Waking up in pitch darkness; scents that burn the nose and eyes, leaving one coughing in hopes for fresher air; the rattling of chains dragging upon the sleek, concrete floor, and the sting of needles prickling through the skin.
Ryou Misaki lay upon the floor, half curled up in a ball of agony. He couldn't remember a thing since who knows when… All he could remember was the sudden blow given to the back of his head within a dimly lit room. It reminded him of where criminals were interrogated before their trials commenced, or the few occasions where he had been in there for some form of violation, whether it had been smashing the neighbor's window or…
His thoughts were cut off by the sudden sting of pain pulsing from his right arm.
He gripped it tightly, gritting his teeth, before his fingers realized what was sticking into him. Squinting through the dark he attempted to make out the features of the IV that lead up into the dim above. The room wasn't lit with any lights, and no windows were visible to give relief from the darkness that consumed him within the confines he couldn't make out.
The lights flickered on in their sudden florescent glow, forcing him to shut his eyes less be blinded by the sudden impact. He could hear the sounds of footsteps clacking upon the tile floor across the room, followed by the indistinguishable chatter that filled the room with unpleasant noise.
Eventually adjusting, he opened his eyes enough to glimpse around him; his mouth agape with shock. He cried out in great confusion, pulling against the chains that bound him to the floor, watching through the bars at the white clothed figures whose voices seemed to drone on in slow mo. He couldn't make out what they were saying.
They simply approached the cell calmly, some with discerning expressions before everything began to fade to black once more; his eyes unable to remain open much longer before drifting off into dreamless sleep.
"Did you give him the sedative?" An older man raised his eyes from the microscope. His expression seemed a bit displeased as he frowned up at a young woman in about her mid 20's.
"Yes, seems he's still easily distressed…" She gave a sigh and sat down next to him, rummaging through the files upon her clipboard, "Though his aggression level is unchanged as well…. Hansley won't be happy if we don't get something done about it soon Marshall…."
He gave a mild smirk and turned to adjust the scope once more before scribbling down a few notes.
"Well, it is technically your subject isn't it? Or should I say pet?" He chuckled half heartedly, but it was obvious that the joke was unappreciated. Her cheeks puffed in a fuming hiss.
"For the last time, it's not a pet! You know that yourself Mr. Roderick!" She continued to fume, pushing her stool back, to stand half looming over the other.
He held up his hands as if waving a white flag of surrender.
"Alright, Alright, you win Sarah…. No need to get so worked up…" He turned, looking off towards the door leading into the other room, "Just how long has it been now?" He gave a meek attempt at changing the subject.
She paused slightly, giving the question some thought.
"I'd say it's been about six months since we first acquired 65."
"That long already huh?"
"So it would seem…." She turned to walk out of the room, "I'll go check on his stats…. The sedatives occasionally have negative effects…."
She picked up her clipboard and left the room, Marshall watching her go, his hand running through his short brown hair; lost in thought.
Ryou flinched upon the soft touch of fingers running down his cheek. His eyes opened drowsily to look up into a face he thought must have been in his dream. Her purple eyes, half hidden under the shock of silvery, grey bangs.
"Shhh…. Shi…. Shino….." His words blurred into a gurgled groan. His body was starting to feel sore once again.
Sarah stood up calmly, pulling out a syringe from within a pocket of her lab coat and with a quick fill, injected it into the IV line connected to his shoulder.
He winced unappreciatively, a mild growl slipping through his lips as he attempted to curl up into a ball once more.
His mind was still reeling. He couldn't make out half of the images that played through his head nor the situation he was in. He turned his head to look out at his outstretched hand upon the floor, realizing that his fingers were covered in the glistening gold claws and black leather of his 3rd form. He blinked, unsure of what he was seeing was reality or not.
'Am I in "The World"...?'
His focus returned back to the figure of "Shino" that sat upon her haunches, her hand gently stroking his hair. The same familiar half smile, half sigh of sorrow looking down at him.
He tried to raise his hand to touch her cheek, but found himself cut off by the sudden yank of the chains keeping him to the ground.
'What is going on here? Why am I restrained like this? Where am I?'
He tugged against the chain with a growl, the armored tail that jutted forth from between his shoulders giving a sound smack upon the ground. His head turned to look up at her in desperation. But to his dismay, she had backed off, standing a few feet off, disappointment spreading across her face.
"Shino!" He cried out in slight dismay and desperation that he couldn't get up or understand her reaction. But all that could be heard from his lips was a wailing "Nrowl".
The door across the room clicked open as another figure entered the vicinity. He wandered over to her calmly, his eyes scanning down at the figure of Ryou Misaki lying upon the floor, thrashing about in angered cries.
"You shouldn't let yourself become so careless around him Sarah. What if it happened to lash out at you before you had a chance to react?"
Ryou bared his teeth, revealing his fangs in a snarl, "Why would I try to hurt Shino! And why are you calling her Sarah?"
He lifted his chest from the floor in attempts to get up and emphasize his yelling. But it still echoed out in screeching wails and hissing snarls resulting in the two figures to back up further.
"I suggest we let him calm down for a bit, wouldn't you agree Sarah?" Marshall turned to his companion, giving a glance or two at the misunderstood Ryou before closing the door to the cage.
Sarah stood before the bars for a moment longer, muttering something under her breath before turning to follow her co-worker out of the room, the lights flickering off once more; the room settling back into the dim, dark silence.
Ryou pulled himself up to sit wearily upon the floor, holding his left hand over his face.
'What is happening? Why is Shino being called Sarah? Is this some hidden file in "The World"…. Or…or is this… Reality?'
He couldn't really tell. All of this was so unusual, so strange. There were so many unanswered questions, and it seemed as if no one could understand him at all when he asked. The only thing he could tell that was real was the continuous aching pain that pulsed throughout his body; a pain that would soon be like a torrent of inexplicable torture.
'Where am I….? What's happening to me…?'
These thoughts continued to spiral within his mind as he attempted to pace the small quarters of the cell. However, vision impaired by the dark that loomed throughout the room left little room for success, followed by the short reign of the chains clasped to his wrist and ankles and the consistent whacking of his nose upon running into the walls. But it didn't matter to him at the moment; he was restless with uncertainty and confusion.
His claws clicked upon the concrete floor of the cage with every step until they came to a rest as his body settled itself down upon the ground once more. He couldn't tell what time it was, other than that everything felt as if it was frozen, unmoving and unwilling to change.
It felt like it had been hours of endless silence within the gloomy dim. Just lying there wishing for something else to occur to distract him or bring about some form of mindless interest.
The flickering of lights piercing through the bars caused him to stir. Raising his head to cast an uneasy glance about the room, his eyes still half closed with sleep. He gave out an exhausted yawn and attempted to raise himself to get a better look at what was going on.
Several people meandered about the room, fiddling with small instruments or scrolling through piles of paper; each distinctly wearing the same, uniform white coat that hung down to their knees. Yet in the midst of all the different figures weaving between the counters, Ryou caught a glimpse of "Shino" in the back, her eyes following the flow of text upon a screen. Her back was to him, but her appearance was unmistakable as his beloved Shino.
He pulled himself up onto his haunches in attempts to approach the bars. But upon touching them he found himself shot back against the far wall, his entire body steaming in pain. His swears and curses flooded the room in the sound of frantic, irritable screeching.
Sarah turned round in her chair, her eyes following many others within the room that landed upon the sight of the severely agitated 65 thrashing about within his cage.
One of the members wandered over to a monitor upon the wall, typing in random digits as if it seemed of much importance, but it was of little interest to Ryou. He was too busy cursing at the waves of pain that surged through his system from the electrical shock.
The man turned from the monitor to look over at the rest of the crowd who had paused from their work to view the spectacle.
"It would seem that someone set the circuit level above normal. May I ask whom?" The male's scorn caused the group to frown in unison followed by an awkward silence that was only filled by the hissing cries from the cell.
Marshall raised himself from his seat in a mild mannered sigh as the others turned to look at him.
"My apologizes, I raised the level a bit yesterday evening… considering that its aggression level was rather high."
The man's frown creased further across his face.
"You know damned well that this machine is designed to keep 'Roku Juu Go' at bay even at its lowest setting. There is no need to turn it up, and you shall not do so again? Am I clear Mr. Roderick?"
Marshall bowed his head in submission, "Yes sir, Mr. Hansley…"
Ryou had begun to calmhimself enough to listen to the conversation brewing about the room; his eyes scanning the situation, running over the figures of Marshall and Mr. Hansley.
'It looks like Mr. Hansley is the boss around here….. But what is 'Roku Juu Go?' or this 65 they keep talking about….?'
His trail of thought was cut off by the older of the two figures approaching the cell. Ryou's fangs instinctively barred themselves at the stranger as his body slinked further back towards the far wall.
"Now, now, 'Roku Juu Go', there's no need to be so testy…. That won't happen again, alright?" Mr. Hansley smiled through the bars at Ryou. But his smile seemed like a false reassurance as if an undertone within the man's voice threatened to beat Ryou down with an iron bar.
He rose himself to his feet, looking back over at the rest of the crew.
"Alright, enough lollygagging, let's get back to work shall we?" The same grin greeted the others with the same snarl hidden beneath the furls of his lips. The others turned back to the business in hopes that they would not have to stare down the lion's throat any longer.
Boredom continued to overwhelm Ryou as he lay upon the floor of the cage, staring at the ceiling; his barbed, armored tail flicking to the side slightly as if swatting invisible flies.
It was after about three agonizing hours of tormenting silence other than the rustling of papers or the clicking of Ryou's claws grinding against the stone floor that a rush of movement stirred from the door upon the far side of the room. He raised his head to look over at the unusual activity.
It looked as if a bomb squad had just entered the vicinity. Over a dozen men, every inch of them covered in armored padding, carrying the thick plastic shields that were wielded by police operatives as if they were preparing to disperse a riot. The doors held open wide as they filed in with impressive order. Ryou stared in bewildered awe at the large faction.
Sarah turned and walked past the mass of new arrivals, approaching the cage in her usual calm. Ryou's attention turned to look up at her as she came within three feet of the cage, her fingers tapping the keypad upon the wall. Slowly she lowered herself down to sit upon her heels as her hands reached forth and unlatched the lock upon the door. Ryou raised his head in attempts to speak to her, but she had once again backed off just as a surge of armored men swarmed up to him.
"Nani!" Ryou's yelp spiked through the air in a screech as four pairs of hands pinned him to the floor.
He squirmed and screamed at them, attempting to lash out uselessly with his claws. His armored tail swung round, knocking two of the men off as he then brought his free fist around to make contact with the closest face he could see. His hand was stopped short by the chains that bound him to the floor, leaving his claws just inches from one of the soldier's faces. Once again pounced upon by four other men; his limbs tied behind him as he continued to thrash.
"DAMN IT YOU BASTARDS! LET ME GO!" Ryou hissed, a vicious snarl steaming through his bared fangs.
The last available weapon he had left to his defense was his teeth as he twisted and writhed under the pressure of so many restrictive hands binding him down. His fangs sinking into one pair of hands that would soon pull back, only to replaced by another. The squalling hisses and snarling ruckus continued on and on for several minutes.
One of the men straddled his shoulders, pulling off his kerchief and yanking it back against Ryou's open jaws. The thrashing became wilder as Ryou squirmed in attempts to breathe and get away from the swarm of humanoid figures strangling him. But he could feel himself slowly growing more and more exhausted.
"Toss that muzzle over here!" A female voice rang out within the midst of the confusion.
Ryou blinked slightly, pausing to look up for the source of the voice; giving the squad enough time to strap the metal contraption over his nose and mouth. Caught off guard he returned to attempting to fight off the mass of strangers that held him down, but it was inevitably obvious that he had lost, he refused to accept it.
Sarah stepped through the crowd once more to stand over Ryou's restrained form. He lay there, almost completely out of breath, yet still thrashing here and there in attempts to shake free from his captors. However, upon seeing her, all movement ceased. His gaze traveled up from the ground to meet her deep amethyst eyes where it remained in complete silence.
She lowered herself upon her haunches, her hand reaching into the folds of her lab coat. Her gaze remained upon the entranced crimson eyes of Ryou Misaki. It wasn't until a sudden prick upon his neck that the gaze was broken; his body jolted back in surprise before crumpling down upon himself in complete exhaustion. He lay there, still following her movements as she pocketed the previously concealed syringe.
Everything seemed to blur together in a nauseating spiral, all playing in slow-mo. The droning voices continued as he could barely feel himself being dragged down brightly lit hallways. He couldn't understand anything anyone was saying, he just wished it would cease back into silence.