Author: jennyz PM
Sun, a 15 year old girl, unknowingly steps into the chain of events that would lead to Cocoon's demise. Faced with her own Focus, all she can do is hope to solve it and find her friends before they're all turned to Cie'th. AU-ish, follows story. HopeOC.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Hope - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,796 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 10 - Follows: 7 - Updated: 07-16-11 - Published: 06-12-11 - id: 7076669
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Okay uh, since In Perspective has been dead for nearly a year, I decided to rewrite it. :D Same characters, and sort of same plot. New title, with minor tweaks in the first few chapters, so expect a lot of the same thing. To anyone that remembers the original story, hello again~! and to those reading this for the first time, welcome~!
I blame FFXIII-2 for reigniting my fangirlness for Hope, even though he doesn't seem to be in the new game.
Speaking of which, have you guys seen Noel? Male Fang, anyone? Either way, om nom nom…
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the things that come out of my head. The title is the name of a paradigm shift from the game. (One of my favorites!)
Chapter One - Prequel
Location: Machina City, Underground
Time: Around midnight, 19 hours ago
One thing to know about Sun was that she hated hearing the words, "I told you so."
She absolutely detested them due to her stubborn nature, and went out of her way to prove people wrong. Which, of course, was usually a stupid idea and typically ended with her and her friends getting into trouble.
Most of the time they were minor occurrences and nobody actually got hurt, but there was the rare occasion in which the city guard got involved. It was usually the Guardian Corps (or a subdivision) that they got into trouble with, not PSICOM. They never damaged property or inflicted injuries on others, but stole, lied, and impersonated as officials.
Why, you ask?
Because it was fun and gave them a sense of adventure. The normal life bored the three of them too quickly.
As a result, they would dare each other to steal or "liberate" items from stores, or see if they could get into some restricted area forbidden to citizens. Her friends thought it was fun to see just how far they could push the envelope before they got into trouble.
It was the typical, rebellious teenage behavior: see how many people you can piss off or how many things you can get away with before the authority got called in.
Sun never gave much thought to the consequences and did whatever she felt was "in the moment." She considered this trait both a blessing and a curse, depending on the situation. Her recklessness was what got her into trouble, while her quick thinking got her out.
The consequences were often minor anyway.
They were to distribute fliers or advertise the store they stole from (which seemed stupid in her opinion - who wants to shop at a store that is so easily robbed, especially by a teenager?) or attend some 'behavior correction class.' These were really just long lectures given by some poor soul chosen at a local school. She doubted any of them actually wanted to spend their evening with a bunch of unruly kids.
Of course, this only happened if they were caught.
Which, mind you, did not happen often.
The only consequences Sun would rather avoid were the ones faced if they were caught in restricted areas.
Which, mind you, has never happened. But she's heard stories.
These were the ones where the guards got involved. The guards were not known for their mercy; in fact, it seemed as though they took pleasure in the mistreatment of citizens. If they got caught, they were often threatened and beaten by the soldiers. Sometimes the soldiers would make them do menial tasks that were left to machines, such as moving heavy equipment or boxes from one room to another, only to move them back because the guards changed their mind. Other times they were verbally assaulted and ruthlessly insulted. Afterwards, they were told to keep their mouths shut about the conduct of the soldiers under threats. Besides, who would believe them?
From what Sun knew, this behavior was only found in Autoria, or "Machina City," as it was more commonly called. No other city on Cocoon faced this treatment.
She often wondered if it was because Machina City was considered the headquarters of Cocoon's military.
The city was built in proximity of the Vile Peaks, which everyone referred to as the junkyard. It may have been expected that the city be dreary compared to others in Cocoon, yet it was a city of lights. Roads were always lit and advertisements flashed in every corner describing the latest gadget invented from salvaged parts.
All of Auoria was built over previous scrap yards and was split into platforms. The platforms were merely areas split into districts, such as the residential district or working district. The districts were connected both by land and by tunnels that ran below and above the city. Numerous districts floated above others and were connected by the tunnels.
People of Machina City often favored the 'airtunnels' instead of the 'undertunnels' simply because the latter didn't offer much of a view. Nearly all undertunnels were enclosed tubes of space with the main purpose being quick and easy transportation. Airtunnels, on the other hand, provided the people with marvelous scenery. Parks were located near many of the airtunnel stations and provided breathtaking views of the life below, especially at night. Every light in the city seemed to shine and the people called it their artificial night sky.
Machina City, or MC for short, was not a small city by any means. Nor was it densely populated because most labor was completed by machines. The city was always bustling with life since the machinery was perpetually active and doing some type of job. These jobs were along the lines of construction, relocation, or any other type of heavy labor. Airships were constantly coming and going to the city and it was never quiet.
The purpose of MC was to produce weapons and machinery for the army and was therefore intentionally built near the junkyard. The Vile Peaks were full of scraps and materials left over from the war many centuries ago, which acted as perfect resources for assembling new military equipment. Most of the scraps used for the equipment were obviously in horrible condition, but all that was needed to be done was the fix up of broken pieces. This method was preferred over the construction of a completely new device, simply because it saved time and didn't require much effort.
The scraps used often included Pulse machina, some being active and some completely destroyed. It was not uncommon that things from Pulse be used because the only way they were identifiable by the public were by brand and design. Once these two characteristics were removed or modified, the people usually couldn't tell the difference.
Nonetheless, the people of MC suspected the use of Pulse machina, and thus did not share the deep rooted fear of Pulse as the other citizens of Cocoon.
This didn't mean that the fear was completely dead in the city, merely subdued. In reality, they were all literally surrounded by the Pulse machina day and night, albeit under disguise.
Ultimately, the city was under the control of the Sanctum, as they all were. However, it was only natural that the military held the most influence here.
The officials in charge were people that held high positions within the armed forces. They acted as overseers to operations and held most executive positions. The executives were divided into two divisions: the C-SKY Division, and the VPEF, otherwise known as the Vile Peaks Experimental Force.
The C-SKY Division, as the name suggests, worked above the city and kept surveillance over MC. They were "the eyes" of the city, making sure that laws were upheld and justice delivered to those who break them. The soldiers working under them did all of the menial work, serving as the common police force - a division of the Guardian Corps. They were the Autoria Security Division, the ones Sun and her group usually got into trouble with.
As for the VPEF, well, they were nicknamed the "demons from Pulse" by Sun and her group. They deserved the name. They were cruel when stumbled across, and wore sinister outfits that resembled those of PSICOM. The job of the guards there was to keep the citizens from sneaking into the underground, and ultimately, into the Vile Peaks. No one was sure if it was the GS or PSICOM down there.
Not that it mattered - no one dared to venture down there anyway.
The area was dangerous and filled with unstable machina, but the main reason people didn't dare to go under the city was because of the occasional rumor that would spread through the city of a hiding Pulse l'Cie.
More often than not, the rumors were indeed just rumors, spread by some gossiping adults that misheard military personnel. It happened enough times that many citizens eventually learned to ignore them. Nonetheless, there was always the rare straggler who wasn't able to control their curiosity and ends up trying to navigate their way through the undertunnels, only to never be heard from again.
It should be known that transportation out of the city was limited to airships and speedtrains, and travel by foot was forbidden. There were gates near the ends of the city, but because of MC's location, they were reserved for the government.
So, naturally, whenever Sun and her friends yearned for adventure, they'd sneak their way through the underground of the city.
They were all familiar with the layout under the city, having been there so many times, and were able to avoid any guards with relative ease. They memorized shifts, patrol patterns and routines, the guards' habits, and noted down any hidden doors or passages that could be useful if there was ever a need for escape. The small troupe assigned areas of the undertunnels for each member to memorize, and then share to the rest of the group.
They may have been a group of kids, but they were proficient enough in technology to avoid detection.
Each member of the group had a role, though they switched these regularly. One member was in charge of planning an adventure, another's job was to keep track of any gadgets that would come in handy on said adventure, and the third's was to scout ahead and keep the group from getting caught.
The planning portion of their escapades was a brief outline of what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. The one in charge of gadgets had to make sure that everything they needed was with them and working on the night or day of the adventure.
The last job was probably the most difficult, and the most fun. The third's job was to keep the troupe from getting caught by the 'Pulse demon guards.' Or PD's, as they also nicknamed them.
Generally, they were supposed to follow the original mapped out plan, but if something unpredicted were to occur, they were expected to think fast and come up with an alternate course. Even though they assigned each other roles, they were not limited to them, and each of them had the ability to get themselves out of sticky situations.
Which is why, at this very moment, Sun was asking herself how she managed to end up in this position. She had memorized the plan perfectly, and went over it many times. She practically had the map in her head, marked up with the paths she was to take. So why was she running from four PD's right now?
'Because Vince probably screwed up with the planning, as usual...' She thought, 'Organization was never his forte.'
The plan tonight was to sneak further below the city using the undertunnels and supplementary corridors, and investigate a new area. Rumor had it that the army discovered a new Pulse machine and was keeping it in some locked up, secured part under the tunnels. Naturally the group was curious about this new development - who wouldn't be? There hadn't been any juicy gossip going around the city for months.
Yes, Sun actually listened to the rumors whenever they started.
They couldn't have been completely false, after all. It was her belief that every rumor had a bit of truth in it, and these were no exceptions. She was going to figure out what was really going on down there, one way or another. And if she found something interesting, then she'd rat it out to all of MC. If not, then she'd just get more experience dodging guards.
But back to the topic at hand. Or rather, at foot.
Expertly navigating through the corridors, the footsteps of the guards seemed to fade further into the background as she ran. She took all kinds of unusual twists and turns to lose them, ducking under debris and jumping over boxes pushed together throughout the channels.
She wasn't actually in the undertunnels because they were solely for transportation and filled with speedtrains, but she was in the paths that twisted around and connected the tunnels to each other. The layout of the underground flashed through her mind as she took an abrupt left turn and passed through another doorway. Pressing herself against the wall, she paused to check the next corridor. Once she made sure that there would be no more unexpected encounters, she continued onwards through the hallway that she knew would eventually lead to a set of stairs.
The petite girl sighed and fixed her communication earpiece. This was the second time she was forced to alter her course...
"Oi, Vince, what's up with the guards tonight? They're all over the place!" Sun complained.
That boy had some explaining to do. Nothing was going according to plan. There were guards crawling everywhere, patrolling areas that were usually left alone.
"As if I know!" A teenage boy's voice played back through the earpiece, "Ask Lian, he was the one who mapped that area. Didn't he say beforehand that the guards have been acting weird the past few days?"
"Yeah, but I took 'acting weird' as them slacking off or something, not upping security."
"Well sorry, your Majesty. You shoulda made sure of what he meant before you went prancing under the city. Miscommunications are gonna land us in another one of those correction classes. I dunno 'bout you, but I don't feel like going back there. They're about as exciting as listening to my grandmother's 'when I was your age' stories." Vince retorted.
Sun grinned as she replied. "Why Vince, are you accusing me of being reckless? And what do you mean, prancing? I don't prance."
"Yes you do." He snorted."And reckless? The thought never crossed my mind." She could practically hear him roll his eyes. "Careless, on the other hand..."
"That's rich, coming from you."
Whenever they were in the undertunnels there was always some communication. This kept the person in the tunnels from getting nervous and prevented them from panicking. The conversations often kept them from focusing on the creepiness of the tunnels.
And the undertunnels and passages below the city were downright eerie.
The stations themselves were only about forty feet underground, and were always lit with advertising billboards. There was nothing ominous about them.
However, the actual transportation tunnels were uncanny. They ranged in depth and were covered with tracks for the speedtrains, having only a few lights along the walls. She rarely ever them directly when on her adventures - it was suicide, she'd get thrown onto the track by the wind and flattened in seconds if a train happened to be coming - and only used them to cross from one path to another if she had no other option. The corridors that weaved alongside the tunnels had a peculiar green glow to them that reminded her of radioactivity. It was intimidating, and the glow made a person feel as though they were being watched or that something was going to pop out any second.
"It's like something out of a horror movie." Sun mumbled. "No matter how many times I come here, it never gets any less unsettling."
"Well, the place is made from parts of the Vile Peaks. Effort wasn't one of the things put in when the government created the tunnels. Much of the area, like the hallways and corridors, were created for the military. They weren't meant for civilians. The guards here just aren't disturbed by these types of things... hell, they're probably creepier than that entire place put together."
"I couldn't agree more with you on that one." Her eyes darted around the corridor she was currently walking in. It was full of crevices that creatures could fit in...
No, don't think like that. She shook her head. You're only going to freak yourself out and end up getting caught.
"Why do you think they've been acting weird, anyway?" She tried to shrug off the oppressing feeling by distracting herself.
"Yeah. They usually don't react to rumors that go around the city. If one happens to spread about a Pulse l'Cie being down here, they simply brush it off. Remember the one a few months back? We were down here at that time, too." She walked until she reaching the stairs at the end of the hallway before continuing, "And the guards weren't doing shit. If I remember correctly, they actually had less patrols skulking around."
The stairs before her were in pathetic quality. They were dingy, and seemed as though the smallest fleck of dust would cause them to fall apart. The stairs had a spiral design and the steps were positioned closely next to each other. Sun continued on without pausing.
It was a very cramped space and she had to duck to avoid the steps above her to refrain from hitting her head. With every few steps, the stairs produced a creaking noise that echoed through the confined vertical tube. Sun inwardly winced each time one gave off a particularly loud groan, fearing that she might attract more unwanted company.
"Maybe something's really goin' on this time?" She heard Vince bite one of his nails, an annoying habit of his that she was trying to get him to break. "Be careful down there."
"Will do." She replied.
She reached the bottom of the stairs and pressed herself against the wall once more. After checking both sides of the upcoming hall for any signs of life and finding none, she trekked onwards through the arch. Sun walked through the hall in relative silence for several minutes before a low, rumbling noise began to build up above her. This evoked little reaction from her; she knew it was just a speedtrain passing somewhere above her head and kept walking.
The moment was slightly unnerving as the entire floor seemed to move with the force of the train overhead. The speedtrains never provoked any type of violent shaking, but a sort of humming vibration that seemed to reverberate in the hall. Flakes of the ceiling chipped off and fell onto the floor in front of her as the speedtrain above passed.
Once again Sun reached the end of the green tinted hall and faced a sealed door. It was the type of door you'd find on a boat, with a tiny window and a wheel that you had to spin instead of a handle if you wanted it to open.
Sun rubbed her gloved hands together and got into a stance where she'd be able to apply the most force against the side of the wheel. Pushing with all her might she finally managed to swing the door open, and stepped onto a narrow ledge on the other side. A gust of wind immediately swept past and ruffled her short golden hair, since the undertunnels seemed to always be windy.
Undertunnels, airtunnels, wind tunnel.. why is everything 'tunnel?' She mindlessly wondered as she pulled the door behind her and carefully walked along the narrow strip of walkway. Complete attention was required when one was crossing this area. If you didn't mind your steps in the undertunnel, a particular strong gust of wind had a chance of knocking you off balance and send you plummeting onto the tracks. And if that happened... well, you'd better find a ladder fast.
Whenever she was in an undertunnel a sense of paranoia always overtook her.
Ever since her near death experience in one of them a few years back, she hated using the tunnels and preferred the corridors instead. She and Lian had been off exploring an area and decided to cross one of them to save time. They were halfway across the tracks when the rumbling began - a sure sign of an incoming train. The two made it over to the other ledge in time, but needless to say, ever since that experience she tried to avoid the tunnels.
But thanks to the unusual actions of the guards, she was forced to use one tonight.
Hurrying along the ledge she eventually reached a door similar to the one that she had used to enter. Going through the same routine as the first, she managed to open it and slip inside another dimly lit hall. She shut the door tightly behind her, and walked forward until she reached an elevator.
It would grant her further access below the city.
Sun hit the down arrow and waited for the elevator to arrive. Once the doors opened, she stepped inside and hit the key labeled '7SL.'
The doors closed and Sun could feel adrenaline start to pump through her veins. She was on her way to the Seventh Sublevel, a place where she and her friends had only dared to venture to a few times. However, lurking around restricted areas was something she excelled at and enjoyed, and therefore couldn't wait to see what was down there waiting for her.
A/N: Pretty much the same chapter from the first story, with minor tweaks.