JIHAD Chapter 2
By Winter Weil
First Written: Thursday, November 26, 1999
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Comments and constructive criticism welcomed and appreciated.
Flames get deleted. =(^.^)=
All rights to Final Fantasy VII and its characters belong to Square Soft. The characters of this series are used without permission only for the purpose of entertainment. This fanfiction is not meant for sale or profit. All original characters are copyright to the author. Don't use these characters without contacting the author first.
/ / are character thoughts
She floated in a void of green light. She didn't feel the confines of her body, the tingle of her hands or feet. Rather it was her consciousness, her mind, that floated in that calm void, caressed from the inside by her thoughts of peace.
She saw, but did not see, for she had no eyes, that the sea stretched about her for as far as her mind could register.... empty.
The first thought struck her with the voice of a gong.
Why was it empty? She had been here many times, for answers, for peace, but there had always been a spark out there. A spark of intelligence, the warmth of kindred souls, the bells of voices forgotten in life. She was never alone. She was always surrounded by -
Her consciousness shuddered, sending ripples through the suddenly murky space.
Her light, her candle in the darkness -- where was it? How could she have forgotten to light it before traveling to this place? She reached for it, tried to wrap its silvery brightness around her, for it to protect her from the void, but nothing happened.
Fear shot through her. She had been taught never to delve in this place without her light against the dark, for not only sparks of peace traveled here. She remembered the first time she had come here alone, the way its stench had surrounded her, the way its filthy claws had scratched against her barrier of light. She had been weak then, but it was even weaker, so by fear alone she had escaped it.
But that was years ago. She had become stronger, and it was stronger still, as she dreamed it would be. It haunted her nightmares, and her fear fed it. *Their* fear fed it. Now it crawled in these emerald depths like a plague.
Was it only she who drew it? Why hadn't it attacked the others? Was it because she was weak? Or was it because she had seen it for what it was, dimly through the bright light of her shield? That she had seen its pain? Its fear?
The peace around her rippled and cracked, the brighter emerald invaded by tendrils of black. She knew it was coming. It always came for her. She could never stay long in this place before it approached, maddened by her presence. The others never felt its contamination.
And she was unprotected.
She struggled to bring her thoughts back to her, to take up the smallest place possible. She had to remember where she was before she could escape. Tendrils of thought dipped swiftly through memories. As they came back, broken and out of order, her senses came back -- a searing pain in her side. The sense of a rock digging into her thigh. The darkness of her closed eyelids.
But she wasn't out yet. Part of her was still in that place; she could feel the shackles of its pain and anger surrounding her, trapping her. She could smell its stench.
/Not yet. You can't have me yet./
She could hear its cry of anger and resentment as that plane faded away. Air surged into her lungs.
The soft crackle of fire and the hoots of night birds were all that broke the silence. Randomly stars shed their light through the clouds and the branches of trees, but their luminescence did nothing to add to the sparse fire's light.
Camped in a small lean-to that protected the fire pit from the rain that had passed, Reeve adjusted the young girl in his arms and sighed. The rains had ended almost an hour ago, light as they had been, but the droplets still clung to the leaves and formed a puddle in the dip of the tarp above them.
The flight from Junon had left a weary ache in his bones that he hadn't felt for years. Not twenty minutes after Karri's collapse the rains had started, making it doubly difficult to travel through the woods. Thankfully Tifa had a mastered cure on her, but the woman's injury had still been grievous. The time he had spent alone with her, while Cloud and Tifa returned to Junon for supplies they couldn't have brought before, was nerve-wracking for him. Being alone with an unconscious woman and a frightened young girl did nothing to lessen his own fears.
Also, it did nothing to lessen his thoughts.
A sigh escaped him, his eyes shifting to the fire that crackled merrily on despite the soaked woods around it. Was it only he who had been oblivious to all the signs of this? He should have seen it coming... should have seen the writing on the wall, as it were.
/Why shouldn't the council be all for increasing the budget for the JEC program? Once I'm gone, they can turn it back into a brain-washing program it was back when Shinra was in power..../
He shook his head and scowled angrily at the fire, mentally berating himself for his lack of sight. /Fool. It was right under your nose the whole time. The sudden surge of promotions, the lack of positions staying open for long... *someone* was obviously pulling a stunt under me. Someone, or more than one someone./ The mayor -- or ex-mayor, as he should be thinking of himself now -- fought back the urge to hit something, not wanting to wake the young child he tended. /I didn't even see the trap 'til it had closed behind me.../
An owl hooted softly in the distance, accentuating the silence about them.
"Damnit," he swore softly.
A log in the fire shifted and popped, sending a spray of sparks in the air, and eliciting a startled jerk from him. He chuckled softly at his nervousness, and willed his heart to pull out of his stomach and back into his chest. /I'm probably gonna die from a heart attack before we even get as far as Fort Condor..../
That soft murmur instantly sent his heart hammering again -- it must have been loud, because just then young Celia stretched in his arms and began rubbing at her eyes sleepily. On the other side of the fire, he caught the sight of movement, and again forced himself to relax once he realized it was Karri, finally waking.
"You're paranoid, Reeve," he muttered, moving to settle the girl on the bunched-up blankets beside him. She instantly hugged the fabric to her, and with a murmured agreement of 'Para-nod', fell right back to sleep.
He couldn't help but think himself a sad case when three-year old kids started agreeing with him.
Getting to his feet, and wincing at the pins and needles one leg happily dcided to give him, he limped over to the injured woman's side, kneeling beside her. "Karri?" he spoke softly.
Her eyelids fluttered, and for a moment he wondered if maybe she were just sleeping. /It would be better to let her rest...../ But her brows drew together at the sound of his voice, as though it was a great effort to open her eyes.
"*Naght*...." Her voice was thick and whispery; finally managing to squint up at him, she swallowed and tried speaking again. "...what...?"
"We're in the Junon forest," he supplied helpfully, "right by the lake. You've been out for almost two hours." He shifted, putting a little pressure on his waking leg, and grimaced at the spark it sent up to the base of his spine. /Wonderful..../
She grunted softly and closed her eyes -- for a moment it seemed as though she was going to faint again. But instead she lifted a wavering hand from her side, it instictively going to the bullet wound they had painstakingly cleaned and bandaged. The ex-mayor quickly caught her by the wrist before she could pick at the bandage. Her face contorted into a half-scowl.
"Itches," she muttered irritably, barely able to take in enough breath to say the single word.
"It's a nasty wound. No matter how much it might itch, you've got to leave it alone. That means it's healing." He paused, looking down at the hand that rested limply in his grasp, before lowering it back to her side and leaning back. "And Tifa thinks it best to wait a few more hours before casting any more cure spells on you. So you'll have to suffer."
"Suffer." The wounded woman snorted softly, and lifted her other hand to pick at the bandage again, at the few strips of gauze that peeked out from under her shirt. "You left to nurse me?"
Reeve sighed softly and removed that hand, also, from the bandage. "Sort of," he replied. "Cloud and Tifa went back to get some supplies we couldn't bring with us once we got this camp situated. Right now they're out to make sure no attention gets directed towards us."
"Sitting ducks?" she asked, again raising her other hand to scratch the wound. He caught that one up, too, and held both by the wrists.
"Sort of," he repeated. "But Cloud left a materia bracelet with me." He decided not to add that he had never cast materia except through Cait Sith. Such things hardly inspired confidence.
Karri sighed in irritation and weakly attempted to extract her hands from his grasp, which wasn't even close to firm. "I gitcher point," she muttered. "Lemme go."
With a mumbled apology he quickly did so, hoping the flickering firelight didn't expose the flush that rose to his features. Reguardless of the fact that it was hardly an embarassing situation. He scowled at himself, thumping a fist on his slowly waking leg and stifling a curse. He'd been acting like a retard ever since meeting this girl. How did the most innocent of things manage to send a blush to his cheeks whenever she was involved?
Thankfully for him, she was too out of it to notice. Or so he hoped.
Settling her hands over her lower stomach and linking her fingers together, Karri's gray eyes fluttered shut again with a soft sigh. "Riccochet," she muttered softly.
"Huh?" He drug his eyes away from the fire and his thoughts from his embarassment. "What do you mean?"
"Riccochet," she repeat, dragging her eyes back open with great effort. "Hit by a riccochet."
Realizing after a moment that she was referring to her wound, the ex-mayor chuckled softly at his mental slowness. "That's what you get for holding up a Turk."
She snorted. "Look who's talking." Squinting one eyes closed, she gave him a faint smile. "Better to hold one up... than to be held up by one."
His grin faded some, and he looked away from her. In the hours that he had sat alone, the only conscious one in the group, he had berated himself not only for his lack of sight, but for the harm that had come to his old friends. If he hadn't been at the bar, Tifa and Cloud wouldn't be out here right now, forced to abandon their home and business; the thought of the cost to repair the damages wrought in the gun-fight also made him cringe. The danger that had been imposed on them, and especially their young child, and the injury Karri had taken, who was literally an innocent by-stander, despite her actions.... he was guilty for it all. If he hadn't jumped at another chance to get out of the office, none of it would have happened.
Granted, he would probably be dead right now if those new Turks had taken him at home. And if Heideggar was really alive, and bold enough to send them after him in public, he could have ordered Cloud, Tifa, and their child to be slaughtered in their sleep. But the thought of the possible alternatives didn't make him feel any less guilty over the situation.
A long silence stretched out after the woman's last statement. Maybe she read the guilt he felt from his reaction, because she didn't attempt anymore conversation. Which he was grateful for -- he didn't want any of those "It wasn't your fault" speeches right now. So they sat (and reclined) in wordless quiet, with only the crackle of the fire and the occasionally hoot of a night bird to break it.
It was almost an hour later when Cloud and Tifa headed back to camp again. It had taken them a long time to shake off the pursuit that had managed to trail them after they had broken into the supply store and dropped the items off with Reeve. Tifa herself felt the strain of the whole evening like it rested on her shoulders, a pressure that bowed her spine and had long since started a headache at the base of her skull.
The black chocobo she rode resettled its wings as she shifted again in the saddle, trying to gain some respite from the ache in her legs and posterior. She prided herself for managing to stay in shape -- she had lost every pound she had gained from the pregnancy -- but regular excersize and the occasional spar or bar fight did not compare with the precarious life she had lived before settling down. After four years of peace, she had forgotten what it was like to live in fear of an attack, catching sleep in the saddle, walking hundreds of mile with a goal in mind, but not in sight. Though they had only gotten into three real fights this night, every second had been filled with a fear she hadn't remembered feeling before.
She risked a side glance at her husband, wondering what thoughts were going on behind his features. With his eyes cast down to where his hands held the reins of his own chocobo, and the small frown flitting across his lips, anything could be going on in there. Even with the time they had taken in becoming close to each other, his thought process still remained something of a mystery to her. True, some times they said the same thing at the same time, and sometimes when she called him she found his line busy because he was trying to call her in the same moment. But there were still instances when that unreadable look returned, like the one he wore now, and she felt completely apart from him -- that unnerving sensation she had had when he had come to her bar for the first time in Midgar, and had not recognized her.
What *was* he thinking? Was he thinking about those new Turks, or the attack that had followed, but was aimed at both them and at the owners of the bar? Was he thinking about what they had encountered while pulling attention away from the make-shift camp, the soldiers that had sprung from every corner in Junon, un-uniformed but all with standard issue pulse rifles emblazoned with the dreaded Shinra logo? Or did he have the same worries as she, the same fear that had haunted her this whole night, that searchers had found the camp and slaughtered the three at it? That she would find her daughter thrown to the ground like a discarded doll, mud staining her clothes and blood staining her hair?
Tifa jerked her thoughts away from that devastating mental image, ignoring the lump in her stomach. Cloud had given Reeve a bracelet of decent materia, including two summons that weren' t likely to destroy the forest along with the attackers. She shouldn't be so worried. But the fear, that fear that Shinra would again take away everything she held so dear -- she couldn't shake it. A child, a wounded woman, and a man armed only with materia stood little chance of surviving an attack in her mind.
So as they grew closer to that place that loomed dreadfully in her mind, she couldn't help but look for puddles of frozen ice that would signal Shiva's use, or char on the tree trunks from fire attacks, or the scent of blood and gunsmoke. And when they pushed through the last of the underbrush and saw that the camp was undisturbed, the relief was so great she felt tears prick at the corners of her eyes, though she pushed them back.
She was human, damnit, with dreams and fears just like any one else. Just because she had been involved in the fall of Shinra and the final *true* destruction of Sephiroth didn't mean that she was jaded. Killing and fighting still frightened and sickened her, and she was happy to let it stay that way.
Reeve looked up from the fire as they approached, his knees drawn up slightly and his arms wrapped around them. Beside him lay Karri, hands linked over her stomach, eyes closed in sleep. Tifa couldn't help but notice the lines of strain around his eyes; he had always been distanced from fights before, either by Cait Sith or some other means. She gave him a great deal of credit of holding up so well.
Cloud dismounted from the chocobo, lightly ruffling the golden feathers on its neck, before unbuckling its saddle. It warked softly and rolled one large eye at him, lifting its wings so he could pull the item off.
"How're things holding up?" he asked as he worked.
"Quiet," the likely ex-mayor replied. He raised a brow at the sigh of relief Tifa gave once her feet touched ground again. "You guys?"
The warrior shook his head slowly, setting the saddle on the ground beside his daughter. She didn't even stir. "Bad, Reeve. Junon's crawling with more soldiers now than it did when Rufus was sworn in." He shook his head again. "Real bad."
Reeve turned his eyes back to the fire, a solemn expression on his features. "I was afraid so," he said softly. "I doubt Heideggar would have Turks if he didn't already have an army."
"But where did he GET the army?" Tifa asked as she laid her saddle alongside her husbands. "There were so many more there than I could have imagined."
Cloud cast his blue gaze to her. "There are still al ot of disatisfied organizations out there. In four years, Heideggar could have easily gathered them all into one group."
"Why didn't we hear it?"
They all started as the new voice juined the conversation, Reeve the most violently so. Apparently Karri wasn't as asleep as she seemed.
"Good question," Cloud said after a moment. "Any recruitment of that size is bound to gather attention."
"And there's also the question of how Heideggar survived," Reeve added darkly.
Another long moment passed between them. /It's all so unreal,/ Tifa couldn't help but think. /Like something out of my worst nightmare. Just so long as nothing else comes back, too..../ Her eyes moved to her daughter, who was curled up in the blanket as though this was something that happened all the time. Fear sparked in her again, and she resolutely fought it down. Whatever happened, she would make sure Celia remained safe. It was all she could really do.
It was Karri who finally broke the silence, unlacing her hands from her stomach and bracing her elbows under her. "S'now what?"
Reeve immediately reached out to keep her from sitting up. "You shouldn't be moving about yet," he admonished.
She shot him an evil glare. "We can't stay here forever. The sooner I get moving the better."
"Actually, you both have a point." Cloud rose and rounded the fire, kneeling again by Karri's side, opposite from Reeve. "We're way too close to Junon right now for my comfort. I figure after a bit of rest for Tifa and I, we can pack up and move to the other side of Junon lake, and stay there for the rest of the night. Tomorrow we can set off for Fort Condor." His faintly-glowing eyes flicked to the woman's face. "May I see your wound?"
Karri hesitated a second before nodding slowly, and shifting her weight onto one elbow so she could lift her shirt up to just under her breasts. Around her waist was wrapped the gauze they had stolen from the store, holding in place the padding that prevented her from bleeding too much. The gauze itself was only slightly stained from the bullet that had entered her side; the cure Tifa had cast was able to cut back on the bleeding, and so far it looked like it was working.
The warrior gently placed his palm over the bandage, to feel for the heat of a possible infection, or if the blood was in any way fresh. Her nostrils flared immediately, and her lips tightened, but Karri remained silent.
"You know we couldn't remove the bullet," the warrior stated, pulling his hand away, clean. "That's the reason why we didn't risk a full-cure."
She nodded slightly, lowering her shirt back over her stomach. "Kinda figured," was her soft reply. "So I'm stuck with you, huh?"
Tifa couldn't help but smile grimly at that smart-assed statement. "Unless you want to go back to Junon."
"Or stay here," Cloud added.
Despite the joking air in their words, Reeve immediately shook his head. "Nuh-uh," he said. With a glance to Karri, continuing, "I got you into this. The least I can do is get you to a decnet clinic, like at the Fort."
The "don't-argue" tone in his voice surprised Tifa. She hadn't expected him to place the blame of the situation on himself; after all, how could he have possibly known any of this would happen? *No one* had even had a clue that Heideggar was alive!
She opened her mouth to point this out to him, but stopped. He probably didn't want to hear any of that right now. Goodness knows she wouldn't.
Karri's only reply was a dry, soft chuckle.
"Reguardless of whose fault it may be, she's still going as far as Fort Condor." Cloud's eyes shifted to Tifa; she nodded. There was no way she could refuse to give help in a situation like this. "We'll see about anything else once we cross that bridge."
Both Reeve and Karri nodded slowly to the statement. "Good. Then get some more rest -- it's likely that getting over to the other side of the lake will be difficult." The wariror got to his feet, and shook his head ruefully. "Hell, it's going to be a difficult trip *whichever* way we go."
Tifa sighed softly and ran her fingers gently through Celia's hair. /Hopefully it won't be as bad as that,/ she prayed.
The take over was complete.
The soldiers, truly, had just been a back-up, a threat to keep the populace from resisting en masse. And few had resisted; pockets here and there that had been immediately dispatched, save for the rumors of a group holed up in the twisted corridors of the JEC complex -- rumors that had not yet been confirmed. That was hardly a disturbance in his well-laid plan.
Even though, and the fact rather irked him, the plan to capture Mayor Reeve Allens and kill the members of the now-disbanded Avalanche had gone awry. It was a pity that someone would have to be punished for the failure. And that someone would not be among his precious Turks.
It did not take very long for that someone to enter his office without knocking. Rudeness must be rewarded, after all.
"I got your men through, General," the insistant voice demanded behind him. "You promised me my money would be deposited into the account as soon as the operation was completed. Where is it?"
He glanced briefly towards the man. Short, pale-skinned, and balding, he stood with hands on hips and feet spread in what he probably assumed was an aggresive stance. It only ended up in emphasizing how... what was the word? ... *pathetic* he was.
He turned back to the window, a panoramic view of the sun rising over the now-dismantled Sister Ray. He rather liked this office... a seat of power from which he could watch over the denizens of Junon City.
"Well?" the man demanded again.
The chair creaked in protest as he rose to his feet, linked his hands behind him, and turned. It would have been a great joy to grab the skinny man by the neck and throw him out the window -- to watch his blood stain the sidewalk six stories down, and see the glass rain down onto the twitching body.
But he ignored the thought for now. It had been his inability to resist temptation, after all, that had nearly killed him. In controlling his anger, he had managed to place himself into a position of power with the least effort. He must continue to listen to that small voice inside, and ignore his urges. he couldn't afford to fall now.
/After all... he's going to die anyways./
There was that.
He remained silent for dramatic effect, knowing that it was not just his massive height and girth that sent blood draining from the skinny man's face. The long scar that ran from hairline to chin, blinding his right eye and cutting a swath through his gray-streaked beard, was no doubt a shade frightening. Especially since he made no attempt to cover his blinded eye; wounds of survival should be displayed, not hidden.
"I do not like your demanding things of me," he spoke, voice rumbling like thunder from the depths of his chest. "Mr. Graves, you may have gotten my soldiers through by the virtue of your position in Reeve's retinue, but I fear you did not fully complete your end of the bargain." He did not smile, though he dearly wanted to, as each word caused the man's eyes to widen further.
/You musn't forget where you are./
No, he musn't. There was no point in showing off to a man who would soon be dead -- he hadn't missed the irony in his name -- for dead men help very little in spreading fear. This display, which could have easily been avoided, was solely for the sake of the soldier standing guard just inside the door.
/He will spread fear of you./
Yes. It only takes one, after all.
"How - how could I have possibly *not* fulfilled my end?" Graves sputtered, waving his hands irrately. They trembled, despite his forced aggresion. "*I* was the one who smuggled the troops in over the past two years, *and* the weapons, without it seeming suspicious! *I* was the one who supplied you with the access codes to the submarine bay and military barracks! *I* was the one who got your personnel into key positions among the city board members!"
"And you," the general added smoothly, "were the one that supplied me with deliberate misinformation on the whereabouts of Mayor Reeve and his associates."
So it was a small lie. The soldier who shifted uncomfortably by the door did not know that.
Graves only stared at him, wide-eyed and incredulous.
"Oh, you need not look so surprised," he continued when the other seemed at a loss for words. "Yes, you may have completed the other tasks of our agreement, but you promised me, if I may quote you, 'Mayor Allens' head on a silver platter.' And I have recieved neither. Reeve was not at his home, nor at the address you supplied me with. And the lack of his presence within my soldier's grasp, I fear, is an unforgivable breech in our contract."
"But-but-but.... it's hardly MY fault if HE choose to go somewhere else last night--!" Graves' voice raised in pitch as he spoke, a desparete, panicked edge to it.
/The smell of fear.../
Yes. Almost as satisfying as the sight of blood.
The general only lifted one hand and made a brief gesture to his audience. The soldier left his post, gloved hands reaching down to pull a pair of binders from his utility belt. It was a testament to Graves' stupidity that he did not resist when the soldier cuffed the man's hands behind his back -- he only stared at the general, mouth working silently. He had not yet understood the meaning behind the action; likely enough he would be denying the reality of the situation right up to the point where a bullet put an end to his pointless life.
The general only felt that appropriate.
"Take him outside," he ordered, turning back to the spectacular view the window provided, "and shoot him there."
/The carpets are too nice to be ruined by blood./
He smiled grimly. "Yes. They are."
The soldier's footsteps began and receded, echoed by faint scruffs and rustles as Graves finally began to struggle, finding his voice once out in the hallway.
"You can't do this!" he screeched, a pitch entirely degrading for his supposed position and power. "You can't get AWAY with this! Do you hear me Heideggar?! This isn't the end of it! HEIDEGGAR?!"
One large, callused hand rose up and stroked the bristly chin, idly tracing the facial scar as Graves' voice retreated. The dead man was correct in one thing -- this was by no means the end.
/No. It is only the beginning./
The beginning of a grand scheme. No, not a scheme, a dominion, an advance of power that would rival that of anything the Shinra had mastered. With two years of work, and one day of action, he had captured the second largest city in the world, with the second largest oceanic fleet and airship fleet. He was in a position to capture the whole WORLD.
And he would do so, for.... for...
/They are here./
Three gentle taps on the doorframe brought him from his thoughts, and Heideggar turned, sightless eye shifting towards the Turks as though it could actually see them. "You are late," he intoned darkly.
There was a faint rustle of clothing against clothing as one of the two stepped forward. "A thousand apologies, General Heideggar," the smooth, dark voice responded; a voice that could have been
/a sweet angel of death/
Tseng, were he still alive. "But Adrian took a bad wound in the attempt. We stayed with him long enough to be certain it was not mortal."
He turned more, to allow his good eye to rove over the men that had entered his office. As spoken, the fair-haired, empty-eyed devil he had appointed as head Turk was missing. "How loyal of you."
"Thank you." The Wutaian bowed shortly, just enough to indicate respect; dark strands of hair feathering across strong shoulders as he straightened and turned his angled eyes up to his general. Their black depths shone faintly with the light of mako. "However, we felt it would be bad conduct not to bring you a full report of the attempt, including injuries."
He let his eye shift from the speaker to the other Turk, standing attentively to the side. We, indeed. This one was a follower, not a leader -- one who would carry out an order to the letter, without an ounce of personal initiative. He even looked like a follower, like any man walking down the street, for there was no deadness in his eyes, like Adrian, or a cocky self-assurance like
Yes. Him. We can't forget about him....
"Very good. Estimated time until Adrian's recovery?"
"He lost his hand, sir, but he is currently waiting to undergo mako therapy. The doctors believe he will only need a few days rest once the Junon reactor is brought back online and the therapy initiated."
The Turk's eyes did not waver, or blink -- with those pale features and jet-black hair, he could have been a reptile, or a statue. He did not care about Adrian's injury... he did not care about anything, save for the job. A smile touched the general's lips. It was so good to know that this dragon, even with its head cut off, would still be able to operate.
One thick finger pointed to a pile of personnel folders on the desk before him. "Leave the debriefing alone for now; we know where they'll go. Right now, I want you to take one another task... Parks, was it?"
"Parker, sir," the Wutaian corrected cooly, dark eyes turning to the files. "Orders?"
"Capture." He reached down, flipping open the cover of the top folder. Upside down, the sunny smile of a blue-eyed blonde shone up at him, a Shinra profile nearly five years old beneath it. Hers was the thinnest of the three. "Records indicate they are currently in the employ of our ex-mayor, but their current whereabouts are unknown."
Parker reached for the picture, slender fingers tracing the woman's smile. "Should we wait for Adrian's recovery before we commence, sir?" His dark eyes remained downcast on the profile.
"If he is not capable of taking up his position in three days, begin without him." With one last glance at the open file, the general turned back to the window. Outside, the sun had finally risen above the horizen, slowly morphing from a bloody ball of triumph to the yellow eye that would burn down upon the world. "I'm sure I don't have to tell you to take precaution with this operation."
There was a soft scrape of paper as the Turk closed the file.
"Of course not, sir," was the smooth reply. "However, if the occasion should arrive, shall we shoot to kill, or to disable?"
"Disable," Heideggar snapped. "I want them alive, and I will accept NO MISTAKES. Don't return if you do not have one of the three in your possesion."
"Of course, sir." The folders hissed softly against cloth as they were picked up. "We will begin searching for their location immediately."
Save for the faint sounds of his Turks retreating, the office was deathly silent. None of the sounds from outside the office penetrated the thickly insulated walls. Which was a pity -- he would have liked to have heard the gunshot that ended Graves' life.
/Insulation works both ways./
Another moment passed before his lips contorted into a smile, the scar on his face writhing with the motion. Yes.... this would make an excellant office, once some renovations were made.
The carpets would be the first to go.....
First Written: Thursday, November 26, 1999 (5:32:53 PM)
Revised: Tuesday, June 18 (4:48:58 PM)
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic