Payback's a Bitch 2: Redemption Chapter 2
By Joe L.
When she awoke, it all had felt like some sort of dream. A dream that felt real but was nothing more than her imagination. When she awoke and inspected her surroundings, she was in a small room, no doubt some type of inn. It was adorned with nothing more than a bed, one chair, a telvison, and a window. How did I get here?
The last memory she had was being outside of Kalm, realizing that.........Oh God, she thought.....It wasn't a dream, wasn't it? Cloud was really gone, along with Sephiroth and the other Ghiites. Tifa at that moment felt more helpless than she ever had in her entire life, knowing that the only one she had ever loved in this entire world was gone. With no way to ever get him back. She buried her face in her hands as she sat upon the bed, and cried. Suddenly, she heard a knock on her door. She took a few seconds to wipe the tears away from her eyes and then asked,
"Who is it?"
"It's Barret," Tifa then opened up the door to see a large, gruff black man standing in front of her, with a gun grafted to his arm. "I just wanted to see how you were doing. We were all hurt pretty damn bad back there..." Barret's voice trailed off as he remembered their fight with Gyver.
"Is everyone okay?" Tifa asked. It was bad enough that Cloud was gone, and she hoped nobody else was hurt.
"I guess so. Yuffie's got a broken jaw, Vincent dislocated his shoulder, Cait is banged up, but I'm fine. Besides all the damn bruises I got. Are you okay? I mean, with Cloud being gone and all....." Tifa felt tears forming in her eyes again as Barret mentioned his name.
"Oh yeah," she replied, her voice faltering, "I......I'm fine. Really Barret, you don't need to worry about me. I can deal with it."
"Sure," Barret said, obviously not beleiving a single word she had just said. He shook his head.
"So Barret, where are we?"
"Kalm. I was suprised there were actually people that are alive in here. I figured the Order had destroyed all of it. Apparently said surviving villagers found us and brought us here to rest. I think was the only one conscious at the time."
"What do we do now?" Tifa asked, hoping Barret would give her words of encouragement and tell her it will be all right.
"Hell if I know....I think we just get on with our damn lives. I know we've lost so much in this war against the evil threatenin' this planet, but it looks like it's all gone now. There's nothin' we can do now to help Cloud."
"You not even going to try?" Tifa replied, angry that Barret was giving up. The large man only shook his head and said,
"There ain't nothing for us to do. Yer just gonna have to hope that Cloud can make it back." Barret said finally, and then walked out of the room.
Later that day, the remaining members of AVALANCHE assembled in the bar of the tavern, to discuss what they would do next. Nobody seemed to eager to try and help Cloud, after all, how could they help him?
"Like I said, there ain't nothing we can do, damn it!" Barret growled.
"I agree. Whatever dangers Cloud must face, he must face them alone." Vincent added.
"So, we just go back to our homes, is that it?" Yuffie asked, her jaw sore from the battle with Gvyer.
"There ain't no use in wallowing in self pity about all the shit that has happened to us in the past few years. We just gotta get on with our lives," Barret reiterated.
"Well, that might be fine for all of you, but what about me? With Kalm gone, my bar is gone and with it my home. I have no where to live," Tifa responed to Barret's remarks.
"I know Teef...You can come live me as long as you want, till you get back on your feet. I can find ya work in Corel, after all."
"Thanks Barret," Tifa smiled. But still, she had lost Cloud, and that was thing that haunted her the most. The one thing she loved in life was gone.
"I guess that's it. So your saying there's no use in fighting anymore?" Cait Sith piped in. Due to the damage to his circuitry, Cait's voice sounded very mechanical and monotonous. Reeve made a note to fix that once Cait had returned.
"Exactly. It's time to live like normal people again. With the Shinra, Sephiroth, and now these Ghiites gone, we can finally rest." Barret concluded, and everybody seemed to agree with him. Sacrifices had been made, ones that would haunt them forever, but they had finally won the fight against evil.
"What's going to happen to all of us?" Cait Sith asked.
"I'm going back to Wutai. Well, if we aren't going to be doing anymore fighting, I guess the materia's mine, right?" Yuffie said, a grin appearing on her face.
"Whatever, here take it all," Barret said as he told her that the materia was stored in his room in a sack. She excused herself and quickly ran up to get all of it.
"I will return to Lucrecia's Waterfall," Vincent stated to the group.
"Are ya sure, Vince? Don't you wanna-" Cait started but was cut off by the cold stare of Vincent. Those blood red eyes could making even the bravest of men uneasy.
"No. I have committed another sin, and for that, I must pay." Vincent solemnly spoke, then said goodbye to all of his compatriots, even Yuffie, who had returned from getting the materia and was literally drooling over it.
"Guess I better get to Junon so Reeve can fix me. Later you guys," Cait Sith said, as he got up from his chair and bounded off to Junon.
"Come on Teef. We better get going," Barret said as he stood up and packed his equipment as he set off for Corel.
"It's been so long since I've seen Marlene.....I hope she's alright."
"She'll be alright Barret, don't worry. You know she's in good hands with Elmyra," Tifa said reassuringly.
"I know.....It's just that, if I lost, I could never forgive myself!"
"Me too, Barret....I know the feeling," Tifa said sullenly. Then herself and Barret began their journey back to Corel and away from the horrors they had witnessed at Kalm.
"It's about time you woke up," Gyver muttered to one of the guards as he sat down at a table next to Gyver.
"Sorry sir," the young Ghiite said. Watching the prisoners sure was boring work, he thought.
"Well, get the prisoners ready, we will be leaving very soon." Gyver said as he ushered the soldier away. In a matter of moments the relatively empty tavern was filled with the other soldiers and the two prisoners.
"Good. Let's go," Gyver said as he stood up from the chair that he was sitting on and exited with his troops to the Castle Zarin. Being that it was early morning, the streets of the city were relatively deserted, save for the few drunkards who had passed out on the sidewalk, their bodies reeking of alcohol.
Their journey to the Castle remained uneventful, as no one in the group spoke. Gyver especially, since he was very nervous that Zarin would not accept these two into the Imperial Army and therefore Gyver had wasted his time. After around an hour or so of walking, they group had finally reached the gates of the castle. The were large, iron gates, with spikes jutting from the sides, as to fend off attackers. Also, there were numerous watch towers surrounding the perimeter of the castle, all holding Ghiite soldiers with large guns in their grasp.
However, once the guards had seen that Gyver was leading the group, with the press of a button the gates opened, and the group walked down a trail that lead to the entrance of the castle. From the outside the castle was quite impressive. The stone looked to be made of the finest quality stone, with no trace of age or erosion. Each block was a perfect square, fitting into place exactly. It was incredibly large, as it's highest towers could be seen from many miles away. Cloud imagined that the castle itself must have been incredibly old, considering the age of the Ghiites and the fact that they had existed millions of years before humans. But it was amazing that the castle appeared brand new and in perfect condition.
Inside, the castle was equally amazing. It was adorned with tapestries and suits of old, antique armor and weapons. It had marble floor, crafted equally as well as the castle itself. Gyver led the group through an array of hallways and passageways, seeming to know full well where he was going, though it seemed to CLoud that they were lost.
As they walked through the castle, Cloud saw many different rooms, some containing machinery or equipment or weapons or a variety of rooms. However, Cloud noticed in some sections that many Ghiite guards fully equipped in their battle armor and with weapons stood guard. These parts, Cloud imagined, were not for the common person to see.
After what seemed like a lifetime, the group made it to what appeared to be some type of throne room. The room itself was fully decorated with many paintings and tapestries, and on each side their were five chairs, with a Ghiite in some type of robe sitting in each. However, in the middle was obvioulsy the King. His chair was made with the finest wood ever seen, it's seat of the finest velvet, and it's armrests made of pure gold.
King Zarin himself looked fairly nondescript, for a Ghiite anyhow, save for the golden colored eyes, a trait shared by no other Ghiite. He wore a black tunic, with an emblem of a blazing sword on his chest. He wore no crown, or anything for that matter on his head. One could mistake for a common Ghiite if they knew no better.
Gyver had the prisoners bow before all of the Ghiites and then spoke,
"Lord Gyver, Elder Masters, it is my pleasure being here."
"Save us your pleasantries Gyver. Get on with it," Zarin said, rather exasperated. Gyver appeared nervous, but continued by saying,
"Very well then. I ask of Grand Master Gar'saan to train these two so that they may become members of the Imperial Army, and more importantly, the Fists of God." Gar'saan now stood up from his chair at this time. He was dressed almost the same as Zarin, save for the fact he wore a blue tunic.
"One of them is human, eh? You think he would survive the training?" Gar'saan replied, looking at Sephiroth suspiciously.
"He is no normal human, Grand Master. He has been injected with the cell's of Jenova."
"So he has.......So he has.......," Gar'saan said, thinking back to the time when he had witnessed Jenova's birth.
"And this, Sh'kaar Nali, or Cloud Strife, as humans call him, is quite strong having never been trained by a Ghiite. I believe these two have the potential to be a valuable asset the wiping out the Rebellion."
"I see. But what makes you think they are strong enough, Junior?"
"They nearly defeated me, Grand Master. Not to brag, but I consider myself much stronger than a normal Ghiite, considering I was trained by you."
"Really? These two? I suppose then they are quite strong," Gar'saan said, rubbing his chin. Maybe they aren't as weak as I thought. "Fellow Elder Masters, my lord King Zarin, do you approve of these two to recieve training?"
"We do," the Ghiites all spoke in unison.
"Then it is done. Tomorrow, we begin at the crack of dawn," Gar'saan said, and the with a hand motion Cloud and Sephiroth were taken away by three guards.
After the prisoners were gone, Zarin stood up from his chair and went to Gyver to speak to him.
"Do you believe these two will help us in our war against the Rebellion?" Zarin asked, sceptically.
"You're wondering about Cloud, aren't you?"
"Indeed. I don't believe Sephiroth would have any rejections. After all, he is a warrior and an efficient killer. Cloud however....."
"Do not worry. my lord. I hold the trump card in this situation."
"And what would that be?"
"The human female named Tifa. He seems to have strong feelings for her. All I have to do is tell him if he joins us, he will be granted to see her."
"You really think that will work?"
"Of course. Humans are weak that way. Their emotions always control their actions. He will do what we say."
"I hope, for your sake, that you are right," Zarin remarked, and then returned to his throne and ushered Gyver away.
"Where the hell are you taking us?" Cloud asked, as the guards kept shoving him to press foward, to some unknown destiny.
"You'll see when you get there," the guard said, though his voice was muffled through his helmet. Cloud thought that he was probably being taken to the barracks, since he and Sephiroth were now part of the Imperial Army.
Once thing that was stuck in Cloud's head was the fact that Gar'saan had called Gyver Junior. He wondered why in the world he had called him that. Perhaps Gar'saan is his father, or Gar'saan knew his father. Cloud made a mental note that he would ask Gyver this, that is if he ever saw him again.
Cloud and Sephiroth had been led to a completely different part of the castle, and now found themselves entering quite a large tower. As they entered, it was apparent to them that it was the barracks. Soldiers cluttered it's halls, all clad in armor, some in tunics and breeches, and some wearing nothing at all. The guard them led them to the armory, with many Ghiites hard at work, trying on armor, getting fitted for armor, and choosing weapons.
"Hey, Myrik! Get these two fitted with some armor and give 'em some weapons alright?" One of the guards said, as the one called Myrik turned around and nodded. He looked at the two prisoners, his eyes behind bifocal glasses.
"It's a fucking human!" Myrik said, squealing with delight," I've heard about you shits. Never thought one would be in the army. What's your name, son?"
"Sephiroth." Sephiroth coldly stated, staring down at the lizard creature.
"You're Sephiroth? You don't look so tough to me. For someone injected with Jenova cells, you look a fucking puke, you do. Oh well, let's see what I can do for you guys," Myrik said, walking over to the storage area, with literally thousands of suits of armor and black jumpsuits lay waiting. In five minutes, he returned with the armor, dropping it to the floor.
"There ya go. These should fit the both of you," Myrik said, nodding at his handicap.
"Aren't there any dressing rooms?" Cloud asked, then Myrik laughed at his question.
"What? Afraid to change in front of other men? He he...Yeah, over there," Myrik pointed in the direction of the dressing rooms. Both Sephiroth and Cloud each took one. First they had to put on the black jumpsuits that covered the entire body. Then, the boot on the steel toed, black boots went on along with socks. After that, the shiny, white armor was put on one piece at time. First the greaves were attached around the legs very tightly to keep them in place. Then the gauntlets slid over, covering up the arms up to the elbow. After that, the massive breastplate was attached, held in place by various straps. Then finally, the helmet fitted the head, covering it entirely down to the neck. Through the tinted visor of the helmet, Cloud looked at himself and said to himself,
"Wow, these uniforms don't look half bad."
As Gyver was walking back to his office in the castle, he bumped into a fellow Ghiite.
"Sorry about that friend. I didn't see you," Gyver said to the Ghiite. However the other man stared at him coldly.
"Hello Gyver," the Ghiite rasped vicously, as it adjusted it's blue officer's uniform.
"Makarn......Haven't seen you in awhile," Gyver said back, equally as vicious.
"Heard how you fucked up your lil mission on Earth. I'm sure your dear old daddy wouldn't be too happy, would he? Oh yeah, I forgot he's-" Makarn was about to say something when Gyver grabbed him by the throat and lifted him up on to the wall. Had they been all by themselves, Gyver would have killed him. But this particular hallway was filled with people, all staring at the two officers.
"Shut up. Your still mad at me aren't you? Well, I don't give a fuck anymore," Gyver whispered, his voice seething with anger.
"You never did. Now let me go. I have matters to attend to, unlike you, you little bastard," Makarn said, as Gyver released him from his grip. Makarn fell to the ground, and quickly brushed himself off. He then scampered down the hallway. Gyver then walked to his office, deep in thought, thinking back to that horrible day.........
"Does everybody know what to do?" A Ghiite officer screamed to the group of fifty soldiers all in perfect rows, the armor shiny and clean.
"Yes sir," the soldiers answered resoundingly.
"Good. I'll go over our mission one more time for all of you who weren't paying attention. As you know, there have been numerous uprising in small villages demanding answers for the missing townspeople. And now, a group of rebels has taken over a small village called Demetrius. Our job is to find these rebels and destroy them, along with the town. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yes sir," yet again was the resounding answer.
"Good. We will be boarding the helicopters in an hour. Good luck men," with that, the troops were dismissed to attend to loading their weapons and what not.
"Goddamn, another one of these damn missions," Gyver grunted to a fellow armor clad Ghiite. The soldier nodded and said,
"You'd think these rebels would give it up. Like they stand against a chance against the Imperial Army."
"I know how you feel, Kalos. But, it shouldn't take to long ya know. Captain Cyrus said their would only be about fifty of these guys, and that shouldn't take very long to flush 'em out of their little base."
"I suppose so. It's too bad that Makarn couldn't be here...... But the bullet wound he sustained isn't fatal. I imagine that in a week or so, he'll be back in the army."
Slowly, one hour went by and it was time for the soldiers to leave. They boarded three helicopters on a small helipad near the castle, and lifted off towards Demetrius.
During the duration of the trip, Gyver sat near the window, staring out into the awe and majesty that was his planet. He had never really taken time to enjoy himself in life. One couldn't afford luxury if they were like Gyver. He was ambitious, proud, strict, and despertately wanted to live up to his father's goals. His father was among the greatest fighters in the world, while Gyver was a lowly soldier in the Imperial Army.
Before Gyver knew it, the helicpoters had landed in a vast jungle around Demetrius. He slowly got up from his seat and jumped down to the ground, surveying the land which surrounded. Gyver couldn't see a town for miles.
"We are twenty miles from Demetrius men. We'll hafta walk it from here," Captain Cyrus barked out, as he ordered his troops to follow him in a perfectly straight line. To see Ghiites battle was an impressive thing to see indeed, especially when their lines extended for miles and miles. But somehow, they stepped at the exactly same time, and they all looked exactly the same, covered in white shiny armor. Gyver fell in right behind Kalos and was about to say something when he remembered that no one was allowed to talk unless a superior officer talked to them.
The soldiers continued their silent trek for around five hours, when they reached the outskirts of the town. The jungle opened up to a large grass field, wherein Demetrius lay.
"There it is," Cyrus called aloud. "Ready yourselves men, these damn peasants won't go down without a fight I'm willing to bet." While most of the soldiers now loaded their weapons, a few like Gyver and Kalos, did nothing. They were gifted with the technique of being able to summon up energy and form it into something that was tangible. It was an age old tradition, though very few Ghiites possessed the power to do it.
"He he he.....Bastards won't know what hit 'em," Captain Cyrus said, as he looked at the town through a pair of binoculars.
"Sir, troops are headed are way. What should we do?" A panicked officer told his commanding officer.
"Get ready to defend yourselves," the commander stated bluntly. It looked like this would be the end of him and all of his man, but he would not go without taking as many of the enemy troops as he could with him to hell.
"Shutup!" Cyrus whispered harshly as his squadron slowly crawled through the village, past the huts and makeshift homes. They had been informed that the base was hidden somwhere in the sewerline. It was just a matter of them finding it.
"What was that?" An officer said, gripping his plasma rifle tightly. His buddy looked at and replied,
"Oh shit!" It was too late. The group of ten rebels behind them had already shot both of them dead. Cyrus and his men were totally surprised, being gunned down very quickly.
"Bastards!" Cyrus screamed as green swirling energy crackled around him, lighting up the entire sky. The soldiers then turned their attention to him, but their weapons had no effect on him.
"Cowards! Now face an elite warrior!" Cyrus screamed as he hurled a ginat ball of energy at the enemy soldiers. In a massive explosion, they were all incinerated. Nothing was left of them, but the whole town was now up and about.
"Goddamnit. You know your orders men, kill them all!" The remaining soldiers immediately opened fire on the townspeople, with elite fighters like Gyver and Kalos letting loose with energy blasts. Of course, Gyver was still wary that more rebel troops could ambush them. They had lost fifteen men in that little skirmish, and he bet that these rebels had a lot more troops ready.
The whole town of Demetrius was soon up in flames, children screaming and crying and their parents dying. At one section of the town, all the men and women were rounded up in a line and shot, and making the children watch. To a normal person, it was a very gruesome sight, but to a seasoned warrior like Gyver, it was all in a days work.
As the troops were pillaging the town, they seemed not to notice the acitvity going on around them. 200 rebel troops were positioned to attack at any moment, hidden in the tall grasses.
"ATTACK!" The rebel commander yelled at the top of his lungs, and and the rebels troops sprung up from their hidinh places, their guns in hand and firing. The soldiers could only look as the rebel's guns fired and killed multiple targets, withering their ranks.
"Fall back damn it! Fall back!" Cyrus screamed as he started to retreat, but was met an unusually large Ghiite who wore a long cape, black polished boots, and a tunic.
"The name is Braka'karin. Remember it Cyrus. For I am the one who shall kill you," the Ghiite said calmly, and with lightning quickness kicked the Captain straight in the stomach and followed it up with a solid uppercut to the chin. Cyrus crashed to the ground, his face covered in blood.
"The Empire and King Zarin's reign of tyranny are over," Braka'karin said before he unleashed a large energy blast, killing the Captain. He then walked away to dispatch of the rest of the soldiers.
"I can hold them Gyver! Get the hell out of here!" Kalos screamed as he dodged his assailants blasts from their rifles.
"Are you nuts? I'm not leaving here without you!" Gyver screamed back, as he shot a blast at a group of opposing soldiers hiding in a hut. The hut was blown into pieces, along with the poor souls inside.
"Goddammit! Go right fucking now!" Kalos screamed as he was about to charge up for another attack, when a hand grasped his wrist. A tall Ghiite now had picked him up, one hand on his wrist and his other on his throat.
"Hold them, can you? Let's see how tough you are, Imperial scum," Braka'karin rasped as he clamped down on Kalos' throat, crushing the life from him.
"Son of a bitch! Let him go you fucker!" Gvyer screamed as he charged at the Ghiite, his fists ready to strike. Just before Gyver was about to strike, Braka'karin moved out of the way, faster than Gyver could imagine. Gyver then found himself on the ground, his chest throbbing in pain.
"You are pathetic," Braka'karin said as he crushed Kalos' throat and threw his limp body to the ground. "You have no idea what kind of sadistic being you pledge alleigance to."
"Your no better by killing us," Gvyer said through labored breaths.
"One day you will see that there is more than one way to bring justice," Braka'karin replied ominously, and then walked away leaving Gyver by his dead friend's side.
There is more than one way to bring justice, Gyver thought. The Ghiite named Braka'karin had told that to him 100 years ago and he still had no idea what it meant. And ever since then, Kalos' son Makarn had hated Gyver with a burning hatred, blaming Gyver for his father's death. In a way, Gyver thought, it was my fault. Because of my weakness I let a good man and a friend die.
Gyver, as he was sitting in his office, decided to flip on his television set. Right now the news was on it a Ghiite reporter was talking.
"In a related story, another the small port city of Romulus has been captured by a fanatical group of Ghiite called the Rebellion. They claim to have irrefutable evidence of a large government project that has been covered up by King Zarin and Chief Scientist Jerolo for hundreds of years. The leader of this group, a mysterious man named Braka'karin, declined for an interview. King Zarin has said that he will dispatch soldiers to reclaim Romulus, but mustering the forces could take a while considering the Imperial Army many defeats at the hands of the Rebellion. We will keep you updated as this story continues. Now for the weather......." Gvyer flipped off his televison, and thought to himself. Finally, at least someone is taking a stand against that bastard Zarin.
Sound of gunfire comes through the night
Killing and hatred is a terrible sight
Reports on the heavy attack
Message received, we're moving out
Killing time.............you run for life!
Killing time.............what did ya say?
Killing time.............yeah, killing time!
"Killing Time" by Sweet Savage
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