The War Chapter 1

First Mission

By Chris Scully

Farris ran through the long dim hallway to the Junon airfield. The bright morning sun shone through the half opened windows supplying the only light, brightening the cold metal corridor. Sounds of the Gelnika’s large engines roared in his head as he neared the large, hulking hanger doors. Farris entered the hanger to find the huge room to be completely empty of the fifty Gelnikas that had been resting in slumber only a few hours earlier. Examining for any transports that might not have already left, but with no such luck, he quickly dashed out to the huge landing strip and into a sprint, desperate to reach the second hanger 100 yards away. Exhausted and drenched in sweat, he entered the second large hanger, and with a sigh of relief saw the last lone Gelnika in the entire army. Charlie’s familiar face was hanging out from the platform waving and yelling as Farris made his way to the ship. He jumped onto the platform just as the platform rose up and locked into place, seeping in sweat and panting so hard as to cover up the sounds of the engines.

“ It’s about time you got here. I had to hold up the transport for 10 minutes” shouted Charlie over the sound of the engines, as they walked up to their seats together and sat down.

“ Sorry about that. I had to get the rest of my materia together before I could get to the transport.” Said Farris with a sound of relief and a pour of water from his canteen onto his head.

Farris was a quiet shy man with light brown hair and bright hypnotizing, blue eyes. Throughout his childhood he was involved in many fights, being born into poverty, which showed in a series of scars throughout his face and body. Farris was always serious about everything he did, and despite his cold, hardened appearance; he was actually as gentle and caring as anyone else born in the Midgar slums, relieing only on each other to survive. He was always merciful to people he fought against, and never killed if it was not necessary.

“ Yeah, well, being late for your missions isn’t going to look well on your application for SOLDIER.” replied Charlie, as he took his pack of his back and set it on the floor next to him.

“ Well, getting killed… on the front lines... because I wasn’t prepared will look pretty bad too… don’t you think.” Said Farris in between sips of water from his canteen.

“ I guess that would be pretty bad too, heh, heh.” Laughed Charlie over the roar of the engines. Charlie was a tall muscular man with jet-black hair and a pair of eyes to match. He had a pale, bony face and a pointy nose, which seemed to always be a rosy red color, the cause of allergies that had almost cost him his military enlistment. Him and Farris had met up at basic training during their first few weeks of service and with his sense of humor and Farris’ seriousness, they were able to make it through only for the title of private, which made it seem hardly worth it at times. They stuck together through all of training and all missions up to that point mainly because they shared the same dream of becoming first class SOLDIERS, but that didn’t really work out for either of them so far. They wanted to see which, if either of them would make SOLDIER first. They shared a sort of friendly rivalry between them, but stuck together no matter what.

“ So what did you grab before you left?” asked Charlie, trying to talk over the roar of the engines.

“ A fire, an ice, and an HP plus” said Farris in an uncharacteristically cocky voice.

“ Lucky bastard! All I got was a lousy cover materia. I mean, it’s bad enough that I have no good materia, but the one I do have will help me save someone else’s life.” Said Charlie in a jealous, but still sort of humorous kind of voice.

Just then the commander, wearing a red, stained uniform came to the cab from the cockpit. He was a short, chubby guy, who was barely able to talk over the muffling of his oversized helmet, which almost covered his entire face. Seeing this made Farris wonder why it was so hard to move up in the ranks for them, and how this guy could even be in the military in the first place.

“ We’re touching down at 0800 hours in a small rocket testing ground on the west coast of the central continent for refueling. There’s a small town nearby, so get anything you need together and get whatever you might need for the upcoming mission, because after this, there’s nothing around but plains, mountains, and wutai soldiers.” yelled the misfit commander in a stuttering, mumbly way.

“ How in the hell does someone like that get Commander, and we’re still bustin our Asses bein privates?” asked Charlie with a look of disbelief on his face.

“ He’s probably the son of some military leader who wants his kid to be a great military leader. Just don’t let it get to you.”

“ Yeah, I guess your right”

The ride to the first stop was a violent one, making this particular Gelnika seem like it must have been a mistake to let it out of the shop at all. Hours passed with no more than five words from anyone over the piercing roar of the engines and the constant turbulence. As Charlie began to lean back in his chair the Gelnika started to shake violently as they descended to the long airstrip of the town they had been told about by the commander, causing him to be thrust forward into the window, and finally they touched down. As the ship clumsily rolled down the runway the soldiers could see the test rocket looming there like the buildings in Midgar that Farris had seen so many times before. Charlie rose in amazement, gazing at the huge rocket; squinting from the glare shining off of the metallic metal it was made from. It looked as if it were too big to move at all and just knowing that it could fly so high to reach outer space made it like nothing they had ever seen before.

“ That’s Shinra number 26.” Said Sam from the seat behind them; another member of the their squad who was always following the news and informed most of them about things that they had never seen or heard of before. He always had a sort of cockiness to him, as if he thought that he was smarter and better then the rest of the grunts. Despite his attitude, he was always looked up upon for his insightfulness and knowledge, which might have been the only reason he was accepted among his peers.

“ It’s scheduled to be the first ship to take that giant leap into outer space.”

“ Who would have thought something so big could fly into outer space. How does it work Sam?” asked Farris, looking out the window as they rolled on past and even farther down the runway.

“ Well, ugh… um, I think it’s a little to complicated for you guys to understand.” Said Sam in a nervous stuttering voice.

“ yeah, right.” whispered Charlie under his breath, with a look of annoyance.

Finally the ship shuttered to a stop followed by the exit platform squeakily lowering to the ground. Every soldier on the transport emptied out of the ship and stood at attention outside. Farris and Charlie made their way out of the Gelnika and immediately noticed something wrong with the scene they saw.

“ Oh SHIT!!! We’re the only ones left” yelled the short chubby commander as he stared into the distance with his hands on his head.

“ You guys have 15 minutes to get what you need, and get back here. If your not here by then, your gonna have to find another way home. DISMISSED!!! Said the commander as he ran back into the Gelnika chanting something under his breathe .

“ Well, lets get going. We don’t want to get left here.” Said Charlie as he started walking down the dirt runway to an opening in the trees leading to the town.

“ What kind of town would be built way out here, in the middle of no where anyway?” asked Farris to Charlie in a curious voice.

“ Probably just some piece of shit town, that was built here for the people working on the rocket to stay while they’re on the job. We’re probably not going to find anything here worth finding, but it’s better than sitting in that transport, with that damn papa’s boy.” Said Charlie making his way through the trees to emerge into an area filled with plywood houses and dirt roads that looked even worse than some parts of the Midgar slums. “ What did I tell you” said Charlie as Farris looked with resistance at the structures.

The two soldiers walked up through the one street into the town square ( not much of one at that, with only a dirt road and a sign) examining the houses and people. There was somehow something wrong with everything they saw in this town. Every house, person, and animal had something about them that would make you never want to come back again. Every person gave them a look like they hated their guts, every building seemed as if it were trying to drive you away with their smell of gasoline and their worn cheap wooden structures, and every animal seemed to be against them, and would either growl at them or try not to look at them at all.

“ Some town this is, egh” said Sam as he ran up and put his arms around Farris and Charlie.

“ If you could call this a town at all.” replied Charlie in a disgusted tone of voice.

“ Yeah well don’t bother checking any shops around here, its all crap.” Said Sam as they walked further down the single street, up to the rocket.

“ You guys headin up to the rocket?”

“ Yeah, its about the only thing worth seeing in this town anyway.”

“ you guys ever heard of Cid Highwind?”

“ who?”

“ Do I have to tell you guys everything!? Geez!…Well, ok. Cid Highwind was the guy who designed all of the Shinra’s military vehicles, including the Gelnika’s that we’re riding on this mission. He’s a living legend to the Shinra and now he’s going to be the first man in space to add to his list of amazing accomplishments. Luckily he’s working on this rocket and I’m gonna finally meat my idol in person.” Sam had always tried to act like he knew what he was doing around machines, but he was really just a beginner with a dream of becoming just like his idol.

“ Well if this guys so famous, then whys he staying in a town like this?

“ Well he liv…….”

“ HEYYY!! What the hell are you guys doing back here? This area is of limits to anyone but Shinra number 26 personnel!” said a dirty, greasy man, cutting off what Sam was about to say.

“ We just wanted to meet Cid Highwind, if that’s alright with you.” Replied Sam with a look of excitement on his face and a sound of pure indulgence in his voice.

“ I AM Cid Highwind you damn fool!! Shit!! after all I’ve done for Shinra and nobody even knows who I am.”

“ No, no, I know who you are, I’ve just never seen you in person before, and, well, uh, may I just shake your hand Mr.Highwind.”

“ Huh, well… Sure, I don’t see why not.” Said Cid as he held out his hand dripping with grease.

“ Oh it’s a pleasure, to meet you sir! You’re the real reason I joined the army as a mechanic; you’re my idol.” Said Sam as he shook the greasy hand and with a look of excitement despite the situation.

“ Well finally, someone who appreciates my work. So, what do you think of this beauty over here? It’s nice aint it?”

“ Oh, I’d love for you to take me through how it works and everyth……” said Sam until he was cut off by the piercing scream of the Gelnikas engines.

“ Damn, that’s the ship and it’s about to take off. I think we’d better get going.” yelled Charlie over the roar of the engines.

“ That’s fine. You go over there and kick some Wutai ass, you hear!

“ We’ll do that” replied Farris as he was trying to pull away the ecstatic Sam, never wanting to leave his idol.

“ That was so cool” said Sam. he wiped the grease from his hand and threw the dirty rag into a nearby barrel as the tree men were making their way back to the ship.

Just then the high-pitched scream of the Gelnikas engines soared to a bone-crunching roar as the rotating propellers blew dust and pine needles towards them.

“ Lets be getting back, I really don’t want to get stuck here by ourselves.” Said Farris trying to rush to get back to the ship.

The three of them got back onto the ship just as the platform closed up against the bottom of the transport. They rolled down the runway and up into the air as the Gelnika shook violently as it struggled to get up higher. The sight of the rocket from high above was a truly beautiful sight as they made their way over the sea. That was the last time of true peace they would experience before their first real mission. They didn’t realize it at that time, but that beat up, run down town was actually one of the best times that they would have for a long time.

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