Payback's a Bitch 2: Redemption Chapter 12

By Joe L.

He couldn't be sure what time it was. Nor how long he had been in the cell. All he knew was that in a few scant hours, he was to be publicly for the murder of the mourned Braka'karin, leader of the Rebellion and savior of the Ghiite people. The Ghiite was known as Cloud Strife blankly stared at the concrete walls of his cell, and then at the iron bars which denied his exit to the other side. He remembered how one of the guards had told him that trying to break the walls was virtually impossible, as there was a strong magnetic shield operating at all times that was reputedly unbreakable. Of course, that hadn't stop Cloud from savagely beating the invisible shields with his fists. However, he tired himself in a matter of minutes and had sunk to the ground, dejected and hopeless.

Now he lay in his cell, patiently awaiting his imminent doom. There will be no miracle, no savior this time, Cloud bitterly thought. There is no light at the end of this tunnel. Only the cold, lonely blackness of death. There are so many things I left unresolved on Earth...... will they remember me? Or will I be but a memory, forgotten like a single grain of sand in a desert? Perhaps it will be best this way..... They never cared about me anyway..... especially not her........

Gyver paced around his cell, his anger and hatred of Zarin driving him into a frenzy. Gyver was not afraid of his death. His father used to say the only sure thing in life was death. And because, Gyver had long ago prepared himself for his demise, that with any mission he undertook there was the risk of him not returning.

No, Gyver was not angry over the fact that he was going to die. He was angry because Zarin still ruled, stilled held the lives of all Ghiites in his hands, hands that were not fit to be royalty. Hands not even fit to be called Ghiite. It was at that moment that Gyver stopped pacing and thought about his father. Gyver Deldrin, Senior. Gyver had always looked up to his father, for his strength, his courage, his determination, his willpower. Many people revered him, and because of it he became the most influential Ghiite in all of Bakaar, save for the King himself. Father, what can I do now? I'm sorry....... I have failed you again. I am but one Ghiite and Zarin has an entire nation behind him. How can I hope to win?

Sephiroth sat on the cot of his cell, his head down and deep in thought. While the guards began to think that the warrior had somehow killed himself by sheer will, the expanding and contracting of his chest proved that he still breathed, and therefore lived. Sephiroth went over every possible scenario as to how he could escape, and each time there would be another factor that would lead to his undoing. Therefore, he resigned himself to accept his fate and welcome it with open arms.

I will die this day. There can be no denying this truth, nor will there be any savior to rescue myself. There is nothing. There is only death. So be it. No one shall have the satisfaction of seeing me beg for my life, or cower and whimper like a scared pup! No. I will be strong. I must be strong. I will show them all true strength, true courage.

Sephiroth stood up for the first time since he had arrived back in the cell, and he surveyed his surroundings. The cell reeked of a putrid mix of grime, rust, and excrement. The cold stone floor was literally overflowing with various types of bugs and vermin, and Sephiroth noticed that on his cot crawled a pack of ants, diligently trying to find a speck of food to return to their hive. Sephiroth marveled at how the ants relentlessly pursued their goal, and how nothing could stop them in their endeavor.

They have no free will of their own. They are born into slavery, and so shall they die unto it. Isn't free will a curse, though? Don't we damn ourselves because of our own free will, our ability to make our decisions, to pursue our own goals? It's because of myself and my weakness that I allowed Jenova to poison my mind and make me believe that I could conquer the Earth... If we're all just like this simple insect, the ant. Only living to serve. Wouldn't everything be for the better?

It was quite late, but Zarin's mind was alive with thousands of thoughts and plans and speeches that were to be made. Once it was time, three of his main enemies would die and he would commence the war on the Rebellion. With one great sweep, the Ghiite nation would be unified under Zarin. However, the Omega creature which possessed Zarin had no intention of stopping his conquest with simply Bakaar. No, the Omega thought, there will be retribution. My brethren will be avenged...

Zarin threw of the sheets of his bed and leaped onto the carpet. This will be my finest hour, the Ghiite King assured himself. Ha ha ha......

The three Rebels moved with the most delicate and precise of stealth, as if they had been training their entire lives for the single mission, to perform it perfectly with no chance of percent error. Having easily penetrated the prison, they creeped through the dark passageways, always careful of the guards.

The trio came to the end of a corridor, which led to a large room filled with cells and prisoners. A lone guard stood in mute concentration, watching every move of the prisoners. He did not notice when one of the Rebels snuck up behind him. Grabbing the guard's neck, the Rebel quickly snapped it around, and with a crack, the Ghiite's neck was broken. The guard slumped to the ground, his corpse thudding against the cold stone floor. As his two companions walked over, the Rebel shuffled through the guard's belongings until he found the keys, or actually, a key. While it appeared rusty and old, the Rebel had no doubt that it would succeed in opening up the cell's of his comrades. It was at the moment when the Rebel got the key that all three of the intruders looked at each other in mute understanding. No doubt they would be branded traitors by their comrades, and worse yet, the ilk of Zarin would no doubt catch onto their intrusion. Still, there could be no turning back now. With fierce determination, one of the Rebels took the key and walked over to a cell, containing a man with silver hair. He looked at them in confusion and looked at the Rebel's face for some sign of what was happening. However, the Ghiite's face belied any emotions.

"Shutup and follow us. Don't ask any questions. Just do as we say. The future of Bakaar depends on it." Sephiroth walked out the entrance and noticed the dead guard and the two other Rebels. Sephiroth immediately knew probably what had happened. A group of Rebels, maintaining the convicted's innocence, had taken it upon themselves to free their would-be comrades-in-arms. However, Sephiroth was not sure what the three Rebels planned to do if they escaped from the hellish prison.

Once Sephiroth turned around, he noticed that two other Ghiites had been freed, Gyver and Cloud. The three looked at each other, and they all understood. They had to escape. No matter the cost. This was their destiny. It was at that moment that one of the Rebels whispered cautiously, "Follow us and don't talk. Once we get out of here, we can explain more. Till then, keep quiet." With that, the group creeped through the prison, their footsteps clapping against the floor, the noise almost becoming unbearable to the ears.

The group had not traveled far when they came a door marked "Emergency Exit". One of the Rebels, from the backpack he wore, pulled out a computer and typed a few keys. On the computerized lock on the door, he typed in a number. With a satisfiying click, the door was unlocked. Placing his computer back in his backpack, the group proceeded into the room. However, the room was actually very tiny space, with only a single ladder that led upwards.

Saying nothing to his fellow companions, one of the Rebels immediately began climbing, and the other quickly followed suit. The ladder seemed to go on forever, and Sephiroth reasoned that the ladder no doubt led to the surface. However, the security of the prison was no doubt hot on their trail.

When the top was reached, the Ghiite unscrewed the lock and threw open the grate, and climbed out. As soon as the last person was out, the Rebel closed the grate and turned to his companions. The sky was a dark blue, as it was very early morning, mere hours before Sephiroth, Cloud, and Gvyer were scheduled to be publicly executed. As it were, they were behind a large building, it a dark alley. Garbage littered the gravel ground, and rats peeped out of the cans, searching for whatever morsel of filthy, contaminated food they could find.

"We made it," one of the Rebels spoke, without any sign or even the faintest hint of emotion in his deep voice. His companions nodded, though their faces were cold and somber. The Rebel with the computer turned to the convicts and spoke in a raspy voice,

"As it stands now, we are on the outskirts of Dacar, in the Old Sector. Though this sector is nearly devoid of any police of any kind, the worst kind of criminals stalk these streets at night. With any luck, we'll arrive at the city gates in ten or fifteen minutes. Let's go."

Silently, the companions stalked through the night, watching every shadow that played across the city. As they passed through the Old Sector, Cloud noted how perfectly this portion of Dacar fit it's name. The houses and businesses were old and dilapidated, in desperate need for repairs. Lamplights lit the streets, giving view to the homeless sleeping on the streets, with newspapers and filthy rags serving as blankets and matressess. Cloud could almost feel the fear that the people living here felt, permeating through every pore of his body. Their pain was his pain, their sorrow his.

As they reached the gates, four guards equipped with guns eyed the midnight stalkers. Looking at one other in in understandding, one of the guards pushed a button and the gates to the wide open spaces of Bakaar opened. The group walked through, and never looked back as the gates behind them closed, crashing rather loudly.

As the group continued to march across the grass fields outside of Dacar, Sephiroth broke the silence.

"Tell me where we are going," Sephiroth stopped walking and crossed his arms.

"You'll march, damn it-" one of the Rebels started, though Sephiroth defiantly stared into his eyes. Shaking his head, the Ghiite muttered, "Allright. Iaon, tell them." The Rebel adressed as Iaon spoke somberly and tersely,

"We will escort to the Great Desert, and from there you must travel on your own." Gyver looked at the Rebel's as if they were insane.

"Why in the name of God would we go there?"

"You are-"

"Stop right there, traitors!" As they group turned around, they were greeted by the sight of ten Ghiites heavily equipped in battle armor and pulse rifles. Leading them was a man dressed in blue armor. Gyver knew immediately who the officer was. Makarn.

"Makarn. You sniveling bastard. Do you intend to hurt us with your pathetic little toys?" Gyver laughed as he sized up the force of soldiers ready to attack him. Probably a group of rookies, fresh out of training and no battle experience at all. It is truly a shame we shall have to kill all of them.

"No. I will have the pleasure of killing you with my bare hands," Makarn snapped, the fury mounting in his voice.

"I don't Zarin would approve of yours methods. He wants us to be executed, not murdered," Gyver retorted, preparing himself for battle.

"To hell with orders. Our feud ends now, you pathetic excuse for a soldier! Kill them all!" Makarn snarled as he charged Gyver. The soldiers opened fire before the Rebels could fire their own pistols, and the three were shot, seemingly dead. However, Sephiroth and Cloud flew through the air and out of the way of the lasers. Though the soldiers tried desperately to hit the targets, both Cloud and Sephiroth had become quite adept in flying and easily dodged the clumsily aimed blasts. Charging up a small energy attack, Cloud extended his palm and a ball of yellow energy streaked downwards towards the clump of soldiers, exploding as it hit one of them in the chest, incinerating him and four of the soldiers closest to him. The shockwave knocked the others to the ground, and as they struggled to regain their footing and their weapons, Cloud finished them with another blast of yellow energy, this time enveloping the remaining soldiers.

As Makarn charged him running at full speed, Gyver floated backwards through the air, angering the slower Makarn who then stopped and extended both of his arms and palms out. Concentrating hard, the Ghiite summoned red flames around his hands, and then pointed a hand towards Gyver, who floated a few inches off the ground. The red flames then streaked across the sky, and Gyver narrowly avoided being incinerated by Makarn's attack. The flames finally collided with a large tree, which burst into flames.

Makarn repeatedly fired his flames at Gyver, who dodged each with a lackadasical ease. Screaming in frustration, Makarn jumped into the air and flew through the air, his fist out to meet with Gyver's face. Gyver easily avoided the blow and as he moved out of the way, he raised his knee which collided with Makarn's stomach. Makarn grabbed his stomach for a moment, and then fell onto the ground, landing face first. Gyver hovered down and thumped onto the ground.

First standing up on one knee, and then pushing his entire body up, Makarn screamed and lunged yet again at Gyver with his fist. Gyver easily grabbed Makarn's fist and squeezed as hard as he could, bringing Makarn screaming to his knees.

"You should not have come Makarn. I am stronger now." Gyver spoke through clenched teeth as he proceeded to break the weaker Ghiite's hand.

"'re......not," Makarn managed to rasp through all of the pain that wracked his hand.

"Really?..... I will show you," Gyver whispered a blue light illuminated his body. Closing his eyes, the blue light began to take on a more substantial form, becoming energy that encompassed his body.

"AUUGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!" Gyver screamed as the energy around him began to swirl, beginning a whirlwind around him that uprooted the grass and dirt which pervaded th4e landscape. Still the energy grew stronger, and the ground began to shake, as Sephiroth and Cloud looked on in approval.

"I have power now!!!!" Gyver screamed as he threw Makarn into air, he could look on in horror as Gyver formed a blue orb in his hands, and fired his energy blast straight at him. Screeching loudly, anticipating his death, the energy attack ripped through Makarn's body as it continued on it's way, slowing dissipating into the heavens above.

With a large sigh and shudder, Gyver fell to one knee, tired from the incredible amount of energy he exerted.

Cloud and Sephiroth flew over to their fallen companion, who then stood back up, triumphant in his glorious vanquishing of his foe.

"That was quite an amount of energy you summoned up," Sephiroth noted and then quickly added, "Was it necessary?"

"No," Gyver replied sharply. "However, he didn't believe I was stronger. Now he knows."

"Yeah," Cloud muttered dryly, and then noticed of the fallen Rebels stirred. "Look, he's alive!" Cloud rushed over to the one known as Iaon, who spoke weakly, his life quickly seeping out of his body.

"Go north, to the Great Desert.... There.... you will find...." Iaon began coughing up violently on the grass, his own blood staining it red.

"Who?" Cloud asked, hoping that Iaon would live long enough to tell him.

"Yama Ketsuo." With those final words, Iaon's head slumped to the ground, never to rise again. A swirl of thoughts entered Cloud's mind at the prospect of Yama Ketsuo being alive. He had heard enough stories that he knew the history that involved Yama and Zarin, and he, just as any other person, believed that Yama was most likely dead.

"What did he say?" Sephiroth asked, and Cloud whispered in response.

"We must find Yama Ketsuo."

"So what happened next?" Zarin muttered impatiently as he sat upon his throne, not fully paying attention to the situation. A sentry lay kneeled before him, explaining to him of the prisoner's escape and how the small detachment of soldiers he had sent had been easily defeated.

"Our soldiers confronted the prisoners and their comrades. Three of the Rebels were killed, but the three prisoners have escaped. Scouts have reported that they are headed north."

"North? Why in the hell would they go north? To the Great Desert?" Zarin now looked at the guard, intent upon knowing what in the name of God his nemesis' were planning.

"I have no idea, sire," the guard shook his head absently. Zarin rolled his eyes in disgust at the entire incident.

"Let's review your story, shall we Captain Hejoi? First, three Rebels break into our maximum security prison, unnoticed, managed to kill two guards without making a bit of noise, unlock the cells to Gyver, Sh'kaar and Sephiroth, escape through the emergency exit. Then, they proceed through the city walls without the guards I have posted even stopping or confronting the group. Finally, these group of pathetic vagabonds kill my soldiers and Makarn, a Fist of God? Is that what you mean to tell me?"

"Yes sire," Hejoi weakly replied, suddenly becoming very afraid for his life. Zarin eyed the Captain with red hot insanity in his eyes, though it quickly dissipated and the King of Bakaar sighed, and muttered something under his breath that Hejoi couldn't understand.

"That shall be all, soldier. Send for the three guards posted at the City Tower. I wish to speak to them personally.... Do you understand?" The Captain arose and nodded quickly, bowed before his King, and then fled the courtroom.

I can't bloody believe those three managed to escape.

Perhaps you underestimated their power, the Omega replied ominously. Zarin furrowed his scaly brow at the remark and huffed.

What do they hope to accomplish in the Great Desert? A wasteland, with no hope of any creature ever surviving their.

Your father managed to live there for quite some time.

My father is dead...... Do you think they mean to meet with him? What could Yama do? Even if somehow he survived his millenium of exile, he would be an old, withered Ghiite. He could not hope to defeat me.

No, but with three pupils to train...... Perhaps victory will be not easily as we have hoped to achieve.

I'll kill them myself! They won't escape me!

They are as unimportant as a single star in the great heavens. They shall shine for a single moment, more brilliantly than anything, but then they will fade away just as easily. Their influence in our scheme is minimal. Let them try to uncover Yama Ketsuo and learn the sacred Ketsuo-Ken. By the time those events transpire, this planet will no longer matter.

And what if Yama is alive and even one of them learns the Ketsuo-Ken?

Let them. With your new power I have bestowed upon you, not even the Ketsuo-Ken could hope to defeat you. But as I stated, by the time it takes them to master the techniques of Ketsuo-Ken, this planet will be of little value.

What? What are you talking about? Tell me now.

Not yet. You must remain focused on the battles to come. The Rebellion will fall, but not as easily as you believe it to be, Your Majesty.

Hmph. With one energy attack, I could obliterate their entire army and have their leaders beg for my mercy.

There are ethics to war, Zarin. You're people wouldn't stand for a cruel tyrant like that. And I need everyone one of them.

I despise it when you speak cryptically, Father.

As well you should........

None of them were sure how long they had been traveling. At one time they had been flying when they spotted a small detachment of troops searching small stretch of rocky hills. Rather than draw attention to themselves by flying, they had decided the best option would be to walk and hopefully avoid the soldiers. As lady luck would have it, the companions managed never to even see the soldiers, and continued their odyssey. However, it was decided that since squadrons were likely to be seen more often, the best possible choice would be walk the entire way to the Great Desert.

Sephiroth noticed first at how barren the landscape was becoming, how the odd forms of life that inhabited Bakaar were scarce, and how vegetation appeared less frequent. The ground was little more than dirt and rocks, with a freckle here and there of grass, yellow and dying.

"How much farther do you predict we have to travel?" Sephiroth quipped to the Ghitte Gyver, who stared up at the blazing sun and wiped the cold sweat from his scaly brow. The Ghiite shook his head and muttered,

"Your guess is as good as mine. If I'm not mistaken, the Great Desert is around 3,000 or so miles from Dacar. I'd estimate we've traveled maybe 1,000 or so, give or taken fifteen or twenty. If we continue walking, even at our current brisk pace, it will be weeks before we reach the Desert. I say to hell with safety and we fly. We could easily be there by morning tomorrow."

"At the risk of being caught?" Cloud uttered as he walked alongside the Ghiite. Gyver stared at his fellow Ghiite and nodded.

"Of course. I don't think Zarin will waste any more troops searching for us this far away. For all he cares, we can die in the Great Desert. He's probably glad we're on this damn fool mission." Gyver laughed a short, bitter laugh at the absurdity of everything. Even if Yama Ketsuo had managed all these years to survive, would he not be too old and feeble to teach anything? Or wouldn't he have already gone insane from spending an entire millenium as a hermit?

"He's right Cloud," Sephiroth droned, "we cannot continue this pace. Think about it, it's only a matter of time before Zarin destroys the Rebellion. Therefore, we have no time to dawdle. We must reach Yama Ketsuo as soon as possible if we have any hope of eliminating Zarin and leaving this blasted planet!" Cloud stopped in his tracks and looked at his two partners. Man and Ghiite. His two most bitter enemies had become the only two people he could count on to watch his back. To fight with him. To help him. Still, Cloud up to this point had been hesitant to trust them, to rely on their judgment. After all, it was conceviable that at any time they could kill him before he knew what was happening. However, against his better judgement, Cloud agreed.

"Yeah...... Let's do it....." Cloud said, though his voice was drained by a strong gust of wind, sending a chill straight to his bones. The three looked at each other, and in an instant, they were soaring through the sky at fantastic speeds.

Just at the horizon, Gyver noticed a change in the landscape. Up to this point, the ground had been quite rocky and craggy, little more than dirt and rocks. Vegetation had almost ceased to exist, and not one even tiny creature had been spotted. Gyver smiled slightly, but the expression was soon gone from his usual stoic demeanor.

"Beyond there...... On the horizon..... Do you see it?" Cloud cocked his head, and looked into the direction that Gyver pointed into. Cloud squinted, though he did not fully understand what Gyver had noticed.

"No.... What is it?"

"Our destination. Beyond there is the Great Desert."

Lived too long and waited to find
A place where I can die
Lost my soul lost my confidence in me
Gimme something but I'll try

Want to be a soldier, want to be a slave
Have no pride in myself, that's how I behave

"Slave" by Silverchair

Chapter 13

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic