Author's Notes: Hey, Just the beginnings of an idea I've had cooking for awhile now, in a sense, it is an amalgamation of several topics I've found to be interesting in the fandom. Since this is for a rather niche group I'm going to warn you now. If you don't like the idea of Soifon unwillingly becoming a hollow hybrid like Ichigo and the Vizard, or the possibility of time travel, then leave now. If you don't care about that, congratulations, you've got an open mind and I like you.
Please note that this takes place roughly one month after the Xcution Arc. I know that the time frame in which this lab was found is a little stretched, just pretend that Mayuri took his sweet ass time finding its location within the bucket of goodies he looted during the Winter War. I also know that some of the Vizard rejoined the Gotei 13, in this story they didn't and Soul Society's new Central 46 still harbors some animosity when dealing with the existence of hollow hybrids. In addition, all of the Movies and Anime exclusive Arcs never happened. I may take some minor things from them however, Suzumebachi's personality and appearance, for instance. Finally, I started writing this before the Vandenreich Arc, so there will be many things from that which I'll be ignoring.
I encourage and would greatly appreciate any rocks and flaming sticks you throw at me during your reviews, it will help me improve. Additionally, I will be making regular progress updates on my profile page, so if you want to know the current status of an upcoming chapter, look there.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach or anything pertaining to it.
After hours of travel and much deliberation, she decided that she was now thoroughly agitated.
It wasn't the fact that she had been practically forced by Head-Captain Yamamoto to go along on this mission, it wasn't that she was constantly having to avoid all manner of traps that she was not informed of, or even that she was currently deep within enemy territory. Such things were actually quite common when she thought about it. No, what the real cause of her current agitation, was in actuality, the constant asinine comments from one of the most infuriating individuals she had ever had the pleasure of having to keep an eye on.
Speak of devil...
Frowning for the umpteenth time this day, she turned around from the odd looking creation she was currently musing next to and shot a glare at him that was so intense that few others besides Urahara were graced with it.
Forgoing honorifics, she replied in a tone bordering exasperation. "What is it now, Kurotsuchi..?"
"I told you not to go near any of the devices or potential research specimens! Why must I constantly have to repeat myself to simpletons who don't pay attention!?"
"Kurotsuchi, Just-" Stopping her mid-sentence, the circus-freak actually continued on with his inane tirade.
"It was a rhetorical question, you imbecile." After waving his hand around like the flamboyant clown that he was, he then pointed to an absent corner. "Why don't you just stand over there, where you cannot damage anything with your uneducated and grubby hands."
With a signature scowl still firmly in place, she decided at that moment that she would rather just search the final section of this disturbing laboratory to check for any more potential threats, if anything dangerous showed itself again it would be disposed of.
She knew that her actual assignment was to keep an eye on Mayuri while he performed his "Specimen and Technology Retrieval Mission", but she would be damned if one more of the deceased 8th Espada's little "presents" tried to sneak up on her again. She was already thoroughly berated during her self-defense when she destroyed multiple guardians and a machine that kept churning out these horribly annoying fat hollows that favored bouncing about to walking. So what would another obnoxious security measure being decimated matter? Mayuri would just have to deal with it.
With that ironed out in her mind, she turned to a direction Mayuri had definitely *not* pointed at and began walking to the entrance of said unexplored section.
"Kurotsuchi, I'm going ahead to secure the remainder of the lab, I should return shortly."
"Tch, fine... Just be sure that you don't. Touch. Anything!"
Completely ignoring him, she continued past the entrance and into the hallway that would lead to her temporary mental reprieve.
She could keep a better eye on the horrid man when she was sure the lab was arguably more secure to an extent and cleared of hostiles. Hopefully that last room they were in would sufficiently hold his interest until she finished.
"Yes, Master Mayuri?"
"I need you to analyze the remainder of those devices, immediately! We need to catch up with the good Captain in the final section, preferably before her ineptitude ruins anything with potential interest..."
"Of course Master."
With a look of complete disinterest, he turned away from his bowing Lieutenant and began making his way to a nearby cluster of terminals. Perhaps they held some information on their databanks; he might just find something intriguing to busy himself with while Nemu finished her analysis.
Pressing a fairly large button on one of the terminals, he looked up and smiled as various feeds and information passed on though the screen.
She was nearly done, just one room left in the entire section to clear and she could go back to the freak, pack up whatever is was that he came here for, and leave.
Fortunately, while the room she just entered was fairly large, it was relatively open, with various containment tanks and stasis pedestals lined against the walls. Beyond that, there wasn't much besides some connected machinery and the low humming noise coming from them. In short, it would not take more than a small glance to proclaim it cleared. Quite like the last few rooms she observed. But there was one key difference, these tubes and pedestals did not contain the usual odd hollow or have a device levitating in place. No, they were all vacant, with the exception of one pedestal located roughly in the back of the room.
Naturally this caused an interest to form. Upon closer inspection it appeared that whatever was in it, it was quite different from the rest of the things she had observed on her little trip here. Mayuri would certainly want it due to its isolation from the bulk of the other experiments and its uniqueness; and if he really wanted something, she especially wanted to know *exactly* what it was before the freak got his hands on it. That was the whole reason she was here for anyways.
Cautiously walking up to the stasis pedestal, she noticed that the object was an orb of a white liquid-like substance swirling about in place.
Leaning in further she noted that the swirling orb closely resembled what shoots out of a plus's face when they near the end of the hollowification process or the material that spews out of a hollow's wound when they perform Instant Regeneration.
That thought made her mind whir a bit.
What in the name of the Soul King is this thing..?
Frowning slightly, he continued reading through the various notes and information left by the 8th Espada.
Hmm... So I won't be able to access the devices and specimens within the containment section, without first deactivating the stasis fields? Interesting. I doubt that Granz, the fool that he may have been, would leave his containment tanks without a secondary lock on each individual tank. So if I deactivate them, the contents shouldn't wander off. The stasis pedestals and the devices they contain probably don't have any additional precautions up, but should be fine regardless... Unless a certain Captain is foolish and close enough to touch them that is.
"Master, my analysis is complete."
Snapping out of his thoughts and turning his head slightly to view his Lieutenant, he let out an uninterested "Hmmh..?"
"Oh, yes... very good Nemu. Pack everything of value up and bring it outside, I'm finished with this room."
Turning back and shrugging to himself, he let loose another Cheshire-like smile and punched in a deactivation code he just liberated from the terminal's databanks.
Well, I may as well deactivate the fields now and make my way to the containment section, I've been wandering about this pathetic excuse for a lab with little to show for it, judging from the logs he skimmed there should be at least one goody down there still. Hmmhehee!
Something wasn't right, she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but something in the environment of the room changed suddenly. Looking away from the floating orb and gazing at the various machines along the walls prompted her with the answer.
The humming noise. It's stopped... hmm. Why?-
Her thoughts were broken however, when she felt something latch on to her shoulder.
Flipping away, she simultaneously brought out Suzumebachi and cut at what appeared to be a tendril of white that had attached itself to her. She looked back to see what it came from, only to witness the white mass that previously held her attention reforming itself. It appeared to be preparing to move towards her yet again, that wasn't good, that thing wasn't supposed to be moving at all, it was supposed to be in stasis! The humming must have been the sound the machines were making while the stasis fields were active.
She had to flip out of the way again when several more tendrils launched forward and made an attempt to latch on to her. She slashed at them whenever they got near, but it seemed to be to no avail. More replaced them as their severed brethren either dissolved away or split off to form separate smaller replicas of the orb that had recently moved off the pedestal and began chasing her down.
Mayuri probably did something to turn off the stasis fields. Damn, I should have known not to get so close to that thing. Foolish curiosity.
The orb and it's smaller replicas did not give her much time to dwell on that mistake. She soon came to find out that they were quite fast, not fast enough to catch her, but enough to keep her on her toes. Since they were capable of splitting themselves to engulf their target as well, it made her task of dodging and preventing them from doing whatever they were trying to do to her all the more difficult. After several minutes of various acrobatics and tedious slashing, she decided that cutting obviously had no effect. The orb simply reformed or split itself every time and she couldn't just constantly dodge it and it's tiny clones, that would obviously not get it to stop. Since she couldn't make use of Hakuda either, that left her with...
The Demon Arts! If I can't make physical contact with it, then perhaps Kido could deal with it from range...
Whipping herself around after a recent back-flip, she raised her hand in the direction of the strange orb and opened her mouth to begin chanting when something unexpected happened.
She began choking.
*Cough*... "What the... HMMLLPPH!"
She slumped to her knees as another coughing fit erupted from her throat. It was then, with wide eyes, that she began to notice a substance similar to that of the orb floating swiftly and fluidly from what remained of the forgotten tendril still attached to her shoulder, making its way above her face and splitting to just barely make a clot in her mouth. How could she have not noticed that thing still on her!?
After another round of coughing she managed to barely dodge the main orb and it's replicas one more time before once more slumping to her knees in another fit of coughs.
She just couldn't stop; her constant fits from whatever this thing was doing were immobilizing her. If she couldn't get out of the way soon the rest of it was going to finally reach her! She struggled to just move out of the way even a fraction, but it was difficult to even breathe! Alas, her struggle soon proved to be in vain however, as the original orb absorbed the surrounding replicas and shot down at her, bludgeoning into her head. The strange substance slowly began oozing down her face and forming the beginnings of *something* over it soon after. She couldn't quite tell what it was through her hacking fits. The fits that soon turned into muffled screams as the strange white material covered more and more of her face.
What is this thing doing to me!? It feels... like the inside of my body is being ripped apart... UGHh!
Her body was writhing and she couldn't do anything about it. The sheer agony of what was happening to her lasted for what felt like an eternity.
But eventually the pain stopped.
Whatever it was that was forming on her face was completed, leaving her kneeling, exhausted, and mortified. Cracking and shattering sounds could be heard and upon lifting a hand up and feeling around her face, she noted with much relief that there was nothing there besides some small clay-like chips stuck in her bangs. Whatever had been on her face was now gone. But she wasn't naive, that thing had done something to her and she needed to find out what. Taking a quick look around, she observed the many fractured clay-like remains that were degenerating into spirit particles around her and picked up one of the larger shards before it fully dissipated.
An eye-hole and these yellow and black markings..? It almost looks like part of a hollow's... mask. But that would mean...
With her eyes widening, she soon concluded that there was only one thing that could possibly explain what the hell just happened to her and that unnerved her, greatly.
I can't believe this, how could I have made such a simple mistake! And now... Pathetic.
She crushed the remainder of the mask in her clenched hand. She needed to figure out what to do about this... incident.
Furrowing her brow and shakily getting herself up she continued her thoughts with growing dread.
Mayuri can not be allowed to learn about what happened in this room, he'd sooner turn me into one of his guinea pigs rather than help fix whatever happened, I'd never see the light of day again, I refuse to allow that to happen! But what about Soul Society? I doubt the new Central 46 would allow for another like the Vizard or Kurosaki running around, too much of a potential threat. They would imprison me; strip me of everything I worked so hard for, and then they would probably have me executed...
Letting out a frustrated huff, she decided she would work out the details about what to do with herself at a more appropriate time. Preferably when she wasn't in the middle of Hueco Mundo alone with an insane clown and his near robotic assistant that held the undesirable intent of dissecting her should they discover what had just happened.
Forcing herself to once more hold an expression of neutrality, she scrambled for a body stance that didn't broadcast that she was just assaulted by an unidentified flying object. Thankfully, the remainder of what she presumed a mask had fully vanished by then, no one would find out about what happened to her, just yet.
Her timing could not have possibly been any better, because the moment she straightened herself out, a loud voice more annoying than nails on a chalkboard assaulted her ear drums. That was soon followed by a sauntering owner with a thoroughly ridiculous grin.
"AH! There you are... I've been looking for you. I've nearly finished my retrieval of anything of use here; the only room left appears to be this one..."
Oh how she wanted to wipe that smirk off the man's face. She felt about ready to eviscerate him for what happened here.
But persevering with her current look of neutrality, she replied with a simple "I wouldn't bother, there's nothing here."
His usual grin swapped out with a frown nearly instantly.
"I'll decide whether there is anything of interest here, you foolish Woman! Why don't you go to the Garganta generator with Nemu and make yourself useful, since you're clearly incompetent when it comes to my sort of work! I'll finish up in this room and make sure it is properly examined. While you work on that *hopefully* simple task, so that we can leave.
Not even the fires within the deepest pits of hell could currently match her barely contained fury after hearing that, she now believed that she had found the one man more infuriating than Urahara himself.
With all the willpower she could muster to not turn around and kick the clown's face in, she responded with a seething "You do not order me around, Kurotsuchi. Don't take long, we'll be leaving soon."
She then stormed off towards the exit of the facility where Nemu would undoubtedly be found making preparations for a Garganta. She didn't need to stay and keep an eye on him, she already knew there was nothing left in that room and the others didn't have anything worthwhile.
Walking up the steps of the hallway she found that calming herself was proving to be a bit simpler than she had at first believed. Who would have imagined that the mental image of a certain freak being blown to smithereens by the nuclear force of her Bankai could be so relaxing? Considering how she abhorred her ludicrously sized Bankai, how odd it seemed then that it caused her a sense of such satisfaction in certain situations.
The sound of a distorted, cackling voice that eerily resembled her own efficiently changed that new-found calm however...
She hastened her pace considerably. She needed to get back and figure out a way to deal with her *condition*. Quickly.
He frowned, while reading the information on the terminal's database he discovered that there was supposed to be some sort of experiment in this room, one that was an attempt at forcing Hollowfication within a victim, Wholes and Soul Reapers alike. If what he read about the device was true, then it was similar to what was used on Tosen Kaname to grant him hybrid status without the use of the Hogyoku. Perhaps this one was meant for Gin Ichimaru, but was rejected by him.
Truly, it was an intriguing device... And he wanted it.
If he couldn't get his hands on Kurosaki or any of the Vizard, than getting his hands on this to create his own test subjects would make an excellent alternative.
Normally he'd just utilize the various notes left behind regarding whatever he was interested in and recreate it. Unfortunately the 8th Espada kept the majority of his research notes within his palace, the very palace that happened to be toppled to the ground a little over a year and a half ago. The database that told him this device existed only showed what it did and where it was. So he was stuck with just finding the device, then reverse engineering it to discover how it was made. Like most of the things he found in the 8th Espada's surviving labs.
But there was a problem with that plan. The prototype was missing, and assuredly not on the stasis pedestal the terminal had explicitly labeled as its location.
That detail did not make him pleased, not one bit, simply because that meant one of two possibilities.
Either A: Granz, in an act of such improbable stupidity managed to forget keeping an up to date status log on the device and it was never there to begin with. Highly unlikely, since he kept detailed records of everything he did, going as far as listing Aizen's borderline mentally ill amount of tea times.
Or the more likely, B: When he deactivated the stasis fields, the good Captain just so happened to be near the device. Upon detecting her spirit energy, it latched on to her. Given her slightly disheveled appearance that he noticed earlier and chalked up to her just being clumsy and falling down a flight of stairs, he concluded that perhaps she had found what he was looking for.
A Chesire-like smile practically split his face in two as he hit a sudden train of thought.
"And if that is the case, we can't have anyone knowing about your little dilemma too early, now can we?"
A bold move not telling anyone what is going on with you Captain Soifon. But I wonder, when your uncontrolled hollow instincts start taking over and wreaking havoc about the Seireitei during battle, what will you do..? The new Central 46 is just as paranoid about hybrids as the last batch, they would most likely want to be rid of you. They wouldn't want another like the human boy running about, beings with that much power are a potential threat and they can't afford more of those, now can they? In addition the Head-Captain, in his boundless loyalty to the Court, whether he likes it or not, would enforce their decision of disposing of you. That will dissuade many from your pathetically small list of potential allies from helping you in your time of need. And then there will be me, waiting for that moment to take you off their worried little hands.
Perhaps this turn of events, while considerably slower, would work out just as well as my previous plan. This way I can potentially have a Captain class soul for a test subject, how wonderful. Hmmhehee!
Ending Notes: I'm going to get this out of the way now, I am not using Japanese honorifics or titles, it drives me up the fracking wall. Also, some Japanese terms will be used if there isn't a decent English translation for them, those will be few and far between though.