Hyuga Ricdeau: Element
[03.23.00] » by Steven Andrews
As Hyuga Ricdeau looked behind himself briefly, he felt a pang of guilt at the thought that he was betraying these people, fellow Elements. It hurt him to lie to Sigurd, who had become his closest friend from Jugend, but also to Kahran Ramsus and Meryl. However, it hurt most to lie to his commanding officer, Jesiah. Throughout his entire time at Jugend and as an Element, Jesiah had become a friend in the way that only a mentor could. Hyuga could look to Jessie for help in any situation that plagued him.
Though now, Hyuga was blatantly deceiving him, as well as the other Elements. As they walked cautiously toward the Administrative Sciences Building in Solaris in a single-file line, Hyuga thought back to the events that had driven them there…
It was the greatest honor on Solaris to be an Element, from birth, it was what every first class citizen, the Gazel, strove to become. However, once Hyuga Ricdeau had achieved the rank of Element after graduating from Jugend, he realized that it wasn't anything like he had thought. Even though they were the élite military group of Solaris, that didn't amount to much. Even among the lowest tiers of the Solarian class structure, the third class citizens, there was little discontent. While there might be some skirmishes or disputes, it was rarely something that the security cubes couldn't handle. In fact, the only times the military needed to be called in were when people would find their way into the sewers and hide from the cubes. It was impossible for any of the -Lambs- to get to Solaris anyway, so the only people they ever had to deal with were Solarian citizens. All of them were inhibited by the mind controlling Limiters that made it nearly impossible for them against the military since they were inherently afraid of them. That being said, there were not many cases left for the most honored group of soldiers to take care of. Therefore, the Elements were given missions with much further scope, tackling issues of conspiracy amongst the businesses of Solaris, or even taking trips to the surface. These assignments led to some exciting times for Hyuga.
Although, as Hyuga pondered this, he realized that it had less to do with the missions than the people that he worked with. Each of them was unique and exciting, and Hyuga quickly befriended them all. He had become closest with Sigurd Harcourt since they had known each other for the longest time. They were both similar in that neither of them was a true Gazel, each had once been a third class citizen. Each of them had worked hard to get where they were, they were never given any breaks. Another of the Elements, Kahran Ramsus, was a good friend as well. While he was prone to get moody on occasion, he was very trustworthy, even if a bit serious. The final Element, Meryl, was a beautiful young woman that each man of the group felt close to, although she never allowed them to progress romantically. Although she enraptured them with her brains and beauty, it was her humor that they felt drawn to her by. She always kept them on their toes, you could never tell when she was being serious or when she was joking. However, Hyuga had begun feeling of late that she was keeping a secret from all of them, even their commanding officer. To keep this group of young, untested, yet highly skilled warriors in line, Solaris chose the best that they could, Jessie Black. Jessie was the sort of man that you could practically see the legends being written about as he worked his way through a mission. Every member felt a deep honor to be working with him. There were rumors that he had a family on the surface, but whenever the subject dwelled on that, Jesiah would quickly change the subject with a witty remark that would take every one's mind off the subject.
The thought of each of his comrades was running through Hyuga's head as he walked toward Yarba Plaza that afternoon. He had received the tele-call no less than fifteen minutes ago, telling him to go to the Plaza and into the Judah Building. He knew that this building was one of the main government structures, Krelian occupied many offices in the building, or so rumor had it. So when he had received the call to go there, Hyuga was left with a deep sense of something akin to guilt. He knew that he hadn't done anything wrong (had he?), so why would they call him? He felt very uneasy as he entered the doorway.
He walked straight over the ID scanner and it beeped a few moments before the door across from him opened. He entered another room that demanded a retinal scan, and finally he was in a waiting room. He took up a seat and looked idly around the room, waiting for the door on the far wall to open. He didn't think that he'd ever been more worried in his life, but as the door opened with a thud, he realized that it could only get worse. He got up slowly and began to traipse to the doorway as if his feet were made of lead. When he got through to the room on the other side, he realized that it was suddenly moving upward.
So I'm on a lift. But how high does this thing go? He thought.
He soon had his answer as the elevator stopped and he exited it to a huge room with glass windows all around it. He could see that he was very high up indeed, most likely the top floor. There was no one else in the room. This made Hyuga very nervous.
Suddenly, the windows turned black and Hyuga couldn't see anything. He could hear a grinding sound, which most likely meant that something was being raised up, probably another elevator.
A single spotlight suddenly shone on Hyuga, then another about twenty-five feet away. It rested upon a throne that held an ancient body, the most famous man on all of Solaris.
"Emperor Cain!" Hyuga exclaimed.
The Emperor slowly turned his gaze to Hyuga, as if some deep reflection had been suddenly interrupted.
"Greetings, Hyuga Ricdeau. I have been watching your career recently." The Emperor then laughed, a heavy, dry sound, "Well perhaps not recently for you. I've been watching you your entire life."
Hyuga struggled to form words, but the mere thought that the Emperor even knew his name was difficult to grasp.
"Do not be surprised, Hyuga Ricdeau. Your talents have marked you since the beginning as one to watch. The way you fight…it is far superior to most any other swordsman I have ever seen. Now, I feel that it is time for you to be part of an even grander agenda." The Emperor made the laughing sound again; "Grand indeed, if the time of the Bible truly has come."
Hyuga left the building that day with the same feeling of dread that he felt going in. He was now no ordinary soldier. He was now an agent of the Emperor.
He had received a special surgery, the Emperor's own doctors had inserted some sort of device into Hyuga's brain that would allow him to have psychic contact with the Emperor, they would be able to talk no matter what situation Hyuga was in.
Of course, now that the Emperor had explained just exactly what he would be doing, Hyuga knew that this would be an essential tool for communication. Also, it would allow the Emperor to monitor him at all times, necessary for Cain to implicitly trust Hyuga. As the Emperor had stated repeatedly to Hyuga, "This mission is of utmost importance."
Well if it was so important, Hyuga thought, Why didn’t he tell me what it was exactly? All he said was that I had to be tested first. But how?
As he mulled these thoughts over in his head, Hyuga eventually found himself back at the Jugend dormitories. He took the lift down to the Elements’ floor and slowly walked to his room. As the door opened, he looked around it. It was a decently sized room, surely much larger than the rooms the recruits got. It was sparsely decorated; Hyuga never felt the need to fill his space with too many personal belongings. However, there were pieces of various machines strewn about the room. Hyuga had always loved to toy with machinery, trying to come up with new inventions, or just improving current technology.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Hyuga quickly shook his head clear and weakly said, "Yes?"
As the door whished open, Sigurd Harcourt entered.
"Oh, hey Sig. What’s up?" Hyuga asked.
"Not too much. But word is that we’ve got a mission lined up for tonight. Jesiah just left for a meeting about twenty minutes ago." Sigurd replied.
"Do you have any clue what it’s about?"
"Nope. But we should know soon enough." Sigurd pulled the chair away from Hyuga’s desk and sat in it. "Oh yeah, that girl we met at that party last week, Yui, came by to see if you were here about an hour ago. Where were you?"
Hyuga looked down at his feet suddenly. He hadn’t even thought of lie to tell to his friends.
"I was at the...uh…market place." Hyuga replied.
"Did you get anything?" Sigurd asked.
"Er, no…I was just looking." Hyuga muttered.
Sigurd looked Hyuga in the eyes. "Is something bothering you?" he asked.
Hyuga turned his gaze towards the door and said, "No, it’s nothing. I just think that I need some rest."
"Okay. If you’re sure that’s it," Sigurd replied.
"Yeah. See you later, Sig," Hyuga said, then lay down on his bed.
Sigurd left, and as the door closed, Hyuga said, "Lights off." In the total darkness, he rested for an indeterminate amount of time when suddenly he heard his name being called. At first, he thought that it was the intercom, Jessie was calling them to a briefing. Then, he realized that it was the Emperor. His psychic link had been activated.
"Hyuga Ricdeau. I call you now on this very important matter. Soon, your leader, Jesiah Black, will come back with a mission for you Elements. However, this will be no ordinary mission. I have had a hand in this; it shall be a test for you, Hyuga Ricdeau, a test of your honor to Solaris, and to me. You must put trust in me, especially if I am to put trust in you. All of your comrades may not survive this mission; it will be fraught with danger. I will be watching your every move. Do you have any questions?"
"What exactly is this mission?" Hyuga managed to stutter out.
"You will be briefed by Jesiah. But nothing is as it seems. And there may be other surprises, ones beyond my control. I have felt the winds of change, and they are sweeping us all up in their grasp. That is why I need you as my agent, Hyuga Ricdeau, but first, you must face the test…!" Cain’s voice was suddenly swept away as Hyuga woke up to the sound of his intercom beeping.
"…report to the Briefing Room immediately. Repeat, all Elements report to the Briefing Room immediately."
Hyuga leapt out of his bed and slipped his shoes back on. He went out of his door and met up with Meryl as she was heading down the hallway.
"Hey Hyuga," she said with a smile.
"Hey Meryl. Are you heading to the meeting?" Hyuga asked.
"Of course. It seems like it’ll be a big one."
"How’d you hear about it already? Didn’t Jesiah just get back?" He asked, confused.
But she did not have time to answer, for just as he asked it, they arrived at the Briefing Room and entered. The other Elements were all there already, seated. Jessie was standing up front, leaning on a table. Meryl went and sat down in an empty chair next to Ramsus, while Hyuga sat down next to Sigurd. Jessie looked briefly at his little data-comp, a small computer used to keep notes and other important information, briefly before starting to speak.
"As you already know," he began, "I was called down today to get a briefing on a new mission that we’ve got lined up for tonight. Apparently, some Solarian scientists have been experimenting on humans, testing out a new drug. The government has been unable to investigate due to some laws that restrict them from interfering with businesses. However, there’s no law against us going in there to find out just exactly what is going on. This shouldn’t be too difficult a mission."
He stopped for a moment and looked at the faces of his Elements; Hyuga looked far more concerned than he should for such a mission, Sigurd looked deep in thought, Ramsus looked concerned, he was always squeamish around scientists, and Meryl had a knowing grin on her face. Dammit, he could tell that something wasn’t right here. He knew that there were other factors going on behind the scenes here. He shook his head and began to speak again,
"While this shouldn’t be a difficult mission, I’ve got a bad feeling about this. I can’t shake the sense that something is going on here that I don’t understand. Just remember: keep faithful to yourself. I don’t care whom you worship or what your practices are, but the only religion I attend to is keeping true to myself. No matter what happens tonight, keep true to yourself. Don’t compromise your position for glory, only honor."
He stopped again and looked at their faces. Now, Hyuga looked even more pained, and Meryl just couldn’t keep that grin off her face. Even the legendary Jesiah Black was feeling an uncomfortable pain in his gut. He said the only thing left to say,
"We leave in 2 hours."
The small group broke up and went into their personal rooms. They all checked their equipment and made sure that they would be ready for whatever might come this night. When they were all confident that they were prepared, they met back in the Briefing Room. They talked for about twenty minutes when Jessie finally arrived. He gave them all an affirmative nod, and they exited the building, heading for the Administrative Sciences Building….
Hyuga looked forward again, now was no time to look back. Emperor Cain’s haunting words kept coming back to him, "All of your comrades may not survive this mission; it will be fraught with danger."
He knew that he should warn them, somehow tell them of the danger. But his loyalty to Cain kept him quiet, and he vowed to just keep on his toes in case anything out of the ordinary happened.
Eventually, they arrived at the building and entered through an air duct on the side. They began to walk through the darkened hallway when they came to a large pair of double doors. The doors featured a rather weak locking mechanism, which Jesiah was able to easily break. The next room was a large, cavernous area, filled with boxes and some scientific equipment. Suddenly, the lights came on and things quickly went to hell.
Hyuga had been on edge the entire trip, but as they neared the large room, the feeling in his stomach grew and he knew that something was about to happen. Then, as soon as they entered the large room, he could hear the Emperor yell, through the psychic link, "Damn them! This is a trap! Hyuga…!"
And then, silence.
Somehow, his psychic transfer had been cut off. As soon as he looked up when the lights blared on, he saw Jessie running towards another man with a gun. Jessie had already pulled out his shotgun and was yelling, "Stein!"
Hyuga looked to his left and saw Meryl running after Jesiah.
They’ll be able to handle that other guy, Hyuga thought, But what am I gonna do?
As he was thinking this, he turned his head and saw a tall, thin man with long white hair. He was standing there watching the scene that was being played out, with a smile on his face.
"Krelian!" Hyuga yelled.
Ramsus began to walk towards Krelian. Sigurd looked over to Hyuga. Just how deep did this conspiracy run?
As soon as the lights came on in the complex, Jesiah Black caught sight of Stein, far off in the corner. If there was one man that Jessie could say that he truly hated, with an unbridled passion, it was Stein. They had fought over everything, jobs, friends, and even loves. Jessie had barely edged out Stein for control of Gebler and the Elements. Jessie had also won the love of his wife, Racquel. As he chased Stein through the building, he thought of her, now at home with his two children.
Abruptly, they came to a dead end. With nowhere to run and a large stack of barrels to his back, Stein held out his gun level to Jessie’s head, and Jessie held his gun likewise. From the side, it looked like a mirror image, as if they were reflecting into each other.
"This is the end for you, Stein," Jessie snarled.
"Ah, Jessie; the bane of my existence, the thief of my possessions, yet ironically, the giver of my greatest joy. I could derive no greater pleasure than from killing you," Stein retorted.
"We can each get one shot off. We’ll both die," Jessie said.
Moments later, Meryl ran up to Jessie’s side.
"Ah, it appears the tables have turned, Stein. It’s two-to-one. Drop your gun." Jessie commanded. Stein laughed at this.
"Oh, it is indeed two-to-one, my friend. The tables surely have turned for you!" Stein exclaimed gleefully.
At this, Jessie shot a confused glance at Stein, then to Meryl. She was wearing her grin, as always, but instead of showing humor; it now seemed to give off an icy cold. Her smile widened as Jessie glanced to her hands and saw the gun in her hand, pointed at him. The whites of her teeth contrasted sharply with her deep violet hair.
"Excellently done, Miang," Stein commented.
Miang?! Jessie thought. Just what the hell is going on around here?
"Lower your gun, ‘Commanding Officer’," Miang demanded snidely.
Jessie complied, and lowered the gun from Stein’s head. Apparently pleased with this, Stein lowered his gun as well. Jessie knew that this was the best his situation would get. He lifted his gun a few inches, aiming at the barrels behind Stein, while at the same time hitting Miang’s arm upward, away from his side. Miang shot as soon as he hit her hand and the bullet tore into the side of Jessie’s face.
That’ll leave a scar, Jessie thought.
The bullet from his own gun hit the barrels, which were filled with some sort of chemical, which resulted in a huge explosion. Stein was propelled forward by the blast, his back receiving the brunt of the detonation.
At least his’ll be worse, Jessie reasoned.
The explosion was spreading, but Jessie was occupied with the blood flowing down his cheek.
Just where the hell is everybody?
Everybody else was surprised to suddenly hear two gunshots and then witness the ensuing explosion. Hyuga began to run straight towards it, wondering just what happened to Jesiah and Meryl. He first came to the mysterious man. His entire body was charred, and Hyuga ran past it. Behind him, he could hear Krelian remark, "How ironic the Bishop shall become a test subject for the very technology he helped us procure."
Next, Hyuga came to Meryl. She was running away from the explosion, away from Jessie.
"Where are you going?" he yelled at her.
She just laughed kept running past him. She continued to run until she came to Ramsus. She leaned over, kissed his cheek and said, "Gebler will surely be yours to control now!"
Hyuga finally came upon Jessie. An entire half of his face was covered in with a slick, dark substance.
"She…she shot me!" He managed to say, before his eyes rolled up and he fell unconscious. The fire was getting dangerously close, so Hyuga grabbed Jessie around the shoulder and hoisted him up. He began to head for the exit, but the smoke made him stop, bend over, and cough multiple times. Just he was about to give up, Sigurd came to Jessie’s other side and held him up. Together, they were able to bring him out of the room. As the double doors whirred silently closed behind them, they could hear a man’s laughter, and each wondered simultaneously why this turn of events had made the Solarian President so happy.
It was that night that Jessie, Sigurd, and Hyuga planned their escape from Solaris. At first, Hyuga as detached from the meeting, but after awhile, he began to help plot with them.
The Emperor had contacted him soon after the meeting was underway. He had said, "Hyuga Ricdeau, today, you have proven yourself to be a truly honorable and trustworthy man. Your first thoughts went out to your unit and you commanding officer, not to your personal safety. You shall be my new agent, my Solarian Guardian Angel. I shall know that you have not been tainted by the conspiracies of Krelian or Miang. Your first mission will place you on the surface, so yes, plot your escape with the others. I shall of course provide you with transport, you shall leave within the week. Oh, and one more thing, that girl, Yui, you will take her along, too. I shall give you further instructions later, but for now, Hyuga Ricdeau, I bid you farewell."
And with that, the next chapter in Hyuga Ricdeau’s life began. It would prove to be his greatest yet, starting out with the humble beginning of his life as Dr. Citan Uzuki of Lahan Village and along the way, meetings with old friends and old enemies.