The Color of Blood Chapter 1
By Brady Bryner, Bill Shofstall, & Anthony McKinley
Rocket Town, Airfield 5:32 PM Jan. 13
Cid Highwind slid his flight goggles over his eyes. He snuffed his cigarette, then tightening his grip upon the flight stick. The recently built airfield was in well working order. Cid's Tiny Bronco II was ready to make its first test flight. He took a deep breath and turned on the propellers. The plane began moving forward. It was much more aerodynamic than the original, using Reeve's technology for jet planes. Cid flipped several switches, each turning on another part of the thruster. The single jet engine turned on, the thruster spouting flame as the plane took off, shooting along at extremely high speeds. He looked at the left wing. "SHIT!" The wing was falling apart. He pounded the control deck as the plane spinned wildly out of control. He turned off the thruster, keeping the plane going slow, stable. He opened the window, climbing out slowly. The ocean was well below him. He began to work on the wing, fixing it together with adhesives and nails. He inspected the work as best he could. "Kinda shoddy... Should work." He slipped back in the cockpit, turning the thruster on slowly He closed the window and continued on. A red light flashed.
"God damn you, you worthless rusty shit box!" Cid punched the control panel, but the plane sped up. It continued speeding, until both wings fell off. "Oh shit..." The plane didn't stop. He could snow and ice up ahead, a giant city on top of the North Cave. He punched the eject button and shot out into the air, falling painfully onto the ground, but his parachute working. "What the fuck?" He looked up at the giant city. He saw rows of mako cannons and airships covering whole tracts of land. He looked for the wreckage, finding the main hull intact. He found his emergency supply kit and the Venus Gospel. He removed items he believed he may need, including several potions, food, and eight orbs of materia. He also removed a bag of gil, and a bangle that he placed on his wrist. He also took climbing gear and a pack.
Cid climbed up the side of a mountain, panting heavily. He finally reached the top, sliding his goggles over his eyes. He tightened his flight jacket and slid a thick parka on from his pack. "Wasn't so fucking cold before." He set up a shelter with a tent and wrapped himself in thick blankets. He turned on his PHS Reeve had given him.
Shinra Building, Reeve's Office 9:10 PM Jan. 13
"Okay Cid... We'll send a team right away. Just keep warm, and tell us what you can see." Cid recounted what had happened, saying he couldn't see anything now, due to a severe snow storm. Reeve pressed a button on the PHS, and the transmission ended.
Cait Sith was riding his moogle, bouncing around the office. He bounced over to Reeve. "Who was that?"
"Cid... He's having some problems."
"Kay..." Cait Sith bounced into the elevator with a water balloon, giggling.
Midgar, Rail System 10:21 PM Jan. 19
A young woman with red hair was laying on a bench, sleeping beside a man with dark hair, wearing a bandana. Thought to be dead, Jesse and Biggs were moving about the city as a couple, married. Biggs couldn't forget Wedge, who had died. Biggs woke Jesse, and smiled. "Well... It's time." The two got up from the bench and walked out the sliding doors. "Sector 7... A long time..." He saw the pillar, wondering why Reeve had rebuilt it. Biggs looked at his hand, like Barret's now. He had only nine toes and one flesh and blood hand due to Shinra. Jesse had many scars from bullets, but was alive.
"Jesse..." Biggs dragged her from the pillar as best he could. "Wake up... Jesse... Don't die... Only a little further..." Biggs pulled her into the sewer, escaping the pillar. He administered aid as best he could, keeping Jesse barely alive. She took a deep breath as Biggs healed himself.
"We dead yet?"
"Yeah... This is Hell..."
"Very funny...asshole..." Jesse smiled, Biggs laughing.
"We're gonna be okay."
"I know." Wedge's absence dawned on her. "Wedge!"
"Jesse..." Biggs grabbed her shoulders softly. "Wedge... Wedge is dead."
"No... Wedge..." Her eyes teared up. "What about Barret, Tifa and Cloud?"
"I don't know... I didn't see them on the pillar when it collapsed. I think they MIGHT be okay." Jesse cried as Biggs massaged to her neck to calm her down.
Jesse remembered that day. How her body stung, the burning from the bullets. She and Biggs were okay though. She kissed Biggs, and they walked to the site where the Seventh Heaven used to stand. Jesse quickly dug through dirt with Biggs, finding a crushed pinball machine. "Pry it out of the way!"
"Okay.. Hold on..." Biggs pulled back on a crow bar, the machine cracking apart and falling down. "Umm... Ladies first..."
"Shut up." She pushed him in. "Men falling for me... The story of my life." She giggled and jumped down onto him.
"GWAH! Damn girl... You're heav..." Jesse looked hard at him. "Heavily pretty?"
"Ain't happening... Most pathetic thing I've ever heard." She slapped him and turned on her computer. "It still works!" She jumped up and down and hugged Biggs. "Kick ass!" She checked it. "All my old files are still here!" She had a list of bomb and weapon files, as well as personal files. "It's been over two years. Amazing."
"Hey... I wonder if the TV works." Biggs kicked the TV. A screen flickered up, showing the daily news. The screen flickered, but was in basic working order.
"I didn't say anything." Biggs turned to a corner. Nothing. He scanned the room. Nothing.
"You sure, Jesse?"
"Yeah. I'm not a reeeeeeeetarrrd..." She laughed.
"I'm just going insane then."
"Oh no... You're not insane. You're..." Her voice went to a motherly tone. "You're special."
"What was that?"
"I heard it that time."
"Lets get out of here, Jesse. We'll come back later."
Midgar, Streets 4:32 AM Jan. 20
Tseng and Elena were walking quietly through the streets. Tseng stopped to buy Elena flowers, but otherwise, the night was uneventful thus far. "Tseng... You promised to take me to dinner before... A long time ago."
"That I did." Tseng pulled her into a fancy restruant. "I want a table for two...and if our meals aren't recieved quickly..." He removed a knife and put it to the man's groin. "...I'll change your religion." The man hurried away, showing them their table and making sure the cooks worked harder.
"Tseng... You didn't have to do that. Five star dining is meant to be slow."
"If we did everything we were meant to, we wouldn't HAVE five star dining..." A waiter came to their table, handing them menus.
"What will you two be enoying this evening?"
"I think I'd like..." Tseng scanned the menu. "I'd like the sirloin and a bogu shushi as a side." The waiter seemed surprised. "Is that shushi any good?"
"I'll just say...it is a bold choice, sir. And you ma'am?"
"Where do you get this 'secono crab'?"
"The shores of Cosmo Canyon, some of the freshest water in the world. We don't kill them until cooking, assuring you they're fresh."
"Hmm... Sounds good. I'd like that please." Elena smiled.
"And a bottle of your best wine." Tseng pulled out his wallet, handing the waiter a large tip. "They go even faster if you pay them." Elena laughed, the romantic atmosphere setting the mood. Within moments, the waiter returned with the meal, Tseng giving him another tip. Elena and Tseng ate their meals with barely a word, giving eachother only glances. Tseng poured them each a glass of wine, filling an inch of the glass.
"Tseng... We're not little kids, geez." She laughed as Tseng filled the glasses. They tried to make a toast, splashing drops of wine out of the cups.
"You see... Ancient people were as stupid as us, but those damn tunics were so hard to remove stains from." Elena laughed again. Tseng smiled and drank his wine slowly. Elena however drank the wine down quickly.
"But they never had problems with drinking quickly, did they?"
"Oh yeah... Many kings lost their thrones by drowning themselves in a sea of alcohol and wine."
Cosmo Canyon, Cosmo Candle 5:23 AM Jan. 20
Anthony was sleeping on Tifa's lap. Tifa was wide awake, staring at the flame. She was gently stroking Anthony's fur while thinking about all the friends she had lost. Nanaki came and joined her. "Tifa?"
"The rest of the town is asleep... What are you doing awake?"
"Just thinking." Nanaki sat down beside her.
"About Cloud mostly. Feels like my only chance at true love is gone..." She laughed at herself. "But you're not interested in that."
"Really?" Nanaki nodded.
"Cloud was a good friend of mine. My best friend. I believe you and Cloud would have been great together. Maybe raise a family." He smiled.
"Thats what I wanted. But now... I'm all alone."
"I don't think so. I think everyone has a true love, always."
"Please god! I don't want to marry Cid." They both laughed, Anthony stirring. She continued stroking his fur until he was calm again. Kianki was sleeping no more then a foot from him, but much sounder. "Maybe Vincent? Nah..."
"I pray it isn't me... I don't like two-legged things... Not that way. Maybe you don't know him... Maybe you do."
"Nanaki... Does it ever make you jealous that your little brother has a wife and is extremely...active with her?"
"Not really... I envy him, but I don't think I'd have sex that often."
"Your whole race isn't like that, is it?"
"No! No. No... Yes... Well, not that much."
"Sure." She patted his nose, sending him frantically pawing at it, trying to scratch it. She scratched his nose for him. "God... I'm spending more time with you three then people..." Nanaki looked hurt. "You're a perfect substitute..." She kissed him on the nose. He smiled, laying down beside her.
"Damn right I am... Now... How bout' a beer?"
"Later. Right now, lets go to sleep..." She eased Anthony off her lap. Then she laid down beside Nanaki, falling asleep quickly. Nanaki remained awake, however. He ran and got a blanket, pulling it over Tifa. He then dozed off in front of the flame.
Valhalla, Lower Section of the North Cave 12:00 Noon Jan. 24
Rufus and Dark Nation. Rufus sat in his chair with Dark Nation beside him, both thinking their own plans. Rufus was thinking about taking back the world, Dark Nation thinking about a way to rid himself of Rufus and go back to nature. Nature. He could barely remember it. The panther was taken from the jungles of Gongaga at a very young age. A group of humans came and stripped him from his family. Many more were taken simply to make into genetically altered soldiers for the company for which Dark Nation cared nothing. Rufus didn't know that Dark Nation understood every word he said. Dark Nation was a brainless pet according to Rufus, but it was not so.
Rufus was contemplating his own plan. Scientists busying themselves outside his office. Soldiers running drills. He was easily in power. But Reeve was in control of most of Cetralin, and had the island of Coneria, where the study of Cetra was well under way. According to spies, a Cetra had been taken alive, but not awakened. "Dark Nation... What do you think of me?"
"Me no gusta..." Rufus didn't hear a thing.
"Off course, ya don't think anything... Cause you're an animal, and I am a man." Rufus continued his ego trip. He opened his desk, removing a needle. He injected it into his vien. Heroine. Shinra had been selling drugs to addicts illegally for years. Don Corneo was a large customer until his "unfortunate" death. The Turks didn't know he was providing a large amount of money to the company, despite it being their business. Rufus reached a stae of pure calm, almost like a dream. Rufus laughed and sent his chair rolling back by kicking off the desk. He collapsed on the floor. Dark Nation shook his head. Humans could be such idiots.
Cetralin, Destilian 3:34 PM Jan. 24
Rude and Reno were staring at the hole in the ground, down to the source of magic. Rude pulled out his silverish liqour bottle and took a drink. Reno stepped back from the hole and turned to a little shop on the corner. He saw a man at the counter, sleeping. He walked inside and pounded on the counter. "Wakey wakey!" The man's eyes fluttered.
"Huh? Wha'? Oh! Hello!"
"What chya'll sell here?"
"Materia orbs and materia related things. Like this..." The man pulled out a necklace with three holes, obviously made for holding materia. Reno seemed interested as he rose a brow.
"Hmm... Fine craftsmenship... I'd say...three-hundred gil?"
"I'll take it." Reno opened his wallet, removing three hundred gil notes. The man folded the bills and put them in his pocket.
"Will that be all?"
"What kinda materia you hoarding here?"
"Well... We did just get some recently discovered materia in."
"We only have two where the runes are translated. One is something called 'Metamorphisis', the other is 'Flesh'."
"What kind of materia are they?"
"One is a grayish color, the other a crimson red."
"I'll take em' both, and one of those earth materias." The man looked shocked. Reno grabbed his materia and emptied his wallet onto the desk. "Thanks." Reno slid the necklace around his neck, hiding it beneath his shirt, with the three new materia in place. As soon as he had, his blood feeled terribly hot, but cooled with in moments.
"Hey Reno! Where the hell were you?"
"At that shop over there." Reno pointed to the shop.
"Uh huh..." Rude playfully punched Reno in the shoulder, but let out a yelp of pain. "Ow! Damn! You wearing a titanium undershirt uh' somethin' man?"
"Naw... You're just weak." Reno had discovered one use for a materia.
"Hey!" Rude punched him in the gut. "Bwah! Damn man!" Rude shaked his hand. "You're stomach is as hard as a fucking rock!"
"It's called working out you pathetic..." Reno stood totally unphased, laughing. "Come on, dumb ass." Rude turned to Reno, looking back one last time. Reno and Rude stopped, seeing a man. All too familiar. He wore a trench coat and hat, with long hair and a thin face. He looked up, saw the two, but didn't really take much notice to them. He looked at a peddler's various items and walked away. Rude and Reno ran in the opposite direction.
"I...gotta a plane to catch."
"Wait! Wait for me!" Despite Destilian not having an airport or airfield, the two ran to find one.
Midgar, Tseng's Apartment 8:23 AM Jan. 25
Tseng woke up, Elena's head resting on his chest, sleeping. Tseng scanned his room. The TV was on, the door was wide open to the hallway. Tseng slowly slid Elena onto a pillow and got up. Elena slept for two hours longer, waking up to see Tseng wearing his shirt he had got from Costa Del Sol, and a pair of jeans. "Is that what you always wear when you're at home?" She was wearing only her white shirt, smiling.
"It's my 'I'm not going to be a demented bastard today' cloths." She walked over and kissed Tseng lightly on the lips, then collapsing on to him, laughing.
"My hero!" She kissed him again "And you can't not be a demented bastard. We work everyday of the week."
"Not today. I've got something I've waited to give you for months." He removed a long felt box from his shirt pocket. Elena opened it, finding a silver and gold necklace with diamonds lining the sides. She threw her arms around Tseng. He removed a second box, smaller, square. "Okay, we're engaged. Elena..." He flipped the box open, revealing a matching ring. "Will you marry me?"
"What do you think?" They engaged in a very long, very passionate kiss. "You know the deal was to take me to dinner once, right?"
"Yeah... But that was five days ago." Elena smiled, kissing him lightly on the cheek.
"I missed you..." Tseng knew what she meant. She didn't know that he knew, and hoped he didn't hear. Tseng heard it well, and let a single tear of pure happiness fall.
"I missed you too." Tseng was quieter, not allowing Elena to hear.
Midgar, Reeve's Apartment 11:54 AM Jan. 25
Reeve rolled over, opening his eyes to the a well known face. "Hi Reeve!" Tifa laughed.
"Ti... Tifa? What the..." He yawned. "What the hell ya' doin' here?"
"I came to wake you up! I came in on the first ride I could get, and that was the Highwind."
"Is Cid here?"
"Yeah, but he went to a coffee shop." She sat down on the bed. "You're late for work... I called your office twice from the Highwind's out going phone."
"Shit!" Reeve jumped up and ran to the bathroom, getting a shower and putting on his suit, forgetting Tifa's presence. He saw Tifa still sitting on the bed, giggling. "Oh... Uh... Um..." She got up and straightened his tie and left the room. He finally saw what she was wearing. A vest, white shirt and a skirt. "As if you know anything about clothing..." His thought remained private.
"You mind if I come with?"
"No... But... Come on!" Reeve ran out the door, almost stepping on Cait Sith, who was sleeping on the floor next to the couch. Tifa rushed after him, as the two ran down the street toward the train. They jumped in just as the doors closed, panting from their run. "Shouldn't you call Cid?"
"Yeah... You got a cell phone on ya'? He ain't carrying his PHS right now." Reeve gave her a phone, which she flipped open and dialed quickly. "Cid? Hey! I'm on the train with Reeve right n... Cid? Cid? Damn! It faded." Cid's voice came back over it. "Cid! Yeah, I'm on my way to Reeve's office. Okay. Later. You mind if Shera and Marlene come by too?"
"No. Not at all."
"Alright. Thanks Reeve." She gave him a friendly kiss on the cheek.
"Well hello to you too."
"Oh god! You perverted son of a..." She slapped him, leaving a red mark on his cheek. "Asshole."
"I'm not perverted!" He rubbed his cheek. The train screeched to a halt, sending all the passengers to the floor. Reeve got up, pulling Tifa with him. "What the hell is going on?" Reeve rushed to the front of the train with Tifa, coming to a halt in front of the conductor. "Hey! What the fuck happened?"
"A man... On the tracks..."
"You hit him?"
"No! He was on the tracks... But then he was gone... He didn't have a face..."
"Like Arkon?" He made sure the man couldn't hear that. You couldn't see it?"
"No! Like an eggshell... Like..." The man looked down. "...this..." The man's face was devoid of feature, smooth as an eggshell.
Reeve woke up beside Tifa on the train. He was sweating horribly. Tifa grabbed him around the shoulders. "Whats wrong?"
"A nightmare... I guess."
"Oh... You gonna be alright?"
"Okay. We're almost there." Reeve looked around the train. He saw several people, all normal.
"Ti... Tifa. Come up to the engine car with me, please."
"Okay Reeve." She got up and followed him. The engineer was there. The same one from the dream, but he seemed okay.
"Mister president! An honor to have you on my shift."
"Thanks." Reeve calmed down, slumping against the wall. He looked at the man, almost swearing he saw the man's face shift slightly, but dismissed it as ill focus. The train stopped.
"Thanks for riding. Oh, and sir. Not at all like Arkon." Reeve moved slowly to the door, frightened severly. Tifa rushed after and hurried him to the office.
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