Last Exit for the Lost Chapter 38


By Damodred

"The Junon Cannon is meant to blast through that shield that Chaos erected around North Crater," Rufus said, waving his hand at the monitors which were still showing the domed forcefield. He sagged minutely, "At least, that's the idea..." He trailed off, looking a bit confused. Barret winced in sympathy; he'd had days like that, and remembered the mindset of being bereaved all too well. Rufus gathered himself visibly and said "We'll try to get you close to it; as the shield goes down there'll be massed Shinra troops around it ready to press forward towards the center. In reality they're all decoys, you're the ones who'll have to penetrate the defenses and try to get close enough to take Chaos out." He looked at them "I would like to go with you, but I think I can serve you better coordinating the forces from here; the Cannon takes a long time to recharge, and I want to be able to make the most of it. I wouldn't trust that to anyone else. I will provide you with whatever weapons or supplies you may need." His speech finished, his eyes glazed over and he slumped into his chair. Aerith was over to his side in an instant. She searched within his body briefly and then withdrew. "He just needs rest. Let's leave him here for now, and see what we may need as far as weaponry is concerned."

Needless to say, the arsenal was lots of fun, especially for Yuffie and Reno; Sephiroth, Cloud, and Aerith already had their preferred weapons, and there wasn't much selection for some of the others. At least Barrett could now use any projectile weapon with the hand of his, there were plenty of swords for Zack, lots of high-tech toys for the Turks. At the end of the trip, there were weapons lying all over the place, and everyone's been refitted with magic-boosting earrings (Cloud and Sephiroth refused them, however) and upgraded armor, in the form of bracelets. Yuffie was sporting a wickedly curved shuriken, all the Turks and Barrett got special issue multi-purpose assault rifles (flechette gun, standard/fragmentation/armor piercing bullets, stun needles, grenade launcher and laser cutter), and Barret got a plasblade extension for his arm. Noticing the looks the others gave him, he said, somewhat defensively, "Hey, you have swords and know how to use them; I just want something that can cut through anything and I don't have time to learn swordfighting. Is there something wrong wit' dat?" Zack assured him that they were just impressed with his choice and the big man stomped out of the arsenal, grumbling under his breath. "I'll wait for you in the ship's lounge," his voice came from the stairwell. Cloud and Aerith exchanged glances and the blonde SOLDIER opened his mouth but Yuffie beat him to it "What ship?"

The hum of the massive engines and the swish of air sliced by two giant rotors was beginning to grow oppressive as they reached the exit to the roof. Dwarfed by the gigantic cannon was another addition obviously transplanted from the Junon airport. The HighWind swung gently at the end of its mooring ropes, tugged by the gusty winds prevalent at this altitude. The group stood in silent awe of this gigantic achievement - even more impressive than the Junon Cannon in its beauty and complexity. The quiet moment was broken up by Cid who, eager to get onboard, started walking forward. The rest followed.

If anything, the interior of the ship was even more amazing than the exterior. The gentle swaying motion so obvious from the outside was virtually indiscernible, the main cabin was large and airy and there were ample viewports. Cid pointed proudly to the main HUD displayed on the forward viewports, showing off various functions, most of them incomprehensible to just about everyone. The main point was, they could now go virtually wherever they wanted to very fast, a fact over which both Aerith and Sephiroth gave silent exhalations of relief.

The main HUD broke up in static and Rufus' tired face appeared. "I wish you success," he said tersely, "I will be in the top tower overseeing the firing sequence." Cid nodded, the acknowledgement echoed by Sephiroth - there wasn't much else to say. The display went off, replaced again by green dotted lines, crosshairs, a compass and various gauges. Cid turned around and smiled mischievously, "But first, we gotta pickup Shera!"

Author's Note Thingy: Finally this chapter's done! AAAA I don't know why it took so damn wanted to explain something...oh yeah, actually it took so long 'cuz everytime I got started I'd forget what happened, mwahahaha.a.aaaaa...and they say coffee won't cause amnesia... Have I mentioned that I like Shinra & Avalanche uniting against a common foe? Foo? Fi? Fum? Quite.


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