In his office, Mustang tosses a silver pocket watch at Ed. "You should take this with you," he says, Ed does, musing offhandedly on the fact that he rather expected a more formal graduation ceremony.
"Congrats. You're a dog of the military," says Mustang tonelessly, then tells the blonde man, Havoc, to take him home.
At the Tucker's, Al is sitting in the sunny courtyard with a contented Nina on his shoulders and Alexander next to him. Tucker watches this picturesque scene from a second-floor window...but instead of smiling, he grows agitated. Something's bothering him...
As Havoc drives Ed home, he notices that Ed's also in a gloomy mood. He tells Ed not to let Mustang get to him...actually, he a little preoccupied with a case at the moment. When Ed queries, Havoc tells him that there's a serial killer running loose in Central; what's more, this guy only targets women.
Ed wonders why Mustang's so interested---isn't that sort of thing a job for the police? Havoc agrees, but tells him that it bothers Mustang because of it's nature. It's dishonorable, for one, and for another it's all going down in the military's backyard. Mustang cares about such things, Havoc explains.
"Or wants a promotion," mutters Ed under his breath.
With that, the car abruptly stops. Havoc tells Ed that he has a lot to learn...about the military and
about Mustang. While it's true that Mustang's always anxious to rise up through the military ranks, there's more to him; it's those other reasons that Havoc and the others follow his command. Ed wonders aloud what else he should know about his superior officer...
At the Tuckers', Ed proudly shows off his new watch. Al's impressed, as is Nina; Alexander, on the other hand, snatches it out of Ed's hand and begins paradig around the outer courtyard with it. As Ed races after the dog, Havoc tells Tucker that his young tenant is causing quite the commotion in Central---everyone's impressed that he could pass the exam at his age! Tucker is also impressed, and to celebrate, he tells the kids they're going to have a feast.
Tucker invites Havoc to join them, but he declines, stating he's got a full schedule. However, before he leaves, there's a message he was told to pass along---Tucker's assessment day is coming up, and Mustang's looking forward to it. Tucker nods, his face staunch. He's certain Mustang is
looking forward to it...
At dinner, Ed inquires about the assessment...is it something the State does? Tucker tells him that it is; once a year each alchemist is required to show progress or submit meaningful research, or else their State certification is revoked. Last year he barely passed his assessment, so this year he has to make an outstandng showing in order to remain certified. Nina tells him she's certain he can do it, and Al suggests creating another talking chimera as his project. Tucker mulls this a moment, but tells the kids he'll let them see the result as soon as he's done.
Later, Ed and Al are in their room; Al is reading a book and Ed is writing a letter. Nina comes up behind Ed and asks who the letter is for---Ed tries to hide it, saying it's just to a friend. Al, however, knows better---the letter's to Winry, isn't it?
Ed overreacts---it's just a simple report, he cries....just passed the alchemy exam, how's the weather, things like that. Nina picks up on the name "Winry"...is that Ed's girlfriend?
Now Ed really loses it, fuming in exasperation and repeatedly denying any such thing. Al bends closer to Nina and whispers, "As a matter of fact..." which sends Ed into further convulsions.
Nina, however, changes the subject; she's going to write a letter to her mom. She lays out on the floor, setting her crayons within reach, and begins to draw a picture. Al asks her if her mom lives far away, and Nina says yes---her mom left her dad, telling him he was a good-for-nothing alchemist and went back home to live with her parents. Hopefully, Nina sighs, her mom will send her a reply this time.
Later, Tucker collects a sleeping Nina off of the boys' floor. He notices Nina's drawing, and Al picks it up and gives it to him. Tucker explains that his wife left them because she couldn't stand being poor; oddly enough, Tucker was accepted as a State Alchemist almost the next day. He tells the Elrics that the State has been good to them over the last few years...he has his house, his position, his lifestyle---all because of the State. He worries what will happen if he doesn't pass that exam...
A sleepy Nina mutters softly..."You can pass it, Daddy...just like Ed!" Tucker smiles half-heartedly...there's something still bothering him...
In the morning, Ed is awakened by Alexander's barking---the dog is in desperate need of a walk. On his way out the door, Ed notices something in a bowl onthe table...it's Nina's drawing from the night before, only someone's tried to burn it...
In Central, Ed tries vainly to gather any information about Tucker and his talking chimeras, but the librarians stop him cold. Because of his certification, he can access the National Library, but Tucker's research is classified under the order of Brig. Gen. Basque Gran. When Ed inquires further, the librarians tell him that if it's classified, it must be a military secret of some sort. Ed interest piques further...
On his way out, Ed notices that the soldier guarding the library entrance is arguing with a man who's trying to gain access to the library...the man doesn't have clearance, the soldier tries vainly to explain. The man brushes the soldier aside and starts up the steps when Ed suddenly takes hold of his right arm., stopping him. "Pass the test like everyone else," he tells the man, who's struggling to free his arm from Ed's grip.
Finally the shirt sleeve Ed has gives way...revealing the man's heavily tattooed right arm. It looks intricate, but there's not a chance to examine it further, as the man snatches the sleeve out of Ed's hand and runs away.
In an alley, the man studies his arm closer...and then he cries out absently to his brother, he wants to know why his brother "marked him so," creating the tattoo on his arm. He wonders what it is his brother wanted him to do with it...
At the Hughes', the major is contentedly playing with his daughter Elicia...he tells her to say hello to her "big brother" Ed when Gracia comes in and takes the baby from him. Ed's trying to tell him something, she says, and he's not listening. Dejectedly, Hughes sighs and goes back to work. "Tucker's chimera's, right?" Ed says that the Major, being in Investigations, might be able to shed some light on the subject. Hughes points out that Ed does
live with the guy, after all...why doesn't he just ask him?
"Oh, you know, he's so busy...what with the coming assessment and all," Ed manages.
Hughes grunts, then tells him that he doesn't have much information for him either. Tucker's chimera got him into the Alchemy program, being the first one that could speak human language. It only spoke once, though: "I want to die." Hughes also says that afterward the chimera stopped eating and eventually did
die. When Ed asks why anyone would create such a miserable thing, Hughes has no answer...but someone obviously found it useful; that's how he got his house, after all.
Ed then asks about Tucker's wife. Hughes is surprised; no one knows anything about her---she dies before he arrived in Central. Ed's eyes widen---that's not
the story he heard from Tucker the other night---but says nothing about this to Hughes. Just then, the phone rings...it's the office, telling Hughes that there's been another serial killing.
At the crime scene, Hawkeye is trying to comfort the victim's young son, who's crying out for his mother. Mustang notes that this latest killing is the fifth one...doesn't Hughes have anything
on this guy? Hughes tells Mustang not to blame him...he's just as much in the dark as Mustang is himself.
Ed, however, takes in the whole scene in silence. When Hawkeye picks up the child to take him away from there, the child refuses to leave, and inadvertently pulls the cover off of the victim's body. In Ed's mind, the victim's remains look like a more finished form of his own mother's after the failed transmutation. Ed begins flashing back to his mother and memories of that night, and before anyone knows what's going on, Ed faints, crumpling to the floor.
When Ed wakes, he's at home in bed, with Tucker sitting next to him. Tucker mentions that Ed must have seen something awful, to which Ed tries to brush aside. Tucker tells him that in his sleep Ed kept crying out for his mother---and he also kept saying he was sorry. While Tucker had suspicions about the Elrics when he first saw their bodies, now he's certain he knows what happened to them.
Science is a powerful thing, Tucker says. It's capable of so much...and though what Ed did was forbidden, Tucker reasons that scientifically it was hard not to try.
Ed thinks on this a minute, until he hears Al' voice coming from the stair---"Who are you?! What are you doing here?"
It seems that Basque Gran has come to rebuke Ed for his little "investigation" into Tucker's research...and flatly tells them that they can no longer stay at the Tucker estate. Nina is sad...where will they go now? and will they come to play with her? Al tells her that they will come to play with her very soon, and with that, they set off.
Basque Gran wathces as the Elrics leave, fuming all the while. He's upset because of Ed's abilities and the Elrics' ages...in fact, he knows that when Ed performed his transmutation without a circle, Fuhrer Bradley actually complimented him! Now "that upstart Mustang" is getting the credit for discovering him---his credit
, he pointedly tells Tucker.
Tucker apologizes for Ed's actions, but Basque Gran goes further---he won't cover for him this year at the assessment like he did last year, turning in a pile of "rubbish" and calling it research. If Tucker doesn't perform this time, Basque Gran will get the heat...and he's not about to put himself in that position. Tucker agrees, realizing the pressure's on now more than ever.
That night, Tucker's sitting in the kitchen, pondering what he can do about his situation, when Nina comes in with Alexander. When she asks if he's "hurting somewhere," Tucker kneels down and hugs her, telling her that he's sorry...but he's at the end of the line.
In the dead of night, the guards posted outside of Tucker's house get a rude awakening....as Ed and Al make their way into the estate. Al's worried that Ed will lose his certification for this, but Ed tells him that if that's what it takes to prove him wrong, then he'll accept that...
The Elrics make their way to the basement, where they hear a familiar voice calling them to come over. As they make their way to the source of the voice, they notice dozens of transmutation circles scribbled on the walls and the remains of various creatures strewn all over the floor.
In a corner, Tucker tells the boys that he promised he'd let them see his creation when it was finished...and he step back to reveal a creature that looks like a large-pawed, red maned dog. When Tucker introduces Ed to the creature, it speaks his name perfectly.
Al's impressed...talking chimeras are
possible! Tucker tells them he'll have no problem getting recertified now; the othre one he created was simply too old to adapt.
Ed walks over to the chimera, kneels down, and pats it onthe head. The creature sniffs him, then tugs out Ed's pocket watch, which drops to the floor. Ed cringes as the creature speaks---it's asking Ed if he's its frind, to which Ed replies tha the is. The chimera then asks why it hurts so much, to which Ed has no answer.
He does however, have a few questions for Tucker. Tucker created his first alking chimera two years ago, right? The same year as his wife left him... Tucker doesn't understand what he's getting at, but Ed presses further. hve Nina's letters ever
reached his wife?
And where have Alexander and Nina gone to?
"I hate prodigies like you, Ed---too damn perceptive," says Tucker finally.
Ed charges Tucker, pinning him to the basement wall and trying to resist the urge to kill him. When al asks him what he's doing, Ed tells him that Tucker used his wife to create that first chimera two years ago...and now he's used his daughter and his dog to create this one.
Tucker begins to try and rationalize his actions, but Ed doesn't want to hear it---what sort of monster is he, toying with people's lives like that?
Now it's Tucker who gets a laugh---a funny statement, coming from a kid who sacrificed his brother's
body and his own limbs to attempt the unthinkable. Ed rears back to punch him, but Al stops him, his huge metal body towering over both of them.
"Why did you do it, Mr. Tucker? The whole point was to pass the exam so that you could continue your way of life." But now you don't have your family anymore, Al reasons; what was the reason behind Tucker's actions?
Tucker admits finally that he really didn't have
a reason...he fully realized that no matter what, his life was over, so he chose to see what his science could accomplish. In that respect, he's not so different from Edward...his action were to save his reputation, and his house, while Ed's was to restore his mother, but the main similarity is that they both have minds desperate to be used---and what they see before them is the result.
Ed is furious---he's nothing
like Tucker---and begins to pummel him violently. Al cautions him---he might kill him---but Ed doesn't care. It's only when the Nina-chimera tugs at his sleeve and growls softly that Ed stops. He turns his attention to the chimera, asking her to bear with him a moment.
He readies his hands when Al asks him what he thinks he's doing---surely he's not planning to split them up! Tucker laughs again, telling Ed that Nina and Alexander are a perfect chimera, fused to the core. There's no way to separate them without killing them both. Enraged further, Ed continues pounding on Tucker when Basque Gran and his men show up demanding to know why he's attacking a State officer.
"Spare me, sir. He used his own daughter," Ed says, standing upright and fixing his eyes on the floor. Even Basque Gran is perturbed at this revelation.
Outside, Tucker is being hauled away by the military for court-martial. The chimera is also being taken by Basque Gran, and he tells Ed that they are to tell no one about the events of the night. Ed is furious---he knew all along what Tucker was doing, and now he's trying to cover it up!
Basque Gran silences Ed with a solid punch in the stomach, coupled with the use of a metal "glove" he transmuted to add to the blow. He then tells his men to pack up and clear out, leaving Ed doubled over in pain on the street and Al to try and pick him up.
Ed flatly tells Al he won't allow Basque Gran to use Nina as a test subject, and sends an alchemic shockwave through the street, tipping over the van containing the departing military and prisoners. The Nina-chimera leaps out, clearly confused and in a lot of pain. When Ed calls out to it, the frightened creature is spooked and runs away.
In a nearby alley, the man from the library steps hears a high-pitched whine...it's the chimera, lost and in pain. As it approaches the man, he places his tattooed hand on its head and, to his surprise, he can tell that the creature is made up of two souls. He also knows that the chimera is in unceasing pain and, feeling sorry for it, he gently places his hand on top of it's forehead, says a prayer for its souls, and uses his tattooed arm to create an alchemic transmutation inside of its skull.
As Ed and Al frantically try to locate the chimera, they see the glow of the alchemic reaction and enter the alley. Ed notices something on the rear wall of the alley, and upon closer inspection his eyes slacken and he goes white---what he's seeing is the remains of the chimera having been exploded into near-oblivion, leaving only a pattern of entrails on the wall.
The man with the tattooed arm, meanwhile, walks through the streets of Central silently mulling his new "calling"... he reasons that his brother gave him the tattoo on his arm was to destroy the "cursed alchemists" who, in his view, have fallen from the path of God.
In the alley, Al realizes that the chimera seems to have been "deconstructed" by an alchemist...but he wonders who on earth would do such a thing? He also rationalizes that even if they found the one responsible, it wouldn't matter...it wouldn't bring Nina back.
Ed, on the other hand, is in total despair. He apologizes for not being able to help her, and, with Al watching, begins to sob uncontrollably. Share this article with your friends