Adversary Chapter 16

By Triad

Midgar, Sector Six 0004, N.C.E.

Cold and sweating he awoke, face pressed against a rough cold surface. His tongue hung loose and dry, and his eyes were full of uncomfortable grit that made it difficult to keep his eyes open. He could feel a dull pain and taste the blood dripping from his nose, sickeningly moisturizing his parched throat. Gagging and wiping off his burning face with a bruised hand, he felt around with the other, trying to figure out what was happening to him.

Then his ears began to register the deafening array of noise flooding the air.

Explosions, gunshots, shouts, screams, tires screeching, glass breaking…


He ached terribly, trying to turn himself over so he could look up at the sky and snap out of it. He spit the dribbles of blood from his mouth, and coughed, trying to breathe in clear air as he rolled over onto his back, his eyes lazily coming into focus. The sky was gray, overcome by clouds, and the wind was still. He lay in the street, head resting against the curb.

Where am I?

He shouted in surprise and tensed as he heard a bullet ricochet off of a nearby surface.

“Goddammit, Jerry! Hold your damn fire! He’s down already!” A man shouted from what was assumed to be the other side of the street. Another voice snarled in discontented correspondence.

“Hell no! These squinty bastards are all going down! Don’t care if I have to empty six goddamn clips into each one of their dumb ass heads!” The sound of the chamber being opened and bullets pouring into the metal drifted through the air. His heart began to pound. Whatever was going on, it was not good.

“Jesus, Jerry. Calm the hell down. Put that thing away ‘fore you kill someone. It’s not our job to do ‘em in. Just to bring ‘em in.” Another one spoke up. They were advancing toward him, and he could now make out their appearances.

There were three men in blue security uniforms, visibly beat about the face, and wearing scuffed and scarred bulletproof vests. The man in the lead held his pistol leveled at his target’s head.

“I got most of a mind to blow your stupid Woot head off, you goddamn bastard. Get on your stomach like you were and put your hands behind your back.”

Woot? What the hell?

In no state of mind to put up a fight, he complied, rolling over and flopping his hands out lazily. Apparently it wasn’t good enough.

“I said behind your back.” He ordered, jerking his head up in the air, mashing the barrel of his pistol into his neck.

“Alright! Damn it!” He gasped, trying to do just that. He was responded to with a hard smack on the back of the head, dizzying him.

“Don’t talk back to me, you fuckin’ freak. Shut the hell up.” His arm was painfully wrenched up, and cuffed to the other, and then he was yanked up into the air by all three of them, and thrown against a blue armored car with lights at the top. They rummaged through his pockets, pulling out things he had know idea he carried on him. He had no idea why he was even here. He couldn’t remember anything…

“Amazing how well these Yakuza punks are armed. It’s like fucking up their own goddamn country isn’t good enough, so they gotta come over here and fuck ours up too, assholes. You’re all gonna get life for this, I hope you know. You’re going down where you belong.”

He didn’t ask questions. His head ached like the end of the world. His arms burned, and his face was badly bloodied. They could do whatever they wanted to do to him, as long as he could just lose consciousness in the process…

He faded out so much he almost didn’t realize it when he heard the squeal of tires and the roar of an engine come from up the street, tearing towards them, automatic gunfire blazing through the air. He felt the guards release him and he fell down to the street, straining his eyes to see. A black car swerved sideways and stopped, and two individuals jumped out the opposite side, taking cover behind the vehicle. One of the officers screamed and fell.

“Shit! Get in the car! Now!!” Jerry screamed to his remaining companion, tearing the doors of the police car open, and starting the engine. One of the people at the other end of the street leapt over the car, and raced down the street, loading another clip into his gun. Furiously the policemen tried to get their car moving before he closed, but as the engine roared into drive, he jumped up onto the hood of the car, letting his bullets rain through the windshield.

“Woot that, mother fucker!!” He shouted triumphantly, stepping off the hood, leaving two bloody messes inside the car. Kicking away whatever was left of the glass, he rummaged through the car, collecting the firearms from the dead and dying officers, and then he walked out calmly through the door, approaching the man in the street. “You alright there? Looks like you took some bad smacking around. Can you stand up?”

He stared up at him blankly, mouth slightly open.

“Epsilon, can you speak? Are you okay?” He bent down beside him.

Epsilon? Me…?

“Shit, they smacked him up bad. Zeta! Help me get him into the car! Don’t worry, man. We’ll get you back all right. You did great. Just don’t take on that many next time.”

“Who are you?” He said in a hoarse voice, looking up at his visitor. He was thin, tanned, and wore black-rimmed eyeglasses with yellowish lenses. His hair was oddly colored gold, and he wore strange black clothes. He slapped himself on the forehead and shook his head back and forth.

“Man, just don’t ask too many questions. Sleep it off, you’ll be fine, alright? We have to get out of here now.” He felt another set of hands take his shoulders, and the man in front of him lifted his legs, into the open door of the black car, which had driven nearer.

The interior of the car was dim, cool, and the seats were comfortable. The two people set him down, laying him across the back seats of the car.

“You okay there?” One of them asked. She was a girl with a soft voice and a pretty face. She reminded him of someone, indirectly.

“Yeah…I think I’ll be okay.” He whispered. She smiled, comfortingly.

“Xi will be glad to hear it.” He looked at her, askance.

“Xi?” She closed the door before he could hear an answer, if there even was one.

The car drove for a long while, the tinted windows in the back not letting much light through. He could hear faint whispers of a conversation from the front, but he paid no attention. He was doing his best not to think, and just last until they got to wherever they were taking him, and he could have his face cleaned and go to sleep. After a while, the vehicle slowed, and then stopped, some gravel crunching under the tires. The doors on either side of him opened, and the two lifted him out of the car, and up onto his feet. He blinked a few times, looking around.

They were inside some sort of garage, humid air thick and rising around them. Other vehicles were parked, being worked on, half-finished, and otherwise strewn about. Tire marks and chewing gum were stuck to the cracked cement floor, and the only exits appeared to be the giant retracting bay doors, and a small metal door on the wall with a rusting padlock on the handle. The girl walked around in front of him. He got a somewhat better look at her. She was relatively short, barely five feet tall, and once again, he felt her black hair and almond eyes bring back a rush of odd visions of someone…someone he couldn’t recall or describe, yet seemed a part of his mind.

“You doing alright, Epsilon? Can you walk now? Chi, maybe we should help him out.” She took his arm, and helped stabilize him as she led him over to the metal door. “Open it for me, will ya?” She said, impatiently. Chi sighed and walked over to the door, taking a key out of his black jacket and shoving it into the lock, twisting it open. Epsilon walked into the dark space in the wall, unassisted, and waited for someone to turn on a light.

He saw the other two, still standing in the dimly lit garage strapping goggles around their heads. The girl called “Zeta” laughed.

“Chi, you forgot to give him his Night Vision, duh.” Chi, rolled his eyes.

“Ugh…they’re probably in the car with the rest of his crap. Forget it, we’ll just walk him in. I’m sure he doesn’t care if it’s all bright green inside.” Epsilon was still silent. “Come on. Grab my hand.” Chi told him. He complied, almost like an automaton. On the way, he tripped a few times over differences in the flooring, bumped into either of them, and strained his eyes to make any kind of shape out of the darkness, pointlessly. Eventually someone opened a door, light rushing into the room. They pulled him through the doorway.

The room was run-down looking. A shoddy looking table sat in the middle of the tastelessly colored tile scheme. Cracks ran through the white walls, and chunks of plaster were missing from the ceiling. Chi picked up a half-filled coffee mug from the table and imbibed the contents, wiping his mouth on his sleeve.

“Okay, first things first. Let’s get Epsilon cleaned up, get him some sleep. Then we’ll get to the…holy shit!! Epsilon, you got the Materia, right? Right?” Epsilon looked back at him blankly.

“…Materia?” Chi punched the table.

Fuck!! That was the whole point! Why the hell else were you out there? Huh?! Where’s the damn Materia? Jesus, man. If you lost the shit, I swear I’m gonna…” Zeta elbowed him in the ribs. “Ah! Bitch! Don’t touch me! Don’t’cha realize what this means?! We’re gonna get- mmph!” She shoved a paper napkin into his mouth, ceasing his babble.

“Shh…calm down. Here, I have some left over.” She pulled out a small jar from her jacket, and shook two yellow pills out of it, handing them over. His eyes lit up and fixated upon them, as he spit the napkin out of his mouth, and shoveled them in, taking them with the last of his coffee. He swallowed, and shook his head violently, a crazy smile twisted on his face.

“Oh…thank you so much, baby! You are god, you know that? C’mere.” He pulled her close and kissed her face messily. She laughed, uncomfortably, but pushed him away, as he bounced on his heels, walking around and then out of the room in an energy rush, laughs coming from him sporadically. “Gonna find that damn Materia.”

“Uh…okay.” Epsilon mused, shocked. Zeta giggled.

“Ah, we give him what he wants. Besides, it’s entertaining, isn’t it?” He shrugged, waiting nervously. “Hey, I’ll go see if Xi is up. She’ll be glad to see you.” She turned and left, returning shortly after. “Nah, she’s still out like a light. She was up late the past few days, but she’ll be happy you’re home when she wakes up later.”

Xi…who is that?

“Here, sit up on the table. I’ll get some stuff to clean you up.”

“Okay…thanks, Zeta.” He sat down, kicking his legs slightly back and forth. He felt around his face with his hands, wincing at the pangs of discomfort. His lips were busted up, his nose was hurt badly, and his eyes and cheeks felt cut and bruised. “Ouch…” He murmured.

She reemerged from the back with some alcohol and cloths, setting them down on the table next to him. Without her waist-length jacket, she wore a black sleeveless shirt, and red dragon tattoos flowed down her arms.

More flashes…memories he couldn’t remember…

He couldn’t even feel the sting of the cleaning of his face, and kept staring at those tattoos of hers.

“Hey, lose the jacket. I’ll see if you were hurt anywhere else.” He wasn’t even aware that he was wearing a jacket as well, just like Zeta’s and Chi’s. He tiredly pulled it off, putting it aside. He froze.

He was wearing a black sleeveless shirt.

Red dragon tattoos flowed down his arms.

He screamed, making her scream and drop the bottle. It shattered all over the floor.

“What?! What happened? Are you hurt?” She stammered. He shook like a leaf in the wind.

“N-no…nothing happened. I-I just need to sleep that’s all. This is all just too confusing…” He started to get up, but she pushed him back.

“Look, just hold still. I know it’s tough, but you gotta pull through, somehow. Do whatever you need to, just let me finish up and then go off to bed, alright?” He breathed heavily, and nodded.


“Thanks a lot. I feel kinda better now. Where’s…where’s my room?” He asked, sheepishly. She raised an eyebrow.

“You don’t know where your own…oh, whatever. Go down that hall, third door on the left. The one with the doorknob that hangs off its hinges kinda. You’ll remember. We all did.”

“Okay…” He said, walking sluggishly down the hallway.

“G’night, Epsilon.” She called. He turned just for a moment.

“Good night.” He said. Down the hallway there were four doors. One was shut, the next was open, and Chi was sitting on a bare mattress, watching a television and laughing his head off, trying to stifle the noise. Ironically, whatever he was watching didn’t look particularly funny. His room was next, apparently. He flicked the light on, revealing the extremely bleak, almost empty room. A dresser, a lamp with a crooked shade, a cracked mirror, and a bed with white sheets were all that resided inside.

As long as there’s a place to sleep, I guess…

He looked in the mirror. He didn’t recognize the face he saw. True, he was beaten, but the man in the mirror was almost unknown to him. His hair was cut close around the sides and back, and was somewhat long and spiky red on top. His eyes looked tired and sad, and his tattoos…he lifted his shirt to see the whole design. It was design of a long red serpent, or several of them, that winded from his wrists, across his chest, down his other arm, and finally stopped at the other wrist.

Am I…one of them? But who are “they”?

He walked out into the hallway again, peering in through Chi’s open door. He still sat there chortling at the newscaster who droned through the speaker. Sure enough, he was wearing the same clothes, and possessed the identical markings on his arms.

What could that mean…?

He was about to go back into his room, when he noticed that the next one’s door was slightly open. The light was off, yet he thought he could hear some noise coming from the inside. Carefully, he crept closer, listening at the door. Someone was asleep inside, breathing softly.

Xi, maybe?

He pushed the door open quietly, making sure not to step on anything that would create a disturbance. The edge of the door less than a foot from the jamb, he slid his head through the opening, and spent a moment letting his eyes adjust to the dark.

The room was cluttered with things: pieces of clothing on the floor, gadgets on the desk, a jacket slung over the desk. Whoever lived in the room was wrapped in blankets on the bed, which was rather larger and in better shape than the one in his room. He could hear the person’s breath clearly now, definitely that of a female…

This must be her…

The door didn’t make too much noise, so he opened it, stepped in, and closed it behind him. With the dim moonlight drifting in through the open, shade less window, he could easily make his way around without crashing into anything. He approached her, running his hand up the blanket, along her body. The touch made him feel warm inside. She tossed slightly, almost as if she were about to awaken, but then lay still again. He could see her smooth black hair against the white cloth, and her fine eyes fluttering in her sleep. He felt his heart swell. Zeta wasn’t the girl he was thinking of, this was.

“Xi...” He whispered, touching her face. The memory of her took shape in his mind. Although the name didn’t strike him as familiar, the more he gazed down at her, the more he remembered her.

We met in a…in a restaurant…no…something like that…and it was me, and…a friend, I think. And…yes…this has to be her…

And the more he thought about it, the more he remembered still.

Was I with that guy Chi? I think…I think I might have been. Yeah. And Zeta…it…that’s right, it was her restaurant, wasn’t it? And then today, today we were getting Materia…and I think I did good, right? Yeah…yeah, Chi said I did well. He must be a good friend of mine…he saved my ass back there. Guess I don’t remember much because I got beat up a lot…oh well…I’ll talk to them all about it later…

He took one last look at her, sealing her image in his mind, and then left the room, walking out into the hallway, and re-closing her door. The other doors were closed now, all except his, which still hung open. The lights in the den and the kitchen areas were out; Zeta most likely had turned them off when she went to bed. He walked back down to his room, and flicked the light on, kicking his shoes off. He guessed he might be able to call this place home. At least he had friends around him. Just as he was about to drop down into bed, he heard something…something outside his room, perhaps down the hallway. He moved back to his doorway, and looked out, down the hall.

The rooms to all the doors were still closed, and the lights in the den and kitchen were out. He stood there, not breathing for a moment, checking again for any sounds.

Just the building settling…

He figured. And then he shut out the light, closed his door, and went to sleep…

In the shadows of the kitchen, a small, wicked smile formed under pale green eyes.

Chapter 17

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