A Chip In The Pile: The Story of Setzer
Prologue: Setzer is one of the characters who's past is reveled the least. The only thing we know of him is that he was in love with a woman named Daryl who was another Airship pilot. The rest is up to our imagination.
The young boy couldn't believe it. A real Airship! And he was going to get to see the first flight! He started as the cart began to move, heading towards Vector, the Imperial Capital. There, Cecil the Imperial Engineer would test his new invention The Airship, a ship that could actually fly! If it worked than travel could be changed unbelievably. A special holiday had been declared for the test day and people all over the southern continent were coming to Vector to witness it.
The young boy pushed his long white hair out of his eyes. His hair had shocked the people who saw him when he was born, they said it was evil and that only bad could come of it. The boy's mother had refused to believe this and had raised her boy as well as she could. The young boy, who was named Setzer, tried to convince the people who he lived with in his home town of Albrook, that he was not good luck. He didn't do such a good job of it though, bad things always seemed to happen when he was around. Setzer was starting to believe himself, that he was bad luck. The people in the cart were careful not to get too close to Setzer, lest they be stricken with bad luck.
In the Imperial Castle, the Emperor Gestahl was finishing a fine meal when his student Kefka approached him. Kefka was an oddity, he was only a boy but he showed remarkable abilities in the field of Magic which interested Gestahl immensely. Gestahl had taken the boy under his wing and had personally overseen his training. At this moment Kefka seemed unusually happy, even for him. "What is it Kefka?" asked Gestahl.
Kefka let out a strange chuckle, Gestahl could never figure out why Kefka's laugh was so unusual. Kefka muttered, "The preperations are complete."
"Marvelous," said Gestahl, " You are dismissed"
Kefka chuckled and walked out of the dining hall muttering to himself, "The fool! He'll never know what hit him!"
Setzer was getting impatient. He had tried to get a few people to play cards with him but they had declined. The one thing Setzer was lucky at was gambling, he rarely ever lost and if he did it was never on a large bet. Gambling was a big part of Setzer's life. He would get travelers to play with them and take everything they had. It was how he got money for him and his mother. His father had run away when he was born, afraid to settle down.
The cart was approaching Vector, Setzer could see a clearing where a crowd was gathering. He figured that that was where the Airship was. His suspicion was verified when the cart started towards the clearing. As he neared he saw a large empty spot in the middle of the crowd. As the cart came to a stop, he jumped out and started pushing his way through the crowd towards the empty area.
Kefka, watching from the Imperial Box that had been set-up for the Emperor, saw a young white-haired youth eagerly pushing his way to the front. Kefka chuckled and said "Don't get too close kid."
When Setzer made it to the front he saw an imperial herald march out to the center of the clearing. The herald said in an amazingly loud voice "Today the Engineer Cecil will attempt to fly in an automation of his own creation. Cecil has dubbed this creation an Airship. And now the Emperor is proud to present, Cecil!"
As the herald made this proclomation a large platform with wheels was being pulled in by Chocobos. The platform had walls which were, Setzer guessed, hiding the airship. Setzer's whole body quivered with excitement as men took places at the roped hanging off the platform. At a signal from one of them, they all pulled. The walls fell down with an enormous crash, revealing the Airship.
It was, Setzer thought, the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It was shaped like any other ship he had seen but the similarity ended there. Instead of masts, it had a large balloon that held it up. Instead of a rudder, it had propellers to provide thrust. Instead of a wheel, it had complicated controls to steer. Engineer Cecil was making final preparations for the Airship's first flight. He smiled and flashed the crowed a thumbs up as he made the final checks.
Finally it was time for the first flight. Pressing a button, Cecil felt the Airship come to life underneath him. The propellers revved up and the air compressors which kept the balloon inflated gave a test fire. Smiling Cecil remembered his months of hard work to get this far, the first flight. Figuring it wouldn't matter if he waited any longer, Cecil pushed on the throttle, gently lifting the airship into the air. Cecil let out a whoop as his dream of flying came true. He pushed the throttle a little more and he shot into the sky. Feeling free for the first time in his life, Cecil put the airship through it's paces, finishing with a barrel roll that almost sent Cid flying.
Eventually Cecil was forced to land because of fuel constraints. He punched the button to start the landing sequence and started his decent. Halfway to the ground a red light lit up and a buzzer started persistently beeping. Worried, he checked the vitals of his ship. Cecil saw the last thing he wanted to see, The Engine failure light was flashing at him, bathing his head in it's red light. He struggled with the controls, trying to stop the decent but to no avail. He looked down at the crowd below and a thought struck him, "I'm going to kill those people," desperately he tried to fly the ship away from the clearing.
Cecil did not worry long, a rippling explosion ripped through the once beautiful Airship, ripping it to shreds. The crowd below scattered as flaming hot debris pelted them. Setzer fled the fiery rain, covering his face with his hands. He felt a searing pain from his forehead to his chin. He felt his head and found a slice, starting above his eye and going to his chin. Falling into shock, the world started to sway around him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw another boy dressed in green running to his side. Then everything went black.
When he woke up, Setzer had no idea where he was. His head felt like it was on fire, and his body felt like a Sasquach danced on him. He lifted his head an inch and felt a calloused hand push him back down. "Wha? Where?" he managed to say through a throat that felt like cotton. A kind voice said "Calm down, your lucky to be alive."
Struggling against the hand Setzer gasped, "Who are you? Where am I?"
The voice replied "You are in the Imperial Hospital, my name is Cid."
Confused Setzer said, "What about my mother? And my people?" Cid softly replied, "They left you, they said something about the accident being your fault. Do you know what they were talking about?"
With a resigned air Setzer said, "Yes, but my Mother too? I thought she didn't believe I was bad luck."
Cid said, "Well maybe this accident spooked her. Personally I don't believe in bad luck."
Setzer struggled to a sitting position, "I must leave before anything else happens."
Cid felt Setzer's head an said, "Well you seem fine enough. Is there anything you need to help you on your way."
Feeling his pockets and feeling something missing Setzer said, "Only some food and water, and a deck of cards."
Cid seemed puzzled, "A deck of cards?"
"Yes," replied Setzer.
Cid thought for a second and said, "Wait right here."
Having a moment to himself, Setzer began to think. He figured that he could never go back to his home town Albrook. He would have to go to the northern continent and make a living there. How he was going to get there, he had no idea. His thoughts were interrupted as Cid came back holding a deck of cards, the case seemed thicker than a normal deck though.
"Here" said Cid, " There are many strong monsters in this world. A student of mine designed these a while back. Gave him an F, though they may be of use to you. Just press the top-left number on the card."
Puzzled, Setzer took the deck. He opened the pack, finding that the case was made of metal, and pulled out the cards. They seemed to be normal playing cards, albeit a little stiffer than he was used too. He took the Ace of Spades in his hand and, doing as Cid instructed, pressed the A on the top-left corner. The card gave a slight metallic ring and the edges sprouted blades. Startled, Setzer dropped the card and look at Cid saying outraged, "What is this? You trying to kill me?"
Cid chuckled and replied, "No, these are special cards that can be used as weapons. Just keep your hand on the top edge and the blades won't touch you. They fly surprisingly well."
Setzer picked up the Ace by the top edge and gave it a toss towards the wall. It made a humming sound as it flew towards the wall. As it hit it gave a small thunk and stuck in the wall. Setzer said to Cid, "Thanks, these'll come in handy."
Saying this, Setzer shook Cid's hand and walked out of the room. Cid looked after him and said to himself, "Bad luck. Hmphhhhhh!"
In the Imperial Palace Kefka returned to his teacher. He chuckled and said, "Cecil is finished."
"Marvelous", gloated Gestahl, "He should have known not to mess with other forms of power. Magitek is the only way. But I have to admit, the idea did have merit."
Time Break: Setzer travelled the southern continent, never staying in one place too long. He earned his money by gambling, as always, and learned to use his Blade-Cards with incredible skill, considering his bad luck. Eventually he managed to find a ship to the Northern Continent in Tzen and there he made his way to South Figaro.
Setzer smiled as he stepped of the ship, he had plenty of money and his bad luck had not struck for weeks. As he walked through the streets, he looked for someone gullible who would play cards with him. He finally found a target in a young Imperial Soldier. He sauntered up to the Soldier and said, "Good day sir, may I ask your name?"
The Soldier looked at the young man and, judging him harmless, said, "Vicks whatchit to ya?"
Setzer smiled and replied, "Nothing sir, just a game of cards perhaps? In the cafe?"
The Soldier checked his schedule and said "Why not, I have nothing to do."
The two walked to the Cafe. On the way there Setzer asked Vicks what he was doing in South Figaro, Vicks said it was confidential. When the reached to Cafe Setzer pulled out a deck of cards and started shuffling them (they were not his Blade-Cards, he stopped using those after a man he was playing with accidentally touched the top-left edge). He allowed Vicks to deal first and the two started a heated game of Balance and Ruin.
Hours later Setzer sat sweating looking at his hand. This was the final hand, both players had bet everything they had left. Setzer was looking at a hand made up of the 7 of Basilek, the Ace of Malboro, the 6 of Leafer, and the 2 of Brawler.
Balance and Ruin was a complicated game that was east to play but impossible to master. The cards were made up of a number and a monster. Each monster was either worth positive or negative points, also each monster multiplied the number by a certain amount. No Balance and Ruin deck was the same since there were hundreds of different cards. The object was to get the closest to 50 without going over. Right now Setzer had 30 with the cards he had. He hoped to bluff out Vicks but it was not looking good. Setzer reached in his pocket and pulled out a ticket. He placed it in the pot and said "This is a ticket for a free Chocobo at any ranch in the World of Balance."
Vicks nodded showing that he accepted the ticket as an acceptable bet. He too took a piece of paper from his pocket and layed it on the table saying, "This is a coupon for a free article of clothing at the South Figaro"
Setzer also nodded accepting Vick's bet. He asked for another card, he recieved the 5 of Lobo. The Lobo was worth negativeX4 points which meant that Setzer was now at 10. Setzer sat in shock, his gambling luck had finally left him, leaving him with what? Nothing. The only thing that could save Setzer right now would be the 10 of Chimera which was positiveX4 but he only had one of those in his deck, figuring that it would put him over the 50 limit to often.
Vicks, seeing his opponents discomfort asked, "Do you want a card?"
Setzer, not trusting his voice only nodded. Vicks took the top card and slowly slid it towards Setzer. Setzer reached out a trembling hand and slowly turned the card over. The first thing he saw was the 10 in the top, the next thing was the multi-headed animal commonly called the Chimera.
Vicks did not know that Setzer had just picked the winning card. He took Setzer's trembling as a sign that he was distressed. Vicks said, "I call." saying the customary phrase for asking that both hands be tallied.
Setzer nodded and motioned for Vicks to show his hand first. Smiling Vicks laid his hand of monsters down and said triumphantly "45".
Setzer shook his head in amazement and laid his hand down saying, "50!"
Vicks stared at the hand for a moment and then shook his head in amazement and said, "Man you are the luckiest Son-of-a-chocobo that I've ever met." Vicks seemed unfazed about losing a small fortune to Setzer which prompted Setzer to ask why.
Vicks just shook his head and said, "Let's just say that I'm getting a bonus pretty soon."
Setzer nodded, not wanting to push the soldier, and bid his farewell. As he walked through the street he shook his new winnings in his coat pocket, he felt that the pocket was getting worn and he realized that since he had that coupon from Vicks that he might as well get a new one.
Setzer trotted into tailor, looking for a coat like he owned. As he browsed, the shopkeeper strolled up to him and asked if he could help. Setzer nodded and said, "I need a coat like the one I'm wearing."
The shopkeeper shook his head and said, "That coat is not you, you need something brown. Maybe this one."
The shopkeeper held up a long brown coat. Setzer felt the material and nodded. He took it and gave the shopkeeper his coupon. As he walked out he thought he saw a flash of green out of the corner of his eye, but as he turned he could not see anything.
Setzer figured that he would head to the Castle Figaro and take it across the mountains. He had heard of an opera house that had an amazing singer named Maria. As he began to leave the town he felt a hand on his shoulder. Diving to the ground and feeling for his Blade-Cards Setzer suddenly felt himself grabbed by two strong calloused hands.
A voice said, "Hold on there we just want to ask you some questions."
Setzer said, "Who are you?"
The young man straightened up proudly and said, "I am Commander Leo of the Imperial Army and I have come to take you to Cid."
Setzer stared at the young man and said, "Cid wants me? Well I guess he did help me... Sure when do we leave?"
Soon Setzer and Leo were on a Barge heading for Tzen and then the Imperial Center. As they arrived Cid met Setzer in the Magitek Research lab office. Cid motioned for Setzer to sit at a chair. Cid said, "Setzer I have called you here for a very important reason."
Setzer could hear the seriousness in Cid's voice, he leaned forward and said, "What is it?"
Cid asked, "You remember Cecil correct?"
Setzer nodded and replied, 'Yeah, how can I forget it? It left me with this," He said pointing to his scar.
Cid said, "Ah yes, well you remember the airship of course? Yes, well the Emperor has built a new and better version and wants someone who will fly it for him."
Setzer's eyes widened until they seemed to take up his entire face. He stuttered for while and finally managed to say, "Me? Why would the Emperor want a jinx like me to fly his airship."
Cid sighed and put his hand over his eyes, "Setzer you are only a jinx because people told you you were."
Setzer shook his head and replied, "But what about my skill in gambling? People told me I wasn't good at that either."
Cid looked at Setzer and said, "So they did, but did you listen to them?"
Setzer looked at Cid with realization in his eyes, "No, I didn't. Because I loved it so much I didn't listen to them."
Cid spread his hands, "There you go. You can do anything you set your mind to. So what do you say about being the first person to fly an airship?"
Setzer smiled and said, "Let's do it."
The next day Setzer walked into Cid's office ready to start his training. What he was going to be doing he didn't know. He just hoped that he didn't screw up. Cid walked in and sat down in a chair across from Setzer. He said in an excited voice, "Setzer today we are going to show you your ship."
Setzer gasped, "You mean it's already been built?"
Cid nodded and smiled, "Yes it only needs a pilot. Are you ready?"
Setzer just nodded.
The two walked to a small unimpreive steel door. Cid opened it and two entered a hanger. Setzer gazed in awe at the site that awaited him. It was even more beautiful than the first airship. With long black sleek lines, a pointed bow, and propellers on either side. Setzer was only able to star for long moments at the airship. It was after a minute that he realized that Cid was talking to him.
"It's powered by Magitek, which means that it will never have to refuel. We've put a few extra touches in since yesterday after we realized you were going to be piloting it. Why don't we take a look?"
The two walked in trough the bottom hatch and Cid proceeded to show Setzer the on-board Casino that had been added just for him. Setzer was beginning to think that working for the Empire wouldn't be so bad. At the end of the tour Cid showed Setzer two men that would work for him. Cid said, "On the left we have Daniel who has been infused with cure magic. He will help you if you ever become injured."
"Hold it a sec," said Setzer, "What do you mean injured?"
"Oh. It's nothing," replied Cid vaguely, "And on your right is Tim who will be in charge of supplies."
Setzer nodded towards the two and turned to Cid, "So when do I get to fly this baby?"
Cid seemed surprised and said, "Well, not until you are tested and,"
Setzer interrupted, "Blast testing where are the controls?"
Cid reluctantly showed Setzer the controls on the upper deck. Setzer was excited that he would get to fly the ship from the outside. After Cid had shown him what controls did what Setzer did something that would be considered by most people to be absolutely crazy, he start the ship.
Cid grabbed a railing as the ship revved up and the blimp began to inflate, he yelled, "Just what do you think your doing!?"
Setzer laughed and said, "Well you said I could do anything I set my mind to! Is this any different!"
Cid balked for a second than smiled, "I didn't quite mean it like this."
Setzer laughed again and said, "Well lets see what this baby can do." With those words Setzer pushed the throttle to full and held on.
Emperor Gestahl was sitting on a balcony of the Imperial Palace drinking a hot beverage when the ground started to shake. Barely keeping his cup upright he bellowed, "Kefka!!!!!"
Kefka, struggling to keep his footing, lurched up to the Emperor, for the first time not giggling, and said, "Is there a problem Emperor?"
Gestahl shouted, "Of course there is a problem! What is this rumbling!?"
Before Kefka could even start to answer there was a tremendous whoosh and a black shape flashed by Gestahl causing him to spill his beverage everywhere. Looking up he saw HIS airship flying above him.
Setzer was in his element, as he put the Airship through yet another highrisk maneuver he reveled in the feeling of the wind blowing through his long white hair. He turned to Cid who was slightly green and asked, "So do you think I qualify as a pilot?"
Cid could only nod, he was struggling to keep his lunch down, and almost fell out of the Airship as Setzer put it through a series of corkscrews. Before anything could go wrong he shouted, "Setzer I think we should land."
Setzer shrugged and said, "Whatever you say."
As the Airship made a perfect landing in the hanger, Cid noticed Gestahl standing by the door, soaked.
When Setzer exited the Airship Gestahl stalked up to him and shouted, "Who do you think you are! Using MY Airship for some sort of joy ride?"
Setzer looked the man up and down and responded, "Well for one thing it's MY Airship and for another who's business is yours telling me what to do."
As Gestahl balked, Cid walked up to Setzer and whispered in his ear, "Um Setzer? It is his Airship, because he's the Emperor."
Setzer turned even whiter than usual and started stammering an apology. Before he got far Gestahl stopped him and said, "Do not worry, I need someone like you who won't scurry everytime I move. And anyway, your the only one who can fly an Airship like that. And since I'm feeling generous I even let you name it. So what will it be?"
Setzer was stunned. He struggled in his head for a suitable name. He fumbled in his pocket and felt his Blade-Cards touch his hand. Suddenly struck with an idea he looked at the emperor and said, "Blackjack"
Gestahl looked at the ship and said, "Blackjack it is. So, would you like to join me and pilot my Airship captain?"
Setzer smiled and looked at the Airship. Turning back to the Emperor he said, "Welcome aboard sir. My life is a chip in your pile."