Bizarre Occurances Chapter 7
By Dino Pollard
The trek through the Corral Valley Cave and to Icicle Inn was a cold one,
but by no means a difficult one. At least not for Sephiroth. The Jenova in
him made him nearly invulnerable. The cold didnt bother him. But he
saw that it bother the others. Barret and Cid were both muttering curses
about the weather, Tifa was rubbing her arms continually in an effort to
warm them, Yuffies teeth were chattering as she kept repeating the
word cold, and Aeris was hugging her chest. Shen, Cloud and Vincent
also didnt seem bothered with the weather. And it was obvious that
Reds fur was enough to keep him warm. Striker wore a leather jacket
over his clothes, enough to keep him warm, and Ray wore a long leather trench
coat. And Cait was nothing more than a toy cat. Sephiroth looked back at
Aeris. She was still hugging her chest in a futile manner to keep her warm.
Aeris. Why is it that he saved her from Bizarro-Sephiroth? Is it because
she believed in him when everyone else still thought of him as a cold-blooded
killer? He admits that he feels some sort of attraction to her. But she
doesnt seem to feel the same.
Cloud and Shen led the team over the snowy fields. Cloud thought if he was really the one who should be leading. Especially after he almost killed Aeris. He still cant believe that he tried to kill the woman he loved. If not for Sephiroth, she would be dead. God, he still couldnt believe it. He actually owes Sephiroth a debt of gratitude for saving Aeris life. Cloud briefly thought about what would have happened if Bizarro-Sephiroth didnt exist. That would mean Sephiroth never joined Avalanche, which would mean that he would be their enemy, and...
Dont beat yourself up over what happened, Shen said. Cloud turned to him.
How can I not? he asked. I almost killed her. And then I was helpless to save her.
You tried, Shen replied. That is all that matters.
Were at Icicle Inn, Cloud said in an effort to change the subject. Shen grinned.
Snow, Yuffie stated. I HATE snow!!!
Why not call it what it really is? Cid asked. White shit.
Damn man, Barret began. Why the hell do we gotta be in this fuckin cold?!?!?
The Promised Land is beyond the Gaea Cliffs, Sephiroth answered. To reach it we need to climb the Gaea Cliffs.
You mean we gotta handle MORE snow?!?!? Yuffie exclaimed. Sephiroth nodded. Grrrrrr.
Cloud, look at this, Shen said.
What is it? Cloud asked.
Look at the door, Shen replied. Its been forced into. He drew his sword. Shall we examine it?
OK people, be ready for anything, Cloud ordered as he drew his own weapon. He looked towards the rest of the team, their weapons held at ready. Go on Shen.
Shen kicked the door open and jumped into the abandoned house.
What the fuck? Cid cursed. You got me all worked up over nothing?!?
Calm down, Cid, Aeris said calmly. Cid relaxed. Sephiroth couldnt help but wonder why the foul-mouthed man did as Aeris had said. There was a certain tone to her voice. Commanding in a way, yet very gentle at the same time. Perhaps it was the compassion she showed to everyone, and everything. However, he still couldnt remember where he had seen her before. A mystery for another time, perhaps.
Shen sheathed his sword, the Eternal Blade. There didnt seem to be any threat at the moment. But he could almost sense that a battle had taken place here. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a moniter and walked over to it. There was a slot for a video cassette beneath it, alongwith a small glass drawer with four tapes. He opened the glass door and examined the titles, brushing some dust off the labels.
Look at that, Tifa said, pointing to a video camera in the far corner of the room. Is that some sort of security system?
Was. Vincent answered. Its wrecked. The lens is shattered. Perhaps caused by a bullet.
How the hell can you see that? Striker asked.
I have good eyes. Vincent replied.
And I thought my vision was above-average. Ray muttered. Compared to this guy, Im blind as a bat. Vincent turned his gaze to meet Rays and simply grinned. Ray wondered how Vincent could hear him.
Something wrong, Aeris? Tifa asked.
Hmm? Aeris replied. Oh, nothing Tifa. Why do you ask?
You look like somethings troubling you. Tifa answered.
Well, yeah, she said. I dont know how and I dont know why, but I feel like Ive been here before.
What are you looking at, Shen? Red asked, walking up to him.
This video-monitor, Shen replied. And these controls must have worked the camera up there.
A VCR?!? Yuffie exclaimed. COOOOL!!!! Lets watch The Exterminator!!
It doesnt look like there are any feature films here, Yuffie. Shen replied. Just these four tapes.
What tapes? Cloud asked.
The Original Crisis, WEAPON, Daughters Record: 10th Day After Birth and Daughters Record: 12th Day After Birth. Shen said.
Fire em up, then. Cait Sith said. Shen inserted the first tape, The Original Crisis. The team saw an image of a man in a lab coat with glasses and graying hair.
Professor Gast. Sephiroth spoke up. The other woman, looks familiar somehow... The entire team turned to Sephiroth and then back to the screen.
She looks...like Aeris, Ray said. They listened on until Professor Gast addressed her as Ifalna. Aeris eyes widened.
Mom...? was all she said.
Dat must be her real mother, Barret realized. Tha one Elmyra tol us bout. The team just watches as Ifalna describes the Crisis From The Sky which exterminated all the Cetra. Then, the tape ended.
Crisis From The Sky? Striker asked. What the hell is that?
Jenova. Sephiroth growled.
Shen motioned to the next tape and Cloud nodded. He played WEAPON. Again, an image of Professor Gast and Ifalna appeared, this time Ifalna talked about the WEAPONS, monsters created by the Planet to reduce everything to nothingness when the Planet was in danger. When the tape ended, Shen looked to Cloud, then to the remaining tapes.
Daughters Record, he said. Is it right for us to pry?
Do it, Cloud said. The information may be helpful. Shen nodded and played the third tape. This time, there was nothing but blackness on the screen, and only the voices of Gast and Ifalna, who were apparently married and blessed with a daughter. They named her Aeris.
Aeris?!? all of Avalanche said in unison. They turned to Aeris.
Professor Gast...is my father?? Aeris asked.
You should be proud, Sephiroth said in a tone almost comforting. He was a very brilliant man.
The tape ended and Aeris motioned for Shen to play the final one. This time, there was an image of just Ifalna and Gast again with a bassinet nearby, followed by a knock on the door. When Ifalna answered it, two Shin-Ra MPs followed by Hojo entered. One of them destroyed the camera with a bullet. There were only voices, a shot, Ifalna calling her husband and the sound of Aeris crying. The last sound was Hojos insane laughter. Then....there was nothing.
Hojo, Sephiroth said the name as if it were a curse. He slammed his fist onto a table, causing it to break in two. HOW MANY LIVES MUST YOU DESTROY?!?
Whoa man, take it easy, Barret said, trying to stop his teammate.
IT WASNT ENOUGH FOR YOU TO RUIN ANY CHANCE OF ME HAVING A NORMAL LIFE!!! Sephiroth shouted, ignoring Barrets attempt to calm down. Inbetween his rants, Sephiroth heard Aeris faint sobbing, though it wasnt from the tape. He stopped and walked over to her. Then he fell to his knees. Bastard.... Im sorry... Aeris.
Aeris looked down at the silver-haired man, his face buried in his gloved hands. Its OK, Sephiroth. Its not your fault. She managed to say, tears still streaming down her face.
Lets see whats in the basement. Shen said in an effort to lead the team away from Sephiroth and Aeris conversation. He felt it was best to not be public.
But I wanna hear!! Yuffie whined.
Come child, Vincent ordered, pulling Yuffie by the ear.
OW!! OW!! Yuffie protested. NOT THAT HARD, YOU MORBID VAMPIRE WANNA-BE!! As Vincent followed the others to the basement, he closed the door behind him.
If only there was something I could have done. Sephiroth said. Oh God, Im so sorry.
I know, I know. Aeris replied. I never knew about my parents and how I was in Shin-Ras custody until today. Now, I wish I hadnt learned the truth.
The same thing happened to me. he said. His very faint sobs had passed, as had Aeris, but his face was still wet with tears.
Aeris looked up at the camera and her lower lip slowly quivered. Oh God. she said, collapsing into tears. She fell into Sephiroths arms, and although he was cautious, he wrapped them around her and held her close, trying to comfort her.
Man, why do I ALWAYS hafta miss the good stuff?!? Yuffie whined.
Damn brat never shuts up, Cid cursed.
Please tell me I was never that way, Cloud. Tifa pleaded with her longtime friend.
Dont worry Tifa, Cloud said. You were always hyper, but never whiney.
Cloud!! she exclaimed and gave him a light push. He smiled. He was glad that the two of them could still joke like this, even in the midst of everything.
Hold it. Vincent stopped. Do you hear something?
No, Shen replied.
What is it Vincent? Red asked.
It sounds like a light groaning. he answered. He drew his gun and with his clawed hand, pushed open a door to a bedroom where an old man was lying in the bed. Vincent cocked the gun and aimed it at the man. Dont move.
Who are you? What are you doing in my home the man asked.
YOUR home?!? Yuffie protested. Listen old dude, a friend of ours owns this place because her folks croaked when she was a baby. And youre in here eating their food and sleeping in their bed. Damn thief. Everyone glared at Yuffie.
What?!? she asked.
Thats impossible. The man said. This is MY home. My wife and daughter were taken from me by the Shin-Ra. And knowing the kinds of sick and twisted experiments he performs, theyre probably dead.
It cant be. Vincent said.
Professor Gast? Shen asked.
Yes, thats my name. Gast replied. Although Im not much of a professor anymore.
Professor Gast, theres something you should know... Cloud began.
Aeris didnt know what she was doing. She just looked at the room again and she fell apart. Seeing images like those would do that to anyone. She just needed comforting, and luckily Sephiroth was there to provide it. He was different from other men she had known. Some of them had been jerks, others were nice and sensitive, quite a few were ego-maniacs, and a small number were just plain annoying. But Sephiroth seemed comforting in a strange way. She felt now, more than ever, that she could relate to him. As she thought about this, her sobs slowed to nothing and her tears were all but dry. She slowly moved out of Sephiroths comforting embrace and looked at him.
Will you be alright? he asked. She nodded, but couldnt help smiling at his remark. It was difficult for him to show that he cared for the feelings of others, and it could be seen by the way he talks, the way he stands, the way he moves.
Aeris? a voice broke in. She immediately turned her attention towards the man who had called her name. He was elderly, late 50s or early 60s. Over his experianced eyes, he wore a pair of glasses and he just stared at her. Aeris looked deep into his eyes. She felt that if you really looked into someones eyes, you could peer into their soul. And the eyes told her all she needed to know.
Dad...? Aeris said. She ran up to him and hugged him.
I thought you were dead. he said.
I thought you were dead, too. Aeris replied.
Let me look at you. Youre the spitting image of your mother. Gast said. Aeris blushed. Tell me, how is your mother doing?
She--she died. Aeris replied. Trying to save me from the Shin-Ra. She left me in the care of a woman named Elmyra Gainsborough, whos raised me ever since then.
Ifalna... Gast said. He hung his head momentarily, then looked back at Aeris. God, she looked like her mother. What about you? How did you get up here to Icicle Inn? They took you to Midgar.
You can thank Avalanche for that, Dad. Aeris said.
Yes, they already explained the situation to me downstairs. Gast replied. What are you going to do now?
Were going to the Promised Land at the Northern Crater to stop Bizarro-Sephiroth. Cloud broke in.
The Northern Crater? Gast repeated. Aeris, I dont want you to go with them. Its too dangerous.
Dad, I appreciate your concern, Aeris began. But Im not a little girl. I can take care of myself. Besides, Ive got protection. She motioned to the rest of Avalanche.
It doesnt make any difference, Gast said. Its too dangerous for anyone, or any team. No matter how strong or skilled they are.
With all due respect, Professor, Red began. We need to stop Bizarro-Sephiroth before he summons Meteor.
Well, theres no stopping you, Gast sighed. Youre just like your mother. So strong-willed and independent. Theres no stopping you once youve set your mind to something. Just promise me youll come back safe. I dont want to lose you now that Ive found you.
Ill come back, Dad, Aeris replied. You have my word.
We really should get going. Cloud said. Its gonna be a long day.
Once outside Gasts house, the team gathered together to form a plan, when Elena and a Shin-Ra Attack Squad appeared.
There they are!! Elena exclaimed. She ran up to Sephiroth. You attacked Tseng!!
You are mistaken. Sephiroth replied coldly.
My ass Im mistaken!! she protested. He said you were responsible!!
He meant Bizarro-Sephiroth, my brother. Sephiroth said.
Want us to take him out Elena? an MP asked.
NO!! she ordered. Hes mine.
Take your shot, Sephiroth said, unmoving. Elena attempted to punch him, but Sephiroth simply took a casual sidestep, causing Elena to roll out of Icicle Inn. Shen shook his head at what his pupil had become.
E-Elena?! one of the MPs called after her.
Take em out!! another one shouted, firing several shots at the team.
Bout damn time we had some action!! Barret yelled, unloading several rounds of ammunition into the MPs.
Alright Avalanche, Cloud began, drawing his sword. Its time to take out the trash!! He slashed, taking out an MP.
Sephiroth grinned with delight. Finally, he could release all that rage he began to experiance at Gasts house. And it would be justifiable. He drew the Masamune as an MP approached him from behind.
Youre MINE, you silver-haired MONSTER!!! the Shin-Ra enforcer shouted, firing several bullets.
Monster? Sephiroth asked. He turned and shoved the eight-foot blade into the mans stomach, leaving him barely clinging to life. You serve a corperation built on the pain and suffering of others. You kill in their name. You propose to be enforcing the law. But the only law you enforce is the one your vile master has created. Tell me, soldier. Who is the true monster?
Well? Sephiroth asked.
Still, the MP gave no reply.
Tell me, who is the true monster? he repeated. Sephiroth half-expected to hear more silence. Instead, his answer came when the MP spat his own blood in Sephiroths face.
Go to hell, you rat-bastard. the MP replied bravely, and perhaps, insanely.
Sephiroth simply grinned. Ill see you there. He reached his hand to the MPs throat and gripped it. Then, he snapped the neck.
You are the true monster, Sephiroth said. I kill to set the wrong things right. You kill to line your pockets with silver.
SH----IT!!! Cid cursed as an MP jumped on him. The gun barrel was pressed to his cheek. He could smell the mans foul breath. Cid gritted his teeth in disgust and flipped the man over. He then kicked his head in.
If I gotta lose to you, at least brush your Goddamn teeth. Cid said. A sound of weapons loading was heard. He turned to see three MPs pointing their guns at him. Oh fuck.
YEEEEE-HAW!!! A voice exclaimed. The MPs turned. Each of them fell to the ground with a grunt of pain as the three bullets found their marks. Cid looked at his savior.
Who the fuck are you? he asked.
Names Rudy Roughknight, former Shin-Ra MP, current mercenary. the man replied. And that makes you...
A monkeys bare-assed uncle, Cid joked. Rudy chuckled. Cid Highwind.
Does the monkey call you Uncle Cid? Rudy asked.
Heh, Cid replied. I like you kid.
Yeah, well talk about it after we help your friends, Rudy said, twirling a pair of .45s.
Vincent lept into the air and dove into an MP feet first. He drew his gun and twirled it before looking at two MPs, standing practically behind each other. The former Turk took aim and fired a single bullet at the first MPs head. It travelled through and hit the second one.
Bullseye, Vinnie!! Yuffie praised him, catching her shuriken after a flawless throw. Vincent shot her an angry glare. What?!? He took aim at Yuffie. Wha-wait just a minute there!! He squeezed the trigger. EEP!!
Ugh!! the MP behind her said as he fell from the bullet-wound in his head. Yuffie looked at him and then back at Vincent.
HEY!! she protested. You couldve at least TOLD me to DUCK!!!
No time, he responded coldly. It looks as if the attack squad is no more.
Score one for the good guys. Striker said, sheathing his Hardedge.
Glad I could help you folks out, Rudy said. He noticed Sephiroth and quickly drew his weapons. You--MURDERER!!!!!
Barret and Shen held him back.
Yo, cool down man, Barret said.
Sephiroth is one of us, Shen began. Hes no longer the murderer he once was.
Do you remember me, Sephiroth? Rudy asked. Sephiroth shook his head. Im Rudy Roughknight. The MP assigned to escort you to Nibelheim. THE ONE YOU LEFT TO DIE ON MT. NIBEL!!!!
Nibelheim.... Cloud silently said. Tifa glanced at him with worried eyes. Something wrong Tifa?
N-no, Cloud! she protested. Everythings fine!! He gave her a curious look, but she tried to ignore it. Cloud was her best friend, but he wasnt ready for the truth. Not yet. However, she couldnt keep it from him for long. Not with Striker joining the team and now the appearence of the thought-dead Rudy Roughknight.
I apologize for what happened, Sephiroth said with very little emotion. Rudy wasnt satisfied.
Im not finished!! he shouted. Once I came back, I was half-dead. I couldnt remember who I was, let alone what had happened. I made my way back to Nibelheim where I found it burnt to the ground. I could only find one man and I asked him what happened. He only said one word. Sephiroth. Then he died. Ever since then, Ive become a mercenary, taking any job I can get my hands on. And slowly, piece by piece, Ive remembered nearly everything. But some of the stuff at the Nibelheim incident is still a blur. My sources told me that the rebel group Avalanche was tailing Sephiroth. So I began to follow their trail. Until I eventually came here. Icicle Inn. And here you are.
As much as you hate Sephiroth, he is a valued member of this team, Shen said. And we will defend him if necessary.
Sephiroth looked at Shen with surprise. Why is he defending me? He thought.
I just want to keep an eye on him so he doesnt cause any more bloodshed. Rudy replied.
Then join us, my friend, Shen suggested.
Well, you guys ARE after the Shin-Ra, and theyre partly responsible for Nibelheim... Rudy began to consider. Alright, Ill do it.
Great, Shen said. He turned to Cloud. If thats Ok with you?
Huh? Cloud asked, snapping out of a comatose-like state. Im sorry, Shen. I guess I mustve
zoned out. Yeah, thats fine. The more firepower we have, the better.
So, now where do we go? Striker asked.
The Gaea Cliffs, Sephiroth responded. But first, we must get to the base of them. This mountain leading to the base is pretty steep.
Well, we can always take these, Red suggested, motioning to the attack squads discarded snowmobiles. Its not as if they will be using them.
But thats stealing!! Yuffie exclaimed. The entire team looked at her. What?!?
Well take the snowmobiles, Ray said, looking them over. Looks like well need to pair up.
Alright then, Shen began. Cloud and Tifa will take one, Striker and Cid will take another, Vincent and Red XIII, Barret and Yuffie, Rudy and Cait Sith, myself and Ray, and Aeris and Sephiroth. Cloud winced when he heard that last match-up, but reluctantly agreed to them.
Well meet at the base of the cliffs, Cloud ordered. Good luck, everyone. He climbed onto his snowmobile and Tifa sat behind him.
Yuffie jumped onto her snowmobile and tried to start it.
What the hell are ya doing, pint-size? Barret asked.
Im drivin!! Yuffie squealed.
In a pigs ass!! Barret exclaimed. Now get back!! He shoved her back and sat at the front.
How do you expect to drive it with one arm?!? Yuffie asked. Barret considered this for a second
then turned to face her.
Very carefully. he replied with a grin.
Barret started it up and drove down the moutain following the rest of the team.
AUTHORS NOTE: Yep, Im still around. Heres Chapter 7. So, it turns out Professor Gast IS alive!! And now, Rudy Roughknight joins the crew!! I called this chapter The Return because Professor Gast returned and so did Rudy. Now, I bet some of you are saying, with all these members, Avalanche is WAAAAY too big!! and I agree with you. The problem of Avalanches membership will be corrected in Chapter 8. So until then, keep checkin back!!
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