It was a cold day, to cold for any person to be outside. Yet, Reno was. If he had a choice he would have been spending the day in a quiet bar, with a bottle as his best friend. But right now, there just werent much options. You could say what you wanted about the Shinra, but it damn well paid. But now, all that was left off the Shinra was ruins, and Reeve. Yes, Reeve the damn traitor. Reno wasnt totally without sympathy for the man, Shinra had done some bad things, and when Rufus became president, it just got worse. But it was Reeves job to support the Shinra, it was his duty. But now, it was all gone. Of course, Palmer was probably still out there, somewhere, guys like him always managed to survive somehow. But then again, Palmer was even more worthless than Reeve. Oh well, what was the point in looking back? Shinra was gone, and so where the Turks. Reno assumed that Rude and Elena were still alive somewhere, but what did it matter? The only way Reno could make ends meet was by accepting freelance assignments. Hed take whatever job anyone were willing to give him, and that wasnt much. As an ex-Turk, he was feared, sometimes the respect that automatically comes with such fear opened up new opportunities, but usually, people just looked away, pretending he wasnt there. But right now he did have a job. The world had been plunged into anarchy when Midgar collapsed, and a lot of fractions fought for political dominance. Some tried to keep it on a strict political level, others didnt. The ones who did might have been perceived as more fair, but the ones who didnt where the ones who paid. And that gave them the upper hand. Reno were suddenly pulled out of his thoughts as a rather fat man stepped out of a nearby restaurant. The ex-Turk slowly got up and stood silently leaned against the wall in the small alley. He waited until the fat man had passed and then slowly sneaked up to him and raised his rod.
With regards from the Junon Freedom Party. Was all the fat man heard before something pointy hit him in the back and sent a jolt of electricity through his body.
Reno looked the now smoking body of a man that laid face-down on one of Kalms snowy streets. He lit a cigarette and began walking away. A moment later he heard a scream. And then a dark voice calling for help. And suddenly more and more voices could be heard. If those people just had kept cool they could probably have found Reno. But things usually got a bit chaotic when it came to these things. As Reno slowly walked out of the town he wondered if it was because people just got confused when something like this happened, or if they just preferred to run about like headless chickens so that they wouldnt have to deal with whoever it was that killed the poor man. He was pretty sure it was the latter option, but quite frankly, he didnt care. Right now all he cared about was the money, the payment from the Junon Peace Party a rather strange name for something that was little more than just a Mafia. But as always, that was of no concern, all that mattered was the job at hand, not who employed you.
This is terrible, cried one man in a high-pitched voice, Is governor Elose dead?
Murdered. replied another man in a calm voice.
Thats the first man tried to come up with a fitting word, but failed, leaving the sentence unfinished.
The second man just nodded.
You dont seem very surprised mister Navin, said a third man in a voice filled with cold suspicion, I would say that you are a bit to calm about what just happened. Youre not exactly showing the behavior one would expect.
Perhaps not, the man named Navin replied, but I cant see how screaming about it would help.
That could be the answer, said the third man , but my guess would be that its because you just made it to the top o the mountain.
What do you mean by that? said Navin in a tone of voice which told that he perfectly well understood what this man was trying to tell him.
I know what kind of person you are, the man replied in an angry voice, you probably wouldnt hesitate to order the death of the governor to get his seat for yourself.
Egmond, if Navins voice had been cold before, it was freezing now, your insinuations disturb me. For your information, I had nothing to do with this murder. In fact, I have already started to deal with the case.
What do you mean? the first man replied.
I have hired a man to investigate this, and get rid of the killer for us.
You never thought about that before this, Egmond pointed out, your interest in security is much larger now than it was when Elose was the governor.
That is true, Navin agreed, but I do have much more to worry about now. And you must not forget that this murder could give us several political advances.
I beg your pardon? the first man said with a shocked expression on his face.
I didnt mean anything bad about Elose, Im just saying that if we can find out who did this, they are going to lose a lot of the peoples confidence.
The other people around the table seemed somewhat relieved, since Navin had managed to steer the conversation into a different route, avoiding the argument.
Well then, another man replied, who is this man you have hired.
Members of Kalms Liberty party, said Navin in an over-dramatized voice, I present to you, Mr. Rude.
Several of the people around the table silently gasped as the man walked into the room. That dark-blue suit was something they all recognized, since they had all been more or less involved with the Shinras activities. Even inside, and on such a cold and snowy day, the man was wearing sunglasses. He seemed to be looking at all of the men and women positioned around the table, and yet there was no way to make out which direction he was looking at.
This is Mr. Rude, Navin continued, I am sure that some of you recognize him as a Turk. So you should know that he is highly qualified for the job.
Some of the men almost looked like they were going to object, but as they met Rudes gaze, or at least, as they thought they met Rudes gaze, they all sank back down into their chairs with looks of utter helplessness on their faces.
Well then Mr. Rude, Navin said with a smile on his face, since no one seems to be objecting to this, I suggest you start working right away.
The man just nodded and quietly left the room. He had not said a single word during the entire time, and yet several people felt like they had just narrowly escaped death.
Rude examined the corpse, there wasnt much to say about it really. The man had been electrified, and there was only one person Rude knew who would do such a thing, but he would never be that clumsy, leaving the electrified body behind, maybe someone were just trying to mislead him He took another look at the dead body, and nodded.
Well? the twitchy doctor said in a questioning voice.
Hes been electrified, Rude stated, thats pretty much all there is to say.
Well, I already knew that. The doctor looked slightly insulted.
Then why did you have to bring me down here? Rude did not move, yet his voice was threatening enough to make the doctor quiet down and slowly edge away.
Enough of this, the ex-Turk stated, I have work to do.
Tracking down the murderer would be hard, Rude realized that. It had been snowing, and all tracks were completely covered. This made it virtually impossible to find out where the killer was, but there could be a clue. Of course, if this killer was who Rude thought it was, then there would be no way of tracking him down. He was too good. But at least Rude knew where to search. He slipped into a nearby alley and searched through it. Nothing. He went into another one, and then another one, looking into every alley to see if there was some trace left of his old partner. There was none, Rude should have known better. He was now convinced that it was Reno. Not only had governor Elose been electrified, but the fact that there were no traces and that no one had seen the killer, showed that this was a real pro, not as clumsy as Rude had first thought. Rude looked around, his eyes searching every single cobblestone and brick. It was evident that he would not find anything here, if he wanted to know anything he would have to track down Reno, there werent any time for doubts now. As he left the small town he kept the dark and serious face, yet something inside him was celebrating. And a single thought filled up his brain.
I did what you hired me to do, Reno stated, now you will keep your side of the bargain.
Of course Mr. Reno, a man replied in a voice that an untrained ear might have perceived as ingratiating, but Reno could hear the cold steel in the mans words which told that he was not used to be confronted with ultimatums, Did we say 100 000?
200 000, Reno replied, dont try to screw me. Ive had worse opponents.
Reno came dangerously close to the edge here, and he knew it. If he managed to insult this man, he might be dead before the next morning. This was Levon, the godfather of the Junon Mafia, or the President of Junon, as it was right now. His Mafia was now called The Junon Peace Party, but it still consisted of the same men. The man looked at Reno for a while that seemed like a short eternity, and then smiled. Very well then.
He snapped his fingers and a man opened a suitcase and pulled out a large amount of money. He counted the money, and nodded, it was the correct sum, and none of the bills were fakes. If they were, no one else would notice anyway. He nodded again and turned around to leave the room.
The ex-Turk stopped as he heard Levin call out his name. He slowly put one hand on the rod he was carrying and turned around.
I was wondering if you would be interested in another job? the man replied.
That depends, said Reno, what sort of job?
A permanent one, was the answer, I think I could make good use of a man like you.
Sounds interesting. Reno kept calm even though he knew what this meant.
Indeed it does, Levon agreed, as a matter of fact, I have a new job for you already.
Really? Reno asked.
Yes, its nothing special. There is just a man here in Junon I would like to get rid of.
All right, who is it? The Turk just barely raised an eyebrow.
Its a man named Vonde, Levon continued, he is trying to gather the people in an attempt to rebel against me.
All right, Ill get rid of him once and for all. Any ideas where I can find him?
Try the back-alleys and other places far away from the main street. He likes to keep a low profile.
Reno nodded and once again turned to walk out. As a Turk, he always stayed calm. And yet there was a strange feeling inside him, he was once again a part of an organization, what was more important: He had a job. Once again, it was duty above everything else.
Reno sneaked in and out of the alleys. He had gotten very little information, but the little he had heard on the streets gave him some idea where to look. Like a cat he sneaked through the city, until he could make out some words.
And I tell you, a voice cried out, that the people that call themselves the Peace Party are nothing but criminals. They are the Mafia that plagued this city before the Shinra. Shinra might not have managed to do much good, but they kept his Mafia under control, now there is nothing stopping it.
What can we do? another man asked, they have the army under their control.
Yes, the first voice replied, but Junons army is weak, the army we had belonged to the Shinra, and now only a small portion of them remain. Together we can join up and easily overpower it. And then we can overthrow this Mafia, and create our own government.
But why? a third voice chimed in, why cant we just let them rule this city?
Because, the first man, obviously Vonde, replied, they rule with an iron fist. Life was good during the days of president Shinra, and even with Rufus, things were bearable. But these people are tyrants. Even though they call themselves politicians they are still no more than a bunch of ruffians.
Vondes speech moved on like that. And the people seemed to become more and more inspired by this man. After a while, Vondes speech was over, and the people had no more questions. They stayed for a while everybody talking about how they had to free themselves from these tyrants, but after a while, they all went to their homes. Last to leave was Vonde and a friend of his. They packed up a few things, and started to walk.
Do you think I got through to them? Vonde asked.
Id say so, the other man replied, but it will take many more of these speeches to get enough support. Whatever you say about the army, they are still well-trained, and well-armed.
Yes, Vonde said in a saddened voice, but if I could get through to one of the weapons dealers
Well, the other man said, that will have to wait until tomorrow. Right now, we both need some sleep.
The two friends parted, and Reno silently followed Vonde. After a while, Vonde took a Turn and Reno quickly jumped up behind him.
Your agitating days are over, he said coldly as he hit Vondes back with his rod and pressed the trigger. Vonde started to shake as electricity filled his body and enveloped him in an eerie blue light. After a short while, Reno removed the rod, and Vonde fell down on the ground. Reno turned around and walked away. Leaving Vondes smoking body behind. As the snow softly fell upon Vonde other people couldnt have helped thinking about what he could have done. The man Reno had just killed could have freed the people from an organization which oppressed the people and stayed the Mafia it had always been. This man could have become a hero, a savior for the people of Junon. But such thoughts did not plague Reno, killing that man was his duty, and duty was more important than anything else in life.
Rude had returned to Kalm. He had asked around in Junon, but it was a city too big to track down a man like Reno in. Rudes best bet was that Reno would return. Of all the cities, this was the most logical choice. The two political fractions that would hire Turks could be the Kalm Liberation Party, and the Junon Peace Party. Wutai, North Corel and the other cities would rather stay independent and have their own government, but Junon and Kalm had been to deeply connected to the Shinra. They wanted supreme domination of not only their own cities, but also of one anothers and then all the world, as if they were to create a new Shinra. Whatever the case was, Rude could be pretty certain that Reno would return, it was only a matter of time. Rude had told Navin to take risks in order to get to the killer, and he was pretty sure it would pay off. Right now, Navin exited the very same restaurant that Elose had walked out of the day he was murdered. Surely, Reno wouldnt miss such an offer. But Navin disappeared, and there was no sign of Reno anywhere. But as Rude thought to himself, it was only a matter of time.
Killing Elose might not have been such a good idea as we thought it was, Levon stated, we had hoped that the members Liberation Party would get to upset to think clearly, but sadly that is not what happened. They have found a strong leader in a man named Navin, and I think he will be even more dangerous than his predecessor. Elose was a good politician, but this man is cold and calculating. He knows it was us who did this, and is just waiting to get revenge.
But why hasnt he tried anything yet? Reno asked.
As I said, Levon answered, hes smart. He knows that if he just blurted out that it was us without any evidence, or if he attacked seemingly unprovoked, he might loose a lot of the peoples support.
So what do you want me to do? Reno asked, even though he was fairly sure of the answer.
I want you to kill this Navin person.
Very well, is that all? Reno asked.
No, Levon replied, you should know that he has hired a man to investigate the murder of Elose, we do not know his name but we have heard that he is a real pro. If he should get in your way, kill him as well.
Reno was back in Kalm where he had recently killed a governor, and now he had to kill another one. He wondered how long it would take the governors to call themselves presidents, like Levon did, knowing how people with power usually behaved, he didnt think it would take too long. He set his sight on that very same restaurant, that might be a good bet. And suddenly, as he passed an alley, someone jumped out behind him and grabbed him by the collar.
You should really be more careful, said a familiar voice, I could have killed you in a second.
Maybe you could, Reno said, but the fact that you didnt take that chance makes you a fool.
As he said that, he quickly wormed his way out of the jacket and rolled around, ending up face to face with Rude.
You should have seen that one coming, said Reno.
Yes, Rude replied, but at least I wasnt quite as ignorant as you.
Pretty self-confident, Reno smiled, I think you need to re-evaluate the situation.
He was holding his rod as a rapier, giving him a much longer range than Rude.
I guess there is no need to ask if you are the investigator hired by the Liberty Party.
Well then, Reno said, I guess we have no choice.
He stared into Rudes eyes for a while, even though his opponent was wearing sunglasses, Reno still managed to pin-point his gaze. And suddenly, without a warning, he attacked. He lunged the rod at Rude, who easily dodged his attack and countered with a devastating blow to Renos head. But just as Rude could predict Renos next move, Reno could predict his. The fight went on like that, none of the fighters getting any closer to victory, they had moved into another part of town, just behind some houses. Reno took a swipe at Rudes head, but Rude just ducked and rolled away from the strike that was supposed to come down on him. He jumped for Renos legs and tried to knock down his opponent, but Reno simply stepped aside, and tried to hit Rude with his rod. But as always, Rude escaped the blow. Reno became furious and started swinging the rod at Rude, again and again and again, and every single time, Rude moved out of the way. Reno continued to swipe, pushing Rude backwards, but never managing to back him into a corner, and suddenly, without warning, he punched at Rudes stomach, but even now, Rude was prepared, dodging once more, however, he was not prepared for the hit Renos rod landed on his head. It did not electrify him, but was painful enough to make him stop. Reno saw his opportunity and dived forward, he hit Rude once again, and they rolled around in the snow, finally, Reno came out on top, the end of his rod was planted on his friends neck.
Got you. He stated.
Yes, Rude agreed, but you would not kill me.
Oh no? Reno said with a raised eyebrow.
You would not, Rude repeated, after all, we go back to far, and besides, were Turks, and a Turk never kills another Turk.
But you are forgetting something, Reno said in a dark voice, Shinra is gone, and so are the Turks. I am working for the Junon Peace Party know, it is my duty to kill you.
And duty is more important than anything else. Said Rude in a strange voice.
Reno just nodded.
Even, Rude paused for a short while, ... even friendship? Reno nodded again, even if Rude was the closest friend he had, it was his job to kill him, you could not let your feelings interfere with duty. He put his thumb on the trigger, but he could not make himself press it. He looked at Rudes face, seemingly calm, even though Rude knew he was about to die. He tried to press down the trigger once again, but could not muster the will. And all of a sudden, he threw the rod away.
Im taking a day off, he stated, this can wait until tomorrow.
Can it? Rude asked You have just failed in killing me, it was your duty to do so, and yet, you did not.
The time will come, said Reno, believe me.
No, Rude answered, it will not, you will not be able to kill me, and I will never be able to kill you. It is futile.
Maybe, Reno said with a shrug, but I am still going to kill Navin.
It is my duty.
But you have already failed your duty, Reno.
That will have to stay between you and me, wont it? Reno asked.
Reno, Rude called after his friend as he left, isnt there anything more important than duty?
What do you mean? Reno asked.
Will Mr. Levon make a good president for Junon, or the world for that matter?
No, said Reno bluntly, but I am working for him, so I have to do my best to help his cause.
But why, Rude asked, could we not fight for what we believe in for once? Not only do what the big guys tells us to do? The Turks are gone, but we are still here, I say we do something about what we think is wrong?
Yes, said Rude , he always fought for what he believed in, never once did he sit down and accept the things he was not pleased with.
But I am not Cloud, said Reno, I am a Turk.
He started to walk away, but then stopped. And as he slowly turned around, a light of hope was lit in Rudes heart.
What about Navin? Reno asked, would he make a good President? Rude just smiled, and the two of them walked off together.
It was very quick, as Navin stepped out of the restaurant, Reno simply walked up to him, aiming the rod at the governors face. Navin yelled, and two bodyguards rushed at Reno. Thats when Rude took the opportunity and broke his employers neck. As he looked up, Reno brushed himself off with one smoking corpse on either side of him.
"You see," Rude said, "a contract can be broken. Duty is not the most important thing in the world."
"So it would seem," Reno replied, "now, if youll excuse me, I have to get to Junon to report to Levon."
"Reno," Rude sighed, "I killed Navin. And now youre gonna tell Levon about this? Navin was ruthless, but he could have become a great leader. Levon is simply ruthless. With Navin dead Levon and his Mafia can take this town, and after that, another one. Theyll turn into another Shinra. Levon might turn out to be even worse than Rufus. Are you just going to sit by and watch?"
"Ill do whatever the contract says," Reno replied, "if that means helping that son of a bitch Levon out, then thats what Ill do." As Rude laid a hand on his shoulder, Reno simply grabbed it and threw his friend into a wall.
"That should hold him back for a while," he mumbled to himself as he walked off.
"Mr. Levon," Reno said to his employer, "I did what you told me to do, mission accomplished."
"Did you kill Navin?"
"And what about the assassin he hired?"
"I never saw him," it might just have been a rumor."
"Perhaps, Levon agreed in a neutral voice."
"Sir " Renos voice trailed off.
"Yes, Reno? Levon asked."
That was all Reno said before he brought his hand down to his rod and shoved into Levons belly and pressed down the trigger. He finished off the bodyguards in a similar manner before anyone had time to sound the alarms. Now, the contract was broken. He walked over to the other side of the room and looked out the window, perhaps there was some hope for this world after all. And with that confirmed, he put the end of his rod to his chin and pressed the trigger.