With one final punch, the sandbag was swept off its hinges, spilling its grainy guts across the floor and it flew backwards before crumbling on the ground, partially emptied from the beating it had just received. With the chain holding it up falling to the ground broken, the sandbag’s attacker exhaled deeply as the sweat on his face gleamed in the florescent lights. “…forty-eight seconds, final punch registered at 2540 psi,” a voice from the loudspeaker stated, echoing throughout the enclosed metal room as the man looked over at his “victim” lying on the floor in the heap. “It’s not Balrog’s level, but still very noteworthy. We shall report this to Master Bison at once!”
The man said nothing as he turned to the wall where his towel and beret were sitting. Carefully placing his beret back on his head before going for the towel, the man exited the room where light applause was awaiting him. He didn’t really see why they seemed so impressed with his work: 2540 psi was actually less than what he could do when he was in peak condition. Back when he worked as a mercenary, with his adrenaline pumping and emotions running high, he could probably strike somewhere in the range of 2700 psi, with his kicks exceeding even that. It might not have been something on the level of Balrog, whose forceful punches were rumored to have killed an elephant in a single blow, but the fact of the matter was that he was not hitting his best.
Even as the scientists in the room nodded their heads in approval while continuing to look over his data, Moshe was displeased. Master Bison severely punished anyone who underperformed during his tests, and thanks to his Psycho Power and how much time Moshe spent with Bison as his aide, the consequences would be swift and severe. *Perhaps this time, he’ll finally kill me, *Moshe thought grimly while maintaining his composure, making his way to the door that led to the main hallway. Not that it would make any difference. Every single day living here is Hell.
Though he wore the uniform and crest of Shadaloo, and held a rather enviable position within the organization, the tall man with dark blond hair found nothing enviable about his employment within the massive criminal empire. Many of the people who worked for the organization did so under the promise of power and wealth, and more still joined the organization because they were under the delusion that Shadaloo would one day rule over the world, no matter what side of the law it existed on. Despite all of the horror stories that surrounded the organization, and the effort made by others to shut it down forever, it continued to thrive because there were those who believed that if Shadaloo were to succeed in its mission for global domination, the world would be set right.
When Moshe joined the organization, he didn’t really care much for any of that. As a mercenary from Israel, a country that was almost continuously plagued by wars and skirmishes with its neighbors, Moshe lost count of how many times he heard someone talk about how they were going to change the country and bringing order out of chaos. Despots didn’t see themselves as despots, and in most cases, neither did the people they ruled over. Despots legitimately believed they were the heroes in whatever war they fought, and the people would listen to what they had to say.
That’s why Moshe became a mercenary instead of joining the Israeli Defense Force, or the Mossad: while his younger sister Saarah might have believed in things like justice and righteousness, Moshe was not so optimistic about the world. There were heroes, and there were villains, but at the same time those heroes were villains in the eyes of the enemy, and the villains they fought for were the heroes. It was impossible to be completely righteous in battle, because fighting in and of itself was sinful. As long as Moshe had his wife by his side, it mattered little who was the hero or the villain in the war: as long as he could provide for his family, his life was fine.
Shadaloo made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse, so Moshe joined them. He didn’t realize at the time how much he would loathe the organization, or how being in their presence for so long would make him realize that maybe Saarah was right after all of there being distinct “good guys and bad guys” in the world. But none of that made any difference now: Moshe’s stature and strength made him valuable in this organization, where fighting prowess was valued over all other commodities, which included drugs and weapons. The organization’s leader, the infamous and terrifying Bison, was so impressed with Moshe’s disposition that he made Moshe his personal aide: a position once held by Bison’s second-in-command Vega.
Walking through the long corridors of the Shadaloo base, Moshe couldn’t shake off the strange glances he was receiving from his comrades. During his stay in Shadaloo, Moshe had received a few compliments about his appearance from his female colleagues, telling him that he was handsome, but Moshe would quickly remind them that he was a married man and intended to keep it that way. The stubbles on his chin and cheek were supposed to help divert their attention away from him, but with all of those eyes on him he wondered if perhaps he’d be better off shaving again. Though he held an enviable position as Bison’s aide, Moshe’s uniform was no different from the others in the hallway. Maybe that test he just took winded him more than he originally thought…
Finally having enough, Moshe pulled aside one of the young men staring at him. “Why is everyone looking at me like that?” Moshe said lowly as he turned from left to right to see that those in the hall were now staring right at him. “Did something happen?”
“…you seriously don’t know?”
“…apparently not,” Moshe muttered. “I was in one of the labs. What happened?”
“There were armed guards carrying your son into the combat room,” the young man replied, apparently legitimately surprised that Moshe didn’t know what he was talking about. “The only time we’ve seen armed guards escort someone they way they were carrying your son is if they were going to take him out back to execute him. We figured you’d be going right after them.”
Moshe’s eyes widened in anger as his comrade explained the situation. Quickly shoving him aside, Moshe’s walk evolved into a full run as he raced to the combat room. Why in the world had no one notified him of this while he was in the lab? He knew that Shadaloo was a den of murderers and thieves, but was every last one of them heartless enough to keep him in the dark while they whisked away his infant son? Bison always seemed to enjoy asking Moshe about how his son was doing, taking some sort of twisted delight in how Moshe would squirm over that topic. Was Bison going to execute an infant just so he could watch Moshe squirm some more?
With his adrenaline pumping with fear and anger, Moshe continued racing towards the combat room, which unfortunately for him was on the other side of the base. Perhaps if Moshe’s mood was more akin to this when he did his testing, his punching power would register something more akin to his maximum potential, and there wouldn’t have been any doubt as to just how strong Moshe truly was. Either way, if those armed guards were foolish enough to harm his helpless child, they were going to find out first hand how strong Moshe could be…
Two minutes later, Moshe stormed into the combat room, expecting a wave of guns and knives to come at him trying to interfere with their execution of a baby. Instead, all he found was his son, sleeping peacefully on the other side of the vast room. How the baby could do so in this room that still smelled of dried blood was something Moshe could only guess at. If there was such a thing as a haunted room in this base, the combat room was most certainly it.
The combat room of Shadaloo was notorious for being the final testing site for Shadaloo’s weapons and soldiers, where the organization would use live test subjects to see how effective their weapons were. There was one instance that Moshe witnessed where Bison ordered six of his top prospects for a promotion to kill each other within the next five minutes, with the winner becoming the promoted soldier. Like lemmings off of a cliff, the soldiers brutally slaughtered one another until there was only one left standing…and then Vega stabbed him through the chest, as he didn’t win within the allotted time.
It was as pointless as it was barbaric, but Bison showed no remorse at losing six good soldiers. In fact, Bison seemed rather pleased with himself, and told Moshe that their deaths would cull out the pretenders from the worthy. “You should try it sometime, Moshe,” Bison said that day with a sadistic grin on his face while Moshe looked visually repulsed. “I’m sure someone of your willpower would be able to clear the five minute mark with no problem.”
When Moshe entered the room, his heart filled with rage at the possibility of what those armed guards would do to his son, he planned on killing them in under three minutes. Fortunately for him, it looked like none of that was necessary, and Moshe ignored the smell of blood so that he could walk towards his baby. Due to the complications of his son’s birth, even though at the time he had the support of the more legitimate Masters Foundation, Moshe and his wife hadn’t even found the time to name their son. Moshe had a few names in mind, but he couldn’t get his wife to agree on any of them.
*I’ll have to change that today, *Moshe grumbled as he approached his slumbering son. Bison has kept me so busy that I haven’t been able to pay attention to my own child. This time I will not let him out of my sight, no matter what that madman has me do…
“There is no rule against bringing children into my quarters, Moshe. In fact, I believe I would enjoy having a young one witness my work and perhaps learn something.”
A familiar, chilling voice echoed throughout the room, causing Moshe to freeze in place even as a florescent blue wall of light emerged from the floor and enveloped his son within it, all the while with the infant oblivious to what was going on around him. “A force field,” Moshe growled, recognizing the wall of light as the same energy that once cost an unfortunate soldier an arm when he didn’t move his body in time. Doing his best to regain his composure and not make his situation worse, Moshe inhaled deeply before standing to attention and saluting. “Moshe Sheffer reporting for duty, sir. I request that I take my son back to the medical facility where his caretakers are awaiting him.”
Bison’s statement was an unwelcome reminder of how much control Bison had over Shadaloo. He not only held control over his subordinates through rank, but he also held control over them on an interior level. Telepathy was but one of the many gifts his Psycho Power granted him, and thanks to that telepathy he had access to the minds of every one of his underlings, no matter where they happened to be. With that power, he could address even the slightest suspicion of betrayal before anyone said anything about it, and he had done so many times in the past. As long as you were under the employ of Shadaloo, it was against the code of the organization to even think about insurrection, and Bison made sure those who broke the code paid for it dearly.
So whatever doubts Moshe had about being a part of Shadaloo, or how much being in Bison’s presence made him uneasy, Bison was fully aware of them and allowed Moshe to think those thoughts. If Bison wished it, he could have executed Moshe with his bare hands, for even Moshe’s strength was nothing compared to the unholy wrath that Bison was capable of. Maybe that’s why Bison lured Moshe into the combat room: he had finally grown weary of Moshe and was going to relieve him of his duties as his aide by pummeling him into a bloody pulp.
“…you are curious as to why I ordered my men to take your son, are you not?” the voice of Bison asked Moshe as he continued standing at attention. “I know you are not naïve enough to think that I commanded my nurses to care for your son in your wife’s stead out of the goodness of my own heart. You have all sorts of suspicions going through that head of yours, and every one of those suspicions make you wish that you could wring my neck until my throat pops out of my mouth.”
"…why am I here, sir?" Moshe said with a light growl as he trembled with anger.
“Because I have been very pleased with your growth as my aide, Moshe,” Bison responded as Moshe looked up to see the shadow of his caped leader standing behind a window of a darkened room that was several meters above the floor of where Moshe was standing. “Little by little, the fear and anger in your heart has festered in my presence, tempting you with every passing moment. You learn from my example and allow that negative emotion well up inside of you, hoping beyond hope that one day you can be free of your debt to Shadaloo so that you can have the excuse to slaughter everyone in this organization that makes you cross. It is this negative emotion that made me offer you a chance to become a student to Psycho Power.”
“I have no interest in Psycho Power, sir,” Moshe replied sternly, still remaining at attention. “Until you relieve me of my duties, I shall remain loyal to Shadaloo and its cause…regardless of what I might think of our actions as an organization.” Lifting his right hand to look at the gold band on his middle finger, Moshe sniffed before continuing. “I sold my services to you in exchange for my wife’s life, even with the wealth of the Masters Foundation banking on her survival. For that, I will be eternally grateful…”
“Target sighted. Designate: Moshe Sheffer. Rank: Lieutenant.”