Legacy of the Past Chapter 4

Quest for the High Places

By Nemo

Rude sat in silence in his office. Things seemed to be coming together nicely. He felt a sense of accomplishment. He had finally found a way to get Tseng and Reno behind bars and on death row. He had also raided the slums earlier that day. He took the Ancient from her house, and then he set the house ablaze and then put a bullet in her stepmother's brain. He left her corpse in the house to burn to ashes. He did all this within an hour, why had it taken them so long to catch her? He picked up a pen and started making a list of ways to kill his comrades. Electric chair? No, a waste of perfectly good energy. Burn? No, the smell would get to anyone. Shot? No, too fast. Beating? No, takes too much energy. Slit the throat? No, too bloody. Gas chamber? Slow, painful and they could broadcast it too the world. Gas chamber was a keeper but there were other ways to kill a person. He circled Gas chamber and made a mental note that that was way of choice at that point. He was halfway through his list when there was a knock on his door. "Come in." he said. He half expected it to be Elena, crying and whining about Tseng and Reno.

But the door swung open and in walked a dark haired man. He had buzzed black hair, deep brown eyes and a cold smile. He wore jeans, a T-shirt that Rude could just read that said, "I may be dumber but who made it big?" and a white lab coat. He was twenty-eight and about five feet nine inches. His hands were shoved in his pockets and slouched a little. Rude stood up and gave him a little salute, "Good afternoon Professor Payne." He said.

"As to you." Professor Payne replied. His voice was deep and dark and could send a chill down the spine of any man…including Rude. "Please Rude, call me John. We're friends, we don't need to be formal." Rude cracked a smile. Payne came further into the office; he turned and shut the door behind him. He started to wander the office a little, deep in thought. Rude watched his every move; "He's so different than Hojo. So…sane" Rude thought. "Tell me Rude," Payne's voice snapped Rude back to Earth, "did you know Professor Hojo?" Rude paused, "Can the man read minds??" he thought.

"I knew him but not personally. He seemed to have a few screws loose." Rude replied.

"That man was genius. I feel honored to be in the same lab as him let alone the same position as him. Many said he was insane but people said Einstein was too and look at him. The brilliant are always misjudged."

"Yeah, I guess."

"President Shinra tells me your Turks haven't caught the hooded person yet, why?"

"Because looks can be deceiving. That person isn't human and that I'm sure of."

"One tracked mind, as usual. *Sigh* What if they are human, just a greater model."

"A greater model? You're talking about evolution, right?"

"Heh, heh, no Rude, not evolution."

Wall Market bustled with activity. It was Saturday and the people of the slums were out spending that week's wages on the next week's food. Most of them seemed oblivious to the strange group. They were either too busy or they didn't care.

"What exactly are we looking for?" Naden asked his eyes wondering around the town.

"A way to the plate, come on Naden. Stay with us." Cloud said, "Karta, you've already been on the plate. Why not go that way?"

"Because they'll have it guarded without a doubt." She replied.

"What are you saying Shinra? Are you saying we couldn't handle a few guards?" Tifa challenged. Karta turned and looked at Tifa, her eyes narrow.

"I know very well that we could handle a few guards but we don't want to stir up a ruckus until we get in the building." She replied. "Plus, what if a guard got away and reported us. There would go our chance of a surprise attack. Also, what if someone got hurt or killed. We need to be in top condition. Being a leader yourself Tifa, you should know that you need do look at all the 'what ifs' of every situation."

"That makes sense, you would make a good leader." Barret said, Tifa shot him a glare. "But your nothing compared to Tifa!" Karta raised her eyebrows and glanced at Cloud, he shrugged, and then she glanced at Naden. He rolled his eyes and smiled. When he didn't receive a smile back, Naden shot his head the other way.

"Okay, whatever." Karta said walking deeper into the town. The group followed without question. Men would glance at the girls but looks from either Tifa or Karta would turn those sick eyes away and the men's speed to increase. They just wandered until Naden's complaining dragged them into a near by restaurant.

"Rude, what the hell did you do?!" President Shinra exclaimed. Rude looked at the President in utter confusion.

"What are you talking about sir?" Rude asked.

"Do you have any idea how many frantic people called in about a murder, a kidnapping and a fire? I told you to get the Ancient, not burn the house to the ground!" The President leaned back in his chair. " We need a way to cover up the evidence. Any ideas?"

"Depends sir, what kind of cover up do you mean?"

"A permanent cover up and we need to make it look like it was those damn AVALANCHE people."

"I've got it sir but…it's a little inhuman."

"I'm all ears."

"We could drop the plate on Sector 5. That would get rid of witnesses and evidence." The President looked at Rude. The familiar sparkle filled his eyes and Rude waited for his answer.

"Get to work."

"Damn you Reno!" Tseng screamed.

"What?! All I did was have a booze and cure our wounds. Oh, I get it. You wanted some booze. Sorry man but it's just so good!" Reno retaliated.

"That's not it!"

"Well, I didn't do a damn thing wrong!"

" *sigh* You're right, that is all you did. We both screwed up and now we have we're paying for it with our lives."

"Don't worry man, we'll get out of here before they can stick us in the electric chair."

"Rude wouldn't put us in the chair. 'A waste of perfectly good energy' he would say."

"Well however they're planning on killing us, we'll get out of here before they can!"

"How the hell do you plan on doing that?!"

"Um…hold on, gimme a minute and I'll think of something."

"We're doomed."

"Don't worry…be happy!"

"Shut the flying !@&$ up Reno!"

"Shit man I'm just trying to think positive. So sue me!"

"Positive? Ha! The only reason your not crying in a corner like the baby you are is because you're drunk!"

"SO?! So, I'm drunk, I don't give a sh*t!"

"Just shut up Reno, just shut up."

Rude stood by the open helicopter door. He looked over the edge and he could see the top of the piller. Then he looked at the slums below. So many people so oblivious to what was about to what was about to happen to them. The smell of smog and burnt wood filled the air. He grimaced, he hated the slums. He turned to the pilot and said,

"Lower her down a little more." The helicopter came down. He looked down and then up. The piller was huge, stretching from the ground to the bottom of the plate. Below him sat small weak people, struggling to scrape and keep pathetic lives together. There they would wander around towns made of metal houses and smog filled air, waving as if everything's okay. In the cold murky houses, children dream of green grass and the sky. It made him sick. Above him sat the tall but none the less weak people of the plate clinging onto what was left of their humanity. There they would drink and party and wait for the gil to come rolling in. While they stand at the window watching their neighbors to make sure they didn't get richer. Their greed and snot could make a kind man cruel. They wander the streets with their noses in the air, without expression. They wander like soulless robots. Their children lie in their warm beds, dreaming of what the next new toy would be. That also made him sick. They both deserved to die.

Rude jumped down onto the platform. He glanced around and smiled. He could see the people of the slum's faces when their piller explodes. He could see the looks of the people of the plate's faces when the plate starts to move. The horror in their eyes and the truth sinks in. He could hear their screams already. He looked at the control panel, he could see the red detonation button. The button that all he had to do was push and hundreds, maybe thousands of lives would end. That little button determined whether those children above and below would live to see another day. All that power rested in that button and Rude's thick finger that reached for it…

A gentle click, no one heard it for it was too small and light. It was drowned out by the sounds a helicopter moving away. No one could predict what would happen next. No one heard the warning alarm. So no one had the time to run. No one knew until there was an earth-shattering explosion…and time itself seemed to stop. But not the explosion of a reactor but a piller. The sound of metal giving away and pulling apart. Pieces of metal and earth plummeted to the ground. Maybe a few ran but no one knew what happening. The last metal bar gave away and the plate fell. Gravity showed no mercy and the screams of the people of the slums and the plate formed as one and echoed.

"What the hell was that?!" Tifa screamed. The explosion had rattled the buildings and thrown people to the ground. The group pulled themselves to their feet as the owner of the restaurant turned on the news.

This is a Midgar News Special report. Only moments ago a huge explosion rattled our fair city. I am sad to report that the Sector 5 piller was attacked. The person or persons set it at self detonate and the plate fell to the ground. We have just received a report on who did this. It was…the terrorist group AVALANCHE. We can only hope they parished with the blast.

"Group meeting." Karta said before Tifa could open her mouth and blow their cover. The group came together and put their heads in.

"What the hell is going on?! We couldn't have dropped the plate, we're right here! And besides we would never do something like that." Tifa said struggling not to scream.

"I know that and you know that but the people of Midgar think we're guilty as sin." Karta said looking at her comrades.

"What could Shinra be thinking?" Naden asked.

"They think they can cover up evidence with blame. If anyone saw Shinra detonated, they'll be dead. If the witnesses are dead…there are no problems. And no problems…" Karta said darkly. There was a moment of silence. "We need to get up to the Headquarters as soon as possible. Shinra is trying the crush us literally. We need to leave before they decide to drop this plate too."

"Yeah, maybe someone will know a way up. Let's look around." Cloud said. Tifa turned and tossed the waitress a few gil and the group left. People seemed pretty antsy and timid now. As the group walked towards the top of Wall Market, a group of young kids shoved their way through the group. Karta watched them meet up with some other kids.

"C'mon you guys, this is so cool!" one kid said fairly loud. The kids ran to the right, through a crack between two homes. She picked up the pace and started to follow them.

"Karta, where the hell are ya goin?" Tifa asked but she didn't answer. She turned right and followed the kids. The group followed and found themselves in what looked like a dark box. Barret recognized the place, Marlene had wandered there before but something was different. A wire hung from the top. Karta had folded her arms and gave the kids a "look". They turned and ran from her. She reached forward and tugged on the wire. Cloud caught onto what she was planning on doing.

"Karta…what are you planning?" he asked. After a moment when she didn't answer he knew for sure what she was planning. "Oh no…you're not serious are you?"

"Come on, that's almost impossible." Naden said.

"Karta, I only have one hand." Barret said.

"Look you Mako filled b*tch, we can't climb that!" Tifa exclaimed.

"Tifa…what did you call me? A Mako filled b*tch? Harsh. Oh well, I guess I'll be seeing you around then." Karta said pulling on a pair of gloves. She turned her back to them and pulled herself onto the wire. She started to pull herself up the wire with ease. Cloud sighed and put on a pair of gloves he had in his pocket. Naden turned to Tifa and shrugged and Tifa sighed. She reached in her pocket and tossed and him gloves. He put them on and he slowly started up the wire. Barret looked up the wire; a line of his comrades went almost to the top of a pile of metal. He took a deep breath and started up.

Karta pulled herself onto the metal pile, causously at first. Just to make sure it would support her weight. "Just like last time." she thought. She looked over the edge and saw the group making their way up. Cloud didn't seem to be having too much trouble but the rest of the group seemed to be struggling. After Cloud pulled himself up, they waited in silence for the rest of the group to come up. After a while, an exhausted Barret pulled himself up.

"Everyone ready?" Karta asked. Naden looked up, he could see the top of the Shinra building. He felt a knot form in his stomach. Why did this place look so familiar?

"C'mon Naden." Cloud said. Karta was in the lead followed by Tifa, Barret and Cloud. Naden sighed and started up the metal mountains. He looked up and saw Cloud climb past Tifa and Barret with complete ease.

Karta pushed a piece of the plate off to the side and pulled herself out. She had her hand ready at any moment to pull her blade. Cloud came through the hole followed by Tifa, Barret and Naden. Naden gasped and looked at Cloud and Karta.

" *gasp, wheeze* Damn…how do you two move so fast?" he asked. Before Cloud or Karta could answer, Tifa's harsh voice chimed in.

"Where is the President's office?" she asked.

"70th floor." Naden answered automatically. Everyone turned and looked at him, their eyes narrow with suspicion. "How did I know that?"

"Doesn't matter." Karta said dismissing the subject with the wave of her hand. She pulled out her Rune Blade and looked at the main door, "We're going in."

"Wait a minute, your not planning on going in through the main door are you?" Barret asked.

"Kill quick and fast, we can't let word get to any floor above the one we're on." She replied. Naden snapped his shotgun into place while Barret put a fresh clip into his Enemy Launcher. Tifa flexed her fists and looked at the long blades on the knuckles of her Dragon Claw and Cloud pulled out his Buster Sword. They all looked at Karta, "Let's go." With those words the group ran forward. As soon as the doors opened, the scene that followed could only be described in one word: chaos.

Karta came in first and she was first one the guards saw. The first guard didn't even get a chance to pull out his gun before her sword sliced across his stomach. Ignoring the gurgling breath he took, she spun and took down three more guards in one motion, all across the stomach. Before Naden or Barret could fire a shot, Karta had left four bodies on the floor like broken dolls. Tifa used the long blades on her Dragon Claw to her advantage. If wasn't slicing across a guard's face, she was rearranging his internal organs. Unfortunately for one guard, the last thing he saw was those long sharp blades as they sped for his face. Naden and Cloud quickly formed a team. Naden used the slow fire of his gun to his advantage by shooting the guns out of the guard's hands. Cloud would then come and shove his long blade into a stomach and slice down a face. Barret was used as a defense. First he used the rapid fire to take out any cameras that were hanging anywhere in the lobby. Then he would take out any potential threats to his comrades with a stream of deadly bullets. When the battle was over, the group of five had taken out nearly fifty men. Their bodies lay on the floor in bloody heaps like a scene from a war. Karta reached into the pocket of the nearest guard and pulled out a keycard.

"Keycard 60." She said, "Not good enough." She went over and a guard and found four more Keycards. Then she walked over to the nearest computer.

"What the hell are you doin now?" Tifa asked. Karta didn't respond, she just typed in some numbers and passwords. After a minute she slid each Keycard through a slot. Then she reached in her pocket and pulled out a disk and put it in. She typed in a long password and the screen fuzzed away. She tossed each of them a Keycard and popped out her disk.

"Er…what did you do?" Naden asked.

"I hacked into the main frame and found their Keycard system. Then I just programmed this slot here to make any card I put in Keycard seventy. Each of your Keycards is unlimited which means we can go anywhere in the building. After that I put a temporary virus in the main frame just stir just some commotion. All I need to do is type in a password and the virus will be gone. The virus is the only one of it's kind because I made it, it's called Slow and Painful." She explained. "Let's go." And she went towards to elevator. The rest of the group stood with their mouths hanging open. She did all that within two minutes. Cloud smiled, the reason they liked her so much in SOLDIER was because of her amazing hacker capabilities. Her code name then was Luna, but here was always another hacker that was always one step behind her. They went by the name of Cortex and no one could every find him or her. Cloud jogged to catch up with the group. Karta slid her Keycard in a pushed the button for the sixty-first floor.

"Sounds like a hacker got into the main frame. " Reno said, "Judging by the way people are running and around and the lights are going on and off."

"….." no reply came from Tseng.

"Not that I care or anything."


"I hope the whole system crashes."


"That would be so !@&$ing tight!"


"You're ignoring me, right?"




"Alright be that way, I'll just talk to the VOICES IN MY HEAD FOR A WHILE!"


"Damn you."


"I give up."

The elevator came to a stop and the group stepped out. Naden looked around, he suddenly felt very uncomfortable, like eyes were watching his every move. Like they were waiting for him to screw up. But Naden knew he had never been to this building yet it felt so familiar, like he knew it but then again he didn't. A million questions ran through his head, questions he knew that maybe would never be answered. Someone out there must have known him in some point in his life but no names came into his head, just a blur. He looked around the room. Suits were walking around, talking about the latest gossip and drinking coffee. They didn't seem to care about the group, who they were or why they were there.

"Lounge floor? Why?" Cloud asked.

"Because this is the perfect place for us to split up. For us to go our separate ways…for good." Karta said.

"What?!" Naden exclaimed.

"I came to Midgar for a reason, to accomplish a task. Now I'm going to complete it…alone." She replied. Tifa turned and glared at her, she clenched her fists and she began to shake in furry.

"Are you telling me you only stayed with us so you could get into the building without a scratch?" Tifa asked with anger in her voice.

"I came to Midgar alone and I'm leaving alone. When I'm done with my personal business I'm leaving without you." Karta replied. Before anyone could continue with the fight, she turned and walked back into the elevator. She slid her Keycard in the slot and turned and faced the group. She didn't move and she didn't flinch, she just watched them with her forest green eyes. Naden watched her and they made eye contact. The doors closed and she was gone. Tifa turned to the group and said through gritted teeth,

"There is something I need to do by myself. I'll see you around. But I'm not like that b*tch, I won't ditch you, we'll meet up again." She ran past the group, through the door and up the stairs. Cloud, Naden and Barret all stood in a daze. Two comrades had left them without much of an explanation.

"What do we do now?" Barret asked.

"We start looking for Aerith." Cloud said sternly.

Rude worked as fast as he could to get the computer working again. He could feel his blood start to boil. The President wasn't happy and that made him very unhappy. Some smart-ass hacker had planted a virus and Rude couldn't break the code to stop it. The other employees were scared that it was the "hooded girl" coming to kill them all but Rude knew it wasn't. Here he was, sitting on the 66th floor while the rest of the building ran back to their homes. He flexed his fists. He thought about the pain Reno must have been in. When Rude first became a Turk, he had Professor Hojo perform an operation on his hand. He replaced all the bones in Rude's hand with metal ones. And Rude knew he could break a bone and or kill a man with them. Rude shook his head and started typing. If Rude hadn't been so on his toes he properly would have missed the conversation he overheard outside.

Tifa felt like her feet could fly, she was on level sixty-seven. "So close but yet so far away." She thought. She stopped and looked around; the hallway was dull and boring. She took another deep breath and started running again. The walls and stairs became nothing but a blur to Tifa's darting eyes. She passed level sixty-eight and walked onto the level sixty-nine. She leaned forward to catch her breath. She cleared her throat and marched forward. No one was in the building because they all thought that Karta was there to kill them all.

Oh how Tifa hated Karta. Just saying her name made her blood boil. She was Shinra and the Shinra were heartless. She didn't care about anything or anyone but herself. Cloud at least showed the group that he had feelings, "He's okay." She thought. The SOLDIER type were just as bad as the Turks, just ruthless killing machines. They do their jobs, whether it meant killing or fifty innocent people, they do their jobs and nothing more.

She took a right and walked up the stairs. This was the moment where it would all end and the past could finally be forgotten and she could move, past the heartache and rage. She pushed open the door and he walked into the Presidents office. He turned and looked at her. She stepped forward and walked until she was standing before his desk, almost right in his face. He looked her over and heaved a sigh,

"I thought I told Heidegger to keep his whores in his office." He spat.

"I'll make you eat those words. You'll regret saying that President." Tifa snapped back.

"Oh really? Hm…are you the 'dreaded hooded girl'?"

"No but she's around. But now, let's get down to business."

"What business my dear?"

"I'm going to kill you."

"You will? How?"

"First, I will slice your body with deep cuts, so you'll begin bleeding to death from the beginning. Then, I'll cut off your tongue, nose and ears. After that, I'll dig out your eyes. Finally, I will send these blade into your stomach and rearrange your organs."

"Really, try me." Tifa accepted the challenge and started to walk forward, prepared to keep her promise. But she froze dead when she felt the cold barrel of a gun on the back of her head.

"Hands up." Reeve demanded. Tifa may have been mad but she wasn't stupid, she complied and raised her hands. The President smiled.

"How will you kill me again?" he teased with his sick grin, "Reeve, take our guest to the holding cells. I'm sure there will be more, rat's always travel in packs."

"How are you Reno? I'm fine Bob thanks for asking. No problem, since Tseng's being an ass I figured you'd need someone to talk too. He can't help it." Reno said to someone that wasn't there.

"Shut the !@&$ up Reno." Tseng grumbled.

"Don't tell me to shut up!" he paused as if listening to some unknown voice, "Bob says to kiss his ass. Shove it!"

" *Sigh* What a hopeless person."

"I don't really hear voices, I just want you to talk to me."

"You're in denial. It's worse than I thought."

"Up yours."

"What exactly are we looking for?" Naden asked.

"Not a clue, this is my first time in this building. We need to find the research level." Cloud replied.

"What level are we on?" Barret asked.

"Sixty-six, it seems Karta's virus scared off most of the employees. I haven't seen anyone in over ninety minutes." Cloud replied. Naden really didn't hear anything Cloud or Barret were saying. He had so many memories and people talking to him, telling him terrible things, people with no faces. His whole life seemed like a movie out of focus. Naden felt his eyes wander the room, taking in the detail and the strange beauty the entire building seemed to have. The rest of the group knew exactly why they were there and Naden could almost see the fire of hate burning within his comrades. This was something he couldn't understand yet. Maybe if he looked at the building hard enough, he could see the evil.

"Naden?" Cloud asked, Naden yanked his mind back into reality and looked at Cloud and Barret. "We thought we lost ya there for a second." Naden shook his head and smiled,

"No, I think--"

"I think you all better raise your hands." A deep voice demanded cutting Naden off. The group turned to a now open door. There, with a gun aimed at Naden's head, stood a tall man. He had sunglasses on, bald head and an all too familiar blue suit. He removed his sunglasses and fixed his gaze on Naden. "Put you hands in the air…now."

"What if we don't?" Cloud challenged. The man fixed his eyes on Cloud now but he never once moved the gun, he never flinched. He smiled,

"You're in SOLDIER, are you?" he asked.

"Was." Cloud grumbled.

"So you think you can stop me? Do you think you could draw your blade fast enough? Do you even think you could kill me before I blow your friends brains out? Tell me…"


"Alright, tell me Cloud, is it worth it?" Cloud didn't respond, he just fixed his Mako eyes on the Turk. After a moment of unconformable silence, the ring of a PHS sang out. The Turk moved his free hand to his pocket to get the phone without taking his eyes off the group or moving his gun hand. He pushed the talk button with his thumb and brought it up to his ear.

"Rude here." Cloud looked harder at the man, "At least I know his name now." He thought. Rude listened for a moment and then he smiled. "Thanks." He hung up and smiled even wider. "It turns out one of your other comrades is waiting for you. Hands up and walk." Everyone let out a long, frustrated sigh and put their hands up. Rude let the smile melt off his face; this would upset the President even more.

Reno's head hung, he was somewhere between sleeping and passed out. Tseng let his head fall back and hit the metal wall with a thud. The holding cells were completely silent except for Reno's labored breathing. Tseng rubbed his temples trying to ease the pounding in his head. He knew it was from the gun that one of his former comrades had hit him with. Although the arrest had been made nearly three and half-hours ago, the pain was still there, and part of it came from Reno's blabbing to the "voices in his head" for an hour. He couldn't think of anyway out of the cell. Reno snorted and Tseng glanced at him.

"I wanna ride the pony." Reno mumbled. Tseng sighed and listened, no footsteps, nothing but some frantic computer geeks. They were attempting to decode the virus. Tseng leaned back and closed his eyes and didn't open them until he heard approaching footsteps.

"Alright girly, into the cell." Demanded the familiar voice of Reeve. Tseng heard the cell door next to them open, the middle one. Footsteps entered and the door closed with a click. Reeve chuckled and kicked Reno and Tseng's door. He walked away still laughing. Tseng knocked on the wall quietly so the guard wouldn't hear.

"Hey who's there?"

"No one that concerns the likes of you." A female voice grumbled. Tseng ignored the comment.

"What are you in for?" he asked.

"Breaking and entering this building, killing guards, and waltzing into the President's office, threatening to kill him in the most brutal way…you?" she replied.

"Framed for the murder of the President's son. I'm an ex-Turk and so is my half conscious partner here."

"Turk huh? Were you on the mission to kidnap, murder, burn a house and then drop the Sector 5 plate?"

"The Sector 5 plate was dropped? Nope, I bet I was here." He paused, "Did you say murder? How was this person or person's killed?"

"Sick Shinra bastard…why?"

"Because like serial killers, each Turk has their own signal or mark. Most of the time it's the way the person is killed and the position of the body. Where was the fatal wound and how was the body positioned?"

"Bullet to the back of the head, face down to the ground."

"How were the arms positioned?"

"From what my comrade says, in front of the head."

"Yup, just what I thought, Rude. That’s' the way he kills. He kills quick if it's someone he doesn't know but if it's someone he knows he makes it as slow and as painful as possible. He's also the best god damned liar I've ever met."

"Why do you say that?"

"He's the one who suggested that Reno and I be the scapegoats for the murder of a klutz."

"What's your name Turk?"

"Tseng, you?"

"Tifa, and you said your partners name is Reno? He didn't happen to get his ass kicked by the 'hooded girl' did he?"

"Yeah he did…why?"

"Her name is Karta and she's here. Where and why I really couldn't tell you."

"Just great."

"Don't worry, you seem okay, I don't think she'd kill you. Where are you stationed…like on death row, prison for life, what?"

"Death row put by Rude and if I know him and I know I do, it will be slow, long and painful."

"That sucks are you mad at Shinra?"

"Yup, if I ever get out of here I'm taking this god damned company down."

"We could be really good allies Tseng. Your nothing like I thought the Turks were like, you seemed to have things called feelings."

"Vise-versa, I never thought that rebels could be cool. Maybe we could…" Footsteps started to approach, Tseng counted four people.

"Get moving, Gun arm and red get in the far cell and blondie get in the cell with the slut there." Came Rude's voice. It was at that moment Reno woke up. Two doors opened and shut and Tseng listened to the footsteps. Then his doors opened and in the doorway stood Rude. He grinned, "My little scapegoats, you will be put in the gas chamber tomorrow and do you want to know the best part?"

"Not really but your not going to give a choice are you son of b*tch, whore !@&$ing, lying bastard, ass kissing asshole," Reno said loud enough for everyone else in the cells to hear. Rude's grin fell off his face and he walked over to Reno. He drew his foot back and kicked Reno in stomach. He winded him and he fell over. Rude leaned over and picked Reno up by his collar clear off his feet. He slammed him hard into the metal wall. Rude his other hand over Reno's throat and let go with his other hand, holding Reno against the wall by his throat. Reno's eyes went big and he started gasping for breath but Rude kept a strong hold, nearly crushing Reno's windpipe. He got in Reno's face and said, "Insult me again and I'll beat you so every bone in your body is broken." He leaned back from Reno's face, by now his eyes were rolling back and he was turning blue. "Your deaths will be broad casted nation wide so everyone will get to see you die." He dropped Reno to the ground and he fell with a loud thud. With another kick in the stomach Rude turned to leave but he turned one more time in the doorway and grinned, "Have a great nights sleep." He walked away with the door closing behind him. Reno gasped for breath and said in hoarse voice,

"Kiss my ass."

"You had that one coming." Tseng informed him. Reno turned and glared at Tseng with a look of sheer hate, fire burned in his eyes. Tseng had never seen Reno look like that.

"Two words: !@&$. Off."

Tseng could hear Tifa informing the new prisoners about him and Reno. Tseng soon learned that the guy in the cell with Tifa was an ex-SOLDIER named Cloud. In the far cell was a member of AVALANCHE and fellow comrade of Tifa's named Barret. And finally there was Naden and Tifa told him that Naden fell threw her ceiling and had lost his memory. "Could that be…no way it couldn't be…could it?" he thought. Cloud and Reno started laughing about their previous encounter. Tseng and Tifa discussed what Shinra had done wrong over the years. Although no one would show weakness, they all hoped Karta wouldn't get captured.

"Sir, we may have a problem." Rude said.

"What may that be?" President Shinra asked.

"Rufus is alive."


"Yes sir."

"Are you sure?"

"Very sure sir."


"Positive, sir."

"How, he should be dead. No one could survive a fall like that, you said so yourself unless…Rude did you lie to me?"

"No, sir I would never lie to you."

"He should be dead."

"There is one thing I noticed thought. His new friend were calling him Naden and he had this far away, confused look in his eyes."

"Kid properly lost his memory when he fell."

"What should I do sir?"

"Kill three birds with one stone."

"I'm sorry sir, I'm not following."

"We'll get rid of my ex-Turks, what's left of AVALANCHE and my son. All killed at once and our problems will be over. Are there anymore?"

"Yes the hooded girl, her name is Karta."

"Well, we'll just leave her fate to science."

Karta kicked open the metal door and held her Rune Blade ready to kill. There wasn't a sound and Karta lowered her blade. She glanced around the room; a large sixty-eight was painted on the wall that was the level she was on. The room had lots of computers and books and papers where piled up to the point that they were nearly falling over. Each computer screen was fuzzy because of her virus. She slid her sword away and walked over to the nearest computer. She brought up a screen that let her type in a password that would stop the virus. Within a second every computer screen went clear. Karta chuckled; Shinra wasn't half as good as everyone thought. She began to explore old top-secret files left by Professor Hojo. There were so many files on so many specimens that you had to type in keyword to find one. She typed in A010 and up came a file. She was just about to start reading it went a gun clicked and a cold barrel pressed against the back of her neck.

"Well, well, well, who do we have here?" came a voice. Karta grinned,

"You know very well who I am." She replied. She started to turn around to face him but the barrel was just pressed harder against her neck.

"Don't move, I will shoot."

"No you won't." ignoring the threat, she turned around and Karta and Professor Payne glared into each other eyes.

"Well this is a face I haven't seen in years." He said.

"I was personally hoping we would never meet again." Karta replied firmly.

"That's you…not me. I was hoping we’d run into each other again someday."


"Well, I guess I better get permission from the President for us to 'catch up'. Get walking." Karta raised her eyebrows but never her hands. She turned and walked out of the room, she turned and walked down a hallway to the holding cells. "Get in the middle one, don't get too comfy, I'll be back soon." The door opened and she stepped inside. The door slammed and Professor Payne jogged away. Cloud and Tifa looked up at her and sighed.

"Well that's it, we're all caught." Tifa announced.

"What happened?" Cloud asked her. Karta didn't respond she just sat down and leaned against the wall with her head back.

"Cloud?" she said after a moment of silence.

"What is it Karta?"

"We're friends right?"

"Yeah, we've always been"

"Promise me, no matter what happens if and when you get out of here, don't go looking for me."

"But why?" Karta didn't answer; she just got lost in her own thoughts. She barely heard Tifa say,

"Did Mako b*tch just show emotion?" A million things went through Karta's head, hundreds of questions and fears. The biggest question for her at that point was what would happen at this encounter? Footsteps came through the hall and the door opened. "Payne was always a man of his word." Karta thought. A guard stood holding a slip of paper.

"Which one of you is Karta Jewel?" he asked.

"I am." She said standing up. Cloud looked around puzzled.

"Karta what…?" he started.

"I'll be fine." She said but it wasn't very convincing. She walked out the door, the guard followed.

"Wait!" Cloud called to him, "Where are you taking her?" The guard turned around and looked into Clouds eyes.

"Professor Payne want's to see a former specimen." He replied sternly. The door shut leaving everything thinking one thing: specimen?


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