Combat Diary Chapter 3
Zangan was hiding in the shadows of some crates that sat on the beach where the Shinra troops were loading and unloading supplies onto a cargo ship. This was going to be harder than he thought. The place was crawling with troops, all of whom were running around like little ants. Zangan had considered just hiding inside a crate, but he had seen the soldiers drop three already. He didn't want to be exposed like that. The soldiers were not following any sort of pattern for Zangan to discern, thus he couldn't predict an opening or see one until it was too late. He now wore a mostly black outfit, with a hood and a cloak. Not his choice of colors, but he didn't want his red cloak giving him away... again.
The late evening sun looked like a drop of crimson sitting upon the water's edge, darkness and stars threatening to consume what was left of the day lit sky. Zangan knew he would have an advantage in the dark. However, he would not have that advantage for long. Soon, the last crates left to be piled into the ship were the ones Zangan was hiding next to!
"These are the last of them..." a soldier had said unnecessarily.
"Yeah. And hey, we're an hour ahead a' schedule. I'm gonna ask the commander if we can break before loadin' 'em."
Zangan couldn't believe his luck. The troops gathered around their commander expectantly, like several dogs welcoming their master home when they know he's brought them treats. Zangan dared to peek over the crates and surly enough, no one was paying attention to his general vicinity. He stood up and glanced around quickly. It was 70 yards between him and the ship. Someone COULD see him while he was running for it, but he knew that they WOULD if he stayed there any longer. He slowly and quietly made his way to the cargo ship and actually made it there without incident...
"Hey, who're you?"
Zangan looked around, but couldn't see anyone from the beach looking at him. He took a better look inside the ship and saw a soldier who had been standing there the whole time. Zangan cursed at himself for not noticing earlier. Luckily, Zangan had a plan "B"
"uh, sorry... I'm just one of your hired mercenaries... I've been here for as long as I've been paid to be and I wish to go home."
If the soldier was giving him a look, Zangan couldn't tell beneath the mask.
"Uhm, do you have a clearance? I think you might need clearance..."
Zangan was wasting time here. He was only a foot inside the cargo ship, maybe just enough out of view...
Zangan moved quickly, his arm going faster than the eye could see towards the soldier's neck! Zangan dove inside and behind some crates, taking the soldier with him. When he was satisfied that the soldier was unconscious from air depravation, he let go. There was too much death in this war already for Zangan's taste; he was not about to take any more lives if he didn't have to.
He watched as the soldiers picked up the remaining crates and loaded them into the ship. He knew that it wasn't all his own skill which let him become relatively unnoticed by now. He had luck on his side. However, luck was unpredictable and often changed sides, so Zangan decided not to push it and so he remained hidden -and awake- the whole way to Junon.
Zangan was able to get off the ship easier than he had gotten on. While no one was looking, he dove into the water, and swam all the way to the Junon fishing harbor. Tired, but thankful that he was not caught, Zangan rested for only a small while before continuing.
First, however, he had to decide how to get to Midgar. The option of swimming north from Junon past the mountains seemed doable, however it would leave him wide open to discovery. Unfortunatly, it would take a much longer time to go through the Mythril mines and around.
Stranded in thought, Zangan was surprised when a loud "whooshing" sound could be heard overhead...
It was huge. Almost as large as several buildings. Two mighty propellers kept it in the sky, this... large, silver, gleaming, FLYING, thing! It was longer than it was wide, and on the front on both sides, the Shinra Logo was proudly displayed... kind of. On the port side the Logo was becoming obscured by what looked like a half-painted woman in a bikini. Zangan looked in amazement as the large object hovered in the air, turned around and set down someplace behind Junon mountain.
"C'MON POP! I WANNA DRIVE!"
"Shaddap, Cid. You're too young..." Cid's father replied, all while trying to maneuver the Airship as close to the ground as possible without crashing it.
"I'm too young to drive a car, but there ain't no damn rules about flying!" Cid said back. His hair was short, and was practically obscured by the flight goggles he wore on his head just for this occasion. He adjusted it as if to say "case closed pop!"
"There is now!" Cid's father snapped. Cid frowned.
"...Um, Captain Highwind...?" A deep, rough, yet still young voice echoed throughout the airship's bridge.
Captain Conrad Highwind turned around, a few strands of light blonde spiky hair in the front whisking around. "Heidegger, you friggin' lackey. What the hell do you want?"
Lieutenant Heidegger stood at only five foot eight, however he still had an impressive frame. He had broad shoulders and always kept his posture upright with his chin held as high as he could. He was also starting to sport a beard to go with his ponytail. Such was the fashion for 20 something Shinra troops and military personal. He looked around the bridge nervously. None of it made too much sense. There was a circular computer post just near the entrance with two men working it, and then a stairway would take you to a lower level with more computers. However, this area was completely unmanned. In the upper corner of the bridge was the helm. It should be in the center to facilitate better viewing, especially given the huge semi-circular viewing window that took up the whole front of the bridge. Or so Heidegger thought.
"Um, yeah. My boss wants to know when we're gonna go to Midgar for the presentation of this..." Heidegger looked around nervously "...thing."
"It's called the Huge-ass Bronco! An' don't forget it ya Fff-f-f-..uh..." Captain Highwind looked at his son for a second, then back at Heidegger, "...Ya fraggin' freak..."
"POP! Do ya gotta be so damn vulgar? Remember what Mom said?!" Young Cid warned, waving his arms.
"Ah... grr... Hey! You can't say 'damn' either!"
"Um... Excuse me, but you didn't answer my question..." Heidegger interrupted.
"I'M BONDIN' WITH MY FRAGGIN SON! GET LOST!" Captain Highwind yelled, startling Heidegger.
"Um, He's a kid! He shouldn't be allowed on military vessels." Heidegger tried, but to no avail...
"MY Kid! THE kid! GOT IT?! So long as Shinra wants their damn Airship, I get t' make the damn rules!" Conrad retorted.
Heidegger gulped and slowly backed away. He turned and walked as fast as he could to the exit... Suddenly he remembered why he came down to the bridge in the first place.
"A FEW HOURS!" Conrad and Cid yelled at once. Heidegger jumped and ran out of the Bridge. He had to watch his step; the only walkway to/from the bridge was a, well, bridge that extended across a 15-foot chasm of machinery. There were not even any guard rails. Once Heidegger safely made it across, he glanced about the cargo area. The operations room stood to his right, just under the stairs to the deck. There was even a small pen for Chocobos. However, he was too angry to take in all of this seemingly worthless scenery.
"Whatta grouch... grr...grrrr..." Heidegger said as he stormed through the halls of the Airship. He was approached by a flight engineer...
...who he hit for no reason, sending him sprawling into some crates. Heidegger smiled to himself and walked away triumphantly.
Heidegger went up to the deck and pulled out his PHS. Noticing how bulky it was, almost as thick as a deck of cards and longer than a dollar bill, Heidegger found himself hopping they'd learn how to make these things smaller some day. He punched in a few numbers and waited.
"Yes. Let me speak to Mylard ... SHUT UP, Scarlet! I'm NOT fat! And I meant COMMANDER Mylard, head of the peace preservation, not 'my lard', ya ditzy broad! ... Look, you're a damn secretary, okay?! Now make like one and PATCH ME THROUGH! ... Whaddya mean you 'outrank' me now?! ... GRRR JUST PUT MYLARD ON THE LINE!" Heidegger couldn't believe his ears. He was getting lip from an underage secretary who now "outranked" him because she liked to show off (and then some). Finally, Heidegger was able to speak to his commander.
"Mylard, sir! Um, Yes... I was just speaking to Highwi... Um hmm, um... okay... yes... yes sir... um I mean, YES SIR! Sorry SIR. Um yes... A few hours, sir... No sir... Sir, listen I... -sigh- Um, yes sir. ... Yes, very good sir. Sir, permission to ask a question? um, Why does SCARLET outrank me now? Uh huh... Um... oh... um... Okay, Sir, I don't need to hear about... really? Wow... Um, I mean, 'Wow SIR'. Yessir. No Sir, I won't tell... No sir... I give you my word, sir... -sigh- I mean, uh, um, uh, 'high'... Um, 'Highwind'... Highwind is kind of a jerk, in my opinion, sir. Yes sir. Okay sir, I understand, sir. Yes, sir. A few hours, they said. ... No sir, I'm not su... No sir. Yes sir..."
Heidegger was beginning to become annoyed. He couldn't just report, he had to stay on the PHS for an hour listening to his Boss's babble. That and he was MUCH more attractive than Mylard, so why had Scarlet slept with Mylard and not him? Well, for promotion, obviously, but she must REALLY have to hate mundane work to do that.
"Yes sir... ... Um, I don't know, sir. Ok, Sir. Sir, I think my PHS battery is low... Yes sir... I'll get in contact with you shortly... Goodbye..."
Heidegger had finally managed to get off the phone. This was one of his and Mylard's shorter conversations, but Heidegger was irritated as it was. So of course he lied about his PHS battery being low. He took crap from everyone, and couldn't give any back, for he was only the ASSISTANT to the Head of the Peace Preservation. Now even a secretary outranked him.
Heidegger shook his head. He ordered a nearby crewman to lower the ladder so he could get down. It wasn't a far walk to Junon, and the young lieutenant needed to clear his head. The crewman went back into the Airship for a minute to check with his partner for a possible shift change. When he came back, he felt something was wrong, like he was being watched. He shrugged the feeling off and rolled the ladder back up, sat down and started reading a comic book, not knowing that his suspicions were more accurate than he gave himself credit for...
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