Bizarre Occurances Chapter 20

For Hire

By Dino Pollard

It always happens the same way.

Sephiroth slashes the young girl across the chest, causing her to fly back.

The dark-haired SOLDIER Officer sees her on the ground and draws his wide sword, following Sephiroth into the Jenova chamber.

“He doesn’t stand a chance,” I say. He never does.

Seconds later, he is flung from the Jenova chamber, his sword clattering to the ground.

“It’s time,” he tells himself. As he begins to rise from his hiding position, he hears rapidly-approaching footsteps. I move back into the shadows as if I were a part of them. Just like I was trained.

“An MP?” I think. “He can’t possibly win.”

“Tifa!!” the MP shouted. He ran up the stairs, grabbing the SOLDIER’s weapon.

“It’s none of my concern,” I tell myself. “I’m here on a mission, not to save dumbass MPs who don’t know how to stay out of trouble.”

Two minutes go by. I time it. Timing is everything in this job.

A figure appears in the doorway, limping.

Of course. There was no doubt in my mind that the MP would fail.

The figure slowly comes into view. My eyes grow wide.

The figure is Sephiroth. He’s been wounded.

“Looks like the kid got in a lucky shot,” I say to myself.

Sephiroth continues limping, holding his sword in one hand and what looks like a head in his other. As he continues to limp, the sword begins to scrape against the metal floor, causing sparks to fly.

I’m about to leave my spot. to go after Sephiroth, when footsteps are heard yet again.

The MP emerges from the Jenova chamber. His mask is off, now. Spikey-blonde hair. I take note of the fact that he looks like the SOLDIER. They must be related in some way. The MP takes the girl in his arms and carries her over to the side, examining her wound. He shakes his head, then walks over to the SOLDIER.

“Cloud....” the SOLDIER says. “Kill Sephiroth....”

“I will, Zack,” the one called Cloud replies. “Just rest for now.”

He walks in Sephiroth’s direction.

I see the SOLDIER’s eyes shut. Drawing my weapon, I make sure the suppresor is on it, then follow ‘Cloud.’


“Sephiroth!!” Cloud shouts.

I notice it. I’ve seen videos of Sephiroth’s battles. I’ve studied his movements. Carefully, I activate the laser sight on my gun and target it on Sephiroth’s body, being careful to put it below his sight.

He slowly begins to turn his head, and I think for a moment that he spotted me.

With a lightning-quick reflex, he jams the Masamune into Cloud’s stomach.

“It’s over for him,” I think to myself. “Hmph. Serves him right. Damn kids always trying to play hero.”

My thoughts briefly wander to the other MP who travelled with them. The one with the blue hair. I remember finding him at the bottom of the mountain. Poor kid.

I shake those thoughts from my head. This Cloud is dead, now. He was cocky, thinking that if he was lucky once, he could be lucky again.

“Don’t....push....your luck!” Sephiroth says. He lifts the blade up, obviously about to throw Cloud into the Mako pool below.

Cloud is blocking my shot. But I can tell from the angles that if I fire the bullet just under his shoulderblade, it will hit Sephiroth dead-center his blackened heart. The kid won’t survive, though.

This is it. The moment of truth. If I pull the trigger now, I can end Sephiroth’s life as well as earn points with my superiors.

So why can’t I pull the trigger? It’s just one kid, for crying out loud!! Besides, people will probably think he killed Sephiroth, and he’ll be given a hero’s funeral. Or they’ll think that he went on a rampage and killed the other two as well as Sephiroth. But what does it matter to me? No matter what the public thinks, I still win.

My finger twitches. It won’t respond to my thoughts. I just can’t bring myself to pull the blasted trigger!!

Cloud begins to move as well. He’s still alive? It must be an adrenaline rush, I tell myself.

But I’ve never seen adrenaline do this, before.

Cloud grasps the blade and pushes himself off of it.

“It can’t be!!!” Sephiroth exclaims.

Cloud lifts the sword, while Sephiroth is still holding onto the hilt. He begins to swing it before throwing it over the edge. Then he loses his footing and begins to fall towards the pool below.

I spring into action, leaping from my hiding place and knocking Cloud to the ground so he remains on the platform.

Still standing on the guardrail, I begin to fire bullets down towards Sephiroth.

Then, I fall as well.

Then, everything goes black.

Like I said, it always happens the same way. That’s how it happened five years ago. And that’s how it happens in my nightmares, night after night. When I don’t see that, I see dreams that should belong to someone else. I see people I’ve never met, yet seem familiar. And it’s all directly related to five years ago in Nibelheim.


“NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” he screamed, as he awakened in a cold sweat.

“Master Siamo!!” an elderly man shouted, entering the room.

“C--Cardinal?” he asked.

“Yes sir,” Cardinal replied. “Was it the nightmare again, sir?”

“Yeah,” he said. “The mission five years ago.”

“At least you survived, sir,” Cardinal said.

“How many times do I have to tell you, Cardinal?” he asked. “Call me Barek. Not sir, not Master Siamo, but Barek.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” Cardinal replied. “But it just wouldn’t seem right.”

Barek chuckled.

“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks, eh?”

“I suppose not, sir.”

Barek looked over to his weapons and his uniform.

“They have arrived, sir,” Cardinal said.

“All of them?” Barek asked.

“No sir, not all of them,” Cardinal replied. “One is missing....”

“Let me guess,” Barek said. “Deadpool.”

Cardinal nodded.

“I expected nothing less,” he said. “Tell them I’ll be down in a minute. And did you offer them refreshments?”

“Yes sir,” Cardinal answered.

“Good man.”


The six individuals waited in the den of Barek’s Costa del Sol mansion.

“So this is the home of Barek Siamo...” a woman with a British accent said. “I’m not impressed.”

“Too much sun,” one of the men said. He was dressed from head to toe in black with long, blonde hair and sunglasses. “Too damn bright. Coming here was a mistake. What was I thinking?”

“So, who are all of you?” a young woman with short hair and sunglasses asked.

“I’m Lara Croft,” the British woman replied. “The famed ‘Tomb Raider’ as the papers call me.”

“Oh, that’s you?” a man dressed as a ninja asked.

“Yes,” Lara replied. “But I decided to take a break from solo adventures for awhile. This job sounds interesting...”

“So you’re not in this for the money?” the ninja asked.

“No,” Lara replied. “I’m a billionaire. I’m only in this for the thrill. And who might you be, masked gentleman?”

“I was trained by a sensei in Wutai,” he said. “I’m called Kurosawa. Now what about the rest of you?”

The young woman with the sunglasses looked up.

“I’m Mercedes,” she said. “Mercedes Lopez. I guess you could call me a bounty hunter of sorts. I hunt monsters. For their fangs and skins and stuff. It pays good money. And I’m hoping to fatten my wallet here even more.”

“I’m Edge,” the blonde haired man said. “Edge Demona. That’s all you need to know.”

“What about you other two?” Lara asked.

“The dark-haired man is Tetsuo Hyroshima,” a voice said. “The young woman is Kristi Darklord.”

“Who are you?” Mercedes asked.

“I’m your new leader,” he replied. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Barek Siamo. You’ve all met Cardinal.” Barek motioned to his elderly servant.

Edge stood, removing his sunglasses and swiftly walked over to Barek, his eyes glowing red.

“Let’s get one thing straight,” he said. “I have a real problem with authority and don’t much like taking orders. Just letting you know in advance.” His eyes flashed again before changing back to green.

“Well, you’re going to have to get used to it, Edge,” Barek replied. “I’m the leader of this strike force.”

“Strike Force, eh?” Kristi asked. “Hmm. It has a certain ring to it.”

“We’re still missing one person,” Barek said.

“Who would that be?” Tetsuo asked.

“You’ll find out soon enough,” Barek replied. “If he ever shows up...”

“What’s your story?” Mercedes asked, turning to Barek.

“I’m Barek Siamo, your new leader,” Barek answered. “That’s all you need to know right now.”

“Is this gonna take long?” Mercedes asked. “I’m hunting a Vlakarados.”

“We’re a new team, lady,” Barek replied.

“Oh shit,” she said. “This is gonna be a permanent thing...”

“Cut to the chase, Barek,” Tetsuo said. “What is our first mission?”

“Well, it may not seem like much at first,” Barek began. “But it’s a start.”

“What? We raid the Gold Saucer?” Lara chuckled.

“You’ve all heard of the Gold Saucer, right?” Barek asked.

“” Lara said in an obvious state of shock.

“You probably also know that there’s a desert prison beneath the Gold Saucer,” Barek said.

“Corel Prison,” Tetsuo said.

“That’s right,” Barek continued. “Someone in Midgar has two brothers down there. He’s willing to pay a hefty amount of money for us to go in and get them out.”

“That’s it?!?” Edge exclaimed. “No battle, no bloodshed, just a prison break?!?”

“Settle down, Edge,” Barek said. “There is a rare magic Materia called Teleport up in a cave in the north. It has the power to transport us to any given location on the planet, including Corel Prison. With the Teleport Materia, we can go in, get the brothers, and take them back to Midgar. The problem is that the cave is guarded by monsters. Some type of spider-like creatures.”

“How do we get there?” Mercedes asked.

“Our chopper is around back,” Barek said. He turned to Cardinal. “Is the chopper ready?”

“Yes sir,” Cardinal replied.

“Good,” he said. “If Deadpool DOES show up, just tell him to wait.”

“I understand, sir,” Cardinal said. “Good luck to you all.”


The helicopter ride was a long one. This northern cave seemed very out of the way, and there was a lot of grumbling among the members. They obviously weren’t very excited about being dragged halfway across the world.

“Maybe this was a bad idea...” Barek thought to himself. He looked out the window to see the miles of water finally end at an island.

“Bingo...” he said. “All right boys and girls. Let’s be prepared for anything...”

The helicopter landed softly on the ground and the team began to pile out.

Barek looked at each of them as they prepared their weapons. His gaze fell on Edge last, whose blood-red katana had an eerie green glow to it. It looked as if he was....shaking?

“Edge, you okay?” Barek asked.

“Yesss....” Edge said in a low growl. He turned to Barek, his eyes glowing red and his canines growing into fangs.

“Holy shit!!” Mercedes exclaimed.

“Looks like you have a few surprises up your sleeve...” Tetsuo said, drawing his ninja to.

“There’s the cave,” Kurosawa said, pointing up ahead. He drew his glowing Blaze Sword.

“Be careful, everyone,” Barek ordered, drawing his .45.

Slowly, they made their way into the cave, odd noises coming from around them.

“What’s that?” Kristi asked.

“The ssspidersss....” Edge replied. getting in a battle stance.

Barek activated his laser sight moving it around the cave until it landed on what looked like an eye....

There was a loud screech heard as a miniature stilva lept at him.

“SHIT!!!” Barek shouted, firing at it.

“Too damn dark in here....” Kurosawa mumbled.

“I can fix that,” Lara said. Reaching into her backpack she pulled out a flare and pulled the top off.

“Umm.... maybe it would’ve been a better idea if you kept it closed...” Mercedes suggested.

“Everyone, get ready!!!” Barek shouted as the stilvas lept from their spots.


“Battle...” Edge said, grinning as he bore his fangs.

One of the stilvas lept at Edge, who was a split-second too quick.

Dodging out of the way, Edge thrusted his katana down, pinning the stilva to the ground.

He then tore off one of it’s legs and stabbed it into the stilva’s eye.

Ripping some of its flesh off, he bit into it.


Mercedes dodged an attack by another stilva.

“This is NOT what I signed up for!!” she shouted, slashing at it with her daggers. “I better be well-payed for this, Barek!!!”

There was another screech from behind her.

Mercedes spun on her heel, throwing one of her daggers, killing the stilva instantly.


Tetsuo and Kurosawa began cutting the stilvas down to size, one at a time, with their blades.

“My brother is a First Class SOLDIER Officer,” Tetsuo muttered to himself. “But instead, I had to follow my OWN path and become a mercenary!! Then I end up fighting stilvas in a cave!!”

“What?” Kurosawa asked, slashing at another. The Blaze Sword seemed to illuminate the entire cave.

“Nevermind...” Tetsuo replied, slicing another one.


“Oh bloody hell!!” Lara shouted, firing her uzis at the stilvas. “Why don’t we bring some more weaponry with us next time, Barek? Like maybe some grenades!! These things are harder to kill than bloody roaches!!”

“Just keep at it, Lara!!” Barek replied, shooting down another one.

“Come to think of it,” Kristi began, firing her .45 at the stilvas. “This is actually kind of fun!!”

“Now you’re starting to sound like Edge,” Lara noted.

“They’re backing off!!” Barek exclaimed, holstering his gun. “We’d better hurry and get the Materia!!”


As Strike Force moved deeper into a cave, they came to a lake. In the center was an island covered with eggs.

In the center of the island was a stone monument of some sort which held a green orb.

“There it is...” Barek said.

“How do we get it without breaking those eggs, though?” Kurosawa asked.

“....I can grab the Materia,” Edge said.

Everyone looked at him.

“No, forget it,” Barek protested. “It’s too dangerous. What if they begin to hatch?”

“I can make it across in one jump,” Edge replied.

“It’s better than going back empty-handed,” Mercedes said. “And if I don’t get my payment from that rich guy in Midgar, I’m gettin’ from you, Barek!!”

“Go for it, Edge,” Barek agreed.

Edge nodded, his face beginning to transform. He leapt over to the small island, just missing one of the eggs. Holding the Materia orb in his hands, he leapt back over.

“Got it....” Edge said, handing it to Barek.

“Great!!” Barek exclaimed. “Now we can...”

“Shhh!!!” Edge ordered.

“What?” Kristi asked.

“Don’t you hear that?”

“Hear what?” Mercedes ased.

A rattling was heard on the ceiling, accompanied by screeches.

Lara took a flare from her bag and pulled the top off. She looked up to see dozens of stilvas.

“Oh bullocks...” she said.

“Run....” Kurosawa ordered.

“I’m not gonna argue with that!!!” Mercedes exclaimed. “Let’s get the hell out of here!!”

“I second that!!” Barek shouted.

Strike Force turned towards the exit, breaking out in a run as the stilvas fell from the ceiling and began to give them chase.


Lara, Barek, and Kristi fired at the stilvas while running out.

“GET TO THE CHOPPER!!!!” Barek ordered.

Edge, Kurosawa, Mercedes, and Tetsuo boarded it, followed by Barek and Kristi, with Lara lagging behind.

“Hurry up, Lara!!!” Kurosawa shouted.

Lara leapt into the chopper, still firing at the stilvas as the chopper began to lift off the ground.


Back at Barek’s Costa del Sol mansion, the team rests as well as to grab a drink.

“Sir,” Cardinal said, walking in.

“Yes Cardinal?” Barek asked.

“A man by the name of Broll is on the PHS,” Cardinal said. “He iss interested in the current status of the mission.”

“Tell him we’re about to go into Corel Prison to get his brothers out,” Barek replied.

“So, that’s the name of the guy who’s gonna make me a rich woman, eh?” Mercedes asked.

“Hopefully, he’ll be making us all rich,” Barek said. “We should get going now.”

Barek picked up the Materia.

“Everyone get close,” he ordered. As he concentrated on the Materia orb and the people around him, they slowly began to vanish.


Desert. As far as the eye can see. That basically describes Corel Prison. A prison with no obvious key. Impenetrable and unescapable. The only way one can escape from Corel Prison is if they are given the permisson of Mr. Coates to enter the Chocobo Race. If they win, they are granted a full pardon. However, two brothers are going to find a much easier ticket home.

Strike Force has arrived.


“So, where do we begin?” Lara asked, looking around the prison. “We can’t just ask someone if they’re the ones we need to rescue.”

Barek looked around and walked up to a man standing by a gate.

“Can you tell me where Kamal and Seiro are?” Barek asked.

“Yeah,” he replied, lighting a cigarette. “They’re in that house over there. Mean sons of bitches, too.”

“Thanks,” Barek said. “All right people, let’s go.”


Edge kicked open the door, already in his battle mode.

“Knock, knock!!” he growled.

“What the fuck IS that?!?” one of the men exclaimed.

“That’s Edge Demona,” Barek said, following Edge in. “Are you Kamal and Seiro?”

“Y-yes,” one of the replied. “I’m Kamal and that’s Seiro.”

“We’re your ticket out of here,” Kurosawa said.

“Wait a minute,” Seiro said. “Who sent you?”

“All I know is that someone with a lot of money is paying us to save your worthless asses, so you should be grateful!!!” Mercedes exclaimed.

“Your brother, Broll,” Barek said. He took out the Teleport Materia. “Now gather close. We need this to get you back to Midgar....”


Strike Force alongwith Kamal and Seiro appeared in front of a mansion in Sector 8.

Barek knocked on the door and a man stepped out.

“Kamal!! Seiro!!” he explained.

“Broll!!” Kamal and Seiro said in unison.

“It’s good to see you two again,” Broll said. He then turned to Strike Force. “I can’t thank you enough.”

“Our money is enough thanks,” Barek replied.

“Yes, yes, of course,” Broll said, grinning. “I have something even better.”

“And what would that be?” Lara asked.

Broll snapped his fingers, and Shin-Ra MPs came running out from Broll’s house, surrounding Strike Force!!”

“Shit!!” Barek exclaimed. He looked at Broll. “You son of a bitch!! This was all a set-up!!”

“Lower your weapons!!” an MP ordered.

“Now would be a good time to teleport, Barek...” Kurosawa said.

“Not enough energy left,” Barek replied. “Do as they say.”

Strike Force reluctantly lowered their weapons, dropping them on the ground.

“What’s the meaning of this?!?” Tetsuo asked. “Why are we being arrested!! We did nothing wrong!!”

“Breaking two prisoners out of Corel Prison seems wrong enough,” a man said.

“Rufus!” Lara shouted. “What is this all about?!?”

“Take them back to headquarters,” Rufus ordered. “I’ve got some plans for them.”

“Yes sir,” the commander said.

The MPs handcuffed Strike Force and led them into a van.

“Good work,” Rufus said, turning to Broll.

“Remember our agreement...” Broll began.

“Yes, I know,” Rufus finished. “Your brothers have been given a full pardon. Enjoy your freedom.”

AUTHOR’S NOTES: OK, this is somewhat of a letdown, I know. You were probably all hoping that you would find out more about what happened to Tsunami and that Avalanche would find out who Cloud’s brother is. Well, you will find that out in Chapter 21, and I promise that it won’t take as long as this chapter did. But on the upside, I intro’ed a lot of new characters. I just had to take the chance to introduce Strike Force since they play a big role in this story-arc, and I just had to silence everyone who was asking when Chapter 20 would be out (not that I mind them pestering me about it, it’s great to know that people enjoy my work). So in Chapter 21 you’ll find out the fate of Strike Force, more about Tsunami and Seido, and Avalanche will go after Hojo’s file on Rain.


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