Everything You Need to Know About FFVII
By Emperor Steele
So, you're writing some FF7 Fanfiction, but you seem to have your facts in a mess? You've come to the right place...
I've divided this into 2 sections: The Timeline and the Jenova thesis. The timeline, as stated below, takes place in perspective to the beginning of the game, so a "day-by-day" system was used. I determined "days" by mandatory rests, and how long in a realistic setting it would actually take to get from point A to point B (I've estimated that Cloud could run around the world in about 5 minutes, and that's kinda fast...). The Jenova thesis is just a collection of facts from the game, as the whole relationship between Cloud, Sephiroth, Jenova, etc can be confusing.
TIMELINE: This does NOT include any non-game information, only what we know from playing the game. Any information in Italics is an educated guess which most people seem to agree with, a side-quest item or a comment from me... Everything is put into perspective from the beginning of the game.
Any time over 2000 years ago: The CETRA, a race of beings who migrate to-and-from and cultivate planets, arrive on "The Planet" (Which was never given a name, and shall hence-forth be referred to as just "The Planet")
2500-2000 years ago: Some Cetra refuse to leave the planet, content with their new-found home. Against Cetra tradition, they build homes, reject their powers and elect to lead "easier" lifestyles. This is the beginning of what becomes the "Human race".
2000 years ago: The Cetra find out a large object has struck the planet at the "Knowespole". The Cetra try desperately to conserve the planet's energy so that the wound can heal (by growing less food and not having children). An alien being pretends to befriend the Cetra in this time of crisis, but betrays them, unleashing a virus. This virus turns the effected Cetra into monsters. The being starts to spread the disease to other Cetra clans. The "normal" humans hide, rather than try to fight the being or help the planet. The Cetra find out that this entity was responsible for the meteor and dub it the "Crisis From the Skies". The WEAPONS are created by the planet to counter this threat, but the Cetra contain the entity before they could be released.
130 years ago: BUGENHAGEN born.
57-54 years ago: Vincent Valentine born.
48 years ago: NANAKI Born in Cosmo Canyon.
47-40 years ago: Cosmo Canyon invaded by the GI TRIBE. SETO, Father of Nanaki, risks his life protecting (and saving) the canyon. In his dying words, he makes Bugenhagen promise never to tell Nanaki what happened.
35 years ago: Barret Wallace born in Corel.
32 years ago: Cid Highwind born (We don't know where, mind you, there was no Rocket Town back then).
~30 years ago: The alien being responsible for the atrocities 2000 years ago is discovered by PROFESSOR GAST of the SHIN-RA WEAPONS COMPANY (yes, Weapons, they were a weapons manufacturer before becoming an electric conglomerate). It is believed to be an "ancient" and named JENOVA. Jenova is brought to the town of NIBELHIEM for study, and the SHINRA MANSION is used as a base. JENOVA PROJECT begins. Experiments on it yield that it's cells, when reanimated and properly injected into a human, makes the human stronger.
30-27 years ago: PROFESSOR HOJO and LUCRECIA have a courtship and conceive a child. That child, in utero, is injected with Jenova cells to determine the effect they would have on one born with them. Lucrecia apparently dies, and SEPHIROTH is born via cesarean. VINCENT, a TURK assigned to protect the scientists (And coincidentally enough, in love with Lucrecia) objects to this sick perversion of nature, and is mortally wounded (Some say killed and brought back) by Hojo. Hojo does some freak-experimenting, giving Vincent morphing abilities. Vincent, for failing to save Lucrecia, allows himself to be locked away into a coffin.
29-23 years ago: Professor Gast discovers that Jenova was NOT an ancient when he finds a REAL one, IFALNA. (or he realizes jenova is not an ancient and stumbles upon Ifalna much later) He quits Shinra and flees with Ifalna to ICICLE INN.
27-10 years ago: SOLDIER program initiated as a COVER for the Jenova Project. Healthy young men volunteering for military service are given Jenova cells and Mako-enhancement. This not only makes them stronger and faster, but allows Hojo to study THE EFFECTS (See mini-thesis on JENOVA PROJECT/JENOVA REUNION).
22 years ago: AERIS GAINSBUROUGH is born to Gast and Ifalna. However, Hojo has waited for just this moment, kills Gast and has Ifalna and Aeris taken to Shinra for study. NOTE: It is unknown whether GAINSBUROUGH is the last name of Professor Gast (Unlikely, otherwise he'd be named Prof. Gainsburough), Ifalna, or Elmyra (see "17-14 years ago").
21 years ago: CLOUD STRIFE is born in Nibelhiem.
20 years ago: TIFA LOCKHEART is born in Nibelhiem.
20-16 years ago: Cloud's father either leaves home or dies.
18-15 years ago: MIDGAR-WUTAI war begins.
18-13 years ago: JUNON is built over a small fishing/port town. (Facing the wrong direction, mind you)
16 years ago: YUFFIE KISARAGI is born to LORD GODO of WUTAI and an unknown woman. Many theories have been suggested as to the identity and fate of Yuffie's mother, however, the theory that she died in the Midgar-Wutai conflict is given credence by Godo's and Yuffie's emotions over the defeat, emotions which may actually stem from the loss they felt when she died. Another supported theory was that she was a random sexual encounter, and the woman gave the child to Godo, thinking that the lord of Wutai would be a more suitable parent than a whore. Again, this is all mere conjuncture, none of which is supported by anything in the game.
15 years ago: Ifalna and Aeris make their escape from Shinra. Ifalna leaves her child in the care of ELMYRA at the train station, then dies.
14-7 years ago: Aeris hints that Elmyra's husband is dead. TSENG, a Turk, locates Aeris and identifies her as the ancient child that escaped years ago. However, for reasons unknown, she is not taken against her will.
12-10 years ago: The Shinra Weapons company makes it's first attempt at space-exploration (SHINRA NO. 26), lead by CID HIGHWIND. However, he aborts the launch to save SHERA's life. The area near the launch-site is made into ROCKET TOWN. Afterward, the Shinra find out how to extract MAKO (Lifestream, actually) and convert it into electricity. They re-form as an electric company after they find that people are willing to pay for such a nice, modern convenience. They become the world's one and only super-power.
8 years ago: Tifa's mother dies. After Cloud is unable to save Tifa from falling off a ledge, she goes into a coma for 7 days. Afterward, he tells her that he is going to join SOLDIER. Tifa makes Cloud promise to be her proverbial knight in shining armor.
8-6 years ago: Tifa begins martial arts lessons under ZANGAN, who has 128 students around the world. Cloud is unable to make it into SOLDIER, But during this time befriends a friendly, semi-oblivious SOLDIER named ZACK. Zack and Aeris are boyfriend and girlfriend at or around this time. The last time Aeris hears from Zack is via a note where he tells her about his next mission...
6 -5 years ago: The Shinra army, under the leadership of Sephiroth, wins the Midgar-Wutai war. Sephiroth is hailed as a hero.
5 years ago: Zack, Cloud, and Sephiroth make their way to Nibelhiem to investigate a malfunctioning reactor. Tifa waits to see if Cloud is with the group, but Cloud, ashamed, keeps his MP mask on and doesn't talk. Sephiroth discovers the Jenova chamber, and Professor Gast's notes, and realizes (somewhat falsely) that he was produced. Sephiroth goes insane, and destroys the town, Killing Cloud's mother, Tifa's father, and most of the townspeople. Sephiroth believes that Jenova is his mother and that she's an ancient, and he begins a campaign to free her and seek the "PROMISED LAND". Zack and Tifa are both mortally wounded. Sephiroth cuts off Jenova's head and takes it with him, but is stopped by Cloud and tossed into the lifestream. Cloud is mortally wounded. Zangan finds and treats Tifa, and takes her to Midgar. Zack and Cloud are imprisoned in the Shinra mansion and are used as specimens for Hojo's experiments (specifically, one to make a SEPHIROTH CLONE). Cloud is given Mako treatment and Jenova cells.
4-2 years ago: NIBELHIEM is reconstructed and repopulated by Shinra employees. All evidence of the incident is hidden/destroyed and all rumors are denied. Jenova is moved to Hojo's lab in Midgar.
4 years ago: MARLENE is born to DYNE -Barret's best friend- and ELENORE (some people idiotically dispute this). A Mako reactor is built in the coal-mining town of Corel. However, after an explosion at the reactor, the town is destroyed by Shinra troops; Elenore and MYRNA (Barret's wife) die, along with most of the townspeople; Dyne apparently dies, and Barrett is unable to use his right arm after a run-in with SCARLET and a few Shinra soldiers. Barret makes his way back into Corel, finds Marlene alive and adopts her. (er, if Barret was wounded, why didn't they finish him off?) Barret makes his way to Cosmo Canyon, where an anti-Shinra movement called AVALANCHE is being formed. Barrett joins, and is assigned to go to Midgar and start up a "local chapter" there. Now, I say that Barret didn't make up AVALANCHE like is popularly believed because he mentions some other "guy" who started Avalanche... I'll have to look into this further.
3 years ago: A similar accident occurs in GONGAGA, Zack's hometown, except the reactor is totaled and most of the town destroyed.
2 years-6 months ago: Yuffie sets out on her quest to find materia and avenge the honor of Wutai.
1 month to 1 week ago: Zack and Cloud escape from Nibelhiem, Zack having to drag Cloud's semi-conscious body around. They make their way to Midgar to become mercenaries, where Zack is killed. Cloud snaps out of his stupor momentarily, takes Zack's sword and continues mindlessly to Midgar, where Tifa runs into him at the train station. Cloud snaps out of his stupor after seeing Tifa alive and well, but with several memory gaps and false memories.
Okay, now most people assume that this was done just after they were captured, but events speak differently. For one, you see Nibelhiem looking perfect in the background as the duo make their escape. Also, the fact that Tifa found Cloud at the station. What, did Cloud survive without food, water, or shelter for 5 years wandering Midgar without his mind? Or did they live together for 5 years before Tifa said that she was part of AVALANCHE and told Cloud about the job? No, in fact, she tells him about AVALANCHE after she finds him... and Cloud could not have survived long on his own. So I stick by my assessment.
Also, people inquire about Cloud's behavior. It is believed that Cloud pretends to be Zack, but more so possesses all of Zack's skills and quirks. I believe that somehow the two had become "linked", and that Zack becomes a part of Cloud, and it's he who talks to Cloud throughout the game (until Sephiroth intervenes). So Cloud has little idea who he is, or of anything
Beginning of game (day 1): Cloud, Barret, BIGGS, WEDGE, and JESSIE hop a train up to the upper plate of Midgar, and get off near MAKO REACTOR #1. Introductions are formally made (Cloud pretends not to care), and the mission to destroy the reactor is a success, despite Cloud getting a mental warning about the Reactor's security. Cloud runs into Aeris, but no introductions are made. After evading Shinra MPs, Cloud literally hops on the train back to the SLUMS, specifically SECTOR 7. AVALANCHE's base lies underneath Tifa's bar, 7TH HEAVEN (Which has some of the best food in the slums!). We find that 50-meter PILLARS hold up the plates, one per sector. Cloud threatens to leave, But Tifa reminds Cloud about the promise (and Barret's money seals the deal).
Day 2: Cloud, Barret, and Tifa go to bomb REACTOR #5, and all goes well until Cloud passes out and has a flashback about when Tifa's father was killed by Sephiroth. He wakes up, and the rest of the mission goes without incident until they are ambushed. After a fight with a TECHNO-SOLDIER named AIR-BUSTER, the bridge gives way and Cloud falls into the Slums below. Cloud wakes up In Aeris's church after hearing his own voice. Cloud and Aeris escape from RENO, a Turk and make their way back to Aeris's house. Along the way, they come across a sick man who only speaks in incoherent babbles, and he has the tattoo #"1" on his hand. Aeris agrees to take Cloud back to Sector 7 in the morning, But Elmyra convinces Cloud to leave during the night, without Aeris. Aeris, however, beats Cloud to the Sector 6 wall, and they travel together until Cloud sees Tifa all whored-up on the back of a CHOCOBO-drawn wagon. Cloud and Aeris go to WALL MARKET to rescue Tifa from DON CORNEO. Cloud dresses up as a girl to gain entry into the Don's house. Along the way, Cloud may have an encounter with "himself" at the Honeybee Inn. There, they find out that the Don was hired to find AVALANCHE by SHINRA, who plot to drop the Sector-7 plate by DESTROYING THE SUPPORT PILLAR. Cloud, Tifa, and Aeris are forced to go through the sewers and the haunted TRAIN GRAVEYARD to get to the pillar, Where Barrett, Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie are already fighting a losing battle. Aeris rescues Marlene, but is herself captured by Shinra. Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie all die, and Barret, Cloud, and Tifa face off against Reno, but are unable to deactivate the bomb, and escape. All of sector 7, including the people who lived on the plate, are all killed, and Sector 7 is destroyed. The act is blamed on AVALANCHE. The trio make their way to Elmyra's house, where they learn that Aeris is an ANCIENT, and that Marlene is safely there. They plan to go to Shinra HQ and save Aeris.
Day 3: AVALANCHE, or what's left of them, climb the Sector 7 wreckage onto the plate, and infiltrate Shinra HQ. MAYOR DOMINO helps Avalanche willingly. Cloud has a mental attack upon seeing the headless Jenova. Hojo apparently plans to make Aeris and Nanaki mate to produce a "specimen" which would last for a long time. The group saves Aries and befriend Nanaki, who was recently captured as well and named Red XIII. However, they are all captured by the Turks and thrown in jail, but not before the president explains his plan to find the "Promised land" and build more powerful Mako-reactors there. During the night, however, the cell guard is killed and the gang escapes, only to find that Jenova has done the same. President Shinra is killed, and the MASMUNE blade -that which only Sephiroth can wield- is imbedded into his back, signifying Sephiroth's return. After confronting Rufus, The president's son -and now president of Shinra, inc.- the gang escapes the building. After a chase, the gang makes it to the end of the highway, and contemplates hunting down Sephiroth.
Day 4: The group splits up and meets in KALM TOWNE. There, Cloud tells an altered account of what happened 5 years ago, saying that HE was the SOLDIER in the group, not Zack (and, in fact, does not make reference to Zack at all). Tifa plays along. However, Cloud is unable to recall certain events, including what happened at the end. All in all, Cloud wants to settle his past and exact revenge. A "Man with a black cloak and a mean-looking sword" was seen walking "East towards the grassy fields", so Cloud pursues.
Day 5: Cloud and friends make it to the CHOCOBO RANCH, and acquire the CHOCO/MOG materia and CHOCOBO LURE materia, and use a chocobo to cross the swamp and avoid the MIDGAR ZOLEM. When they get to the other end, they see that Sephiroth had skewered one of the fearsome snakes onto a tree. They make their way through the MYTHRIL MINES and have a non-violent encounter with the TURKS, Tseng, RUDE, and new recruit ELENA, who babble-mouths information about Sephiroth heading to Junon. Depending on what the player decides what to do, this is also the first time Avalanche fights at FORT CONDOR. Also, the team may or may not run into Yuffie. We shall assume, for the purpose of this document, that both these events take place. Team makes it to Junon, where they save PRICILLA from BOTTOMSHELL.
Day 6: During the Night, Cloud is questioned about the events 5 years ago by an inner-voice, this time I'm assuming it is either Zack or Sephiroth talking. Tifa wakes Cloud up, and they Find that Pricilla is okay. She gives Cloud an AMULET with the SHIVA materia. With her help and that of MR. DOLPHIN, Cloud makes it up the tower and makes his way into Junon, where the team suspects Sephiroth has gone. The HIGHWIND is seen for the first time. There, Cloud is mistaken for a Shinra soldier and is forced to take part in the Parade for Rufus and the Send-off. He stows away onto the sea-ship and finds that the rest of AVALANCHE has donned Shinra uniforms and have stowed away as well. The team has a small confrontation with "Sephiroth", who doesn't seem to know Cloud. The team fights a part of Jenova's body (JENOVA BIRTH), and they get the IFRIT materia. The team then arrives at COSTA DEL SOL, where they run into the now-resigned Hojo (Evidently a ladies man... eech!), who makes a passing reference to the "JENOVA REUNION" hypothesis.
Day 7: The team heads west through the COREL MOUNTAINS and into NORTH COREL, somewhat to Barret's disdain. He relates the story of how Corel was destroyed years ago. The team heads to the GOLD SAUCER, where they run into CAIT SITH, a walking talking "Fortune-telling machine" in the form of a cat riding a large magical toy Mog. He joins the group. A series of murders are committed and the clues point to Barret, and the team is sent to the DESERT PRISON by DIO. Barret faces off against Dyne, who has gone insane. Dyne commits suicide instead of having to want to kill Marlene, who he had assumed was dead. The team is given a pardon after Cloud wins the CHOCOBO RACES (In the dressing room, he meets JOE and acquires the RAMUH materia) and ESTER gives DIO the evidence. PLOT HOLE: How did Dyne get up into the Gold saucer, and why did he get back down? The team acquires a BUGGY which can cross shallow rivers and deserts. Dio says that he met "Sephiroth", and that he's headed to Gongaga.
Day 8: The team arrives in Gongaga, but not before having a run-in with the Turks, which leads the team to consider the possibility of a spy. Aeris and Tifa find out this was Zack's hometown, and that he hasn't been heard from in a while. (Tifa believes he's dead, Aeris has not heard from him in over 5 years). At the failed reactor, Cloud finds out that Shinra has plans for an ultimate weapon, and he finds the "TITAN" materia (Which Scarlet had referred to as "junky").
Days 9-10: With no further leads as to Sephiroth's whereabouts, the team heads west and eventually makes it to Cosmo Canyon (where the buggy breaks down if you try to pass there), Nanaki's Hometown and birthplace of AVALANCHE. It is here that the team learns "Red's" true name. They also get a lesson in THE STUDY OF PLANET LIFE by Nanaki's Great-Grandfather (?) Bugenhagen, who explains how energy is recycled in nature to create new life. When something dies, their energy is placed into a "swell" called the LIFESTREAM, which flows just beneath the surface. However, when that energy is forcefully extracted, it can no longer create new life, thus the Mako-reactors are essentially killing the planet. Each member of the team learns things about the Cetra and the planet. Nanaki is found to be only "15 or 16 in human reckoning", and that he despises his father for being a coward. Each member of the team has a thoughtful moment around the "COSMO CANDLE", Nanaki the most disturbed. He relates how his father had run away during a major battle... Bugen leads the team down through the GI CAVE to reveal to Nanaki that his father died a hero (Maybe "died" is too harsh a word, as the cemented Seto appears to cry).
Day 11: The team makes it to the Nibel mountains only to make the discovery that Nibelhiem is "still" there. The residents of the town deny that anything happened five years ago, but Cloud and Tifa don't recognize anyone. In addition, there are several entities in black capes throughout the town, most or all with tattoos on their hands, including a small child. They speak of the great master Sephiroth being near and "The reunion". An important quote from one of the caped entities is "Can you hear the voice of Sephiroth?" Cloud confronts Sephiroth in the Shinra basement, who says he is heading North, and asks Cloud if he's going to participate in the reunion. Along the way, The team meets up with an ex-Turk by the name of Vincent (if they got the key and ODIN materia by defeating LOST NUMBER), who was locked away by Hojo many years ago. He relates the tale of how Sephiroth was born to a woman named Lucrecia, and not "produced", like Sephiroth thought he was. Vincent joins the party hoping to get even with Hojo. The team continues through the mountains and past the MATERIA KEEPER. With no further sign of Sephiroth, they continue out through the mountains and towards the only other town in the area....
Day 12: The Team makes it to Rocket Town, named for that large, tilted rusted-out rocket towering over the town. Hoping to obtain the small aircraft called the "TINY BRONCO" to aid in their chase of Sephiroth, they meet SHERA, who tells them to ask "THE CAPTAIN". They meet the "Captain" inside the Rocket, and find out his name is CID. He was going to be the first man in space, but aborted the mission to save Shera's life. He hints that Rufus is going to be in town, and he hopes to talk the "young president" into restarting the Space Program. After going back to Cid's house, Shera relates her side of the story. PALMER summons Cid to talk to the President. He tries to steal the Tiny Bronco, but AVALANCHE foils him and they grab a hold of the small plane just as it takes off. Cid, disenchanted that Rufus has no plans to restart the Space Program, runs after the T.B. and grabs on. It is shot down, and the team -joined by Cid- uses it as a boat.
The team heads to Wutai, where Yuffie makes off with all of the team's materia. The team pursues and plays a game of cat-and-Mouse. Along the way, they find the Turks there as well, but on vacation. The team meets Godo, who denies knowing Yuffie, but Yuffie appears to reprimand her cowardly father. The team eventually corners Yuffie, but she double-crosses them and runs off again. The team follows her trail only to see her getting kidnapped, along with Elena (who'd left Reno and Rude at the bar to "obey orders"), by Don Corneo. After a meeting -and calling a truce- with the remaining Turks, Cloud and co. find the Don on the Da-Chao mountain. They battle RAPPS, materia-less. Once they succeed, the Don threatens to drop Yuffie and Elena. The Turks intervene just in time, though. Yuffie, thankful for the rescue and knowing she won't beable to trick AVALANCHE again, gives them back their materia and re-joins the team. Even more optionally (and quite near impossible at this point in the game unless you did alot of leveling up), she opts to fight at the PAGODA OF THE FIVE SACRED GODS, where she bests Wutai's 5 strongest warriors -including her father-. For this, she receives the LEVIATHAN materia and her father's blessing on her chosen path, and asks Cloud if she can stay with the group. With all of that out of the way....
The team decides to look for clues pertaining to the TEMPLE OF THE ANCIENTS, which is where Cid had said Rufus was going. Their search takes them to the abode of a WEAPON SELLER who lives east of Gongaga. He tells Cloud that in order to get into the temple (Which he doesn't believes exists), one needs the "keystone". Unfortunately, he had already sold it to Dio not long ago. The team goes to the Gold saucer, where Cloud is forced to participate in the BATTLE ARENA as amusement for Dio so that he can "borrow" the keystone. However, the Tram is broken so the team cannot leave. They stay the night for free at the Ghost motel....
Day13: In the wee hours of the morning, Cloud goes on a date (semi-reluctantly at first) with Aeris (One can also arrange it so Cloud goes with Tifa, Yuffie, of Barret. But for the purpose of the main story, we shall stick with Aeris), and after a night of fun, the duo comes across Cait Sith, who is attempting to steal the Keystone. After a chase, Cait gives the Keystone to Tseng, who flies off in his helicopter. Cait reveals that he (or rather, the person controlling him) has Elmyra and Marlene captive somewhere, so AVALANCHE is forced to keep the traitorous toy on board. After everyone wakes up and meets, Cait Sith reveals the location of the Temple, and the team tries to get there ASAP, as the Turks have a full days lead over them....
Day 14: The team makes it to the Temple Of The Ancients, only to find that Tseng has been mortally wounded by Sephiroth. They find out that Sephiroth plans to retrieve the "Black Materia", which can be used to summon METEOR (Which actually grabs large, free-floating celestial objects and rams them into a planet). The murals on the walls suggest this was done once (or attempted once), long ago. Cloud discovers all this and has another mental attack. The team also finds that the Temple itself IS the black materia, and the only way to get it is if someone on the inside solves the Ancient's riddles, which would cause the temple to shrink down into the Black Materia. Cloud figures that Sephiroth has hundred of disposable clones/zombies/whatever's to sacrifice, so he's determined to get it first. Cait Sith sacrifices himself (being just a robot), and after the gang makes it past the RED DRAGON (and getting the BAHAMUT MATERIA) and DEMON GATE, Cait's fortune-Telling abilities say that Aeris and Cloud are perfect for each other, and they go out the back door(!?), leaving Cait to solve all the riddles. The Temple is transformed, but when Cloud and Aeris go down to get it, Sephiroth bends Cloud's will (Telling him to "Wake up!") and forces him (despite his subconscious's best efforts) to hand over the Black materia. Cloud losses his mind, and takes his frustration out on Aeris, and is punched out by one of his allies.
Day 16: Cloud has a dream about Aeris telling him she's going off to stop Sephiroth by herself. At the end of the dream, Sephiroth appears and says "We'll have to do something about her." Cloud wakes up in the Gongaga Inn with Tifa and Barret by his side. They tell him Aeris has run off, and when Cloud asks what happened, they tell him that he handed over the Black Materia. Cloud worries that he might "lose it" or be manipulated again, but he pulls himself together. The team heads north to BONE VILLAGE. There, they find that they need to recover the LUNAR HARP. Cloud hires the excavation team to find it and dig it up.
Day 17: With the Lunar harp in hand, the team is able to enter the sleeping forest. Along the way, they grab the KJATA materia. AVALANCHE makes their way through the forest and into a valley, where they find the CITY of the ANCIENTS. After exploring the area to no avail, the team settles in for the night inside one of the houses. In the middle of the night, Cloud is awakened, thinking that he can hear Aeris. The team makes their way to the large, central area to find that a path to a city of crystal has opened up. There, Aeris is locked in prayer. Cloud goes in by himself, and his will is once more bent by Sephiroth. He is about to bring his sword down on Aeris, but his teammates stop him. Aeris comes out of her prayer and smiles, but Cloud, taken aback by what he was about to do, can only stand witness as Sephiroth leaps down from above, and puts his sword through Aeris. Sephiroth mocks Clouds "emotions", and after another Jenova battle, Cloud is told that he is only a puppet. The team has a makeshift memorial service, and Aeris is laid to rest in a pool of water.
Day 18: The team pulls itself together, and Cloud declares that even though it is obvious that Sephiroth can make Cloud do whatever he wants, that he will continue the hunt for Sephiroth. As Sephiroth still has yet to use the Black materia, Cloud figures they have a chance to get it back before he does. Cloud has a vision of Sephiroth going north, so the team follows. They make it through the caves and to a town called Icicle Inn. There, They find that a Mr. Holzoff has been missing for 20 years, but more importantly this is where Aeris was born. It was here that Professor Gast and Ifalna made records of what happened to the Cetra, fell in love and had a child, Aeris. Soon thereafter, Hojo invaded their home, killed Gast and had Ifalna and Aeris taken away for study. The team tries to leave town, but Elena (Who accuses Cloud of "messing up" Tseng) and some Shinra troops have the town quarantined. Cloud is able to use a snowboard to make it down the slopes to the Great Glacier. There, they get the ALEXANDER materia and meet a man named Holzoff (Or they pass out and wind up at his cabin). He tells Cloud and his friends how to climb the GAEA CLIFFS. The team takes this opportunity to rest.
Day 19: The team meets at Holzoff's cabin, and move to tackle the cliffs. There, they fight the fire/ice monster SCHIZO, and make it to the top of the cliff. They see a marvelous site: the crater, surrounded by swirling energy. They make their way down, coming across more Sephiroth Clones, many of whome pass out or fall of ledges, and some even attacked by Sephiroth. Cloud finds the NEO-BAHAMUT materia, and then finds that SHINRA has come in their airship, with Hojo along for the ride (PLOT HOLE: He resigned, didn't he?). After passing through several treacherous areas, the team has a confrontation with a Sephiroth clone (#1?) that turns into JENOVA-DEATH. After defeating it, the thing drops the Black Materia. The team meets up, and Cloud gives the Materia to either Nanaki or Barret. Tifa asks to join the advancing party. The team makes it further, but are assaulted by illusions of Nibelhiem five years ago; except Cloud is not there, replaced by an unnamed Soldier (Zack as we find out later). Sephiroth explains that Cloud is simply a clone, constructed from Jenova cells. He further notes that "Cloud" took his memories and appearance from Zack and Tifa's memories, respectively. Tifa begs Cloud not to look or listen to Sephiroth's evidence. However, it starts to make sense... Cloud doesn't remember ever joining SOLDIER. He quickly recomposes himself, however, and the team continues their journey.
The Shinra make it to the center of the Crater, where Hojo explains the significance of the WEAPONS. Suddenly, Cloud and his group appear out of nowhere. Hojo then explains the "Jenova Reunion" idea, and is peeved to find out that only a "failure" made it to the reunion. Meanwhile, Whoever has the Black Materia is assaulted by a strange force, and everyone else disappears. Tifa arrives to help, and she tells him that Cloud needs help. However, "Tifa" is really a Sephiroth clone, and disappears, taking his "cloaking" spell off the other Avalanche members, who come to and realize whoever had the Black materia is now gone... That same character meets Cloud and Co., where Cloud takes the Black Materia. He flies up into an overhanging "tree" of materia, containing Sephiroth, while Hojo explains that Cloud is a Sephiroth clone he created five years ago when the real Sephiroth died. However, the experiment was a failure, and so Hojo didn't even give Cloud a number. Cloud realizes that this whole time, he was being summoned by Sephiroth, not chasing him. Cloud submits to Sephiroth, and gives his unconscious form the Black materia. At this point, the area begins to quake, and Rufus has Avalanche taken aboard the Highwind. The WEAPONS awaken, and the whole area explodes! Tifa is knocked out when one of the WEAPONS flies by the airship, rocking it violently...
Day 26 (or 7 days later): Tifa wakes up in a lab in Junon. Barret informs her that METEOR has been summoned, and that the WEAPONS are on a rampage, with Shinra desperately trying to stop them. However, Rufus cuts their reunion short by declaring that the world needs a scapegoat, and AVALANCHE is it; Tifa and Barret are to be executed live on television. Tifa is prepped for execution, but the guard drops his key. Then SAPPHIRE (some say AMETHYST) WEAPON attacks, and all attempts to slow it down or disable it fail. All but one of the reporters flee, who in turns out to be Cait in disguise. He tries to help, but the door to the gas chamber is locked. Cait suggests they try to find another way to help. Tifa starts to free herself as gas enters the room, but finds herself still unable to leave. Barret and Cait meet up with Yuffie, and wind up at the airport. WEAPON blows a hole in the execution room, allowing Tifa to escape. WEAPON is then killed by a point-blank shot to the head. Tifa is forced into a slapping match with Scarlet, and is able to escape when she hears Barret telling her to run to the end of the cannon. She runs only to find the airship HIGHWIND with Barret on-deck. He tosses her a rope, which she catches, and the Airship takes off away from Junon. Apparently, Cid being on board during the escape from the crater inspired the Crew to revolt. They waited for the right time to make their move, and now the Airship is under control of AVALANCHE, all of whom are accounted for, save Cloud, who some fear may be dead.
DAY 27: The team, lead by Tifa, discovers that there are some places where the Lifestream hits the surface, and where things may end up if they float there long enough. One of these places is MIDEEL, a tropical resort town. As Tifa stops to pet a dog, she overhears two people talking about a "Spikey-headed" person with a "Huge sword" in the clinic. Sure enough, it IS Cloud, but he's in a Mako-induced stupor, much like that Man in the pipe from Sector 5. Tifa elects to stay by Cloud's side, and won't leave until he gets better. Later, back aboard the Highwind, Cid is elected the new leader (Despite that he feels it's a "Pain in the ass"), just as Cait reveals that the Shinra are collecting HUGE MATERIA, and already have one from the Nibelhiem reactor. Feeling that they may need it for the fight against Sephiroth, The team decides to go after it, too.
Their first stop is the Corel reactor. They get there too late, as a train with the first HUGE MATERIA leaves just after they get there. Cid and co hop another train and move to intercept (Plot hole: There wasn't a whole lot of places there two tracks ran side-by side or didn't have huge holes in them.... oh well.). They fight an array of Shinra's toughest, and stop the train from crashing into North Corel. As a reward for saving what's left of their town, the people of Corel give AVALANCHE the ULTIMA materia and let them stay at the Inn for free. (Note: Barret can now get his CATASTROPHE limit break from a woman who Lost her husband 4 years ago.)
DAY 28: The team heads to FORT CONDOR to collect another Huge materia. They aid the Condor tribe in pushing back the Shinra assault. But the stress and commotion cause the baby Condor to hatch from it's egg, killing it's mother. It flies off, leaving the PHOENIX materia behind. As a reward, the team is given the Huge Materia which the tribal leader had taken from the reactor all ready.
The team goes to check on Tifa and Cloud (who makes a rather bizarre Xenogears reference...), but cutting the visit short is an earthquake (caused by the lifestream starting to gush out) and a visit from ULTIMATE WEAPON. Cid and crew fight it off, causing the monster to flee. However, the Lifestream calms down only briefly and comes back ferociously. Tifa tries to get Cloud out of town, but they both fall into the Lifestream as the whole place is ripped apart and drawn under.... Tifa wakes up in a void, and is questioned about her motives by unknown voices. She tries to escape, but is drowned by the noise. She "wakes" up in a surreal world made up of three paths: One to the night at the well, the other to Nibelhiem, and the third to her bedroom. Each is being guarded by a fraction of Cloud, while Cloud himself looms overhead. Tifa and loud go to Nibelhiem, where Cloud tries to remember what happened. he insists he was the one who came that day, but Tifa bursts his proverbial bubble and says it was ZACK who came to Nibelhiem with Sephiroth, and Cloud was no where around. Tifa tries Cloud's memory about the night at the well; Nothing has changed and they both have the same memories about it. Tifa asks Cloud why he wanted to join SOLIDER in the first place. Cloud admits that he wanted to become strong and be noticed by her. When Tifa asks why he wanted to impress her, Cloud then takes Tifa to the day her mother died, where Tifa tried to climb Mt. Nibel to look for her mother. Cloud followed her, but was too late to save her from falling off a cliff. He only got scrapped knees, but Tifa was in a coma for 7 days. cloud got blamed for the accident, and he blamed himself for not being strong enough to save her. Tifa admits looking in the newspapers to see if Cloud made it into SOLDIER. Cloud's subconscious tells Tifa to tell Cloud that when they wake up. However, this still does not explain why Cloud knows about the Nibelhiem incident. They flash back to the reactor. Sephiroth subdues Tifa, and defeats Zack in grand fashion. But then an unseen troop rushes up the steps, grabs Zack's sword and attacks Sephiroth. It turns out to be Cloud, who was with the expedition all along, but wearing a mask. He explains he wasn't strong enough to make it into SOLDIER, and was so ashamed that he didn't tell anyone who he was. He comes to his senses and backs off to check on Tifa. Sephiroth exits the Chamber with Jenova's head (?), and Zack tells Cloud to finish Sephiroth off. He tries to, But Sephiroth sticks his sword into Cloud's chest. Cloud grabs the sword, anchors himself and tosses Sephiroth off of him and into the Mako pits below. With the truth revealed, Cloud's split selves combine, and Cloud's fractured mind is healed. The lifestream ejects the two back up into Mideel, where they're recovered by the others.
DAY 29: Cloud gathers everyone together to explain that he never joined SOLDIER, and pretended to be his friend, Zack. He has the Jenova cells and Mako eyes of SOLDIERS because the process for making a "Sephiroth Clone" is the same as the process Shinra uses to make SOLDIERS (Perhaps the "SOLDIER" program is a front for making Sephiroth Clones?). However, there are still questions to be answers, Huge Materia to be had, a Meteor in space and Sephiroth in a fortified crater...
Cloud takes the team to Nibelhiem, where in the Shinra Mansion basement he has a mental attack and a flashback... He recalls how he and Zack were held in stasis tubes for 5 years, and one day Zack managed to break free during feeding time. However, Cloud is barely able to move or speak. Zack gives Cloud a SOLDIER uniform, and they make it out of the re-built Nibelhiem. The duo eventually get to the eastern continent, where they hitch a ride on a truck to Midgar. Zack decides that he and Cloud (once Cloud snaps out of his stupor) should become Mercenaries. However, They are ambushed outside of Midgar and, well, just see "1 Year-1 Week ago".
The team heads to Junon (Where the canon seems to be missing) after Cait Sith reveals that there's an UNDERWATER REACTOR there. They witness the Huge Materia being loaded into a submarine, but before they can pursue, they must fight the CARRY ARMOR. While they do this, the sub escapes. Cloud and co pursue with the other sub, and sink it. but before they can go grab it, they get a transmission that Shinra has another Huge materia and it's been loaded onto an airplane. The team gets to the airport just in time... to watch the GELNIKA take off to Rocket Town. Apparently, SHINRA plans to create a huge MATERIA BOMB and use the rocket to ram it into Meteor. The team pursues...
At Rocket Town, Shinra has the rocket almost fully operational. Cloud insists that they stop the launch, but Cid insists on taking the thing into space. but before Cloud can argue his point, Shera picks today to be fast enough to fix the auto-launch mechanism. Palmer orders the take-off while everyone is still inside. Once in space, Cid comes to his senses and admits all he really cared about was getting into outer space. They find the auto-pilot's been locked, so they have to use the Escape pod. Cloud and Cid dismantle the Materia Bomb and take the Huge Materia and go to evacuate... when Tank #8 blows up right next to Cid. he becomes stuck in the debris. Cloud and the others are unable to get the wreckage off of him, but Shera tagged along and helps. Cid gains new respect for Shera, and they escape just as the Rocket bashes into meteor. People watch the explosion from the ground, but without the Huge materia, the plan fails (It fails anyway, even if you don't get any huge materia...), and Meteor only has a mere flesh wound and continues its approach.
DAY 30: Cloud, Cid and co are rescued from their escape pod, and everyone meets on the Highwind. Hopelessness sets in until Cid gives a speech about the planet just being a kid, with Sephiroth festering inside of it like a sickness. The planet takes this opportunity to let out a cry, which prompts a visit to Bugenhagen. The team considers their options, and they believe that trying to find out what Aeris tried to accomplish would help them. Before setting off to the Ancient City with Bugen, Cloud stores the Huge Materia in Bugen's 3-D lab (and acquires the BAHAMUT ZERO materia).
When the team gets to the Ancient City, they find an area that may present them with a clue. They find translated runes that say they must find a "key" where "sunlight won't reach". The team hops in the sub to check oceanic caves... Along the way, they come across the sunken Gelnika and the Turks and acquire powerful weapons and materia. They also find a WEAPON has made this area his home, and the Submarine they sunk, recovering the last Huge Materia. In addition, the team finds a cave which Vincent's former crush Lucrecia has made her home. Lucrecia explains how Sephiroth is her son and that she allowed Gast to inject her womb with J-Cells. Despite her own best efforts to remove herself from this plane, that the Jenova inside her won't let her die so easy. After Lucrecia admits to dreaming about Sephiroth lately (telepathic-link style) Vincent falsely informs Lucrecia that Sephiroth is dead.
The team eventually comes to a cave with a large object estimated to be several thousand years old. They take it to Bugenhagen who has figured out that the White Materia summons HOLY, and that when one's prayers for it reach the planet, the white materia will glow a pale green. "Holy" will wipe out anything the planet considers bad: Sephiroth, Meteor, maybe even all humans. He also finds out what the key is for. He uses it to unlock a magical projection device, which shows that the White Materia currently glows a pale green, and fell out of Aeris' headband when she died. But Sephiroth is preventing Holy from moving, so AVALANCHE has to find some way to take the fight to him. Cait reveals that the Junon canon has been moved to Midgar so they can fire it (powered by the 8 reactors) at the shield around the crater. However, DIAMOND WEAPON begins to march towards Midgar, and AVALANCHE goes to stop it. However, the WEAPON breaks off the fight to turn it's attention to Midgar, as it senses the "murder" of lifestream as the 8 reactors suck up Mako and prepare to charge the canon. The team watches from the Airship as D.W. fires at Midgar, and the Canon fires not at it, but the crater. The blast sears right through the WEAPON and heads towards it's target... but WEAPONs' blasts penetrate Midgar, one lucky hit destroying Rufus's office with him inside. The beam continues Northward and destroys the Barrier. As the team goes to investigate, Cait pleads with AVALANCHE to go back to Midgar: The president's been killed and now the Canon is preparing to fire another shot, even though it must cool first. Hojo has taken control of the canon, and the whole Shinra army is at the crater awaiting orders. Scarlet and Heidegger take over as Reeve, who was controlling Cait the whole time, asks AVALANCHE to help.
Midgar is cut off from outside entry, so the team parachutes in from the highwind. They make their way through the plate infrastructure into the rail-system. They have a confrontation with the TURKS, and continue to the canon. However, before they can face Hojo, Heidegger and Scarlet intervene with their super, super robot PROUD CLOD. Heidegger and Scarlet die as the machine overheats and explodes. Cloud and co rush to confront Hojo, who admits that he's trying to give his son more power (even though he's not happy with the notion of magic being used to take over the world, not science). Vincent realizes that he is not the one to blame for the Lucrecia/Sephiroth fiasco, but Hojo. Hojo uses his Jenova powers to take on a variety of forms, but is defeated. The canon shuts down by itself.
DAY 31: Bugen tells the team Meteor should hit in about seven days. Cloud orders everyone to go "home" and find their reason(s) for fighting, then come back if they wish. Cloud and Tifa realize they have nothing left but each other, and share a tender moment...
DAY 32: Tifa and Cloud re-board the ship, only to find Barret and Cid already there. Everyone comes back one by one (including the ships crew), and they resume their journey, with a new pop-out rocket engine!
ANY TIME AFTER THAT: Bugenhagen dies and gives Nanaki a memento of his father. Vincent returns to Lucrecia's cave only to find she's gone, but left him some gifts. Unless you did it before, Cloud and Co breed a GOLD CHOCOBO with the help of the CHOCOBO SAGE, and with it retrieve the KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND Materia. And Yuffie completes the task of defeating the five protectors of the pagoda, including her father (which you may have done earlier, most likely). The team goes off and defeats the remaining WEAPONS, and help the KALM TRAVELER on his quest.
DAY 32-39: The team descends into the Northern Crater, facing off against several dangerous creatures. They split up to conquer the multiple paths, and meet at the bottom, near the center of the planet. Just as the team is about to go further, a whole batch of monsters starts chasing them. Cloud takes a small group down while everyone else holds off the onslaught. Cloud and co. make it to a strange batch of pillars, where JENOVA awaits them. She is dispatched (the Cetra had trouble against this thing?!), but then the structure Cloud and co. are on collapses, and they are thrust deeper into the Planet's core. HOLY shines through it's prison, guarded by Sephiroth. He summons everyone to meet him, and tortures them briefly by canceling out gravity and tossing them all around. Everyone pulls themselves together and surround Sephiroth. He in turn takes on a gigantic, BIZARRO form. The team hits him from all sides, and despite his superior magic, Sephiroth falls....
...Only to Come back, nice and angry. Cloud and co. face off against a multi-winged demon that resembles Sephiroth. This form too is defeated, but not without cost (Like the other planets and the sun... wait, why didn't Sephiroth just use his SUPER NOVA and absorb the energy of eight destroyed planets and a dying sun instead of waiting for a slow-ass meteor to waste one planet? Stupid Plot holes....). The team tried it's best, but nothing happens. They start to leave, but then Cloud's conciseness is torn from him to face Sephiroth one on one. Cloud, at the mere sight of Sephiroth, unleashes his OMNISLASH, finally killing him. (Some people think this was only a metaphor for cloud defeating the Jenova inside of him, and ridding himself of his demons. Personally, i think it really was Sephiroth who pulled Cloud into mano-a-mano combat.) Cloud sees (hallucinates?) Aeris' hand coming down to greet him, but it turns out to be Tifa reaching for him. The entire area begins to quake, and Cloud leaps to Tifa's rescue when the boulder she's on collapses. Cloud hears the planet, and says he thinks he can meet "her, there" (Aeris? The Promised land?). Everyone else is all right, and the Highwind comes crashing down to rescue them. The team piles in just as Holy erupts. The highwind is destroyed, but Cid jettisons the cockpit, which can fly on it's own as a mini-jet.
Meanwhile, METEOR, with no one to guide it, heads towards Midgar and begins tearing it asunder. Marlene, in Kalm, has an intuition about Aeris, and looks out the window only to see meteor tearing at Midgar, a site which can be see as far away as Cosmo Canyon (PLOT HOLE: Unless the planet is flat). AVALANCHE watches as HOLY intercepts meteor... and does nothing except destroy Meteor's tendrils. What happens next is speculation. Red XIII points out that Holy is "having the opposite effect" and that the planet may actually be in more danger now. The Lifestream begins to spring from the Planet, and intercepts Meteor/Holy, and destroys it....(POTENTIAL PLOT HOLE: According to everything else we've heard, the Lifestream does not have this kind of power, and should only gather to heal a wound, not destroy the source. The appearance of Aeris seems to signify that she influenced the Lifestream to act this way.)
What happens next is the matter of the hugest debate amongst FF7 fans: Did Holy wipe out the humans? Did it spare them? Was it destroyed before it could do any harm? Well, for the purpose of writing an after-story fanfic, you may want to consider options 2 or 3....
500 Years Later: Red XIII is seen running alongside two cubs (he was supposedly the last of his race, and these may be grandcubs), both of whom seem to bear tattoos of their own (if anyone can tell me what they are, I'd appreciate it, [one of them looks like a XiV -14-?]!). They look over the site of Midgar, covered in forest and wildlife. The scene closes, and we hear laughter people say belongs to either the cubs or human children. However, I've found there are at least 3 or 4 voices -Red only has 2 cubs with him- and as a supporter of the Holy-wiped-out-the-humans theory, I'm inclined to believe it was the laughter of the planet reborn (500 years is peanuts on a cosmic scale). But enough conjuncture.
JENOVA THESIS: One of the more confusing aspects of FF7 is the whole relation between Sephiroth, Lucrecia, SOLDIERS, Jenova, Vincent, RED XIII, and Cloud. Using information JUST FROM THE GAME, one can make their own interpretations....
Gast, for whatever bizarre reason, thought that a) Jenova was an ancient and b) Animating her cells and injecting them into people would be a good idea (To give them the power of the ancients). SOLDIERS are injected with Jenova cells, and given Mako treatment. This enhances their abilities, so there is some merit to Gast's theories. To create a full "ancient", Gast asks his assistants, Lucrecia and Hojo, if he can inject cells into their unborn love-child. They agree. The result -Sephiroth- is obviously very strong, and always has been ("Ever since I was small, I felt as though I were different, special in some way"). There is a justified theory as to the mental connection between Sephiroth and Jenova (He first starts going "insane" when he comes to the Jenova chamber in Nibelhiem). Whether Jenova was controlling Sephiroth, or if he was acting of his own accord in some way (even insanity) is PURE SPECULATION! We are never TOLD DIRECTLY (IE we can only ASSUME) the controller/controllee relationship.
"JENOVA REUNION": Jenova, or her cells rather, seem to have the tendency to do 3 things: Allow that person to change shape (but not at will); Allow Sephiroth/Jenova to influence an injectee's mind; and to force that person to done a black robe and follow Sephiroth or Jenova around. There are holes in this, of course, as we find several robed people who maintain their position throughout the game, and also there are some SOLDIERS who are not affected at all. Also, there's the Cloud part of the equation: Sephiroth's control of him is limited, and Cloud never wears a black robe and starts chanting. As well, Cloud leads himself to believe he was pursuing Sephiroth, not being summoned. Perhaps this is why Hojo considered him a "Failure" as a SEPHIROTH CLONE. Also, a self-admitted hole in Hojo's "Jenova reunion" theory is that he believed the clones would flock to Midgar where Jenova was stored, but instead they flocked straight to Sephiroth's location (mind you, at least one of them was lugging what was left of Jenova around, so the clones would follow that clone if they wanted to follow Jenova around).
SEPHIROTH CLONE: There are many interpretations of this. All we know is that Hojo wanted to re-create Sephiroth, in ability if not in image. "Cloud" was supposedly built from scratch, but didn't mimic Sephiroth's appearance or abilities. However, Cloud turns out to be an actual person with scrambled memories. Whether Hojo was lying or mistaken is unknown.
OTHER INJECTEES/EXPERIMENTS: Besides Cloud, Hojo had several other people to experiment on/Give J-cells to: Nanaki, Vincent, Lucrecia, members of SOLDIER, and more. Nanaki and Vincent were experimented on by Hojo, but neither of them share the above characteristics. Vincent, however, can change shape into a monster at will (or rather, at will when angry). Perhaps Jenova cells, when used on whatever Nanaki is and dead people have different results than on living normal humans. Lucrecia has Jenova cells, but whether she donned a black robe and became another mindless clone or died or what remains unclear. She admits to dreaming about Sephiroth (make your own conclusion). The "SOLDIER" link is given credit by the old man who runs the accessory store in Junon who dons a black robe later in the game, and that Cloud admits "The process for making SOLDIERS and Sephiroth-Cloned is the same". Also, (and I thought of this as I typed this) Hojo had the opportunity to test Jenova-cell injection on two ancients: Ifalna and Aeris. Whether he did or not is a mystery (Aeris showed no signs of manipulation). The results may have been interesting...
I hope you people appreciated this....
IcyBrian's Fanfic Resource -- Final Fantasy 7
IcyBrian's Fanfic Resource
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