"What did Mikita actually do?" House inquired, quietly, no one but the satellite operator working.
It had been the question of the last few days, floating on the tip of their tongues like a pill they refused to swallow. However they didn't ask, the unspoken truth of the matter being that they only wanted another ex-military man to ask, as if to not disrespect.
Archer had looked at them, wearily, even as he ate his cold kielbasa soup, his eyes drawing deep circles beneath them. He had stopped mid slurp, putting the bowl down and instead sliding the exact report that the ex-lieutenant had delivered to them when he had first wanted the job.
Archer, Giovanni, and the Executives had all kept the report to themselves however, not too keen on letting people know of why a man like that had been forced from his military as a criminal.
The Junior Executive had mesmerized the details, but not because he had wanted to. The instance had been so defining, so colorful, it had immediately made Archer doubt who the man was.
"He killed." The two word answer seemed like a joke to House, but before he could respond, Archer followed up. "He killed not in the name of the mission, not for the name of vengeance, but for himself."
With that, House understood.
He himself remembered his time in Hanoi, how the scream of artillery and jets mixed in with the bullets of both the Reformers and the UNGA. At any second he could've lost a leg, an arm, or his life. Mud and torrential rain had run deep into his bones, made it unbearable, drowned men who he couldn't hold onto. Perhaps worst of all, he had been forced to kill.
The shame he had when he left the military was nothing to like the instant he lost himself in Hanoi, laughing in the middle of combat, unsure of himself in the face of death despite his military blood. House didn't want his child to suffer that fate, and he only cared for Noelle that much more.
"Can I get any more intel with that?"
"Last month, the 15th. Fiore, Fall City. A UNGA 2nd lieutenant is found in a Garchomp-Ditto nest with the mutilated bodies of a dozen Gabite and Garchomp. One UNGA soldier is reported dead, corpse is found caught up in a recycling plant's filter after a week. Several eggs are found smashed and immediately on being found the 2nd lieutenant admits he had been responsible. Found with him is his radioman, missing his right hand. Both men are detained and kept within a Ranger Facility's jail, in queue to stand trial for murder on multiple accounts. As the Ranger Union technically has jurisdiction over the court in this case, the 2nd lieutenant is found guilty on over twenty counts of murder and the radioman receives a conviction of being an accomplice."
Laws were different in across the regions of the UNGA, and even though there was common federal laws, regional and state laws had reigned sovereign in court cases, as Mikita and Corporal George Haven had found out.
"The 2nd lieutenant was Mikita Noelle, I hope you have inferred by now." Archer had said. House nodded, his hand cupping his chin in thought, eyes glazed over. The corporal was an Irishman hailing from a fairly rich family, whom, along with the UNG, had walked in step with them to keep the case downplayed from the media.
"Mikita was sentenced to death. However before he even got on death row the case was dropped from all records and, curiously, a UNGA recruiting station and post was pulled out of the region… Mikita had told me he was discharged dishonorably, and dropped off in a port in Kanto to simply disappear. What happened exactly he wouldn't say, but he eventually came to us."
House's body language had spoken to surprise, of disgust, but he had stayed silent.
"I can only assume that someone within the UNGA pulled a get out of jail free card for Mikita at the cost of those posts in Fiore. As for what happened to the Corporal, he's disappeared, Mikita told me he had retried to his family's estate in Slane."
It took a few seconds for House, and the rest of the staff for that matter, to absorb the information. The Ranger Union thought Pokémon death comparable to human death, so the circumstance of killing was shared between the two when it came to law. They had been the exact opposites of the Reformers during the early days of the UNG, also leaving, but had been willingly absorbed into it only a few decades later. While the acceptance of Pokémon had been lukewarm in the initial UNG society and government, it had been a full blown revolution to those who followed the Rangers, championing Pokémon rights and all the things that had made some people uncomfortable thinking about certain Pokémon like Lopunny and Gardevoir.
"God damned Rangers." House understood most of all the implications of the Pokémon Rangers being involved with Mikita's discharge. He blamed them instead of Mikita of course. House had been sure that what Mikita did was justified, even with no context about the operation that had been happening surrounding that event. Mikita himself thought he was justified, and perhaps House was one of the few in the entire world that did, despite how little he knew about it and the Rangers.
The Pokémon Rangers had established a Union of sorts in the islands peppering the Pacific Ocean in between the Central Islands and the Philippines, brought on, supposedly, by the likes of the now dead god whale Kyogre according to Hoeannic stories that had formed a century ago.
Fiore, Almia, and Oblivia had been the most principle of these islands, smack dab in the territory of pirate raiders. Despite this, the Union never formed a self-defense force like Ireland and Jordan had, not advocating an active military in a way that had harkened back to the anti-war movements that had failed to stop the Third World War. This had left the UNGA to pick up the slack to the mostly independent Rangers.
Relations had been breaking down recently though, Operation Fortune Soul giving the UNGA more headroom against pirates, but also now making the ports in the Ranger Union less relevant in terms of troop movements and logistics. With the lack of usefulness came the lessening of the Ranger's political strength, and with that, the Ranger's political input had become more and more obtrusive in terms of the UNG's handling with Pokémon policy.
The banning of Pokéballs within the Ranger Union in the last few years had been one of these movements, also coincidently hitting Rocket's market share when it happened, they being one of the few mass producers of the product.
Of course if any Ranger knew what Giovanni was doing, they'd probably raise hell and raid the entire Silph building over it.
To mess with Mew was to mess with the sum of all zeroes: Pokémon as a whole. A figurative stem cell. Not to say that stem cell research had been illegal in the world, but it was frowned upon. Means were justified by ends according to Giovanni, and he had lived by those words.
The discovery of species like Mew had gone a long way back, when the UNGA Expeditionary Units, Rangers, and scientific teams had gone out all over the world to catalogue what land was left for human usage. There had been no concrete guidelines for documenting the then new Pokémon species back then, so the details surrounding Mew, among other species, had been vague at best. Those people who had believed in Pokémon's rights filling in the details about some species as if to justify them, falsely.
There had existed legends of Ninetails living a thousand years, even when they hadn't existed on Earth for more than a few hundred. There had misconceptions that Jesus Christ had been reincarnated as, or owned, a certain Sinnohic legend, despite having traits of the Hindu God Vishnu. Tales and myths that had persisted throughout the world through word of mouth, and just recently, a little something that had only been in use with the military: the internet.
Of all the made up facts that existed the one that one everyone had believed in was that Pokémon were to live forever with its place next to humanity, social justice standing guard for all time.
That was a lie that the most Pokémon centric company in the world hadn't believed. Of course Rebirth had been coming.
For a species to survive, some had to die for the sake of research. For an era to go on, the twisted remains of the old had to be defiled in order to anew.
The sum of all zeroes had to be split for zero to become Two.
Like cells multiplying, it would go on and on without stopping, only kept back by energy and propensity for growth. All it needed was someone like Giovanni to kick start it, even if he did it in secret.
"Is that why you don't trust him?" House asked.
Archer raised one of his eyebrows. "What do you mean?"
"If he goes out of his way just for himself again, you think that'll put Dreamstone in danger?"
Archer had nodded initially, but putting away his food he had leaned back in his chair, playing with his thumbs.
"I am not a man of violence myself. I don't approve of it, but I recognize that sometimes it has to happen." He slowly said, remembering of Proton's story and of the Marowak he killed. "How many lives could've been and how could've history changed if some people lived in war? How many Afghanis or Mongolians could've been their region's future had they not been killed by expressing their thoughts in earshot of a UNGA serviceman."
House was taken aback. "Hey, it's not like that. Those people outside of the Central Regions need us for infrastructure support and peacekeeping. Without us they end up like the warlords going around North of South Africa."
Archer had went over this argument time and time again in his head. He figured Mikita would've asked the question in his rebellious nature towards Archer, but instead it was House.
"That may be valid, but you know full well not everyone needs to die in order for peace to stay."
"Peace is not a natural human state." As was also a lesson Mikita had learned in Vermillion, House having just reiterated it, that knowledge being passed down in his family of soldiers.
"Well if that's true I know why Giovanni believes in monsters more than man nowadays."
Giovanni hadn't been a man of compromise or of beating around the bush. It either was, or it wasn't. It was either public, or it was shrouded with so much black ink that it had made the location of the UNGA nuclear stockpiles appear as common knowledge.
That's why as he sat on his desk in his dark office at the top of the Silph building, he had gone over the same finality of the matter in his head like a permanently broken recorder. For the last half decade he had thought about what he was doing in the bluntest way.
The memos and public relations reports that had been flooding his desk as of recent were all pushed out of his head due to the fact the thought of Project Rebirth had gone stagnant in their as of recent.
Project Rebirth was at its core, the culmination of years of horrific gene-splicing and DNA-engineering experiments.
Perhaps if it had been revealed to the public, the incident in Guyana would've been the least of their problems.
Giovanni's steely blue eyes glanced over his stock holdings, displayed on an ever updating computer application.
Silph Co's stock been steeper than Mt Coronet, and in the type of direction that led to rock bottom. That had been thanks to Rocket Industries, its subsidiary, and by extension, Giovanni. Bitterly he thought if it had been Devon in the same situation, they would've been better off, the government much more forgiving to the company due to the simple fact that they hadn't been a pain in the UNG's side and, to Giovanni's inside contacts, hadn't been involved in any sort of… projects that would've needed to have been kept secret.
The entire board had been hit by Silph's stock number. If Giovanni hadn't been indirectly the cause of this, he would've saw it as the start of a new recession, probably due to the fact that R Industries had not delivered anymore concrete statements about its operations, that short media meeting a day or so ago rendering up to be moot in purpose. But as it turned out, he was indirectly the cause of it. Wherein money magazines were to herald him as the anti-Christ in the coming weeks, in the coming years he would be a saint to all.
However he lived in the here and now. And here and now meant that he was due for a meeting in the conference room with Mr. Silph himself.
Brushing off his black suit and red tie, he didn't wait for his digital reminder to get going to the conference room.
Mr. Silph had been kept in the dark about Operation Rebirth, but Giovanni had taken care to not disturb the day to day operations of Silph Co.
In fact he had still been running departments on R&D, most specifically Pokéball variants and medical technology. He wasn't stepping into Project Rebirth unprepared, genetic and stem cell research done on humans had been old hat to his research teams, and even he understood the science, despite being so high above the field work and study. What bothered him was the fact that he couldn't show it off bar a few dozen researchers and executives that had, for all intents and purposes, taken a blood oath to never talk about the Operation.
A/N: Okay, I'll expand on that Fiore mission down the line, truly, a bad memory link it will be.
One more interlude, then I'll get rolling with Act II: Sons of the Fathers.