The Terra Episode Chapter 11
They were in a briefing room the next day waiting for the new assignments. The area was still in yellow alert, and none of them saw it being lifted any time soon. The assignments ranged from cleaning up the mess in the ruined reactor to making a sweep search of the surrounding areas for clues that might have connection with the infiltration of the Devils Lab. Tina Branford, sat in the farthest corner as always where she found herself to be least bothered by tiring questions of his comrades.
She had calmed down after receiving the necklace from Guardian. Although, she wouldve been happier if the information she asked for was completely hers. The Guardian did tell her that the upload was done and that the entire information about her secret past and her hidden background, as well as the confidential knowledge of the Devils Lab experiments were already on her computer. But Guardian strongly urged her to wait for the yellow alert to be lifted before accessing them. Only then could she safely absorb the knowledge that was worth many times the value of diamonds to Tina. For without them, she would continue to live without meaning. Without them she was hopelessly lost. The information contained the truth about her past. It would reveal to her her true identity.
Her commanding officer started handing out sealed documents to each of them. Half of them groaned after finding out that they would be assigned to the ruined reactor for cleanup. Half of them gave sighs of relief after discovering that they were simply to patrol certain marked sectors within the boundaries that the yellow alert was in effect.
The commanding officer handed Tina her assignment last. She didnt read it immediately. She didnt care where she was assigned to. She had her share of tediously clearing up of debris from the Magitek Warehouse. She felt guilty, looking at drawn lines marking where the dead bodies were found. But she kept telling herself that it was Guardians fault and not hers. She did not want it to happen.
Her commanding officer went back to the front of the briefing room and announced, "Like last time, everybody is expected to abide by the strict procedures written by General Fencross himself. The better and faster you do your duties, the sooner we get out of this yellow alert. If there arent any more questions, then you are all dismissed."
The soldiers started to rise from their seats, talking loudly while comparing assignments with each other. Tina remained seated and waited for all of them to leave. She took the time to look at her own assignment. She was assigned to patrol a certain section of the very hospital that the comatose witness was in. She thought it odd at first but refused to draw conclusions from it any further.
As the last soldier of her company exited the room, she rose from her seat and went on her way when her captain stopped her. "Branford, may I speak with you please?"
Tina walked to him without delay. "Yes, sir?" she asked without any formal salutation for it wasnt needed after being dismissed.
"Do you have any questions regarding your assignment?" he asked rather nicely. Tina suspected that he was being extra nice to her because she was a woman. She hated it. She hoped that he was different from the other soldiers.
"No, sir. I understand everything, sir," she answered.
"Well, thats good because I have a question for you," he said. "Why?"
Tina was confused. "Sir?"
"Why did you make that request to be stationed in the hospital?" her commanding officer asked.
Her eyes widened, but she was able to suppress the rest of her puzzled expression. Maybe it was Guardian who made the request for her. She left the earpiece in her private quarters during the assembly which was probably why she didnt say anything.
"Well, I um I " she started thinking of a good lie.
At that moment a Devout walked in with his hood drawn back revealing his painted face.
"Pardon the intrusion, captain, but master Kefka wants to speak with you," the Devout said, straight to the point.
"Kefka? Speak with me? What in the world would he want from me?" the commander asked suspiciously. He has never spoken with Kefka before in his life though he knew Kefkas infamous repute.
"He said its about the interrogation. The master needs your assistance immediately," The Devout replied without the unpopular scornful tone that Devouts usually carried with them when they spoke.
The commander sighed and gathered his papers on the table. "Very well. As long as its official," the captain muttered. Then he turned to Tina. "You may go, Branford."
Tina saluted and hurried out the room, escaping the Devouts watchful eyes. She headed immediately to her private quarters before reporting to her duty. She had time to do so, and she needed to make contact with Guardian.
"I made no requests, Branford," Guardian said.
"But if you didnt, then who did?" Tina asked.
Guardian had an answer immediately. "According to the records, you did."
"But, Guardian, I swear that I did no such thing," Tina insisted.
"I believe you, Branford. There are plenty of possible explanations. It maybe computer error or human error," Guardian answered.
"Do you think somebody knows?" she asked nervously.
"Its a possibility," Guardian answered flatly.
"Thats it? Thats all you have to say?" Tina asked haughtily.
"I do not have enough data to draw conclusions from. I have access to the ongoing investigation reports. They are very far from identifying you as the suspect--close to impossible, in fact. Even the survivor is no longer a reliable source of information. Early this morning, his brainwave activity has gone below normal without signs of re-stabilization. He is as good as dead," Guardian reported.
Tina gasped. "How did that happen?" she asked with concern. She felt responsible once again for what happened.
"Unknown. But you must remember, Branford, that the energy surrounding the Revive magic is very unstable. Its working is still a medical mystery to the Vector scholars of magic. Experiments to magically revive a subject who has been dead for ten full minutes have failed ninety-two percent of the time. It was pure luck that they were able to revive him at all after thirty minutes of being dead. With the condition he was in, brain damage was one of the possible results," explained Guardian.
"Is his recovery still possible?" Tina asked in sympathy.
"The subject is alive in body but not in mind. There is no known magic in the history of the world that can restore brainwave activity to normal. His chances of regaining consciousness are slim. Should he regain awareness there is also a possibility that he will have a permanent motor damage in the brain."
Tina frowned. Then she asked Guardian what she had been meaning to ask before but did not have enough courage to do so. "Did... does he have a family?"
"Affirmative," Guardian simply said.
Tina took a deep breath and summoned her courage to ask another. "Does he have children?"
"Yes. Two daughters."
Tina choked. She never thought asking such questions would ever upset her. She was, after all, a soldier. Death should matter much less to her. But perhaps it was the thought that the witness was not a casualty of war that upset Tina the most. Perhaps it was also the thought of the tragedy of it all.
Tina swallowed her emotions bitterly and concentrated on her present problem. "What should I do, Guardian?"
"Since you are expected at the hospital, I think that you should follow your assignment. The section you are assigned to is one level below where the witness is. Just stay in your section, and everything should be fine. Do what you are assigned to do as normal. Suspicious actions will only lead to trouble. I will watch your back until the end of your duty within the hospital," Guardian promised.
"You wanted to see me, Kefka?" Tinas captain asked.
"Indeed, Captain "
"Wells," the captain finished.
"Follow me," Kefka said as he led the captain to a private room inside the hospital. It looked like an emptied out office. The room was absolutely bare. The white walls had no windows and no picture frames decorated them. There were no chairs nor desks. The room had been cleaned out of everything save the bright electric light on the ceiling. Even the security camera that was supposed to be in every room of the building had been ripped off the wall.
Both stood in the middle of the room. A Devout closed the door for them from the outside. Captain Wells waited patiently for an explanation.
"I will get right to the point, Wells, but what we are about to discuss will not leave this room," Kefka started. Captain Wells frowned, seeming to dislike being called by Kefka without the proper title. "We suspect that at least one of the soldiers under your direct command is responsible for the sabotage. I will not mention the name yet, but we need your full cooperation to help me bring these people to justice."
"One of my men?" Captain Wells asked in disbelief. "I doubt that very much, Kefka. My men all have outstanding records of service. I train only the best. Where is your proof to this accusation?"
"Captain, records mean nothing to me whatsoever. Traitors come in different colors that a man of your status could be easily fooled," Kefka said bluntly. He noticed Captain Wells clenched his fists. "But you asked for proof and, therefore, you shall have it later."
"Kefka, I have my own orders to follow from General Fencross with regards to the investigation. He commands me. You do not. Why should I even give you the time--my time--to listen to what you have to say?" Captain Wells asked. Already, he disliked talking to the cult master.
"Because if you do not, the secret of Vector will be exposed to those we call enemy. What I want you to do is simple, Captain. I want you to call an unannounced assembly of your company sometime after midnight in a place that I have yet to arrange. We shall conduct an intensive interrogation of your men and--"
"Like I said, Kefka. I answer to General Fencross only while the yellow alert is in effect. Unless you have the proper documents, I cannot participate in your interrogation," he answered adamantly.
"I will have the proper documents, Wells. I just want us to be clear about one thing. We keep this to ourselves until the time is right," Kefka said with a sly smile.
The captain sighed. "Until then," he repeated flatly. He turned towards the door was about to exit when Kefka grabbed him by the arm to stop him. He looked at Kefka in surprise and irritation.
"Didnt you want to see the proof? Stay a while. I guarantee that you would not be wasting your time," Kefka said. He laughed shortly after.
Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic