The Cry of the Planet Chapter 10
By Edyn Cross
The Airship ride to the Western Continent seemed to last an eternity. Vincent spent the ride on the bridge looking out the window at the passing ocean cleaning his gun. The three scientists spent the trip in the briefing room excitedly discussing their upcoming plans and experiments. Hojo seemed to be the most excited, he could barely sit still and couldn't stop picking at his lab coat. Vincent hadn't seen or heard from the scientists at all that day and preferred not to. He wasn't happy with his assignment and didn't want to take it out on the scientists when he knew it wasn't their fault.
The Airship was scheduled to travel as far as Nibelheim but needed to dock in Costa del Sol, a small coast side town, for a quick refueling. Then they were to continue west across the Western Continent passing the Gold Saucer in the desert and Cosmo Canyon before reaching Nibelheim. Truth be told, this was Vincent's first time leaving the Eastern Continent and even though he didn't know it, he was a bit excited.
Vincent stared out the window looking for any signs of approaching land, but all he could see was the never-ending ocean. His mind wandered to various things, mostly his job, how he thought President Shinra was gaining weight, and how much he wished he were at home planted in front of the television with a book in his lap. As his thoughts were constantly switching from one thing to the next, he saw a thin blur on the edge of the horizon. He looked intently on the thin edge of blur and saw it get bigger and bigger until he could make out a beach, some trees, a town with a port, and mountains farther back.
He started assembling his gun as the Airship captain, Jon Highwind he introduced earlier, proudly telling Vincent of his son's recent first birthday, announced that they will be docking shortly to refuel and that passengers will have about half an hour to visit Costa del Sol if they wish.
Vincent holstered his gun and made his way down to the exit passing the briefing room where the scientist were still chatting about their upcoming project.
"We still need to come up with a name for the Cetra, you know," Hojo said.
"Yes, yes," Gast nodded.
"Well, I think Professer Gast should be the one to come up with it, since he's the project leader and all," Lucrecia smiled.
Hojo shot Lucrecia a look of disgust she didn't notice as she was looking at Professor Gast.
"Well, then," Gast said. "I have given it a bit of thought and I've come up with the name, Jenova. How does that sound?"
"The Jenova Project," Lucrecia said. "I love it!"
"I suppose it will do." Hojo spat. Truth was he thought it was an excellent name.
"Then it's settled," Gast smiled. "Why don't we take a break? We've been talking shop since we left Midgar. I would like to get some fresh air and Hojo, you look like you could, too."
"Hmph," Hojo stood up.
Lucrecia grabbed Hojo's arm and smiled, "It was a joke, don't be so grumpy!"
Hojo resisted the urge to snatch his arm away from her disgusting touch, but in light of future events, he gave her his queer smile instead.
The three scientists made their way out of the briefing room and towards the exit of the Airship. Lucrecia had to squint her eyes when stepping out of the Airship as the bright sun reflecting off the beach was blinding. They made their way onto the port and Lucrecia felt horridly out of place wearing her business attire and lab coat as she saw everyone else in the town wearing nothing more than a swimsuit and flip-flops. Some even less.
They made their way across the stone roads and for some reason, the beach babes kept smiling and waving at Hojo and Gast as they walked by and neither of them could figure it out. Finally they decided that it was too damn hot and that they should stop in at the town bar for a few drinks to cool down. When they stepped in there was a television, only one waitress and a lot of muscular men in speedos sitting at the bar. They took the table closest to the air conditioner, removed their lab coats and ordered their drinks. Lucrecia didn't notice the man with a white button up shit, black tie, and navy pants sitting in the dark corner, but he noticed her.
Vincent had his fill of the town when he felt like he was going to pass out with a heat stroke. He felt like a complete moron for wearing a full suit in a place like this, but Shinra regulations were Shinra regulations. And when you're a Turk, your reputation is always on duty, even if you aren't.
He found the only bar in town and took his traditional seat in the darkest corner. He removed his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and ordered a beer. He watched TV where President Shinra was beginning to address the public about their recent Mako Reactor opening near Gongaga Village, but booing and hissing from the bar occupants was all that the bartender needed to change the channel. Vincent could care less about the public dislike of Shinra Inc. in this bar. He wasn't on duty.
Just as the waitress was bringing Vincent his second beer, the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his entire life stepped into the room. She was walking with two men, one was Professor Gast and the other was that crazy guy who ran into him at the Shinra building a few days ago. He stared at the woman, his heart sinking more and more as he studied her face, her bright blue eyes. He watched her every movement, the way she moved her hands when she talked, how her glasses charmingly slid down her nose every now and then, her beautiful light brown hair tied up in a conventional ponytail, and of course her slender feminine figure.
Vincent's mouth went completely dry as he realized that she was the third of the scientists assigned to the project that he was ordered to protect. He had never in his life been nervous in front of a girl, but just the very thought of him introducing himself to her made his palms form a cool sweat. For twenty minutes he watched the unnamed scientist. Scientist? Why on the Planet would this woman want to be a scientist? Vincent couldn't even begin to comprehend.
He watched as he saw the woman check her watch and speak to the others. They all stood up, Gast paid the waitress, and started to leave. Vincent didn't like the way that crazy gangly scientist looked at her at all. He looked at the woman like a hyena would look at a dying animal, he thought. As the woman was almost out the door, Gast noticed that she left her lab coat on the back of the chair and called out to her.
"Lucrecia!" Gast yelled. "You left your coat, dear."
The woman ran back into the bar, grabbed her coat, and smiled looking embarrassed. She said something to Gast that Vincent couldn't hear and then the three of them left the bar.
"Lucrecia," Vincent said softly.
After sitting at his table for less than a minute more, Vincent paid for his two beers and left the waitress a healthy tip. He picked up his navy jacket and hurried outside to see Lucrecia as she walked in between the two scientists.
She was carrying her lab coat and the wind pulled at her ponytail making it look like a horse's tail swatting at flies. He followed a ways behind the three just watching. He watched her every move, her steps, the way her hip sways when she walks, the Stop it! Vincent felt as if he were slapped back into reality. What was he thinking? He felt like he was going on like some lovesick high school nerd fascinating about the prom queen. He was here to do a job, and the job wasn't her. Vincent shook his head and decided it was time to focus on his job and that alone. It would have worked well if he didn't see the perfect opportunity.
As Vincent was convincing himself not to think about Lucrecia, he saw the sea wind pull her lab coat from her hands blowing it right towards him. The three scientists turned around just in time to see Vincent coolly snatch the coat out of the air with one hand. Lucrecia rushed over to Vincent laughing while Gast and Hojo waited for her.
"Oh, thank you so much!" She said looking at her coat. "I really didn't want to go chasing after it in this heat!"
Vincent looked into her eyes, "You're welcome."
He offered the coat to her and she put her hands on it looking up into his eyes. Her smile changed into a blank gawking expression. Lucrecia sat there for almost a full minute looking into his eyes. She pulled her coat close to her chest and gave Vincent a timid smile.
"Um, thanks," She said and then caught herself looking over the rest of Vincent's body. She used all of her effort to pull her stare away from him but couldn't bring herself to look away. Hojo, watching very carefully to what was going on between them, stormed over and pushed himself between them.
"We really must go, Lucrecia. The Airship will be leaving soon," Hojo said trying not to sound furious. He saw that she was looking right past him, still starting at the Turk's face. "Lucrecia!"
She snapped into awareness and looked at Hojo. "Oh. I'm sorry. Yes, we should go." She looked again up at Vincent's face once more before turning her gaze to the approaching Professor Gast.
"Mr. Valentine!" Gast smiled, trying not to hate the man for his job. "I see you've met the team. This is Professor Hojo and this is Professor Lucrecia."
Gast looked over at Vincent, "This is Mr. Valentine. He is the Turk that is assigned to keep us safe throughout the project.
"Oh, we've met," Hojo hissed. "I'll be waiting on the Airship. I won't tell the captain to wait, you know."
Hojo shot a hateful glare at Vincent before quickly walking back to the Airship, oblivious to the beach babes trying to catch his eye. Vincent and Lucrecia just stood where they were, both trying to act like they weren't wanting to look at the other.
"Well, we had better get going," Gast said trying to break the awkward silence. "Hojo's right, the Airship won't wait."
"Alright," Lucrecia looked up at Vincent. "Thanks for the um, for you know, catching my coat and all, Mr. Valentine."
"Please, call me Vincent." He said coolly.
"Okay I will," Lucrecia seemed to blush. "Vincent."
Gast motioned with his arm towards the Airship and the three walked back to the ship together. Lucrecia and Vincent exchanged quick glances while Gast smiled to himself and pretended not to notice. They boarded the Airship and Hojo was already waiting in the briefing room for the other two scientists.
"This is our stop," Gast said.
"It was nice meeting you," Lucrecia looked into Vincent's eyes and shook her coat. "Thanks again."
"It was my pleasure, Professor," Vincent smiled.
"Please," Lucrecia laughed. "I hate that, call me Lucrecia."
"I will," Vincent said. "Lucrecia."
She held out her hand and Vincent accepted it with pleasure. The two scientists entered the conference room and Lucrecia gave Vincent a little wave before Hojo slammed the door.
Lucrecia's touch lingered on his hand.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic