Payback's a Bitch 2: Redemption Chapter 10
By Joe L.
Where am I? I am alive........ I feel like I have been awakened from a very long sleep. Who is that Ghiite operating that machinery? What am I doing in this tank? Did I die? Was I revived? Or was I created here in this lab? Zarin.......... my Master, my Lord. Yes, I remember him quite well. I know that I will live to serve him faithfully. Could that be him? No........ he is proud, regal, and powerful. How did I come to be here? I don't understand. Perhaps I will be told once I am free from this infernal machine, or perhaps my existence is a secret. Suppose I can never escape from this hell, I am doomed to this technological prison? No, no, that cannot be true. I believe that-
"So, how are we today?" Jerolo tapped on the glass tube, starting the Ghiite. The Ghiite frowned angrily.
"Who are you and what am I doing here? I demand answers," the Ghiite harshly stated, though it's voice was partly muffled from the glass.
"Calm down, my friend. All will be revealed in good time. If you'll hold on a moment, I will release you from the tank," Jerolo walked over to the control panel and pushed a single button. The glass tube that imprisoned him miracuously opened up, and the Ghiite walked out to the cold tile of the lab. He stared at Jerolo skeptically and asked,
"Who exactly are you? And what was I doing in there?" Jerolo walked over to the Ghiite and studied the Ghiite very quickly.
"Hmmm.... You seem to be in good condition. Tell me how do you feel?" The Ghiite was somewhat taken back by the question. What does he mean?
"How do I feel? Physically? Emotionally?"
"Oh, it doesn't really matter, I suppose. How do you feel?"
"I feel..... incredible. Like I have just woken up from a peaceful slumber. I feel strong as a hundred normal men, though I have a desire to fight."
"Anyone who opposes my master, King Zarin Ketsuo, Lord of the Ghiites and King of Bakaar," the Ghiite replied, adding emphasis on the titles he adorned Zarin with. Jerolo silently laughed to himself at the fact at how perfectly the removal of one of the lobes in the brain had performed. He is totally devoted to Zarin, and he hasn't even seen him yet. This project will prove most interesting, however the others might not fare as well in their undying loyalty to Zarin. I'll have to wait and see.
"Yes I see...." Jerolo mumbled, mostly to himself.
"Now, how did I get here?" The Ghiite sternly said, accosting the scientist.
"You want the entire truth?"
"Very well then. Many years ago we captured you here and performed a series of tests and experiments, all extremely radical and unreliable. By doing this, we increased your intelligence, power, speed, and other physical attributes. However, because of your awesome power there was a slight chance you would become rebellious and cause an upheaval against King Zarin. Because of this, we have slightly altered your brain and made you totally subservient to Zarin. Futhermore, if you go against his wishes, at any time I can terminate your existence with an enzyme I implanted in you. Do you understand?" The Ghiite nodded his head in agreement. It changes nothing. Zarin is my master and I will live to serve him.
"Yes. And of my other brethren?"
"There are two others who have survived the experiments, I imagine they should awaken just as you have." Jerolo walked back over to a screen that showed the two other Ghiites pulse, breathing, and other functions.
"Who exactly are you?"
"I am Chief Scientist Jerolo Uerna, one of Zarin's many powerful associates." Jerolo didn't look up to the Ghiite, he only continued peering at the screen.
"Of course. What have we been created for?"
"Very soon, you shall see. However, you needn't worry about combat right now. There are still a few things that Zarin needs to complete before you three can perform your task."
"And that would be?"
"The destruction of the Rebellion."
"How are we going to escape?" Sephiroth asked the Rebel emissary, who met Sephiroth in a secluded hallway in Castle Zarin.
"You, Sh'kaar Nali, and Gyver Deldrin will stay in your barracks tonight, as with any other night. Then, two Ghiite Rebels will infilitrate the barracks, and lead you out and back with us. In your beds, we will place your own blood on the blankets, and your belongings will be gone. Hopefully, it would appear that you struggled with a robber, he stole your belongings, murdered you, and took your body," the Rebel replied calmly, completely satisfied with his plan. Sephiroth however, was not impressed.
"Ha. I think you should rethink your plans, very carefully this time. It would be suspicious if only us three were missing, especially myself and Clo- I mean Sh'kaar. Zarin would immediately think we had defected, and he would no doubt hunt us down and kill us," Sephiroth muttered disagreeabley as he crossed his arms and leaned his head against the cold stone wall. He closed his eyes and wished more than anything that he had never been revived, that he was a lost soul in the Lifestream. These people aren't proffessionals, they are amateurs. And in this particularly volatile predicament, anyone who is an amateur is not only a threat to themselves, but myself included.
"Wha- what? What are you talking about?" The Rebel's confidence was now visibly shaken. Sephiroth stared into the Ghiites eyes and responded,
"Zarin does not trust me, I believe. He knows I pledge no allegiance no him whatsoever. The only reason I have donned this uniform of his is in hopes of escaping this accursed planet and returning to my home. If he were to have any suspicions about my or anybody else's disappearance, I can guarantee it would lead to chaos among your brethren."
"But you will not be able to escape-" Sephiroth shook his head, and stated softly,
"No, I will escape from this hellish domain. With or without your group's help." Sephiroth walked away from the beleagured emissary. I don't need anybody to help me. Back on Earth, when I was but a petty soldier of Shinra, there was nobody to help me. My "father" Hojo never cared for me besides performing experiments, and I never knew my mother. I was utterly alone. However, I tried not to let it scar my persona. I have never needed anybody in my life. And I certainly don't need their help now. This is just another task that I must meticulously undertake and discover the perfect solution. Nothing more, and nothing less.
King Zarin Ketsuo, King of Bakaar, sat in his private quarters staring blankly at the window to the view of Dacar that it provided. He loved peering out onto the great city of Dacar, the pinnacle of Ghiite civilization. While he was never a sentimental Ghiite, there was something about watching over his city that gave Zarin a great sense of accomplishment and power.
However Zarin, your power has not been completely consolidated yet. The Ghiite king was not expecting the creature's probings, but he could not resist them.
No. But I am very close, Father. I have recovered Sephiroth's blade, the Masamune. Tonight, this is when Braka'karin will die. I will personally assassinate him myself.
Yes. I would imagine that he is contemplating why he accepted your invitation to Dacar, and furthermore why he hasn't left yet.
He doesn't trust me. How ironic it is that his insane ramblings at the conference were all true. He is the only Ghiite to ever see truly through my guise, perhaps besides that bastard Jerolo.
I assume you are going to have the enzyme removed from the Super Ghiites?
Of course. We can't let Jerolo have that bargaining chip. While Jerolo is an excellent scientist, I would assume given time some of his underlings could enact a procedure that would remove the enzyme.
You sound quite confident.
I have every reason to be, Father. The three Super Ghiites are completed, and totally loyal to me. The Rebellion is about to be destroyed, and I will get rid of those three cretins Cloud, Sephiroth, and of course Gyver. Just like I got rid of his father.
Do not forget the exile of your own father, Yama.
Ha. How could I forget him, the cowardly bastard? Had I not assassinated Gyver, Sr., my old man would have appointed him as the successor to the throne.
I know. My father disliked me, and I hated him with a fiery passion. He would have just assumed throw me in jail and let me rot their for the rest of my days.
Do you believe that?
Yes. Why do you ask, Father?
Don't worry. If the creature that held control over Zarin, the Omega, had a mouth it would have grinned wickedly, as a hunter does when it toys with it's prey. However, it didn't have that luxury. As spontaneously as the thing entered Zarin's mind, it quickly retreated back into it's own conciousness. Zarin peered gloomily out into the crowd out Ghiites that crowded Dacar's streets. The city was always a bundle of energy, of excitement for every Ghiite that lived. Of course, there was crime and at times it could be considered dangerous. For the most part however, it's stony houses and plain cobblestone streets lined with a variety of stores and vendors was the ideal place for any Ghiite to live.
Dacar was originally constructed when the first Ghiite settlers came to Bakaar, after being exiled from Earth. Have only meager supplies and a sparse few workers, the Ghiites constructed crude straw buildings and what not. Soon however, they developed more efficient buildings for living and better irrigation systems. Over time, Dacar grew from a tiny village into a small city, expanding outwards in a elliptical pattern. As such, the oldest buildings of Dacar are found in the middle of the great metropolis, and the newer buildings near the city walls. Of course, Castle Zarin stood as an ominous reminder of the King's power and control, as it towered above any other structure. The great battlements and towers of the Castle almost seemed to mock that which it looked down upon.
Of course I'm sure Yama would have chosen Gyver, Zarin thought darkly. I even remember the old coot remarking how Bakaar could use a strong man such as him as our King and Leader. To betray his own flesh and blood...... I'm glad the bastard, if he still actually lives, is rotting in the Great Desert.
The peace conferences starting once again in Zarin's royal court, but the talks were reduced to childish bickering. Each side blamed the other for the terrible war that had fallen all of Bakaar and the Ghiites. Neither side realized that both of them were to blame for the horrible situation they had drawn their world into. The government, for it's harsh and brutal treatment of the Ghiite people, and the Rebellion for it's own over-zealousness and arrogance in fighting the Imperials. However, both sides knew that the peace talks would never work. Their respective leaders would never deign to help one another.
"General Syran, would you like to explain the situation in Forris?" Zarin motioned to the General to speak. The Ghiite cleared his throat and began his speech which he had spent much time preparing. He bowed before his King, as was courtesy, and then began,
"Yes, your majesty. As you know, Forris is quite an important city. It is in the middle of a rich deposit of iron ore, lumber, and other raw materials that Dacar and many other cities need to sustain themselves. As you know, their materials are shipped to us where they are manufactuered into goods. However, my Rebel friends, to supply you with 50% of the goods that comes from Forris is unquestionable. We understand your need for them, and I want to achieve peace just as all of you are eager as well. However, this is simply impossible. Dacar, in particular, would be in a dire situation and shortages in supplies would lead to a decreased quality in life, and most undoubtedly a much higher death rate. However, we can offer you 30 percent of the materials that to ship to your capital city of Zandose. However, you must withdraw troops from Fort Arak, and withdraw all military operations stationed in the cities of Delash, Joiyaht, and Kobioshi."
"Impossible!" A Rebel lieutenant blurted out, insulted by the Imperials' arrogance, and air of mocking towards Rebels. "Those three cities serve as buffer zones between you controlled areas and our lands! To leave them would be detrimental to our safety. Who's to say a renegade wouldn't come into out lands and crush our armies?" Syran, not known for his conversational or speech skills, began to stutter.
"I-I-I don't th-th-ink," Gar'saan interrupted the thouroughly embarrassed Syran and retorted venomously to the Rebel's remarks.
"And why should we trust your troops, who can just an easily march into our occupied provinces? I believe in the past your men have proven to be the more offensive offender. Was it not your troops who marched into Keshan, and burned the entire city down?"
"Your soldiers started that damned fire to blame on us!" The Rebel leader accusingly pointed a finger at the Grand Master.
"Proposterous! Impossible! I commanded those troops, and I gave no such orders! Your men burned that city down to the ground because an informant there told us the location of one of your many underground bases. Is that not the truth?"
"Lies! All of it! Your arrogance shall be your undoing, bastard!" The Rebel vilely rasped, as his hatred grew tenfold for everything that represented the Imperials and the monarchy.
"And yours as well! Who gave you the right to demand from us to bow before you? God? I think not!" It seemed as both wizzened soldiers were on the verge of fighting in the courtroom. However, no Ghiite made a move to stop the two. They all wanted to see how this particularly interesting scene played itself out, violent or peaceful.
"No, God has not given me the right. Justice and peace have, however! You and your Imperial comrades represent the destruction and corruption that have plagued the Ghiite people, ever since your blasted King ascended to the throne! There can be no peace until your evil and sadistic monarchy are erased from the hearts and minds of all the Ghiites!" Gar'saan exploded in a burst of rage after hearing the Ghiite insult his King.
"Blasted King! Take that back you self-righteous, hypocritical, incompetent miscreant!" Just then, two Imperials sitting beside Gar'saan restrained the berserked Grand Master, who was desperately trying to jump across the table and throttle the Rebel.
That was as civilized as the conference was after the scuffle. It degenerated into a flurry of mud-slinging, insulting, name-calling, and general childish bickering. King Zarin however, seemed to enjoy the entire escapade of Ghiite against Ghiite. Being the sadist he was, seeing the two sides fight futiley gave the brooding King a pleasanr, if somewhat perverse, joy. You Rebels have no idea the fate that is to befall you.......
After many hours of arguing and harrassing, the peace talks were suspended indefinetaly, with absolutely no hope of ever being reconstituted. Braka'karin had said that tomorrow morning, he and his loyal Rebel followers would leave and return to Zandose.
The Fists of God had been training diligently the entire day when they recieved word that the Rebellion was leaving Dacar and returning to Zandose, where it was suspected they would plan an attack of Dacar and it's outlying nations loyal to it. At the moment, Cloud was in the process of sparring with a young Fist named Icar. Icar was quite skilled for such a young recruit, but in Cloud's months of training as a Fist, he was now somewhat experienced. Needless to say, he had put the boy in his place many a time. However, Cloud's mind was not entirely focused on the training at hand. So, I wonder if we will go to war with all the nations loyal to the Rebellion? Civil war...... is there not worse thing when two factions fight each other for identical reasons? Why must there always be war, hatred, anger, and misery? If these Ghiites were truly above humans, they would have conquered these horrible things. No, Ghiites are no better than man, though they are perhaps stronger. Ghiites.... they still hate, they still covet, they still murder, and steal, and lie and destroy.........
Cloud was violently pulled away from his dark thoughts by Icar's fist smashing solidly into his jaw, sending him flying through the air until he smacked the grass loudly, making a cracking sound. Icar raced over to the fallen Fist, who waved off his help.
"I'll be fine....... Perhaps sore for a day or two, but fine otherwise. I guess that's the end of our training," Cloud muttered as he rubbed his sore jaw. The two Ghiites bowed before one another, and Icar returned to the barracks, where he would brag and boast to his companions of his defeating Sh'kaar. Cloud plopped to the cold grass yet again, and became lost in his own troubled thoughts.
If we go to war with the Rebellion, it won't merely be a handful of Fists fighting a handful of Rebels, will it? No, it will be the entire Imperial army, warrior and regular soldier alike. Who knows how many men the Rebllion have on their side..... This will not be a simple duel of powers..... This will be a war of guerilla tactics, of attrition. It could take years perhaps, if not more. Zarin, in his arrogant bravado, probably believes he can defeat the Rebels in a matter of months, if not weeks. Of course, I will be a member of the Rebellion...... Was I foolish for believing Braka'karin? Were his own plans just and vile and destructive as Zarin's? In the end, is he not the same as Zarin, an arrogant, power-hungry Ghiite who seeks to enforce complete power over all of Bakaar? This is all too much........ I am not a philanthropist, nor am I a philosopher. I shouldn't be debating morals and what not....... I'm a soldier. I was a soldier on Earth, and I am a soldier here. I should stop thinking as if I was more than that, because I'm not. Just a grunt who takes orders from somebody else.
It was with that mindset that Cloud traversed back through the hills and into the Fists' barracks, though this would be his last night in them. Tonight, he would join the Rebellion. Cloud jumped onto his bunk bed and fell fast asleep.
Deep in a secret lab underground Castle Zarin, King Zarin informed his three new Generals of the Imperial Army of the situation between himself and the Rebellion.
"My dear Generals Feddis, Bozan, and Ottadis," the Ghiite King nodded to each General as he spoke their name," allow me to explain the dire situation of things. The Rebellion, led by a Ghiite by the name of Braka'karin has been battling me for 500 years. For most of it, I thought of them only as a pest, a mosquito that could easily be squashed, though I learned otherwise. I have waited for this day to arrive, when I could enact the second part of my plan. With you created, you can now lead my armies to glorious victory. Though things must be taken care of first." A cruel smile played upon the King's lips, and he quickly continued.
"Tonight, the leader of the Rebellion will be murdered. I will frame three of my most annoying subjects, and have them executed of course. Of course, no doubt the Rebellion will openly declare war on myself and my Imperial subjects. The Rebellion has ammassed a great number of followers through the years, mostly from the continent of Newahn where lies their capital of sorts, Zandose. Scouts estimate their numbers at around 90,000, mostly common soldiers though they have around 2,500 skilled warriors trained in martial arts and equal to my Fists of God. This is also not counting there various armies here on this continent, Dewark, where I estimate their numbers to be around 55,000 strong.
Now, my army includes 1,100 Fists of God, along with around 200,000 common foot soldiers. This is where you, my Generals of the Imperial Army, come into play. With Braka'karin's death, I imagine the Rebellions soldiers from Newahn will be carried over and land on the shores of Gradia, and join their forces. I will divide my troops among you three. General Feddis, your task will be to retake the lands east of Dacar captured by the Rebellion, extending all the way to Delash. I imagine that while the fighting will be tough and grueling, they will mostly have common troops stationed in those areas and their main forces will be in Moroe, Gradia, and the like. Therefore, I will send only 100 Fists with you, along with 50,000 troops. General Bozan, your job will to be, with a force of 75,000 troops and 500 Fists of God, is to defeat Rebel troops entrenched in the Razor Valley. As you know, they have control of all of the nations in that area, most of whom supply us with timber, ore, and other essential minerals. Now, General Ottadis, you shall take the remainder of my army and conquer the cities Joyaht and Kobioshi, thereby providing us with easy access into the Yulash Plains and straight into Gradia.
After you three have completed your campaigns, join up at the Yulash Plains and march into Gradia, take hold of the city. I expect by then that the routed Rebel forces will have retreated to Zandose, and taking the city should pose no threat. That isn't to say that the city itself isn't armed with a militia, though their numbers are only around 2,000 or so. There, I will join you with my Grand Masters and we shall traverse across the Cursed Sea and into the continent Newahn. I will assume command of the armies, and shall lead us into Zandose where we shall crush the remainder of the Rebellion and Bakaar will be reunited once again. After our victory, burn Zandose to the ground and we shall return to Dacar, hailed as victors and heroes to our people." Feddis rubbed this chin thoughtfully and remarked,
"If you allow me to say, my Master, a bold if somewhat foolish campaign. Though it is quite ingenious, trapping the Rebellion and forcing them to retreat to Zandose, there army depleted and disheartened. However, if one of my esteemed colleagues or I should fail, the conquest will most undoubtedly fail. As it were, if any of these fronts were to be breached, then the Rebellion would easily march into Dacar and claim it as their own. This three-pronged assault is a most dangerous endeavor my lord." To this, Zarin laughed, a hearty, joyful laugh. He wasn't the kind of Ghiite who had a sense of humor.
"Ha ha! So you are right, General. And that is why it will work, because it is aggressive and dangerous. The Rebellion would expect me to play safely, to take every single detail into account. This war will be on my terms, not theirs." This time, General Bozan rebuffed Zarin's remark.
"Perhaps it is too agressive, my lord. Now, I-"
"You'll do no such thing, General Bozan," Zarin harshly retorted, his dark green eyes staring directly into Bozan's brown. As the two Ghiite locked gazes, Bozan saw some sort of unholy power in Zarin's eyes. There was a spark, a flash, something Bozan could not explain. He sheepishly replied,
"Of-of course, my lord. I shall never question your tactics in combat again." Zarin appeared pleased at this remark, knowing he struck fear into his General.
"Good. Now, if you'll excuse me I have other business to attend. Good day to you all," and the Ghiite King left the laboratory, content with how his plans were about to be executed.
Not a sound was made as the Ghiite carefully crept into Braka'karin's room. The guards outside had been easily lured away from their positions, and the assassin had easily open the door a card key that unlocked all doors. Dressed in all black, the assassin was more like a shadow of death than a Ghiite. Strapped to his back, a large katana glinted in the moonlight. The blade was Masamune, and it was quite possibly the most perfect sword a human had ever crafted. While it's proportions made for awkward handling to a common person and to most soldiers, the Ghiite had no trouble using the blade.
The assassin made his way to the bed, where Braka'karin peacefully slumbered. The Ghiite slowly pulled Masamune from it's strap on his back and thought for a moment of the ramafications of his deed he was about to perform.
Now my plan truly begins.... With his death, this civil war will undoubtedly climax to a violent and bloody end..... Why am I hesitant to strike?
You must show no mercy to your enemies.
Of course, Father. Zarin shook his head at his own silliness and brought the Masamune up for the killing blow. Right before Zarin was preparing to kill him, Braka'karin stirred and opened a lazy eye that was greeted by the sight of a large sword. He had no time to scream, to move, nothing, except wait as the Masamune sliced straight through his head and upped body, straight down to his groin. The slice essentially cut the Rebel in half along with the bed that he rested upon. Though he had seen many bloody deaths in his day, Zarin couldn't remember one that was this grotesque.
Ha! Look at him. With his death, the Rebellion and their ilk are finished. You have done well, Masamune. Zarin wiped the blood from the Masamune with his gloved hand, and walked calmly out of Braka'karin's bedroom. Closing the door behind him, Zarin returned to his own quarters and fell fast asleep, the act of killing Braka'karin already out of his mind and conscience.
Tuor, personal aide of Braka'karin, lightly rapped on his Master's door. After waiting a few moments, and not hearing an answer, he called out,
"Master? Are you awake?" It was at that moment when Tuor noticed that the door was unlocked. Thinking to himself for a moment, he thought it would be for the best to open up the door and awaken his Master. However, he was not prepared for the grisly seen that mockingly greeted him. Braka'karin had been cut in half, the bed soaked in the late Rebel leader's blood. The bed had also been sliced cleanly in half, straight from the head to the foot.
For a moment, Tuor could only stare in horror as he saw his Master dead. He wanted to scream out, in anger and fear, but found that his throat was parched and extremely dry. A moment later another assissant walked in and asked Tuor,
"What's going-," he never finished his sentence. He too, was horrified by the bloody scene.
"Braka'karin. He's dead."
Planets devastated, Mankind's on its knees
A saviour comes from out the skies to answer to their pleas
He is the Painkiller
This is the Painkiller
Faster than a laser bullet
Louder than an atom bomb
Chromium plated boiling metal
Brighter than a thousand suns
"Painkiller" by Judas Priest
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic