Tseng’s Prophecy, Revenge
The airship, the mark III Highwind, flew through the air fast, the few people who had been injured in the battle were now being healed by Materia and modern medicine. The previous events had made the troupe of heroes who had saved the world so many times tired, especially the mercenary Turk known as Tseng. He had been treated for burns and other injuries, but was now on the flight deck with Aeris Gainsborough.
"You think he’s still out there?" asked Aeris.
"Who?" Tseng asked, looking down into her emerald eyes, so full of innocence.
"Greg," said Aeris. "Sephiroth’s son."
Tseng raised his eyebrows and looked out over the blue skies. "I prefer not to think about that," said Tseng. "The scoop on him is he had worked for Reeve for years…with interest in Gast and Hojo’s work projects on Sephiroth and Jenova…and then when he’d heard about you…he snapped."
"So he really didn’t like me for my part in bringing him down?" Aeris asked.
Tseng shrugged. "I guess not," he said.
"What about Kyle?" Aeris pressed on.
"He’s just one of Reeve’s old friends and security guards," said Tseng. "But Kyle is staying with us. He says wherever Reeve goes, that he’s gonna go. As long as Greg is still out there."
Aeris shook her head. "How could Greg hate us so much?"
"I’m not sure," said Tseng. "But I’m not gonna let him lay a finger on you," he said, pecking her cheek.
Aeris smiled faintly. "I know."
Midgar City was not the best place to be at the moment. Greg pounded through the doors into Reeve’s office, his Massumune Blade in hand. Reeve was nowhere to be seen. Despite his wounds, Greg had a battle determination.
"Who are you?" came a voice behind him, and he turned to see two people; a woman dressed in red and a man in a green general’s uniform.
"Shut up," snarled Greg.
"I’m Scarlet, and this is Heidegger, of Shinra Incorporated…" she looked him up and down. "What are you doing?"
Greg stepped forward. "I’m going to kill Reeve. Where do I find him?"
Scarlet seemed amused. "I don’t know…" she said and traced her finger down Greg’s bloody and torn chest. "But we have something in common…with Reeve out of the way, we are in charge," she said smoothly to him.
"If you find Reeve for me, I will kill him," Greg said. "And in return, you will run Shinra."
Scarlet grinned and Heidegger did likewise. "Deal."
Kyle Fox stepped out of the airship and into the small town of Kalm. Kyle hadn’t been here since he had left when he was a child, to go to the big city and become a soldier for Shinra Incorporated, the biggest company in the Planet.
"Hey, you," came a firm voice, and Kyle turned to see a man striding towards the airship as the others came strolling down. "Who’re you? We don’t appreciate Shinra dogs here," he said.
Kyle sighed. "I am a Soldier, true," he said. "But I’ve hardly considered my work as ‘working for Shinra’. Besides, I grew up here," he said.
The man softened. "Really?" he asked. "So did I. In that case, glad to meet ya. I’m Shaun Rolan," he said, pumping Kyle’s hand. "What can I do for you…?" he said, shaking his head slightly to get Kyle the idea he wanted his name.
"Kyle," he said. "Kyle Fox. I’d like some hotel reservations, for my group," he said.
"Sure thing," said Shaun. "I’ll get that for you right away."
Tseng sighed and leaned back on the stool in the bar. Sitting with him, was Rude, Elena and Reno. Aeris had gone to bed for the night, and Kyle had gone off to reunite with some of his fellow townsmen. That Shaun guy seemed nice enough, thought Tseng as he turned back to the bar. Cloud and Tifa had gone back to their room, leaving Barret Wallace, Yuffie Kisargi, Red XIII and Reeve had also gone to sleep.
"Ah…" said Reno. "I could probably get used to this."
Rude grunted. "Only prob’ is, is that our leader has turned into a mushy guy over the girl he grew up with," he said.
"Shut up," Elena said.
Tseng sighed. "Rude," he said. "If you’ve got a problem with my relationship Aeris…you can stuff it," he said quietly.
"Yeah," Reno chuckled.
"Kalm, eh?" asked Scarlet as the helicopter moved forward, Greg wearing the clothes that had been Sephiroth’s trade mark. He hadn’t shaved, and he had growing silver hair. "Well, we’d better arrange a Shinra Strike Force to go in with you."
Greg simply nodded. "Good," he said. "Not too many. I would like the joy of killing some of them by myself," he said.
"As you wish," Scarlet said and barked orders into the small cellular phone.
Tseng looked up at the sounds of rotor blades cutting through the air.
"Greg," hissed Elena.
Tseng was up like a shot. Cid barged into the room, his pike in hand, as Vincent followed with his shotgun. Everyone had their weapons out. "The Shinra are comin’ at us like crazy," Cid stated. "We’ll get out an’ hold ‘em off. You get the others."
"Reno, with me. Rude, Elena; you two with the others," Tseng ordered as
he ran up the stairs.
"What’s going on?" asked Cloud as he and Tifa came up behind Kyle.
"We’re goin’ to the airship. Shinra’s here."
Gunfire sprayed the hall and they shouted in dismay, Cloud taking Tifa to a door at the other side of the corridor while Kyle ducked back into his room. A Shinra Attack Squad was there, when Reeve appeared beside Kyle. "What the hell are they doing?" Reeve shouted.
Gunfire sprayed the corridor again as Kyle fired several shots back.
"Uh oh…" Red said.
Tseng cocked his gun. "Stay here. Reno, Rude, Elena?"
They nodded and they ran back to the hotel as Cid and his crew prepared the ship for liftoff. Tseng body checked the door down and hit the ground in a combat roll, coming up and shooting the two soldiers at the bar in the chest. They crumpled to the ground and Tseng did a quick sweep of the area.
Gunfire came from upstairs.
"There," said Tseng as he moved to the foot of the stairs…
…and saw a Squad of Shinra Soldiers hiding there, firing down a darkened hallway. "Rude?" Tseng whispered, and the bald man came up, shotgun in hand, his sunglasses put perfectly over his eyes, and looked like a terminator. He leveled his gun at the squad and fired, shortly followed by blasts from Reno’s, Elena’s and Tseng’s guns.
"Holy shit!" shouted one of the soldiers.
"They’re attacking from behind—" another started before Tseng popped him in the head. He started up the stairs, taking them two at a time, firing as the others stopped so they wouldn’t hit him. They reached the top as Kyle, Cloud and Tifa came around the corner.
"Come on," said Tseng. "We gotta get outta here."
"Not so fast," said a voice from the foot of the stairs, and they turned to see Greg standing there, the Massumune Blade clutched in both hands. "I have a score to settle with two of you, I believe…" he said, in the smooth voice of his father, Sephiroth.
"Yeah, right," said Rude. He, Elena, and Reno leveled their guns.
"Not this time," said Greg and clutched a black ball in his hand. Blue rings of energy surrounded the three Turks and Tifa, lifting them into the air. "You won’t interfere. You may survive if these two infidels succeed," Greg continued, looking at Tseng and Cloud.
Tseng cocked his pistol. "You stay back, Cloud," he said. "I’ll take the first round."
Greg shouted a war cry and hurled the sword up the stairs. Cloud and the others had managed to get out of the way, and Tseng leapt into the air, executing a perfect forward flip. He landed his heel on Greg’s face and both the warriors tumbled down the rest of the way.
"Uhn…" Greg muttered, kicking Tseng’s feet out from under him. "You failed to kill me," he said, standing and pulling a dagger. "I won’t give you the chance to make that mistake again," he said, plunging the dagger towards Tseng’s throat…
Tseng closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable pain to strike his throat as the dagger would plunge through his neck. "Bastard!" a female voice shouted and Greg was hit from behind, the dagger’s course diverted into the floor beside Tseng’s neck as Aeris Gainsborough hit Greg from behind and took him to the ground. She took out her rod.
"Aeris…no!" Tseng cried.
"Foolish girl," said Greg, raising his foot and kicking at her. Aeris nimbly stepped back as Tseng clambered to his feet, grabbing his pistol from the floor and aiming the muzzle at Greg. "No you don’t," said Greg, and moved his hands lightning quick and a bolt of electricity sparked from his index finger and blew the gun apart in Tseng’s hand.
"Agh!" cried Tseng as he sank to his knees, clutching his bleeding hand, a piece of shrapnel sticking from his wrist. Greg laughed like the maniac he was, and didn’t see Aeris plunge her rod into his stomach. He buckled and received her foot in the face and he flew back, blood flying from his nose and ears as he hit the ground.
"Fool yourself," Aeris said and turned to Tseng. "You okay?" she asked, her voice taking on a concerned edge as she looked at him.
"Bitch," said Greg as he hit her, knocking her to the side. Tseng was on his feet in an instant and running at Greg, but there was something he hadn’t guessed…Greg threw out the Massumune and pointed it at Tseng. It rammed right through the bone of Tseng’s shoulder and rammed into the wall behind him, pinning him effectively. "Ha!" cried Greg.
"Tseng!" Aeris exclaimed, picking her rod up off the floor and slamming it with all her might into Greg’s face. His nose broke with a wet snap and he turned, bringing out his dagger.
Tseng gripped the sword and tried to pull it out, but it was no use. Aeris was trapped.
"Prepare to die," Greg said.
"Greg!" Cloud shouted as he came into the room, arcing his arm back and hurling his Ultima Weapon across the room. Greg turned and caught it in midair, but Cloud had provided the distraction needed for Aeris to run over to Tseng and pull the sword from his shoulder.
"Cloud Strife…you murdered my father…" hissed Greg.
"You’re father murdered hundreds of innocents when he burned Nibelheim," Cloud said, picking up his Ultima Weapon as Greg grabbed his Massumune. "Release my friends and let us go."
Kyle squirmed against the laser bonds. "Hey! Greg, you sonuvabitch! Why don’t you take me on?" he shouted.
"Yeah!" Tifa called. "Me, too!"
Greg was momentarily distracted.
Tseng hit him from behind, hurting his shoulder, but distracting him enough for Cloud to cut the others’ bonds. "Come on, let’s get outta here!" said Tseng as Aeris and Kyle helped him up. "They’re burning the place down!"
They exited as fire engulfed the room.
Greg stepped out of the flames and watched them leave.
Cid nodded to Jerry and the ship lifted off as the others boarded. Reno, Elena and Rude were there as well. Kyle Fox went up to Cid, who was looking back down at the village of Kalm. "It’s being burned," Cid said sadly.
"I know," said Kyle. "Rolan was there."
Cid nodded. "Sorry to hear it," he said. "We’ll get him Kyle. Don’t worry," he said, patting him on the shoulder and walking off, leaving Kyle alone.
Kyle uttered a silent prayer for Shaun Rolan and the other inhabitants of Kalm.
"Kyle?" asked Reeve as he stepped up, free of his laser bonds. "You all right?"
Kyle turned. "Yeah," he said, stepping away from the window. "Everything’s fine."
"You failed miserably," Greg said, standing before Heidegger, Scarlet and the other man, Palmer. "You promised me they wouldn’t escape, and they did."
"It won’t happen again," said Palmer.
"Shut up," said Greg. "You fat bastard…just shut up."
Palmer raised a brow. "I have a quick and easy way to dispose of them…right now," he said. "Oh, no, we’re not through yet," he said, dumping some lard into his coffee and taking a long slurp. "You see," he said. "We have their course setting…and they’re going straight to Bone City…which we can bomb easily."
"Out of the question," said Greg. "I want the joy of killing Gainsborough, Strife and that impudent Tseng myself…" he said.
Palmer shrugged. "Fine, then," he said. "But if things get out of hand…just let us know and we’ll have the city bombed."
"Fine. Reeve will be killed."
"How’re you doing?" asked Tseng, his shoulder healed by Restore Materia as he came into the room he shared now with Aeris Gainsborough, who was sitting on the bed.
"Fine, thanks," she said.
Tseng sat next to her. "We’re coming up on Bone City," he said. "We’ll be safe there for a while."
"I don’t know," Aeris turned her emerald eyes to him.
Tseng sighed. "We’ll be safe there for a while. I know a guy there, named Jason," he said. "If there’s anybody who knows how to scramble a trail, its Jason."
"I hope so," said Aeris, leaning her head on Tseng’s shoulder.
Tseng tilted her head up. "Hey," he said. "I’m here. There’s no way that Greg is gonna lay a finger on you. Because if he does, I’ll kill him."
Aeris smiled. "Nice to know," she said and raised her lips to his.
Palmer looked over the technician’s monitor as the airship flew through the air, following the signal coming from the renegades’ ship. "We’ll be on them as soon as they touch down," said Palmer, turning to Heidegger, Scarlet and Greg.
"Good," said Greg.
Scarlet turned to him. "You’ll kill Reeve."
"Yes," Greg said plainly.
"Do you think…" she said. "That you could take Reno alive?" she asked, a slight purpose underlying her tone.
Greg looked at her angrily for a second, then nodded. "As long as I take the joy of killing the others," he said: "you will have Reno of the Turks."
"Tseng!" said Jason Thull, walking up to his friend and embracing him. "What brings a man of your stature to a place like Bone City? This is a worker’s domain," he said, motioning to all the construction work going on around the small town of Bone City.
"Shinra Incorporated," Tseng said as Aeris and the others stepped out.
Jason stepped back. "Shinra?" he asked, as if he couldn’t believe the words. "Last I heard, buddy, you were working for Shinra," he said.
"Change of loyalty and plans," said Tseng, like the Turk he had been. "I’m not going to work for a company of Shinra’s standards ever again. How’s it going, Jason?" he asked, changing the topic smoothly as he pulled off his sunglasses. The others were mulling around.
Jason shrugged. "With my skills," he said. "A company hired me to build ‘em an outta the way lab…but they went outta business, so me and the guys decided to make our own town, fend for ourselves. We’ve been attacked by various groups, but we’ve fended for ourselves pretty well," he said. "Who’re your friends? They look familiar," he said.
"They were here for the Lunar Harp once," said Tseng.
"Oh yeah," said Jason. "Yeah. The spiky-haired guy I remember…but there’s a lot more of ‘em now. Can I get you something to eat?" he asked, motioning to a half constructed house.
"What’s the dish?" asked Tseng.
"Grilled bear, with a glass of ale," said Jason with a grin. "I told you; we’re basically barbarians, now," he said.
Tseng glanced at the others and nodded. "I’m not afraid to try new things. But…there’s a reason we’re here," he said. "We need you to throw Shinra off our trail, because—" he was cut off as an alarm sounded throughout the city. "What’s that?" Tseng asked.
"The air raid alarm," Jason said.
The Shinra soldiers piled out of the various airships which were touching down in and around Bone City. They rushed forward as bombs were dropped, raining fire across the place. The flames danced up into the night, licking the blue-black skies far above. One of the soldiers, Syd Irrit, stopped as he came face to face with another soldier. One he knew. "Kyle?" he asked.
"Irrit," said Kyle.
"What’re you doing here?" asked Irrit.
Kyle hefted a battle axe. "Change of loyalty." Before Irrit could lift his gun, Kyle chopped the battle axe down on Irrit’s skull, killing the soldier instantly. Kyle ran forward, the axe in hand, and attacked various Shinra Soldiers.
"Dammit," Jason Thull said. "What’re they doing here?" he asked.
"I was about to tell you," Tseng said, firing a few bursts from his custom magnum .48. "Shinra is trying to kill us. Sephiroth’s son is running the show," he said.
Jason raised his brow. "Sephiroth’s son?" he asked stupidly.
"Yeah," Tseng said, picking off two soldiers. "Anyhow. So you can see, this produces a problem," he said. "I gotta get to Aeris. Can you handle yourself?" he asked.
Jason hefted a sword, similar to Cloud’s old Buster Sword. "Yeah."
"Here," said Tseng, coming up behind her and startling her. "C’mon. We got a minute an’ forty before the end of the world," he joked and shot a man coming at them. "We’d better get to the airship. We have to round up as many of Bone City’s defenders as possible."
"Not so fast, uh-uhn," came a voice behind them, and they whirled to
see Greg standing there, flames dancing around him. "Not this time,
Tseng," he said. "This time, you won’t walk away like you have in the
past. This time, you die," he said.
Tseng was surprised when the Massumune clattered to the ground beside Greg and more surprised when the bloody tip of a sword protruded from his stomach. Greg let out a gurble of a scream and sank to his knees, revealing Jason there.
"Come on," said Jason. "That ain’t gonna put him down for long."
Greg clutched the restore materia as they ran past him.
Greg stood up, grunting as he wiped the blood away. They were running, all towards the airship. He pulled out a small PHS Phone. "Scarlet?" he asked, as he stepped back onto the command Airship. "Bomb this place to the ground.
"Cid, get us outta here!" Cloud shouted as the others finally loaded in. "They’re gonna bomb this place to the stone age if we don’t move out really fast, right now!" he said.
Cid turned to Jerry. "Take off," he said.
Jerry gunned the engines and the airship shuddered, lifting off the ground. The others were all on the Flight Deck, looking down at the half completed Bone City as bombs flew down from the air and smacked into the ground, blowing the establishments to pieces.
"No…" whispered Jason.
Tseng put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. "Sorry…" he said. "It was my fault…if I hadn’t come…"
"It’s okay," said Jason, his shoulders sagging. He smiled faintly. "That life was getting a little boring for me, anyway."
Kyle only understood to much.
"Well," said Rude a few minutes later when he, Elena, Reno, Tseng, Jason and Kyle were sitting at the airship’s small bar. "That was interesting," he continued, polishing his shotgun. "A bad loss, however," he said.
Elena glared at him. "A bad loss," she said. "You call the destruction of an entire city…no, two entire cities a bad loss?" she said. "As if it wasn’t enough when Meteor hit Midgar, but now Kalm and Bone City are destroyed?"
"Don’t be so weak, Elena," Rude hissed.
Elena reared her hand back, but Reno grabbed it in mid air. "Let’s have none of that," he said softly, immediately calming her down. He turned to Rude. "My mother used to say: ‘If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing’," he said.
"Sorry," Rude mocked, but Reno could tell he wasn’t.
Tseng gulped down another glass of beer and looked at Reno with a nod of approval. "Thank you, Reno," he said and turned his cold gaze to Rude and Elena. "You two just get along for one evening? We’re having a really rough day," he said, looking at Kyle and Jason, who had each lost their homes.
"I’ll try," Elena said, casting a sideways glance at Rude.
Rude simply nodded. "Sure," he said, and guzzled back another shot of beer.
"All gone…" said Jason blindly, lost in a drunken stupor. Tseng was going to have to help the man back to his room. "All of it…seven years of hard work…all gone," he continued, guzzling his beer. He hadn’t shaved and stubble was growing over his face. "Friends dead…closest thing I had to family…" he continued.
Don’t get involved, Tseng. You’ll just make him even more emotional then he’s already getting. Talk to Kyle, the voice in his head told him and Tseng looked at Kyle, who was staring morosely at his first beer, which he hadn’t touched. "You okay, Kyle?" he asked the young former-Shinra Soldier.
"Yeah," Kyle said, shooting a hand out and grabbing the beer, taking a long gulp. He wiped the foam from his upper lip and fought back a grimace in the presence of the ever-so-tough Turks. "I’m fine," he said with a lazy smile.
Tseng nodded appreciatively. "Just asking," he said. This kid is good. Anyone could tell he is completely cracked over his home being blown up, but he won’t admit it…tough guy, thought Tseng. "Maybe I’d better head back," he said to himself.
"Have we got a destination in mind yet?" asked Rude.
Tseng shrugged, standing up a little shakily and taking Jason by the shoulder. "Come on," he said. "Let’s get you back, okay?" he asked.
"Sure…" Jason said.
Aeris sighed, sitting up in bed as Tseng opened the door and stepped inside, peeling off his jacket. "Man," he said as Aeris stood and walked over to him. "That was a bad day," he said, turning to Aeris and taking her shoulders in his hands gently. "I’ve still got you, though, right?" he asked, kissing her gingerly.
"Right," said Aeris.
"We should get some sleep."
"Why’d we land here, of all places?" Tseng asked, early in the next morning. He had The Hangover From Hell and was feeling like shit, but couldn’t believe why Cid had asked to put down here, at Cosmo Canyon. There was no strategic importance of the place. They could have at least gone to Fort Condor.
Red XIII growled. "Because I need to speak with some people," he said sternly.
Tseng nodded, understanding. "Good point," he said groggily, although he personally didn’t understand a damned thing.
"Just go with it, Tseng," Reno said in a hushed voice, but it was useless, since Red heard every word.
"Hmm," Red said and lay his head down on his paws.
Reno grimaced. "Sorry," he said.
"Let’s just land this sucker," Cid said from the pilot’s station where he was giving the orders to Jerry to land the Mark III Airship. "Right. Putting down in three minutes," he said. "They’re expecting us for some odd reason…" he said.
Red nodded. "I contacted them last night, telling them I needed to speak with Grandfather’s successor, Nyfel," he said.
"Nyfel?" asked Reno stupidly.
Red nodded. "Nyfel worked with Grandfather at the observatory for several years, as his successor," he said. "Nyfel is the best friend I’ve ever had, before Hojo took me to Shinra Project Headquarters in Midgar City, where I met you people."
"Hmm," Cid said, lighting a cigarette. "Just make sure he’s trustworthy.
"Nyfel is the most trustworthy person I know of, aside from you people," Red replied.
Tseng sighed, adjusting his pistol in its holster. "C’mon," he said to Reno. "Let’s get down to the landing bay."
"Yeah," Reno said and the two of them turned and strode down towards the bay.
Suddenly, the ship rocked incredibly hard. "What the—" Reno started.
"Greg," hissed Tseng.
The two Turks turned and ran back to the main cockpit area where Cid was leaning over Jerry’s flight chair. "What’s happening?" Tseng asked hurriedly.
"Shinra has developed some of those old F-22’s, two-man fighters," said Cid, pressing several keys on the keyboard. "I’ve got two one-man fighters up and ready in the hangar bays. Tseng, you’re a qualified pilot?" he asked.
"Good. You and I are going out there. Reno, can you keep this ship under tabs for me?" Cid asked as the two of them left the bridge. Reno pulled a hand through his red hair and striding up to Jerry’s console as the others came onto the bridge.
Reno looked out the viewport at the fighters, firing machine gun blasts and missiles, which Jerry was expertly ducking. "Can you keep this up for long?" Reno asked, watching the pilot’s fingers dance over the keyboards to keep the airship from being hit.
Cid blasted out of the small hangar bay, the mask fitting over the lower portion of his face. "Tseng, you with me?" he asked curtly as he cut hard right.
"Yeah," Tseng’s voice crackled over the speaker.
Cid nodded to no one in particular. "Good," he said. "Stay on my wing. We’ll engage ‘em now," he said and came in behind one of the fighters.
Jack "Wolfhound" Deegan looked back over his shoulder, the man in the backseat reported two fighters dispatching from the airship they had been told to attack. The Shinra Airships were flying towards Cosmo Canyon, getting ready to blow it to pieces. "Damn," muttered Wolfhound as he tried to shake the fighter. "This guy’s good."
"Locking on…" Cid said, watching the red target center on the fighter and glow green. "Firing!" he said and let loose a missile which blew the fighter to pieces. "Okay, Tseng. Split up. We’re gonna have to stop ‘em…" he said and noticed the fleet of airships flying towards Cosmo Canyon. "Oh, shit. Jerry, activate the ship’s guns. The airships are gonna try and bomb Cosmo Canyon."
"Copy," said Jerry and the Mark III Highwind opened fire.
"Scratch one," Tseng reported.
"Remaining bogies are bugging out already?" Cid asked as the signals on his rapidly altered their course and started running away. "Huh," Cid stated. "Okay, Tseng. Let’s go on some strafing runs on those airships," he said.
"Right with you, Cid," Tseng replied and the two of them punched in the afterburners. "I’ve got one of ‘em. I’m starting a missile run," he said and a bright flash caused Cid to look back to see one of the airships tumble to the ground in pieces. "I only fired one missile," Tseng said quietly.
"Somethin’ ain’t right," Cid said and turned on his scanners. "Shit! I knew it! These are decoys! They’ve got ground troops moving in!" he switched comm channels. "Jerry, evacuate Cosmo Canyon, otherwise a full out war is gonna begin."
Greg watched the progress on a monitor as he sat back in Midgar City. He had anticipated these methods, and that was why he had not gone. Palmer had organized the entire mission, but Highwind and Tseng were not as dumb as they were played out to be.
"Damn," he muttered, turning to Heidegger. "How’s Project R coming?" he asked.
Heidegger grinned. "Just fine," he said. "Care to look?" he said, opening a tube, revealing a human man inside. "Without Restore Materia, it is difficult," he said. "But it will be fine."
The body of Rufus lay inside the tube.
"Shit," muttered Tseng as explosions started to wrack Cosmo Canyon. Luckily, everyone had been evacuated, but years of work had been lost when the Observatory had been destroyed on the first wave of the attack. Luckily, Nyfel had managed to download most of Bugenhagen’s data onto a disc, so they could review it. "Let’s get outta here. Tseng, back to the Highwind," he said.
"Copy," Tseng replied.
"They’re taking out wherever we go," Tseng said quietly.
"We have to strike," Aeris said.
Tseng looked at her with a gentle smile. "You’ve never acted out like this," he said. "But I agree. We have to stop Greg before he can kill anyone else, and destroy anymore cities like Cosmo Canyon, Bone City and Kalm," he said.
Red was staring at the rapidly burning city. "Home…" he whispered.
"We’ll get ‘em, Red," Tifa said quietly, scratching the scruff of his neck as tears came to Red’s eyes.
Now, more had paid the price of Vengeance from Greg.
Nyfel was at the computer, his fingers dancing over the keyboards as he brought up hundreds of years worth of data. He raised a hand and pushed his wire rimmed glasses back on his forehead as he typed, the citizens of the destroyed cities had built up homes in the Mark III Highwind, and Nyfel had been working for a long time.
"Nyfel," came a voice behind him, and he turned to see Red XIII padding into the room, looking tired and defeated. "It is good to see someone I’ve known for a long time," Red said, sitting down beside him as Nyfel scratched the scruff of his neck.
Nyfel smiled. "You have no idea," he said, and pulled the gun in his pocket. Before Red said anything, the silenced shot rang out in the small computer room.
"Anyone seen Red?" Rude asked as he stepped onto the bridge, where Cid was standing with Jerry reviewing some readouts. Tseng stepped up, agreeing silently with Rude’s testament. Red hadn’t been in good condition when they had last seen him.
Cid looked back. "No," he said, and then his eyes widened.
Tseng turned to see why.
"Nobody move," Nyfel said, a pistol in his hand. The pistol was pointed at the head of a wide eyed Aeris Gainsborough, tears streaking her face. Tseng felt as if the emotional skeleton had been ripped free of his body and left a horrible pain. "Or the girl gets it," Nyfel finished.
"What the hell…Nyfel?" asked Cid asked Rude drew his shotgun.
"Don’t do a thing," hissed Tseng. "Aeris, it’ll be okay."
"Shut up!" screamed Nyfel. He didn’t see the door open behind him, and Reno, Elena and Cloud stepping in. They froze at the scene and Reno slowly stepped forward. "I’ll kill her! Everyone down on the ground, now!" he shouted.
Reno slowly stepped forward, Cloud had his sword out and Elena had pulled some handcuffs.
"Please, don’t hurt her…" Tseng said.
"Then do as I say," he said and kicked something small to him. "It’s a transporter. Press the button and it will take you to where you shall go," he said. When Tseng hesitated to by Reno more time, Nyfel cocked the hammer back on the gun. "Do it!" shouted Nyfel and Tseng picked it up.
"Which button?" he asked, as Reno was five feet away now.
"The one on the top," he said.
"Now!" screamed Nyfel.
Tseng pressed the button.
"Cloud," came a voice behind him and Cloud whirled to receive a foot in the face. He turned into a backwards cartwheel and came onto his feet to duck a punch and dodge a kick. He braced his sword in front of him as Greg drew his and swung the Massumune, making Cloud’s body shudder as he hit the Ultima Weapon. Greg followed up with a left-right slash attack and kicked Cloud in the stomach, following up with an uppercut. Cloud landed hard, but backward rolled as Greg plunged his Massumune Blade into the dirt where Cloud had just been.
Cloud came to his feet and parried an attack by Greg and swung his massive Ultima Weapon down, but Greg got the Massumune up quick enough and deflected his blow. Cloud dodged a blow and swept his foot across the ground, but Greg jumped and avoided his foot. Cloud rolled to the side as Greg swung the sword and missed barely. Cloud came up and used the Ultima Weapon to block a rapid series of attacks by Greg, and Cloud twisted the sword in his hand and pressed an attack, using a rapid series of blows.
Cloud’s Ultima Weapon glowed and he lunged forward, flames barking out from his sword and he shouted a battle cry as he leapt forward and plunged the tremendous sword down. Greg brought the Massumune up but it snapped and clattered to the ground in pieces under the force of Cloud’s superstrong attack. Cloud jumped back a foot and watched as Greg scooped up the handle of his sword with his foot and kicked it at Cloud’s face.
Cloud raised a hand to block it and gave Greg the opening he needed. Greg lunged forward and batted the Ultima Weapon from Cloud’s hands and rammed into the warrior’s stomach, knocking both of them to the ground. Cloud flipped Greg off him and jumped to his feet and turned to receive a solid fist to the jaw. As he bent down, Greg rammed his knee up into Cloud’s face, knocking the ex-Soldier to the ground. Cloud rolled back and avoided Greg’s foot.
"Okay," said Greg. "I’ve had it." He put his hands together.
Sparks of lightning rang out from the roof of the arena and Cloud back flipped as the area where he had stood was scorched from the earth, burnt in a rapid succession of lightning blasts. Cloud landed with a soft thud as Greg stepped through the clouds and smoke and debris of his own man-made chaos. He pulled a small sword from a secondary sheath on his hip and assumed a defensive stance. Cloud swallowed.
"Die," Greg said and charged.
Cloud took a step forward and leapt, flipping through the air and bracing his hand on Greg’s head, flipping further and landing beside his Ultima Weapon. He turned to Greg, his anger rising at the way the other was fighting so ruthlessly. "You wanna use Materia?" Cloud mocked. "Fine," he said and momentarily sheathed his sword.
The ground around Greg started shaking, as black lightning formed a
cage around Greg. He touched it and black electricity shot along his
arm, making him jump back with a sharp scream of pain as a large
section of the earth under his feet tore away and drifted into the sky.
Greg was shouting obscenities as Cloud watched, the ceiling above
blowing apart. Cloud drew his Ultima Weapon and used it as a shield to
the falling debris. He waited until it was gone and Greg was only a
speck in the sky.
Greg let out a scream as a large jet of flame and electricity blew the
ground around him apart and tore through his black cloak and his skin.
He screamed as another wave blast him back towards the earth so far
Dammit, thought Greg.
"I’ll go," Tseng said. "Tend Cloud. He may be hurt," he said and hefted his pistol in one hand and stepped through the door and it closed behind him. He heard the click as the lock shifted into place. Cloud let him live, but for threatening Aeris, I won’t, thought Tseng as he looked around. Greg came up behind Cloud the second time around, so he’ll probably try to fool me using a similar tactic. So, I’ve just got to play along and get him how he least expects it.
Tseng swallowed and turned, then whirled and jumped back to avoid the kick Greg threw at him. Greg let out a curse as he realized Tseng had outsmarted him, and the latter landed to bring out his pistol, firing a shot immediately. Greg took it in the kneecap and fell to the ground, his broken Massumune clattering as he screamed in inexorable pain.
"Well, well," Tseng said. "After all Cloud’s hard work, one good gunshot is all that does it?" he said to Greg, who was looking angrily at him. "So, how does it feel to be on the receiving end, now, Greg?" he said. "Huh? How does it feel?"
"Weak," hissed Greg. "You can’t kill me."
Tseng sighed, standing. "No," he said. "I can’t. Killing you would be too food, but I can shoot you through the eyes, make sure you never see again. The shoulders, so you never use your arms again. The knee caps, so you never walk again," he said, loading the chambers of his pistol.
"No," Greg said.
"Oh, yes," said Tseng. "You know, Aeris changed me; I have something against killing and horrible injury, but she’s made an acception in your case. Just like your insane father, Sephiroth, you must be stopped. So yes, I am going to kill you. Spare you all the pain," he said, cocking the hammer back.
"Do it," hissed Greg.
"Okay," Tseng said.
A gunshot rang out, followed by a fleshy thump as the remains of Greg’s head hit the floor. He turned as the door opened and Cloud and Aeris ran out. Aeris hugged Tseng hard and Cloud stood behind her. "You did it," said Aeris.
"Good work," Cloud said.
"You did it too," said Tseng.
"Okay, freeze," said Nyfel, coming into the room, wielding a pistol, followed by guards. "You have killed the Lord, and now, you must be punished," he said with an insane grin. "We are taking on in his place. He has given a new control to Shinra…Palmer, Heidegger and Scarlet are in charge of Shinra."
"What about Reeve?" Cloud asked.
Nyfel grinned. "Reeve, is no longer a problem."
"You killed him?"
"No," Nyfel said. "The others want to have a little fun with him, first, but yes, I do think they will eventually kill him in the end of it all, yes," he said. "And they have your friend, Red XIII. Those two may be a considerable ransom."
Cloud brought up his Ultima Weapon. "Not this time," he said.
Tseng brought up his pistol and Aeris her rod. "Let’s kick some ass!" Tseng stated.
Aeris leapt forward and plunged her rod into the first guard’s stomach as Tseng opened fired with his .48 Pistol. Cloud let out a battle cry and charged forward, chopping down the enemies with his Ultima Weapon. The ultimate fight for these three warriors had begun.
"Any luck on their position?" Barret asked as he stepped onto the bridge.
"Who’s?" asked Cid, lighting a cigarette, and blowing a small plume of smoke into the air before looking at Barret. "Red and Reeve’s, or Aeris, Tseng and Cloud’s?" he asked.
"Any," Barret replied.
Cid shook his head. "Nada," he said. "Jerry’s working the sensors into overdrive, and the others have been trying the PHS, but there’s no sign that any of them are even alive," he said.
"Are you suggesting Cloud’s dead?" Tifa asked.
Cid smiled. "No, of course not. That little kid’s too tough for that," he said. "An’ so are the others. We’ll get ‘em back," he said.
"Why don’t we go to the source?" asked Reno, as he, Elena, Rude, Jason and Kyle stepped into the room, followed by the others, entered.
Cid looked confused as they all stood there. "Whaddya mean?" he asked, and Barret nodded to agree.
"You heard Greg," said Reno. "He said he had the help of Shinra. If anyone knows where Cloud, Tseng, Red, Reeve and Aeris are…it’ll be Palmer, Scarlet and Heidegger," he said, crossing his arms over his chest, looking proud.
Cid was still momentarily confused. "And where do we go to find them, Mr. Genius?" he asked mockingly.
Reno was about to speak, but Kyle Fox, the ex-Shinra Guard, spoke up. "Right back where it all started," he said. "Midgar City."
"Let’s go," said Cid. "Jerry, plot us a course."
Jerry nodded. "I’m already plotting us the fastest route. Shinra Landing Tower, Sir?" he asked smoothly.
"Yes," said Cid. "And bring out the Mega Engines. We’re gonna have to act fast. We’re gonna pay Gya-ha-ha, Cya-ha-ha and Lard-boy a little visit that they won’t forget," Cid said with a grin.
"To Shinra Incorporated HQ situated in Midgar City," Kyle said.
To Be Continued
Author’s Note: I enjoyed writing this one. What? You think just because that weirdo Greg is dead, that’s the end of it all? Oh-ho, you’ve got a LOT more coming. Tseng had a lot more problems in the future. Just so you know: Gya-ha-ha is Heidegger, Cya-ha-ha is Scarlet, and Lard-boy is(you guessed it) Palmer. I’ll be writing Part 3 soon!