The Cry of the Planet Chapter 24
By Edyn Cross
Gast spent his day working (or pretending to) in his usual space in the first
room to the Shinra laboratory. He waited patiently for Hojo to burn himself
out yet again slipping into one of his catnaps face down on his work table.
It wasn't until eight in the evening when Gast finally noticed that there
wasn't any noise coming from the back room. No rustle of papers and he hadn't
heard any of Hojo's incoherent mumbling for quite some time.
Quickly and so quietly, Gast walked to the back room until he saw Hojo sleeping by his desk and much to Gast's relief Hojo's personal research log was flat out on the desk covered only be a resting hand holding a pen over it. Hojo's light snoring covered any sound that Gast may have made creeping up to him.
Professor Gast leaned over the table and slowly lifted Hojo's hand, slid the lab journal out from under it, and carefully placed the hand back on the table. The sleeping scientist seemed to be oblivious to what was going on. Gast quickly but silently left the back room and took the journal to the front lab room and sat at his desk.
Professor Gast spent over three hours reading the contents of the journal and by the time he was done, silent tears were streaming down his face. His first impulse was to grab the silver letter opener on the side of his desk and stab Hojo through the throat with it. His second impulse was to run to Lucrecia so that he could hold her and never let go. Professor Gast did neither. He stood up and looked down at the research log in his hand and then dropped it on the floor as if it were on fire. He then went to the one person he felt that he could to get results.
Vincent Valentine was seated in a living room armchair reading a novel when Professor Gast thumped down the stairs. Vincent looked up to see Gast sweating like a pig and as white as a sheet.
"Hojo..." Gast said sounding winded. "Lucrecia..."
"What?" Vincent said standing up. "Slow down, what is it?"
Gast just didn't know how to word it, "Hojo is using Lucrecia and her baby for some kind of Experiment. He's taken cells from Jenova, the Ancient and injected them directly into Lucrecia, into her womb."
"What?" Vincent was stunned. "How? How do you know this?"
"Lucrecia was hysterical this morning," Gast explained. "She's falling apart. She had mentioned something about an Experiment, but Hojo interrupted before she could tell me what it is. A few hours ago I took Hojo's personal research log from him and spent the time since reading it. It was mostly notes, he had them in no particular order that I could find but I figured it out. He's trying to create a human with the magical powers of an Ancient and using Lucrecia and her baby to do it. He's taking cells from the Ancient and injecting them directly into her. I believe her body is starting to reject them and that's why she's been so ill as of late."
Vincent was shaking all over. He wanted nothing but to kill Hojo with his own bare hands, but first he had to see Lucrecia. Vincent ran up the stairs as fast as he could towards Lucrecia's bedroom while Professor Gast went back down to the laboratory to confront Hojo.
The Turk opened the door and quickly went to Lucrecia's bed where she appeared to be sleeping. He knelt by the side and took her soft delicate hand in his. It hurt Vincent so deep to see his only love in such a condition. He brushed a strand of hair from her burning forehead and looked at her swollen belly. Even the Turk couldn't hold back the tears that stung behind his eyes as leaned his head over her hand and silently cried into it.
"Mmm," Lucrecia whispered waking up. "Vincent."
He jerked his head up and looked at her showing nothing in his features but sadness.
"Why?" Vincent choked. "Why did you do this Lucrecia?"
She slowly blinked, "It was what I was meant to do. I'm a scientist and this is what I do..."
"No," Vincent said harshly. "This is NOT what you were meant to do. No one should have to go through what you did, especially you, Lucrecia. This isn't right."
"At first," She said softly. "I thought I wanted to. The ultimate life time science Experiment and I was to be a part of it. Hojo and I had everything planned, but... Then there was you. I knew from the moment we met, Vincent, that you weren't like anyone else that I knew. Before I became pregnant, I had fallen in love with you."
Vincent looked at Lucrecia feeling the tears stinging his eyes again.
"And I'm still in love with you, Vincent," Lucrecia whispered. "I know you saw me come out of Hojo's room that night, but I couldn't say anything to you, I was so ashamed. But now, I don't care."
"Ashamed?" Vincent asked. "Of what?"
Silent tears fell down Lucrecia's face, "It wasn't meant to be done that way. He was just supposed to take his seed and insert it into me artificially. He was never supposed to..."
Vincent felt his hands start to shake and all he was beginning to see was red.
"But, that night," Lucrecia continued softly. "I was coming to you Vincent. It was you I wanted. That was the night when I knew that I loved you, but he got to me before I could get to you. I was outside your door when he pulled me in his room and he... I kept trying to get him to stop, but he wouldn't listen, he just kept going over and over."
Vincent sat silently, shaking and listening.
"But..." Lucrecia went on. "I didn't get pregnant the first time. Two more times he... tried to get me pregnant and then it was done."
"Lucrecia," Vincent asked closing his eyes tight, "Why didn't you tell me that Hojo raped you?"
"I couldn't," Lucrecia said crying softly. "I was so ashamed. I thought that if I didn't tell anyone then it didn't really happen and that the pain would go away. But, it never did. By the time Hojo began the Experiment, I felt as if I had been defeated. That maybe I wasn't meant to be with you and that I was to live for science. But... Now I know, and it's too late."
Vincent leaned his head back down on Lucrecia's hand listening.
"I can feel it inside of me," Lucrecia put her other hand on her belly. "And I can feel the Ancient. Every day I feel the Jenova inside me and I want to die. I've been in pain since the first day and it feels like a million knives stabbing into my stomach. Hojo won't give me pain killers, he thinks it may have a bad effect on the Specimen."
Vincent had heard enough, "Specimen?! Lucrecia it's a CHILD, YOUR child, this is NOT a Specimen! What you did was wrong, allowing yourself and even worse, your child to be treated like a lab rat, but I think you don't need me to tell you that."
Vincent watched in agony as Lucrecia burst into tears, "I love you, Lucrecia. I've loved you every minute of every day since we met in Costa del Sol. All I've ever wanted was for you to be happy, even if it wasn't with me. But, now it's like I understand why you couldn't be with me and yet I don't understand at the same time."
Vincent then watched in horror as Lucrecia's sobs turned into a spasm of both coughing and retching. She bent her head over her hands until her fit was over and then looked back up to Vincent with a small stream of blood coming out of her mouth and splattered on her hands. With tears in his eyes, the Turk grabbed some tissues and cleaned Lucrecia up before tucking her back in for much needed rest. He then lifted the covers and crawled into bed next to her never wanting to let her go. A few minutes later, the two were sound asleep in each other's arms.
While Lucrecia was explaining the Experiment to Vincent, Professor Gast had
just entered the basement laboratory ready to confront Hojo. The personal
research log was still on the ground where Gast left it and went over to
pick it up. He kneeled and the moment he had his hand on it, he heard a soft
cackling coming from the hallway between the front and back laboratory
Gast stood up and glared at Hojo, "You..."
"I see you have discovered my own little Project," Hojo said with a grin. "It's quite thought provoking, don't you think?"
"You are gone, Hojo. GONE!" Gast was fuming. "How could you? How could you use Lucrecia like that? She isn't a goddamn guinea pig!"
"I didn't use her," Hojo said with confidence. "How do they say it? You can't rape the willing."
"Goddamnit, Hojo!" Gast lunged and grabbed Hojo by his lab coat collar. "What you have done, it's not right, it's... inhumane! What were you thinking?"
Hojo pushed Gast off of him and straightened his clothing, "Do you really want to know what I think? Hmm? Of course I don't expect a second rate scientific mind such as yours to understand, but I'll try. To put it simply, my goal was to create a being born from a human, but with extraordinary powers of an Ancient."
Gast balled his fists thinking of Lucrecia, "Why?"
"Why?" Hojo grinned. "For Science, of course."
"That's bullshit, Hojo," Gast said. "You just want to play God."
"Maybe I do," Hojo said still grinning arrogantly. "But that's just a perk. It was also the scientific opportunity of a lifetime and I would have been just as foolish as you to pass it up. Oh, and by the way, have your things packed by this evening, the Airship will be here first thing tomorrow morning to take you back to Midgar."
"What..." Gast was baffled. "What are you talking about?"
Hojo snickered, "Why, I have had you pulled from the Project. I've already spoken with President Shinra directly and he is VERY pleased with the progress of the Specimen and had decided to provide full funding for the life of the Specimen."
"Goddamnit, it's not a SPECIMEN, it's a human being!" Gast said. "I'll be calling President Shinra shortly to verify everything."
"You do that," Hojo said walking up to Gast and snatching his research log. "I have work to do. Make sure you pack your things quietly, I don't want to be interrupted, I am a very busy man."
Speechless with rage, Gast grabbed his PHS off of his desk while Hojo slithered in his usual spot in the back laboratory room. He turned it and hit the speed dial for the President's personal secretary.
"President Shinra's office," a nasally female voice answered.
"I'm Professor Gast, I wish to speak to President Shinra," He said quickly.
"One moment," The nasally voice replied. "Yes, he is expecting your call, please hold."
Expecting me? Gast thought while listening to the hold music.
"Professor Gast!" Shinra's voice came bellowing through the phone. "I was expecting this."
"I've been pulled from the Project?!" Gast was outraged.
"Yes," Shinra replied simply. "The easiest way to explain it is that Professor Hojo is producing results, you are not. He also feels that you and the Turk are getting in the way of his research. Mr. Valentine will be returning to Midgar too, but on a later flight so you won't be riding together."
Gast was stunned," How... How can you allow him to do this? It's inhumane!"
"Now, now, Professor," Shinra puffed his customary cigar. "I just see it as a wonderful opportunity for Shinra Inc., mainly the SOLDIER program. Think of it Professer, who on this Planet would go against the Shinra with an army of super SOLDIER's built like humans, but with the power of the Ancients? This Specimen Hojo has is the first of many. Of course it will take many years of researching the Specimen before I can approve the making of an army, but I am a patient man."
Gast couldn't believe his ears.
"I understand how you must feel, Professor," Shinra said not sounding very sympathetic. "When you return to Midgar I expect your resignation papers on my desk as soon as possible. You are a brilliant man, Professor and have contributed a lot to Shinra Inc., but I'm afraid your time here is up."
Gast just listened too angry to even speak.
"The Airship will be by tomorrow at 9:00am sharp," Shinra said. "The Turk will be leaving later on in day to make sure everything is secured safely in the Mansion. Good day, Professor Gast."
Then the line was dead. Professor Gast spent the rest of the evening feeling nothing but defeat while packing up his laboratory equipment and personal belongings. He didn't see or hear from Hojo for the rest of his time at Nibelheim and that was just fine with him. Gast couldn't bare to look at Lucrecia or even say goodbye. Even though he had always looked at Lucrecia like a daughter, every time he looked in the mirror from that day on, all he saw was a failed father.
Back at Shinra Inc. headquarters, President Shinra had just finished his
conversation with Professor Gast and dialed his secretary.
"Yes, President Shinra," She answered.
"Bring me the file and every record Shinra Inc. has on the Turk, Vincent Valentine." Shinra demanded.
"Yes, Sir." She complied.
A minute later, Shinra's personal secretary entered his office carrying a small stack of papers and files, set them on his desk and left as quickly as she came. President Shinra leafed through the papers showing the employment history and personal records of Vincent Valentine. He gathered them up and slipped them into the garbage can by his desk with exception to one page. He held up Vincent Valentine's profile page looking at the dark man peering back at him with navy blue eyes. Shinra then took the cigar out of his mouth and placed the burning end on the corner of the paper igniting a soundless fire. When the fire was blazing on the page, Shinra dropped it into the garbage can containing the rest of Vincent's file.
After twenty minutes, there was nothing left of Vincent Valentine at Shinra Inc. other than memories.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic