Being sick and listening to Rob Zombie yields interesting results... Thank you for your help and opinion, Storm~!
Think of this chapter as sort of a prequel; setting the stage for the story~
Scattered about the soiled concrete floor lay dead and dying dogs, large, formidable breeds that had been trained and beaten to hate humans, creatures that were used to sick on the new soldiers and test their worth. Guards armed with shock sticks and suited in SWAT grade armor swarmed the shatter proof, plexiglass cell, ignoring the whining beasts and cautious of the lone, unarmed figure in center.
Clothed in next to nothing, smeared in blood that was both his own and the poor creatures that had been unleashed on him, the man looked truly formidable. Nostrils flared to catch his breath and bulging muscle glistening with a sheen of sweat under the harsh florescent lighting, the dangerous man slowly spun circles, watching as he was surrounded and his keepers began drawing in, their electrified weapons at the ready, stances squared and tense but it was the man hanging back that held his attention and had him snarling like the pack of attack dogs he had just killed. White teeth bared, he snarled toward the guard that carried no weapon, the man that instead carried the restraints and bindings to keep him under control.
On the outside of the circular, bullet proof prison the lights were dimmed so that the unpredictable figure within couldn't see who watched and studied him, their latest project. Three men, each dressed in pristine attire, carefully watched as their guards corralled the wild creature of a man, cornering him as he lashed out and fought against them, accepting the debilitating shock of electrical prods that would have stunned and immobilized a normal man. They watched as one such guard fell below the man, face shield ripped away by tanned hands, his pained and terrified screams muffled by the thick glass.
"Sir." One man spoke up, his voice deep and quiet, respectful and polite as he watched the spectacle taking place within the cell from behind darkly tinted glasses.
"If we migh' be permitted ta speak." A second spoke up in a silvery voice to match his silvery appearance, finishing his partner's inquiry. His slitted eyes seemed closed, the color unseen but he too watched with avid interest.
"Of course." The third spoke, his voice calm and full of an almost too polite authority. Arms folded over his chest in a way that suggested comfort and ease, he remained unmoving and watched as a second guard lost his life before his newest soldier was finally brought down, fighting and snarling the whole way to the concrete floor.
His subordinates, his right hand men and his generals so to speak, stepped forward until they stood near him, one on either side of their leader and master.
"I fear he is too unpredictable, too untamable." Said the first, hidden eyes still trained on the ring and the struggling figure within.
"But 'is destructive capabilities are undeniable." Countered the second, his grin taking over his face as he tilted his head to the side just slightly as the figure in the ring convulsed, a shock stick held to his bare and heaving chest.
The first man to speak could not argue with what his counterpart had said; the soldier was indeed powerful. He nodded slightly but it was clear he still had his doubts as to the man's worth and usefulness.
Nodding as well, the man in charge didn't respond as he thought about what his trusted men said. He valued their differing opinions and kept them close for that reason; they were nothing alike and contradicted each other perfectly, always giving him more to think about and another perspective to look at. Both were right in this case, the subject was indeed dangerous, unpredictable and he refused to take orders but as had been pointed out, he was too strong to simply throw away, to powerful to go to waste.
The head of the bioengineering plant watched as the nearly unconscious man was finally bound, a muzzle wrapped in place and his arms wrenched behind his back where he was fitted with a special harness designed much like a straightjacket to keep them in place, straps wrapping his wrists, at his elbows and again around his shoulders to keep him all but immobilized. The restraints were locked in place before he was dragged to his feet, struggling still. A cruel fist landed to the man's exposed stomach, doubling him over and making him cough behind his muzzle like gag as he sagged and was finally dragged from the cell.
Aizen turned away from the glass ring as the man was carried from sight. "Find a way to tame him."
• Days later •
Heavy rain pelted the sky light of the office roof above where Aizen sat in his high backed chair, fingers steepled before his face, his elbows resting on the long metal table. To his right sat one of his generals, his other trusted man on his left. Both wisely remained silent. Brown eyes swirled with thought, a simmering fury in their calculating depths.
Though the alarm had been silenced over an hour ago, he could still hear the echos peeling in his mind, giving him a migraine on top of the head ache he already had to deal with. His patience was wearing thin, his temper trying desperately to rear it's volatile head.
A servant scurried to his side, quiet as a mouse, to place his perfectly prepared tea in his favored, white cup before him on the table. At least it had better be perfectly prepared for the nervous servant's sake. The thin girl waited meekly by her master's side as Aizen took his first sip. A slight smile turned his deep frown upward at the corners as the soothing liquid already began lessening the pounding in his temples, cooled to the perfect temperature so that he could sip at it without burning himself. With a sigh of relief that went unheard, the lower ranking girl took a few silent steps backward, bowed slightly, before turning and scurrying in the direction she had come from to await her next orders.
Lightening cracked outside, flashing through the skylight and turning the deep night into day for a split second, the sound of rolling thunder following just behind, the hard rain doing nothing to drown out the furious sound. Overall, it seemed a fitting storm to match the unfortunate and unheard of events. How very disappointing, this unforeseen event would set them behind schedule and only cause more problems but it would be dealt with.
Miles away from the complex, the chase was on. The rain did little to deter the skilled hunting party that had been sent out; two trained men and the hounds they used to track their target. The storm didn't stop them, nor slow them as they raced through the trees that surrounded the hidden structure of their employer's building fore they knew that if they failed, the man would be far less forgiving than the weather.
"He's fucking fast!" One man shouted over the sound of the pounding rain, reaching up to wipe the water from his face even though it was pointless. The precipitation soaked through his clothing passed his light armor and his dogs' fur, dripping from their bodies and hindering their already limited line of sight. A few meters ahead of the men, the four hounds barked and snarled, noses to the ground as they led their trainers through the trees.
"What do you expect from one of Aizen's pets?" The other man answered, vision flashing over every tree, every shadow and bush that they passed. He knew better than to think they would have a chance to survive should the escaped soldier get sick of the chase and turn on them. It was all a game to the sick fuck, like cat and mouse and eventually he would get sick of playing the part of rodent and they would be dead.
The only thing that kept them and their dogs alive was the locked bindings the man hadn't been able to break out of yet. With his arms secured behind his back and his muzzle still in place, he was still dangerous, but he wouldn't be able to defend against the attack dogs and the weapons the two men carried at the same time. Still, the two men didn't let their guards down and even the hounds seemed to feel the dangerous aura that wafted from their target. Any man that could sprint through the thick trees at night, in torrential rain with his arms bound and bare footed was something to fear, let alone a man known for his aggression.
Nearly half a mile ahead, the soldier, battered and bruised, navigated through the trees, his keen ears picking up the sound of the hounds tracking his scent even through the muffling sound of the rain. His bare feet made hardly a sound on the leaf littered forest floor as he splashed through puddles and splattered himself in dirt and mud. He leapt fallen trees and bushes, climbing once such slopping log to get to the lower branches of a tree where he hopped to another tree before dropping back to the ground and continuing his fleeing in a different direction; anything to keep the hounds working to find his scent, anything to trick them into giving him more time.
He panted through flared nostrils, snarling around the gag like muzzle that was locked in place around the lower half of his face. He stumbled against a tree, the rough bark scratching at his shirtless torso but he didn't have time to pause and was lucky he had the balance of a cat, else he would be on the ground, struggling to get back up without the use of his arms.
He knew he was running out of time. He probably had the stamina to easily out run and out distance the two men hunting him, but the dogs would be set free if their trainers decided to pause, and if that happened, they would no longer have someone to command them. If the hounds found him, they would attack with the intent to kill. He had no doubt he would kill them, but he also knew he probably wouldn't survive the encounter. Still, that was better than the alternative; being dragged back.
His sprinting pace slowed as fatigue began settling into his trembling muscles, the chilly rain doing nothing to help him out. His legs had gone numb without thick enough clothing to keep him warm. The bullet that had lodged somewhere in the thick muscle of his shoulder while he had been making his escape throbbed and burned but he ran on anyway. There had to be a way out, there had to be somewhere he could hole up, hide until the hounds were passed, until he could rest up and continue.
Luck was once again on his side and as he ran, keen eyes taking in the forest around him, the flash of light in the distance caught his attention, the pattern different from that made by lightening. The headlights of a car could only mean one thing; a road and normal people, maybe a town or city, somewhere he could hide or even get help.
He had had a life once, before being selected for Aizen's army. It hadn't been much of one; no family or friends, a life on the streets mostly, but it had still been his. He would gladly go back to it. If he survived through the night he would dye his hair, change his appearance, move far, far away and disappear. The only problem was the surviving part.
He could tell he was drawing near the road, a highway by the sounds of the reasonably steady car traffic, though he realized it was still in the middle of no where, the nearest city probably miles away, too many for him to run while being hunted down in the condition he was in. He had already been running for several miles.
The hounds were drawing nearer, their barking increasing as they began gaining ground on the fleeing soldier but he could hear the shouted commands of their handlers every so often so at least they weren't set free quite yet.
Turning to glance over his shoulder as the footsteps that could have only been made by a four legged creature neared, the man stumbled slightly, nearly loosing his balance as the ground began to decline. The hound that had managed to pull ahead of the others and catch up to him leaped, all viscous teeth and snarling intent.
Snarling back at it through his muzzle, the man hit the ground, letting the slopping hill keep his forward momentum going as he kicked out at the dog trying to tear into him. They rolled a ways down the hill, the sounds of a passing car loud as they neared the hard pavement. Where the ground leveled out, the asphalt cutting through the hillside, the two struggling creatures landed in a mass of tangled limbs. The dog yelped as the heavier human landed on top of it, muscled legs wrapped around it's throat to strangle as the man kept it's snapping jaws at bay.
A dart zinged off a metal buckle of the immobilizing harness he wore, forcing a muffled curse from his mouth. Head whipping up to see the two men standing on the top of the hill, he watched as they released the other three dogs, sending them after him. With a well placed and powerful kick, he sent the nearly dead dog flying while he propelled himself to his feet again, stumbling as he did but determined even as his legs tried to collapse under him.
Too focused on getting away from his pursuers, the soldier didn't notice as bright headlights neared him on the rain slicked road. It wasn't until the dog he had been strangling yelped, the thumping of it's body hitting the car sickening as it rang through the air, that he looked over. Vivid cyan eyes widened as he pushed his tired muscles into a dive toward the far edge of the road.
He hit the ground on the edge of the road hard enough to knock what was left of the air from his lungs, grunting as he landed at an awkward angle on the slopping ground. He nearly cried out behind his muzzle as he felt the joint of his left shoulder grind before snapping out of place, the debilitating harness constricting against it and forcing it further from the socket.
Above, the two guards that had been tracking the fleeing soldier scrambled to the edge of the road, hardly sparing their dead dog a second look as the renegade hit the ground as the car passed. He didn't seem to be moving and they were positive that he had at least been clipped. As the blinding headlights receded, the sound of the driver's horn fading with them, the night was dark once again and the two watched as the man tumbled over the edge of the leveled off area.
They quickly rushed across the street, commanding their remaining hounds to stay at their sides and peered over the edge of the steep incline just in time to see the man plunge into the swiftly flowing river at the base of the large hill, unmoving and silent. With his arms bound by the thick straps and weighed down by the metal buckles and the metal grill of his muzzle, there was no chance he would be able to swim far enough to reach the other side. Still, the two watched for a few moments before exchanging a glance.
Without words, they released their dogs, following behind them as they trotted down the hill, jumping and leaping over the rocky outcroppings that dotted between the trees. Aizen would not be pleased to learn of his newest and most promising soldier's fate, even less happy if they couldn't at least find a body. It was one thing for the man to be killed, another for him to disappear, even if he was dead.
The three hounds ran up and down the edge of the river, noses to the ground and searching for the missing man's scent. They sloshed through the swift current, crossing to the other side to continue their search, hoping to find the trail again on the other side incase the man had made it to the other shore. After nearly a half hour of searching in the cold rain and water, the hunting team was forced to call it quits.
They left their dead dog behind, only stopping to strip it's collar and tags from it and cut the microchip from the base of it's shoulders before they crossed the street. The hike back took hours but they were greeted by higher level guards at the entrance of the complex and ushered into the meeting room.
Just like he had been when they had left in search of the rogue soldier, Aizen sat at the head of the table, a fresh cup of steaming tea held between his hands as he watched them enter, a polite smile resting on his lips. His generals had stood from their chairs, flanking their leader's throne like seat, hands obediently clasped behind their backs, ever silent and ever ominous as they watched the team enter.
The hounds were taken to their kennels where they would be dried off and fed, any wounds tended to while their masters faced their boss.
"P...permission to speak, Sir..." One of the two men asked, his voice faltering slightly as he shook more from being nervous than from the cold rain water that dripped from his body to pool on the tile below him.
"Granted." Aizen said in a cool voice, setting his tea on a saucer on the table. "What's your report?"
"Thank you, Sir. We were able to track subject 'Sexta' to sector 113 where he managed to kill one of the dogs." The man reported, though he knew the loss of the hound would mean nothing to his boss, especially after the man learned of his soldier's fate. "A highway runs through that mile, he fell in the road with the dog. We are fairly certain he was struck by a car before tumbling into a river."
The man paused, unsure just how to tell their boss they couldn't find him. His partner picked up for him, hoping to convince their leader the soldier was dead and hadn't actually escaped.
"He sank in the river and was washed away by the current. We were unable to retrieve the body but we're certain he is dead."
Aizen's features remained calm and controlled, not a single hint of his rage showing on his face but his cold gaze gave him away. When he spoke, his voice was just as calm and controlled but it spelled disaster for the two men he had entrusted to capture the missing man. "You are absolutely certain he was killed? Was he alive when he hit the water or did the car kill him?"
"Uhh... well..." The two faltered, unsure how to answer. Telling the man they weren't sure would spell their death, but so would lying. "We're pretty sure the car got him, he wasn't moving when he hit the water."
Aizen was silent a moment, pinning the two with his calculating gaze. "Gin. Tōsen."
The two answered at the same time, stepping forward. Aizen had been asking their opinions, though it was clear to them that he had already made up his mind. The both of them agreed, something that rarely happened and their opinion was the very same that Aizen had settled upon; these men were failures and failure was not tolerated around the complex.
No further commands needed, Gin and Tōsen each pulled a gun free of their uniforms. With swift actions, not wasting the time to aim, they pulled the triggers at the same time. The two hunts men fell to the tiled floor, their warm blood mixing with the puddles they had been standing in as the shots echoed in the large room.
Aizen sighed and picked up his tea once more, sipping from it while his thoughts whirled. A clean up crew quickly ran into the room, going to work and disposing of the bodies and cleaning the mess as quietly and quickly as they could. Aizen ignored them. There was little doubt in his mind that Sexta was alive and he could not be permitted to get away. The renegade soldier was the first to attempt such an escape and he would be captured.
"Bring me Cuatro."
Minutes later, a petite male was led into the meeting hall, bowing slightly to the man still seated at the head of the table like a god on a throne. He straightened, his large, emotionless green eyes trained on his master while his muzzle, a match to the missing soldier's, was unlocked and removed, allowing him to speak should he wish and letting his inky hair fall free to frame his pale face. Next, the harness keeping his arms pinned behind him where they couldn't harm anyone was removed, the buckles undone and the straps slipped free. The smaller male let his arms fall to his sides before sticking his hands into the pockets of the thin, white pants he wore, silently happy to have them free once more.
All the while, Cuatro looked upon his master, obediently silent and still while around the nervous guards. He could smell their fear, sense their hesitation in the presence of his strength but he would only harm them if given an order by Aizen himself. Unlike the renegade, he held no desire to go against his master and knew better than to ever hold that desire so he stood calmly while the guards gathered his fitted restraints and backed away, leaving him alone in the room with Aizen and the two generals.
"Cuatro." Aizen addressed the smaller soldier, his calm gaze never leaving the man's unnerving, green eyes as he sipped his tea.
"If he's dead, I want his body. If he's alive, I don't care what it takes to bring him back." Aizen paused, letting his statement settle in. He had just given his most trusted soldier permission to use force, permission to kill should he need to. "I want Sexta found."
Cuatro bowed to his master. "Of course, Aizen-sama."