Bizarre Occurances Chapter 23
By Dino Pollard
Striker hated Midgar.
It was crowded, noisy, polluted.
And corrupt. Well, the whole political system was corrupt. Thanks to Shin-Ra.
He shivered and pulled his coat collar a little higher, attempting to keep warm. Damn, was it freezing!!
Of course, he should be thankful. It was nothing like the weather at the Northern Continent when he was travelling with Avalanche. But it came pretty close. Midgar always got really cold during this time of year. Especially at night.
He wish he could be back at Seido Headquarters. In the warm bed. But he had to do this. He had to find out the truth. And Frost granted him leave.
But where was this guy?
Striker took out a cigarette and searched his pockets for a lighter or Fire Materia, or something he could use to light it.
Shit, he said.
Here, a man said, offering his lighter. Striker looked at him. He wore a brown trench coat and had pale skin. He was badly in need of a shave and his dark brown hair looked like it hadnt been combed in days.
Thanks, Striker replied, taking the lighter. Hannibal King I presume?
Im your man, Hannibal replied. Private investigator extrodanaire. So tell me what you want.
Striker reached into his jacket and pulled out a photograph. He handed it to Hannibal.
His name is Zack Trimmer, Striker said. He hasnt been heard from in five years. Hes presumed dead, but I dont believe it. Theres no record of his body ever being found.
A monster couldve always eaten his body, Hannibal suggested.
This close to Midgar? Striker asked.
Ill see what I can dig up on him, Hannibal said. But no guarantees. And even if I find nothing, I still expect to be well-compensated for my services.
How much do you charge?
3500 gil, Hannibal replied.
Striker silently cursed as he dug through his pockets for the money. He told himself that he would pay Shen back. But it was for a worthy cause. And with Tsunami now forced to work with Seido, Striker didnt have time to do this on his own. Besides, King was said to be the best. If anyone could locate Zack, he could. He put the money in Hannibals outstreched hand.
Thank you, Hannibal said, putting it into his trench coat pocket.
Well, good luck, Striker said, turning back to the waiting Chocobo.
Hold on, Hannibal said. How do I contact you?
Striker froze in place. How does he contact him? Its not like he could just call Seido HQ or mail the info. And its not as if Striker could say that hes an agent for a covert black ops organization. Then, he remembered the PHS. Hannibal could easily call him with that. And it has already been proven that the PHS is still in working order. In fact, they got a call while they were meeting with the Tribunal.
Do you have some paper or something? Striker asked.
Hannibal nodded and pulled out a small notepad with a pen and handed them to Striker.
Thanks, Striker said. He wrote down the PHS number. You can contact me by PHS.
Right, Hannibal said. He turned and walked away.
Striker walked over to the Chocobo which had been waiting patiently.
Thanks for keeping quiet, Zyx, Striker said, climbing on his animal teammates back.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Zyx replied. So, ya wanna tell me what this is all about?
You already heard the story, Striker said.
Yeah, but WHY are ya looking for Zack? Zyx asked.
Because theres no way he can be dead, Striker replied. Zack wouldnt go that easily.
Zyx snorted and began to run back to Seido HQ.
Cloud could barely contain himself as he ran from the Highwind to Bareks mansion in Costa del Sol. He couldnt believe he was actually going to meet his brother. It seemed unreal.
Goddammit!! Barret cursed. Slow down!!
Whatsa matter, old man? Yuffie asked. Cant keep up the pace?
Why I oughta...!! Barret began.
Barret!! Tifa exclaimed. Calm down.
Cloud looked at Bareks mansion.
This is it, Cloud said. He knocked on the door and it slowly opened.
Maybe they dont lock their doors here, Cait said.
No, Cloud said. Somethings wrong. Everyone be prepared for anything!!
Cloud kicked the door off its hinges and walked in, his hand reaching for his sword.
A groaning noise was heard.
Whazzat? Yuffie asked.
Vincent walked over to a fallen piece of furniture and lifted it up. Underneath was an elderly man in a torn suit.
Who is it? Cloud asked.
Ive never seen him, Vincent said.
C-Cardinal, he said, coughing. Master Barek is somewhere in the house.... wounded. Please....help him...
Jon--er, Dad, Cloud said. Stay with Cardinal. The rest of you follow me.
One step at a time, Barek told himself. You need to take these things slowly. Dont rush or else you might risk furthur injury.
He heard a loud noise, followed by voices and footsteps. Did Garrison return to finish the job? Or was Strike Force able to get away from Shin-Ra? Strike Force. His team.
Ha. Some leader he turned out to be. His team was captured twice, and he risked their welfare over his butler. It just wasnt right. He was a fool to ever try leading them. And now they were captured by Shin-Ra and Cardinal was probably already dead.
He wished Garrison had finished the job.
Over here!! a man shouted. Barek looked up. He was young, with spikey-blonde hair and a large sword strapped to his back.
Spikey-blonde hair? Large sword? It was him. The kid from Nibelheim. Cloud.
You must be Barek, Cloud said. Were Avalanche.
Mind telling us what the fuck happened here? Cid asked.
Shin-Ra attacked, Barek said. Garrison gave me a fierce beating, then threw Cardinal across the room.
What about Rain? Cloud asked. Wheres my brother?!?
Deadpool was taken alongwith the rest of Strike Force, Barek said. To Midgar no doubt.
Lets get moving, then, Cloud said. It looks like we may need to break into Shin-Ra HQ yet again.
Umm..... no you wont, Cait said.
What the hell are ya talkin bout, cat? Barret asked.
Rufus had the Junon cannon moved to Midgar, Cait said. Hes planning to hook it up to all the Reactors in Midgar.
But why? Aeris asked.
Once the Sister Ray is operational, a blast of Mako energy will be fired. The blast will reach the North Crater where Bizarro-Sephiroth is, destroying the barrier.
Can they really do that? Red asked.
They seem to think so, Cait replied. But theyve hired Strike Force to stay at the base of the Sister Ray and put a stop to us.
Either way, we still need to get into Midgar, Cloud said. He turned to see Jonah walking in the room.
Cardinal seems fine, Jonah said. He just needs some rest. His wounds arent all that serious.
You stay here with him, Cloud ordered. Well go to Midgar.
Im going with you, Barek said, limping over to the team. Ive got some old scores to settle.
And how are you going to do that? Red asked. On your hands and knees with a gun in your mouth?
Ill be fine... Barek replied. He checked to see that his gun was loaded. All I need is a Cure spell and Ill be as good as new.
Well worry about that on the flight, Cloud said. Well land at the outskirts of Midgar. Lets just hope we can draw Strike Force out of Midgar.
Deadpool grumbled as the PHS on his nightstand rang. He ignored it and rolled onto his side. It continued to ring. This time, he stuck his pillow on it.
It rang still.
He reached over and picked up one of his .45s and shot the phone.
Damn wake-up calls.... he muttered before going back to sleep.
There was a banging on his door.
Sweet fucking Christ!!!!! he exclaimed. All I ask for is some peace and quiet!!
Pool, get up!! Kurosawa ordered. The Highwind has been spotted. Itll most likely land on the outskirts of Midgar. So hurry up and get ready!! Were gonna need to move it!!
Highwind? Deadpool asked. Oh yeah!! Avalanche!!
He jumped out of bed and put the rest of his clothes on.
Lara paced around nervously, watching the skies. She then looked at Deadpool who was busy humming to himself.
Do-do-do-do, he said.
Bloody hell!! she shouted. ANSWER MY QUESTION ALREADY!!!
Question...? Deadpool asked with a puzzled look.
WHY did you agree to take this job?!? she asked impatiently.
Enough with the jokes!!
Fine, fine, Deadpool said. Well, we need to see Avalanche, right? So this way, we can see them easily and help them get into Midgar. Then, we can all destroy the Sister Ray together!!
I like the way you think, Pool, Kristi said.
Here they come, Edge said, his fangs beginning to emerge as the Highwind landed.
Cloud slowly looked over the group assembled before Avalanche. Not one of them was familiar. Then he noticed a man in a red and black costume and instantly rememered the picture from the file.
RAIN!!! he shouted.
CLOUD!!! Deadpool exclaimed. DONT CALL ME RAIN!!!!
I--I cant believe this! Cloud said. Its really you!
Of course its really me, Deadpool said. Who else would it be?
Looks like you all had a nice little trick up your sleeves, eh? Barek asked, walking to the front of the group.
Barek! Kurosawa exclaimed. Youre alive?!?
Of course, Barek said. You didnt think Id die that easily, did you?
Umm....Id hate to ruin this kodak moment and all, Yuffie began. But I just saw something that wont make you guys all that happy...
What would that be? Sephiroth asked.
Yuffie pointed out to the sea. There was a spot where the water seemed to boil. And slowly, the Diamond WEAPON emerged from the depths. It slowly began to make its way towards Midgar.
Oh shit! Cid cursed. Dont we got all the luck?
We cant let it reach Midgar!! Barret shouted. Lets bust it up!!
I like him, Deadpool said.
Yo!! Barret yelled. IF YER GONNA COME, CMON ALREADY!! ILL BASH YO HEAD IN!!!
I REALLY like him!! Deadpool said.
Umm Barret? Cait asked.
Whatcho want, cat? Barret asked. His eyes then grew wide as Diamond WEAPON stepped onto the shore.
Ever hear of the phrase, be careful what you wish for?
Holee shiet!! Deadpool exclaimed. Thats one BIG mamma-jamma!!
No stealing my lines, Deadwaterbed!!! Cait shouted.
Watch yer mouth, cat!! Deadpool said. Otherwise, I might hafta pop a cap in yer ass!!
The Diamond WEAPON let out a great roar.
Im not sure how much damage we can do to it, Cloud said. Our weapons definitely arent enough, so concentrate on using Materia.
Materia? Deadpool asked. Pssh!! Who needs Materia!!
The wise-cracking mercenary rushed the WEAPON with guns blazing.
Diamond WEAPON didnt even register the attacks, but took notice of Deadpool leaping at it. The hand lifted and swatted Deadpool back to the ground.
Oh my God!! Cait exclaimed. He killed Deadpool!!
Im not dead . Deadpool said weakly, lying on the ground.
Sephiroth glared at the WEAPON, his hand poised over the hilt of his sword. He watched the monster carefully, and visualized the outcome of his attack.
Quake3!! he shouted as the Materia orb glowed. And then, just as he had visualized, the earth around the WEAPON began to rise up, surrounded it. Then, it was gone. As quickly as it had come.
The WEAPONs devices on its shoulders opened, firing dozens of energy blasts at the two teams.
Then, they all saw why WEAPON had waited so long to attack. It was charging. And the result was Ultima, followed up by even more energy blasts.
Everyone all right? Aeris asked, hopefully.
Couple pins in the hip an Ill be good as new, Cid said, getting to his feet.
The WEAPON looked at Avalanche and Strike Force, then started to walk away.
Did we just win? Mercedes asked. With barely lifting a finger?
No, Sephiroth replied. Look. Its heading towards Midgar.
It senses .. death, Cloud said. Lets get back to the Highwind!
So you see Reeve, Rufus began. Itll be your job to manage the Reactors output.
I understand, Reeve said.
Dont worry about it, Reeve!! Scarlet laughed. Once the cannon is ready to go, open the valve all the way and let er rip!! And Mr. President, please remember that it was MY idea to use Mako-powered shells!!
Youre positive the shells will reach to the far northern border? Rufus asked.
Yes, Scarlet replied. The Sister Ray is the ultimate weapon!!
Good, Rufus said. Heideggar, make sure SOLDIER is ready to head into the Crater once the barrier is destroyed.
No need to worry, Heideggar said. As we speak, SOLDIER is arriving on the Northern Continent! Well stop Sephiroth!!
How are things on your front, Kyoske? Rufus asked the newest member of the Shin-Ra executive staff.
The Materia Bomb has been shipped to Rocket Town, Kyoske replied. Within the hour, it will be loaded on the Shin-Ra No. 26. Im about to head there now to insure things go smoothly.
Good, Rufus said. Ill assign Rude to assist you.
The intercom on Rufus desk sounded.
Mr. President!! the voice said. WEAPON is approaching Midgar!!
Prepare to fire the Sister Ray, Rufus said.
Both Avalanche and Strike Force were gathered on the deck of the Highwind. Barret watched in horror as the Diamond WEAPON made its way towards Midgar. There was only one thought on his mind.
He would never be able to forgive himself if Marlene was killed because of his stupid crusade to save the planet. What good is the planet without Marlene?
Look!! Tifa exclaimed. Theyre about to fire the Sister Ray!!
Are they gonna try and stop WEAPON with it? Barek asked.
Looks like it, Cloud said.
The Mako Reactors that lined Midgar began to flare up, transferring Mako energy into the Sister Ray. Then, the entire city went dark.
All power, except for that within Shin-Ra Headquarters and the Sister Rays manual controls, was lost.
There was nothing. Silence.
Then, the Sister Rays devices began to move, signaling the build-up of energy. It gathered around the barrel of the cannon, and then, with a ferocious throwback, fired a Mako-powered shell straight towards the intended target.
Diamond WEAPON sensed the approach of energy and its shoulder devices opened, releasing a mass of energy at the source. However, the energy wasnt directed towards the Mako shell. Instead, the energy headed straight for Shin-Ra HQ.
But it would be the creatures last act. The shell went straight through WEAPON, leaving a large hole.
The blast continued north.
It went through WEAPON!! Aeris exclaimed. But that means that WEAPON wasnt their target ?
The Crater Sephiroth said.
Rufus sat back in his chair, waiting for any word on the results of his brilliant move.
Sir! the intercom came on. The barrier around the North Crater is gone!!
Dispatch SOLDIER immediately, commander he said.
Theyre already on their way, the commander replied.
And Kyoske is already headed towards Rocket Town, Rufus said. Perfect.
Sir!! a technician came on the intercom. A mass of high-density energy is headed towards Midgar!!
Rufus spun immediately to see the blasts flying past Shin-Ra HQ. There were a few that wouldnt miss their mark, however.
Oh shit he muttered.
Is the barrier gone? Cloud asked.
Looks like it, Red replied.
Cid, can the pilot fly us inside? Cloud asked.
Hes my student!! Cid exclaimed. He can fly anywhere!!
Right, sorry, Cloud apologized. Then lets head towards the North Crater!! Its time to put a stop to this!!
Wait!! Cait shouted. We cant go yet!! Remember the Huge Materia?
Baakusa had some, Red said.
Right, Cait continued. But Shin-Ra has a plan. Theyve gathered all the Huge Materia and made it into a Materia Bomb to destroy Meteor!! Theyre loading it on the Shin-Ra No. 26 as we speak!! Theyre gonna launch the rocket at Meteor and attempt to blow it up!!
We cant let them do that!! Aeris exclaimed. We need the Huge Materia in battle against Bizarro-Sephiroth!! Thats the only way Meteor can be stopped!!
Aeris is right, Cloud said. He turned to Barek. Will you accompany us to Rocket Town?
Yes, Barek nodded.
Wait a minute! Cait said. Scarlet, Heidegger. Whats going on?
I cant reach the President!! Reeve exclaimed.
Wh-what?!? Scarlet asked.
Somethings wrong, Reeve said. The cannon is preparing to fire another shot!!
Th-thats impossible!! Scarlet shouted. It needs to be cooled for at least three hours before it can be used again!! Otherwise, it might explode!!
We cant shut it down from here, Reeve said. He turned to Heidegger. Call the mainframe.
Heidegger reached for his phone, but stopped.
Hey, why are YOU giving orders?!? Heidegger asked.
I dont give a damn about the details!! Reeve exclaimed. Just do it!! The President is probably dead, and above all, we need to insure that Midgar remains safe!!
Heidegger made no move to obey Reeves order.
Fine, Reeve said. He dialed up the mainframe.
Hojo sat at the manual controls of the Sister Ray.
Yes, my son, he said. You require power. I shall give you that power. Science is pointless. I dont like it, but Ill concede to it.
A small monitor on the control board read INCOMING CALL. Hojo stood his ground, but Reeves voice was heard over the intercom anyway.
Hojo stop!! he exclaimed. Y-you cant do this!! The cannon, no, Midgar itself, is in danger!! If you dont stop now, theres a chance that itll explode, taking us, and all of Midgar, with it!!
One or two Midgars, Hojo said. It makes no difference. I will grant your wishes. You, who shall become a god to rule over all souls for eternity. It will be most exciting to witness your ascension. Just remember who got you there.
Were out of luck! Cait exclaimed. Hojos acting on his own!! If we dont do anything, Midgars in danger!!
MARLENE!!! Barret shouted. Whats gonna happen ta Marlene?!?
Dont you worry none about Marlene, Cait said. Shes in a safe place with Aeris mom.
Mom.... Aeris whispered, praying that Elmyra Gainsborough was all right.
Barret breathed a sigh of relief and turned away.
Barret, what was that just now? Cait asked. As long as Marlene is safe, who cares what happens, right?
The tension in the cockpit of the Highwind increased.
Ive been meaning to ask you this for awhile, Cait began. How many people do you think died when you blew up the No. 1 Mako Reactor?
....That was fr the life o tha planet, Barret replied. Ya gotta expect a few casualties...
A FEW?!? Cait asked. What might be nothing to you was everything to those people that lost their lives or their friends or family!! You all sound so great, saving the planet. But yo--
SHUUP!!! Barret shouted. I dont wanna hear nothin bout that from nobody in Shin-Ra!!
Nothin I can do about that... Cait said.
Stop it, both of you!! Tifa commanded. Cait, Barret knows what he did was wrong. It cant be helped. But I know you. You cant just up and quit the company. Youre doing us a great service by providing information on the Shin-Ra. But none of this matters if we end up fighting amongst ourselves!! Right now, we have a job to do!!
Tifas right, Cloud said. So now were in a bind. Weve got to stop Hojo, but we also need to stop Kyoske from launching the Shin-Ra No. 26. So well need to divide the teams up. Ill lead the team into Midgar. This may very well be the final battle against Hojo, and Ive got personal reasons why I want to stop him. So whos with me?
I am, Sephiroth said.
As am I, Vincent added, walking up to Cloud.
Ya cant keep me away, Barret said. I gotta do this fr Marlene.
Hojo made me what I am, Deadpool broke in. And I wanna thank him.
I, too, have a personal grudge against Hojo, Red said.
Hojo experimented on me and my real mother, Aeris said. I--I have to go, too.
Hey, yer gonna need SOMEBODY ta guide you into Midgar!! Cait exclaimed. An IM yer man!! Er... cat.
Theyre launchin MY rocket!! Cid shouted. Ive gotta stop them!! Cloud, ya gotta let me go ta Rocket Town!! If ya dont, Ill shove my fuckin spear up your ass!!
Have it your way, Cid, Cloud replied. The team going into Midgar will be me, Deadpool, Barret, Vincent, Sephiroth, Aeris, Red, and Cait--
Everyone turned to see Edge step out from the corner. His sunglasses were shielding his eyes from the light of the Highwind. His blood-red Katana hummed slightly as he drew it.
Hojo created me, he said. He also tortured me. I have an obligation to return the favor.
Thats fine, Edge, Barek said. You do what youve gotta do.
Cid, Im counting on you to take the others into Rocket Town, Cloud said.
No problem, Cid said.
Cloud and the others are coming, Reeve said. So dont get in their way.
What are you talking about? Heidegger asked. The President is gone, so now were doing things MY way!! Well do anything to make the enemy retreat!! Because of them I--I..
Thats a private matter!! Reeve said. We cant let Hojo destroy Midgar!! The only ones who can stop him are Avalanche.
Traitor!! Scarlet exclaimed. Guards, place Reeve under arrest for treason!!
From this point on, Midgar is now under martial law!! Heidegger exclaimed
Weve got problems... Cait said. Heideggers placed Midgar under martial law!!
WHAT?!? Barret shouted. Then how we gonna get in?!? We cant slip in through the slums!!
What the hell do ya think yer in?!? Cid shouted. This is the Highwind!! If lands no go, you can go by air!!
Cids right! Aeris exclaimed. We can parachute into Midgar.
Cid, once were clear, take the Highwind to Rocket Town, Cloud said. Once youre done there, head straight back to Midgar and follow us in. If not, then dont worry. Well be able to stand up to Hojo.
Follow me! a crew member said. Ill lead you to the parachutes!
Sephiroth tightened the straps on his parachute, checking to see if it was secure. He gripped the hilt of his sword and looked at his reflection in the blade.
Finally. After all these years, he would finally be able to put an end to Hojo.
The time has finally come, Vincent said. We will be able to destroy Hojo and erase his evil legacy. It almost seems too good to be true.
Yes... Sephiroth replied. This is the moment I have been waiting for ever since the time when he poked and prodded me with needles.
Appears we have something in common, Edge said.
Hojo has experimented on nearly every member of our team at some point or the other, Cloud said. Now its time to settle the score. If you have weapons that need to be held on your back, then carry them. Theres a chance that the parachute wont work otherwise.
Cloud walked out of the cargo room where the parachutes were stored and up to the deck of the Highwind. Aeris already there with her parachute on, leaning on the handrail.
Its beautiful, isnt it Cloud? she asked. The sunset.
I dont really care for it, Cloud replied. Were about ready to make our move.
Good, Sephiroth said, walking onto the deck. The rest of their team followed him.
Cloud looked then all over. They were all powerful, and they all had their individual strengths and weaknesses. But he was somewhat uncertain about Edge. Although Barek assured him that Edge was invaluable in battle, Cloud still had his doubts. As he did with Sephiroth.
Gripping his Buster Sword in one hand, he put one foot up on the guardrail.
GO!! he shouted as he leapt over the edge of the Highwind.
Aeris came next, followed by Sephiroth.
And slowly, all of them were airborne as the Highwind began to fly off to Rocket Town.
Cait came up next to Cloud, without a parachute.
Ill meet you all down on the ground!! he said.
Deadpool was in freefall. Although it was awkward to hold his swords in his hands as he reached for the ripcord, it was still exciting nonetheless.
He couldnt believe the results of the past few days. Not only did he join up with Strike Force, but he also met his long-lost twin brother after 20 years!! And Cloud had told him that their father was still alive as well. He had no idea what he would say to him when he finally did meet him.
PULL!!! Cloud ordered, as his chute opened.
Deadpool reached for his cord and pulled it open.
YEE-HAW!!! he shouted.
Seconds after Cloud barked his command, eight parachutes were floating down to Midgar.
Theyre off... Tifa said.
Time for us to get our asses in gear, then, Cid said.
Can it PLEEEEEASE be a slow gear? Yuffie asked, clutching her stomach.
Fuck no!! Cid exclaimed. Weve gotta get movin!! For all we know, they mightve already launched the rocket!!
Ulp.... perfect... Yuffie said.
The team landed in Sector 8 and left their parachutes there. Cait was already waiting for them.
Cmon, this way!! he said, bounding off.
Yes.... yes..... Hojo said. He cranked up the power of the Sister Ray and prepared to release it.
Hojo stop!! Cloud ordered.
Hmph, Hojo grunted. The failure.
You can at least remember my name, Cloud said. Its Cloud Strife!!
Son of Jonah, Hojo said, turning to face the team. He then took notice of Deadpool. And the end result of Project: Deadpool. And the Ancient. Oh, and I mustnt forget Valentine. Or Sephiroth.
You bastard... Sephiroth cursed, drawing the Masamune. Is it not enough for you to ruin your own family, you must ruin others as well?
Why are you doing this? Cloud asked.
Stop asking me why you moron!! Hojo spat. Actually, you might be cut out to be a scientist. But I was a fool. I evaluated you as a failed experiment. Yet youre the only one who suceeded as a Sephiroth-clone. My son is in need of power. That is the only reason.
As much as I hate to admit it, Sephiroth said. Your son is standing right in front of you.
Not you, Sephiroth, Hojo said with a grin. Your brother, Seraph.
Seraph? Aeris asked. Do you mean Bizarro-Sephiroth?
But wasnt he like, some sorta copy or sumthin? Barret asked.
Bizarro-Sephiroth? A copy? Hojo asked. HAHAHA!!! No, no. Seraph is Sephiroths twin brother. We needed a back-up in case Sephiroth turned out to be a failure. Seraph was raised in complete isolation. However, he shared a mental link with you. As such, he was able to know everything that happened to you. And now, he has exceeded my expectations. Seraphs ascension will begin soon. And when it does, you will feel the power of a god!!
I was wrong, Vincent said. I shouldnt have slept. The one who shouldve slept was you, Hojo!! And now, I shall insure that you will sleep!!
I think not, Valentine, Hojo replied. You see, Ive injected myself with Jenova cells. And here are...heehee....MY RESULTS!!!
Before their eyes, Hojo transformed from the gangly, sickly-looking man, into a creature which bared similarity to Jenova!!
Weve gotta put a stop to him right here, right now!! Cloud exclaimed, lifting a red orb into the air. STEEL-BLADED SWORD!!
The orb glowed and flowed out of Clouds hand, then shot into space. There was a galloping heard in the distance.
Hojo then saw the result.
Odin, the All-Father of the Gods, charging at Hojo on his steed, Sleipnir, his sword in hand. Three slashes, and then, Odin vanished.
The orb reappeared in Clouds hand.
The rest of the team took a cue from Cloud.
DIAMOND DUST!! Red shouted.
HOLY JUDGEMENT!! Vincent commanded.
ELEMENTAL ATTACK!! Cait exclaimed.
In response to the Materia orbs, a triple summon of Shiva, Alexander, and Kjata assaulted Hojo.
Not...finished....yet... Hojo said. FLARE!!
Each member felt the air around them grow warmer. Then, it erupted with a surge of fire!!
Cure3!! Aeris exclaimed, as the Cure spell took an instant effect, healing everyone.
The end isss now, Hojo!! Edge snarled as his fangs grew. With his katana in hand, he leapt at Hojo, slashing uncontrollably. Admiring your handiwork?
Yadda, yadda, yadda... Deadpool said, joining in with his own swords. Jesus H. Christ, Edge!! Ya talk too much!! Its parry, parry, thrust, thrust!! Good!! NOW yer gettin the hang of it!!
Too much talk... Edge said.
Out of the way!! Sephiroth commanded. Edge and Deadpool moved away from Hojo as Sephiroth unleashed a fury of slashes on him, each more powerful than the last.
Hojos form slowly began to change, from Jenova-creature into gangly man.
N....no..... Hojo said, writhing on the ground. Ca...*kaff* cant die.....yet....
Vincent aimed his gun at Hojos head. Then, he let off one shot.
And this one is for me.
One final shot, and Hojo was dead.
Hojo.... Edge said. Rest in pieces...
Cmon, Cloud said. We should head over to the outskirts of Midgar. The Highwind should be there.
A lone figure slowly emerged from the wreckage that was the 70th Floor of Shin-Ra HQ. His white coat was in tatters. He looked around and saw the body of a hound.
He ran over to his pet and gently petted it.
Its all right, boy... he said. Everythings gonna be all right...
Dark Nation whimpered and weakly licked his masters hand. Then, his head fell back.
He remembered when his mother first gave him the pup on his fifth birthday. Two weeks later, she was killed. But Dark Nation was always there for him. Slowly, he moved the dead dogs body off his lap and stood.
WEAPON had not only destroyed his office, but it had also destroyed his empire, his legacy, and his friend.
And for the first time since he was five years old, Rufus wept.
AUTHORS NOTES: A lot more action in this chapter. Its also one of the longer chapters. And I added the ending with Rufus because I thought it would be interesting to see him as a person and not a cold-hearted bastard he was portrayed as in the game. I figured everyones gotta have something to care about, and Dark Nation was that something to Rufus. Dont be expecting a rise of Shin-Ra, though. After that, theres no way I can rebuild Shin-Ra as if nothing happened. It just wouldnt be right. Anyway, Chapter 24 will showcase Cids team in Rocket Town. Were in the home stretch here, people. Bizarre Occurances is coming to a conclusion soon!!
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