Payback's a Bitch 2: Redemption Chapter 7
By Joe L.
God, please make the pain stop.........
Am I dead? I can't see anthing. Darkness surrounds me. Is this what it is like to die?
No, I'm not dead. But not alive either..........
So where am I?
Painfully, he opened his eyes. Damn, but it hurts so much. Too bright. Why can't it be dimmer in here?
"So he lives, does he?" A voice asked from somewhere, though Cloud had no idea who it was and where he was, more importantly.
"Yes, it would seem so. His heart rate for a second there jumped to over 200, but then went down just as fast. His breathing seems to be normal. As do his other bodily functions, but he is in no condition to leave yet. It'll be days before he starts to fight again, if not weeks."
"Good. You may proceed." After that, the darkness overtook Cloud again....
"Time to wake up Cloud," a voice hissed as it tapped the glass case that contained Cloud. Cloud opened his eyes, and saw a reptilian creature, though it stood upright. Do I know him? I can't remember......... Damn, how did I get here?
"Doctor, deactivate the regeneration tank," a creature barked to a man sitting by a desk loaded with machinery. The doctor nodded and pushed a few buttons, and the water from which the tank was filled began to drain into a tube. With a push of another button, the tube opened up, and the creature stepped inside. The creature took off the mask from Cloud's head, the mask that provided him with oxygen, and drug Cloud from the tube and threw him brutally onto the cold, marble floor.
"You shouldn't have done that," the doctor observed as Cloud hit the floor with a loud smack.
"He'll be fine. When he comes to, call me immediately." And the Ghitte left the doctor.
"Of course, Gyver," Doctor Jerolo muttered under his breath, glad that the arrogant Ghiite was out of HIS lab. Jerolo cared about no one, his only love being his science. For nearly six centuries Jerolo had served under King Zarin, and in that time Jerolo had become well respected within the science community. But Jerolo cared nothing for awards or any irrelevent things such as that, he wanted to test his greatest experiment yet. The Super Ghiites.
Soon, very soon, they will be ready. And they will bring this pathetic Rebellion to it's knees.
The battle has long since passed. The city was nothing more than a burning crater, bodies scattered about as if they were pieces of confetti. One lonely figure walked the now destroyed streets. He shook his head as he saw all the corpses, the bodies of Ghiites that were fighting for all the wrong reasons. And yet he felt helpless, like a little child in a large world. What can I do? Yes, I am strong but Zarin......... It would be throwing away my life. There must be something I can do. I will tell the people of Zarin's evil, and if they believe me or not is their own choice. They will know the truth.
"Master, it is time to leave," a young Ghiite rushed over to his master's side. He bowed before him after he spoke. Braka'karin nodded and motioned for the boy to leave him. If only I could find HIM, then it would all be different. With him, we could have true power, enough to destroy Zarin and bring an end to his tyrannical reign. We could be free....... Yama, where are you?
"And that's what happened, Your Majesty." The Fist of God finished his report of the battle at Jakarht. The soldier bowed to the other Grand Masters in the courtroom, and then left.
"Damn it. We lost Renn this time, Your Excellency," a Grand Master muttered to Zarin. Zarin nodded his head and replied,
"Yes. Some casualties are bound to happen in the course of a war, Grand Master. But Renn's death has revealed to me our enemy. I have seen his face, and I know who he is."
"With all do respect sir, all of us Ghiites look identical-"
"Silence! You have no idea the extent of my psychic powers, do you? If this Ghiite is foolish enough to step inside of Dacar, I will know of it."
"Truly? But he won't be foolish enough to come here."
"Leave that task to me. Grand Masters, I dismiss you." The Grand Masters stood from their thrones and bowed before the Ghiite king, and shuffled single file from the royal court. Once they left, Zarin stared at one of the large tapestries adorned on a wall.
How do you plan to lure the Ghiite to your abode?
Why, invite him of course.
I don't understand?
Even with all your psychic powers, you do not understand?
Some time later, after Zarin had revealed his secret plans to the voice, it seemed to agree with him.
I see. But that in itself shall create more havoc. You will probably be blamed, and the war will continue.
Perhaps, but by then the Super Ghiites shall be ready and if the Rebels are foolish enough to attack, their pathetic army will be crushed by my forces along with the Super Ghiites. And those three meddlesome fools will be out of the way for good, without me laying even a finger. Well, perhaps one finger.
It matters little. As long as I am allowed to complete my healing process, your designs are your own, not mine.
And the voice left him.
"Reno of the Turks, at your service." Reno shook hands with Godo Kisigari, the ruler of Wutai but at the moment a man on the verge of insanity. For this occasion, Reno had actually tucked in his shirt, though his shirt but unbuttoned at the top and his hair was a mess. At least I don't smell like alcohol, Reno thought.
"You do know of the situation here, Reno?" Godo replied absently as he stared out of a window, looking down onto Wutai. Right now, it was actually quite peaceful. The sun was out, no clouds whatsoever in the sky, a slight breeze sifting through the air. A perfect day. But Godo knew of the things that would happen as the day progressed, and he had no doubt that they would happen.
"Of course, Lord Godo. And I know how to solve all of your problems. With one quick blow," Reno confidently quipped, his hand fidgeting with his nightstick attached to his belt.
"Oh, and what might that be? Believe me, I've tried everything I know to solve this damn thing. Our neighbors could care less, the police is scared, and the people are afraid to leave their goddamn houses! What the hell are you going to do?" Godo cursed, slamming his fist against the glass.
"Get rid of the Schenkers, get rid of the problem. While I know that won't be easy, if you can lend me fifty of your best men, I can guarantee that my men can take care of this whole problem." Reno cracked his knuckled, as if to prepare for a brawl or streetfight. Godo nearly burst out laughing at Reno's remark. What an arrogant, pompous bastard! Does he really think that HE can get rid of a crime family with fifty soldiers and his two goons? Why, I've sent hundreds of troops and they've all come out dead!
"I think you underestimate the Schenkers. By the scouts information, the Schenkers have at least 150 people operating under them, and most of them are all heavily armed. And what's more, their base in the Southern District is damn full of booby traps! You'd never be able to make it through, especially with 50 damn troops!"
"Listen Godo, leave everything to me. By my honor, I will get you your city back."
"You're a damn fool, Reno."
"Ha. You're not the first to tell me that. So, how 'bout it?" Godo shook his head, knowing that he would regret this choice. But he also knew that he had no other option. The military of Wutai was off fighting a some city state that had declared itself independent from Wutai, and that war was becoming a very costly one. Though Godo had no idea that this war would be one and that was why he had forgotten about, he also knew that Wutai's already small military could not spare any troops, at least not yet.
"All right, it's a deal. Now, what's your price?"
"5,000,000 gil. No haggling, no nothing. That's our price."
"Of course. Feel free for you and your Turks to make yourselves at home in my palace."
"You are most gracious, Lord Godo," Reno bowed, almost mockingly at the man who ruled nothing. But as soon as I'm finished here, he'll have his precious little city back. Not that Reno cared for Wutai, but 5,000,000 gil would set the Turks up for life. They would never have to work again, that is if they actually survived this mission. My toughest job yet, Reno thought to himself. But I'm a Turk.
It was getting quite late. Reno had been in the Blue Dragon Tavern all night, while Rude had declined. Reno had spent most the night drinking and meeting women, and at one point he looked up on the TV screen and saw a news reporter talking about the situation in downtown Wutai. A clip was shown of a man getting gunned down at point blank in the middle of the day, and the shooter walking calmly away. It was almost surreal, byt he fact that such an act of brutaltity could be commited and not a person had the integrity to call the police. Not that police in downtown Wutai would have responded, as it were most of them were dead or injured.
Just then a woman walked in. She wore blue jeans along with a green tanktop, and had short dark hair. While she might have been considered a little on the skinny side, it was obvious to any man that with such a sleek, atheltic body, she was quite pretty if not beatiful. She scanned over the bar as if searching for someone, and then she laid eyes on the drunken form of Reno. She casually walked over to him, and pulled up a seat as to sit beside him.
"Who are you?" Reno croaked, as he rubbed his temples and tried to focus his vision on the pretty girl sitting next to him.
"Reno, it's Yuffie," the woman replied, exasperated.
"Brat? What the hell do you want?" Reno hadn't seen Yuffie and many years, and if it was up to him, he would have liked to keep it that way. However, the fates had a different idea in mind.
"Reno, my dad told me about the job that you're going to do for him. And I know it might be kinda awkward, I want to ask something of you." Yuffie's face almost seem to turn red with embarrassment.
"What? A date? I'm a little too old for you, don't ya think?" Reno muttered, the pain in his head from the alcohol almost unbearable.
"Ha! You wish. No, I........ I'd like to help you on your mission."
"What? Why the hell would we want a snot-nosed, annoying, spoiled brat like you helping us?"
"Look Reno, I know how you feel about me. And I believe me, this is just as hard for you as it is for me. The thought of helping a piggish, dirty, pathetic slob like yourself-"
"Hey, hey........ So you wanna help the Turks, huh?" This brought a smirk to Reno's face. He would have never imagined a member of AVALANCHE actually helping a former employee of Shinra.
"Listen, those bastards out there have taken Wutai as their own personal battleground, killing and maiming every body in sight," Yuffie growled through clenched teeth. "This whole thing started off as just another petty gang war, and now it's turned into a citywide epidemic." Reno eyed the woman curiously. Could this have been the same Yuffie that only cared about materia?
"He.... Never expected something like that outta you, kid," Reno muttered and took another swig of his beer. "But I do know that you are an excellent fighter and a highly skilled ninja. Let me think about it.......... Allright, I guess you can help out." Yuffie's eyes grew wide as plates. With a big smile on her face, she hugged Reno and exclaimed,
"Oh thanks! You don't know how much this means to me!" She skipped out of the bar, leaving Reno to ponder the moments that had just passed. Yuffie had hugged him. What the hell was that all about? I figured she thought a Turk like myself was the scum of the Earth, or hell, that I was worse than that.
"Who the hell was that? And why didn't she buy a drink?" The bartender gruffly barked at Reno. Reno shrugged and uttered,
"I dunno. Just an associate."
Cloud had felt as though he was at full strength, if not stronger. It had been a few days since he was out of the regeneration tank, and he thought to himself that his defeat by the hands of the Rebels had taught him a few lessons in hand to hand combat. He had also noticed that he had become faster than he had before he had left for Jakarht. While he was only a few thousandths of a second faster, he knew that because a fight was done at such a furious pace, a thousandth of a second could mean the difference and defeat.
While at training, an announce had been made over the speakers that the leader of the Rebels, the Ghiite named Braka'karin was coming with his warriors to discuss peace with King Zarin. The Fists of God were to escort from the city of Huhant to Dacar, and around 200 or so had been chosen. Cloud and Sephiroth had been two of them that had been named.
It was a momentous event, the meeting of the Rebels and the King of the Bakaar. For hundreds of years, these two forces had waged a seemingly unwinnable war, one that had torn the world of Bakaar apart. In the days following the news, numerous city celebrations were held in Dacar and a few other cities, with big parades and what not. For the Ghiite people, having this bloody war coming to an end would mean ending a lifetime of suffering and hatred. The Ghiites could once again be whole again, and work to better themselves as a race.
It was in the afternoon that the Rebels had arrived outside of Huhant, greeted by a large group of the Fists of God. Each party looked at the other uneasily, but no words of indignance were spoken to one another. Cloud walked aside from Sephiroth, each silent entire march to Huhant. On the way back, however, Cloud spoke to Sephiroth.
"Do you think an agreement will actually be made?" Sephiroth looked at him, and shook his head.
"I consider myself an excellent judge of character, and from what I can tell about Zarin, he does not mean for peace. He is a cruel, calculating, sadistic man, or Ghiite. There is something about him, an air of mystery about him, a slight indifference in his actions, as if he doesn't care about this war. It's as if he knows that he will win, so there is no need to worry about the casualties of war."
"What exactly are you saying?"
"I'm saying if Braka'karin is a smart man, then he will watch his back. Now, quiet. I think the Captain heard us talking."
The remainder of the march remained uneventful, except when Cloud saw a young Ghiite rebel. While all Ghiites looked more or less alike, there was something about this one tha triggered something in Cloud's memory. In his mind, he saw flashes of the battle at Jakarht, and of crashing into a tree at a staggering speed. He remebered a Ghiite standing over him, and energy blast ready to destroy him, but the Ghiite had let him live. And he knew it was the Ghiite that he was looking at was the one that had easily defeated him in combat. Cloud didn't know how he knew that this was the Ghiite, but for some odd reason he knew it to be true. Cloud had yet to discover that each Ghiite establishes a weak psychic bond once they see one another, that being the only way one Ghiite can tell one from the other. Over time the bond grows stronger. That is why most family members speak to one another using telepathy, not actual speech.
"Do you remember me?" Cloud whispered to this Ghiite, and he looked at him suspiciously. The Ghiite then nodded his head.
"Why did you spare me?"
"Braka'karin told me to spare your life. He said he sensed in you a kindred spirit. I didn't think so, but I am not about to go against the will of our Master. He is a great Ghiite, you know. We consider him a saint."
"A saint that murders?"
"It's not his choice that he must kill. He is forced to. It's that damn Zarin's fault. He is trying to enslave our people, you know. If you only knew," the Ghiite whispered, pain tinged in his voice.
"Tell me how." The Ghiite not even to hear him as he began his story.
"It was such a quiet village, a peaceful outside of Dacar. Sure, we were all poor, but that fact that we had our families was enough for us. I was still a young boy then, around 100 years old. I knew nothing of pain, or suffering, or the horror of war. My parents tried to keep me sheltered from all of this, I suppose. During a particularly bad harvest in which we had almost no food of which to eat, King Zarin offered us stay at his palace. All of the townspeople we shocked that the King of the Ghiites would care about such an insignifigant village, but all the villagers agreed to accept. For one, we all could use the food and shelter and for another reason to spurn the King could have meant instant death. When I look back on it, instant death would have been much less painless.
We had stayed in the palace for around six months when five our villagers were somehow abducted during the night. Supposedly, an intruder in the middle of the night had managed to bypass all the security in the palace and took five Ghiites out of their beds at night and not make any noise. All of us were quite alarmed at this, but the King told us not to worry, and that the culprit would be found. Of course we believed the King, after all, to most Ghiites, he is the physical manifestation of God. How could we not blindly follow such a person? And that is the key, we blindly followed him, as have every Ghiite to ever live. We have questioned a King's judgement, never stood up for own ideas, never even spoke our minds. Everything changed when myself and the rest of villagers were abducted and taken to a lab underneath Dacar. There we found our brethren, hooked up to all sorts of machinery and wires. To this day, I can still remember the agonizing screams, how they would twist and cringe in pain, and how they looked at me with desperate, insane eyes. Eyes that seemed to peer straight into my soul........ But I could do nothing to save them, only watch as their life blood slowly spilled on to the floor and coagulated.
My mother and father died in a matter of days, and I would have had it not been a Ghiite, the greatest Ghiite to ever live. Braka'karin rescued five of us from the lab and took us far away from the evil clutches of Zarin and Chief Scientist Jerolo. Braka'karin had organized a group, calling themselves simply the Rebels. They were here to bring down the corrupt monarchy, and bring an age of peace and enlightenment to all of Bakaar.
I grew up into manhood under Braka'karin's wing, and I trained under him. In time I grew stronger and stronger until the day came until my first battle with imperial forces. And since then, I have faithfully served the Rebellion and I shall continue to until the day I die. Zarin is unfit to rule our people, unfit to even be classified a Ghiite." Cloud swallowed the lump in his throat as the Ghiite finished his story. Is what he says true?
"I don't........ understand. What happened underneath Dacar?" The Ghiite shook his head.
"Horrible experiments........ I don't know what they were trying to accomplish, but I do know that the tests continue today, and that thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands, have died by Zarin orders." Cloud all to vividly remembered his days as Hojo's lab rat, the hours of unrelenting pain, pain that had driven him nearly insane. No, Cloud was no stranger to all of this, he knew all to well.
"I'm sorry," was all Cloud could manage to reply.
"Don't be sorry. I know your story. I know that you were one of the Ghiites sent to Earth, and I know that they are using you. Using you like a wind up toy and once the gear brakes, they'll throw you away."
"But, Zarin promised me I-"
"You were stupid enough to believe him?" The Ghiite asked, a spiteful look on his face.
"I didn't have-"
"Of course you had a choice. You chose the easy way out." And with that, the Ghiite abruptly ended the conversation. The easy way out? How can this be the easy way out? Putting my life on the line every time I go into battle, and perhaps never being able to set foot on Earth again.
"Sh'kaar Nali! Shut your mouth or you'll be reprimanded! Now fall in line!" Yelled a sergeant at Cloud, who saluted the officer and returned to the duty on hand, escorting and protecting the Rebels on the way to Dacar. To say the least, his conversation with the Rebel had changed his perspective on who was wrong and who was right in this long standing battle. But, sometimes, there is more to a fight than merely good and evil.
It was approaching midnight in Dacar, and Zarin was preparing to fall asleep but then the voice called to him.
Zarin, the Rebels near Dacar. I imagine that they will be here in a matter of hours.
Good. I can't wait to meet Braka'karin. Perhaps a fighter worthy of a duel with me perhaps?
Not yet, I fear. I have traveled from afar, and my healing takes many lifetimes, more than you think.
Of course I know. But damn it, it's been so long. Shouldn't you be at full strength by now?
You have no idea the tremendous toll the odyssey took on my relatively weak body. I was surprised by the fact that I made it to your planet more than the fact that there was a ready supply of hosts.
I know. Anyways, do you think it will work?
The assassination? I have thought throuhg every detail and I have surmised if it is executed properly, there is almost no chance that it won't succeed. And with this, my true goal for my voyage can begin.
The Super Ghiites are almost complete you know. They should be fully functional in around 48 hours.
Excellent. Sleep well, King of the Ghiites. You'll need it.
"Good news men, we have arrived three miles from Dacar. We will take a brief respite and then finish our trip. You have fifteen minutes," a colonel called out to the mix of Rebels and Fists. At the current moment, they were at a grassy plain with large rolling hills. It was what the Ghiites considered early morning, though in reality there was no such thing. Having two suns, the sun was always out except for five minutes at around 1:35 A.M. when it was completely dark. However, the light did not bother the Ghiites. Over time, they learned to adapt have to being able to sleep during the day.
Cloud was sitting down on the grass by himself when a figure loomed over him. Sephiroth.
"There's something wrong with this entire diplomatic mission, Cloud," Sephiroth spoke in a rather matter of fact manner.
"What do you think is going to happen?" Sephiroth shook his head, and stared up at the sun.
"Not sure, but I believe something is going to happen to Braka'karin. I know much of political intrigue, after all, I was with Shinra a great many years. And this King Zarin seems to be just as evil as Shinra ever was."
"It's a setup, isn't it? This whole thing is just Zarin's plan to lure Braka'karin to Dacar and Zarin can have his way with him?" Sephiroth nodded grimly.
"We've got to warn Braka'karin about this. We can't just let him die!"
"But we serve Zarin and the monarchy. I think that we cannot do anything."
"Listen, we can't just let Zarin get away with murder! These Rebels know of Zarin's treachery! This Zarin is a scum to all the Ghiites and he can't be allowed to get rid of the Rebellion like this!"
"What exactly are you saying, Cloud? Are you saying that we should go against Zarin and put our lives at stake, even though it probably will prevent nothing, and Braka'karin will die anyway?" Sephiroth arched his eyebrow at the sitting form of Cloud. He talks as if he were truly a Ghiite.
"Yes. This isn't right. Are you with me?" Sephiroth rubbed his chin for a moment, and then replied.
"We shall keep an eye on Braka'karin, and make sure his visit to Dacar is a pleasant one." Cloud studied Sephiroth for a moment. Was this the same insane Sephiroth who wanted to rule the entire world? It didn't make any sense. This Sephiroth was perfectly in control, always calm, never rude, and seemed to know exactly what to do. He wasn't being held under the grip of the evil Jenova or his hatred of all life. He wasn't the same Sephiroth who only wanted revenge on Cloud and AVALANCHE for defeating him in the Lifestream. This was the Sephiroth that Cloud had remembered from Nibelheim, before he locked himself in the mansion. This was the real Sephiroth.
"You've changed, you know."
"I don't understand. What do you mean?"
Searching in the darkness
Running from the day
Hiding from tomorrow
Nothing left to say
Victims of the moment
Future deep in doubt
Living in a whisper
'Till we start to shout
We're creatures of the night
We're creatures of the night
"Creatures of the Night" by KISS
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic