Final Fantasy 7 Episode 1: The Great War Chapter 2
The Birth of a Warrior
2,000 years later
Hojo watched as Professor Gast nimbly climbed the nearly sheer rock face. The man was full of energy, and twenty years his senior too. Hojo scrambled up after his instructor.
"Hold on for a moment," Hojo called out.
Gast turned back, a smile on his face. His eyes glinted with enthusiasm.
"Cmon you poke, I think weve found what were searching for."
"Wed have better," Hojo replied sourly. "Mr. Shinra is trusting us to find him this Mako as youve termed it. If we cant," He gestured futilely. "We can kiss our grant goodbye. And Shinra Incorporated too, for that matter. Hes put too much of his money into this expedition. If Bugenhagen and you are wrong "
"Dont worry about that," Gast was incredibly certain of his own conjections. "The Mako is a sure thing. And as for its presence here, the reason this continent is so dead is due to an enormous sapping of energy from the surrounding land. Ill bet my life on that."
"You have," Hojo pointed out.
"Just wait till we reach the top of this cliff. Lucreciall be sorry she didnt come with us!"
With that, the professor started up again, reaching the top and looked into the crater. Hojo reached it a minute later and stared in shock. Pure energy was interweaving at the bottom of the pit.
"You were right Mako does exist."
Gast began his decent towards the energy. Hojo followed all his doubts about Gast vanished from his mind. At the bottom they saw the tip of what appeared to be a huge Materia crystal. Gast nodded to himself.
"There you have it," he explained to Hojo. "Proof that Materia is formed from Mako energy. Thats what Shinrall want to hear. With that, he can make as much Materia as he wants.
"Now hand me that shovel and lets get this thing out of the ground."
Lucrecia sat staring out the window, sipping her coffee.
"Hoo hoo hoo,"
Lucrecia gave an exasperated sigh; she couldnt stand that annoying sound Bugenhagen made.
"Dont worry about those two, theyll be back safe and sound soon enough."
"Im not worried," she defended herself. "Just tired of waiting."
"You could have gone with them. They offered after all."
"Into that weather? No thanks. Why didnt you go with them?"
"My dear child," The old man addressed everyone as child, even his friend Professor Gast, who was on equal footing with him at 38. "Gast is the field researcher. I merely think up the theories, Gast proves them."
"And takes the credit," Lucrecia couldnt help adding.
"Yes that too," the man agreed, not the least distraught. "Im not in this for any glory, I came here to learn and thats what I intend to do."
Vincent, the representative for the small research business Shinra Inc., entered the room. He was 22 and had an obvious fondness for Lucrecia. He smiled at her, his eyes attempting to catch hers.
"Ah, how are you Vincent?" Bugenhagen either hadnt noticed or hadnt cared about where the Turks attention had been residing. "Youve got to wake up earlier than this. We researchers were up at the crack of dawn."
"I guess Im not cut out to be a researcher then," Vincent turned back to Lucrecia.
"Right," she said tightly. "Im sure you prefer your work as a professional thief."
Vincent was plainly hurt by the barb, but he wouldnt be put off.
"Thats not what we Turks are about," he tried to explain. "We dont steal, or any of that stuff you hear about. We merely look out for the companies best interests."
Lucrecia had heard the speech before. Vincent was nice enough and a good friend, but she just didnt understand how he could keep up that type of job. She was spared giving a response, however, for at that moment Hojo burst through the door. He was carrying one end of a glowing green crystal, while Professor Gast carried in the other end. They set it down in the middle of the room, closing the door to block the icy wind that had entered with them.
"So we were right," Bugenhagen peered at the gem with great interest. "I take it this is all the proof we need?"
"Not only that," Hojo gasped for breath. "Look closer!"
Bugenhagen did so and let out his own exclamation. Curious, Lucrecia peered into the depths of the Materia. There looked to be something, in a flash she realized what she was looking at.
"Theres someone in there!" She backed away as if burned. Vincent put a comforting arm around her shoulder.
"Isnt it amazing?" Gast was ecstatic. "I cant wait till be crack this baby open and dissect her!"
Lucrecia felt sick.
"In other news; Shinra Incorporated, a Materia research company, is claiming to have proof of Mako energy. The popular idea that Materia is made from this energy, condensed inside the earth may be made a fact before this decade is through. Professor Gast, the head of the investigation has returned to Nibelheim with what witnesses describe as a huge crystal. There are reports that it also contains a body of some sort."
Gast switched off the radio.
"Did you hear that? Were famous,"
Bugenhagen sighed to himself. He didnt care for fame, but it was becoming belittling to be ignored wherever he went.
"Actually," he tried to sound offhanded. "I only heard your name mentioned."
"So thats how it is?" Gast was a little pleased to see that even Bugenhagen had his limits. "If youd only gone to school and gotten a degree."
"I wouldnt be half the man I am today. While you were cooped up in a classroom, I saw the world. Now if they had this kind of system that Hojo and Lucrecia are part of, first hand experience out of the classroom; Id have been a real professor in record time."
"Yeah, yeah. Lets just concentrate on the work at hand ok?"
"Right, hand me that pick axe."
"What are you, crazy? We cant brake this open with such a primitive instrument."
"My dear Gast, do you want this opened or not? Mr. Shinras mansion is for guests, not scientists. They dont have laser scalpels lying around the floor. Its either primitive here and now, or advanced back at Shinra HQ."
"Ok, here- but youd better know what you're doing."
Gast hefted the wooden handle over to his colleague. Bugenhagen brought it up, over his head and slammed it down with all his might. A tiny chip fell away from the crystal as the metallic axe shattered.
"Hmm, maybe a laser scalpel would be a good idea."
"Great, just great. Now weve got to lug this thing all the way back to seven cities."
Gast slammed his fist down on the crystal in disgust. A crack ran its way across the surface, widened and the jewel shattered.
"Lucrecia, wait!" Vincent caught up with her on the outskirts of the town.
"What is it Vincent?"
"I Ive wanted to say this for so long."
She studied his face. His eyes kept looking away from hers. He was incredibly nervous.
"Lucrecia, will will you "
"Vincent, dont do this. You know the answer. Im just not ready for marriage. And then theres your work "
She saw she was hurting him by trying to explain, she turned to walk away. Vincent grabbed hold of her arm.
"No, dont leave! Ill get another job, we can be happy "
"Let go, Ive already told you no,"
He could not let go; if she walked away from him now, hed never muster the courage to approach her again. She tried to break away, he saw he was only hurting her, but he couldnt will himself to let her leave his life. She wound up and hit him across the face. He stumbled back surprised. She scrambled away.
Hojo saw that something was amiss and hurried over. Lucrecia fell into his arms, sobbing. Vincent turned away. He had become the person he had loathed. A part of his soul died as he saw Hojo leading his beloved back towards the mansion.
"Gast, do you realize what this means? This womans cells, still functioning after who knows how long! This is incredible, Mako energy must be more than just liquid Materia."
Professor Gast waved that thought away.
"Forget about Mako; these cells, Ive never seen anything like them. Theyre the real prize of this expedition. Who was this woman?"
"Perhaps a Cetra," Bugenhagen suggested. "Theyve been all but extinct for so long, we have no idea what their cells are like."
Gast grinned. "We do now."
One year later
"I now pronounce you man and wife, you may kiss the bride."
Vincent walked out of the church. He hadnt wished to attend in the first place, but that had been too much. Lucrecia wouldnt even speak to him anymore. If hed only waited a little longer or changed his occupation, that would have been him at the front of the church.
His thoughts were interrupted as Hojo and Lucrecia came out of the building under a canopy of rice. Gast came out behind them, hands clasped behind his back. Bugenhagen followed close behind his friend.
Actually, the word friend didnt really fit anymore. The two scientists had been at each others throats lately. Gast wanted to inject the cells of the ancient, Jenova she had been named, into living creatures. He believed the cells would mutate DNA into a superior life form.
Bugenhagen wanted nothing to do with such matters. He wouldnt stand for such a corruption of natures creations. Unfortunately for Bugenhagen, Gast was in charge of this Jenova Project and was pushing more and more for his ideas.
Mr. Shinra was too busy with his growing empire to keep a close eye on the matter. His new found wealth was due solely to the Mako energy condenser. The Shinra had built this device to create Materia at an incredible rate. What once took hundreds of years; the condenser could do in a matter of months. Shinra was keeping the machine a top secret. It had been designed mainly by Bugenhagen, with a few modifications put it by Gast and was looking to begin a scientific revolution.
"Yes, it seems everything is coming together for those two." Gast was saying. "First they graduate from the course and now this. Theyll make a fine addition to our full time staff."
Bugenhagen nodded, seeming to come to a conclusion.
"Yes," he said. "With so many people being hired now, I think its time I left."
"What?" Gast was shocked. "You cant leave now. Everythings about to happen. Were going to start infusing living creatures with Jenovas cells. Well "
"Thats exactly what I mean," Bugenhagen interrupted. This isnt about pure research anymore. I want out of your madness."
"Is that so? Then leave, see if I care." Gast was furious. "I dont need you anymore. Youve always been jealous of my fame."
Bugenhagen suppressed his own anger.
"Im glad you feel that way." He snapped. "It makes it all the easier to walk away."
And he did just that.
Six months later
"You cant be serious!" Vincent didnt believe his own ears. "Injecting Jenovas cells into an unborn child? You have no idea what thatll do."
"All the more reason to find out," Hojo calmly replied. "Dont worry, were both scientists."
"And you would go along with this," Vincent demanded of Lucrecia. She stared back at him sadly.
"Of course she will," Hojo shoved the Turk towards the door. "Now if you dont mind leaving."
Vincent clenched his fist. Hed wanted to knock Hojo off his high horse for so long. Lucrecia looked to him pleadingly. Vincent allowed himself to be pushed out the door. Hojo slammed it in his face.
3 months later
She knew she should be feeling pain, but not like this. She knew labor was supposed to be both wonderful and agonizing, yet it didnt feel natural.
"Just a little farther," Gast was doing a far better job than Hojo. The professor was handling the delivery as the doctor and now coaching her as well. Hojo was in the adjacent washroom, looking green.
"There, you did it!"
Gast cut the umbilical cord and Lucrecia collapsed back on the bed. Gast raised the newborn boy and gave him a sharp pat on his bottom. The infant made no sound.
"Oh no, NO!"
Gast tried again, harder. Then he looked into the childs eyes. No pain, anger or distress showed in his ice blue gaze. Gast was mesmerized by the stare. He should be doing something, what was it? The boy continued to stare at him, almost in amusement at the mans befuddlement.
Hojo, realizing the birth had taken place entered the room. He took the boy from Gast.
"Ah, Sephiroth, you will indeed be special."
Lucrecia struggled up on her elbows. Hojo turned and left the room.
"Wait " she tried to call after him.
Gast patted her on the shoulder, walked out of the room and shut the door.
Lucrecia had been confined to bed for a week. Hojo and Gast paid no attention to her, all their time taken up with her son. A maid who brought her food was the only contact she had with the outside world.
After ten days, she couldnt lie still any longer. She got out of bed, donned a housecoat and went out of the room. Gast and Hojo werent anywhere to be found. Then Lucrecia remembered the new lab Gast had constructed. She went into one of the bedrooms and checked the rounded corner on the other side of the room. Sure enough, it swung open to reveal a spiraling staircase.
Lucrecia hurried down the staircase, she heard voices from below. She didnt notice her feet being torn by the rough stone floor as she approached the lab door. She shoved it open and found Gast and Hojo peering intently at Sephiroth. Her son was hooked up to several different machines; computer readouts were coming in by the dozens.
"What are you doing?" After spending over a week in bed, she felt faint from the strain she had been putting on her body. She nearly collapsed in front of the two men. They didnt pay any attention to her.
"I want to see him, hes my son. Let me hold him "
"Go back to bed," Hojo snapped, not even looking up.
Gast went over to her.
"You knew this was the plan when you agreed to inject Jenovas cells. You understand we cant waste a moment, dont you?"
"Im his mother, Im entitled to spend time with him." She could no longer see clearly. Her consciousness faded.
Lucrecia woke back in bed. She couldnt take it any longer. She got up and walked over to the dresser. In the drawer were the scissors Gast had used to cut her apart from her dear son. This time, they would finish the job.
Vincent arrived at Nibelheim to congratulate Hojo and Gast on their amazing progress. He had a different idea of what to do with Hojo, but he couldnt bear to harm such a pathetic little man. Certainly not when he knew that it would hurt Lucrecia as well.
He entered the mansion. He knew where the two professors would be, so he decided to pay a visit to Lucrecia first. He knocked politely on the door. No answer. He knocked harder. Still nothing. A little worried, Vincent tried the door to find that it had been locked, from the outside. He kicked the door in and saw the worst scene hed ever witnessed.
"Lucrecia, no " He collapsed next to her body, sobbing. "Hojo, youll pay for this!"
The Turk rushed out of the room, heading straight for the lab. He threw the door open to see Gast going over some papers.
"Where is he!?"
Gast looked up in surprise.
"How could you allow this to happen? How could the two of you let her die alone and heart broken?"
Vincent grabbed Gast by the shirt, lifting the man off his feet.
"You two might as well have killed her yourselves!"
Vincent saw Hojo exiting out of the corner of his eye. He tossed Gast to the ground and ran over to his true quarry.
"Vincent wait," Gast got back to his feet. "Dont hurt him."
"Give me one good reason not to,"
Vincent turned slightly to spit the question at the man. He glanced at the gun and froze. Gast pulled the trigger and Vincent dropped to the floor.
End of Chapter 2
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