Description: When Steve awakens, not only does he find out he's been separated from Mitsuru, but that he's now the captive of Heihachi Mishima. And while the evil old man's plans for him are nothing short of nefarious, he's not the only prisoner of the Tekken Force, as Doctor Gepetto Boskonovictch once more finds himself a tool in the Mishima family's schemes. Will Steve be able to find Mitsuru again? Will he find out more about his mysterious past and what Heihachi wants from him?
*** A FEW DAYS AGO ***
Gepetto Boskonovitch's twilight years came with a disease that didn't affect the body directly. The plague it came with was the Mishima family -- constantly abducting the man and taking him away from far more important work to fuel their horrible ambitions. The plague came once more when the good Doctor found a man he didn't recognize in his home, helping himself to some of the doctor's food. That man was a smarmy bastard but a dangerous one -- he introduced himself as one of the Mishima family's servants, and spoke with a worshipful air that would shake the common man. And he had come to kidnap the Doctor again.
*** PRESENT ***
When Steve opened his eyes, his surroundings might be familiar to him, perhaps seen in a restless dream before. He was strapped down to a bed -- not by leather straps bounding his wrists, but by two metal clamps, one binding his right arm to his body tightly, the other keeping his legs together. Various screens around him shown pictures of a child with blond hair and blue eyes in a similar situation -- some x-rays and various other monitors comparing that child to the man Steve had become.
Looming over him was Heihachi Mishima, clad currently in a plain but absurdly expensive black suit. It was unfortunate for everyone present that Heihachi was in a bad mood. While he had plenty of Darkstalker subjects to experiment on from the hordes roaming outside, the real prizes had escaped him -- he had come out with nothing important, and everyone responsible for this was dead.
Towering still over him was a massive Japanese man in a black tactical uniform. He wore no helmet, and his face was ugly, to say the least -- covered in scars with a massive square jaw and a flattened nose. He was here to make sure the good doctor behaved when Heihachi wasn't in the room. And finally, there is the good doctor himself.
"If it wasn't for Kliesen being better at cowering than you are, I would have had her brought here instead," Heihachi growls to the doctor in English. "I want to know if these wounds would have killed a human."
Whenever it is Steve stirs, Heihachi doesn't immediately notice unless it's brought to his attention.
The saddest part of it is that Gepetto Boskonovitch didn't even consider it kidnapping anymore.
In his old age, a luxury for a scientist of his caliber, he had many children, and many troubles. When they had come for him, it was almost a formal event. Yes, he had to break in. Yes, his food was being eaten. But even then, he had offered cookies and tea before he left. Of course, if Heihachi asked him to come, he would have to postpone it. He was working on a very important project on robotics, with a company who would very much not want him to get kidnapped by the Mishima Zaibatsu. But he rejected any guards for this reason, because he didn't want anybody to get hurt on his behalf. It was a plague, but one he could control in a way. To survive and endure. At the very least, he didn't resist, and they didn't shake him up too badly. The old scientist was studying the screens around him, studying the metrics. He had preferred to work with machines, instead of men.
But the wiry old man couldn't help but look nervous, when the Specimen was brought to him.
He had worked with the origins of NT01; the scientists behind the project. He wasn't optimistic on the success then. But now, Heihachi wanted to -know- the results of it. His lip quivers, as he responds back to the question. "... Well, I have seen worse, but I have seen better..." Dr. Boskonovitch mutters, his thoughts meandering as he studies it. "... The epidermal damage is superficial, internal injuries are regulated..." Babbling, thoughtful babbling. "... But cross metrics of other fighters on the..." Quickly, images and folders of boxers and fighters flash across the monitors; even Steve comes across in some of his biopics in his boxing career. The scientist leans back, rubbing his chin with his thumb and index finger. He knows the answers that Heihachi wanted to hear. He knows the danger of not giving either of them. But he is old. Heihachi is old. And he was not kidnapped against his will to tell Heihachi what he wanted to hear. But the alternatively. He trembles a bit, struggling to get the words out.
"... I am sorry, but it's inconclusive..."
Voices.. in English. Steve can't make out the specific words under the muffled ringing that still fills his ears. He tries to move his arms
Instantly, Steve's eyes dart open. And a wave of nausea hits, he feels terrible. Sick. But entirely awake. In a panic, he begins to struggle futilely against his metal restrains for several seconds. The steel doesn't budge.r
He starts babbling, with a gravelly edge to his English due to the burn wounds around his neck. "Leave me- Leave me alone. Let me go, I need to return to- " A realization strikes him. Mitsuru.
Where is Mitsuru?
"What have you done with her?! Where is Mitsuru?! Let me go- I need to find her, I need to find Mitsuru." Ranting, Raving. Obviously in a severe panick. His earlier struggling is reinvigorated, useless thrashing about his restrained limbs as his eyes dart between the other people in the room. He barely even seems to register anything in his enviroment as of now, speaking to the other men simply as enemies. Seemingly not realizing who the Spiky-haired old man that looms over him actually is.
It was true. Somewhere deep inside the rotten old man there was some kind of grudging respect for the Doctor. He would never admit it -- he probably didn't even realize. Still, there was no denying his anger at the words: inconclusive.
But sometimes Heihachi Mishima was a man of reason. Or at the very least, he thought he was. "He is a champion, even if it is of a rather primitive martial art." His hand lifts towards one of the monitors, displaying a post-match interview with Steve and some witty British sports commentator. "That can be no coincinden--"
Steve's outburst interrupts his reasoning, and his eyes snap down to the boxer, already in a glare.
"NT01," he calls him. "You will never see Mitsuru again. It will do your sanity no good to waste any more thoughts on her."
Heihachi had no intentions of letting NT01 escape again. Mitsuru was the only person who could possibly break him out in the old man's mind, and she was too clumsy -- if Nakatomi was able to slap her so hard, he had no faith in her abilities.
The fact that Heihachi was restraining himself didn't make the Doctor feel any safer.
He lets his kidnapper cycle through. When Steve starts bursting out... the scientist looks towards the other prisoner with forlorn eyes. Yes, he knew that the subject was taken. He didn't expect any consent in the matter either. But there would be no sympathy, no empathy. He had lost that to the plague a long time ago. Instead, he ignores the shouting and conversation, and continues on his feedback. "The problem isn't coincidences, it's fundamentally about whether his situation, his modifications, or his birth has made a significant difference. Yes, if I suffered the injuries he received, I would be dead. He did not. That shows that he does have a significantly above-average endurance than a comparable fighter." He does a few taps. "And here is a fighter of a superior caliber, based on our metrics."
An image of Johnny Cage shows up on the screen, dressed in robes in his Bollywood Hit 'Gandhi in 60 Seconds'.
"Is he past his potential? Is he behind it? How much more would it take so he can be stronger than Johnny Cage?" The doctor's tone was inexplicably dry. "The number of variables at play that determines whether or not he would have survived his wounds are still being processed; we don't have accurate data on -who- or -what- attacked him." A screenshot of Lyraelle streams flash across the monitors. "So we will not get within a threshold of significance on 'yes' or 'no' on how much the process affected him. This level of data mining is taking time, and even then the algorithms from the original experiment are suspect; and I do not know if it is because of the ending of the sterile experimental environment, or core issues with the experiment itself. None of the baselines have been showing meaningful results; well, I mean, With..." He pauses. That pause was a very familiar pause. A very, very familiar pause. He had used the same pauses all throughout the research on the Devil Gene. It was that pause. The doctor swallows hard, and looks at Steve apologetically. "W-w-with one exception." He gives a deep breath, and exhales.
"The Mishima Absolute."
Steve breaths heavily in and out, and forces himself to calm down.
His panicked state subsides somewhat, and he observes his enviroment. Sterile. Whites, light blues, shut doors. The images and video's on the monitor.
It all feels eerily familiar. Steve breaks out in a cold sweat, and his inital anger fades. Fear. Why is he afraid? Steve rarely feels afraid. But this fear, it's crippling. It makes him feel paralyzed, both physically and mentally.
hen, something clicks.r
"You.. you are Heihachi Mishima."
Something else clicks. He remembers his encounter with the enigmatic Darkstalker Echo. Her divination that showed him the Mishima Zaibatsu logo, this fear has to be connected to his past. He glances up to Heihachi, and with a soft voice asks "What do you.. want with me?" a deep breath, a hesitating pause. "I know you- you have connections with Mitsuru's family. Please, please just tell me."
"Is she save?"
Heihachi's eyes shift up to the monitors as data shifts across the screen. When Johnny Cage is shown, there is a brief flicker of recognition. Cage had won several international karate tournaments -- which incidentally were one of the things the old man paid attention to. Still, agitation flickers across his face, agitation that quickly fades when he hears what Boskonovitch had to say.
The old man's obsession with the Devil Gene began the day he killed his wife. Despite her power Heihachi had overcome her -- this was no real surprise to someone with an ego like Heihachi's, but he still recalled how much it hurt when her eyes started to glow...
He snaps out of the memory easily enough, Steve's voice drawing his attention away from the Doctor once more.
"You belong to me," Heihachi explains to Steve. "You were created because I made it so."
The old man has no bedside manner whatsoever.
"Mitsuru is safe. I will allow no harm to come to her."
For whatever reason, the giant soldier behind him snorts derisively, but if it holds any meaning to Heihachi, he doesn't let it show.
"Kazuya's Devil Gene became active somewhere in the time after I threw him," he muses, addressing the Doctor now. "Perhaps he defeated his opponent -- perhaps Mitsuru carried him away after he won the fight."
Poor Steve is right there.
The doctor swallows hard.
He knows that what he is about to suggest was another cruelty on Steve. Oh, the Mitusru thing was not important to him. But he knows what he is about to suggest was the wrong thing to suggest. He should make up things, and lie. But there was a saying, that when you lie, your nose grows. Heihachi knew what lies were. Gepetto wasn't useful because he was a genius. He was useful because he was honest. And Dr. Boskonovitch couldn't shake away the itch that was infesting him. Did the experiment work? Or did it not work. At what point did the nature begin, and at what point, did the nature end? He takes in a deep breath.
And then, it hits him when Heihachi mentions Kazuya's devil gene.
He audibly gasps. "Yes... yes... of course." He babbles on, as if there was some great revelation. "Creation... the matter of nature vs nuture could be distilled if we can isolation the X and Y chromosomes. The original models are using obsolete data. If we can get fresh data... yes... Then we wouldn't need to do constant iterations of him fighting under controlled environments, to see if it activates under great duress." He raises his voice, which for the doctor's sake, was more like clearing this throat.
"Could we reach out to his mother and father, and do a comparison?"
Steve hadn't yet focused on the mumbling scientist. But now he is listening. "I don't belong to you. My name is Steve Fox" even in his fear, Steve still shows defiance "And why do you compare me to that pretentious actor?" Steve is connecting the dots. Slowly. But the meaning of the scientific jargon Boskonovitch spouts out is mostly lost to Steve. But one thing he says, does catch his attention. His eyes dart towards the senior scientist, and he loudly blurts out "My parents?! What do you know of them?"
"His parents are not available."
Nina was missing, but Heihachi expects the woman to pop up sometime in the future soon. She wasn't a coward -- she'd show her face and Heihachi would have to try to use NT01 to control her as well. Having so many people working for him who didn't want to got hard to manage sometimes, but it typically yields the best results, and Heihachi enjoyed results.
There was no results yet for NT01, and Heihachi was not enjoying that.
"So you are saying without his parents, these combat simulations will be how we yield results," Heihachi says plainly -- it's more a statement than a question.
His eyes drift down towards Steve to stare down at him, before the old man's hand moves down suddenly -- mostly to trace fingers along the lightning bolt shaped scar on his arm.
"Have you always been stronger than others your age? Can you say you became the boxing champion through hard training alone?"
He hadn't answered Steve's questions, but he clearly expects the boxer to answer his.
Dr. Boskonovitch lowers his eyes, when Heihachi gives his answer.
He was afraid that would be the answer. Without the parents for comparison now, he would have to do it the hard way. It was the case with Bryan, the case with Yoshimitsu, the case with the Zack bots.... and even the case for poor Alisa. The nature of all test subjects under the watchful eye of the Zaibatsu was to be tested, and tested, and tested. Until they are either broken, or they are made stronger than anything else in the world. For the doctor, it was about the creation, about pushing to the scientific limits. He would look at Steve with sadness.
But he learned long ago never to show any sympathy in front of Heihachi.
"Yes. We would not need as many as a full testing, I would think, that reduce the timeline from years to months." What optimism. He taps away at the keyboard, as metrics come up. "And his recovery rate is, at least, to the level of a professional fighter between 95th to 99th percentile; that will allow him to recover from bouts significantly faster. That will reduce the timeline from months to weeks." He considers, and hastily adds.
"As long as he doesn't sustain any injury greater than his last one, at least."
Steve slightly whinces as the Mishima touches his scar. The lack of any of his questions being answered is frustrating, but he realizes that he is in no position to speak against Heihachi. He'll just put himself further at risk.
He is entirely helpless.
He looks away, towards the metal roof, and begrudgingly answers Heihachi's question. "I have always been significantly stronger then my peers. Intense training amplified this further." Another nervous deep breath in, as he listens to the scientist. "I'll survive anything you bastards throw at me."
"Let me," the giant soldier says in the background, towering over them all. "If he can survive a fight with me, he can survive anything."
Heihachi's eyes shift over towards the massive man, but he doesn't give his suggestion any more attention than that single glance.
"I have plenty of subjects to choose from -- all need combat testing as well." Let it not be said the evil old man isn't industrious. "We will cycle them against each other." His hand withdraws from Steve's arm and finds its sibling in a clasp behind his back, as he glares down at Steve.
And then the old man does an experiment of his own. Mitsuru showed how she'd react to a threat against Steve. How would he react to a threat against her?
He leans forward over Steve, speaking through gritted teeth, but the Doctor and the giant both can hear him. "You will survive, yes. You will survive and you will obey -- if you do not, who knows the fate of Mitsuru? Do you understand me?"
Boskonovitch considers, as Heihachi gives his answer.
He knows how much arm twisting Heihachi will do, to get his way. How much he will threaten. And how serious those threats are. And yet, he also knew of the bitterest truth of the matter: for too long, Dr. Boskonovitch would always do what he was told, and always obeyed. He never made any trouble, and never tried anything heroic. And his reward for it, outside of repeat kidnapping?
He would sleep comfortably, under the watchful eyes of the guards. If he needed something, and explained why he needed it, he would always get it. He never made any escape attempts, and always cooperated. So when Heihachi makes his threat, he finally does something that was not neutral in the slightest. He lifts his gaze up towards Steve.
And gives the smallest nod.
As Heihachi makes the threat towards Mitsuru. Steve tilts up his head as far as he can manage towards Heihachi, and with a expression of distress, he yells "You bastar-" his own judgement of the situation, and the nod Boskonovitch subtly gives him, makes him change his answer last-second. "Fine. I will do as you say."
Even if Heihachi is lying, he can't take the risk of endangering Mitsuru. "As long as you guarantee her safety." He says through gritted teeth. The boxer falls quiet, stopping himself from yelling or cursing at the man. If not for his own, for /her/ sake.
"How interesting," Heihachi murmurs, more to himself than to Steve or the Doctor. Still, pleased with Steve's answer, he turns his glare over onto Doctor Boskonovitch, watching him for a moment. "He'll be cycled through the others. You will stay on task -- destiny has brought NT01 back in my hands. This can be no coincidence -- I refuse." His eyes drift back down to the boxer, and his hands slip from behind his back to clench into fists.
"No harm will come to Mitsuru, so long as you cooperate." He was being honest -- in fact, even if Steve had broken out, he would probably not harm the girl. No, he was more likely to slap her for her insolence than anything. Her well-being depended more on the cooperation of her father than it did NT01. As far as Heihachi was concerned, Steve and Mitsuru were never going to see each other again.
What was even a Mitsuru.
For the doctor, he could only think it was someone very special to Steve. He had no children, well, that wasn't true. His creations were his children. He just nods solemnly when Steve chooses to cooperate. That made it better for everyone involved. Dr. Boskonovitch just goes back to his monitor, and hrms as he starts to sort the potential test scripts for Steve.
"When can we begin the experiments?"
Log created on 11:26:21 06/02/2020 by Heihachi, and last modified on 16:31:58 06/03/2020.