Tekken: Papa I Adore
That was what everyone called me.
More specifically, I was known as Subject: (DGX) Hanako Yamada Unit-5336, or simply Hanako 5336, or even just '5336'. Heh… not a pretty name, is it?
In a different lifetime, I had many brothers and sisters… or at least that's how I saw them, as other than my mother, they were the closest thing I had to a family. All of them were named Taro Yamada for the boys, and Hanako Yamada for the girls, by the way. Heh… You know, whoever came up with that idea wasn't very original, but I suppose it makes naming their experiments easier. Hence the long, complicated designation… Honestly, I feel like a robot every time I get called that.
There are other things I can remember. For instance… well, my home, also known as Soleil Inc., mainly involved a tiny little white room with nothing else save for a bed, a table, and a chair. That, and the laboratory, which I'd rather not get into. People in white jackets would come in and check on me for… stuff. I would be fed three meals a day by some orderly… mostly things like water, pills, and some disgusting brown stuff in a bowl.
…it wasn't much of a home.
Oh, and then there was mama.
Aki Nakamura was her name. She was kind of short, but she was smart, and very pretty… And she was the only person at that time who was ever nice to me. How she came to be my mama… well, unofficially speaking, she simply adopted me the moment I was born out of my surrogate's womb, though in public I was to always refer to her as 'Dr. Nakumura' or simply 'doctor'. She was the only one who called me 'Hanako' as my given name as opposed to some code word.
You see… I was nothing more than a lab rat, a human experiment, a mere specimen in a proverbial petri dish. Specifically, I was supposed to be some kind of next generation superhuman made possible through some very special genes. Devil Genes.
Hence the, uh, (DGX) in my name… yes, I know, how clever of them. Did I mention I feel like a robot? Especially the giant ones with those big massive guns, except I don't feel all that gigantic… nor do I have massive guns…
Anyways… mama. She herself was apparently one of the scientists in this grisly project, and she volunteered herself to help further the research into this Devil Gene and ultimately bring about human evolution. You know, for the betterment of mankind.
With Devil Genes…
It sounds very wrong, doesn't it? Using something that is named after something evil to do good.
Um… yes, mama… even though we don't share the same genes whatsoever, people did used to say we resembled each other. I don't mind… it means I look pretty just like her.
Hmm… I used to get poked and prodded by needles almost every day, taken out of the room only to end up in another room, sometimes tied to a bed or a chair with machines scanning me. And those were the best case scenarios. Worse case scenarios… they usually involve things like… probes, electrodes, chemicals, and other implements of torture.
It was scary, it really was. And did I mention the food? Yeah, very scary… Yet, in spite of all those things, I could always count on mama to be there in the end. Mama would play with me, would bring some books to read or show me pictures… she would try to feed me, though it was quite disgusting… she would tuck me to bed and sing to me.
Did I mention there was this stuffed panda she gave me? Mama secretly gave him to me when I was barely a month old. Heh… as a toddler, every time I tried to pronounce the word, panda, it always came across as 'da-da', or something embarrassing like that. Hence why I ended up naming him 'Chibi-Da'.
I... can't believe I even mentioned that…
Anyways, mama comforted me when the experiments got real hard. I know she worried over me, and it hurt her just as much as it hurt me. I see her pleading, begging, even go into fits of rage over the tests to the point she was in tears. That is how I knew she cared for me.
Especially since I am a failure…
I was born a failure. Right before I drew my first breath, I was destined to be a failure. And so were the rest of my brothers and sisters, though I was probably the biggest disappointment of them all. While my brothers and sisters at that time were cloned and conceived outside of a womb, as far as I know, I was the first and only Hanako Yamada to be conceived from within an actual human being. The reason behind this… this was all theoretical and such, but in the simplest terms I could understand, it is for the 'devil' to accept me in a more 'natural setting'.
The best case scenario for the other Taros and Hanakos was for the gene to end up dormant and never take effect. The worst case scenarios have seen some end up with mutations and deformities, and in most cases, ultimately burn out and die. Then somebody came to this 'realization' that the Devil Gene weren't merely genetic material that could be manipulated through splicing and shoving them into a test tube… that it somehow had a mind of its own, as though those genes were like creatures unto themselves. For the 'devil traits' to truly activate, it needs something a little more… natural, something with flesh and blood. Hence for me, we have the natural birthing.
On top of that, though, that same person also thought that those genes tend to 'activate' when combined with, say, a strong bloodline. As far as everyone was concerned, there was only one bloodline they could possibly use to bring about those devil traits.
It had to come from a Mishima.
Personally, I don't think they thought it through. While it is true that a sterilized environment never got them the results they want as far as the Devil Genes were concerned… and it is true that those that became 'devils' happened to be Mishimas… still, you have to consider the fact that out of the two that gained the Devil Gene, only one was actually born 'naturally' with it. The other just happened upon it either by accident or… whatever. And from what I understood, they weren't exactly in…optimal conditions. If they were to make the same attempt on a fourth Mishima, such as, oh, myself, the genes may simply be rejected once again just because those genes did not 'feel like it', and months and years of resources would be wasted…
And as it turned out… that was exactly what happened.
Now, of course, those traits may take time to manifest. Maybe the person needs to grow and mature before these traits begin to show themselves, and I was merely a little kid. It more or less happened in the case of one Jin Kazama, right?
(By the way, how I met my older step brother is a long story in itself, and if we had more time, I would tell you about that particular tale. I'll simply say it was very violent and very awkward and leave it at that.)
So I was kept around a little longer. More specifically, I was allowed to live for about eight years before they decide to 'discard' me. I suppose I should count myself lucky; some of my brothers and sisters were given, at best, maybe two or three years before they were deemed failures, and were therefore terminated. I would have shared their fate had it not been for mama…
They say the ultimate expression of love is when a person lays down his or her life willingly and unconditionally for someone else. Sounds rather religious, no? Mama did that for me day in and day out during those eight years. It was because of her that I even have eight years as she managed to convince those white coats that I needed time to grow into my genes, so to speak. She never rested, never let her guard down, always looking out for me, ensuring that my life would be spared, if only for a little longer.
Some thought she coddled me too much, that she was too soft on what was supposed to be a mere lab rat. She would argue that her involvement managed to get more positive feedback than their usual… um… methods of mining data out of me. I'm not sure if that even makes sense, but I do appreciate it. I'm sure her efforts kept things from getting much worse. Bought some time for me as well.
I remember the last day we spent together… mama and I. Eight years old, but the memory is still fresh like it was yesterday. It was on a Saturday afternoon. On the rare occasion that I was allowed to spend some time outside the labs, mama would take me to one of the indoor parks in the facility. It's essentially a lavish greenhouse set up mainly for the growth and study of agriculture for the purpose of developing new medicines… or some kind of nonsense like that. The greenhouse was also set up in such a way that it doubled as a large recreational place. Our own Garden of Eden all to ourselves. I would be taken to such to look at the flowers, the grass, the trees… there was this little pond that we used to sit next to where mama and I would have picnics.
Mama was definitely better at making me meals than those white coats, I will tell you that much. Granted, there was only so much she could give me without those scientists breathing down her neck, so it was mostly limited to a few crackers and pastries and the odd sandwich. Still, it beats eating that grimy gray glop they call food any day of the week.
And, of course, I would bring Chibi-Da with me. Aside from mama, Chibi-Da was my only other friend.
So, on that Saturday afternoon, mama came to my room to pick me up. I was happy, excited even. Just the day before I went through a particularly excruciating test, one that was more painful than usual. I thought I nearly died in that lab, with all the electricity pouring into my body. So when mama said she was taking me to the park, naturally I clung onto her like you wouldn't believe. The tests hurt very much, but I get to go out and play with the flowers and take Chibi-Da with me.
It was very nice. Yes, the weather was artificial, including the sunbeams, but somehow, it felt nicer than usual.
"Now, Hanako," she told me. "Be careful not to get too close to the water."
I simply turned and nodded back at her, then ran next to the edge of the pond and began tossing some stones into the water.
At the time I didn't notice. I was just happy to be out of those labs and spending time with mama in the garden. However, when I think back, I did see what looked like a small hint of sadness in her eyes. She tried to hide it, of course, but it was there. I was just too young to have paid much attention back then. Really, I was having too much fun frolicking in the grass and playing near the water with Chibi-Da.
We both played for what felt like many hours. Mama got exhausted while I was a tiny ball of energy.
"Calm down, Hanako, calm down," she laughed, practically out of breath from chasing me around.
"Uh-uh, mama," I said. "Come and catch me!"
That whole game went on for a little while longer.
Eventually I got winded and we both sat down to eat. She got me an egg sandwich… I think it was egg… and a black sesame seed cake.
"Do you like it?" she asked.
I nodded between mouthfuls and continued eating. Mama just looked at me and smiled with that same glint of sadness.
Other than that, nothing suspicious, just another normal day at the park with mama, me, and Chibi-Da.
At that point, the door to the entrance of the greenhouse slid open, and a man in a lab coat walked in.
"Would you excuse me, Hanako?" mama asked gently, and walked over to the man.
When the two of them were out of earshot, they began to talk. I could not tell what they were talking about; I was too busy eating my bread and loaded myself up with ample amounts of sugar, but I did know it was serious. The man had that stern look in his face while mama waved her arms around, looking more agitated than usual. Both of them would peak over to see what I was doing, and I would pretend not to notice and go about, uh, whatever it was I was doing. After what I guess was a ten minute conversation, mama quickly rushed back over while the man backed away without taking his eyes off of us and then left. I was worried, but I never asked, and kept it to myself. The rest of the day went normally.
That night, after another round of tests, I couldn't sleep. Two things bothered me that night as I wrapped myself beneath those cheap, filthy, thin white sheets. One, the tests seemed lighter than usual. Painful they still were, yet they didn't go through the whole round like they usually would do. I found that very disturbing, and while I try to tell myself I was just thinking too much, the fact the white coats skimped through the experiments and acting less harsh than usual made it seem strange. And two, the incident in the greenhouse between mama and that man. That conversation they had was very serious, so much so that mama remained shaken during the rest of that afternoon. Again, she put up a brave front, pretending like nothing happened, but I knew she was bothered by it, and that scared me. I held Chibi-Da tightly, clinging on him for dear life.
That was when I heard the door to my room open.
I nearly yelped at the sound of my name, but was relieved that it was mama's voice that called out to me.
"Hanako, you awake?"
At the sound of my name called a second time, I stirred, and sat up.
"Mmhmm," I mumbled and nodded.
"Good girl," she said, and hurriedly walked over to my bed. Mama had me turn around and brushed aside my hair, exposing the back of my neck. "Hold still, try not to cry," she added. Before I knew it, I felt this sting on my neck, like a sharp object stabbing into my flesh. Only because mama told me not to cry that I didn't make a sound. I looked over my shoulder a bit and noticed a small gun in her hand with a shiny object on the tip of the barrel covered in a bit of my blood. It was a tracking device implanted into my neck. "I'm so sorry, baby," she apologized over and over, turning me back around and hugging me tightly while soothing the pain on my neck.
"What's going on?" I asked as she wiped off the blood and bandaged the wound.
"Here, put this on," she simply answered. She had a thick coat and shoes in her hands, and helped me put them on. Without me asking, she promptly placed Chibi-Da into my coat and zipped me up.
"Where are we going?"
"We are leaving this place."
Mama looked at me with those warm, tender eyes, and smiled. "We are going to a better place," she said, and kissed me on the forehead.
"Are you done?" I heard a voice from outside.
"Yes, yes we're ready," mama growled. "Stop rushing us!"
"We don't have much time, doctor!" the voice answered back. "Security will be on us any minute now."
"Fine!" mama hissed, and covered my head with the jacket's hood. "Are you ready?" she asked me softly.
When we walked towards the door, my heart practically jumped when I saw who it was that mama spoke to. It was that man in the lab coat I saw that afternoon, looking as stern and serious as before. I clung onto mama's arm and hid behind her.
"Shh, don't worry, Hanako. He is here to help us."
I gingerly peaked over and looked up. He still looked scary.
Standing next to the man was an even bigger man dressed in a security uniform, his face completely covered in a mask and goggles. He looked like he can snap a person in two. Somehow, he looked less scary than the other man. Well, while I'm not sure if he was really a security officer or just muscle to help escort me, but for the sake of argument, I shall refer to him as the 'security officer'.
"We have to move," the man stated. "This way."
It amazes me how large Soleil is even as an adult, with all those complicated mazes and corridors and passages and whatnot. As an eight year old, the place might as well be a city. Everything looked absolutely huge.
Mama pulled my hand gently and we followed the man and the security officer till we reached a door. The man nodded to the security officer, who promptly slid a keycard through a slot and punched in some numbers. The door opened quietly, and the four of us found ourselves in yet another maze of corridors.
Nudging me along, we went through the mess of walls, passing several doorways along the way.
"You're late," another voice announced. A second man appeared, waiting patiently for us on the other side. Equally as huge as the first security officer, also dressed in the same uniform. I shall simply refer to him as the 'second security officer'.
"The doctor needed time to prepare the child," the man in the lab coat said matter of fact.
"Is that the excuse you're going to stick with?"
"Yes, and you fine gentlemen can blame me for our tardiness after we free Hanako," mama snapped. "Until then, we are wasting our time."
The two security officers and the man looked at one another, then looked back at mama. Mama glared at the men with hands on her hips. Finally, the second security officer gestured with his head and we continued.
For the most part, that whole trip through the maze was uneventful. Through a set of hallways, up a flight of stairs, through another set of corridors, up through an elevator… the adults were still cautious, but I was getting a wee bit excited. I actually believed that we were all going to leave that dreadful place together.
Silly me, I should have known better.
"Folks, we have a problem," the second security officer said. Everyone stopped in their tracks. I nearly ran into mama's leg.
"What is it?" the man in the lab coat asked.
The security officer had his hand on his earpiece and swore under his breath. "They just discovered the girl is missing."
"I thought you said it would take another fifteen minutes before they find out!" mama said.
"Well, I guess I was wrong!" the security officer snapped back. "Regardless, we can't continue on this path."
"Is there another way around?" mama asked worriedly.
The officer pulled out a device from his pocket and punched its keys hurriedly. The plans of the building lit up on the screen and studied it quietly.
"We take a right… this way!" he answered, and escorted us down a dank hallway.
At that point, my legs buckled under me, so mama had to scoop me into her arms and carry me. We didn't get very far before we heard loud voices just behind us.
"They found us!" the second security officer muttered.
"Over there!" the first officer pointed to a door. Without saying a word, the man in the lab coat fumbled through his pockets for his keycard and slid it into the slot while punching the code on the keypad.
Just as we heard footsteps heading to our direction, the door immediately opened.
"Inside! Move it!"
The first security officer went in first, with mama following right behind. The man in the lab coat entered and the second officer came in last and slammed the door shut. Just in time, too. Soleil's security personnel were mere inches from us before the second officer closed the door and locked them out.
Then again, I can't say I was fond of the alternative. We walked into a disposal room… a disposal room for failed Taros and Hanakos. I screamed, startling the others.
"Shh, don't look, don't look," mama tried to assure me, comforting me in her arms.
It was a grisly sight. Bags upon bags of bodies within a large space, some of them cut open and left to rot. Others lined up in a row ready to be incinerated. Some of the bodies were of children either around my age, or younger. That was when I finally realized what mama really meant by taking me to a better place.
"Now what?" the man in the lab coat asked.
"Looks like we shall be leaving here the unconventional way," was the reply. "On the other side of this room, there is a duct that will lead us around most of that security straight to an access tunnel on the North end. Only few people know about this area, and fewer people have direct access to them. Problem is it will be a steep climb."
The security officer merely had to show the blueprints to the man. By the looks of his face, he wasn't too pleased.
"We can't just carry the child around up those ducts!" the man protested.
"Luckily, we can rappel," the security officer said, and gestured to his partner. "Hope no one is afraid of heights."
I hate heights. I was just glad I didn't have too much to eat that night.
Not that I had a choice in the matter as we made our way through to the other side of the room, passed the aisles of my deceased brothers and sisters towards a large grate. Quickly, the two officers pulled on the large piece of metal until it budged. My way to freedom opened up, one by one we began to crawl through that cramped duct and away from that horrible room. I remembered I took one little peak back into the room, like little kids tend to do even if it was probably a dumb thing to do. A couple of seconds later, I couldn't stomach the sight and buried my face on mama's shoulder.
First leg of the journey wasn't too bad. While it was cramped for the adults, I was able to crawl through the ducts just fine. I scrambled on my hands and knees, forgetting that I was tired and aching from all that running and a lack of sleep. All I thought about was that I needed to get as far away from that… that morgue as possible.
"We're here," the security officer announced. Everyone stopped and looked up.
Like I said, I hate heights.
I watched as the officers pulled out their rappel guns and, loading a grappling hook to the barrel, fired a rope upwards to through the towering duct. Afterwards, they quickly hooked us onto the cord, giving it a few tugs to test the weight, and then, up we went. It didn't take too long, with the rappel hoisting us into the air so quickly.
I will skip most of this part of the journey, since I kept my eyes shut throughout most of that trip. Simply put, we reach one level, we crawl, we rappel to another, I try not to puke… I think you understand.
So, we continue to follow the path as outlined by that blueprint. The building went on lockdown, limiting our path to only a few destinations. On the other hand, some areas were hacked ahead of time for such emergencies, allowing us to travel through parts of the duct network while shutting off others to avoid any conflict, so as tedious as it was, we were met with little to no resistance until we arrived at that secret access tunnel.
One small problem. There was no tunnel.
"Where is it?" I heard mama ask.
"It… it should have been here."
"Are you certain!" the man in the lab coat demanded. "Check it again!"
"I've checked… it… it should be right here!"
"Well clearly it isn't here!"
"Why don't you look at it and see for yourself!"
You know, looking back, in a twisted kind of way, it's funny watching a group of adults bicker like a bunch of little kids. Honestly, if my life wasn't on the line at that time, I probably would have giggled a bit. Instead, I got real scared.
Anyways, after cooler heads prevailed, everyone studied the blueprints on the screen while I was fidgeting with myself. Mama held my hand gently but firmly, equally worried as I was.
"Alright, alright, alright," I heard one of the security officers speak. First one, second one, they both sounded the same. "I think I figured another way out. Follow me."
We followed him, with the two security officers flanking us. Meanwhile, we heard voices echo through the ducts and the sound of arms and knees against metal.
"Damn it, they're onto us!" I heard the second security officer swore.
Up until that point, in spite of those hitches, we were rather lucky to get this far in our escape. We didn't even run into any other officers or sentries or anything that could kill us.
And then I heard a bang.
One of the security officers got struck on the shoulder and began to bleed. The officer ignored the pain, pulled out his gun, and fired at the direction of the shot.
"Go, go, go!" he said.
We crawled through the ducts like we had never crawled before. My heart was pounding hard, partially from the exertion, and partially from the panic. Mama remained close to me, nudging me along, though I could hear her breathing hard. More shots were heard, and the security officers drew their weapons and fired back.
"This way!" the second security officer grunted. Finally, we found a hatch to the access tunnels. The man in the lab coat along with the first security officer began pushing some buttons while the second security officer remained on guard. The hatch opened with a quiet hiss, and the first security officer hopped into the tunnels, then lifted his arms to help mama and myself to the ground, then finally the man in the lab coat.
Gunshots echoed, and several of them struck the second security officer.
"I'll hold them back," the wounded officer grunted. "You get the doctor and the kid out. Move!"
After that… things became a blur. The hatch closed, leaving the second security officer behind to fend for himself. We ran through the tunnels, following some route that the first security officer mapped out. Then more voices and footsteps… then more gunshots… then the man in the lab coat was struck on the back and fell to the ground. He died instantly. I heard mama scream and hold me close, while the first security officer pulled us away.
We ran, and ran, and ran for what felt like hours… no matter how far we went, no matter how fast we moved, we could not outrun Soleil's security. We… uh… we turned a corner. Then more gunshots… and…
The officer put his body between him and the security forces, and ended up shot to death. It was a valiant effort, but he couldn't block them all. One of the bullets… sailed passed him and… and…
Her coat was stained red… she was bleeding real bad… but she kept on going, kept on pushing me forward. I wanted to cry out… wanted to scream, but she wouldn't let me. She just kept telling me to be brave and not to cry and to be a good girl and…
Dear god, I…
We got to what I think was a chute. It was a tiny little chute, barely big enough to fit me. Desperate, mama quickly held my hands and pulled me towards that chute.
"No, mama, no!" I cried out between sobs. It wasn't all that audible, but mama knew what I said.
"Shh… it's ok, Hanako," she whispered tenderly to my ear. "Everything will be fine."
"No, mama! Please don't – "
"You're… a good girl… remember that…" she said weakly. "Take care… of Chibi-Da, ok?" Mama hugged me for what was the last time, though I struggled to pull her away from me. I did not want to say goodbye.
I begged her… I pleaded with her with all my might… and yelled, I screamed… and all this time, mama just held me and smiled tearfully.
"I love you…"
Then she pushed me into the chute… and after that, I don't remember what happened. I slid down the chute… I hit the bottom, I cried, I whined, and lashed out… and somehow I managed to find my way outside the building. I wish I could tell you what it was like being outside for the first time… how it feels to be free… I know it was night, but that was the extent I could remember. All I know is that I wandered around… it was cold… and I couldn't stop crying. I was free, yet without mama…
I couldn't see where I was going… I mean, really, I could not see where I was going. It was dark all around as I hobbled what I think were the streets. Then, I saw a pair of bright lights head towards me at high speed. I stopped… I looked… I didn't care what happened to me afterwards. I was too tired… too exhausted… then I blanked out.
"What's going on?" G-Corporation executive Kazuya Mishima sat in his seat impatiently, demanding why the limo had stopped.
"There… there's someone in the middle of the road," the driver replied.
"Fine," he grunted. "Drive around it."
"It's a child," the driver uttered.
"Again, drive around it."
"We can't just leave her there!" a woman dressed in business attire said.
"And we are wasting time," Kazuya growled. "Drive… around it."
"It's a 'she', and she needs our help!" the woman insisted, and quickly got out of the car.
"Get back… get back in here, woman!" Kazuya snapped.
"My name is Christina!" the woman shot back. "And let me remind you that you may have been president and CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu in the past, but in here, you are just another personnel working under my unit. Therefore, you shall address me as Miss Kingsley. Understand!"
Kazuya was half tempted to snap 'Miss Kingsley' in half. He could do it. He could do it quickly, painfully, very easily. Unfortunately, it was not an option… not yet. He needed the corporation to keep him hidden from his oh, so loving father, as well as help him learn how to control his Devil Gene…
"Do what you wish," he relented. "Just keep that piece of refuse away from me."