Original Stories Fan Fiction ❯ Into The Void ❯ Behind Closed Doors ( Chapter 36 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Into the Void
By: Melissa Norvell
Chapter 36: Behind Closed Doors
“Alright,” Rubio agreed and turned towards the door, “let's step outside and I'll show you.”
“Wait,” Sari stopped him in mid-step. She wasn't about to let this go unquestioned. Rubio turned around and looked at her. She gave him a stern expression. “You can control it, right?” She didn't want another incident like the one with Valentino happening. Rubio nodded, which eased her nerves a little. At least he wasn't being completely stupid about this.
“I never realized how much I didn't know about you until now.” It just now hit Ionna how clueless she was to her team mate's true identities. What else didn't she know her other team mates?
Rubio frowned, “I never intended to be found out.” He continued out of the door and waited for everyone to walk outside. He wanted to make sure that they all saw the might of his transformation. Rubio didn't want to have to transform twice. When they had all made their way out, all eyes were on him.
“Now,” the silver-haired man announced, “you'll get to see the real me.” He raised his arm above his head and reached skyward. A golden ring made of an unknown, metallic energy formed above his fingertips and expanded through the skies. It ran over his body, scanning it as six wings shot from his back, their feathers white as a crisp winter's snow.
More of the golden rings formed around his wings, and one made a halo around his head. Reaching forward, Rubio grabbed a beam of the golden essence and it formed into an elaborate scythe. The blade was composed of highly polished obsidian and in the middle of the weapon was a bright red gem.
“That's a seraphim warrior?” Sari couldn't take her eyes off of the man who was in front of her. He was beautiful, more so than when they first met. When she thought about it, that angel pun came back to bite her in the ass.
“He looks like an angel,” Yaritza couldn't help but be blown away by his presence. It was as if she basked in his holy light just staring at his magnificence. The red-haired ninja had never seen something so unworldly.
“He's supposed to,” Zidane pointed that fact out, “that's the whole point.” Without a doubt, Rubio may very well have been the experiment with the DNA of the being that Ibuki found on the mountains. If he wasn't, he'd be damned shocked.
“A long time ago, when the Dark Renegade Assassins were doing a mission, they found a preserved body in the Fong-Wang Mountains. It was a winged figure that looked like an angel. No one knew the name of this woman but they called her Celestia. She was said to be the closest thing resembling an angel. The Renegade Assassins took her back to the laboratory and enclosed her in a germination tank,” Rubio explained the origins of the experiment to everyone.
“They extracted cells directly out of her body to form the Seraphim Project,” Zidane elaborated on the contents of the experiment.
“An angel? I mean, Rubio does look like an angel but…How do they know it was an angel?” Sari questioned it a lot. How could they have been sure that it wasn't an alien or something else? Why would they perform experiments on something they knew nothing about to begin with? It seemed very shady and asinine.
“They don't know, they assumed, but it does have magical properties. That body was weird and creepy. Something that people shouldn't mess with,” Zidane completely agreed. He didn't know whether they should have performed experiments on it to find out what it was exactly, but they damned sure shouldn't have been injecting cells from it into other people and doing a lot of the screwed up stuff they did.
“That thing could be an alien for all we know,” Udo thought along the same lines as Sari. No one knew where it came from, or why it held the features that it did.
“It would make me one as well,” Valentino admitted.
Rubio glanced to the dark-haired man. What did he mean by that? Did he have the seraphim cells as well?
“INSIDIOUS was the first Seraphim Project to be created,” Valentino explained. “It was initially an experiment meant to be performed on humans in order to transfer the cells into a human and turn them into Seraph Warriors who would act as Ibuki's body guards.” That was the original intention of the project, to create superhuman, genetically altered beings he could utilize to his liking. With the protection of the Seraph Warriors, no one could stop him, or try to kill him.
“But, your transformation looked way different than Ru…uh…GENISIS,” Yaritza pointed out the differences between them. Rubio had looked heavenly, like the representation of a true angel, but Valentino was beastly and dark. How were they both a part of the same project?
“That's why INSIDIOUS is a failed experiment, something went wrong in my body. It warped the DNA and mutated it, which caused a series of deformities. Rubio must contain more of the gene than I do, more than likely enough to call Celestia his mother. Ibuki's main objective was to overpower the human DNA with Celestia's and create a near perfect clone.” As sinister as that sounded, Valentino knew the truth. Even though his transformations were untamed and powerful, he was nowhere near the capabilities of Rubio. Rubio was hailed as the perfect experiment, an example of a true Seraph Warrior.
“Even so, most of the experiments were exterminated, or they failed,” Rubio recalled the horrible treatment and disfigurement the other Seraph Warriors had gone through. Their screams and wails still haunted him.
“How many of those experiments are there?” Aeris was under the assumption that they were two of many.
“Valentino and I are the only living experiments-“ Rubio tried to explain, but his fellow experiment cut him off.
“I am the only human experiment,” Valentino corrected him.
“There were six original Seraphim Project experiments, INSIDIOUS, GENESIS, ADONIS, AXIS, AGNIEL, and COLOSSUS. We were all designed for one cause - to guard Ibuki and to take out those who posed a threat to him with little involvement from outside sources,” Rubio provided them with their objective.
“Ibuki didn't want a mutiny, so he chose to use to pull off his betrayals. We were his scapegoats,” Valentino didn't like it, but nonetheless they were like the vultures of the unit. Faithful servants who had been brainwashed to do his bidding. The thought of who he used to be sickened him to the core.
“We were created to be hated, and made to be seen as monsters,” as much as Rubio hated that fact, he wouldn't deny the truth.
“I never would have guessed. I honestly thought you guys were like me- specially trained humans,” Yaritza knew that it was dumb to think about now, but her first impression of the two of them was pretty naive. She had thought them to be like special agents or spies.
“Everyone who came from Ibuki's has had some kind of experimentation or altering. Zidane, Loreli, and myself included,” Udo knew more than anyone that Ibuki's facility was like a house of horrors for anyone who became a soldier under him, especially the high-ranking members.
“It's true,” Loreli backed him up. “Ibuki wanted us to be perfect soldiers, but you guys are elite compared to us…No…you're super elites.” Rubio and Valentino were the highest rank that anyone could get. Their intense altering and experimentation only proved as a symbol of their strength and ability to be deadly.
“Yeah, that's incredible,” Hisamichi agreed. He barely knew anything about the projects, much less everything that had come out. It was true that he had heard of them, but he never imagined that he would come face to face with them.
“Not as much as you'd like to think. We have a lot of problems, a lot of unsolved mysteries about who and what we are.” Due to the fact that Valentino and Rubio had the strange DNA that they did, they both had problems dealing with understanding themselves. Rubio knew that he didn't function like a normal human being. They were far from it. Things were worse because no one knew what Celestia was, and with her died any clues to unlock a better understanding about themselves.
“Even if we destroy Ibuki, we won't find them out,” Valentino knew that destroying the terrorist would keep any secrets he'd learned from the project.
“So, are you just going to give up?” Rubio turned to his boyfriend. That didn't seem like him.
“I want to know, but it doesn't bother me if I don't find out,” Valentino had known long ago that there was a strong chance that he'd never get the answers he sought, but he had come to terms with that. “Maybe it's for the best that I don't know. I might not like what I do find out.”
Sometimes, the unknown was best to be left that way.
“I don't care if the truth hurts. I've already learned far too much of it,” Rubio's voice held a little bitter tone to it, which caused Valentino to narrow his eyes. He knew exactly what he was referring to.
“What did you find out?” The man pressed.
“I know what Ibuki is trying to do,” the silver-haired man's face donned a serious expression.
“What?” Zidane's gaze shot to him. If he knew this entire time, then why the hell didn't he tell them?
“Tell us,” Ionna wanted to know as well.
“Yeah, besides doing crazy experiments and trying to take over the world with them,” Vincent already knew about those parts. He wanted new intel on him.
“That has something to do with it,” Rubio noted.
“It does?” Vincent was a little caught off guard by his response.
“Ibuki wants the INSIDIOUS Project, but not for what we thought he did,” the words dripped from his lips like liquid darkness.
“What do you mean?” Loreli wanted him to elaborate.
“Think about it. He wanted me to destroy Valentino-“ Rubio began to explain, but he was cut off.
“He wanted the same for me,” Valentino agreed.
“What do you think that would mean?” The silver-haired man questioned.
“A double termination.” It was the only conclusion that the two of them could come to. Valentino had known it from nearly the beginning.
“Wrong,” Rubio's answer surprised him.
“If not than one of us would win,” Valentino offered the second scenario.
“You're on the right path,” his boyfriend noted. He wanted him to keep guessing.
“We would be forced to transform and be put against each other,” Valentino offered another outcome after thinking on the issue for a moment.
“If you transform, it would be a calamity, just like before,” Rubio noted the severity of that outcome. Any time that Valentino transformed, it was far from good. There was no doubt that Ibuki wouldn't use that to his advantage. The more people Valentino killed, the better it made things for him and the easier it was to carry out his plans.
“The vortex…” Just then, it hit him.
“Precisely,” Rubio nodded.
Zidane looked at the two men with eyes widened. “You mean that's what he's trying to do?”
“What? What vortex? What is he trying to do?” Bosnia was confused. They might as well have been talking in cipher text as far as she was concerned.
“INSIDIOUS has a weird ability,” the scar-faced man began to elaborate, “a frightening ability that it can do. He can use vortexes and vectors that cause voids and dead zones.”
“At the risk of my own life, I can create vacuums that can destroy a massive area. However, if the vacuum is too large, I can't control it and I become a sacrifice to my own attack,” Valentino explained the methods of his attack. Ibuki would have found it detrimental to pull off an attack like that and suck them all into the void. If he happened to die in the process, then he was just going to rid himself of him with less of a fight than he originally planned.
“After that, no one can stop the vacuum. It will eventually grow out of control and suck everything in around it, turning it into a massive black hole that engulfs all life,” Rubio continued to explain in depth about the further consequences of releasing such an attack. “That's what he wants.”
“What?! That's psycho!” Yaritza's voice burst forth in shock. She couldn't believe another human being would want to do something like that! It was suicide.
“Not entirely,” Valentino noted. “Ibuki would save a few select people. From those people, he would build his own empire and rule the new uninhabited world without anyone to stop him.”
Basically, Ibuki was performing a near mass extinction. After that, he was going to breed people like animals and raise an army of unstoppable beings that he could rule over. He wanted to be the ultimate overlord, to play god in a world he and he alone would build from the ashes of destruction.
“That's madness!” Sari exclaimed.
“How did you find that out?” Udo was a little suspicious. Not many people knew of the vortexes and what exactly they did. Sure, Rubio was a higher up but it made little sense to know this much.
Rubio pulled a handful of documents from his coat and held them up. “When I was in the biohuman labs, I skimmed through the folders of data and found it. It's an objective of this his plan. Valentino is their main source. Only he can make these vortexes.”
It was why Valentino was integral to their plans, and why Ibuki made sure to keep him on his side. If there was a chance that Valentino went rouge, Ibuki would lose the main component in his plan. It was also possible that the experiment could use the void to get rid of him, and that would be a problem.
“So, Valentino is who they want,” Loreli had a feeling, but now she was certain.
“You don't really want to do that, do you?” Vincent looked to the silent man in question. Right now, he was questioning a lot of stuff, and he wasn't so sure he could trust Rubio or Valentino.
“What do you think?” Valentino sighed. He didn't work with them all this time just to suck them into a vortex.
“If I say no, will you agree?” The bounty hunter gave him an awkward smile.
Valentino nodded. “I don't want to be a martyr to his cause, nor do I wish to be discarded as a human sacrifice.”
“That settles it!” Sari slammed a fist in her hand. “We have to go kick his ass right now!”
“Yeah,” Yaritza pumped her fist and jumped up. She was filled with a new found determination. The world needed them more than ever.
“Is it a good idea that Valentino comes along? I mean, does that make him a target?” Vincent thought about the consequences. What if they brought him along and he got possessed or he ended up lying to them this whole time? There was no way that he wanted to be sucked into a vortex.
“He's the only one who could defeat Ibuki. We need him,” Ionna thought it would be stupid to just leave him behind. Valentino was the most powerful member of their team.
“She's right,” Udo agreed. “We can't do this alone.” Even with Rubio, their chances weren't that great. They needed all the help they could get.
“I bet Ibuki is an experiment, too. If he pulls any shit, then he can tell,” Zidane didn't doubt that this man didn't alter himself to be as strong as his experiments, if not stronger. He'd even go as far to believe that he was also part of the Seraphim Project.
“Even with my transformation, my powers might not be enough to stop him,” Rubio knew this more than anyone else.
“I bet he wouldn't back down, even if we told him to,” Aeris knew the facts. Ibuki was a mad man and the only way to stop him was to kill him.
“I came too far to give up now. Yes, I may be the target but I can't sit around and do nothing while people around me die,” Valentino had caused far too many casualties, and even now people were dying as he spoke.
“You can't die on me…” Sari's features were solemn before they morphed into anger. “None of you can! I'll kick your asses!”
“Eh heh,” Hisamichi laughed nervously and placed a hand behind his head. `She's scary…'
Taking the parchment, Zidane scanned over the contents. “Does this document hold his present location?”
“Yes,” Rubio nodded, “he'll be at the round house section of the Akuma training factory.”
“How did you get your hands on a document like that?” Loreli cast a skeptical glance to him. Something like that wasn't easy to obtain. Even the most specially trained spies had a hard time getting a hold of top secret information as far as Ibuki was concerned.
“I killed a few people,” Rubio smiled and left it at that.
“Which scientist was supposed to accompany him in the meeting?” Valentino inquired.
“Dr. Ikar Fairaye,” Rubio gave him his answer.
“Hmm…” The red-clad man closed his eyes immersed in deep thought.
“Who?” Sari didn't know this guy's importance from Adam. She wanted them to elaborate.
“A doctor who tortures his test subjects to study the limitations of the human body through altered stimuli. He works with experiments,” Valentino revealed the man's relevance. He was a man that no experiment or even normal person wanted to run into, and was regarded for his cruelty.
“He's the man who was responsible for a lot of grief among the experiments involved in the Seraphim Project.” A man that did nothing but brought bad memories to Rubio's mind. Even now, he dreaded even speaking his name.
“He always makes frequent visitations to Ibuki,” Valentino noted that the two were on friendly terms with each other.
“Isn't that suspicious?” Zidane found it to be. Those two were way too close not to be suspect of something shady.
Valentino nodded. “I've always wondered, but I've never said anything about it.”
“Is Ibuki an experiment too?” Bosnia wondered as everyone turned to look at her. She then looked shocked and held out her hands. “Oh, I'm sorry! I was thinking out loud!” She didn't mean to say something so stupid! They probably thought that she was crazy for even trying to mention something so outlandish.
“No,” Aeris' tone was dire. “Tell us what you just said.”
“That Ibuki might be an experiment, too,” Bosnia's words were slower this time and more unsure. She didn't know if they were taking her seriously or not.
“He has conducted experiments on himself, but only after it was tested on us,” Rubio thought it made perfect sense. If he saw that nothing too bad happened to his test subjects, he'd use a more perfected version of it on himself.
“Celestia's body is in that place,” Valentino was certain that Ibuki more than likely had the same cells that the two of them had.
“I thought you said that you couldn't put Seraphim DNA in a human,” Zidane was quick to counteract that little plan of his. Either Valentino was lying or some shit was up. Either way, he didn't like what he was insinuating.
“I was unfit for the Seraphim Project because my DNA combined with Celestia's caused rapid mutation of the cells in my body that altered my physical appearance. That may not be true with everyone. I don't know that much about why I gained the extremities that I have, nor do I know why it makes me uncomfortable. I'm not sure if projects were created through different means.” Valentino could only speak for his own case. He knew that others might vary. His cells might have been mutated from prior experimentation as well. There were too many factors in place.
“I think he's experimented on himself. There's not a doubt in my mind,” Udo could bet on it he was so certain. “Maybe he made it to where he can create vacuums by himself?” It was a situation he didn't like thinking about, but he couldn't deny that it was a possibility.
“What? How could we stop him then?” Yaritza was horrified at the possibility that he could know something like that. She certainly hoped it wasn't the case. If it was, they would all get sucked into the void and die.
“There are ways to dematerialize the vacuum through magic,” Valentino knew that nothing was without a cure. If something could be done, it could also be undone.
“It might completely diminish our power but we might be able to do it,” Ionna knew that whatever spell could counter it had to take everything they had just to perform it. Even then, there was no true guarantee that it would work.
“We'll have to depend on that theory if that scenario turns out to be true,” Rubio didn't like the idea any better than they did. In fact, it would be their worst nightmare if it came to pass, but they needed to consider all options.
“Regardless, Ibuki is completely left open now. This is our time to attack. We won't get that chance again,” Valentino knew that they had to strike now.
“Well, what are we waiting for? Let's head out!” Sari thought they were all wasting time. If now was the time to get things done, they needed to move their asses instead of talking about it.
“I'm ready,” Vincent clenched a fist and held it up. He didn't know what they were heading into or if he'd come out alive, but there was no time like the present to face his fears. If he could pull through with this, it would be a huge kudos on his list as a bounty hunter.
“So am I,” Ionna smiled and placed a hand on Vincent's shoulder.
“Are you sure you can still fight?” The hunter was a little concerned with his girlfriend's injuries.
“I'll be fine with you by my side,” Ionna wasn't one to believe in the nonsense about love conquering all, but as long as Vincent was able to cover her, she was confident that they would pull through.
“Right,” he smiled at her. That was the spirit!
“So, are we going back to the laboratory?” Bosnia asked.
“No, we're going to a facility just north of it,” Rubio gave them their instructions. “We'll have to travel a little farther this time.”
“It's time,” Aeris gave the word and Zidane nodded as they began their quest to take Ibuki out.
The group stood before an imposing building. The winds howled and whipped across the land, causing their clothing to flutter and flap. All eyes were cast to the exterior, formed from metal and rivets. Each of them brace themselves for what they might find inside. None of them were truly ready to come face-to-face with the terrorist, but there was no turning back.
“So, that sorry bastard is in here?” Sari looked to her team mates for confirmation. After all, there were several buildings in this area. She assumed they stopped in front of the largest one for a reason.
“As far as I know,” Rubio answered her. “I'm not sure where exactly he is, but I'll find him if it's the last thing I do.” They were too close to back down now.
Zidane pulled his bazooka over his shoulder, ready to infiltrate at any time. “I'll blow the bastard's head off.”
Vincent slammed a fist in his hand. “He'll pay for all of the people's lives he's taken away.”
“I might be afraid,” Hisamichi swallowed hard, “but I'll still fight.”
“We might not be directly involved, but we can't let someone like that take over the planet,” Aeris' steely eyes gazed at the iron doors. This was a matter that concerned the entire planet, and she'd be damned if she was just going to stand by and let it get destroyed.
“Besides,” Bosnia added, “everyone here is our friends. We'll fight for them, won't we?”
“Yes,” Aeris' smiled.
“All of the pain I endured in that hell hole…all of the people in my village…” Udo's fist clenched as he was filled with malice recalling the events of the past. “All of it…”
“I'll do my best to bring that man to justice,” Loreli looked at her boyfriend's shaken form and a steeling look of resolve painted itself on her visage.
“This is for Hokuto,” Yaritza had her reasons as well. She wasn't going to let this man just kill him and walk away free. She damned sure wasn't going to let him kill anyone else, or make a planet full of genetically altered slaves.
Rubio looked up towards the metal roof of the multi-storied building as another fierce wind swept through the group. His silver hair blew across his face, momentarily obscuring his vision.
“It's time to finally cross your name off of my hit list, Ibuki. You will be my greatest assassination,” Ionna would get a high standing for this if she pulled it off. Then, anyone she wanted could hire her for more hits. She would go down as one of the best assassins in history, and the promise looked very good.
“I agree,” Vincent responded. “That bounty money will be so sweet!”
“Well, I wouldn't mind sharing it with you,” his girlfriend gave him a playful wink.
“Maybe after this, we can buy a place and live together. Just you and me,” Vincent winked back. “What do you say?”
“Sounds good,” Ionna smiled. It was more than good to her, it was a dream come true.
“Thank you, everyone,” Valentino knew this may be his last words. He decided to give his gratitude to his team mates incase anything happened from this point on. He was well aware of the consequences they were about to bring upon themselves. The fact that everyone stuck with him so faithfully was beyond the scope of any words he could have uttered.
“Oh, it's nothing. That's what friends are for, right cap'n?” Bosnia flashed a brilliant smile to him before turning to Aeris. She didn't know about the older woman, but this was the best adventure she had been on in a while and she made so many new friends. It was hard not to be attached to everyone. No matter what happened, she had a blast coming this far and she wouldn't have changed it for the world.
Aeris nodded in agreement. “During my stay with all you, I've you all as more than allies. You're all my friends.” Even if she went into the group later on, it didn't mean that her attachment to everyone was any less, especially Zidane.
“I agree,” Rubio smiled. “Let's all make it out of this one alive.” As unrealistic as it sounded, he wanted the best outcome and he trusted the experience of his team mates to pull them through.
“You're smiling? I've never seen you smile before,” Loreli was taken back at the silver-haired man's expression. Up until now, he had been so serious. She wasn't used to him donning a smile at all.
“For once, I truly am happy.” He didn't know why, but he just felt an overwhelming sense of peace, as if all of this was going to come to an end soon enough. He was on the verge of being free, just one more step before he could embrace it.
“Well, you can be happy after we beat his ass,” Zidane wanted to remind him that their mission was far from over.
Rubio nodded. He knew that very well. Before he could say anything, Valentino dashed ahead of them at a speed so fast that he merely appeared to be a red blur. They all followed suit and ran towards the building with looks of determination riding on their features and fire of passion igniting their hearts.
`It all ends today…Ibuki…It's time to reap what you have sown.' Rubio's final thoughts went through his brain as he headed through the doors, off to finally face the man that created him.
…To Be Continued