Hel & Back Chapter 6
By Dino Pollard
Reeve looked around the bridge of the airship. Despite its larger capacity and sleeker design, the bridge still seemed extremely similar to the original Highwind.
Although he controlled the robotic Cait Sith, who had traveled on the Highwind many times, he never saw it with his own eyes. It was quite a pleasant surprise.
Welcome to the Highwind II!!! Cid exclaimed.
Its amazing, Cid... Aeris said, admiring the surroundings.
When did you get it? Red asked.
I decided that youd need more than the Broncos whimpy little guns, so I flew ta Junon, where I had the prototype for the Highwind II stored, Cid replied.It aint perfected yet, but itll do until I get the real thing up in working order.
There are other things that we need to talk about, Cloud stated. Lets go to the Operations Room.
All right, Shen, Cloud said, once the team had gathered around the table in the Operations Room. Whats your connection with this Helspont.
I suppose now is the time for you to learn the details... Shen said, taking a seat. Centuries ago, before the dawn of humans, when the Cetra first began to appear, there was a race of beings called Eternals, blessed with immortal life. We lived in relative peace. However, a strange object fell from space. It was a ship of some kind, with an alien language written on it. Inside, we found a being of immense power who called himself Helspont, the Bringer of Destruction. He claimed his task was to eliminate the Eternals, and he succeeded. A small band of Eternals and a single Cetra were the only ones left. I led that revolt, but Helspont wiped them all out save for myself, and Fess, known as the father of the Cetra. Fess came up with a plan to imprison Helspont within his own ship. We had succeeded in trapping Helspont, and Fess uttered an incantation which sealed the ship up, and placed Helspont in a deep sleep. However, the spell had one problem--the caster would sacrifice their own life. Fess died so the world could survive. After that, the Cetra came about, followed by humans. I am the last remaining Eternal.
And now...? Reeve asked.
Now, someone has found the incantation which would release Helspont, Shen replied. And, if the Tribunal is correct, then Helspont is free to wage war on the Planet....
No question about it, Cloud said. Weve got to stop him. But we cant do it like this, we need to be prepared. All of us are going to grab all the supplies you might have left from the battle with Seraph. Were also going to need all the help we can get. Deadpool, can you get in touch with the rest of Strike Force?
After we disbanded, I dont think theyd be so keen on coming back... Deadpool said.
Try anyway, Cloud said. Shen, see if you can contact everyone who was with Tsunami. And Reeve, see about having Garrison assist us, as well as Knolan and Calibretto.
I wont be able to get Tsunami, Shen replied. I havent kept in contact with them.
Waitasec.... Yuffie interrupted. Am I the only one who remembers that we have NO idea where in the name of Leviathan this Helspell guy is?!
An island in the south, Shen replied. He walked over to a map of the world, and pointed to a tiny island off the cost of Mideel.. Right here.
Maestro could also be of some assistance, Sephiroth noted. His skill would be greatly appreaciated.
Yuffie, do you have the Teleport Materia in Wutai? Cloud asked. She nodded. Then heres the plan. Sephiroth will use the Teleport Materia and get in touch with Maestro. In the meantime, Deadpool will try and locate Strike Force, and Reeve will get some added assistance.
Cloud, it might be a good idea if some of you came with, Reeve said. There are some things about the Presidential Tower which need exploring...
What does that have to do with anything?
Theres a sealed-off area beneath the Tower, Sephiroth replied. Its possible Hojo left behind a hidden laboratory.
Heres the plan, then, Cloud said. Sephiroth and Deadpool will try and recruit more help. Shen will lead a team onto this island, comprised of Cid, Red, Yuffie, and Zack. Your job is just surveillance for now. Im having Cid with you, because if need be, you can escape in the Highwind II. Barret, Tifa, Aeris, and Vincent will accompany me and Reeve back to the Presidential Tower, where well pick up Garrison, Knolan, and Calibretto, as well as inspect that sealed-off area. First things first, of course. Were going to drop off Professor Gast and Elmyra in their respective homes, and well pick up the needed supplies as well as a crew for the Highwind.
Lindsay Carson sat in the alleys of Midgar, looking up at the Presidential Tower. He remembered the time when he was once perched at the top of that Tower.
Now, he had to change his name, or else he would be sent to Corel Prison. Its a good thing the world thought him dead after all this time.
A man stepped up to him, wearing a leather trench coat.
Rufus Shinra, he said. Come with me.
Yer mistaken, buddy, Lindsay replied. Names Lindsay Carson. Dunno anyone named Rufus or Shinra.
Dont lie to me, you sack of shit, the man spat, aiming a gun at him. Youre coming with me, whether you like it or not.
All right, all right, Lindsay replied, slowly standing up.
Theres a chopper waiting on the outskirts of Midgar.
You guys sure ya just want us ta drop you off? Cid asked.
Yeah, Cloud replied. Youll probably need the Highwind more than we will.
And if we need to get down there, we can go via chopper, Reeve noted.
Cid nodded and brought the Highwind as close to the tower as he could get.
Cloud, Barret, Tifa, Aeris, Vincent and Reeve moved towards the entrance of the ship. A crew member opened the hatch and threw a ladder down.
Good luck!! he said with a salute.
CMON, LARA!!! Deadpool exclaimed.
No, Lara Croft replied, continuing to swim another lap in her pool.
But we need you!
Well I bloody-well dont need you!
The planets in danger!!
Then you and Avalanche should stop it, its got nothing to do with me. My days of working with a team were over once Tetsuo and Kurosawa were killed. I think the rest of Strike Force would agree with me, there. Now, please leave my property.
Deadpool said nothing, just activated his teleporter and vanished.
Sephiroth began the climb up the mountain. He didnt want to be here. He had hoped he would never have to confront his former teacher again.
Maestro would no doubt remind him about his failures. His loss of control. Control was the only thing that mattered to the mysterious old man. With his odd abilities, Sephiroth had often thought that Maestro was a descendant of the Cetra. Now though, he briefly wondered if the man was an Eternal, like Shen. Or perhaps something else. Perhaps an alien, like Jenova?
He pushed those thoughts from his head. Only one thing mattered now, and that was convincing Maestro to join them. Boy, what a laugh he would have at Sephiroth!! Losing control 10 years ago, letting his emotions take over his life. To Maestro, it was a sign of cowardice.
Sephiroth gritted his teeth as he pulled himself up on the ledge. There was a cave. Inside there was the man he searched for. Slowly, he entered, his hand resting on the hilt of the Masamune. He didnt want to use it if he didnt have to.
Maestro? he asked, announcing his presence.
He came into the main room. There was a table, with two chairs, and an old wood-burning stove. He looked down another passageway inside the cave to see a small, thin mat lying on the ground. Maestro was never one for comfort, not even during sleep.
No answer. Sephiroth was the only one currently inhabiting the cave. His eyes looked up to the wall. There was a spot there for a sword, yet it was empty.
Perhaps he already knew of the danger...?
As he turned around to exit, he was suddenly slammed against the wall. Instantly, he spun around to find a blade mere inches from his neck.
Dont beat yourself up over it, kid, Reno said.
Ive studied many forms of fighting, including Shen Longs, Midreian replied. I should have been ready for his attack, should have anticipated it.
You cant anticipate every attack, no matter how much studying you do, Reno noted. Its just not in the cards. Theres no such thing as a perfect fighter, right Rude?
Rude simply nodded, his emotions concealed by his stone face and dark sunglasses. Reyke noticed that the Turk never seemed to take them off, not even at night. He wondered if the oldest Turk had light-sensitive eyes.
Whats the plan? Elena asked.
Same as it was the last time you asked me, Reno replied. We stay here until we figure out what exactly it is Seido has planned.
Jonah! Knolan! Aeris exclaimed as she entered Reeves office.
We got your message, Reeve, Jonah stated. Figured we should be here in case you needed some help.
I appreciate the thought, Reeve stated. Were going to see about that sealed sub-basement.
Then youll need some insurance, Knolan said. Ive got Calibretto all set for action. My magiks are a bit rusty, but Ive still got what it takes.
Just hand me a firearm, and Ill do whatever I can, Jonah stated.
I dont think so, Cloud said. Having Calibretto involved in this is one thing. Hes nearly indestructible. But you two arent as young as you used to be. If something happens
IF something happens, well be ready for it, Jonah retorted. Were not the only ones out of practice, son. You havent even picked up a sword let alone use once in five years.
That has nothing to do Cloud began, but was interrupted as Vincent cleared his throat. The room grew deathly quiet. Vincent didnt speak often, but when he did, it was usually very cryptic and short. His voice seemed to demand respect and attention.
They are useful, he said. They can be of assistance.
No one wanted to argue with him. Not now, anyway.
The chopper hovered above the ground, causing any loose objects to be blown clear of its path. Frost opened the door and let Rufus out.
Come on, he said. Follow me.
Rufus did as he was ordered, albeit a bit reluctantly. He was used to giving orders, not taking them. Frost led them through the forests of the island.
Out of nowhere, a trio of monsters leapt out at them.
Stand down, Frost ordered. Im a servant of the Bringer of Destruction.
The three vlakarados slowly backed away, allowing Frost and Rufus to pass.
What in the ? Rufus began, but Frost silenced him.
Dont ask, he said.
When they came to another clearing, Rufus eyes grew wide in amazement. The ground dipped down severely, and before them stood a gleaming, round metallic object.
The structure slid open with a hiss. Frost walked inside bravely, as if he had done this many times before. Rufus reluctantly followed.
At the end of a long corridor, a door with an odd symbol slid open. Steam filled the room. As it dissipated, Rufus saw a demonic being sitting on a throne. He wore a purple and red cape, with some type of gold armor on his chest. His face was made up of an odd mask-like design, and emitting from the head was blue flames.
Standing by the creatures side was a gangly man wearing a lab coat. He had greenish skin, with small glasses magnifying beady little eyes. He had long, greasy black hair pulled sloppily into a ponytail, and there was a sinister grin on his face. Rufus recognized the man immediately.
HOJO?! he exclaimed. You died!! How are you still alive?! YOU BASTARD!! YOU CAUSED SHIN-RA TO FALL!!
Shut up, Hojo simply stated. Youre not in charge anymore, you spoiled little brat. You are a guest of Helsponts for now. Your life and death is his decision.
That would be me, the creature roared in a booming voice. I know all about you, Shinra. You were once king. Your kingdom was Shin-Ra Inc. Now then how would you like to reclaim your kingdom?
Rufus eyes grew wide in shock, before a grin crossed his face.
Its been a long time, Maestro, Sephiroth said. Would you like to move your sword?
Maestro drew his sword back, allowing for his former pupil to stand.
I apologize, he said. But, it was the perfect opportunity to test your skills. You should always be alert. That is one of the things I hammered into you.
Things have been a bit tense as of late, Sephiroth replied. We need your help.
My help with what? Maestro asked.
Dont play dumb. You, more than anyone, shouldve sensed the coming evil.
Youre referring to the Bringer of Destruction.
You know him? Sephiroth asked.
No, Maestro replied. I know of him. I read the myths and legends on him.
Where are they now? Sephiroth asked.
Shin-Ra controlled all of them once they came to power, Maestro stated. Because of that, most of them have been locked away. Because of Helsponts connection to Jenova.
JENOVA?! Sephiroth exclaimed. What does that thing have to do with this?!
Jenova and Helspont are of the same race, Maestro replied.
The elevator doors opened. The team slowly made their way out, moving towards the door at the end of the room. Once there, Barret examined it.
Dats locked up pretty damn tightly he stated. He pointed the Missing Score at the door. Stand back.
The next sound that filled the corridor was that of bullets firing as Barret Wallace hammered them against the door. Nothing. The bullets could barely scratch it.
Hmmzzt stand back, Calibretto ordered. His hand telescoped from his arm, and dozens of wires invaded the doors circuitry. After a few brief seconds, a computerized voice stated, Access granted. The door opened, and cautiously, the team walked inside.
What is this place? Tifa asked. Its huge
I cant believe this has been sitting under the Tower Reeve stated. I designed both the original Shin-Ra Headquarters, and the current Presidential Tower, and I never incorporated any sub-levels into them.
Anyone else recognize some of this stuff? Cloud asked.
Cloud you dont think that Aeris began.
II dont want to Cloud said. I still have nightmares about what I was subjected to while I was held captive by Hojo.
Youre not the only one, Aeris noted. I was his prisoner when I was still an infant. And Vincent
Vincent said nothing, just looked around the room. He was interrupted by a shriek from Aeris.
ITS HIM!!! she exclaimed. Its HOJO!!
Vincent instantly brought up the Death Penalty, then he saw what Aeris was frightened by.
Yes, it was Hojo. But, only part of his body. He was in a large tube and sitting inside a green liquid, dozens of sensors attached to his body. He seemed to be in a sort of suspended animation.
As Vincent walked further into the room, he found dozens of other tubes, all with some part of Hojo in them. He noticed one was empty, but filled with fluid.
Look at this, Jonah said, calling them over to the computers. It turns out that Hojo took his cloning process an extra step. Those Sephiroth-clones he created were just regular people who were subjected to the same process Sephiroth was, although at an accelerated rate. Hojo must have his own DNA stored within these tubes. And, according to this, this computer is connected to Hojos vitals. Once they flatline, a clone is awakened and released. The clone possesses all of Hojos memories up to the point of release. Since there are millions of DNA strands in just one drop of blood, Hojo can easily create millions of clones. Basically, as long as this laboratory exists, Hojo will live forever.
Theres an empty tube, Vincent stated, walking back into the main lab.
Oh shit Jonah said, typing furiously on the keyboard. A file came up. According to this, a clone was already released. Approximately five years ago.
When we killed Hojo Cloud noted. And Im betting that Hojo is the one who freed Helspont from his prison. Killing him would be useless as long as this lab exists, because he can just return. Now that I think about it, Hojo didnt seem to mind the fact that he was about to die.
In dat case, theres only one option, Barret stated. LETS TRASH THIS SHITHOLE!!
*WARNING! WARNING! SECURITY BREACH!*
I dont like the sound of that Knolan stated.
In that case, dont look back at the entrance, Reeve said. Because there are about a dozen monsters coming straight for us!
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