================== Prologue - Experiments ================== His eyes bolted open, without much say as to whether or not he actually wanted them to. His heart was pounding against his chest, running like a race horse. The blanketing fog in his eyes slowly faded with a few blinks, allowing him to see the intensely bright light in front of him. What he did see, he saw differently. It was like everything had gone... Flat. He tried to move his arms, as if to roll over. The right arm shrugged a little, as if it were asleep. His left arm tried, barely moving at the shoulder joint. With a toss to the left, he rolled his head over to get a look at it. He threw his other arm over in a lurching motion, grasping at his grey sleeve. A muffled, scratchy noise reached his ears, covered by a fog that he couldn't describe, like someone had decided to lay a thick comforter over his head. His fingers slipped across the surface of what he thought was his sleeves, though as he grasped and groped, no fabric bunched up. He groped around, trying to get a feel of the cloth he knew was there. After his eyes had fully cleared, he realized he wasn't wearing a sleeve. The thing he was gripping at was his arm. The tempered titanium quietly shone in the bright light overhead. It seemed like a toy, like something fake as he felt it over. No solid nerves connected his brain to his arm, so he hardly felt it. He threw his body back over, and a small, white face came into view. For a moment, he saw her blond hair falling around her shoulders, framing a pair of big blue eyes and soft red lips. That face vanished, a mere hallucination, to be replaced by the harsh and real face of another woman in blue scrubs with a face mask. A tress of dark red hair fell over her forehead as she looked closely into the man's eyes. She held up a tiny flashlight, and moved it in front of his eyes. “Follow this,” He heard her say from ten miles away. His eyes swayed lazily, following the bright light. “Good. Can you make a right fist?” Her voice was closer. With a short delay, he made a tight fist. “Great. Move your right leg.” He complied. “Can you move your left arm?” He looked over at the metallic object, rolling his head sharply. He tried to tense it, and came up with a small hand raise. “It's heavier than you're used to. Try harder.” He gave it a hard and tense move, lifting the back arm a few inches upwards, the forearm reluctantly following suit. “Fantastic.” Her words were almost robotic, as if she'd done this a dozen times with him. … Had she? “Left leg,” She said, eying the limb cautiously. He forced his hip upwards, and he lurched another metallic limb to life. A pair of black boxers rolled up on his leg. “Better than last time. Can you sit up?” She looked down at a clipboard with a laugh, and he lifted up his right arm. He placed his elbow down on the hard metal bench, and pushed himself up. He found it hard to drag the left half of his body upwards, but it was workable. He braced himself with his right arm, shoving himself upwards painfully. His left arm limply screeched against the bed, and he tiredly looked at the woman. Her wide eyes said it all. She looked back down at her clipboard and scribbled something furiously. “Doctor Strauson,” A busy-sounding man called. “The sedative is declining. Should we reset his memory now?” The lady looked furiously up to the sitting man's left. “No. This is progress. Give him the sedative and we can resume progress later, when he starts to wake up.” A man with black hair and thick-rimmed square glasses ran up to the half-man on the table. He handed a syringe to Doctor Strauson, and she eased the man back down to a laying position. “Good night, CR-416. Sleep well.” --- CR-416 was overall a success, they said. They clinked champagne glasses around him, laughing jovially and talking about what this meant for the future of “the organization” they were all a part of. The higher-ups were apparently very impressed with his ability to walk across a room in a straight line and lift twenty pound weights with both arms. He was supposed to be the main event at the party, but it wasn't really true. It wasn't even a real party. It was CR-416 in the middle of a white room while scientists moved around him, moving his joints and asking him basic questions about his functions. They all wore the same white lab coats with a bright red R bordered in black on their backs. They all fondly regarded his creation, tapping on his titanium arm and leg. He turned to Doctor Strauson, who had her hair pulled up into a bun and was wearing narrow, square glasses. She smiled and shrugged, letting CR-416 know to just let it happen. They were in that same room that he'd been in, with the one metal bed and the tinted one-way mirror he'd become so accustomed to looking at to know who he was. Blond hair, hazel left eye, bionic right eye square face, robotic left arm and leg, as well as a fair portion of his chest, where his heart should be. He was told they'd done direct work in his brain, but placed stitches inside the hairline. They always dressed him in a sad black shirt and pants, with red trim. It was a happy, loud party for the scientists, but it was a quiet, lonely party for CR-416. Doctor Strauson raised her champagne glass and cleared her throat. “Attention,” the doctor said, grabbing everyone's attention. CR-41G stopped mid-movement, holding his left arm up for a scientist to examine. “It's great to have you all here to witness the birth of our organization's revolution in strength, but I think it's time we all take a look at the real reason we need this guy right here. She reached beneath the flat metal table, retrieving a metal suitcase. She flipped it open, and showed the contents for all to see. “These are three pokéballs, each containing a different Pokémon.” She reached down, grabbing a grapefruit sized half-red, half-white ball. She walked over to CR-416, and pulled his hand upwards. She pressed a small red button on his wrist, and he felt a shift in his arm. Three small, ping-pong ball sized recesses indented along his metallic forearm, and a large, grapefruit sized recess appeared in the center of his palm. She placed the pokéball snugly in his hand, and clicked it into place. A sudden rush of information filled his brain, resulting in a subtle twitch of his right eye. “What Pokémon is it?” she asked softly. He sifted through all the information, and found the data. “Ekans,” CR-416 answered plainly. “Level?” Doctor Strauson asked over the murmurs of the crowd. “Sixteen.” “Type?” “Poison,” The crowd murmured in response to this, and one man raised his hand. “How do we even know he scanned that? Couldn't he have just as well memorized the data?” “Give me one of your Pokémon,” Doctor Strauson offered. The man reached for a pokéball on his belt, and flung it at CR-416. The doctor caught it with her right hand, and removed the one in CR-416's hand. The data fled his brain, gone without a trace. She enlarged the other ball, and clicked it into place. More data. “Name?” She asked. “Arcanine,” CR-416 looked up at her, and she smiled warmly. Everyone turned to the loud scientist, who grumbled out a low confirmation. The night continued happily, until every last one of the 13 scientists left. CR-416 got bored, and counted them. Doctor Strausand reached for her syringe, and pointed at the table. “They were annoying,” he said with a sigh as he hoisted himself back up onto his “bed.” “They're engineers,” she responded. “They're going to be annoying unless you're an engineer yourself. Hold out your right arm.” “I don't like this,” CR-416 answered, stretching out his bare arm. “Me neither,” She said as she pressed down on the plunger. “Goodnight, CR-416.” “Goodnight, Doctor Strauson,” He said as his eyelids became heavy. He could barely see her content smile as he slipped from consciousness. That smile was what kept his dreams happy, and what kept his heart beating amidst all the poking and prodding and unnecessary tests. For just a while, he was happy.