What happens to a soul once the body dies? Some say that that is that and we are judged once we die. If we are good, we go to Heaven! If we are wrong, we go to Hell! If we weren't quite up to par with the standards, we may go to limbo. We won't actually be suffering, but we won't be in full glory either. For those that were virtuous, but didn't know about The Coming, they are spared the torments of Hell, but cannot enter Heaven. Each is content, however, for they have faith and believe that it will all work out in the Grand Plan.
Then there are those who for the most part were good, but they had some flaws which prevent them from entering Heaven. These are sent to what has been called by men, such as Dante Alighieri, Purgatory. Here the souls suffer, but only temporarily. In Purgatory, the souls take their time (which can be hundreds of years) to cleanse their souls of their sins. Thus, they may be able to end their suffering with time, while those of Hell are doomed for all eternity.
Still others believe that when the body dies, the soul moves on to another vessel. If they were virtuous, than they move to a higher state, and closer to being at one with all of creation. If they weren't virtuous, than they either move back to a lower level and try again, or they stay where they are in their path to ultimate purification, and must try again to make progress.
This may have more appeal to others, for if they are doing right, they progress until they have obtained utopia. If they don't, than the only punishment is that they must start all over again. While some may feel that more punishment is needed, what could be more punishing than being denied a "oneness with God," not by His or anyone else's doing, but by your own. You are given the guidelines. If your do your best to follow them, than you can move on. If you don't, than you simply start over. Thus, while others move on, you stay where you are, being held back by nobody other than you and your choices. It is your choice, and no one else should do it for you.
PLEASE NOTE: The preceding is paraphrased from The Divine Comedy, in The Norton Anthology World Masterpieces. Others are LOOSE paraphrases from various things I have heard over the years and are meant for the entertainment purposes of this story and nothing else. (I just want to make that clear before I get a bunch of e-mail saying that I'm some yahoo who'll burn for this. Hey, look at what's playing at your local theater! That's much worse than what you'll see here.)
"I tell you Guile, I still can't believe that I'm here with you again. It's been so many years, it's like a crazy dream. I'm here, yet I don't believe it. I don't even know where to begin, so much has happened from...that time. Guile, are you ok?" asked Charlie, for he had just turned around to face Guile after his long, if somewhat drawn out, story about what had happened to him.
It was several years ago, when they were on a mission in Thailand. There was evidence that a new warlord was uprising in Thailand, seeking to start an entire Revolution. The man wanted to totally eliminate the current government, and replace it, with himself as the absolute dictator. He also had three other, top-notch warriors, who by his personal decision, were to be made his top commanders.
Together, they would destroy the Thai government and replace it with their own. Using drug trafficking for financial support, they quickly seized control of the government, installing their own puppet government to lead the nation. Their next goal was the islands of the Pacific.
Once that was under their control, they would slowly expand to the rest of the world, stretching his power to the four corners of the Earth. The man they were seeking was a man known only as M. Bison.
His three commanders were Sagat; the former Street Fighter and Muay Thai champ who had lost narrowly to a young man known only as Ryu. Seeking power to annihilate his advisory, Sagat joins Bison, who promises him more power than he can dream.
The second is a Spaniard called Vega. He is a world-class matador and is possibly the best there is. In addition, he's a top rate ninja, and a cold-blooded assassin for Bison.
Finally, there is Balrog, the psychotic boxer from the US. Totally wild and aggressive, he ignores the rules and plays his own games. As a result, he is banned for life from the NBA. This had attracted the attention of Bison, and after a brief meeting, Balrog is the final addition to Bison's elite, making possibly one of the deadliest alliance formed by men ever, or at least the most psychotic.
Charlie and Guile were to merely go on a scouting mission to find out the lay of Bison's HQ, what they were trafficking, and what their military might was. A simple get in, spend a few weeks snooping around, and report the results to their own HQ. However, what is planned in life, and what is done in life are two totally different issues.
For almost the entire mission, they were successful in obtaining all of what they had originally set out to find, and much, much more. There were plans taken of early test subs from around the world. These were the blueprints for five, as of yet, not created submarines. These subs would be the most powerful the world had seen. With them under control of any one party, especially a dictator like Bison, the world could possibly face the nuclear world war that many had feared in the early 1950s. They had to get this information to the UN, the prints and all, for this could not be allowed to fall into Shadowloo's hands.
The time came for them to make their move, take the plans, and leave this Hell-hole they had spent the last few weeks in. They had to keep talk to a minimum, with no reference to their true purpose, for that could put their lives at a painful and bloody end. Rumor had it that for cases that he had some interest in, Bison took a hand in destroying the person himself. At first, it was merely a hand-to-hand fight to the death, no weapons or others involved. However, if the person proved to begin to gain even a slight advantage, or if he just felt like it, he would use his awesome powers. He had, according to some of his followers who had seen him in action, the ability to float like a specter, warp to any position of his choice, use balls of fire, and even to engulf his body in flames, and spiral at his foe in a flaming torpedo. None ever survived, for none had anywhere near his ability in combat, nor had they any way to counter it. Should they successfully escape, would they fight him, or one of his elite? If they did, would they live to tell about it?
"Ok, Charlie, I've got the last of it! You got your set and ready to go?" asked Guile impatiently, for if they delayed too long, they may be caught, and that would lead to...DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! he told himself.
"Take it easy, Guile. If you keep up with it, you are going to give yourself a heart-attack. If that happens, it'll definitely let them know we're here."
"Yea--are you done yet?"
Charlie laughed lightly and got his load together as they made for the door.
Nearly an hour had passed, and there was only the usual sentries, no one else. There was hardly any of the usual troops that had been out. While there were still a few drunks and snoops, for some reason, it all seemed like a morgue.
"You know, if you keep talking to your self like that, I'll begin to think that you don't like my company. And talking like it's a morgue. Come on, you need to take things a little easier, my friend."
"I don't know how you do it, but I just want to bust heads. I REALLY HATE all of this 'undercover work.'"
"For once, I totally agree, Guile. It gives me the creeps too. I didn't think, and I hoped we wouldn't see it. From what I heard, the guy was some big-time Korean journalist. In whatever sick and twisted logic that goes through Bison's head, he decided that 'he was feeling bored,' so he had that man in the arena. He didn't even seem to be able to defend himself."
"Well, if I saw someone who had his eyes glowing and his fists engulfed in flames, I'd be shocked too!"
"Point taken! But he simply floated around the guy for a few minutes, then started warping around the arena, and finally picked the guy up from behind and broke his spine. And then, to do the same to his two 'teammates', especially the poor woman. All she could do was fall on her knees and cry. I think she was praying, though I have no idea for sure."
"Quiet, I think I hear something!"
"Are you sure? We left the gates. There didn't seem to be any pursuit."
"That was hardly five minutes ago. We must..."
When Charlie looked in the direction that Guile had froze on, he looked, and saw their worst nightmare come true.
"My, my! It seems that there are some runaways that don't want the support that I have been so generous to give to them any more. It is such a shame. I'm afraid I'll have to insist that you pay for your stay!" finished Bison with a laugh that would haunt Guile for years to come.
"Come on, he can't stop both of us!"
"No Guile, that's what he wants. While we fight him, the rest of his men can capture us. This time, we run. You had East, I'll go West. You are right, though. He can't stop us both."
Without waiting, the two of them took off in different directions.
As would later be learned, Bison pursued Charlie, while his second, Sagat, went after Guile. Guile was successful in dodging Sagat so that they never fought. Charlie wasn't as fortunate. At a cliff overlooking their hidden escape boat, Bison caught up with him. What followed would be the hardest fight of what was his life.
For some reason, Bison didn't fly or warp, but he did use Psycho Shots. It took nearly all of his reserves to create a Sonic Boom strong enough to neutralize it.
"I am impressed, my dear fellow. Even though it took your all, no one else has ever been able to neutralize a Psycho Shot. Join me, and you will be able to do that with ease, and much more. The world is ours for the taking."
Charlie was on his knees, gasping for breath. He had never been through such a fight. Punch for punch, kick for kick, Bison was one of the strongest men he had fought against (although he was sure the kicks would have been weaker had it not been for his shin guards). There was only one chance, and it either was going to work, or he was going to die.
DAMN! I hate it when those are my options!
"Now!" roared Charlie as he went for his Somersault Justice, sending Bison flying skyward. Just as it seemed that Bison was gong to fall off the cliff, he began to fly. He warped behind Charlie, and picked him up by the neck.
"Well, since your reply was to hurl me into the abyss, that too is my answer for you, slime."
From a totally animalistic instinct based only on his will to live, Charlie kneed Bison in the groin, keeling him over (even Bison can't take that!).
A rifle went off, hitting Charlie. It only went through his shoulder, but it caused him to fall the long fall into the pit below.
"Boss, are you ok? It's a good thing I got here when I did!"
It was some big-shot that wanted to make good with Bison. He felt certain that by saving Bison's life, he was set for life. Instead Bison put his hand around the young man's throat, and broke his neck!
"Anyone who opposes me will be destroyed!" and he left the body.
It would not be found for 36 hours, and by then, some of nature would have started to dispose of the waste.
"NO! Charlie! Why?!"
Although he hadn't seen what had happened, the site of his friend, bloody and scrapped up was enough. Suddenly he heard harsh coughing.
"Ch...Charlie? My God!"
"Guile, you must remember why we came here in the first place. I have my half of the plans, though they may be a bit messy... promise me...you'll finish the mission...promise me..."
That was all. He brought his friend with him. After the initial shock, Charlie was given a funeral fit for an international hero. Some even said it rivaled what some of the best in Hollywood would get. None of it mattered though, for once they shut the lid and he went in, Guile died along with Charlie. He spent several years building himself up. He became top at everything he did, his only goal was to avenge his best friend.
"So, that's how you died, Charlie?"
"That's one version of it anyway!"
"So, Guile, do you want to hear about when it really starts getting bizarre?"
"Can it get any crazier? I mean you died, now you are back. This sounds like something that came out of the head from some mental patient escapee."
"Either that, or the guy's totally bored!" answered Charlie with a sly grin, as if he knew something Guile didn't.
"Here's how it can, Guile. I'm not sure if it's just some insane dream, or what, and I don't know how it happened, but I was like a living shadow. It was like I was some kind of dark angel or something. It was totally freaky."
"I think I've had enough freakiness for one night. I'm going for a walk."
Man, my best friend is back from the dead, yet he's hardly changed. He tells me "one version" of his death; how many ways can one guy die?
Bison hijacks the most powerful nuclear subs in the world, and as we go to take him out, we find our long lost friend Cammy. The catch is, she's under Bison's control somehow, kind of like the incident Ryu and Ken went through.
Then we get sucked into another dimension where we are met by a four-armed; female. After she causes a quake on a floor that exists but doesn't, we are confronted by an extermination squad from another world bent on destroying Earth.
Then, there's all this stuff about gods, and the Alpha-Omega, who can do ANYTHING, or so it seems, including causing the dead to rise, even though they "aren't dead."
Then there's talk about other, "dark sides" of...shit! Please tell me I'm dreaming.
Before Guile stood the very being Charlie had just described to him what had felt like mere seconds ago.
"Who, or what, the Hell are you?!"
It did a Somersault Justice into the trees, and was gone from sight.
"What's next? A 'dark version' of Chun-Li?"