Powers Made Flesh
Now, of all the times for me to remember...I hate it when the past comes back to remind me of what crimes I committed when I was so young. It isn't fair! I've lived through it so many times, and it repeats itself over and over. The saddest thing is that I still do it, even though it's responsible for their deaths. I still drink. Maybe those memories are why I drink so much, yet don't get so bloody drunk. I guess I'll never know that for sure, will I?
"Hey, Ralf! Look what we've got!"
"Mark! That's yours and my parents..."
"Right! Let's give it a shot."
"But, my dad will get so pissed! I'm only eleven!"
"And since you're the oldest, you go first. Come on, now. You're as curious as the rest of us. Here, Jenny, you pass the cups around. Carrie, you get the ice. We're having a party!"
What could I say, right. I wanted to do it as much as the others, maybe even more so. I was a rebellious little guy, always wanting to stick out above the fold. I still am, but I now have responsibility, but at what cost? How many times will I recall all of those lives that--ended?
"Yaah! Looook wat I gat! Boom-booms! Let's try'em!"
We were so drunk and high, that was probably the best sentence any of us could make. What we had were some of the guns my cousins and my folks had, and I don't know for sure what happened. I only know that I blacked out.
When I awoke, I hurt all over. I wasn't where we were before I passed out. I tried to move, and I felt like something had ate a huge chunk out of my leg. After several moments of pain, I finally could look at my leg, and saw blood. Everywhere I look, I saw blood. People are dead, and I have a gun in my hand.
I drop it, and freak out as I hear it thud and bounce on the ground. I look around, and see my family slaughtered! Us kids had guns, and laid waste to our family, under the demon of alcohol!
Obviously, this caused a lot of concern, because the next thing I knew, a lot of adults had come in, with guns, really big guns. I saw lights flashing, and heard a lot of screams, and my head hurt. One of them asked me a lot of questions, and all I could do was look through him, at what I had done. Everything had to be a lie. Someone was playing a very bad joke on me. I only had a few bottles, nothing big. There couldn't have been any truth to this, there just couldn't be!
The next thing I'm aware of is that I'm put in some place with other boys. Some are around my age. Others are younger, while others are older. I feel cold, and don't know where I am. I'm afraid.
"Look at the new kid. Shall we test him, Rick?"
Before I could even ask, they knock me to the ground, hard. The one who talked brought me up to my feet. Without even thinking, I drove my head as hard as I could into his head, and he went down. I didn't stop to see how he took it. I tackled the other one, and began pounding his face in. Before I could use my final hit, the guard grabbed my fist. The other guy was out, cold.
That was the start of the next chapter of my life. I spent years growing up in that place. I fought just to make sure I would live. By the time I was 21, I had a decent rep. I was rugged, and while I wasn't undefeated, I was still a respected fighter. I didn't really have anything to be called skills, until I met the first guy who gave me a real challenge.
"So, what's with the shades, man?"
"Care to take a little test."
I didn't know why at the time, but I like this silent fellow. There was something about him, it was like we were brothers.
First thing is that he does a weird twist, and I find myself being smashed with a series of uppercuts. He then runs, and hits me with a nasty shoulder-breaker. As he lifts me to my feet, I knock his arms away, and before he can react, I grab his head, and nail him with a head-butt that sends him spinning.
I start running, and am nearly tripped up by him. With a lot of luck, I jump over, and dive with my fist into his face, knocking him to the ground.
"Yea! Go man, go!"
It's there that I notice that my friends, as well as others, have gathered. I guess that they placed bets on us. Obviously, they wanted me to win, to collect their pay. Of course, I knew I wouldn't get a thing.
I just had enough time to grab his hands, and we were stuck in a power-struggle. I don't think I had felt anyone able to come as close to me as Clark had that time. We are still pretty well matched. We just have some small differences. We still wonder who would have won that one, but I guess fate had it's demands for us to meet.
"Enough! This will end, now!"
There was some military officer guy, and everyone else split. DAMN! I was in deep enough crud as it was. Now, to be in trouble with some military is what I don't need.
"You each seem ready to fight. What are your names?"
"My name is Clark Steele, sir."
"I am Ralf Jones. And who are you?"
"I am Jedrin Heidren. Here, give this to who you need, and come here by 11:00 a.m. sharp tomorrow!"
"What? Are we drafted, Jedrin?"
"Does that trouble you, Ralf?"
"Not at all. You, Clark?"
"I'll be there."
"You each seem ready to fight. You each are good men, and have strong potential. You need more training, though. You will be top men, and it will be your only goal."
"I'm already top, Jed."
"As your commander, you shall address me as Heidren."
"And what, Heidren, do you want with Ralf and myself?"
"As I said, you are each good men. I feel that you will be exceptional, in fact. However, you each lack discipline. That is what I shall teach you, as well as the humiliating lesson of defeat."
"That's rich. I may have had my share of loses, but none are humiliating. I'm ready!"
Then, before I knew it, he flipped through the air, said something odd, grabbed me. I felt like he was some sorta vampire. I don't think I ever went down so hard. Clark tried to get the drop on him, but Heidren side-stepped him, and brought Clark down with the same ease he took me out.
"I think I've made my point. Now, you may return to your respective homes, gather your things, and return by dinner, tonight at 5:00! Dismissed!"
I guess it was better than my life had been up to that point, if it was even a life. I don't recall how many times I wanted to end my life. I had the gun. I can't even recall how many times I was nearly going hungry. I don't know how I lasted as long as I did, but I'm glad I did.
We became brothers in arm, Clark and I. We even mimicked a few techniques here and there.
"Ralf? Are you ok?"
"Leona. Yes. I's just thinking about the past."
"A demon that just won't leave us be. But with friends, we'll carry on, right?"
"Right on. You know, I just now thought of it...I didn't have my usual pre-drink in '99."
"No, you didn't. That's good. Come on. I know you're as curious as I am to know about this whole clone thing with Gerad and those two that took Kyo and Iori."
"Right. I wonder, do you think they will try one of us next?"
"Yes. The question is, who?"
"Ryu. I thought I would find you here. You still think about her. It happened so long ago, and yet I know that you can't truly forget about her. I can't, either. If she hadn't saved your life...I wouldn't have a husband."
Chun Li rested her hand on his shoulder, and could feel his heart racing. It was always the same, every year, at this time. This was the day that Sakura gave her life, to protect Ryu from Bison's killer attack. He was bound, and couldn't defend himself. At times, he wish he had been there, in her place. It left him with a feeling of guilt, one that his wife understood.
She also felt guilty, too. She wondered how it would be, if her and Sakura had traded places. They wouldn't be where they are now, that's for sure. Ryu would be kneeling before her grave, in honor of her. They have both honored her, naming their first child after her.
"Thank you, Chun Li. Let's go. They'll be waiting for us."
Although there was pain, there was light to be seen in his eyes. The light of love for the beautiful Chinese woman before him. They each had their share of ups and downs, and now, they had each other to share them with. They took a vow of union, one that each knew was eternal, and that they had found their destinies with each other.
On the other side of the world, Ken was having his own little dedication to her memory, the girl that had saved his best friend's life. Like Ryu, he had wished it would have been him instead. Or at least, he hadn't been so worn from his fight with Sagat. Then, maybe, he could have stopped Bison head-on. After all, he was one of the two champions of their epic battle, and had fought with and against Bison a few times in that one.
It really chills his being at the thought. The very idea of teaming up with Bison, willingly, is horrendous. When Bison had taken control of Ryu, and later, himself, he could understand it. But, for their times there, well, maybe. It took some convincing from Rose, though.
"Honey? Are you ok? I know what this time means to you, and I can have the children wait."
"...I'm done, baby. Besides, I'm anxious to see Mel and Cathy, anyway. With that little trip, it'll be nice to see them. I had to work my ass off, just so I could have this time off!"
"Moan, moan! Just like usual."
Eliza brought his head between her hands, and kissed him. For a moment, the world stopped. Then, everything spun around them. They had become the center of creation. All that existed was that moment. Their pain and their joys faded into nothing.
"When are we leaving to meet Ryu and Chun Li in Hawaii, Ken?"
"Shortly after lunch, tomorrow. I've made the arrangements, and we should meet them just in time for supper."
"That's how most of you men work, around your stomach."
"Hey! Where do you..?"
Eliza silenced him with another kiss.
True to his word, they arrived a short while before supper. After quick greetings, they piled into the limo, and made their way to the nearest restaurant. Eliza and Chun Li wondered who had worse table manners, their kids, or their husbands. All of them had little patience when it came to eating time.
"Both of my kids have been like that since they were born."
"So have Mel and Cathy. I think they inherited it from their fathers."
They each laughed, while the rest of their families continued to pig-out.
After supper, they went to a few shows. To their parents' surprise, they didn't act up. Usually, they were all live wires, but especially after a large meal. The performers, with their magical performances, captivated not only them, but everyone who watched. The fire-walkers, and the exotic animals were the stars of the shows.
"I would love to learn what they do, if it would keep my kids that quiet."
"Yes. I think I'd like to see you in a grass skirt as well, Chun."
"Woah! You didn't just say that, my friend! That's usually my line!"
"Great. Now there's two of them. Huh? I think we have some tired kids with us. I think they need their rest."
"Right, Eliza. I think I could use some rest, myself. You boys can go on."
"You mean, just like that. We get to go where we want, by ourselves."
"Right, Ken. Then Chun Li and I get our night tomorrow, and you watch the kids."
They each groaned, as the ladies got their children into the limo, and to their hotel.
"You just knew there had to be some catch," Ryu grumbled, as the limo drove away.
"With women, there always are, my friend."
"Gee, I'm sorry to hear you feel that way, boys. It makes us young girls feel awful."
"Damn! Who in the Hell are you!"
"Watch your mouth, Ken."
"More so than you know. Let me introduce you to Elise, my daughter."
"And allow me to introduce you boys to your betters. These two are power made flesh. One with more Psycho Power than you could ever handle. The other, with a power you can only dream of. They are what you may call prototypes. We are working on various kinds of even more advanced models, and we require your presence."
"I usually watch my mouth with a lady, but Go To HELL!"
"Boys, crush them!"
"Yes, my minions. Have fun with my old friends. But do not hurt them too much. They are needed, alive."
Before either can react, one of them teleports, and smashes into Ken with a Psycho Crusher. The other seems to leap into the air, only to disappear, and reappear just behind Ryu. His hand covers Ryu's face. Using strength that seems unnatural, he lifts Ryu off of his feet, and engulfs him in a storm.
"That, was a cheap shot, bastard! Enjoy it, it's your last."
The man made no response, other than to casually neutralize Ken's fireball with his own. Ken rolled in, and went for a Hurricane Kick. Just as his leg nearly hit the man's skull, he caught it, and dove his elbow into the back of Ken's knee, coming close to breaking it. Ken tried to catch him with a Sho-Ryu-Reppa, only for him to warp out of sight. As he landed, the man grabbed him and threw him across the room.
"You're good, but I'm better."
Ken flipped, and landed on his feet. He unleashed a Shinku-Hadouken beam, only to have it sent back at him by am unseen force. He felt the mans strong grip lift him up, and went for his Shin-Ryu-Ken, only to feel a slight bump, as he hit nothing but air. The man was, for a moment, off balance. But, before Ken landed, he was ready.
He spiraled into Ken with a Psycho Crusher. Then, he faded for a heartbeat, reappearing with enforcement, to bring Ken down. After the last kick, Ken went through a window, glass flying all around. Then, as he stood up, he saw a bright explosion fly, crashing into him.
"Now, you see how strong our Psycho Power really is, Ken. You were lucky in defeating father last time. Now, it is over."
"On a cold...day in Hell, bitch!"
Elise kicked Ken upside his face, bloodying his battered face.
She then poked him a few times: "That's it? You're lucky to be alive!"
With a nod, the clone picked up Ken.
Ryu was shocked as his opponent seemed to phase directly through his move! How was such a thing possible? As he touched down, a massive ball of electricity crashed into his stomach, keeling him over. No sooner had he hit the ground, then he slid to distance himself from his powerful enemy.
How in the world are these people. I've never seen such power. It seems Bison has made some major improvements. My Shin-Ryu-Ken passed right through him; it was faster than Bison's disappearing act.
The man dropped to his knees, and Ryu felt the very ground tremble beneath him. What was this man doing? What was he--DAMN!
Ryu just rolled out of the way, as he brought his fist up, and a small, yet powerful blast, ripped toward Ryu.
"Let's see how you like this combination! My standard, electric, and flaming Shinku-Haodouken!"
Ryu braced himself, gathering up power that he had only tried in a joint effort with Chun Li. The power they had together had lifted them several feet into the air. Her Kikoken bubble surrounded them, and he unleashed a typhoon of power reaching from the ground on up. Now, to see if he could create a similar effect on his own.
His vision became electric, and there was a glow going as far as his eye could see. He felt raw power building up, enough to make him want to explode. He knew he had to hold it, though. If these guys were that strong, how strong were Elise and Bison, to control such men?
More importantly, what's to say that they will stop with them? What's to say they won't go after Chun Li? She has proven her power to be up to level with the greatest in the world. Now that Bison was back, with more power than before, there had to be little doubt that he would stop with just him and Ken. He would want Chun Li as well.
For a second, Ryu choked at his next thoughts. Sakura. Benjamin. What could be better, than the children of two of the greatest Street Fighters today? Bison, with his twisted thoughts, would stop at nothing to get them. They are still young, and could easily be prone to his manipulation. To take them, and bring them under his tutelage, and shape them for world conquest, sent a chill throughout Ryu.
"Damn you to Hell! You...AAARRGGHH!"
Ryu felt himself grow weak, and falter, as he poured his very life into the attack. He wouldn't lose the most precious people in his life. Not now. Not ever!
"What?! Where'd he go!"
Ryu's answer came as two powerful hands grabbed him from behind, and ripped him out of the blast. He then felt bones crack, as he was repeatedly slammed onto the back of his head by the clone. All he could do was curse himself, for failing. As the final hit came, he thought, in the power that ensnared him, that he saw a skull, but he passed out before he could be sure.
"See. They are ready, dad. They took out all four of our targets with no sweat. Just a little more work, and the next phase for Shadowloo's conquest can begin."
"Finally. The world will belong to me and my line."
"What's wrong, Chun Li."
"Something...bad just happened. I feel very cold. Ryu."
"Leona. I just got a lead from an old friend. They have Ryu and Ken now!"
"What did you say, Ralf?!"
"It's no wonder. With their powers, it will take a Helluva a fight to stop them."
"They are of me, and I will show them who is the master."
"Hang tight, kids. We're going to have us another fun-filled day with the bad-boys," Wolverine took a puff on his cigar, threw it into the air, a split it with his claw.
Ready To Go