Diamond 85: Give me Healing
Diamond 85: Give me Healing
At the Viridian Rocket base, Delia felt as if the elevator trip down, was taking ten times as long as it should. Giovanni had called to make sure that Binks was alright and the accusations against Laiki were dropped, at least for the time being. Ash would be alright, he had his pokemon, Delia trusted him to be well. All that was left to do was to catch Iblis. Then why did she feel so uneasy?
The elevator doors finally opened and both its occupants stepped out. They made their way to the end of the hallway, adjusting from the relatively hot elevator to the cool air conditioner. Giovanni opened the door at the end of the hall and closed it again once he and Delia were inside Binks' living quarters.
Binks had been sitting on the couch with Raticate next to him. He contemplated a small vial in his hand containing a pale green tinted liquid. He stood as soon as he heard the door being opened and walked towards his visitors. "You're here for this, aren't you?" Binks motioned to the little vial he held. He was as thin as ever, his lab coat and clothing hanging off his bony body. His eyes were red and the purple bags under them stood out on his pale face.
"What is that?" Giovanni asked as naturally as he could. Despite Binks' appearance, his voice came out with clarity and not a hint of doubt.
"I was going to give it to you," Binks insisted. "I wouldn't deny him this chance. I lived this long, just so I could give him this," he sounded as if he was being invaded by a rush of emotion. "I want him to live. I don't know when it will happen, but I fear it will. How old is he now? Fifteen? Eighteen? Twenty? Twenty-five? I'm afraid I've lost the notion of time. I can't remember for my life how old he would be."
"Binks?" Delia spoke softly; so far it seemed that Binks was yet to acknowledge her presence. She didn't know what he was talking about, even Giovanni looked confused. Yet the Rocket leader also looked focused, as if he was expecting something that would confirm a vague theory. "Who are you talking about?"
"Do you know?" Binks addressed Delia with doubt, "do you know the truth?" He then looked at Giovanni again, "does she know?" Binks went back to looking at Delia, into her eyes, his expression grave. "If you knew, you would hate me even more."
"I don't hate you," Delia assured strongly. She noticed that Binks' voice came out with more certainty and clarity than before.
"I hate myself," Binks stated, his eyes traveling to the floor. "I carry so many sins, so much blood on my hands. He's my nightmare. Don't you know I see him every time I close my eyes? I see her too, I see them both, but she's better off than him. She lives, he is destined to die, but his brother is more important. His brother is... he's human!" Binks' tone became much louder at the last word. "He is, he really is, that boy, he's human, he's my nephew, please let him live!" His breathing became difficult; it looked like he was hyperventilating.
"Calm down," Giovanni urged, raising his voice more than he meant.
"It's okay," Delia gently guided Binks to sit down on the couch. She sat down next to him, gently patting his back. "It's okay, we're here to help."
Binks clutched the little vial in his right hand as if it was more precious than his own life. "Do you know?" He asked desperately, as he tried to catch his breath. Delia didn't seem to know what he was talking about. "Does she know?" He directed the question towards Giovanni.
Giovanni wasn't sure what to make of the situation except the worse. There were things of the past that Delia didn't know. There were things she would strongly disapprove of. Giovanni sat down on one of the seats near the couch and closed his eyes in thought. Binks' nephew, the one he referred to was not his biological nephew, just someone that he saw as a nephew. "She doesn't know."
Delia was taken by surprise with Giovanni's sudden reply. What was it that had Binks so shaken that she didn't know? She silently questioned Giovanni with her eyes. She wasn't sure if she should further inquire about the subject in front of Binks or try to change it. Clearly, the poor man was disturbed by the conversation. Even so, it didn't look like he could be made to drop the subject so easily.
"I'm sorry, I don't want to make her mad," Binks sobbed.
"I'm not mad," Delia gently assured, some urgency escaping into her voice and expression.
"Delia..." Giovanni paused and considered his options. There were things that he rather Delia not know, "you're not going to like this." Why was he even telling her? Why was she already giving him an understanding look when the topic had taken such a dark road?
"Should I confess my sins?" Binks looked between Giovanni and Delia unsure. His eyes finally settled on the small vial in his hand.
"I will listen," Delia voiced and prepared herself for the worse.
"It's been a long time," Binks breathed, "ten years, fifteen years, twenty years, twenty five years or maybe even thirty. I don't know how long it's been since that night in New Island. Aayla came to me and told me the truth. She wanted power and she wanted revenge on Venom. Most of all, she wanted redemption for someone precious to her. I was reluctant but could not refuse." Binks paused and looked at Delia, "do you remember her? Do you remember Aayla?"
Delia was shocked, but tried to hide it. She nodded slowly, "I remember, I will always remember." It looked like Binks had returned to the present. He wasn't sure how long it had been, but he knew that a considerable amount of time had passed. She glanced at Giovanni before looking back at Binks. If Giovanni's expression was any indication, the revelations would be grave.
"Before she joined us, before we met you," Binks spoke barely above a whisper, "Aayla was with Venom. They were lovers, I do not know to what extent in terms of love itself, but they were together physically at least. She was pregnant and he... he wanted to create something. Venom worked with his sister to create a sort of potion. Venom wanted power and Poisona wanted destruction. Aayla found out too late that she had prevailed. Her child was destined to become the bringer of death."
Delia felt her breath catch in her throat as Binks continued to stare at the little vial, avoiding her gaze. Her mind was racing with possibilities that felt too terrible to be true. Giovanni was caught off guard, he was expecting a different revelation, one related to Luke and Comet. He didn't know Binks was so well informed about Aayla's daughter. The scientist had never shared that information.
"Aayla managed to hide the child. She faked the girl's death and left her with someone she trusted. That is all I knew about the child for a long time," Binks glanced around the room, at Delia, at Giovanni, at Raticate, at the awards, at the strange painting and back at the little vial. "The child, from what I learned, was to carry a terrible virus in her body, allowing it to develop without spreading. It would concentrate in her system, becoming deadlier, mutating into something terrible," Binks paused as a few tears escaped him.
Delia could feel her heart pounding in terror at what she was hearing. She looked at Giovanni. He was surprised yet knowing. It was as if he knew only part of that information, or was shocked to find that Binks knew so much. She looked back at Binks, her hand gently on his thin shoulder. He looked so terribly fragile it broke her heart all over again.
"Along with the power, Aayla wanted the antidote," Binks revealed. Do you remember when we found all that data about the epidemic underground at the Viridian gym?" It seemed that Binks wasn't sure where he was, he didn't know that his current location was under the Viridian gym. "Don't you think it's strange that if all of that was documented in such detail, this was not?"
Giovanni's expression showed real surprise. "You knew this would happen. All these years, you knew she was out there. The files, they did exist," Giovanni realized.
Binks nodded, he took his eyes off the vial and faced Giovanni. "Aayla took the files and hid them when we were at Viridian. Later, at New Island she gave them to me with the whole truth. If I told anyone, the girl might have been hunted down, maybe even killed, to prevent this disaster. This is terrible indeed, but Aayla wanted her daughter to live, her little Secura. She was regretful. Is that not what we always do? Choose who will be sacrificed for us?"
"You have no idea what's been unleashed into the world!" Giovanni yelled. "If the pokemon die, if they are extinct, what do you think will happen? That might not even be the end of it, humans can carry the virus. It's harmless to us now, but viruses mutate, you don't have to be a science expert to know that much. This thing could very well end all life eventually. You knew and you didn't tell me? You just let it happen?" Giovanni reproached harshly, full of anger and frustration.
"Stop it!" Delia yelled.
Binks was shaking violently, his bony frame making odd noises as he moved. It was as if there was not enough meat in him to prevent his bones from rattling against each other. He sobbed and choked, his face turning purple.
Delia hugged the desperate Binks gently. She was afraid he would literally fall apart. "Shh, it's okay; just take a slow deep breath, don't try to talk. It's going to be alright. We're going to find a cure and everything will be okay."
"The cure," Binks sobbed, "the cure for the virus," he pushed out the words in a pained ragged voice, "the cure is with Aayla."
"Aayla is dead," Giovanni voiced barely above a whisper. "Where are the files?"
"New Island," Binks gasped.
"Destroyed, everything in New Island was destroyed," Giovanni was terribly frustrated. The situation looked more hopeless by the second. Binks had survived the explosion, but he was unconscious for a long time. As far as he knew, Mewtwo died there along with Dr. Fuji.
Binks shook his head, "she's alive, Aayla is alive, I'm sure of it! That's not all, that's not my only sin. There were twelve, twelve little boys."
"I've think you've said enough," Giovanni almost growled.
"Giovanni, stop; let him finish," Delia interfered; her expression was both determined and supportive. Binks looked as if his very life depended on his confession being heard. "It's true that I don't like this, it's true that I'm upset, but hiding it and keeping it bottled up won't do anyone any good. It won't help Binks and it won't help you. Let me help you carry this, I'll help you both," with her words, she extended the blame to Giovanni as well, no longer in denial about his influence in the experiments of the past. She knew it had to be about that, what else could be so terrible to affect Binks in such a way? The guilt had been eating away at him for years so strongly that he made himself believe it never happened. That's why he pretended to be in the past, because he desperately wanted to return to it and do things differently.
Binks took a deep breath. He was still shaking though much less violently. "There were twelve little boys, his children, Luke's children." It was the price to pay, other than the dangerous missions, for his past betrayal with Han. "Twelve little clones, little boys really, living beings," Binks stared at the vial once more, unable to bring himself to look at Delia. "Number three, number seven and number ten survived, all the others died. Number three was enhanced to age rapidly. Very quickly he went from a baby, to a fully grown man. We were studying genetics, trying to make the perfect Rocket agent. We failed."
Delia's tears continued to escape her in absolute silence. She couldn't stop them if she tried, though she didn't make a sound. She looked at Giovanni. He met her eyes for a moment then looked away. She looked back at Binks waiting for him to gather the strength and will to continue.
"I was testing number three's ability to absorb the knowledge pushed into him through a hypnotic trance," Binks revealed. "He was supposed to have enough of a basic education to be able to interact with normal humans. He was generally quiet, but responded well enough when spoken to. Because Fuji wanted to revive his daughter, he was not opposed to the human experiments, as his goal involved a human. We thought that if number three was exposed to contact with normal humans for long enough, he would start to act more natural."
Delia watched as Binks' face became contorted with terrible regret.
"It was my fault!" Binks cried, "It was my fault that they died, it was my fault that she lost them. It was my fault that they suffered!" He screamed until his voice gave out. "I'm sorry, little sister, I'm sorry," he breathlessly sobbed. "My mother passed away when I was young. She had a frail body that she knew would eventually give out. Time passed and my father got married again. His new wife was a kind lady and though she was not a replacement for my mother, I cared about her as a mother. I know she cared for me as a son too. They had a baby girl, Laiki, my little sister. I was visiting them when Laiki was still a child. I took number three with me and arrived when Laiki was still in school. That day, that terrible day, number three lost his sanity. It happened very quickly and I didn't understand why. Later, I realized that the formula used to advance his growth made him react strangely to certain spices. Mother loved to cook and try new recipes."
Delia knew that the story had to have a truly awful ending. Her face was wet with tears and her throat felt dry. She couldn't speak even if she tried.
"It was all a random coincidence, a miscalculation. Who could have guessed?" Binks stared at the vial in his hand once more. "He killed them; I was unable to stop him. He cast me aside. No matter how desperately I tried, I wasn't strong enough. He had inhuman strength, like a pokemon with illegal power ups, one that wouldn't die so easily. Whenever I attacked him, he threw me aside and went after my parents. He recognized me, but they were unfamiliar so they were his primary target. Laiki didn't see it; she didn't see her parents being ripped to shreds piece by piece by a mad man, while her helpless brother was simply thrown around like the worthless creature he was."
Delia's heart ached with each revelation.
"My parents begged me to run away." The nightmarish images would forever haunt Binks. "They were being ripped apart, there was blood everywhere. I can't remember much else. I reported what happened to headquarters and I guess they must have covered it up. I lied to her; I lied to my little sister. I told her our parents had a car accident while she was in school. As her closest living relative, since she was still a child, her custody was mine. I took her away from Cherrygrove City. I didn't want her to hear the rumors and learn of the terrible truth. I didn't want her to know it was all my fault."
Binks continued, "I know Laiki has made friends in Team Rocket. I know a lot of things; I know more than anyone may guess. I know there is a boy whom Laiki things of as her younger brother. It took me a while, but I figured out who he is. There were twelve little boys and only three survived. Number three was a killer, but number seven wasn't bad. The boy has no recollection of his childhood because he has no childhood. He was kept safely in his tank for a long time. He was let out eventually, without the modifications that doomed number three. I wanted to understand what went wrong; I wanted to revive my parents just like Fuji wanted to revive his daughter."
"Something unexpected happened," Binks revealed, "number seven was perfectly normal. In every sense, he was human and I couldn't deny it. Everything came crashing down and I couldn't toy with lives anymore. He made me realize it, that little boy saved what was left of my corrupted soul. Because of that little boy, I still have just enough humanity left in me to suffer for my sins."
Binks continued his confession, "I was unable to take care of number seven so he was taken away. Luke's child, who had become my little nephew, he was given to his father and raised to be a loyal Rocket. He's still out there, isn't he? He's still human, he can't be anything else. I'm not being completely honest, though. There is a mistake, but it can be corrected. He's sick you see. He is strong, a normal person could be as strong and agile as him, no doubt about it, but they would have to work for it. They would have to work hard and not neglect their training."
"Comet..." Delia's voice came out as a whisper. She knew her conclusion was correct, even if she desperately wished to be wrong.
"I was afraid," Binks cried. "I saw him in my dreams and her too. I saw what Aayla became, wild and difficult to reach. I saw what number three became, a vicious killer. I infected number seven with a virus. It is not contagious unless one receives his blood into one's own blood vessels. Of course, his medical profile, his secret medical profile, specifies this. Touching his blood is not even enough; one would have to receive a sufficient sample injected. I made sure Laiki knew. A seemingly healthy young man, O negative no less, regardless of what kind of emergency ever happened, I made sure she knew not to ask to use his blood."
"The virus would slowly kill number seven. That way if he went crazy and escaped, he would die young. He wouldn't have time to become an urban legend like number three did. All those unsolved murder mysteries attributed to the Bloody Killer; they're probably all really his doing. The police keeps them as unresolved cold cases. Not many truly believe that terrible being to be anything more than an urban legend. I didn't want another being like number three. But you know what?" Binks suddenly laughed at the irony, "number seven is normal, sane, loyal and competent. Certain tests were included along with his routine medical examinations. He's human, completely human, sane and sentient, even if he has no idea where he came from."
Binks stood from the couch and walked to his laboratory area. "This will remove the unnecessary safeguard I placed upon him." He transferred the contents of the little vial to a needle and put the needle inside a plastic bag. He held the edge of the bag with his bony fingers as he returned to the living room area. "Take it; give him the opportunity to live a long healthy life. As the human he is, he deserves that much." He held the bag in front of Giovanni for him to take.
Giovanni took the antidote and stared at it. That cure was for Comet, the cure for the virus affecting pokemon was a different topic entirely. Afflicted with guilt, Binks confessed it all at once. "You lied about this too, to me and to Luke. Comet wasn't destined to die because his body would internally degenerate with the passing of time. It was because you made it so."
Giovanni, Luke and Laiki were aware of Comet's origin, though Comet himself had no idea. When he was taken out of his tank, he was educated and raised as a Rocket. When he questioned his origins, Luke gave him nothing but excuses. Giovanni wondered if Ash had asked about his father with the same curiosity and necessity to know that he had heard Comet ask Luke about his mother. He had no mother. Giovanni wondered if maybe Ash was better off without a father.
Binks lowered his head, "I'm sorry," he sobbed with tears streaming down his face. "I'm so sorry... Please go, please heal him. It hasn't happened yet, right? He's still alive, isn't he? He's still well, he must be. Number seven... Comet. Go, go now, I will be fine on my own. I must rest, I must think. The time will soon come and I must fulfill Aayla's wish. I must find redemption for her daughter. What season is it? Please tell me this much, what season?"
Silence invaded the area after Binks' question as if those present were too absorbed in their own thoughts to reply. "Fall is starting," Giovanni finally voiced. He looked at Delia as she sat shaking. Binks went back to the lab followed by Raticate, muttering random things under his breath. "Delia..." the name was barely audible. Her tears had not ceased, he thought about hugging her, but what consolation could she gain from him? Then his phone insistently demanded his attention. He ignored it at first, then finally gave in and looked at the screen. Luke was calling; he felt he needed to answer that call. "Is so-"
Before Giovanni could ask if there was something wrong, Luke's panicked voice confirmed that there was. "Dude, Giovanni, help! He's like dying, my son is like dying, you know? He was like burning up with a fever and now he's like suddenly like totally cold, man! Help please, like save him. You're like the leader, you like make everything like okay, do something, man! I like totally beg you to like save him, please!"
In the background Giovanni could hear other voices, besides Luke. There seemed to be a woman there, or two women, one apparently much more panicked than the other. "Where are you?"
The feeling of trouble in the air and the urgency in Giovanni's voice snapped Delia out of her daze. She couldn't hear Luke's voice coming from his cell phone, but she knew whatever was happening was bad. "Comet's room," Luke choked on his words as if his very life was being drained away and running out.
"I have the cure, I'll be there in a moment," Giovanni didn't wait for a reply before leaving with Delia following him. There was no time to question Binks' cure. The unusual results of Comet's medical tests were due to the virus Binks gave him rather than his condition as a clone as most had thought. He would just have to be examined later to see if he was truly healed. For the time being, gambling everything on the antidote in the needle was the only hope.
Giovanni left Binks' living area, rushing to the elevator followed by Delia. They went up suffocated by the tense atmosphere. They didn't say anything, they couldn't. They didn't even look at each other. Things had seemingly improved for a while, then all of this came out. Giovanni himself couldn't explain why he allowed Delia to know. He didn't understand his own inaction in hiding this from her.
The elevator opened and Giovanni hurried down the seemingly endless halls of the Viridian Rocket headquarters. He arrived at the area corresponding to the in-base living quarters. All the doors were numbered in rows that appeared to stretch out endlessly. Delia didn't know where they were going and for what purpose, but it was obviously urgent and probably tragic.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Pokemon.