The first thing he was aware of was the cold. Before anything else. The feeling of being slumped on something, something cold and damp and hard. Slowly, consciousness returned to him, flowing sluggishly back to his mind, chasing away the clouds of gray.
His eyes fluttered open.
He was in an enclosed space. He didn't know where he was. This struck him as odd. He felt like he should be worried, but truly, he didn't really feel anything.
He looked down, found his body resting on something metal. Several feet in front and behind him were rock faces. He was in a... cave? He stood slowly, almost automatically, and looked to the right and left. To the left there seemed to be a shaft, leading up, up, until the edges of the world blurred. To the right... something blinked, red, in the dim light. He walked slowly to the right. His joints felt... stiff. He didn't think that was normal. Was it?
He found to get to the blinking light he would have to jump a small chasm. He wondered if he was capable to. Walking already didn't feel like it should. Could he make it?
He tensed and jumped. He found that he landed easily on the other side, though he wobbled slightly upon reaching his destination. Standing, he saw a squarish silver box, a panel on the front blinking black to red, black to red, black to red. When it was red there was an odd black heart shape in the center.
Next to the blinking box was another squarish shape. Inside of its clear glass pane was a line of... chips? Red, square chips with white-toothed bottoms. It made no sense. Nothing made sense. He turned and walked to the edge of the small rock outcropping, away from the nonsense.
It struck him that there was water at the bottom of the chasm, a puddle of brackish water fed by droplets dripping from the rock above. In it he could see his reflection. The words for his appearance floated to him from some unknown dimension.
His skin was pale, whitish-silver, and smooth. Two blue eyes sat on his face, and unruly black hair poked out from under a red cap with a white front. Black shirt, red pants, black boots. An object protruded from either side of his head, round green disks with thin antennae.
There were marks on his cap. Writing. The marks assembled themselves into a word. Quote. What did that mean? Was it his name? It struck him that he didn't have a name. It struck him that he was supposed to have a name. But he didn't. Had nothing but the clothes on his back. No memories. No feelings.
He had no past and no future.
Where would he go?
Why go anywhere?
He couldn't stay here. There was nothing here. He had a vague sense that if he moved on he would find something. He didn't know what. Something. Something, not nothing. Nothing would become something.
He jumped to the first platform and then to a higher shelf of rock. Looking up, he crouched, jumping up the shaft, and landed on a metal-reinforced outcropping. He could jump much higher than expected. In front of him was a door, a metal one. He found it creaked open easily when he turned the doorknob and pushed.
He hesitated. Cold air wafted in. It felt much... bigger outside. Steeling himself, he stepped out and gently eased the door shut behind him.
He was in a tunnel, much longer, long and dark and damp. It felt colder. It was colder. The rock was uneven, and he could see, dimly. To the right a sort of makeshift wall blocked his path. The stones looked as if they'd been haphazardly crammed in. To keep something out? Or in?
He set off to the left, cautiously, feeling naked without... what? There was an absence. He walked down the sloping decline of the tunnel and tripped suddenly. Something seemed to... impale him, but he felt no pain. He thought he should feel pain, he used to feel pain, maybe. Stunned, he sat there, and slowly, shakily, got up. He saw his skin was torn, his left foot twisted. Behind him, he saw a clump of sharp red fangy rocks and shivered.
Limping now, he continued to walk, carefully avoiding any other red rock spires.
Ahead, something moved. The flutter of leathery wings reached him. A bat. It swooped down, sharp claws ripping at his cap, his hair. He ran past it, tumbling down another shaft and landing in a heap. Still no pain. Getting to his feet - again - he walked down a slope, saw more bats - walked carefully, trying not to startle them into attacking - and stumbled into a pool of muddy water. He waded slowly to a small metal cliff and was suddenly aware of the water. Surrounding him, sapping his energy, his oxygen. He scurried out, turned, judged the distance over the pool, jumped, made it. Safe. His joints became less and less stiff as he began to be accustomed to this body. Began to feel like it was his. He jumped over another pool of water. The tunnel ceiling suddenly became low and narrow over another pool, and he waded it quickly. Emerged.
Ahead, a narrow strip of metal hovered above more water. He walked across it and saw a dead end. He stood, dumbfounded, not knowing where to go. Useless.
Then he saw it, an entrance yawning out of the gloom. It looked like something's head. A... feline. He limped through the entrance.
A hut. The word came to him. Others followed. A table-and-chairs, a bed, a chest of drawers. All metal, forbidding.
There was a creature.
It was slumped in a chair. Somehow he knew what it was. A human. It was old. Brown-skinned, wrinkled, white-haired, breathing quietly. Asleep.
He looked at himself. Like the human, he had a head, eyes, mouth, clothes, two arms, two legs, needed oxygen, thought. He looked like one, yet... there were differences. He was pale, cold, and the disks... He placed a hand on the old man's shoulder. The man's skin was shockingly warm and he pulled back.
Walking past the man, he hovered by the chest of drawers. Something kept him from opening it. But after a short hesitation, he did, wanting to know what it held.
The first drawer... cans of food. The second, various metal tools. The third...
It was an object he immediately recognized. A gun. It was sleek and metal and wood. A trigger. Black words lined the side. "Polar Star".
Something made him pick it up. I felt... comfortable in his hands. Like he had held it before, or something very like it. He felt an odd emptiness fill.
He wanted this. Wanted to keep it. Needed it, even?
But it was the man's. It was not his, not his to take.
The man was asleep.
He looked down at it, so perfect in his grasp. If he took this, he could make it beyond the little cave he'd woken in, the makeshift wall. Something must be out there. Someone? He sensed a new adventure if he followed the tunnel up. A... future, even.
He held the gun, the Polar Star.
This was strange.
This was good.
This was right.
Carrying it, he walked out the door.
A/N: ...This came to me while playing Cave Story on a road trip the other day. I am absolutely in love with that game. I've played it quite a bit, but shamefully, have never beat it. It's been a long time since my last attempt, so I started a new game on the DSiWare version and just had to write this.
Anyway, you'll notice that Quote is very disconnected, emotionless in this piece. In my mind he doesn't stay that way the whole game, but gradually these things returned to him; he started feeling pain, and started feeling emotion (perhaps after Toroko was taken?).
So, yes. Thoughts? Opinions?