The Sins of the Father by Prometheus

* * * * * *

"If she is happy...then I don't mind."

"I offered her my love but it was not my love she accepted. If she is happy
though, then...I guess I am too but not for myself."

* * * *

Night hung thick over the town of Nibelheim casting long shadows across the
frigid valley in which the settlement huddled for warmth against the cruel
onslought of the winter.
Encroaching the squat buildings on both flanks, the great Nibel mountain range
was thrust into the
star-speckled heavens like great black claws rending with the great spire of Mt
Nibel, a black sword against the black sky disemboweling the stars.
Teeth of a fallen demon standing as a dark reminder to the people inside their
frozen maw

The hour was late and nothing human stirred in either the town or the valley.
Strange little creatures skuttled through the grasslands as they ran from the
monsters that stalked them in the night world of claustrophobia, a rending dread
that only the absence of the sun can bring burning in their eyes and striking
into their little hearts like black hooks.
Knowing that you are alone, a solitary island in the vastness of the world, that
is what night time is.

The bowels of the earth under the gothic style building put up the only struggle
against the crushing weight of the darkness.
Although the exterior of the Shinra Mansion was bathed in darkness, a mako sun
burned in a room hidden in the earth that sat at the end of a spiralling tongue
of steps that connected the surface levels of the building with the dank
basement level, the offices and the adjoining laboratory.
Light from the room splashed lazily onto the first two or three steps, igniting
the black granite and making it glisten like blood on leather as a whiny voice
rasped at the air from the laboratory and the tiny office/library corrodor that
served it.
"Subject AB-765-A. Mutation level 94.7%, negative reaction to Jenova infusions.
Negative physical improvement. Negative mental improvement."
Papers rustled across a file-strewn desk as a confident young hand reached out
for a bottle of spirit that sat atop a paper mountain. Another hand summoned a
glass which was filled and drained in a quick gulp.
A young man sat behind the dishevelled desk, his beady but concentrated gaze
intensified further by a pair of silver rimmed spectacles. He was wearing a
black shirt, black pants and a pristine white lab coat.
Thick sheets of black hair fell from the young mans' head as he reached a hand
up to his forehead and reached for another file. A golden embossed nametag on
the left breast of the lab coat had two words stamped into its' immaculately
polished surface. 'Professor Hojo'
He drained another glass of the spirit and pitched the first file across the
room with a frustrated shout.
He opened the second file and poured another drink while he lost himself in the
neatly typed words.
"Subject AB-765-B. Mutation level 96.6%, 0.1 reaction to Jenova infusions.
Negative physical improvement. 3% mental improvement."
Hojo growled to himself as he began to lose the battle against the growing rage
inside his head.
"Wrong, wrong WRONG!!" He screamed
"Why are they all going WRONG?!!"
He flung the file away, drained the glass and pitched it across the room,
smashing it off of the far wall.
WHY?!!" He shouted.
He wrenched another file from the mountain on the desk and opened it at the
first page.
"Subject AB-765-C. Subject died before the second infusion could be
administered. Mutation level 99.9% with negative mental/physical improvement."
Hojo went berserk, shredding the file and throwing the makeshift confetti around
the room. The bottle was the next object of his wrath as it was plucked from the
tabe and hurled in the same direction as the glass.
The churchbell ringing of the shattering bottle played in Hojo's head as he sat
back down clutching his forehead with both hands. After a long minute during
which he calmed a little, Hojo tore a forth file out of the clutch on his desk
and opened it.
"Subject AB-765-D. Mutation level 79.1%. 57% reaction to Jenova infusions. 10%
improvement of mental ability. 14% improvement in physical ability. Code 4
retroviral infection resulted in premature termination on the subject."
Hojo sat in silence as he read the report again, carefully digesting the words
to make sure he had not misread the file. He read it a third time, dropping a
hand to lift the file up from the desk, bringing the words closer to him to
allow for a more voracious inspection.
"This one...? Was accepting the Jenova infusions?" He hissed.
Hojo dropped the file and gazed off into space, losing himself in his own
"Why was this specimin different from the rest?"
With a sudden rush, Hojo leapt from the seat and retrieved the two discarded
files, opened them and began to pour through the words once again.
"What is it?"
He sat back down.
"All male. 1% variance in height and weight across the spectrum, all at perfect
health, age..."
An electrical shock tore through Hojo's body and mind as he looked up from the
"...Age...?" He hissed.
His fingers spread across the desk like bony little vines, raking through the
torn remnants of the third file. His eyes darted across the fragments of
sentences and the disemboweled words with a possessed ferocity falling on the
one single thing that he was searching for, the tiny piece of paper glowing in
an almost supernatural fashion from its' resting place at the foot of the Mako
desk lamp.
The chances of that one piece of paper and those two words surviving Hojo's fury
were smaller than tiny yet still they had.
'Age: Seventeen'
Hojo quickly compared the scrap to the other age stats in the other files and
then sat back in his seat heavily, a growing sense of amazement pushing the
anger from his face.
"AB-765-D was the youngest of our specimins to date. 65-C was the oldest.
Surely, surely it can't be that simple, how could I have missed this?"
Hojo quickly rifled through the other files on the desk and confirmed his
discovery with a smug smile.
"All the older ones die first but the younger ones begin to accept the
treatments!" He hissed.
He pushed a number of the files onto the floor and excavated the reciever of a
telephone from the chaos of the desk then keyed in a number. A small LCD readout
on the cradle read 'Dialling HQ'
After six or seven rings, a groggy voice answered on the other end.
"It's Hojo." The professor hissed.
"Who is this?"
"Technician Ostmer. You know what time it is here professor?" Ostmer asked.
"I don't care about that, I may have made a significant breakthrough in the
Project Jenova experiments." Said Hojo.
Ostmer was silent for a long moment but the sounds of a desk chair creaking
translated over the line, indicating that he was sitting up.
"That's great news Professor, the president will be delighted."
"He must not know, not yet. I will have to conduct further testing to make sure
and I am going to need more specimins."
Ostmer groaned on the other end of the line.
"Again? We sent five out last week. We can't keep..."
Hojo leaned on the desk and cut the man off mid-sentence.
"Get me a child." He whispered, lamplight burning in his eyes.
A silence fell.
"Did you hear me?" Hojo hissed.
"I will need a child for the next experiment!"
"A child...?!" Ostmer gasped.
"I don't think you can do that professor."
"Listen!!" Hojo snapped, rising from the chair.
"You will either send me a child or I will go out and get one myself. I know
Nibelheim is a small town but even small towns have children! Either way, I will
get one!"
Another long silence. Ostmer swore under his breath.
"I'll have one there in 48 hours."
"Also..." Hojo began.
"He must be a male pre-pubescent, preferrably between the ages of 7 and 9."
Ostmer let out a dry laugh.
"What do you think this is, a market? He asked.
Hojo felt himself beginning to lose it again and he spoke through clenched
"You're in Midgar!" He hissed.
"Go to the slums, grab the first healthy looking brat you see and SHIP HIM OUT
HERE!!" He shouted.
"Ok, ok..." Ostmer began, his voice taken aback at the sudden ferocity of Hojo's
"...I'll arrange it right away for you professor."
Hojo nodded.
He moved the reciever and was about to put it down when a further thought came
to him.
"And Ostmer..." He hissed, placing the reciever back to his mouth.
"Let's keep this between ourselves for the moment."
Ostmer sighed, wearily this time rather than defeatedly.
"You got it professor."
With that, Hojo replaced the telephone and sat back in his seat, reflecting
quietly for a moment before retracting a slender golden pen from an inside
pocket of the lab coat and opening one of the files.
In a small box marked 'NOTES' at the foot of the AB-765-A specimin report title
page, Hojo carefully penned the words 'terminate specimin' and then signed the
page. He blew on the wet ink, drying it carefully before closing the file and
repeating the same ritual with the AB-765-B specimin report.
He shuffled the files into a neat pile on the desk and fell at last to the
AB-765-D report.
He smiled to himself as his fingers touched the brown card of the file and
reached for the edges to open it.
"Let's see what made you tick shall we?" He sighed as he penned a different
command into the notes box of the file. 'Intensive study. Full tissue and
dissection series required.'
Hojo took a moment to review the file and flipped over a page, bringing his gaze
to rest upon two monochrome photographs of the specimin.
The first picture showed a boy of no more than 16, his eyes alight and smiling
from a freckled face that sported a mischievous grin. He had short hair,
probably blonde or silver judging by the shading of the black and white picture.
It was a picture of youth, promise and hope whereas the next photo was so
distorted and warped that it couldn't truly be classified as human.
Amongst a mass of grey, cracked and broken flesh, only one of those wonderous
twinkling eyes remained, the other was a lidless orb of black slime that
dribbled down the 'face' of the specimin.
The other eye was as warped as the rest of the face had become and the pupil was
at least three times the size of a normal human one. This thing that once had
been an eye radiated new emotions now.
The camera had captured a primordial terror, a derranged and senseless terror
that lurked in the corridors of this things' head.
The eye was not an eye now, it was a mutated and melting window onto a shattered
mind, a soul wrapped into a monster by the very things that were intended to
perfect it.
A lipless aperture that might have once been a human mouth slavered and drooled
a thick black ooze that ran the length of a forked tongue and dripped from the
Nothing flickered in Hojo's head as he compared the photographs, the only change
inside him was a defeat that drew a sigh.
He raised his hand to his chin and held it as he thought.
"Hmmm..." He sighed.
"They all end up looking like that don't they?"
He closed the file and stood up, arms folded behind his back as he headed for
the door.
"I better handle the child myself."

* * * * * *
7 Days Later:

A chill wind blew across the garden, forcing Vincent to step into the guard box
to hide from the cold. He did not notice as he swirled his whisky glass in his
hand and thought to himself.
"Something very strange is going on here, I'm telling you." He sighed.
Two Shinra soldiers, Jansen and Hobby were also in the box. They, like Vincent
had been assigned to ensure the security of the now priceless Jenova specimin in
the laboratory below them.
The posting was a breeze, nobody in Nibelheim bothered about Shinra so Hobby and
Jansen spent most days smoking and drinking coffee in the confines of the heated
guard box. All on full pay too. They had a sweet deal.
"What do you mean?" Jansen asked, emptying an ashtray into a bin.
"He means Hojo, the experiments and all that." Hobby answered.
Jansen nodded and lit a cigarette.
"I know what you mean." He sighed, addressing Vincent.
"I've seen some weird stuff but that Hojo gives me the chills."
Vincent shook his head.
"This is worse, I've heard humans screaming in the night. What with that and
Professor Gast suddenly leaving like that...I am sure that they are using the
Jenova Project research on humans now."
Vincent propped himself against the wall and took a sip of the whisky,
swallowing the warming fluid and sighing.
"Lucrecia wont tell me a thing and I would rather be posted to Icicle Inn than
hold a conversation with Hojo. The guy's a weirdo."
Hobby nodded.
"Something is going on for sure. HQ has sent out three armoured trucks in the
past two weeks alone."
Vincent nodded and drained his glass.
"Hojo said it was more monster specimins but I didn't believe him."
"Why?" Jansen asked, flicking ash onto the floor.
"They made no noise. Monsters howl and scream like loonys in those trucks.
Whatever was in those boxes was either already dead or it was tranquilized."
Vincent refilled his glass and leaned back against the wall.
"I intend to find out."
Hobby and Jansen exchanged a glance and then looked back at Vincent.
"Let me guess..." Hobby sighed.
"...we didn't hear that, right?" Jansen finished.
Vincent smiled and put his glass to his lips.
"No. You didn't!"
Footsteps, careful and deliberate on the cold stone of the crazy paving path
drew the attention of the three men.
A young, heavily pregnant woman was walking down the path, the sight of her
siphoning the smile from Vincent's face as he turned and emptied his glass.
"Evening Miss Lucrecia." Hobby and Jansen chorused.
She smiled at them as she came into the warmth of the box.
"Evening Vincent." She chirped.
Vincent looked over, didn't smile and then set his glass back onto the table,
shying away from her gaze.
"Excuse me." He hissed as he headed out of the box.

* * * * * *

The liquid in the syringe glowed seductively on the pine finished desk, the
phosphourescent glow intermittently drawing Hojo's attention from the file he
was writing in and holding it for a long moment.
The pen passed over the paper in a crazed, almost possessed fashion as beady
eyes gazed in wonder at the shining liquid in the syringe from the rims of
silver glasses.
"Subject P-AB-9776-A: Third JENOVA infusion commencing. 0 months, week 1, day 4.
Mutation level 19.3% mental improvement, 65% physical improvement 77.39%.
Mid-range retroviral infection so far under control."
Hojo smiled as he reviewed the file and placed it into the desk.
"I was right!" He hissed as he stood up and reached for the syringe.
"The others were too old."
He grasped the syringe and smiled harder, pressing his glasses with a bony
"I'm going to change the world!"
Syringe in hand, Hojo crossed the room to the laboratory door, a mammoth
airlock-like plate of steel that was set into the right-hand wall. Such was the
security surrounding the Jenova specimin.
He pressed a thumb onto a scanner on the wall next to the door. A computer
cross-referenced his thumbprint with the one held in its' electronic mind. An
electronic chime filled the room followed by the heavy sound of magnetic locks
decoupling somewhere in the wall.
The interior of the laboratory itself was markedly different from the mako-light
filled office corridor taking on a strange blue glow from one of the many
flourescent tube lights on the ceiling. 10 steel tables adorned the walls on the
left and right hand sides of the room and a dull grey drape hid part of the far
wall. Beyond that lay the vault where the Jenova creature slept inside its'
plexiglass tube.
Monitors and wires and machines flanked each of the tables but at the moment,
only one of the tables was occupied, the one at the far end of the room on the
Hojo's boots clicked on the sterile white linoleum floor as he walked briskly to
the flimsy creature in the bed, its' form hidden under a light cotton sheet. A
seven year old child that was not a child anymore.
From inspection, it was visibly less mutated than the previous attempts had been
but it had definitely changed.
Hair lay strewn across the table and the floor where it had migrated from the
childs' head. The scalp was cracked and the skin broken and grey as green fluid
oozed from the wounds. Instead of hair, rows of tiny white spines that resembled
animal teeth covered the head, glistening like wet enamal.
The face was still recognisably human though the eyes were pools of black tar
set against a grey landscape of dying skin where mutated pupils had engulfed the
entire eyeball.
The mouth gaped and ran with the same fluid as the wounds on the head. The
child's skin was deathly grey giving it the apperance of a cadavre. Patches of
black stuff on the skin, mainly on the arms, glistened like black jet and seemed
to be formed from some kind of crystal rather than organic residue.
Its' breathing was hoarse and it coughed intermittently, splattering its'
winter-grey flesh with green slime.
Upon seeing Hojo approach, it squirmed pathetically and tried to move away but
got only a few inches before giving up, turning its' head and regurgitating a
splatter of the green liquid onto the cold steel of the table.
"Good evening 776-A, ready for some more medicine yet?" Hojo asked, a warped
smile plastered onto his face.
The child-thing gurgled and tried desperately to speak.
Hojo smiled, ignoring the terrified little sound as he leaned in closer with the
Two other swollen puncture marks on the left arm ran with the same green slime
as the mouth and head, reddened and inflamed blood vessels branched out like
tentacles under the skin. The skin itself in this area was a bright purple, like
a bruise with flecks of black and red around the puncture holes, contrasting
sickeningly with the cadavre-grey of the rest of the body.
The hypodermic descent towards the arm was halted as a panicked monitor screamed
for Hojo's attention.
His head snapped around and his attention on the child was broken as he checked
the digitised readouts on the machine.
"What the hell...?" He hissed.
Momentarily, Hojo became aware of a strange hiss, like something moving but in
seconds, an intense burst of pain across the bone of his left arm rocked him and
he dropped the syringe.
He cried out in pain and turned to see what was happening.
Five bony, corpse-like fingers wrapped around the arm, crushing it as though it
were a cardboard tube. Hojo cried out again as the hand constricted further and
there was a snap as the bone broke.
Hojo gazed, half in wonder and half in horror at the child thing, its' crushing
grasp on his arm tightening further, his mind beginning to slurr and slip away
as something else forced its' way into his brain. Something broke across the
distance of two minds, superimposing its' own will onto Hojo and mesmerising
him. The pain began to fade and he became aware of something whispering inside
his mind, something faint that could not be made out but was definitely trying
to speak, not communicate but command.
The pain dissolved totally as Hojo turned his hypnotised gaze onto the blackened
eyes of the specimin.
He heard its' voice but its' gaping lips did not move as slime poured from the
throat, splattering over the table.
'You're a very bad man!' The fledgling voice hissed, rippling across the lobes
of Hojo's mind with a possessed fury usually alien to so young a child.
Light exploded in its' eyes, burning the blackness off and breaking out of its'
face like a twin star system glowing in the darkness.
Pain tore through Hojo again and he cried out again as the weak voice found its'
'NO MORE!' It screamed.
The puncture marks and the reddened capillaries that served them glowed like
fire under the creatures' skin as its' mind screamed again.
Nerve endings burned in great psychic bonfires as Hojo pulled himself free and
dropped to the floor, screaming in agony. He was clutching his skull and shaking
his head furiously, trying in vain to banish the shrieking voice. Pain exploded
with each deafening repetition of the unuttered command, dropping Hojo to the
floor and keeping him there as waves of fire grasped his entire being.
How long this went on for before the pain faded, Hojo could not tell.
It pain became a solar system inside his mind with the voice burning like a
vengeful star in the centre of it, the pain forming ugly blackened planets that
ravaged themselves with acid and fire and then exploded, searing the inside of
his head and erupting with shockwaves of agony. Finally, this universe inside
his mind began to collapse, the pain dimming and eventually collapsing into a
black hole, sucking the dying worlds up and destroying them.
With its' passing, the feeling of an invading presence also died leaving only
the monotonic squeal of an alarmed life-support monitor in the room.
Hojo remained on his knees for a moment as he swam in a tar-thick pool of
disorientation. His arm was burning hard and was obviously broken not once but
in several places. Still groggy from the psychic invasion, Hojo winced at the
annoying noise but upon realising what it was, his mind raced back to normality
and he leapt to his feet in panic, adrenaline disregarding the pain in his arm.
"What?" He hissed, studying the monitor and leaning over the table
"NO!" He screamed
"DON'T DIE!!!"
"YOU CAN'T DIE!!" He begged.
Its' eyes were cold now and the puncture marks and their infected capillaries
were black. Blood mixed with the slime dripping from its' eyes and mouth. A
disgusting gurgling poured from it as the final breath left dead lungs, taking
the last signs of life with it.
Hojo felt his throat constrict and a new pain filled him as he looked down at
the specimin.
"My specimin..." He whispered.
"What could have gone wrong? The Jenova cells were fusing with its' DNA...the
infection wasn't serious enough to kill it..."
Hojo flipped a switch on the life-support machine and deactivated it, bringing a
deathly mausoleum silence to the room.
"I don't understand..."
Hojo pulled the sheet up and hid the ruined body.
"...unless..." He hissed, clutching his arm.
"...of course."
He smiled and headed for the door.
"Even it, a child, was too old. The growth of the Jenova infusions was out of
sync with its' own development..."
He hissed as the pain reminded him of the broken bone and he headed for the
"I need a specimin where syncronised growth is possible..."
"...something much younger perhaps?"

* * * * * *

Vincent sighed contentedly as he used a rag to apply the last patch of oil to
the mechanisms of his gun which lay broken into several pieces on the table
infront of him. He carefully began to reassemble the weapon, cleaning the last
splatters of errant grease from its' shining surface as he did so.
He had not heard the door open and was startled when a seemingly disembodied
voice called out his name.
He looked around, brandishing the broken weapon and saw Lucrecia entering the
room, his heart lifting and sinking simultaneously. Without speaking he turned
back to the weapon and began to reassemble it.
She carefully manoevered herself into a seat and sighed as she watched Vincent.
"Will you not even talk to me now Vincent? Is this all about your proposal?" She
"No." Vincent snapped, fixing her with an accusing gaze.
"It has nothing to do with my feelings for you. If you choose to spurn me, for
Hojo of all people, then so be it."
He turned his attention back to the dissected weapon.
Lucrecia sighed again.
"I wish you could see him as I do Vincent, he is a sweet and kind man."
Vincent snorted.
"He's an overpaid intellectual fascist too wrapped up inside his own ego to
appreciate you, let alone love you. That is how I see him."
"And what are you?!" Lucrecia snapped, sitting forward as her anger overflowed.
"A Turk, a thug in a suit! A soldier in an army of thugs in suits who dispense
unjust law from the barrels of guns or the blades of swords?!"
Vincent fell dead, dropping the gun onto the table.
"Hojo and I represent the beauty of the mind, the purity of knowledge and
discovery. You and your precious Turks represent all that which blights the
human race!"
Vincent's head snapped up and he caught the full fury of her gaze.
"You can sit there? You can sit there and say that to me knowing that I would
have moved this earth for you? Do you even know what love is Lucrecia or is your
soul as tarnished as that thing you claim to love?!!"
Lucrecia's expression changed, blunting Vincent's outrage and filling him with
shame. He turned away from her.
"I...I'm sorry. I didn't mean that." He whispered.
Lucrecia slowly stood up, her sad eyes fixed on Vincent.
"I know what love is, I carry it inside me, it grows like a flower in my being.
This child IS mine and Hojo's love, it is a seal. You will NEVER understand
that!" She sobbed.
That said, she left the room passing Vincent a deeply hurt look as she did so.

The thud of the gigantic gothic-style oak door shutting rang like a gunshot in
the room as Vincent sat by himself. He banged the table with his fist several
times as anger churned inside him.
"FUCK IT!" He shouted, banging the table a few more times.

* * * * * *

Hojo slammed the phone back into its' cradle on the desk and rose from the chair
clutching the fractured limb and wincing, more from fury than pain.
"Useless, stupid, narrow-minded IDIOTS!!" He screamed.
He began to pace.
"They demand results and then refuse to go the distance!! WHERE THE HELL AM I
He hissed through clenched teeth. The pain was getting worse by the minute.
He sat heavily back into the chair and rummaged around in the desk, babbling to
himself as he did so.
"I am too close now, I can't give up. I WONT GIVE UP!!"
He retracted another syringe from the desk, one marked 'CURE'.
The green fluid inside the hypodermic was a highly effective potion, one of the
products of Hojo's early research into Materia and its' properties. Secretly, it
had made him quite wealthy after the advent of Hi-potions which were double the
potency of their herbal forebears and considerably more expensive, not to
mention the fact that Hojo's research made them possible in the first place.
The stuff in the syringe glowed, seducively offering the pain relief and the
restoration that Hojo needed. He wrenched the cap off of the sliver of silver
and spat it away, pressing the needle into his skin just above the first
fracture and depressing the plunger, shoving the glowing liquid into the
highways of his arteries and blood vessels.
The pain died almost instantaneously as the materia-derived healer began to
reform the shattered bone. Hojo sighed in a relieved fashion as the screaming
nerves were silenced and, in moments, the bone healed. He retracted the syringe
and dropped it into a rubbish bin under the desk before reaching into the drawer
and removing a Project Jenova file marked P-AB-9776-A and a leather-bound
journal. Under the glow of a mako light, he opened the journal and eagerly began
to recount the incident in the lab.

* * * * * *

Morning light splashed lazily through the windows, splattering clean natural sun
onto the worn beams of the great table. Various pots and mugs adorned the table
and the aroma of fresh coffee slinked through the air currents of the room in an
ethereal yet quintessentially serpentine manner.
Vincent and Lucrecia sat in deathly silence, the wounds of their exchange the
previous afternoon still fresh in their minds. The only sounds were the
intermittent rustling of Vincent's newspaper and the soft slurp of coffee being
dispensed from a mug into his mouth followed by the clunk of the porceline
decanter being set back onto the table.
The two occasionally looked up, regarded the other but shied away before the
look could be returned.
The sound of the kitchen door opening made Vincent cringe behind the shield of
his paper. He knew it could only be one person.
Hojo entered the room briskly, his attention focused solely on a file marked
AX-93971. He closed the door and set the file onto the table as he poured a mug
of fresh black coffee and picked up an apple from a nearby fruitbowl.
"The third goblin test series was a failure." He sighed, closing the file and
sitting down heavily next to Lucrecia.
She smiled and gazed over at him. Vincent raised the newspaper and shook his
"Good morning professor." Lucrecia chirped.
Hojo swallowed the mouthful of coffee and turned to look at her, a weak yet
genuine smile coming over him as he did so.
"Good morning Lucrecia." He said.
The smile she was wearing suddenly faded, wiped from the canvas of her features
as surprise painted itself on in place of it. She gasped and sat up straight.
"Hojo, the baby just kicked!" She sighed.
Vincent's eyes flashed up and he peered over the edge of the newspaper, watching
Hojo with more than a casual interest.
Hojo's face simultaneously soared and darkened as a realisation, a thought
slithered through his narrowing eyes.
"!!" He hissed.
As Hojo watched, the tiny child stirred within Lucrecia's body, twitching subtly
and drawing a contented sigh from her. Hojo moved his hand, suspending it over
her abdomen like a clutch of talons, eyes bulging.
"E...Excuse me." Hojo hissed, racing from his seat and plunging across the room
for the door.
Moments later, the rattling of his boots on the basement steps echoed around the
Lucrecia smiled as she looked over to Vincent. He dropped the newspaper and
fixed his fiery gaze onto her.
"You saw that didn't you? He was overjoyed." Lucrecia sighed.
Vincent shrugged and turned back to the paper.
"That what you'd call that?"
He drank from the mug.
'I wouldn't call that joy...' He thought.
'More like...madness.'

* * * * * *

Hojo threw the basement door open, almost knocking it off its' hinges as he
raced inside. He locked the door and laughed, his heart soaring higher than the
"That's it, THAT'S IT!!" He shouted, a joy like angel song pouring from his
"A foetus, a foetus that is still developing! Both Jenova implant and host
develop at a parallel rate!"
"I'VE DONE IT!!" He shouted, throwing his arms into the air and laughing.
"A human with the power of the Ancients, I've realised mans' greatest desire!"
Hojo danced to his desk and opened one of the drawers, retracting a large
passcard. The card was made of silver and had a series of holes punched into it.
The word JENOVA was embossed along the top edge of the card.
Card clutched in his hand, Hojo crossed the room to the laboratory, opened the
door and entered the blue-washed room, crossing it to the dull grey curtain that
shielded the vault from view and tearing it away.
A huge steel-finished door sat against the dull rock of the wall, the only
features on it was a slot for the Jenova passcard and a well concealed hatch
just below.
Hojo pushed the card into the slit and there was a click as the hatch covering
opened, revealing a 10 digit code panel. Hojo smiled absently as he imputted the
9 digit access code into the panel.
There was a moment while the machine verified the code.
Upon doing so, there was a hiss as a pneumatic gear shifted and a heavy clunk as
a gigantic magnetic lock was disengaged, one much bigger than the one on the lab
door. Finally, the door slid into the ceiling allowing Hojo access to the
carefully climatised bunker in which Jenova was stored.
The room was dark and the air was frigid. A hidden air-conditioner unit sighed
its' cold breath into the bunker with a mournful sound forming a layer of
condensation on the steel sheathed tube in the centre of the small room. A small
red switch glowed in the darkness on the near wall, calling Hojo towards it.
"Jenova..." Hojo hissed, depressing the switch with a bony finger.
"...your secrets fall to me like a house of cards now!"
The sheath slid into the ceiling, the wet steel scratching against the cold
plexiglass as the room was flooded with light from the tube. The thing inside it
twitched slightly but remained docile.
Even Hojo could not help but be slightly sickened by the pulsing mass in the
tube of fluid. When he had first laid eyes on Jenova, he found it hard to
believe that it was alive let alone an ancient. Somehow he had expected them to
be beautiful, which this thing was far from with its' disfigured body.
Several tubes disappeared into the thing and were connected to ports in the side
of the tube to allow samples to be taken from it. Hojo reached into a pocket and
retracted two syringes. He pulled the cap off of the first one and pressed it
into the port, pulling back the plunger and drawing a thin tap of glowing fluid
from the specimin.
The thing made a noise, a groan or a growl, distorted through the fluid and the
plexiglass of the tube. Hojo pretended not to hear it and didn't look up as he
filled the first syringe, retracted it and repeated the process with the second
one. It didn't make a sound this time as he filled the second syringe, capped
both of them and returned them to his pocket.
He reached for the switch but paused to look at the specimin one last time. A
chill played the xylophone of his spine and pinched the skin of his head tight
as the silver spiders continued to relay race up and down his back. It was
watching him, he was certain of that. He could feel it watching, sense the
powerful mind that lay hidden somewhere inside the grotesque body. He smiled
again and depressed the switch, breaking the strange moment as the sheath was
summoned forth from the ceiling, showering the room in darkness and hiding the
blob with its' evil mind from view.
Hojo shivered as the chill of the air touched him. He smiled as he dropped his
arm to his side and walked out of the bunker, back into the well lit environs of
the office. He sat leisurely in the chair and took the journal out of one of the
drawers. He eagerly skipped the pages to the last entry and began to write on
the crisp white paper of a fresh page.

* * * * * *

Far from the usual chill of the air, the mid-afternoon sun seemed to stick to
the currents, heating them and wrapping the valley in a sheet of oppressive
barometrics. The vapourised Mako from Nibel-1 high atop Mt Nibel was doing
little to help the situation. Truth be told, it was worsening it turning the
chill of the winter air into some bastardised spring which held none of the
charms of either season.

Sweat crept down the nape of Vincent's neck as he walked briskly from the
mansion and down the crazy-paved tongue towards the guard station at the main
gate. Although necessary due to the sensitivity of the work being undertaken at
the mansion, Vincent could not help but feel the station was extraneous. The
most serious breaches of security were the infrequent passive glances from
townsfolk going about their daily lives. Nibelheim was the back of beyond, the
centre of nowhere; people just didn't care about the workings of Shinra. They
didn't even know what they were doing there and the risk of being shot for
trespassing outweighed their curiosity and kept them out of the compound.
Naturally, this lead to Hobby and Jansen having an extremely comfortable
posting. A typical day was spent smoking, drinking coffee or reading
publications of questionable taste and moral uprightness.
Sometimes they even cleaned their uniforms or polished their guns and boots but
that was only when they were really bored.
As Vincent approached, the familiar smell of coffee and cigarette smoke filled
his nostrils. Another typical day was in progress.
Jansen was sitting half asleep in a chair, cigarette drooping neglectedly from
his lips as Vincent came into the hut.
"Jansen." Vincent called, alerting the slumbering man's attention.
"Where's Hobby?"
Rubbing his eyes with the backs of his hands and brushing ash from his uniform,
Jansen sat up and extinguished the cigarette in a nearby ashtray.
"I sent him to the Item shop to buy more coffee."
Vincent nodded.
"Hojo and Lucrecia went out this morning. Did they say when they would be back?"
He asked.
Jansen shook his head.
"Didn't say. They were wearing their overcoats then they disappeared up the
mountain trail."
Vincent nodded.
"Thanks Jansen."
He started back towards the house.

Taking a pregnant woman up Mt Nibel seemed a little foolish to Vincent and he
felt a tiny pang of worry nibble at his mind as he stalked the empty passageways
of the mansion. Despite that, this was the perfect opportunity, the opportunity
he had been waiting for.
After that strange episode at breakfast, Vincent had felt uneasy. A fear, slight
and transient though it was had risen inside him and he had become more
determined than ever to find the answeres he sought.
As he descended the conch-shell spiral into the dank bowels of the earth, the
hair on the back of his neck began to stand on end and a tiny sliver of
adrenaline made a jail-break the prison of a gland and escaped with lightning
speed into the sprawl of Vincent's blood vessels.
A strange atmosphere possessed the lower levels of the building and as he fell
further into the maw of the basement Vincent sensed a great suffering slopping
like a black tide against the damp walls, trying to pull him in and drown him.
It was a strange, almost psychic feeling and the whole place took on a menacing
aura, seeming to grow darker and darker the further into it Vincent went.
The door at the bottom; just a featureless oak door, no decoration with a brass
handle seemed to be irreversably tarnished now and as Vincent grasped the
handle, his hand seemed to buzz, intensifying the gloom and the depravity of the
basement and identifying the room beyond as the source of the black tide. The
Vincent cautiously proceded inside, fumbling in the darkness for a light switch.
Dark images raced through his head while his heart tried to burst through his
ribcage with its' bass drum thunder.
Mutilated bodies hung from blood-stained chains and hooks on the ceiling,
dripping in mucus and groaning in anguish as they waited to die. The fortunate
ones that had rotted where they hung as one of Hojo's monsterous creations, some
half-human half-spider blasphemy clacked its' mandibles and teeth against the
bones of the dead, sharpening talons with human skulls.

Light beamed from the mako sun, eradicating this surreal-nightmare-fantasy world
Vincent had created. No hooks, no chains and certainly no spider things scaling
blood glazed walls. Vincent let out a sigh of relief but remained tense all the
same. Maybe the horrors of the basement would not be so readily displayed, even
if they were there.
Vincent cooly regarded the magnetically-sealed door to the laboratory with a
quiet disgust. He hated going in there, the things that had gone on in that
room, and that was just to animals. He was thankful to Hojo in some way at
least, he was never asked to observe experiments anymore. That had raised his
curiosity but when professor Gast left ranting and fuming to himself, Vincent's
suspicions had been roused to the point of paranoia. Gast was a man of science
but he had managed to retain his morals. For him to leave like that was indeed
most strange. He had been totally committed to the Jenova Project; for him to
abandon all that and leave without a word...the possibility made Vincent cringe
inside, the realisation of what might actually be going on haunted him and as
much as he wanted to know he simultaneously didn't.
He ignored the lab, heading instead to Hojo's office.
The room itself was well lit and adorned with many books, mostly about materia
and magic. Some of them were even by Hojo, centred around his frenzied obsession
with materia and strange ideas about its' relationship with humans but the
centre piece of the room was the desk and it called to Vincent.
Vincent answered the call, knowing that Hojo kept all his most important
documents there making it the most likely place to find the answers he needed.
Sitting heavily in the seat, Vincent opened the first drawer and peered inside.
Pens, mansion keys and a block of writing paper. No files or other Project
Jenova materials.
Vincent closed the drawer and opened the next one. A small box containing the
keycard to the Jenova specimin rattled as the drawer moved, scraping over the
surface of a file. Swatting the box out of the way, Vincent lifted the file and
opened the cover. His eyebrow cocked as he read the title page.
"Human organism?" Vincent hissed.
The chances of Hojo delving into human experimentation seemed to have increased.
Whatever this Gaea Soul thing was, obviously involved human experimentation, the
very title betrayed that fact.
"What about the Jenova Project though?" Vincent thought aloud as he replaced the
file into the desk.
Vincent sighed aloud and began to close the drawer but something caught his
attention and he took his hand away from the finely smoothed handle.
The drawer was deeper than the bottom would have somebody believe. Leaning in
closer, Vincent saw a tiny space between the walls of the drawer and the bottom
"What's this?" He asked aloud.
He ran his finger along the panel and it moved a little.
"A concealed bottom?"
Clawing at the panel with his fingernails, Vincent lifted it out and put it on
the desk.
Revealed in the hidden space was a leather-bound journal.
Vincent lifted the book out of the drawer and set it on the table, staring at it
strangely for a moment. This was it. Did he really want to know as much as he
thought he did?
With shaky resolve, Vincent opened the cover and began to read, ignoring the
earlier entries and skimming through until a patch of erratic handwriting broke
the usual obsessive flawlessness. He read the entry, dated 5 weeks previously.
'That moron Gast finally gave up and quit last night and left the mansion. Good
riddance anyway. One more lecture from him about the ethics and the morals I was
breaking and I would have lost it. I ask, what room do these antiquated codes
and rules have? Morals and ethics? They serve only to restrain brilliant minds,
mire the world in the past so that a decadent few elites control the flocks with
ever advancing 'progress'. What I am doing here is progress not robotics or any
of those toys but the evolution of the organic human form, a step closer to the
supreme being, an image of a god on the earth! The shortsightedness of people
like Gast infuriates me. What right have they to deny humanity evolution? Why
wait for nature to take its' course when I know the map for the path forward?
Pretentious moral doesn't blind me...'
Vincent felt the nape of his neck freeze solid as a blizzard poured down his
spine. His eyes had read the words but he did not understand them. These were
surely the ravings of a madman?
He quickly turned the page, his stomach churning precariously as he began to
devour the words of another entry, this one dated 3 and a half weeks ago.
'Test series AB-761-A was a failure, the last of the subjects had to be
terminated this morning. I find myself thankful to Shinra for without their
architectural fascism in Midgar, the slums would not have formed and I would not
have access to an inexhaustible supply of useless human beings, the leftovers of
humanity.That said though, I have lost over 20 specimins in the last week alone
and although fruitful, I had better not drain Midgar too quickly. Questions will
be asked even if it is just a bunch of tramps that are disappearing and this
must remain clandestine at all costs. Maybe an internal memo to Junon? A big
city like that and the dump below it should be full of the homeless and the
hopeless. Specimins from both should be sustainable and at least they will get
the chance to better humanity instead of sucking from it like cancerous
There was more but Vincent turned away from it, gulping in air greedily. He was
certain more than ever that he was going to be sick as his churning stomach
became a burning cyclone within in.
"That's why Gast left!" He hissed.
After a long long moment, Vincent quelled the urge to throw up and forced
himself to look back at the evil book. He flipped onto a series of shorter
entries each of them dated the past week. One elated scribble caught his eye and
drew him to read.
Cyclonic swirling began again as Vincent read the paragraph two, three times
making sure he had not misread it but praying that he had. He hadn't. A shocked
silence descended and Vincent sat back in the chair.
"He used a child?!" Vincent hissed, his voice echoing in the room.
"He infused Jenova cells into a CHILD?!!"
The search was over.
Vincent had the evidence he sought in his hands yet something compelled him to
read further. He didn't want to, he didn't even want to touch the evil book, the
tome of madness written with the blood of virgins that sat like a slain incubus
on the table, sin rolling from its' black skin like a black bible. As much as it
sickened Vincent, he had to read on. Something he couldn't understand told him
that worse things awaited discovery.
He turned the page quickly then recoiled his hand, some fear buzzed and hissed
inside his head persuading him that prolonged exposure to the pages and the ink
would infect him with Hojo's madness as if the ink were actually some evil venom
that would seep from the wicked text and poison Vincent too.
The last two entries were dated the day before and the last one today. Vincent
read the first of the entries, pushing the urge to be sick downwards, back into
his stomach.
'P-AB-9776-A died last night and I have lost my most important specimin to date.
However, the incident in the laboratory in the final moments of its' life have
given me fresh resolve to move onwards. It all makes sense to me now, my
hypothesis about parallel development was correct but it seems that 7 years of
age was still too old for a successful grafting. Although fundamentally flawed,
it is my belief that, save for the Cetra themselves, this was the most advanced
human being to date.
Its' strength was unbelievable, a child managed to break my arm in 3 places when
it grabbed me and its' telekinetic abilities were nothing less than astonishing.
I could actually feel its' mind pressing against my own, could sense its'
emotions as it communicated with me. All this was achieved in a child of 7.
Ultimately, I believe it was its' own power than killed it, the human too weak
to sustain the greatness of its' advance. Once again I attribute the
neutralisation of the subject to a failure of parallel development thus leaving
me with a few problems to resolve before I conduct my final test. I know now
what has to be done...'
Before Vincent had a chance to react to the words he had just read, footsteps
broke his attention on the book. He looked up and saw Hojo and Lucrecia walking
into the basement hand-in-hand.
"You son-of-a-bitch!" Vincent hissed, rising from the chair.
Hojo stopped, removed his glasses and began to wipe the lenses with a cloth.
Lucrecia looked nervously at Vincent and then back to Hojo.
"What are you doing in here Vincent?" Hojo asked, polishing the lenses
completely and perching the glasses back on his nose.
Vincent disregarded the question and moved from behind the desk with his fists
balled up tight.
"You were using humans in the Jenova experiments?!" He snapped.
Hojo fixed his razor-eyed gaze onto Vincent and smiled.
"Of course we were."
Anger pulsed through Vincent as he looked over to Lucrecia.
"You knew about this aswell?!" He asked her, the ferocity of his gaze forcing
her to look away.
She nodded.
"We had to. The monster test series failed."
Vincent almost exploded.
"These are human beings, not monsters!! What kind of animals are you two?!!" He
Hojo smiled.
"You do not approve Vincent?" He asked.
"I'm against it. Why experiments on humans?" He hissed, his fury settling a
Hojo's face darkened, his eyes taking on an evil glimmer.
"She and I are both scientists!" He snapped.
"I was driven to it by my desire to learn and to discover! Morals must give way
to so pure a cause, they MUST! You should have left with that other pretentious
small-minded cretin Gast!" Hojo seethed.
Lucrecia shied under Hojo's tirade. Something in her eyes and the way she looked
up at Vincent should have told him she was ashamed of what she had done but he
was too angry to see it.
"If being small-minded means I keep my humanity, then so be it!" Vincent hissed
as he headed for the door.
"God forbid I would ever end up like you!"

Angry footsteps rattled up the conch-shell followed moments later by the
slamming of a bedroom door.
Hojo stood motionless for a while before moving to the desk and putting the
journal back into the drawer. Lucrecia watched him through worried eyes.
"Hojo?" She murmured.
He looked up.
"What?" He asked.
"We did only do one human test series, didn't we?" She asked.
Hojo watched her in silence for a moment and then smiled as reassuringly as he
could manage.
"Yes." He lied.
"It's just, he seemed really angry over only 3 people."
Hojo smiled and walked back to Lucrecia, taking her hands and kissing her
"I wouldn't concern yourself with Vincent, he is only a grunt. He does not have
the mind to understand us. Besides, what is done is done."
Lucrecia nodded.
"I think we shall stay at the Inn tonight, there is a strange atmosphere around
this place." Hojo said.
He pulled his wallet out of the full length leather overcoat and took out 50
"Here, you take this and go and book us a room. I have one or two loose ends to
deal with here and then I will follow you over, ok?"
Lucrecia nodded, smiled weakly and then headed for the door.
Hojo smiled as he watched her go but his smile faded as soon as she was out of
the room. He went over to the desk and opened up one of the drawers, retracting
a handgun. He loaded it, chambered a round and then slipped the weapon into a
hidden pocket inside his coat.
Next he pulled a clipboard from a nearby wall and read it. He picked up a pen
and began to write.
'Hojo, Professor. Logging out 2x 20ml Hypodermics. Mako enriched J-Cells.' He
signed it and replaced the board on the wall.
He crossed the room with a loud sigh and headed out to the stairs.
Inside his head swirled a million things, mostly concerning what he would
accomplish by the end of the night and what he would have to do to get there.

* * * * * *

Night descended quickly, the last rays of the sun managing to burn off the Mako
vapours and reveal the tappestry of stars in the sky. The moon hung deep and
moody blue in the sky surrounded by its' millions of adoring stars as it took
over the night shift from the sun, charged with illuminating the world.
Vincent sat on his window ledge and silently observed the stars and the moon and
the fading lights of the town as sleep descended upon weary bodies and huddled
them off to a land free of pain or thought inhabited solely by the warmth of
unconsciousness. How he wished he could go to that place but he knew it was
He sighed forlornly as he unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and threw his
black tie to the floor, clutching his head with a weary hand.
"How could I not have known?" He whispered, words melting into the endlessness
of the night.
"All those trucks, all those many has he killed?"
Pain wrenched at his heart.
"How many have they killed...?"
He stood up and picked the bottle of whisky up from his writing desk, placing
the cold glass to his lips and drinking a huge mouthful. Fire raced down his
throat but he quelled it with another mouthful.
"Why did she have to do it?"
He sat on the edge of the bed and clutched the whisky bottle like a lifeline as
he pushed back the want to cry.
"Damn it, damn it, damn it..."
Vincent swigged at the whisky again and clutched his head.
Something else still pressed at his head though, something still bothered him.
Without a word, he stood up and left the room, acting from a pure complusion
To hell with logical reason, the whisky had sorted that problem for him.

He crossed the landing and went down the stairs, opening the front door and
stepping out into the cool night air. The effects of the whisky, sneaked up to
him, carried to him on the chill of the night. His head felt fuzzy and his
stomach burned as he walked steadily to the guard box.
Hobby was sat in it this time.
"Where's Jansen?" Vincent asked.
"Gone for a leak." Hobby replied.
"If Hojo comes back stall him will you?" Vincent asked.
Hobby looked up, confusion etching itself onto his plump face.
"Stall him? What for?"
"Just do it Hobby, will you?"
Hobby nodded slowly.
"You alright Mr Valentine?" He asked.
"No." Vincent hissed.
"No, I'm not."

Vincent walked back to the house, head lowered and slouching as he walked.
Hobby watched him, shrugged and went back to the magazine he was reading.
"Wish I had some whisky." He sighed.

Vincent tore open the drawer and saw it lying there, the slain demon with its'
human-flesh pages. Neat paragraphs that told of bloodshed and murder as perfect
as a typeset written in poison from a distorted mind.
The leather felt greasy as though it were painted in pretty patterns of blood
and the tears of the dying whose desecrations were written of so perfectly on
the snow-white paper. Was it just his imagination, he was sure that his fingers
would be stained if he touched the cursed binding. Vincent opened the journal
and flipped through the despicable rantings to that last page of venom, the
final entry dated that day.
A blizzard of silver ashes ran the length of his spine again, countering the
effects of the alcohol and focusing Vincent's mind onto what lay before him. He
needed a different answer now.
Hojo's depravity was there for him to see but he still doubted Lucrecia, he had
to doubt her. Surely he couldn't have been so totally wrong about her?
Was she as monsterous as Hojo?
Only afterwards had that look of self-disgust and shame plastered onto her face
registered in Vincent's mind. He did not know how he knew but he knew that
something he needed to know inhabited the paper of that last page. Whether or
not he would like what was about to be read, he continued onwards anyway.

'She is amazing but she doesn't even know it. She has shown me the way forward.
She carries, literally, the means by which my dream shall be realised in her
womb. What a fool I have been to not think this before. Of all the organisms in
the world, of all the things only a child as yet unborn, a foetus could be the
only thing in which parallel development is attainable. If Jenova were
introduced while it was still in the womb, still developing itself then both the
human and the Jenova synthesis would start at a perfectly parallel rate. By the
time she gives birth, the Jenova cells will have fused with the base pairs of
the child's DNA, the two will be intertwined, as one, inseperable; a flawless
human specimin with all the powers of the ancients.
Now that I am this close, I feel daunted. A rich man who has nothing more to
buy. My lifes' work will be realised here, today. I cannot help but feel a
little overwhelmed.
To think that 5 minutes of carnal pleasure and a few months of feined emotional
attachment should bring mankind to this juncture, the birth even of a new and
better human race...
My next step, the negotiation for the transferrance of 1 billion Gil for the
inception of the Gaea Soul Project.
They will surely approve when I tell them what it will do...a human with the
strength and the psychic ability of the master race coupled with the ability to
use all the Elemental Forces, Magic if you will without having to use materia.
If my hypothesis is accurate, the human produced in such a manner would have
actual materia within their being turning them into a conductor for all the
powers of the Planet! Thus, when they procreate, an entirely new totally
superior kind of human lifeform will emerge. Once these 'superhumans' have
sufficiently spread their seed, the obsolete version of the human race will be
forced into extinction, as is the way with evolution. The weak and worthless
falling before the strong and flickering out like so many candles in a storm.
Nature is unkind, so can science be. Pleasentries and progress don't make for a
happy relationship, therefore pleasentries are inconsequential.
She has made all this possible. She should be honoured I have chosen to
sacrifice her to usher all this into being. She will live on in part within the
child I suppose...
I lose myself.
I have the Jenova Cells, mako enriched ones this time. All is set.
Long shall tonight be remembered. They will look back and realise that this
night was the night I remade the human race and remade it better.
I suppose, technically, that makes me some kind of god.
That has a definate ring to it.'

Had not he been distracted, it was certain that Vincent would have thrown up.
He had suspected something needed to be discovered but this was worse than
anything he could have imagined. Fortunately, or not as would soon transpire,
something ripped Vincent away from this nightmare crumbling corridor in which he
was trapped, a sound; primal, anguished and laden with agony hacked into his
mind like a rusty hook. It was a scream.
Vincent raced up the conch shell and burst into the upper landing with a
desperate shout, unaware until halfway along the hallway that he had even moved.
Crashing through doors and finally coming into his own bedroom, he raced over to
the window and thrust his eyes out into the night as a second scream shattered
the golden looking glass of tranquility, flooding the world with wraiths and
demons of fear and terror.
In the garden below, Hobby and Jansen had come out of the box and the tip of a
cigarette burned like a great red eye in the night as Jansen cocked his
machinegun and looked around. Muffled sounds of the two guards talking reached
Vincent but he couldn't make out what they were saying as the front gates
rattled and opened.
Squinting, Vincent made out the tall lean figure. Moonlight glistened wetly on
the leather overcoat which flowed like a cloak around the wirey frame. It was
Lucrecia was not with him.
She was heavily pregnant afterall and she may just have lagged behind.
Vincent waited and waited but after a few moments that possibility ruled itself
out. Hojo closed the gate and wandered up the path, wiping something from his
face with a cloth as he walked.
As requested, Hobby stepped forward and halted Hojo. Vincent heard some inane
babble, something about a report or the like as Hobby tried his hardest to stop
the professor from going inside.
Hojo grabbed the burly guard by the scruff of the neck and hurled him to the
ground 'Get out of my way!' he shouted as he stepped over the fallen man and
continued for the house, again wiping something from his face.
Vincent watched for a moment whilst Jansen helped his friend up. Hobby swore and
made a rude gesture to Hojo before lighting a cigarette and disappearing back
into the guard box, chunnering his discontentment to Jansen.
Vincent was moving again, running back to the basement where he knew Hojo had
gone. His head was spinning and terror clutched around his heart as it
mercilessly battered his ribs.

He descended the conch-shell with such frightening speed that he nearly tripped
several times, finally reaching the basement and crashing through the door just
as Hojo sat at the desk and looked at the open journal. His eyes were red and he
had obviously been crying. He blotted a tear with a handkerchief as he spoke,
his voice level and possessed with a distance not unlike that in somebody who
was mourning.
"You came in here again, didn't you?" He asked without looking up.
"Where's Lucrecia?" Vincent demanded, the ferocity of the question drawing
Hojo's attention.
"At the Inn." He replied.
Vincent turned and headed for the door but stopped dead as Hojo called after
"I wouldn't waste your time Vincent, she wont be able to hear you."
Vincent spoke without turning around.
"What have you done Hojo? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!!"
Hojo smiled and looked back at the desk.
"If it makes you feel any better, she was asleep when I introduced her and the
child to Jenova. She wasn't in as much pain as the others were."
Vincent turned and felt the stopcock for his rage explode within him.
Hojo smiled and wearily clasped his hands together.
"Oh, she's still alive. Just. I don't imagine she will die, not until after she
has the baby anyway."
Hojo sighed and sat back in the chair, his arms dropping to the rests with an
almost defeated clap. He smiled almost reminiscently.
"It was harder to do than I thought, she is actually quite beautiful when she is
sleeping. Still..."
He sat forward.
"...that must give way to advancement. You can surely see that Vincent? What I
have done on this night is remove the wonderous power of evolution from the
wreckless hands of nature and placed it under human control..."
His hands curled as if he were holding something.
" control..."
An overwhelming desire to run overtook Vincent and the only reason he stood his
ground was the counterbalancing desire, equally overwhelming, to wrap his
fingers around Hojo's throat and squeeze until all signs of life escaped from
his body.
"I was wrong about you Hojo..." Vincent whispered.
"...not even a monster could do what you have done on this night."
A scowl broke through Hojo's strange little smile, eradicating it as Vincent
stepped closer to him.
"You're sick. You're evil Hojo. How could you...?" Vincent spluttered, enraged
and mournful tears leaking from his bitter eyes.
Hojo's face darkened further as he stood up, the overcoat glistening and
dripping down him like oil.
"...I am a scientist..." He hissed through clenched teeth.
"...that gives me the right to do what I wish!"
MIND?!!" Vincent howled, his anger overtaking him now.
Hojo smiled but his eyes were bead of furies set in grey canvas.
Hojo reached into the overcoat and wrenched a gigantic hangun from a hidden
holster. The size and the shape were consistent with an Osprey 950, the single
most powerful handgun Shinra had ever developed.
Despite its' huge size, Hojo's hand didn't so much as twitch as he trained it on
The transformation in the man was frightening. In moments he had gone from
semi-remorseful to this, a man staring out onto the abyss of madness. His eyes
were crazed, possessed and narrowed to mere knife slits, all remorse erased by
"You, you and was you and Gast, you tried to stop me...IT WAS YOU!!"
He spat.
"You would destroy me, destroy my mind, stop me fulfilling my desires..."
Vincent held his hands up and took a step back, fixing his gaze on the gun.
"Hojo! Hojo have you gone mad?!"
Hojo was moving, he slithered from behind the desk with the weapon still trained
on Vincent. His head was lowered slightly and his eyes burned ever harder over
the rims of his glasses.
"I DESPISE WEAK MINDS!!" He screamed.
The shot was deafening and the muzzle flash drowned out even the mako ceiling
light for a brief moment.
Vincent sensed something hit his left arm and then everything drained away, time
slipped to a crawl and the room began to move as he started to collapse.
The musical clicking of a spent shell casing dancing on the floor filled
Vincent's ears as it bounced a few times and then fell to a slithering rasp as
it rolled along the floor.
Pain raced through Vincent's body as he hit the floor. Time returned to normal
as another sound, the sound of a lot of blood splattering onto the floor filled
Vincent's ears.
He moved, tried to move his arm but nothing responded, forcing him to look over.
Surely it wasn't that bad, the pain was not too severe. Vincent squinted and
brought his shocked eyes into focus.
His arm was lying several feet away from his body, the single shot had passed
through and severed it just below the elbow. He groaned as dark bullies of pain
and shock took turns to batter him and he almost choked as he turned his head
and was violently sick.
Footsteps on the conch-shell broke the ice. Vincent tried to call out, warn
Jansen and Hobby not to come in but it was too late. His voice failed to
respond, making only a weak sighing sound like a dying creature taking its'
final pain-wracked breath.
Hojo's gaze snapped towards the door as a boot met it and kicked it in.
Jansen emerged from the splintered door. He looked at Vincent and raised his
machinegun but lived just long enough to utter one sound 'What...?'
Hojo discharged the Osprey 950 again, exploding Jansen's cranium and splattering
his brain matter onto the wall. Blood showered Vincent as Jansen collapsed dead
to the floor, his body convulsing violently and showering Vincent in rushes of
blood from severed arteries.
Hojo broke into a purposeful jog as he left the room, alerted by more footsteps.
"Hobby..." Vincent groaned, trying with all his might to shout as he spat blood
out of his mouth.
Deafening claps like thunder over a mountain range in Perdition rocked the
mansion as Hojo fired 4 or 5 times, the first 2 shots drawing horrible screams
but the subsequent ones entering silently, hitting flesh from which life had
already fled. There was a thud as Hobby's devastated body hit the floor and then
the clapping of boots on cold stone as Hojo came back into the room.
Somewhere, deep within, Vincent managed to tap into a hidden well of strength
and prop himself onto his right elbow. Hojo smiled as he walked over, his arm
and the gun dropped to his side as his murderous rampage ended.
Much of the madness seemed to have left him, despite the fact he had just
murdered 2 people in cold blood. Vincent didn't want to be the third but his
head was swimming, he was nauseous and was bleeding heavily.
Hojo put the Osprey 950 back into its' holster and knelt next to Vincent.
"Advances must prevail over people, Vincent. I will not allow stupidity to stand
in my way, not now. I'm too close."
The supporting arm collapsed and Vincent fell to the cold floor once again,
darkness to growing like cancer across the peripherals of his vision. Hojo's
face began to grow smaller in the darkness as though Vincent were moving away
from him as Death started to swallow his mind.
"You...bastard..." Vincent hissed.
The sounds of blood splattering pounded in his head and the quivering of Jansens
dead body were the last things Vincent experienced before consciousness
abandoned him.

Hojo took the sleeve from the severed limb and used it to apply a tight
tourniquet to the bleeding stump of Vincent's left arm. He checked Vincent's
pulse found it to be weak but persistent then wiped the blood from his hands and
stood up, smiling at the unconscious man on the floor.
"Perhaps you would understand what I am doing if you became part of my studies.
You must be strong, the shock of losing a limb like that would kill most
men...strong enough to embrace Jenova perhaps?"
Hojo frowned.
"Hmmm, I wonder...?"

* * * * * *

BEGIN: Birth of J-9999:37-C IMMINENT. Request immediate medical/scientific
support. Logged dessertion of Guards 1st Class, Jansen and Hobby and Turk Agent
1st Class Vincent Valentine. Additional security support requested URGENT.
Pull out from Nibelheim will commence immediately with complete transmission of
Project Jenova material to follow after birth of J-9999:37-C.

* * * * * *

The creature in the bed screamed as it gave birth, the huddle of scientists and
orderlies rushing in obscuring Hojo's view of the new lifeform.
His heart raced and he felt panic surge through his being as he saw the baby
being taken away wrapped in a white towel. A limp arm hung from the side,
perfectly formed. Human though the skin was worryingly grey.
A monitor screamed as the creature in the bed lost consciousness, the last part
of Lucrecia slipping away as the strength that had allowed her to have the baby
dried up.
Several people rushed to her but Hojo drifted towards the tiny baby wrapped in
the dirtied blanket.
"Get the hell out of my way!" Hojo hissed, shoving two white-coated minions out
of his path.
The baby had not made so much as a sound yet and Hojo's heart thumped against
his ribs almost arresting as he picked the child up and found it lifeless.
"Oh no..." He whispered.
"Not another failure..."
He waited with baited breath as he held it closer.
"Don't be dead..." He hissed.
A cough, a tiny splutter then the tiny head with its' wisps of silver hair
moved, quivered. The arm began to move and the corpse-grey softened to a tender
pink. Hojo smiled broadly.
It's tiny little face was so peaceful, all of its' features perfectly formed and
when it opened its' eyes for the first time Hojo was struck by piercing emerald
Hojo leaned in closer and the tiny babys' eyes erupted with light. Hojo watched
in wonder, the only thing piercing through the light was the green eruption as
the sparkling emeralds lit up too. Hojo was dazzled. What were only seconds
seemed like days as he admired the burning fires in his sons' eyes. After a long
moment, the warmth of light dried away and the child let out a cry, one so
utterly forced it was like an actor playing on a stereotype. The child fell
silent and lay in Hojo's arms watching him intently.
"It worked!" Hojo gasped, elation radiating from his face as though he were an
"My son!"
The baby turned to look at Lucrecia and then back at Hojo.
"Sephiroth. I shall call you Sephiroth."
The baby nodded as one of the Shinra medics took him and began to clean him up
and check him out. Sephiroth submitted himself to their poking and prodding
without uttering so much as a whimper, making a sound every now and then like a
sigh as he was cleaned, weighed, measured and generally inspected.
Hojo watched in amazement for a few moments.
"Make sure he is well enough to travel." Hojo ordered, crossing the room to the
creature in the bed.
They had cleaned her up and made her a little more comfortable but she was
unconscious still. Her skin was deathly grey and her breathing sounded weak and
raspy. The only other signs of life were displayed on the monitors that adorned
Two men in protective suits and masks flanked Hojo.
"What do you want done with...this, sir?" One of them asked.
Hojo smiled.
"Have it moved to one of the storage pods at Nibel-1. If it dies on the way have
the body destroyed."
The man nodded.
"Are we all set?" Hojo asked.
"Yes. Your files have been packed onto the Gelnika and are en route to Midgar.
What about all these books?"
"Leave them."
The two men nodded.
"And the Jenova specimin?"
Hojo sighed.
"It will be stored at Nibel-1 along with the failed specimins. Security is not
essential, it would take a nuclear blast to get through the bunker we have had
installed there."
Hojo turned and headed for the door.
"A Gelnika will be arriving shortly to collect it. Apart from that, the pull-out
is complete. Put her in a stretcher and take her up in one of the vans." Hojo
ordered, pointing to Lucrecia.
The two sicophants nodded and busied themselves readying Lucrecia for transport
as Hojo left the room.
He ascended the conch-shell slowly, arms folded as Shinra underlings scurried
here and there.
Hojo emerged from the gloom of the basment and crossed the upper landing, going
to the last room on this level and reaching into his pocket for a key. He
unlocked the door and slipped inside quietly.

A lifeless body lay in the bed, the only piece of furniture in the room. It
barely breathed.
Hojo smiled as he stared down at it.
"I don't expect you can hear me Vincent, actually, I don't expect you to survive
much longer. I would take you with me but Gelnika's are only so big you know!"
Vincent did not move or reply. His breathing was almost non-existant and was
almost inaudible.
Hojo smiled again.
"Lucrecia survived the birth but I don't think you would care for her now. Not
that it really matters, not where you're going."
Hojo turned and reached for the door handle, grasping it confidently.
"Who knows, if your lifestream becomes a materia you might become part of the
Gaea Soul Project, meet my son..."
Hojo opened the door but stopped.
"Oh, I almost forgot. If you do somehow pull through, you might notice your left
arm is a little different. I fitted a rather fetching prosthetic. The shot
caused too much damage and after 5 Jenova infusions, the tissue would have been
rejected by your new body anyway so I disposed of the arm and gave you that as a
Hojo chuckled as he crossed into the lighted landing.
"Well then, I guess this is farewell Agent Valentine. I have left a lovely piece
of accomodation for you in the basement if you make it!"
The near-dead creature in the bed remained silent and motionless.
Hojo smiled as he relocked the bedroom door and sealed Vincent inside.
He laughed to himself as he descended the stairs to the lobby where a group of
lackies were waiting for him.
Hojo arrived just in time to see a large black-finished coffin being taken into
the basement. As he watched the coffin dissappear he smiled to himself.
Another orderly walked carefully from the stairs carrying a carry-cot with
Sephiroth in it. Hojo carefully took the child and pulled his car keys out of
his pocket.
"We're all ready sir, the pull out is complete. The woman thing is on her way to
Nibel-1 and we are awaiting the arrival of the Gelnika to take the Jenova
Hojo nodded.
"Good. I am driving myself and the child to Port Cole, north of Rocket town
whereupon a Gelnika will be sent to collect us."
The group of orderlies nodded.
"Very well then. I shall see you in Midgar gentlemen." Hojo said, walking
briskly to the main door.
"We are on the dawn of a new age. Exciting things lie ahead."
With that, Hojo opened the door and stepped outside.

The morning sun brought a smile to Hojo's face as he walked around the side of
the building to a large carport. His was the only car in the port, a blue sports
car, a Delsche Wraith. His profits from the introduction of various
materia-related potions had earned him enough to buy the car one hundred times
over and he enjoyed it. Sun glistened wetly off of the metallic blue of the
bodywork and danced in whorls on the glass of the windscreen as he approached
the two-door car with his son in the carry-cot.
Hojo unlocked the passenger door and opened it. He placed the cot on the soft
leather seat and secured it firmly in place. He closed the door as quietly as
possible but inevitably woke Sephiroth up.
The child's eyes pulled into focus with alarming speed and he watched Hojo
circle the car and get into the drivers' side of the vehicle. Hojo fastened his
seatbelt and looked up, falling into the emerald pools of his son's eyes. Light
rippled through them like sunlight touching the crests of ocean waves and then
Sephiroth looked away as if disinterested.
Hojo watched for a moment then brought the engine to life with a roar. He
depressed the clutch pedal and shifted the sleek chrome-finished gear stick into
1. Sephiroth watched every move with an unnatural interest as if his brand new
mind could already understand the workings of the world around him. Hojo looked
at the boy and in that instant knew that he had understood the mechanics of the
manual transmission. How he could have know was a mystery but the gleam in his
irridescent eyes was one of understanding and of pride in that knowledge. The
baby was smiling contentedly to himself as he watched.
Hojo smiled as he pulled away from the mansion.
"You are going to change the world someday Sephiroth..." He sighed.
"...someday soon."
The baby seemed to smile knowingly at Hojo, agreeing with his statement then
turned his attention to the windscreen, focusing his wonder onto the new world
in which he found himself. Hojo floored the gas, leaving the frozen hell of
Nibelheim in the rear-view mirror, a place he personally wished he would never
see again.

* * * * * *

TO: User 97986
SUBJECT: The last specimin; Vincent Valentine. Anomalous reaction to Jenova
fusion was detected in this specimin. His physical mutation level was less than
5% overall but I noted the transformation into at least 4 separate and violent
entities during my short time with the specimin. It seems that the Jenova cells
have given him the ability to mould actual emotions or parts of his psyche into
living beings. Throughout the period, the subject was in a coma and seemed
unable to control much if any of the transformations. It seems that furious
emotion or emotional extremes cause this to happen, I refer you to my thesis on
people who claim to have experienced the mythical 'Limit Break' state, a state
where a sudden eruption of emotion, usually rage, causes them to have access to
strength or ability that they do not posess under normal circumstances.
If this is the case, the subject is of no value to us or the ongoing SOLDIER
experimentation. Such power without control is too unstable to use as a weapon.
I have been granted the sum of 1billion Gil to ensure the inception of the Gaea
Soul project, codenamed for security reasons, Osiris-965 from here on in.
I believe that Osiris-965 will truly create the beings we are hoping for and I
am starting testing next week on the first batch of subjects.
Before we left I had Subject Valentine terminated and the body burned. We cannot
guarantee that it would have been dead, Jenova cells have an extreme resiliance.
Destruction of the body was necessary to ensure not only the safety of the
townsfolk but of our interests in that region aswell.
As always, I will keep you abreast of my progress and I am looking forward to
working together on this fundamental breakthrough.
... ... ... ...MESSAGE RECEIVED BY USER 97986... ... ... ...
... ... ... ...CLOSING FILE ... ... DONE.

* * * * * *
7 Months later:

Night clung like oil to the town, smudging light out and blurring shapes with
deep twists of shadow. Wind rattled at the gates but fell into a fearful silence
as a frightful howl of anguish pierced the night, rattling in the low mountain
canyons and drawing tiny pin-pricks of light from the hushed windows of the
Something stirred in the mansion, something dying arose again to walk the earth,
its' tormented cries instilling terror in the hearts of those who heard it.
A twisted shape carrying a tormented mind called out into the endless fathoms of
the night, its' voice the howl of horrific demons and the weeping of broken
dreams rolled into a silken carpet of anquish.
Agonised howling followed and then the tortured voice screamed again, wrapped in
a crippling shroud of anguish that drew a tear from the stars.
"L U C R E C I A!!!"

* * * * *

"This body is...the punishment that's been given to me...I was stop
Hojo...and Lucrecia...I was unable to stop them...all that I was able to do was
watch...that is my punishment..."

"This... is my story."