Payback's a Bitch Chapter 5
By Joe L.
Gongaga had been burned straight to the ground. Fortunately, most of the people had gotten out of their houses befor they caught on fire, though most of the buildings around the Order's headquarters had been destroyed, killing the people inside of them. After that, AVALANCHE had decided to go back to Cosmo Canyon and decide what to do from there.
Around midnight, Cloud had gotten up from his bed and went up to his window. He looked at the stars. They were so beautiful, and it was so peaceful. Not like what was happenign in his life. It was so crazy. He wondered if all of this death and destruction would stop. He decided that it was unlikely. No matter what he did, how hard he tried, he couldn't do anything but admit to this fact: No matter what good you do, there will always be people who destroy it. And that's when he decided he didn't want this anymore. He decided if he was going to beat Sephiroth and the Order, he would do it by himself. He wouldn't let anyone else close to him die. First Aeris, then Red, and now an entire town. Just at that moment that Cloud was deciding these things, Tifa walked in.
"Cloud, what are you doing? I heard you making some noise or something," Tifa said and she crept into his room. Cloud barely even glanced at her when she came in.
"Look at the stars, Tifa. They're beautiful, aren't they?" Tifa sat on the windowsill right by him.
"Yeah, I guess so......Cloud, you're acting kind of funny. Is eveything alright?"
"Yeah....everything's okay I guess."
"Hey listen, none of this has been your fault. You tried your best and that's what counts. There wasn't anyway you could have stop Red from dying or you would of been killed yourself."
"No Tifa. You're wrong. It isn't enough. I could have stopped Sephiroth if I hadn't of been so damn drunk! Damn it all!"
"Cloud, how were you supposed to know that the bartender was actually Sephiroth?"
"That's no the point Tifa. It's that I should have saved Red. He died needlessly and I don't think I'll be able to forgive myself for that."
"Please Cloud, don't torture yourself like this. If you-"
"No Tifa. You don't understand....Have you noticed everyone that I get close to dies?"
"What? That's not true."
"It is. Look around you. Open your eyes. It's the truth, and that's why I must leave all of you. I won't have another one of you die for no good reason."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I'm going to take on Sephiroth myself. Don't try and follow me."
"Cloud, you've got to be kidding!"
"I'm not," and with that, Cloud went over to the foot of his bed and picked up his Ultima Weapon, which he put in his sheath. From there, he was about to walk out before Tifa ran in front of him and cried out,
"Cloud! Don't go! I won't let you walk out of my life!"
"Out of my way Tifa. I don't want to hurt you, but I will if I have to."
"Please Cloud! Listen to me!" But Cloud wasn't listening. He grabbed Tifa viciously by the arm and threw her down. She landed hard on the floor, which knocked her unconcious. Then, Cloud walked out of the door, down the stairs, and out of AVALANCHE.
Cloud had been walking for quite some time now. He figured that he had gone for enough from Cosmo Canyon as to where he could stop for awhile and take a break. He didn't know exactly where he was going. He figured probably the most likely place where the Order was making their headquarters was Midgar. There was nothing there that could stop them. But it was going to take a long time before he was going to reach Midgar. After all, it was on a completely different continent. And there was a chance it wasn't even in Midgar, and he had been waiting his time. But it was a chance that he had to take. He didn't want the others coming after him, and he knew that they probably wouldn't guess that he was going to Midgar. Then he heard some rustling in some bushes nearby. He unsheathed his weapon to see what it was. As he peered through the bushes, he saw that it was only a rabbit. Geez, I must be getting paranoid or something, Cloud thought. As he got up from looking at the bush, a man came up behind him and pulled a knife on Cloud and pushed it right against Cloud's neck.
"Don't make a move. I wouldn't want to hafta slit your throat," the assassin said evily.
"Alright, alright. Who the hell are you?" Cloud asked the man.
"It's not important. Now, put your sword down." Cloud complied, as he put down his Ultima Weapon.
"What do you want with me?"
"My master Gyver wishes for you to meet him."
"Why? What does he want with me?"
"Nothing really, other than for you to witness the destruction of this planet."
"What are you talking about?" The assassin only smiled evily at this.
"Nothing, now come on. Let's go." And with that, the Cloud and his captor made their way back to the Order's base.
It was midmorning before AVALANCHE was assembled. Tifa had told them all about the incident with Cloud, and how he had left them.
"That sure's hell doesn't sound like Cloud," Cid noted at the end of Tifa's tale.
"I know....But it happened. And now I have no idea where Cloud is." Tifa said solemnly. The rest of them just shook their heads. There was no point in moping aroud Cosmo Canyon. They had to find Cloud, and soon.
"Well, staying around here ain't gonna do us no damn good. If we want to find Cloud, we gotta go searching for him now!"
As Sephiroth was on his way back to his master's hideout, a voice entered his mind. It was Gyver's.
"Sephiroth, I have something for you to do."
"What is it, my master."
"Do you remember where Cloud was captured by your men?"
"Good. AVALANCHE will return to their, I am sure of it. I need you to pose as Cloud there, so you can trick them into believing that you are the real Cloud."
"And then what?"
"Kill them of course. I don't care how you do it. Just do it."
"Now hurry. You haven't much time."
"As you wish." And with that, Gyver left Sephiroth's mind. Pose as Cloud. That should be quite easy, Sephiroth thought to himself. After all, he probably knew Cloud as well as he knew himself.
AVALANCHE had traveled for hours in search of Cloud without any signs or clues of his whereabouts, much to their chagrin. Yuffie had complained that it was useless and they would never find him, though through Yuffie's complaints, Tifa had led them on. She wasn't going to let them stop until Cloud was found or all of them couldn't move and muscle in their entire body.
Just then, Vincent noticed Cloud's Ultima Weapon.
"Look at this," Vincent said as he rushed over towards the sword. He picked it up and spoke, "Cloud's sword of choice. How did it get down here?"
"Do you think he dropped it?" Tifa asked, intrigued by this newfound clue.
"Not likely. Why would he drop his sword, his only line of defense?"
"I don't. Maybe he didn't notice it dropping."
"I think not, Tifa. I beleive something happened to him. Someone possibly capturing him. I think he would know if he would have dropped his sword. Let's keep looking for him," Vincent said as he took the Ultima Weapon and continued walking forward in search of Cloud. Then, about fifty feet away, he saw Cloud. He appeared to be looking in the sky, Vincent couldn't really tell.
"Cloud!" Vincent yelled out, and Cloud looked at his companions. They all came rushing towards him, Tifa running the fastest. When she reached him she held out her arms and embraced him tightly.
"Cloud! I'm so glad I found you!" She said, almost sobbing. Cloud greeted the others as they reached him.
"Cloud, it's great to have you back," Vincent spoke.
"The hell did you run away?" Cid said, a cigarette lighted in his mouth.
"I don't know.....But let's not talk about that right now...." Cloud said, embarrassed. He then quickly said, " I think I have an idea of where the Order might be. I think that they might be in Nibelheim."
"Nibelheim? What the hell are you talkin' bout?" Barret said, his face contorted in confusion.
"Look, it's abandoned, no one there. There would be no one there to stop them."
"Yeah, but nothing's left of it. It's just an old ghost town."
"I know, but don't you see....The return of Sephiroth, now my friends dying, it's all just a mind game someone is playing with me. And I think that it all leads to Nibelheim, where all of this madness started." The others shook their heads. It seemed credible enough. After all, nobody else had any bright ideas.
"Okay Cloud. Let's go."
All the while Sephiroth was tricking AVALANCHE, Cloud was being marched to Midgar. They had taken a helicopter from where Cloud was caught to outside Midgar, and now he was inside the Order's hideout. It seemed to be nothing more than an intricate array of mazes and hallways. Cloud thought that it would probably be impossible to memorize where everything is in a place like this. Then another thought popped into his head he hadn't thought about. That this was the end.
He hadn't really thought it was possible, but this realization startled him. It looked as if there was no way for him to escape this situation. He was doomed.
His captor had lead him to a small, dark hallway, and then to a pair of wooden doors. The assassin knocked on them and voice called out for them to come inside. When Cloud stepped inside, he was amazed by the fact at how decorated this room was. It had tapestries hanging from the walls, furniture everywhere. It was all the luxury of a mansion in a place like Midgar. That was when Cloud saw a large throne. With a figure sitting atop it. The man appeared to be wearing nothing more than a cloak, though it was hard to tell considering the fact that the room was only dimly lit by a few torches and nothing more. Then the man spoke out to him.
"Welcome to my home, Cloud Strife. I am pleased to make your acquiantance," the man called out to him. He ushered for the assassin to leave the room and leave him and Cloud alone.
"Who are you?"
"I am the one known as Gyver. I am the leader of the Order."
"You sick bastard! What do you want with me?"
"Want with you? Ha! There is nothing that you could offer to me that would be of any use."
"Then why did you bring me all the way here? So you could talk to me?"
"No...It's not that. I just want to clear up a few things. Explain to you why a creature such as myself is here." And with that, Gyver lifted his head. Cloud looked at him. He was frightened, though he was intrigued. He is some sort of lizard. And definetely not from Earth.
"What the hell are you?"
"It's not important. Just listen to what I have to say. You knew a girl named Aeris, right?"
"You also knew she was a Cetra, right? The peaceful race killed off by Jenova?"
"No, that is wrong."
"What are you talking about?"
"The Cetra. Everything that you know about the Cetra is a lie. Nobody knows their dark secrets, except me. Sure, they spoke with the Planet, but not before my race. You see, once there was a race of people named the Ghiites. We inhabited this Earth for many years, roaming peacefully. Then one day, a Ghiite named Yegolar discovered the Lifestream. And with discovering the Lifestream, he gained the knowledge and the wisdom of the Earth. With this knowledge, he shared it with his brethren and the Ghiites prospered. Soon everyone knew the ways of the Planet.
Then, a spaceship was discovered by a group of Ghiite military officers. The people that they encountered were known as the Cetra. They seemed to be a somewhat technologically advanced race, though peaceful like the Ghiites. When they were confronted by the Ghiites, they told them that all they wanted was peace. They didn't tell them the real secrets of themselves. Anyhow, the Ghiites being foolish and naieve accepted the Cetra to live with them on the Earth. And for awhile this pact worked, with no wars breaking out between the two groups. The Ghiites however didn't share their knowledge of the Planet with the Cetra, thought the Cetra appeared to not care that much. And while the Ghiites were studying the Planet, the Cetra were creating weapons of destruction in underground labyrinths. Then, on one fateful night the Cetra attacked the capital city of Yasir, with a standing force of 25,000 Cetra warriors. The Ghiites were crushed within hours. Though they fought valiantly, they were no match for the vile trickery of the Cetra. Soon, the ruler of all Ghiites, Yegolar, was killed as were the rest in Yasir. Then, the Cetra war machine overrun the cities of Gasden and Jorin. With those three major cities out of the way, it was easy to destroy the small, primitive Ghiite villages that pervaded the land. And in a matter of ten years, the surviving Ghiites stole a ship from the Cetra and traveled to space, to try and find a new home."
"Oh my God....You have to be kidding me." Cloud shook his head defiantly. The Cetra were evil? Aeris was evil? "But what about Aeris? She wouldn't hurt anyone! She saved this Planet!"
"True. She was one of the very few Cetra that was good and pure. But the Cetra as a whole were evil. But the story doesn't end there, Cloud.
Many years ago, the Ghiites created a biological entity capable of infecting an entire population. We sent it to Earth, where it arrived around 2,000 years ago. I believe your people called it Jenova. Jenova infected the Cetra with a virus, let's call it Virus-U. Anyhow, this virus killed off all the Cetra within years. While their military technology was beyond comparison, all medical technology was downright primitive. They never stood a chance against the virus. And so, the Cetra were all but extinct. But still, we could not reclaim Earth because a new organism came to Earth. They were called homo sapiens, or humans. We don't how your kind came about, but the humans arised to power and started their ruling of the Earth. But now, the humans reign over Earth will soon come to an end. It is almost time for the Ghiites to once again reign supreme over all that roam this Planet. While we Ghiites hold nothing against you, this was our Planet first, and we have no intention of letting you humans rule it. It has been too long asince the last time my people roamed the Earth freely. But now, the dawn of a new age will arise once again. Like the mythological Phoenix, the Ghiites have rose from the ashes. And with it, we take our Planet."
"What? You created Jenova? You son of a bitch! Do you realize what that piece of space shit did to our Planet?"
"Actually, I am quite aware of what happened with Jenova. An added prospect that I was quite pleased with." Cloud took all of this information in, and he cringed. Was it true that the Cetra were a horrible race of people? That Aeris was evil? No, he thought he's lying. But another part of his mind, it made sense. After all this time, the truth of the Cetra was revealed, and Cloud knew it to be true.
"Wait a minute, earlier you talked about the dark secrets of the Cetra. What were they?"
"Ah. You are quite perceptive, my boy. Well then, prepare yourself. You might not like what you hear.
The Cetra. They were born on a distant planet called Gorath. A planet much like this one. The Cetra resembled you humans quite greatly. Anyhow, by nature the Cetra were greedy. Anything they came upon that was foreign to them they killed. Such was their way. Kill and ask questions later, you might say. Overtime, after killing most of the other animals and intelligent creatures on their home planet, the Cetra yearned for more battle. They were not content with ruling just their own Planet. They wanted more land for themselves. And so, they started constructing a ship called the Gorath. It was a ship of massive proportions, taking them an entire century to construct. And when they were finished, they gathered up all the Cetra and went to the Planet that was closest to them, Athena. Athena was a vile place, covered with volcanoes, mountains, polluted water, and the air was a reddish color. And so, the Cetra landed in Athena, and the first Athenian that they saw, they killed him. And so began the 200 year war, as was documented by the Cetra. It was one of the most ferocious wars ever fought. The Cetra created many towns actually during this, all the while sending men to fight the Athenians. But then, a breakthrough occured. While once they only used swords and spears, they had created a very primitive gun, called an arquebus. This arquebus was the turning point in the war. Though it took minutes to reload, it could shoot from great distances with deadly accuracy. And this was around the 100th year of the year. And throughout the war, they improved their guns until around the end, the had created machine guns. Now it was over for the Athenians. They surrendered around April 2nd if we go by your calender, 650,000 years before the first man walked Earth. And from that moment on, the Cetra lived to kill. And they were very good at it. They went from planet to planet, conquering the people and establishing bases on the planets. By the time they got to Earth, they owned half of this galaxy. Such was the power of the Cetra. Anyhow, when they were here on Earth, they created what is called a ballistic missile. A missile which can fire and hit a target thousands of miles away. And while they were creating even more powerful missiles, they discovered one that could destroy an enite planet, a Proton missile. I won't get into the details of this missile, besides that it uses the energy conveyed by atoms. Anyhow, this Proton missile was set to be used against another planet that the Cetra wished to own. But before they could launch this rocket, Jenova arrived. And that planet was saved from the Cetra. And that Planet, though I might have said different, was the home of your ancestors Cloud."
"Really? Humans came from a distant planet?"
"No Cloud....You see, you are not a human. You are one of us," Gyver said solemnly, without a hint of any emotion on his reptilian face.
"What the hell are you talking about! I'm not a lizard!"
"Yes you are. But those that came to Earth were given a humanlike, well, let's call it a shell. You were to help us regain this Planet, though in the process you were lost to us when you landed on this Planet." Cloud was overwhelmed by this radical proclomation. He wasn't human. Not even close. He didn't move a muscle. Didn't say anything. Only looked at Gyver, for some sign that he was lying. He saw none.
"Surprised I see. You are one of my own, but that changes nothing. You would never help me, now that humans raised human. You are more human than you think, though you were given born to by a Ghiite."
"No.....It can't be true....You've got to be lying."
"I am sorry Cloud, but I never lie. Whether you believe me or not, I speak the truth. It is what you are. You are a Ghiite, and nothing else. But now, I'm afraid our chat is over. My guards will take you to your prison cell, were you will live out the rest of your days, however long that might be. Goodbye Cloud Strife, or should I say your Ghiite name, Sh'kaar?" Gyver smiled, and then a guard dressed in black walked in and escorted Cloud to his cell. Not human, he thought as he walked to his cell. I'm not human, and I never was. It doesn't make sense. But then, lately, nothing for Cloud was making sense.
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