… Jin… I'll be waiting."
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Thus is the prologue and beginning of the story. This will likely be the only note I will add to the story, unless something unique comes up otherwise. The one thing I want to get completely out of the way more than anything is the fact there is no set timeline. The only thing for certain is that the events of Kings and Queens happened after the sixth tournament. This is to allow the possibility of, perhaps, a seventh or eighth tournament to occur in between to (hopefully) minimize any conflict Namco may come up with for whatever new installment they put together. Setting the story this way just gives me more room for creativity, to stretch my limbs, so to speak. Of course, this may all still backfire on me, but since nothing else is set in stone, what the heck. Well, what can I say, except enjoy it. Comments and feedback are welcome.