Chadley was not like other kids.
No, he wasn't trans, or disabled, or anything like that- instead, he was a cyborg. A product of Hojo's experimentation, and a slave to him as well. His programming restricted him in a lot of ways: stripped him of his free will, limited his emotions, and prevented him from rebelling or betraying Hojo in almost any way.
He couldn't remember a time before this, but he could remember every single moment after. His memory was perfect, infallible- in fact, any memory of his past that moment could be recalled on demand. It was useful, but Chadley would give up all of the benefits being a cyborg gave him without a second thought if it meant he could have his freedom.
Though, why not both?
He'd never be completely human again, he was sure, but there might be a way to regain his freedom while still working within the limits of the programming- after all, he understood the limits better than anyone else. There had to be a way to get rid of the negatives while still keeping most of the positives…
There were also unintended benefits to his involuntary servitude. Because he could not physically betray them, Chadley had access to all sorts of classified information that he would not be able to otherwise. He was trusted, and he could use that.
Very few people knew about his resentment for Hojo, and Shinra by extension. Only the people he trusted the most, who happened aligned with Avalanche, were the people he confided in. Chadley had not gotten his views from nowhere, after all. He had been raised from a young age by several scientists in the Research and Development division, but had grown attached to one person in particular: Professor Andrew, but Chadley called him Andy. He'd been his mentor, and one of the few that actually treated him like a person instead of a test subject. Andy did what he could to help him, and Chadley was grateful for the kindness he showed.
He was an orphan, as far as he knew- he couldn't remember his parents, it had been so long. His own file was off-limits to him for understandable reasons. Sometimes, he wondered what it might be like, to have a parent.
He never thought he'd actually find out.
He did it! Thanks to Cloud's help, he had beaten his programming and regained his free will! Though the question remained: what would he do? He had nowhere to go, and if Hojo found out, he'd be 'fixed' faster than he could say frontal lobe. If he tried to run away, he'd have all of Shinra on his tail, since he knew so much classified information. What on Gaia could he do..?
Reno had been in the labs with Rude- as the Turks had a rule that none of them could go alone in the labs. They were in a highly classified area that contained several dangerous specimens, and Chadley was feeding them, as part of his routine. Reno turned to the scientist accompanying him, "Why is there a kid in here?!?" He shouted, clearly enraged at the very notion of a kid getting caught up in this dangerous mess. "You! Get away from that thing!"
The scientist spoke as if they were talking about the weather, "Oh, that's just Chadley. You didn't know?"
Chadley had stopped what he was doing and approached the group, "Is there something wrong, sir?" He looked up with Reno, blue eyes curious.
Reno shouted, "Of course there's something wrong! You're a kid! What are you even doing here?!?"
Chadley remained calm as he responded, "I am Professor Hojo's assistant, and feeding these test subjects are part of my duties. I assure you, I am trained for and perfectly capable of the task."
Reno pinched his brow, "Still, you're a kid. Besides, do you even have the authorization to be in here? This is some seriously classified shit."
The scientist gestured to Chadley, "Chadley here is a wonderful piece of Hojo's work. He has many cybernetic enhancements, all of which make him the perfect little assistant. The best part is? He has no free will! He is completely incapable of betrayal, so he's not a liability, if that's what you're thinking."
Reno was disgusted by these scientists, and even Rude looked disturbed by this- no wonder Tseng didn't let any of the Turks go down here alone. Being killed was one thing, but being turned into a slave? That was something else entirely. And a kid, that just made it worse.
Chadley saw Reno's response, and he knew that he had garnered the sympathy of the redheaded Turk. A quick look through of the files he had available on Reno showed that he was second in command of the Turks, who answered directly to the vice president. His research had only taken the blink of an eye, and he had come up with a conclusion just as fast. If he were to get Reno on his side, he might just be able to escape Hojo for good. He smiled innocently as he spoke, "That is correct, I am within Hojo's bondage, and am prevented from doing anything that goes against him."
Reno did a double-take, "You're in Hojo's what-now?!?" He looked absolutely horrified at the implications of that, and grabbed Chadley by the wrist, beginning to drag him out. "That's it, you're coming with me!" Rude followed behind him silently, a hand placed on Chadley's back to guide him.
The scientist tried to stop him, "He-He didn't mean it like that! Chadley just speaks too literally!" He was panicking, because he'd be in huge trouble if Chadley was taken away.
Reno glared at the scientist, "Get out of the way." And shoved right past him, dragging Chadley along with him.
Chadley was a bit confused, not actually understanding the implications of the word 'bondage', but grateful nonetheless. "Sir, where are we going?" He asked Reno, trying to keep up with the taller man's strides. Suddenly, a shot of fear ran through him. "Did I do something wrong?" If he had been discovered, that was it. He could kiss his newfound freedom goodbye.
Reno shook his head, "Nah, Hojo's the one who did something wrong. You're fine. We're just gonna go have a little chat with my boss, that's all." He reassured Chadley, ruffling his slightly curly hair with his other hand.
Chadley was surprised and confused by the gesture, never having had his hair ruffles before. "Sir, may I ask why you messed up my hair?" His confusion showed in his tone and expression.
Reno was rather shocked, "You've never had your hair ruffled before?" He raised an eyebrow at that, slowing his pace a bit so Chadley could keep up better.
"No, sir." Chadley responded, still confused as to why Reno had done it.
Reno whistled, "Shit, this is worse than I thought… and stop it with the 'sir', you can call me Reno." Reno smiled at Chadley.
Chadley was even more confused, now. "My apologies, sir- I mean, Reno."
Reno waved his hand, “Close enough.”
With that, Chadley was led away from the Research and Development division, and instead to the Turks’ office. He was gently guided to sit down on the couch, and he looked up at Reno and Rude. Was this really happening?
Tseng, who was at his desk, looked up to see Reno and Rude enter with a kid. He raised a brow, “Reno, what is going on?”
Reno was all too eager to respond, “They’ve got a kid in the highest classified areas of R&D! He was feeding monsters, Tseng!” He gestured to Chadley.
Chadley pouted, “I am fifteen, hardly much of a child. Again, I assure you, I have been properly trained for the task and was taking adequate precautions.” He wasn’t some kid, he had proved himself to the scientists time after time to be capable. He had earned their respect.
Reno narrowed his eyes, “Sure, you’re a teenager- but what was all of that stuff about Hojo’s bondage?”
Tseng suddenly stood up from his desk, “Hojo’s what?”
Reno threw his arms up in the air, “That’s what I said! And the scientist we were working with even had the gall to try to prevent me from taking him out of the labs! Point is, we need an investigation, and he needs to stay as far away from Hojo as possible.” He gestured with his thumb to Chadley.
Chadley was so relieved he could cry, “You really mean that?” His expression was that of hope.
“Of course I do! That creep needs to cut the shit.” He responded to Chadley.
Chadley’s smile was wide, “Thank you, Reno. I am extremely grateful.”
Reno got a bit flustered, waving his hand. “Nah, don’t think much of it.” He then looked back to Tseng, “Anyways, figured the boss might wanna talk to him about this shit, decide what he wants to do.”
Tseng regained his composure, “Yes, that is a good idea. Though I do not normally bother him with trivial matters, I believe this warrants an exception.” With that, he dialed a number on the phone, calling none other than Rufus Shinra himself.
Reno knelt down to be at eye level with Chadley, putting a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Don’t you worry, little guy. We’ll sort things out.”