Hel & Back Chapter 11

Against the World

By Dino Pollard

Before Vincent could pull the trigger on the Death Penalty, the SOLDIER leapt forward, knocking it to the side with his lance.

“Don’t move,” he ordered, holding it to Vincent’s neck. Vincent coiled his legs and shot them forward, sending the SOLDIER flying. He leapt after him, ripping off the officer’s helmet. Then, his clawed hand shot forward, slicing into his face.

Tifa tried not to notice this, and instead concentrated on delivering some well-placed blows.

“Ow!” she exclaimed. “The Premium Heart comes in REAL handy when taking out armored goons…”

“I know what you mean…” Cloud stated, elbowing one of them. “I’d give anything to have my sword right about now…”

“Here,” Vincent said, tossing the SOLDIER’s lance. “Now shut up and fight.”

Cloud grabbed it and swung it effortlessly, impaling another SOLDIER. It was an odd weapon. He remembered trying to train with one during his time as a Pre-SOLDIER. It was nearly impossible for him to use, and though he had no trouble hefting it, it still felt clumsy in his hands.

“Oh no…” Tifa muttered. “They just keep coming!”

She pointed to a Gelnika which landed near them, and SOLDIERs pouring out of it.

“GODDAMMIT!!” Cloud shouted.He prepared to run at the group, but Vincent held up his clawed hand to stop him.

“Don’t move,” he stated.

“What?!” Cloud asked. “Are you insane?!”

“No…” Vincent replied. He calmly approached the SOLDIERs, the Death Penalty at his side.



“VINCENT!!!” Tifa shouted.

“Tifa, down!!” Cloud exclaimed, jumping on her and shoving her to the ground. He covered up her head, and watched as their friend became perforated.

“Don’t look, Tif…” he stated. “Just don’t look…”

One of the SOLDIERs walked up to them. He poked Cloud with his sword.

“Get up,” he ordered.

Slowly, they stood.


Cloud looked at Tifa, who solemnly nodded. Then, he dropped the lance.

“We surrender.”


[[ According to recent reports, more of the rebels have been found. Here with the details is Mayor Domino himself. ]]

“Turn it up!” Zack ordered as the image shifted to one of Domino.

“Barret, keep your arms at your side,” Red stated.

Barret rolled his eyes, but crossed his arms.

[[ “Good evening. Of the rebels found, only two have surrendered. The rest died during battle, in which they resisted arrest. Those shot include the following. Sara Pezzini. Lara Croft. Mercedes Lopez. Kristi Darklord. Ray Blaze. The creature referred to as Zyx. Indigo Bleu. And Vincent Valentine. Recently captured are Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockheart-Strife.” ]]

“Vincent…?” Yuffie asked.“They killed Vincent?”

“But… I thought he was like, y’know, a vampire or somethin’…” Barret muttered.

“And Tsunami…” Shen stated. “They wiped out the rest of Tsunami.”

“We’re being exterminated…” Red noted. “And now, they have Cloud and Tifa in custody.”

“So what do we do?” Aeris asked.

“We go to Headquarters and take care of Domino,” Zack replied, drawing his Buster Sword.

“First, let’s think of a plan,” Red noted. “We need all the help we can get, which includes the Turks.”

“Ask and ye shall receive.”

Red spun around to see Reno standing in front of the door.

“How did you get in here?” he asked.

“Teleport Materia,” Reno replied, holding a green orb. “We’ve got a job to do, so let’s get to it.”

“Where are the rest of the Turks?” Aeris asked.

“They’re trying to get away from Seido,” Reno stated.

“Seido…” Shen muttered. “Of course!! This is all Seido’s doing!! It all makes perfect sense. They’ve been manipulating events for years. And now, they want to manipulate this.”

“You guys don’t think this could be…”

“Turn up the TV,” Reno broke in.

Yuffie grabbed the remote and turned up the volume. It was another image of Mayor Domino.

[[ “Recently, it’s been revealed that President Reeve is also involved in this conspiracy. Due to this, we’ve reinstated a great man as the head of the government. I’d like tointroduce you to your new President… Rufus Shinra.” ]]

“Oh no…” Shera muttered, watching the TV. “Maybe you should…”

She turned to find the team gone and the door open.


Hojo watched the events unfold with a grin across his face. Everything was falling into place. And soon, he would have the means to make his dreams a reality.

His hand ran across the Zodiac Stone now in his possession.

“I’m almost there…” he muttered, a grin across his face. He placed the glowing orb on a shelf next to five others. Then, he turned to a machine with twelve slots in it.

“Soon… it will all be mine…”

An alarm went off.


{{ Alert!! Breach in #17!!Repeat: Breach in #17!! }}

“No…” Hojo muttered. He moved away from the Zodiac Stones to his computer, where he feverishly entered commands.

“#17 is…”

He entered more commands, and the readouts of #17, another one of his secret labs, came up. “The breach is in… 17-A… 17-A is… no…”

His gangly fingers breezed across the keyboard. Password prompt after password prompt came up, and he entered them in without a second thought. Each password was different from the last. These days, you could never be too safe with your equipment.

The file came up, and his suspicions were confirmed.

“17-A… Kaine…”


“Are you telling me we’re going to march right into headquarters an’ confront Rufus?” Yuffie asked.

“Why not?” Barret asked. “We’ve done it before.”

“Strap yerselves in, then,” Cid ordered. “It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”

“Holy shit…” Zack muttered,standing at the deck of the Highwind. “There must be tons of security there...”

“An’ it’s up t’us t’ get past it,” Barret stated. “Awright flunkies, lock ‘n’ load!!”

“’Flunkies’?” Yuffiemuttered.


Rufus sat comfortably in the plush chair, facing the bay windows which allowed him to view everything. It felt good to be back in the seat of power. To rule over everything.

He looked at the sophisticated computer console on his desk. From here, he could tap into any security camera in the building. From here, he could view any newscast across the globe.

“Good evening, Mr.President,” Domino stated as he entered. “I trust your accommodations suit you?”

“…Look at them, Domino,” Rufus said, motioning to the window. “They’re all ants, running around ready to serve me. To them, I’m a god… No, I’m more than a god. I’m motherfucking Zeus!! Seated high atop Mt. Olympus!! Do you know what I am, Domino? I’m king of the fucking world!! And no one is going to take that away from me again!! You understand that, no one!!”

“Yes sir,” Domino replied. “I trust my means of disposing of Reeve was satisfactory?”

“It was,” Rufus answered.“However, Avalanche is still around.”

“But, only seven of them remain…” Domino replied. “The rest are either dead or imprisoned. Surely, seven can’t pose much of a thr—“

“ALL THEY NEED IS SEVEN!!” Rufus exclaimed. “You can NOT underestimate them!! They know what they’re doing!!”

“We were able to capture Sephiroth, though…” Domino noted. “And Cloud and Tifa… and Vincent is dead… all their wild cards are gone.”

“What about the Ancient?” Rufus asked. “What about the pilot? What about the ninja? What about the big guy with the gun-arm? What about the dog? What about the Eternal? What about the SOLDIER? They’re still around! And as long as they exist, success isn’t guaranteed.”

Rufus snapped his fingers and two SOLDIER officers stepped forward, grabbing Domino by the arms.

“Wh—what’s going on?!” Domino asked.

“I won’t tolerate failure in my new regime, Domino,” Rufus announced. “That’s why Heideggar and Scarlet are still rotting in Corel Prison. That’s why Palmer was killed. They failed. And although I thank you for all your faithful years of service, your assistance is no longer needed. I’m terminating your employment, effective immediately. Sorry about this, but I’m positive that you’ll find a way—“

“Rufus please… don’t!!” Domino cried out as the SOLDIERs threw him out the window.

“—to land on your feet."

The last thing uttered by Mayor Richard Domino was a horrifying scream of terror as he fell 70 stories to his death.

Rufus looked down at the monitor which showed a view of the front of the building. Lying dead-center was Domino’s bloody, broken body. He then pressed a button on the console.

“Sheryl, I’ll need a window replaced.”


“Let go of me!” Cloud ordered.

“Whatever you say,” the SOLDIER replied once the elevator doors opened. He removed the handcuffs from Cloud, then kicked him out onto the sand.

“I dunno if we should let this one go, Hunt,” the SOLDIER holding Tifa stated. “I mean, we can treat her better than this place can…”

A disgusted look passed over Tifa’s face as she was forced to listen to this, the SOLDIER’s hot breath on her neck.

“Orders are orders, Smith,” Hunt replied. “Let her go.”

Smith sighed, but removed the handcuffs and pushed her out onto the sand as well. The elevator doors then closed, leaving Cloud and Tifa lying in the sand.

“Where are we?” Tifa asked.

“Where does it look like?” Cloud replied. “Nothing but desert as far as the eye can see… no visible way out…We’re trapped in Corel Prison.”

“Ye boyos might not wanna walk around dressed like that…”

Cloud and Tifa faced the source, an elderly man with a growing beard and straggly grey hair.

“Trust me, kids, ye’ll get mugged inna heartbeat.”

“We didn’t really have much of a choice when we were thrown down here,” Cloud stated.

“O’course ye didn’t,” the man replied. “No one ever does. Come with me, I got a place where ye can find some more practical clothes. Hope ye kids are prepared t’do some fightin’. They happen quite frequently down in this hellhole. By th’ way, I’m Magnum.”

“Magnum?” Tifa asked.

“They call me that ‘cause my choice o’ weapon is a Magnum.”

“I’m Cloud, and this is Tifa.”

“Please t’—waitasec…” Magnum stated. “As in Cloud Strife?”

Cloud nodded.

“You're a legend down here, mate,” Magnum replied. “C’mon, lets get ye somethin’ t’ eat an’ some clothes.”


Cloud looked down at his new clothes. They weren’t much, just a pair of combat pants and a t-shirt. He had to admit though, it was more comfortable than the suit he was wearing. Tifa came out. She wore something similar to him, except they were tighter on her, allowing for better mobility when fighting.

“Only thing I need now is a weapon,” Cloud stated. “You wouldn’t happen to know where I could get one, would you?”

“Weapons are brought down‘ere with ye,” Magnum replied. “Ye gain other weapons when ye steal ‘em or killa man who has somethin’ ye want. But, there is somethin’…”

“What would that be?” Cloud asked.

“I’ll show ye,” Magnum replied. “There is a swordsmith down ‘ere. An’ for whatever price he requests, he’ll probably give ye one o’ his blades. They’re pretty good quality.”

“Lead the way, then,” Cloud said.


Rufus looked out as the Highwind II approached Midgar. He picked up his PHS.

“They’ve entered Midgar airspace,” he stated. “Begin the attack.”


Junon Airport.

Combat planes sat ready to be deployed. The SOLDIERs piloting them were ready for anything.

Air-traffic controllers created several signals with their hands, as the directors in the control booth explained the details of the mission.

The controllers motioned one-by-one for the planes to depart. Thrusters ignited as the SOLDIERs began the trek down the runway.

At the end of the runway was the ocean. This was the first attempt to use the newly-designed combat planes in battle. Everyone was crossing their fingers to see if they worked or not.

The plane’s nose began to lift up, taking the front wheel with it. Following it was the back wheels and finally, the tail fin.

With that, the five SOLDIERs and their planes had entered the history books.


“We’ve got trouble…” Cid stated. “Bogeys coming in fast!”

“Bogeys…?” Yuffie asked.

“Combat planes,” Cid replied. “Planes I designed!! They’re comin’ straight for us!!”

He hit a series of buttons on the control panel. Several things lit up.

“What are you doing?” Aerisasked.

“Combat procedures,” he replied. “I can’t do it all alone, though. Zack, Shen, man th’ guns. Reno, yer my new co-pilot. Barret, keep yer eye on th’ tail, Aeris watch th’ left, Red watch th’ right.”

“What do I do?” Yuffie asked.

“Strap yerself in an’ don’t puke yer guts up,” Cid replied. “Awright people, let’s show ‘em what th’ Highwind II is made of!!”

Reno strapped himself in nextto Cid in the co-pilot’s chair.

“You know what you’re doing?” Reno asked.

“Makin’ it up as I go along,” Cid replied.

“That’s exactly what I needed to hear,” Reno stated, slipping a comm-link on his head. He hit a series of buttons on the control panel, and specialized targeting instruments slid overhis eyes. “Let’s rock!”

Cid grinned and kicked the jets into hypertime. The combat planes were coming in fast, and prepared tofire. Before they could get a shot off, Cid pulled back on the stick, sending the Highwind II rocketing towards space. He performed a loop before dodging back down towards Earth.

{{ Get ready fuckers!! }}

{{ I’ve got him in my sights…}}

{{ Steady Cid, steady. I don’t want to lose him. }}

{{ To the right! }}

{{ Got ‘im!! }}

{{ Not bad, shitheads. Only four to go. }}

Reno watched the plane through the lens. He gripped the stick tightly, following it as best aspossible.

{{ NOW! }} he shouted,pressing down on the trigger. A missile shot out and struck the plane, causing it to erupt in flames. {{ Make that three to go. }}

{{ Yo, we’ve got one on our tail!! }}

{{ To the right, Cid!! }}

{{ They’re coming in on the left, too!! }}

{{ I don’t feel so hot… }}

{{ Don’t even think about it,Yuffie!! }}

{{ Got another one!! }}

{{ Anybody got an Alka-Seltzer? }}

{{ Three down, two to go! }}

{{ Yuffie… }}

{{ *URK* }}


{{ I’ve got him in my sights…}}

{{ Watch th’ tail, Cid!! }}

{{ DOWN!! }}

{{ Cid, there’s one on our fucking tail!! Pull up!! }}

{{ Keep yer shirt on, Barret…}}

The plane dove down.


{{ Evasive maneuvers. There’s not a pilot alive that can outfly me! }}

{{ Cid, you’re going to get us all killed!! }}

{{ Pull up, we’re going to crash into the mountain!! }}

{{ Switchin’ thrusters on full-power. }}


{{ Trust me, I know what I’m doin’. }}

{{ PULL UP, PULL UP!! }}

Cid kept on barreling ahead, drowning out the cries from his comrades. The planes were in hot pursuit. An instant before he would crash into the Mythril Mountains, he shoved the stick forward, sending the plane into a nose-dive before pulling up again. The Highwind escaped without a scratch. The combat plane, however, crashed into the mountain.

{{ Cid, you magnificent bastard… }}

{{ Toldja I know what I’m doin’. }}

{{ I’m sorry I ever doubted you. }}

{{ Now that that particular episode is behind us… }}

{{ I hear ya loud an’ clear, Red. We’re returnin’ t’ Midgar right now. }}


“I’d really like to help you out, pal,” the swordsmith stated. “But I don’t work for free. Not even for the famous Cloud Strife.”

“Well, what’s your price, then?” Cloud asked.

“It’s not money, if that’s what you’re wondering,” the swordsmith replied. “Money won’t do ya much good down here anyway.”

“So what, then?” Tifa asked.

“Well… truth be told I don’t really need anything.”

“Give ‘em a break, Sal,” Magnum stated.

“All right…” Sal stated with a sigh. He thought for a few seconds, then noticed something on Cloud’s finger. “Hey… that ring you’ve got on looks pretty interesting…”

Cloud looked down at it. A Tough Ring. It increased his stamina and resistance a bit. He wondered if he should turn it over. It came in handy in the past, but it would be pretty difficult for him to try and make his way out of here without some sort of weapon. He thought back to his training in Pre-SOLDIER. Intimidation always worked. It wasn’t something he wanted to do, but circumstances had pushed him.

Moving quickly, he grabbed Sal by the collar and threw him across the room.

“CLOUD!!” Tifa exclaimed.

Ignoring his wife, he picked up the swordsmith by the throat, lifting his feet off the ground.

“Let’s get one thing straight…” Cloud stated. “I want a sword. You have swords. What do you say we make a deal?”

“S-Sure…” Sal replied. “What’s th’ deal?”

“Well, you’ll give me your best sword, and I won’t hurl you out into the desert.”

“H-hey, sounds g-good t’ me!” Sal stated.

Cloud dropped him.

“Then march to the back and grab it.”

Sal scurried off, and came out a few minutes later with a Yoshiyuki blade.

“Here…” he stated. “My best weapon.”

Cloud grabbed it and tested it out. It was small and light, and it would serve his purposes until he could get ahold of the Ultima Weapon.

“I—I got something else you might be interested in…” Sal said.

“What’s that?” Cloud asked.

Sal reached down behind the counter and carried something that was obviously pretty heavy. It was a sword with a blade that was about eight feet in length.

“Cloud… my god, isn’t that…?”

“The Masamune,” Cloud replied. “Where’d you find this?”

“It belonged to some guy who came down here recently,” Sal replied. “He was shackled, and I grabbed the sword. So far, no one’s been able to use it. It’s just too damn heavy.”

“Where is he?” Cloud asked.

“In the well!” Sal replied.“Towards the perimeter!”

Cloud slid the Yoshiyuki between his belt and pants.

“Let’s go meet this guy, then,” he said to Tifa.

“Not without me, boyo,” Magnum stated.


As the Highwind came into Midgar’s airspace once more, choppers surrounded the Tower.

“This doesn’t look good…” Shen muttered.

“No shit,” Reno replied. “Wait’ll you see what they’re doing.”

Banners were hanging from the Tower. Bright lights were spotted everywhere. Giant monitors lined the city streets.

They all turned on.

“This does NOT look good…”Cid muttered. “It’s Rufus. I’ll bring it up on the main screen.”

[[ “Citizens of Midgar, and of the world. The past five years have been chaotic. There hasn’t been a stable form of government. Now, that’s changed. I’ve stepped up to reclaim my position as President. And, as I stand here before you, I proudly announce—” ]]

A drumroll began as a bannerover the top of the tower was dropped. The logo was there.

[[ “—the return of Shin-Ra Inc.” ]]


Cloud looked down the well. It was large and very circular. He casually leapt down, and landed on the muddy surface.


“Cloud, do you see anything?” Tifa called from above.

“Nothing yet,” Cloud shouted back. He took out the flashlight Sal had so generously loaned to them and turned it on. He shined it around, until he found exactly what he expected to find.

It was a man with long, silver hair. He wore no shirt, but had on black pants and high boots. His body was well-toned. And he was shackled to the wall. He also appeared very weakened.

The man slowly looked up with green eyes to see Cloud.


Chapter 12

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic