Combat Diary Chapter 2

By EmperorSteele

It's called "The Front". Supposedly, this is short for "The Battlefront". I'd get into the philosophy of naming things stupidly even more, but the guy next to me just got his eye blasted out...

Zangan ducked and dove.  His small red cloak made him easy to spot, as well as his armor which reflect sunlight all too well.  A hail of bullets came his way, taking down two of the Wutai troops that had been next to him. He stood and cast BOLT at the SOLDIERS. One was knocked off his feet, but the other seemed somehow rejuvenated. That particular SOLDIER tried to shoot again, only to find that he was out of ammo.

No matter, SOLDIERS were the best-trained fighters in the world. He unsheathed his Hardedge and charged at the Ninja.

Zangan stood his ground, and waited for the SOLDIER to strike. He ducked the first blow, then jumped over the sword when it came across again. Zangan kicked the SOLDIER twice in the head before landing and jumping back.

Zangan decided to keep up the pressure, punching the SOLDIER in the ribs, and giving him an uppercut to the jaw. The SOLDIER staggered, but still stood. The Ninja then became quite worried. He had heard rumors of how these "SOLDIERS" had been enhanced somehow. Something to do with "J-something" cells and being bathed in Mako. Somehow this makes one stronger, tougher, faster, smarter.

The Soldier shook off Zangan's attack and swung his sword again. Zangan arched backwards, narrowly avoiding being decapitated. He sprung back, using the momentum to throw his fist as hard as he could into the SOLDIER's face.

Apparently the SOLDIER's were not so tough after all, as Zangan's hand went straight through the SOLDIER's face, blood and bone being splattered about somewhat disgustingly.

Zangan repelled in shock. The rumors weren't so true, he had expected the SOLDIER to survive that blow. Maybe Zangan just got a lucky hit. He hadn't the time to comprehend what happened, for he found the other SOLDIER had regained his bearings and was charging him. Shots rang out, however, and the SOLDIER jerked and contorted with the blows and wound up next to his comrade. Zangan looked at where the bullets had come from and saw a small band of Wutai troops coming up the hill.  He brushed himself off, and re-adjusted his leather cap.  Black hair, threatening to turn gray, came out of it in patches, but Zangan still managed to keep some of it in a ponytail.

A young troop, no older than 16 -making Zangan feel even older at 40- looked down at the two corpses once he reached Zangan. "So it's true; They've sent the SOLDIERS... They don't seem so tough."

"Hmm, do not be so brash," Zangan said, kneeling.  "Look at their uniforms. This is the color of 3rd class, the lowest rank of SOLDIER. This one almost bested me, but I got a lucky hit..." he concluded as he trailed off, pointing at the decapitated SOLDIER.

"Wow. So that's what 'lucky' looks like," the boy said in astonishment and awe..

"Zangan-san..." Another troop, slightly older and apparently the leader of the band, spoke, "...We've actually come to retrieve you. Come, time is of the essence."

"What?" Zangan said, shocked, "This is where the concentration of Shinra troops is highest. We can't afford to be pulling people back."

"Well, that's the thing," the commander responded, "It's the Shinra who are pulling back..."

"Stop speaking nonsense. They are attacking more aggressively than ever, the SOLDIERs are poof of that!" Zangan retorted.

"But have you not noticed in fewer numbers? Fewer troops per attack, more time between attacks... and if these are only the third class SOLDIERS like you said..." the commander stated, pointing at the ground, "...Well, where are the First class ones? Or even Second? Either Shinra doesn't take this war seriously anymore or something else is tying up their resources."

"Ahh... I see." Zangan put his hand to his chin, noticing the beard once more. He hated that beard, but shaving isn't a luxury when you're fighting for your life half the time.

"So why don't we press the attack?!" the boy asked.

"Because..." said Zangan, "There's nothing to attack. What of the Shinra's can we destroy here? A few tents? They've been relatively smart, only sending troops in ships and leaving, then rotating troops and supplies. To 'Push the advantage' would mean attacking Midgar itself. Half our army is composed of Mercenaries, none of whom are willing to throw their lives away attacking Shinra head on for any amount of money. No, now's the time to pull back, solidify a defense, heal the wounded..."

Zangan suddenly stopped speaking and looked about. He could barely see some tanks in the horizon, trying to navigate the southern Wutai mountains. "Yes..." He said to the Commander, "...Let us hurry."  But before he followed the troops, he picked something off one of the SOLDIERS, then continued.

A short time later, Zangan was lead into a large encampment, Wutai's largest "base" outside of the city itself. While composed of mostly tents, some other structures were made of scrap metal and wood. An attempt was even being made to set up a wall around the base. Soldiers traveled in pairs and trios, and were usually a mix of Wutai natives and mercenaries. There were few people like Zangan who were not of Wutai, but genuinely sympathized with their side. The base would normally have been busier, But most of the troops were sent to deal with the tanks coming in from the south.


Zangan turned to see that he was being summoned by a guard who was stationed outside a large tent.  In fact, it was the largest tent in the base.  It was outfitted with armor on the outside for protection, and reinforced with metal poles.

Zangan didn't need to hear anything else, and simply made his way into -what was obviously- the command tent. There, he was actually in for a surprise...

"DAAAAA-AAAAAD! LOOKA ME! LOOKA ME!" a young girl, no older than maybe two, was yelling at the head of the table which was situated in the center of the tent.  It was decorated with more armor and a few weapons.  A small square table stood near the rear, with a large man behind it.  His hair was loose about his shoulders, and he sported a mustache, and he wore a blue Kimono as well.

"Yes, Yuffie, I see you, daughter. Please excuse me while I have a guest..." The commander said, but to no avail

"BUUUUT DAAAAD! LOOKA MEEEE!!!" the girl interrupted.

Godo sighed. Most people agreed that he was a good political leader, and maybe even a good military leader. However, his command over his daughter seemed nonexistent.

"Lord Godo..." Zangan started, despite Yuffie's continual howling and screaming, "...I had not expected to see you so close to the front. It would harm all Wutai if the Shinra pulled an attack here..."

Godo waived his hand, then motioned for Zangan to sit.  He was about to, when the chair was pulled from right beneath him. Zangan almost fell, but regained his balance.  He saw Yuffie holding onto the chair...

"MINE!" She said in a commanding tone. She proceeded to sit in the chair. She looked around for a second, then hopped off, obviously bored.

Zangan took the chair and sat down.

"Zangan..." Godo began, " my men have already told you, we speculate that the Shinra are not putting their full effort into this war. This is almost good, for if they did, Wutai might not win. However, it is an insult to us and all wars carried out before this one. It is an insult to those who have died, and those who's loved ones have died."

Godo paused briefly to collect his thoughts. He had to ask Zangan something he would not ask of any other, and it was imperative that he phrase his words exquisitely.

"Something is wrong at Shinra. For whatever reason, they either will not... or CAN NOT put any more resources into this war. However, I am unwilling to act on conjuncture. We must find out WHY the Shinra is acting this way. Perhaps they want us to think they are weak so that we are unprepared when they decide to strike at full force. Or perhaps due to their other various projects, there is no money allocated for wartime spending."

Zangan lifted an eyebrow. He had a feeling as to what he was about to be asked.

Godo continued, "I must ask you something. Something I would not ask any other man. But because you are the greatest warrior I know, you -and you alone- stand a chance for surviving a mission that MUST be completed."

Godo took a deep breath. He paused, if only for effect...

"DAAAAAD! LOOKA ME! IMMA NINJA!" Yuffie hollered as she smacked the table leg. However, instead of breaking it, she dislocated her wrist.  "WWWAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!"

Godo frowned. A nurse came in and started tending to Yuffie's injuries like clockwork.

"Well, so much for dramatics..." Godo frowned again, then shrugged.  He looked at his daughter, then back up towards the renowned warrior. "Zangan. I need you to go to Midgar and ascertain whether or not the Shinra cannot fight this war or if something else is happening. And then of course report back to me directly. Will you do it?"

"Do I have a choice?" Zangan asked out of mere curiosity.

"Of course," Godo said "You may refuse if that is your wish. However, the most important weapon in war is knowledge..."

"DAAAA-AAAD! LOOKIE WHAT I GOT!" Yuffie interrupted again as she held up a green materia orb.

"Where did you..." Godo started, but Zangan instantly realized his BOLT materia was gone!

"Hey, that's mine!" Zangan approached Yuffie, and she panicked...

...Just enough to set off the materia, striking Zangan with a bolt of lightning! He fell due to the force of the blow, but the BOLT ARMLET he took from the SOLDIER prevented any other damage.

Yuffie, worn out by the drain that materia inflicts upon people, sat against the wall and fell asleep, dropping the materia orb. Zangan picked it back up and placed it back into his armguard.

"Humph. Talented young lady... But yes, I accept the mission," Zangan said plainly.

"You do not know how grateful this makes me! Zangan-san, you leave in two days. Take anything you think you'll need. I'm sure you'll have no trouble sneaking on-board a Shinra sea vessel?"

Zangan bowed his head and turned to leave. He stopped in midstep, and turned around. He placed a small yellow materia orb in Yuffie's hand.

"Hmm?" Godo asked.

"Relax, it's only a 'Throw' materia. It makes you... throw things. Pretty useless, if you ask me... but I'm sure she'll get a kick out of it," Zangan said.  He shook his head, but smiled as he left the tent.

Godo turned and looked at his daughter. "Ugh... 'Throw'. Greeeaaaatttt...."

Chapter 3

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic