Plaza de la Constitucion (Zocolo), Mexico City, the following day
"Ugh, there's no way I'll have enough time to see everything today."
El Fuerte wasn't available until the following day to take the women to see T.Hawk, so it gave the nurse an entire afternoon to play tourist. Kara groaned as she rechecked her smartphone for the time. It read 1:28pm.
'I really want to see the Templo Mayor! So, National Palace or Metropolitan Cathedral? They all close around 5pm! Of course, I could have gotten my ass out of bed sooner. But Juri was right. Going to the club was entertaining!'
Following their lunch meeting with El Fuerte the previous afternoon, Juri and Kara headed back to the hotel. After Juri made arrangements for plane tickets to Hermosillo, the state capital of the northwestern state of Sonora, the two had used the hotel fitness center to work out. After a couple of hours stretching, lifting and cardio, the two freshened up and had dinner at La Terraza, the hotel restaurant. As they dined overlooking the Zocolo, Juri came up with the idea of going clubbing later on that night.
"This has been way too damn boring so far," Juri had remarked. "I don’t wanna stay cooped up in this hotel all night. I wanna have some fun!"
Several hours later, the two women were headed to one of the nearby clubs via a taxi. Overall, Kara had a good time as she and Juri had a couple of drinks and danced (Juri, in particular, was very popular as she swayed and whirled on the dance floor to the beat of pop music). In Kara's mind, the only hang up occurred when Juri subtly instigated a fight between two men vying for her attention, which resulted in both brawlers being thrown out of the club (which Juri thought was pretty funny). It was almost 3am when the two women returned to the hotel, tired, but otherwise happy to have gotten a chance to unwind. They both passed out on their respective beds.
It wasn't until almost 11am when Kara woke up, stiff and sore from the workout and late-night dancing. With a start, she realized that a good chunk of her sightseeing time had already passed her by. The rustling had woken up a now grumpy Juri, who declined an offer to tag along with Kara.
"Why the hell would I waste my time looking at some stupid ruins? That shit bores the hell out of me. I'm gonna sleep some more and work out later."
Slightly miffed at Juri's refusal, Kara groggily slid out of bed, got ready and popped over to El Fuerte's restaurant to grab a quick lunch of chicken tamales (she didn't want to bother the wrestler, so she didn't ask for him) before returning to the Zocolo.
'So, Metropolitan Cathedral or National Palace?' Kara silently asked herself, briefly looking up at the huge Mexican flag waving in the breeze nearby. She brought her smartphone up to snap a picture of it.
Following another photo shot of the flag, Kara pulled out a one-peso coin from her shorts pocket and shrugged, setting it on her thumb. She’d let fate decide her other destination. She flicked it upwards and caught it, then opened her hand and shrugged.
"Metropolitan Cathedral it is, then."
As she slipped the coin back into her pocket, she noticed a decent sized crowd congregating at the southeastern corner of the plaza, near the National Palace. It wasn't the gathering itself that caught Kara's attention; it was the person speaking. His voice rang clearly throughout the plaza. She found herself walking over toward the crowd, where a giant of a man in a stovepipe hat addressed it. Was that who she thought it was? Her first inclination was to stay away, but her curiosity was piqued as his voice echoed throughout the plaza. As she reached the edge of the assembly, she could hear him speaking in fluent Mexican Spanish.
Sliding further into the crowd, she managed to get fairly close. The towering man paused momentarily as he caught sight of her. He gave Kara a wide, friendly grin before continuing. Kara let out a small gasp as her suspicion was confirmed. She had seen his face before, even without the impromptu introduction by Maya a couple of weeks before.
It was the strange person known as G, in the flesh; the one whom Maya claimed was controlling the Qs! He paced back and forth, using sweeping hand gestures as his voice rang throughout the crowd. Even without understanding all that was said, Kara knew it was hypnotic. She surveyed the people around her and they were hanging on his every word. They seemed...inspired. Yes, that was the word. Kara wouldn't have believed it if she didn't actually see it happening.
Kara mentally kicked herself for not recognizing him sooner. She couldn't help it, though. His manner of speaking was like a...what was that children's fable her mother often read to her when she was a child? The Pied Piper of Hameln, that was it. The piper was hired to rid the town of rats, but when he had finished his task, the town reneged on part of his pay. In revenge, he charmed almost all of the town's children and they followed him into a cave where they were never seen again. Was G some sort of modern-day pied piper? A shudder ran through Kara's body as she considered the possibility.
The speech went on for perhaps 15 more minutes before he tipped his hat to the audience and thanked them for their time. Several walked up to him afterwards to give him a few words of gratitude as he cheerfully shook their hands. Kara observed that the ones who accepted his handshake walked away...serene, as if they were suddenly privy to an unknown bit of wisdom. She was both awed and troubled by what she perceived in front of her.
'Something weird is going on, but I can't put my finger on it,' Kara thought, suddenly grateful to Maya for giving her the information about G. If she hadn't talked to the CIA agent, she wouldn't have even recognized that there was something odd occurring. 'Damn it, why am I even standing here listening to him??? This guy tried to kill me a couple of weeks ago through one of those Q creeps!'
She knew the answer as soon as the question was asked. Despite Maya's warning about G, the man's presence was nonetheless mesmerizing. Even with what Kara knew about this mysterious individual, she had still strolled over to hear him speak.
With that in mind, Kara shook her head and strode away. What if G somehow knew who she was? She needed to get out of there.
Unfortunately, it was too late. The southern American drawl in G's voice followed Kara before she took five steps.
"Pardon me, young citizen! Could I please have a moment of your time?"
'Oh shit! Now what do I do?!'
Kara froze and slowly turned around. As she feared, G was talking to her. In fact, he was no more than several feet away, a kindly grin creasing his features. After a moment, she returned it with a hopefully friendly smile of her own.
"Hi! Uh, sure. What did you need? You're...G, right? I've seen you on those Footube videos."
It was a lie, of course. She vaguely remembered Juri making that social media reference to Maya in the apartment. Luckily, she had been paying close attention to that discussion.
It remained to be seen whether G would accept the explanation.
"Why yes! I sincerely thank you for watching. I am curious, what did you find most enlightening about my videos?"
Kara paused for a moment and bit down a curse before answering. She hadn't been expecting a quiz.
"Well...I mean...the fighting was entertaining. But the whole notion of the 'one world, one people' thing is...I don't know. Not sure how possible that'll be. There are so many cultures and languages for that to happen. I suppose it's a nice dream though."
The grin on G's face broadened as he stepped closer and leaned forward, intently searching Kara's eyes. She fought the urge to take a step backwards and turn away for fear of insulting him. She met his gaze as best she could. After a few moments, he spoke.
"Indeed, young citizen! But reality comes from dreams, does it not? You see, we must unite as one. I'll tell you, from the bottom of my soul, and with the deepest of sincerity that I am firmly resolute in my undertaking. That I will not yield to...anyone or anything until I accomplish what I set out to do, you can be assured of that. Together, all of us will be one with Earth, this I swear. Power to the people of Earth!"
G's body language became even more intense as he talked, if that was possible.
Kara remained frozen in place as she gawked at him. For the briefest of moments, she could have sworn that an image of the Earth replaced his irises and pupils. That couldn't have been possible, could it? G continued.
"I see the look of doubt in your eyes, young citizen. Are you headed elsewhere? I'd like to discuss all of this further, if you don't mind."
Kara fought down a surge of panic. He actually wanted to tag along! Her mind raced as she rapidly considered and discarded ways to decline. Everything that she came up with would only serve to make him suspicious. For the time being, she'd reluctantly have to accept his company.
"I...uh...that's very gracious of you...mister...G? I'm headed to the Templo Mayor, actually."
He let out a hearty chuckle and gave a short bow.
"It's President G, young citizen, and I've desired to see that place for myself. We can talk on the way!"
It didn't take them very long to get to the Templo Mayor. G did most of the talking, mostly in double-speak regarding how he would fulfill his mission. By the time they arrived, Kara still couldn't make much sense as to what his goal really was. Before she could ask for more clarification, they were in front of the ticket booth. Kara paid for her ticket and waited for G to follow suit.
Instead, he gripped each side lapel of his waistcoat and made a booming announcement.
"Fine citizen, uniting our great Earth is a cost we all must pay! For when obstacles such as these appear, it is our duty to do everything we can to clear them from our path!"
Kara blinked for a moment before realizing that he fully expected her to pay his fare. With pursed lips, she forked over a further 85 Mexican pesos for another ticket, stifling a snarl as she did so.
G thanked Kara warmly when the ticket was handed over, but she couldn't completely hide her annoyance.
'Goddammit! That fucking pompous ass! Not only could he not come up with a few pesos for a damn ticket, he had the audacity to expect me to pay!!! And I went ahead and paid it like a total dumbass! How does he manage to live while he's traveling all over? President of the World? Freeloader of the World is more like it!'
Kara was still stewing in silence as they made their way through several levels of the museum, pausing intermittently at most of the artifacts. However, when they got to the Aztec Calendar Stone, G's features suddenly lit up. Up to that point, he had made small, polite comments about a few artifacts ('very interesting' 'truly fascinating' and the like).
Due to G's towering height, his face was actually parallel to the outer ring of the stone calendar, which sat vertically on the wall. His hands twitched, as if he wanted to grab the massive stone and carry it out with him. Kara figured he probably could do just that, if he so desired.
For the first time since they had met, Kara found herself observing G's physical features. Yes, she had noted his height and rather outlandish Victorian-period outfit immediately. However, much of her attention had been centered on his voice. She did a double take upon finally noticing the gold tattoo patterns that moved around his arms and disappeared! New tattoos formed and moved along his skin in turn.
Kara made a stunning realization as she focused on the patterns themselves. They were...Earth's continents! A chill ran through her body as she digested this information.
'Is this guy even human???'
G's voice, far removed from the earlier bombast, was now almost a whisper. Although there were several people nearby, Kara had the strange feeling that she was the only one who could hear him. She looked around for confirmation as the hairs on her arms stood up. Sure enough, the others weren't even paying attention. In fact, it was almost as if G and Kara weren't even there, like a heavy cloak of silence which fell over the pair. The chill within Kara continued to grow as she listened to him.
"The Mexica believed that there were four worlds before this current one. The first was destroyed by jaguars. The second, a mighty hurricane. The third, a rain of fire. The fourth, a deluge of blood which drowned everyone. The fifth...that it will be destroyed by a massive earthquake. How...prophetic."
Kara's eyes widened as her breath caught in her throat. G remained anchored in place, his gaze locked on the massive circular stone. She finally gathered the courage to speak up.
"W-what do you mean? You don't actually believe that do you?"
She wasn't sure if G heard her, so intense was his attention on the stone. He finally shook his head, looked over his shoulder and offered a sly smile.
"The Earth will always keep spinning."
Kara squinted in confusion. None of this was making any sense at all! She wiped her forehead and felt cold sweat on her fingers. The air surrounding them continued to feel heavy and oppressive. She needed to get out of this museum!
"I..I'm going to go look at the temple ruins outside, if you don't mind."
G abruptly broke his gaze from the stone and nodded. The enveloping pall suddenly dissolved, almost as if a bubble had burst.
"That's a capital idea, citizen."
Upon exiting the building, Kara breathed a little easier, but remained wary of G, who had said very little in the museum section after viewing the stone.
She had seen models and pictures of the Aztec Sacred Precinct's entirety (it was but the center of the larger capital island city of Tenochtitlan), of which the Templo Mayor and the Zocolo plaza were the only remaining physical evidence. The transition of Tenochtitlan to Mexico City, which began shortly after the Spanish conquest in 1521, had gradually taken place for almost a half millennium. Of the Templo Mayor, only the foundation of the temple still stood, although it was more accurate to say temples. The site had been built over no less than seven times throughout the heyday of the Aztec Empire.
What Kara encountered on the grounds outside was the layered foundations of five different temples constructed almost on top of each other, like a giant Russian Matryoshka doll. She found out very quickly from the various information plaques that there was no trace of the original temple since it wasn't made of durable materials (only clay and wood). There were also very few sections left of the final and most impressive temple as it been largely demolished by the Spanish when they captured the city after a siege assault of several months.
As she moved along the winding walkways amidst the ruins, G became more talkative again. Up to this point, he had focused on chatting about his own ideas. Now, the conversation took a different route.
Kara checked to see if anyone was watching and softly brushed her hand along the volcanic stone of a temple wall, unsure if it was permissible. Her heartbeat increased slightly. She was touching something that was over 700 years old! G's eyes followed Kara's caress of the wall and finally spoke.
"These structures pale in comparison to longevity of the Earth. Like this temple, our planet has been built over many times and will continue to do so. Tell me, citizen; why are you here? To view the hollowed-out ruins of a fallen empire? The past is not where you should be looking towards."
He trailed his finger along the top of the ruined wall where Kara's hand had touched. His finger suddenly glowed red as a substance which looked like lava dripped from it. The stone hissed as the magma made contact. Just as suddenly, the molten substance disappeared, but a trail of smoke and a blackened burn mark remained on the segment where his finger touched. Both the question and his demonstration compelled Kara to rip her hand away from the stone with a squawk. The question caught her so off guard that she blurted out an answer.
"My friend and I...she's trying to replace her..."
Kara's face reddened as she caught herself from providing more info. To her dismay, she came within a hair of explaining everything about Juri's mission. Did she give him too much information? She regained her composure and made a frantic attempt at damage control.
"W-we're here to find something very important to her."
G leaned in closer to Kara, studying her features. She could feel the heat rising on her face. After a few moments, he drew back up to his full height.
"I see. As I said, young citizen, it isn't the past that you should be focused on. It's the future that we all should look towards. For many, it seems too far away, but even a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The question is, will they find the courage to take that first step? I believe they will do so. It is inevitable."
G folded his arms across his chest as his eyes took on a faraway look.
"Your friend...neither the people of the world nor the world of heaven look favorably upon her."
Kara's blushing faded. Instead, she crossed her own arms and shook her head, trying to figure out the riddle. How could he possibly know about Juri given what little information she let out???
"I don't understand. World of heaven? What does that mean?"
G let a small smile crease his lips and he shrugged in a knowing manner.
At that point, several people coming up the walkway pointed at him and waved wildly, shouting his name. The smile broadened into a wide grin and waved back while acknowledging their greetings.
"It would seem that our time is at an end, citizen. Before we part, take comfort in these words, if you may. As you look after and tend to others in your way, I will do the same for the world! Now, will you shake hands with your president?"
He unfolded his arms and extended his right hand towards Kara as the small crowd drew closer. She hesitated, mindful of the observation of his earlier handshakes in the plaza.
His grin remained, although she could see that his eyes steadily narrowed at her reluctance. Fearing that he would do something violent, Kara swallowed and extended her own hand. The smoldering anger gave way to triumph as he took it.
She immediately winced as her hand was enveloped in a crushing vice-like grip. A tingling sensation which started in her palm, steadily ran up her arm and poured into the rest of her body. She could hear G's echoing laugh in her mind as dizziness overtook her. Her breathing became shallow as she trembled, her legs threatening to give way. The powerful grip on her hand felt like it would go on forever.
'What is happening??? I feel so drained. As if...something is trying to take over and I can't fight it!'
Her consciousness began to fade, and her soul seemed to shrivel up as this invasive energy continued to hammer into her. She tried to scream, but no sound came out. G's voice rang out once more in her mind.
'Oh, citizen, you must stop fighting me. You and I will be One! I promise that we will be stronger for it!'
The invasive power continued to force Kara's spirit steadily backwards until there was almost nothing left. She knew the ordeal would soon be over. At least, for her.
'I'm sorry, Juri. I was such a fool.'
Then as all seemed lost, a silvery voice suddenly rang sharply in her mind. A different energy seeped into her flagging defenses, shoring it up against the relentless psychic assault.
'No! You cannot and will not have her!'
Kara couldn't believe it. The invading sensation first slowed, then stopped before it was steadily driven back. She could no longer hear G's gloating as the other voice drowned it out.
'Keep fighting it!'
To Kara's surprise, more and more of the countering energy was her own. She was going to win this battle! The foreign energy which had helped Kara now gradually faded. At this point the nurse knew that she could finish the fight.
Before she knew it, G had let go of her hand, a brief look of consternation forming on his face. Kara breathed heavily as her heart pounded in her chest, her body shaking visibly. She looked at her now numb pale-white hand and flexed it, trying to shake off the pain and bring blood flow back into it. From the distance of the arriving crowd, it was obvious that whatever had happened, only a few moments had lapsed. The struggle felt like hours to her.
She looked fearfully up at G and noticed his furrowed eyebrows. Then he slowly nodded, his face quickly overcoming the look of shock. A lopsided smile quickly replaced whatever surprise had shown. The crowd was almost upon them. G’s voice remained even, and despite the noise of the rapidly incoming assembly, Kara knew she was the only one who could hear him.
"Most interesting...most interesting, indeed. Apparently, it is not my day. It seems that there is more to you than meets the eye, young citizen. I will most certainly look forward to our next meeting. Good day...Kara Neiland."
He touched the rim of his hat in salute and turned to the small but enthusiastic crowd now surrounding him and chanting his name. Kara took advantage of the distraction to first hastily walk and then run frantically along the walkways until she had fled the Templo Mayor. The thrill of sightseeing had definitely lost its luster.
Altar de los Reyes, Catedral Metropolitana de la Acuncion de la Santisima Virgen Maria a los cielos, Plaza de la Constitucion, a half hour later
'It's so beautiful! The craftsmanship...I don't think anything like this could or would be created if G gets his way.'
Kara sat in a pew in front of the Altar de los Reyes, or the Altar of the Kings, located in the back of the Metropolitan Cathedral. The view of the late baroque-style gilded woodwork, estipite columns, paintings and sculptures which adorned the altar were breathtaking enough to create a calming effect on her.
Upon fleeing the Templo Mayor about a half hour before, Kara stumbled along the street until she stood in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral, which was almost next door. The original excitement of touring the building had instead been replaced with a desire to find a safe place to hide.
She had looked for a quiet spot to make some sense of the terror she had experienced, but there were enough wandering sightseers inside to force her towards the back of the church. She finally found some measure of peace in front of the Altar de los Reyes and sat down at an empty pew just in front it. Besides, she still felt tired from G's peculiar handshake and the flight instinct which had sustained her in the Templo Mayor had now worn off.
After spending several minutes wiping her eyes and brushing back her hair, Kara's breathing gradually became normal and the shaking subsided. Then she finally noticed the opulent altar in front of her and stared at it in wonder for some time. She pulled out a tissue from her handbag and blew loudly into it. After wiping her nose hastily, she wrapped it in another tissue and tossed it into her bag. Then she squeezed a small amount of antibacterial gel onto her hands and rubbed it onto her hands.
After that, Kara took a deep breath and shuddered, turning her thoughts to the events at the Templo Mayor.
The only thing that she was certain of was that G had attempted to control her. Not by force or coercion, but by literally taking over her soul.
'I don't think I would've existed if he had succeeded. I felt my spirit being bled away. How is that even possible???!!! And what was the other voice that I heard? If that mysterious presence didn't intervene when it did, I wouldn't even be thinking any of this right now!'
She now understood that the benevolent power behind the inexplicable voice had saved her twice now. It had pulled her away from Bison in her dream several weeks ago and now it helped force G out. Why was this...entity helping her, though? Kara couldn't even fathom a reason.
Her mood darkened when she considered how G had tricked her. He had fished for information, and she had unwittingly walked right into his trap. He had been toying with her, like a cat with a mouse, the entire time and it was now obvious that he knew exactly who she was from the beginning. Worse still, he knew that Juri had accompanied her to Mexico. She shook her head in disgust.
'He knows my actual name! How could I have been so stupid?! He seemed so...well, not as terrible as everyone claimed. Just an eccentric annoyance more than anything. I completely underestimated him.'
As Kara considered this, she remembered what Juri had emphasized several times prior to and during their very brief stay in Mexico City. This was not a vacation. Kara now fully understood the warning.
'This isn't a game. People are being killed or worse. What about the people G has already subverted? Are they dead or alive? Somewhere in between?'
Kara briefly trembled at the thought, unsure that she wanted an answer to that question. Another disturbing realization crossed her mind.
'Am I the only one who knows that he can do this? Is there anyone else who has successfully resisted his power? Who can I tell? Hell, who would believe me? Everyone would think I'm a complete lunatic! But then, if someone came up to me and told me what I know now, I'd think they're crazy as well. Oh, what am I going to do?'
She let out a bitter laugh as she remembered a figure from her Greek mythology class in college.
'Kassandra, the Trojan priestess doomed to foretell the future, only to have no one believe her. Yeah, Kassie, I totally get where you're coming from now.'
She had to tell Juri, that much was certain. Whether the street fighter would believe her, well, that was something else entirely.
Kara checked her smartphone for the time. It read 3:32pm. It had only been a couple of hours since she stepped foot on the Zocolo but it now felt more like a couple of days to her. She needed to get back to the hotel.
'Juri said she planned on using the hotel fitness center sometime this afternoon. I think I'll join her. I really need to take this training more seriously. G needs to be stopped, but I'd be totally kidding myself that I'd have a chance in hell of making a difference at this point. Even with training, would it make a difference? Of course, there's also Shadaloo to worry about...'
She stood up and faced the altar. Then she inclined her head towards it and spoke softly. In its own way, it had provided comfort when she needed it the most.
"Thank you. I had a chance to clear my mind here and I'm grateful for it."
As Kara turned to leave, she noticed a donation box on the other end of her pew with a notice in both Mexican Spanish and English: 'Your contribution for the maintenance of this CATHEDRAL will be gratefully received.'
She chewed her lip, looked in her handbag and opened up her purse. It was the least she could do, given what she had gone through this afternoon. After fishing out a 200-peso bill, she dropped it in the slot. She was about to leave but paused for another moment.
"Hell, I should...oh...oops...sorry. Terrific, I just cursed in the church. I should add more."
Her face was bright red as she added another 200-peso bill before sticking the purse back in her handbag. Then she made her way out of the Cathedral. Once outside, she checked her surroundings. There was no sign of G in the immediate vicinity. He definitely wasn't on the plaza. In fact, he seemed to have disappeared completely. That was fine with her. She just wanted to return to the hotel as quickly as possible. No more sightseeing. She took a deep breath and started walking.
"Ok, I need find Juri and do some training."
From a short distance away, the one known as Zeku, the 38th Grandmaster of Bushinryu Ninjutsu, watched Kara march resolutely back across the Zocolo to the Gran Hotel de Ciudad de Mexico. Unbeknownst to her (or Juri), he had been discreetly tracking them since they arrived in Mexico City as per orders from Karin Kanzuki.
It had been his first major mission since offering his services to the Kanzuki zaibatsu several months previous. He wasn't particularly concerned. Tracking was one of his specialties and neither woman was even aware that he tailed them.
He came close to intervening in the Templo Mayor when he saw the distress on Kara's face upon shaking G's hand. However, he was too far away to act, and whatever occurred had passed almost immediately. By the time he was close enough, Kara had broken away from G and was fleeing along the walkways of the ruin. Although she was clearly shaken, Zeku observed no immediate danger to her, so he continued to hang back while trailing her at a distance. However, something had clearly upset the young woman.
He followed her into the Metropolitan Cathedral and watched as she wandered aimlessly all the way to the back of the building. She finally sat down at one of the several small pews located in front of a particularly ornate structure, the Altar of the Kings.
Given her obvious anxiety, he couldn't decide whether to go over and make an introduction or continue his observation. He reluctantly chose the latter, though Kara eventually calmed down after a moderate period. Whatever had happened at the Templo Mayor clearly had left the woman very shaken. She sat there, seemingly deep in thought, in front of the altar, staring at the structure. He nodded in approval at her choice of destination.
'It is indeed a beautiful and soothing design.'
Finally, Kara got up, murmured something that he couldn’t hear, and then stuck a couple of paper bills into the donation box. He turned his body slightly to hide his face as Kara neared, though she took no notice of him. Her attention was elsewhere but he sensed a resoluteness that was lacking when she first arrived.
Once Kara was far enough away, he murmured a haiku.
"You were uncertain. By the altar of the kings, you have found focus."
As Kara headed back to the hotel, Zeku continued to keep his distance while continuing the vigil. He didn't perceive any nearby danger. He smiled when she entered the hotel. This one...yes, he would keep an eye on her. Perhaps at some point, he would formally present himself.
For the time being, however, he would continue to watch over them.
I'd like to add a special thank you to Steven Mane (Twitter handle StevenManeVox), who has written extensively about G (19 articles) on his Street Fighter lore website, Mane Street Blog. I collaborated extensively with him regarding the G portion of the dialogue. G talks in what I call 'controlled gibberish.' Not much of what he says has actual meaning at first glance (perfect for politicians, really), so it's never straightforward. As such, it was pretty difficult to pin down his method of dialogue. Steven added a number of suggestions that I added into this chapter.
Several of G's lines in the chapter are also from his actual quote list (not victory quotes). His speech to Kara where he ends with "Power to the People of Earth was (with minor tweaks) one of his three speeches he used in his 'Message to the People' special move in SFV.
When describing the Templo Mayor and Metropolitan Cathedral, I used Google Maps/Earth pretty extensively, as well as Youtube videos on both of those buildings, so the descriptions are pretty accurate.
The cathedral donation box described is real, including the notice. I managed to snag a shot of it on one of the various webpages I used to help write this chapter.
Many of Zeku's victory quotes are in haiku, a form of poetry that I had never attempted to do before. I went through several versions before I was satisfied with the one in the chapter. It was definitely challenging to write it, since I'm not a poet by nature.