Tseng’s Prophecy, Infiltration
The wind whipped hard in Midgar, despite the reasonably controlled atmosphere of the city. In the day, it was nice to be in the upper-class sectors so you could see the sun, so you could see it all as blue sky. Where as if you lived in lower class places, like Sector Seven and Sector Two, the plate above the sector didn’t allow you to see anything above the plate, plus there was much pollution down there.
Those people love their land too much, thought Scarlet as she turned, ruffling her blonde hair back away from her forehead as she spread a wrinkle out of her dress and sat at the desk that had formerly belonged to Ex-President Reeve of the Shinra Incorporated. With Greg’s death, that had closed their deal, and the probable only threat to Shinra. They had managed to capture Reeve and send out news that he was dead.
They’re so dumb if they buy it though, Scarlet thought as she sat up in her desk, pouring some two-thousand dollar champagne from the original President Shinra’s reserve into a glass and taking a sip. Such fine class these people lived in. And now its my turn, she thought with a grin as the door opened and the two people who she joint-ran the Shinra Corporation with stepped inside.
"Ah, Palmer; Heidegger, good to see you both," she said, putting her glass of champagne down. "Please, sit. Care for some champagne?" she said politely, suiting her role as the generous host quite well. Heidegger nodded greedily, but Palmer simply scooped a gross-looking pile of lard into a cup of coffee and drank it greedily. "A toast," said Scarlet, raising her glass. "To success," she said.
"To success," Palmer and Heidegger said and sipped from their drinks and Scarlet placed her cup down on the desk. She had been appointed supreme leader due to her better leadership capabilities. "Now," she said, looking at Palmer. "How is Project R coming along now?" she asked, referring to restoring President Rufus.
Palmer leaned back, interlacing his fingers over his expansive belly. "Well, with the gain of Nyfel, we are going to have several breakthrough’s in project speed soon enough," he said. "We’ll be getting it done in about two to three weeks?" he said, making it a rhetorical question.
Scarlet nodded. "Good," she said and turned to Heidegger. "And our strategic defense systems?" she asked.
"Top of the line," Heidegger said. "With all our plans, the system will be up and running in a month," he said proudly.
Scarlet leaned back in her chair, grinning. "Well; already Shinra Incorporated is gaining massively from our joint leadership skills," she said, standing and walking over to the window that had a view of Sector Seven. "And to think, this is where President Shinra stood and watched as he engineered the destruction of Sector Seven by collapsing the plate just one year ago today," she said.
"History in the making," Palmer said, guzzling more of his lard-coffee.
"Hmm," Scarlet said and turned back to the others. "And history we shall make, people," she said. "Heidegger, get some good people on the scans tonight, and the AA Guns. I have the feeling that Tseng’s…friends will be coming calling for us."
Heidegger grimaced. "Yes, I agree," he said.
"Good," Scarlet said. "Now let’s get to work. Come back when you’re done, though. There is much to discuss," she said, making herself out to be humble to her minions.
"Good day," said Heidegger.
"Good day," said Palmer.
The door shut and Scarlet turned to the window again, looking down at the Sector Seven plate. Speaking of history, let’s go check on Reeve and that dog, Red, she thought with a grin and turned, striding out of her office, immediately flanked by two guards.
"Reeve?" a voice asked through the small hole in the door to his prison cell, and the man in the muddy, bloody and torn blue suit looked up, his brown, usually combed hair a mess, his face lined with cuts and scars now.
"Yes," he said, his voice a hoarse croak.
"You got a visitor," the guard said and the door clicked open and in stepped a familiar red clad figure. The door closed behind her and the two guards stepped back a foot to give her some space to stand. She looked down at him.
"Hello, Reeve," she said.
Reeve had to keep from lunging to attack the woman, because he knew the two guards could beat the living crap out of him if need be. "Scarlet," he settled for. "What brings you to the lonely depths of the dungeons where the scum such as myself lurk?" he said in a mock-serious tone.
"You, actually," said Scarlet. "You see, Palmer, Heidegger and I are running the city quite well. We’ve finished the city re-construction projects ahead of schedule, and are moving ahead with some other projects for the good of the city and the company. Projects you never would have considered," she said.
Reeve snorted. "Probably because they’re insane."
"Not this time," Scarlet said with a chuckle. "Project R is coming along nicely, and our defense efforts against some…heroes are coming along quite nicely," she said.
"Project R?" Reeve queried.
Scarlet nodded. "Yes. But I’m afraid that its classified except for the top three execs…and that would be Palmer, Heidegger and I," she let out a little laugh. "Have fun rotting away in these cells for the rest of eternity with your dog friend," she said and left.
"I’m sorry, I should have never trusted Nyfel," said Red, licking the fur clean of the blood that had matted it the day before.
Reeve sighed. "It’s not your fault," he said, then remembered something. "Cait Sith!" he said.
"What about him? Or it?" Red XIII asked.
Reeve reached into his pocket. "Yes!" he cried, bringing out the remote control for Cait Sith. He brought it online. "Now, the question is…where in the ship are we? Let’s bring up the visual," he said and tapped a few keys. A small screen came to life and he rubbed his hands together. "In the storage closet, huh?" he muttered.
"We’ll be at Midgar in approximately two hours," Jerry said as he let his fingers dance over the keyboards of the Flight Control station. "Something just moved around in the lower decks of the ship," he said, his eyes narrowing at the stations. "It’s organic, but not organic at the same time, Sir," he said.
Cid Highwind puffed on his cigarette and looked over Jerry’s shoulder. "Huh," he said and grabbed his pike. "I’ll go check it out. Where are the others?" he asked.
"They’re sharpening their weapons," said Jerry with a lop sided grin.
"Good," said Cid. "Looks like we might need ‘em. I’m gonna go check
this out," he said.
"It’s me, Reeve," came Reeve’s voice, but it sounded strangely electronic. Cid kept his spear up as Cait Sith’s massive form stepped into the light. "I’m controlling Cait Sith again…for now. Red’s here with me."
"Cid?" asked Red.
Cid put his spear down. "Reeve…where are you guys?"
"We’re on the top level prison cells of the Shinra Building in Midgar City. Scarlet and the other two are up to something bad. Scarlet called it Project R, and she has Nyfel working on it."
Cid ground his teeth. "What about Tseng, Aeris and Cloud? Are they with you?" he asked.
"No," said Cait Sith in a depressed tone. "We don’t know what happened to them. We weren’t transported to the same place…but reports have been coming in that Greg is dead," he said, picking up a bit of cheerfulness.
"That’s something good," said Cid.
"So when are you gonna get us outta here?" Red asked.
Cid walked up the stairs with Cait Sith. "Hopefully tonight."
Tseng coughed and ducked back around the corner as bullets sprayed the area. Cloud held up his Ultima Weapon like a shield as the former Turk came out of his cover, firing his .48 Pistol at them, but it was like a needle against an elephant, because there were way to many of them for the three heroes.
"What do we do?" asked Aeris Gainsborough.
Tseng grimaced. "I don’t know," he said. "Cloud?"
"I’ve had enough of this," he said and put his hands together, uttering a silent spell. Tseng and Aeris backed up a step as a red light started to glow around the ex-Soldier.
As if by magic, which it was, clouds coursed across the sky, turning it to night. But then, the moon pierced through the one break in the cloud cover, revealing a lone horsemen on a cliff, holding a large battle sword in his hand, and he was dressed in the old fashioned god type of garb. Odin reared back and pointed his sword forward. On cue, the horse leapt off the cliff and Odin flew down, his cape billowing out behind him as he came in. He let out a battle cry and in the space of roughly five seconds, he connected a series of chops and swings and all the Shinra Soldiers fell to the ground in pieces, obviously dead.
Odin reared back and disappeared.
Cloud pulled his hands apart and looked at the devastation his Materia spell had caused. He drew his Ultima Weapon again. "Come on," he said, motioning to Aeris and Tseng.
They silently moved with him, still awestruck by the awesome power the warrior could muster when needed.
Scarlet sighed as she looked at Nyfel, tapping away on his keyboard like a mad man as the tube in front of him worked with the body of Rufus, motionless in the water. "Soon," said Scarlet. "We will have the key to unlocking all of the Shinra family’s secrets," she said with a chuckle. "You do know, Palmer, that the plan is to revive Rufus, get our information from him and A: Throw him out on the streets, or B: Kill him," she said, examining the chubby man carefully.
"But, this will be a breakthrough! The first non-materia resurrection," he said.
Scarlet held up her hand. "I will not hear it. Personally, I’m leaning towards option B, since if we threw him out into the streets, he might land in the wrong hands, say those imbeciles who always try to save the world?" she said.
"Scarlet," said Heidegger as he came in the door. "The AA Guns defense systems have been completed. We await our first test," he said.
Scarlet turned, a smile lighting up her features. "Good," she said. "How is re-building the small Turk organization coming along?" she asked smoothly.
"Pretty well," said Heidegger. "We have chosen a leader for them already. His name is Reese," he said. "We also have two others; Rock and Sela," he finished proudly.
Scarlet nodded her approval. "Good," she said. "Now, let’s get back to work, everyone. There is still more to be done."
Reese sighed, looking from Rock to Sela. Sela had silver hair, running down to the small of her back, and she had cold green eyes. She was sitting there, polishing a pistol, a classic Cougar Magnum .38 S&A Pistol, a good piece with an add-on, custom made laser targeting system. Sela kept it in prime condition. He preferred to use as little of the bullets as possible in any case.
Rock was different all around. He had blond hair, cut short into a military style. He had blue eyes, the classic model, yet he was one of the Turks. Rock sat there drinking a whisky and looking relaxed, while Sela looked rigid and at attention. "Well," Reese said. "We’ve got our first assignment on hand."
Rock looked amused while Sela leaned in, listening intently.
"Our mission is to destroy the ex-Turks: Elena, Rude, Reno and Tseng. If at all possible, it is also our mission to kill the so-called-heroes, who saved our planet.
"We will be waiting for them to come here, since we have two of their friends under custody. They are bound to come along to find them sooner or later."
Rock smiled. "And then we get our money," he said.
"Yes," Reese said. "Then we get our money."
"Let’s get prepared," Sela said.
"Approaching Midgar," Jerry reported. The entire team had managed to scrounge up Shinra Garbs, except for Barret and Cait Sith, who would be remaining onboard the ship, which would land just outside the city to avoid sensor detection by the Shinra Defense Systems. "Starting the landing cycle, approximately one click out."
"Good," Cid Highwind said as he put what was left of his cigarette into the ash tray next to him. He turned to the others. This was the first time he was leaving his trusty pike behind, but he had a machine gun, and according to Barret, it was a fine piece of artillery. The others were all equipped the same way. Yuffie and Tifa looked like an advertisement for a movie. Something like: Babes with a Vengeance, he thought with a grin. "Let’s get this show on the road, everybody," he said and pumped in clip. "Rock and roll."
Tseng opened the sewer plate and looked down into the green sludge running quickly below him. A sour stench assaulted his nostrils. "We gotta swim in this?" he asked, looking to Cloud who didn’t look any more pleased about it then the other two did.
"Yeah," Cloud said. "I’ll go first."
Before anyone could say anything, Cloud jumped through the manhole and splashed into the green sludge. He popped up and looked at them. "Let’s get outta this shit hole," he said and moved away from the manhole. Tseng looked at Aeris and shrugged, jumping in. Aeris sighed and slowly followed suit.
"This reeks," Aeris said as Tseng helped her up.
"I know," he said. "But we gotta go under, all right? So let’s do it," he said, holding his breath and pulling Aeris with him as they ducked into the green sewage, letting it ooze all over them as they kicked through it.
Kyle Fox felt a familiarity come over him of being back in a Shinra Soldier uniform as he, Jason Thull and Cid Highwind walked up one of the hills towards the entrance of the Wall Market, where the long but only way up to the next level was. Kyle sighed. It felt good to be back in a familiar town again, but he couldn’t deny missing his home, Kalm.
The image would never leave his mind, of the town bursting into flames, people being ruthlessly killed by an insane man who had a lust for revenge. Kyle shut his eyes, fighting back a wave of emotion that threatened to overtake him. Jason knew how he felt, because he had lost his home too, as had Tseng.
Bone City. Kalm. Cosmo Canyon.
All destroyed by Greg.
But now, Greg was dead, no two ways about it.
"Move it up," Barret’s voice came over the speaker. "We can still see youse from here," he said.
"Shut up," muttered Kyle as they walked along. He turned to Cid. "Anything from Reeve and Red?" he asked.
"Ask Barret," muttered Cid.
Kyle pressed the mike to his ear. "Cait Sith, what’s new?" he asked.
"Nothing yet. It doesn’t appear their gonna come for us here until our next meal, and I have no idea when that is. Where are you guys?" he asked.
"We’ve split into three groups, so we’ll get their at different intervals. Just hang in there," Kyle said and disconnected.
"Hey, you guys ain’t Shinra Soldiers," two guards in front of them said. They brought up their rifles but Kyle, Jason and Cid all had their guns up and blew the soldiers to bits. More soldiers came around the corner and Kyle took over.
"Don’t worry," he said. "We caught these imposters before they could cause any harm. Dispose of the bodies," he said and the small squad saluted and got to work. Kyle turned to the other two members who were looking at him like a Guardian Angel. "I used to work for ‘em. They’re easy to fool," he said.
"Damn straight," muttered Jason.
Tseng gasped for breath as he came up to the surface last, being pulled out of the sludge by Aeris and Cloud. He hit the ground hard, dripping with green sewage as he panted for breath. After a moment, he regained his composure and stood up, still breathing heavily. "Where…do…we…go…now?" he asked.
"Hell should I know?" Cloud panted. "I think we go this way," he said, pointing down a dimly lit corridor as he wiped his nose. "Come on. We gotta follow these corridors. There’s a way outta here somewhere," he said and they started moving.
"Going somewhere?" came a voice behind them which made them all turn around. Three people dressed in the standard black of the Turks stood there, two men and one woman. They all held lethal looking guns in their hands and had sunglasses over their eyes. "Which one of you is Tseng?" the apparent leader asked.
"I am," Tseng said, stepping forward, bringing out his .38 Pistol.
"Too bad. You look like a good man," the leader said and they all raised their weapons.
"Get down!" Cloud shouted and he lunged forward, plunging his Ultima Weapon in front of them as a shield. Bullets smacked into it and the three new Turks stood there, guns smoking and they slowly advanced. "Stay and fight or run away?" Cloud asked Tseng.
"Fight," Tseng said, hefting his pistol and firing.
"Damn," muttered Reese as he hid behind a pillar. Sela and Rock hid off to the other side of the corridor. "Kill them all," he said and jumped up, firing two shots. "Sela, do you have any Materia?" he asked.
Sela nodded and put her hands together, uttering a spell.
Cloud, Tseng and Aeris looked up as a crystalized figure appeared in the air above them. "Oh, shit!" Cloud said. "Get down!" he said and dove to the side, as Tseng covered Aeris’s body with his own as the crystal figure raised a hand, blue and white electric energy coursing across the room and filtering into her hand. She was strikingly beautiful and scantily dressed, but lethal.
"I am here to distribute justice," Shiva said, as she always did.
"Yes," said Reese.
"Distribute it," Rock said.
"It will be so," Shiva said and arced her hand back, energy balling into her palm to form one giant crystal form of energy. Her beautiful features suddenly creased with anger. "Justice will be served," she said, and her eyes sparked.
"Close your eyes," Cloud said. "This could be blinding."
Tseng put a hand over Aeris’s eyes and squinted his eyes shut.
Shiva arced her arm back and hurled a ball of energy, lightning sparks trailing out behind it as it slammed into the ground, sending out shockwaves. Tseng, Aeris and Cloud flew off the ground. Cloud convulsed with the electricity, but Tseng’s body protected Aeris. Tseng and Cloud screamed as they fell back to the ground.
"Tseng! Cloud!" Aeris cried.
"Surrender," a voice came from behind her, and she turned to be staring down the barrel of a ten gauge shotgun. "Or die."
"Go to hell," Aeris said and put her hands together before Reese could cock the gun.
A beam of energy shot down from the sky and Reese only had time to look up and scream before it hit him and fried his skin off a now blackened skeleton on the spot. The beam remained for a moment longer then disappeared, leaving Sela and Rock looking with confusion at the charred corpse of their leader.
"Back off," hissed Aeris, drawing her rod.
"No," Sela said.
Rock looked at her like she was crazy. "What the hell’re you doing?"
"We don’t get paid for nothing. Surrender," she said.
Tseng got up. "Go screw a cow," he said and pulled the trigger, blowing Sela away. He cocked the hammer again and pointed the gun at Rock, who had his gun leveled at Tseng. "You got the same problem?" Tseng asked, and for a moment, he was the Turk he had been for so long. "Punk?" he asked.
"Yeah," Rock said. "I do. But I’m not dumb," he said, dropping his gun. "I’m flexible. I wanna join you guys," he said.
Tseng looked at Cloud.
"Not a chance," Cloud said.
Tseng looked back and realized his mistake. Rock had grabbed up his gun again and cocked it. Tseng brought his pistol up but too late as the ten gauge blast from Rock’s shotgun slammed into his hip, knocking him to the ground. Aeris leapt forward, swiping her rod into Rock’s face. The Turk fell to the ground, bleeding from his nose. Rock slapped Aeris hard.
"Don’t touch her!" Tseng screamed, consumed with rage as he charged forward and rammed into Rock’s midsection, and both of them plunged into the sewer water.
"Oh, shit," muttered Cloud.
Reeve coughed as the doors opened and in stepped Scarlet. She wore her usual, mean grin. "So, how is the prison life, Reeve?" Scarlet asked in her usual mocking tone, the tone she had used forever with President Shinra, but had sharpened visibly when Rufus had taken over. She had resumed the mocking when Rufus had died.
"Fine," Reeve said as Red XIII padded up behind him.
Scarlet grinned. "Enjoying scum life?" she said, running a long-nailed finger down his chest.
"Get away from me," Reeve said. Before Scarlet could say anything, he reared his fist back and slammed it into her face with all his might. She flew back a few paces and landed on the ground. "Now, Red!" he said as the guards came forward. Reeve attacked the first one and the other screamed as Red jumped on him and started tearing at him. "Move," Reeve said, grabbing up one of their guns and leaning into the hallway, and quickly ducking back as bullets sprayed the corridor. "This…could be difficult."
Rufus came aware. He groaned as he sat up, wearing the Soldier uniform that Cloud Strife had normally worn. Rufus became aware he was in a prison cell. A cell, and he was the president of Shinra Incorporated. He looked up to see Palmer and Heidegger in front of him. "Hello, Mister Ex-President," said Palmer.
"What the hell…?" muttered Rufus as he sat up, but it felt as if he weighed thousands of pounds and his limbs were made of led. He squinted at the two obscenely fat men. "Palmer…what the hell is going on, here?" Rufus asked.
Palmer grinned. "Sorry, Rufus. You aren’t the Prez, no more. Scarlet is."
"Scarlet!" hissed Rufus. "What the hell is she doing…? I’m dead for no less then a year and she takes over," he hissed and turned away. "What do you two want?"
Heidegger chuckled. "We want the codes to the Shinra Files," he said.
"No," Rufus said.
"You have no choice," Palmer said, scooping some lard into a cup of coffee and taking a very long slurp. Rufus flinched as Palmer guzzled it and shoved a big piece of lard into his mouth. "You give us the code and then die, or we take it and you die," he said.
Rufus stood up, strength coursing through his veins. "Go to hell," he said.
"We’ll leave that to you," Heidegger said, drawing a gun.
Tseng popped the plate which led to the walkway which finally led to the sewer to see they were in a brightly lit corridor. Tseng pulled himself up with a groan and reached back down to help Aeris up, and then to help Cloud. He turned, pulling his .48 again and looking down the hall.
"Cloud?" came a voice behind them and the three of them turned to see Reeve and Red in a doorway, shooting down at several guards. "Get in here! We’ve been here ever since our capture," he said.
Cloud dove in, pulling Aeris and Tseng along with them. "What’re we gonna do?" asked Reeve. "I don’t have enough bullets to do this forever," he said.
"Let me handle it," said Cloud and he stepped into the hallway.
Cloud’s Ultima Weapon glowed with its own inner light, but showers of blue started to emit from it as a strange ring of fire blossomed out of the ground around him. It disappeared after a few seconds and Cloud leapt forward. In a movement that took up a second, Cloud delivered twenty vicious slashes to each man, and when he reverted back to normal, the soldiers were dead.
"Holy shit," said Reeve.
"Come on," Cloud said, motioning for them to follow.
"Stay close," Tseng said to Aeris as the five of them ran.
Reeve suddenly stopped. "Wait," he said. "The others will be here shortly. They organized a rescue operation. I have to contact Barret and tell them of the changes," he said, keying the small remote control in his hands and waiting impatiently.
"Cait Sith’s controls?" asked Tseng.
Reeve nodded. "Yes," he said. "Barret?" he asked, and a muffled reply came. "Its Reeve. Tseng, Aeris and Cloud just got here. We’re making our way up to the next level," he said. The muffled reply sounded like an affirmation to Tseng. "Good. Let’s move," Reeve said.
"What’re you doing?" Rufus asked as Palmer came towards him with a giant needle.
"Sit still," said Palmer.
"Bullshit," said Rufus and in a lightning quick motion, his foot shot out and hit Palmer’s hand, letting the needle fly through the air. Rufus caught it and Palmer, taking Palmer and jabbing the needle into his temple, inserting the liquid. "Take that," he said and turned on Heidegger.
"This is impossible," said Heidegger. "The drugs are supposed to make you weak and vulnerable," he said.
Rufus smiled. "I know," he said coyly. "But you see; I used to work for Soldier before I joined Shinra as an heir to my father’s empire. I worked with Cloud Strife and Sephiroth…before Sephiroth went mad and Cloud and I defected. So I have Mako in my blood and, Mako is the cure for those drugs as you know."
"Oh crap," said Heidegger as Rufus advanced on him.
"That’s right," said Rufus.
"Outta the way," said Kyle as he, Jason and Cid stepped inside the Shinra Office Headquarters to hear gunfire up the stairwell. They looked up to see five figures running down the stairs, and further up, a lone figure tore down the stairs. Strangely, the lone figure seemed to be attracting more attention then Cloud, Red, Aeris, Tseng and Reeve. "Come on!" shouted Kyle.
"Traitors!" cried one of the guards, leveling their guns at Kyle, Jason and Cid.
"Duck!" Jason cried, and the other two ducked as the man opened fire with his machine gun, raking down the officers in front of him. "You guys go and help! I’ll stay here and hold ‘em off!" he said.
There was a lot of commotion below Rufus and he made the mistake of looking. He tripped and tumbled headfirst down the staircase, injuring himself as he fell at a speed that was rapidly increasing in velocity as he hit the stairs harder each time. He heard the guards behind him starting to fade away, and the guards in front of him getting louder. Rufus could almost wish that he was still dead.
"Keep going!" cried Tseng as he fired over his shoulder without looking back at the guards. He held Aeris’s hand and was following Cloud who was apparently in the lead. Tseng ran out of bullets and cursed, casting a brief glance back. It appeared that the guards were slowly but surely gaining on them. "Keep going," he repeated, releasing Aeris’s hand and stopping, turning. There was a chandelier above him. He quickly slapped in a clip and fired a precise shot, hitting the chain holding the chandelier to the ceiling.
It fell just in time, crushing all the guards. Tseng whooped and turned as a roar came from above him and a chunk of the ceiling collapsed, forcing Tseng to grab the rail in order to keep from falling. "Holy shit!" Tseng remarked as a motorcycle dropped down. On it was a lone rider, who Tseng recognized.
"Tseng?" asked Rufus, stopping on the stairs. He looked pretty battered up, as if he had fallen. Rufus edged forward on the seat. "Hop on. Things are gonna get ugly."
Tseng pointed down the stairs as he got on and Rufus accelerated. "Cloud and Aeris are still there!"
"You’re allied with them? If I can get them to understand maybe I can too," Rufus said.
Tseng looked at him. "How the hell are you here? Shinra doesn’t have any materia," he said.
"I don’t know," Rufus said. "That’s what’s really bugging me," he continued as they came alongside Cloud and Aeris. "I can’t fit all three of you guys on here."
Tseng hopped off. "Aeris, get on. Rufus, get her outside the town and go to the airship."
"Rufus?" Cloud and Aeris asked as one.
Tseng nodded. "They brought him back, somehow. He’s on our side."
"Hop on. Next stop; airship," Rufus intoned, gunning the engines and riding down the stairwell.
Tseng and Cloud only paused momentarily. "Let’s go," said Cloud.
Jason shouted a battle cry as he rattled off with his machine gun, piling the dead bodies as he shot them down. Kyle and Cid were making okay progress up the stairs, when the doors behind him opened. He turned, shouting a hideous cry and firing again at the new intruders, Red Shinra Officers, holding bazookas. Jason rolled onto the first stair and used the rail as cover as he shot the oncomers.
This could pose a problem, he thought.
Cid and Kyle continued running when the motorcycle came into view. They stopped as Rufus pulled up, with Aeris behind him. "Tseng ordered me to get Aeris to the airship. Tseng and Cloud are on their way down," Rufus said.
"Rufus?" asked Cid and Kyle.
"No time to explain," Aeris snapped. "Either you get up there and help, or come with us," she said.
Kyle nodded up the stairs. "We’re gonna go help. Jason’s still down there, though," he said, regarding the heavy gunfire and explosions coming from downstairs.
"Right," Rufus said. "We’ll help him along the way. Be careful," he said.
And then they were off.
Cid cocked his rifle. "Let’s hurry," he said and the two men continued sprinting forward.
Tseng and Cloud were dead tired when Kyle and Cid came into view, holding Shinra Machine Guns and cocking them for battle. Kyle came up to the two of them. "She’s gonna be safe soon," he said, regarding Aeris. "You two go. We’ll cover," he said, joining Cid in firing their machine guns at the oncoming guards. "Go, dammit!" he said. "And where’s Reeve and Red?"
"They took the elevator," said Cloud.
"Taking this elevator was a mistake," muttered Reeve as he and Red XIII sat dully.
"It was better then the alternative," Red said.
Jason Thull looked back as Rufus and Aeris appeared on the motorcycle, coming down the stairs as a troop transport car blew through the doors, blowing glass inside. Rufus shielded Aeris with his body, a cut on his cheek spilling blood. "You Jason?" Rufus asked.
"Yes! Go!" cried Jason, slapping a clip into his rifle and rattling off with his gun. "I don’t go until everyone’s clear! I’m gonna capture this troop transport here," he said, blowing away the first soldiers to appear in the ramp of the troop transport. They screamed and fell.
Rufus gunned the engines and roared out the doors. "Which way?" he asked Aeris.
"Through Sector Seven to the outskirts. That’s where they landed, according to Reeve."
Rufus nodded. "The bastard’s still around," he said. "Let’s go."
"Get in!" he hollered.
"All right, Jace!" cried Tseng as they hopped in. Cid and Kyle dove in, letting Cloud and Tseng close the doors. "Take off!" Tseng hollered and the troop transport lifted off the ground and flew away from the stairs, bullets hammering the armor. "We gotta break the elevator and pull out Reeve and Red," said Tseng.
"Way ahead of ya," said Jason.
"Who knows what’s waiting for us down there?" Reeve asked.
Red XIII shrugged, as much as a dog could. "I…" he started when the wall broke, revealing an open door on a transport with Tseng leaning out. "Shit!" Red said, using cussing for the first time since Reeve had ever met him.
"Hop in," said Tseng.
"Rufus!" Barret hissed, standing in front of the man, his hand balled into a fist inches from the ex-Shinra President’s face.
Aeris stopped him. "He’s had a severe change in loyalty," she said.
"Wha?" asked Barret.
"No time," said Rufus. "Prep the baby for takeoff. The others will be here soon," he said.
Jason left the transport last, setting the self destruct sequence and feeling it explode behind him as he ran, discarding the Shinra Soldier uniform. He slapped a button on the side of the airship, the grass crunching under their feet. Tseng, Cloud, Reeve, Kyle, Cid, Red and Jason jumped in.
"The fun has arrived," said Cloud.
"Shut up," said Tifa Lockheart as she came into the room, kissing him quickly.
"Aeris!" Tseng shouted and she came to him, pulling him into his arms and doing the same. "Missed ya," he said.
She grinned. "Ditto."
"Uh, in case you haven’t noticed…they’ve deployed enemy fighter planes against us!" Cid hollered.
"I’ll go," Tseng said.
"Ditto," said Reno as he came into the room.
"I’m in," Cloud said.
Cid nodded. "I’ve gotta go to keep things organized. Jerry, keep this ship in the air, allright?" he asked. "Let’s move," he said, running off of the bridge with the others and down towards the hangar bay as Jerry lifted the ship off the ground.
Tseng slipped on his flight mask and gunned the accelerator as he flew out of the hangar bay of the mark III airship. He flew into formation with the others. "Okay, so what’s the picture?" he asked.
"How should I know?" Reno replied.
"I’m in charge. Split up and blow them away. There’s only two of them," he said.
Tseng scoffed. "And that was the big emergency?"
"Shut up!" cried Cid.
An hour later all the fighters were back. It appeared that everything was fine. With quite a lot of the citizens from Kalm, Bone City and Cosmo Canyon residing on the ship, and now Rufus, living quarters were getting a bit cramped. Reno and Elena now shared a room, and the same bed. Rude was made room mates with Rufus and they slept on opposite sides of the room. Cloud and Tifa were together, and Tseng and Aeris. Red was staying in the same room as Reeve, while Vincent and Jason were sharing a room. Kyle and Yuffie shared a room, as did Barret and Cid.
"Man," Tseng said, gulping back a glass of beer and nodding to Tifa. "Another, please," he said. "I never thought things could get so cramped on one ship."
Reno shrugged. "We got no place to go yet," he said.
"Yeah," Tseng said. "So where do we go from here, Tifa?" he asked the beautiful bartender.
Tifa sighed. "I heard we’re either going to Junon or the Golden Saucer."
"Golden Saucer, eh?" Tseng asked. "Aeris and I could have some fun there. I’m vouching for that place," he said as he took a long gulp from another cup of his amber colored beer. He grimaced as it burned his throat all the way down. "That’s good," he said, looking at Rude who was plastered to the bar already, emptied bottles and cups all around him. "I helped the last guy. Somebody else can help Rude back to his quarters," he said.
Rufus looked up from his seat. "I guess I’m the candidate," he slurred.
"You’re gonna have one helluva hangover, you know that?" Reno asked as he choked back a shot of whiskey and nodded to Tifa for yet another of the shot glasses. "Take small quantities, but let them work," he said.
Rufus nodded. "Might be…" he paused to hiccup. "A good idea."
Tseng rolled his eyes and looked back out the window. "So, Tifa; how’s the relationship with Cloud coming along?" he asked, raising an eyebrow so she would catch the drift.
"Fine, thanks," said Tifa. "And yours with Aeris?"
Tseng leaned forward. "Keep this between you and me," he said. "I’m waiting for a good time to pop the question," he said and Tifa’s eyes widened as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small case. He flipped it open and there was a ring with a rather large diamond on it.
"Oh my God," said Tifa. "Its beautiful…where’d you get it?"
Tseng snapped it shut and put it in his pocket. "Jason made it for me out of gold and diamond," he said. "I don’t know how to ask her the question," he said.
"Ask her at the Golden Saucer."
Tseng nodded. "If we go there," he said.
Tifa winked. "Don’t worry. We will."
Rufus awoke with a severe pain in his head. He felt like his limbs were made of lead, like he had felt when he first woke up. Rude was on his bed, plastered partly against the wall as Rufus got off his own bed. Rude shuddered on the other side of the room and sat up. "Oh…God, how much did I drink?"
"Not as much as I did, I don’t think," Rufus said, squinting in the light. "We’ve landed."
"Where?" Rude asked.
"Golden Saucer," he said.
"This place is just like I remember it," said Aeris Gainsborough, taking in the scene around them. Everyone was pumped for a day of action, and it appeared that since they had moved into the same room, Yuffie had taken a liking to Kyle Fox, the ex-Shinra Guard. "Let’s go have fun."
Tseng smiled. "What do you want to do first?" he asked, putting on his sunglasses.
"We’ll star in the play tonight," she said. "But…for now?"
Tseng looked at the Battle Arena. "I’ve wanted to see how tough I am for a while," he said.
"I have to," she said, tracing a finger down his chest. "Let’s go get you some Battle Points so you can play."
Tseng stepped into the arena. They had paid, and now, he was ready. He held a dagger in one hand, a pistol in the other. He had been given one Materia spell, and he didn’t know what it did; just the spell itself. He dropped to a defensive stance as four creatures appeared in front of him. "Die!" Tseng cried, lunging forward and stabbing the first one, pulling the trigger rapidly…
…when the creatures disappeared.
"What?" Tseng asked as people who worked at the arena started yammering nervously.
Suddenly, a loud voice boomed over a megaphone, startling Tseng out of his initial shock. "This facility is now under Shinra Incorporated control," came a voice that Tseng knew all too well. It was the voice of the new ruler of Shinra…Scarlet.
"Aeris!" he screamed, dropping the dagger and switching his .48 pistol to his other hand and sprinting across the battle arena for all he was worth. He broke through the doors to see Aeris being dragged towards a helicopter. Scattered on the ground, were the unconscious and unmoving forms of Cid Highwind, Red XIII, Barret Wallace, Kyle Fox, Jason Thull, Yuffie Kisargi, Vincent Valentine, Reeve, Reno, Rude and Elena. Tifa and Cloud’s unconscious forms were already in the helicopter. "No!" shouted Tseng.
Rufus appeared, kicking the lead guard in the face and hurling another into the side of the helicopter. "Get them outta here!" Rufus called as Tseng shot another guard.
"Get her!" screamed Scarlet from the chopper.
A gunshot rang out and Tseng was hit in the stomach. He collapsed to the ground. Seconds later, another gunshot rang out and Rufus collapsed with a similar wound.
Guards came out and grabbed Aeris as she tried to get away. She was crying for Tseng, for she thought him dead. Tseng lifted his face bare centimeters off the ground and watched the helicopter fly away from the area. "No…" he hissed.
"I’ve seen worse," Yuffie said, bringing out a blue ball of Materia and moving to Tseng, who was very pale.
A few seconds later, but what seemed like years for Tseng, he was completely restored to health. He sat up with a groan as the others nursed nasty bumps on their heads or their own wounds in the fight that Tseng had not seen from inside the Battle Arena.
"Aeris…" said Tseng.
"…is gone," said Rufus as he was restored. He rubbed his stomach as he buttoned his shirt. "I tried to stop them…but they got me," he said solemnly. "I hardly dare to think about what Scarlet and that Nyfel man are going to do to her."
Cid looked at him. "What about Palmer and Heidegger?"
Rufus looked away. "They aren’t a problem, anymore. I…got rid of them," he said.
Barret shrugged. "Good riddance to bad rubbish," he said.
"We have to figure out what to do," Cid said.
"And fast," Reno commented.
To Be Continued…
Author’s Note: I didn’t enjoy writing this one as much as the previous pair. It seems without Greg, the story has dulled a bit. I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t killed him off…anyway, the Restore Materia is out there and plentiful! Maybe I will bring him back. I’ll be handing in Part 4 shortly! Seeya!