"He's not comin'," muttered the behemoth of a man. He looked at his watch and turned to the train attendant. "Are these all the passengers?"
"Yes. These are it."
Rain directed her attention back to the huge man. "I'm sorry to have dragged you into this, Argo. Sorry for making you wait."
The man waved off her apology.
"No need ta apologize," he grunted. He had gotten to know Rain quite well for the past three years. He felt a sort of kinship with the brunette. Like Rain, he too had lost a loved one by the hands of Shinra. But he did not know much of her past to really understand the magnitude of her loss. He turned to survey the train platform. There was no one.
He continued, "Listen. I wuz just wonderin' who you was waitin' fo."
Rain looked at the man she had grown to accept as an older brother. She didn't want to burden him with the tragedies of her past, but she felt a need to talk about it. She sighed.
"I was waiting for Kyoji, my friend Domon's bigger brother," she explained. She stopped to ponder if she should continue, and got her answer as she looked into the curiosity-filled eyes of Argo. "Domon's my childhood friend. He joined SOLDIER five years ago and died a few years back. Kyoji had joined SOLDIER before Domon but he vanished without a trace. His last letter instructed me to meet him at this train station today. That was the last I've heard from him."
Argo bowed his head and held a moment of silence for the loss of his "little sister," but the urge of shouting, "Serves dem right, dose dumbasses fo trustin' Shinra," lurked in his mind.
Rain sighed. "So he's not coming. . . Well, I'll meet you back at the bar."
Argo nodded slowly and watched Rain leave. Something caught his attention. Rain's shoulders were sagged and her whole body trembling. Who can this Domon be? He's breakin' her damn heart! Chibodee growled vengefully and shook his fist. If I eva meet dis S.O.B. I'll kill 'em. He ran off to meet Rain at their bar, the 7th Heaven.
When he got there, the rest of the crew was already there.
Argo glanced around at his comrades. Although driven by different objectives, they had one common interest: to bring down Shinra before it destroys the Earth.
"Okay, ya no good nothins'," he growled. It was normal for him to act all tough but those closest to him knew of his softer side.
Right at that moment, Argo's teenage daughter Allenby ascended from the underground hideout.
"Daddy, you're home," she greeted. She was seventeen and looked nothing like her father. It was obvious she inherited her late mother Natasha's light green hair and soft green eyes. She looked around and was immediately greeted by George.
Argo tapped his boots on the ground impatiently.
"Are ya ready to stop screwin' around?" he asked. "Damnit, now listen. Our next target is da Sector 7 Reactor." He looked at Chibodee, the big man of the group. "Yo job's ta destroy da Maxter Gundam, get me?"
"What about security?"
Rain was standing behind the counter, dismissively wiping the booze off the countertop. She looked intently at Chibodee, waiting for an answer.
"Yeah, 'bout dat. We got some hired help from dis mercenary. He's s'posed ta meet us at the rendezvous point. Allenby, are ya sure ya wanna go?"
Allenby rolled her eyes.
"YES, daddy. I'm not a child anymore. I can take care of myself, ya know."
Argo smiled, savoring the fact that his daughter acted so much like him. The sarcasm she inherited from her mother, but the street talk was from him.
"Okay, Ally." He turned to the others. "Now get yo's sorry
asses ta sleep. We got a big day t'morrow." He glared at Chibodee. "And YOU.
Get ta da train station at 7:30 ta get da mercenary. I don't want dat dumbass
ta get lost."
Chibodee, who barely ever takes orders from anyone, nodded.
Argo waited impatiently for his team to descend to the secret hideout underneath the bar. Then, Rain went over to him and placed a hand on his forearm.
"Who is this new member?" she asked, hoping to get an answer.
He shrugged. "Some mercenary. Word has it dat he's real strong." He laughed disdainfully. "I'ma hafta see dat fo myself." He stopped and noticed the bags under Rain's eyes. "Ya should get some rest, ya know."
Rain smiled. "Yeah, okay." She went over to the pinball machine and slowly descended down to the hideout.
Argo stood alone in the empty bar. He was born on the streets, and for thirty-seven years, he had to fend for himself. He'd suffer much, losing his wife Natasha to Shinra. He turned to the door and gently closed it when he left for the weapons shop.
It was around midnight, and due to a short-circuit, the car that Domon was in was pitch black. Which was okay for Domon, who preferred to be cloaked in shadow and not be talked to. He still couldn't get the thought out of his mind: Kyoji was dead.
"It should've been me," he growled between his teeth. "If only Master Asia had not called me away on a mission. If only I'd fought side by side with my brother. If, If, If."
He sighed, contemplating the metamorphosis he'd gone through ever since joining SOLDIER. There was a gap in his past that he could not remember, but something inside told him to take the job offered by the stoic Argo. It was as if he was pulled into the deal forcefully.
Crossing his arms, he turned his head to his trusty sword. Although it was a standard issue given to all SOLDIERS, he still felt a kinship towards it. That was the only thing he remembered about SOLDIER; the training, however, was a complete blur to him. All he remembered are the numerous missions that followed.
The train screeched to a halting stop. Getting up from his seat, Domon shouldered his sword and walked out of the compartment that he was in. The morning crowd had already boarded, and some looked at him as if he were nuts. But that was normal; they'd seen weirder things going on.
After coming out of the train, Domon surveyed the train platform. It was his first time in Ne0-America and it did not meet his expectations at all. He didn't really care though. All he wanted to do was get the job done. No questions asked.
There was only one person in the platform. It was a fairly built man with blue-and-pink hair. He had a cigarette between his index and middle finger. A cloud of smoke trailed as he walked toward Domon. The guy looked at Domon in inspection.
"Ya don't look so tough ta me," he stated. Flicking the cigarette to the ground, he extended his right hand. "My name's Chibodee. I'm wit Argo."
Domon thought about taking up his gesture but deferred it. "I'm not here to make friends. Just take me to do whatever ya hired me to do."
Chibodee's anger flared but he kept himself in check. Instead, he forced a smile.
The two met up with the rest of the crew of AVALANCHE at the rendezvous point. Argo glared at Domon critically the moment he arrived.
"Ex-SOLDIER eh? I don't trust ya," he growled. Domon shrugged.
"Don't worry bout it," Sai Saici squeaked. "He's wit us, right, bro?"
"Listen," Domon spat. "I don't care about you or anything else. I just want to get the damn job done. Got it?"
The others nodded and started working on breaching security. Argo did not move from his spot. He was still glaring at Domon but decided to not waste his time with him. Before he left, he muttered, "I still don't trust ya."
Domon stared at the huge reactor. So this is where Maxter Gundam is, huh. A direct assault against Shinra. . . this is insane. He ran to catch up with the rest.
"Where da hell didya go?" berated Argo. He breathed heavily as he stared angrily at Domon.
He shrugged. "I got lost, okay?"
"But you used to be in SOLDIER," reasoned George, who shouldered his rifle. "Surely you know these Reactors inside out?"
Domon shook his head. "No, not in Ne0-America. This is my first time."
Argo growled under his breath. Domon shrugged again and went over to help override the security.
Sai went over to Argo. "Don't do anything rash, mister. He's with us, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah. But he's pissin' the hell outta me. . ."
Sai looked over to check on the new guy. "Hey bro. Need help?"
"Thanks, but I got it."
Sai nodded in acknowledgment and walked off to lean against the wall. From the corner of his eye, he saw Allenby ogling at Domon. Immediately, he ran to Argo and grabbed his arm.
"What the hellya doin'? Don't start any stupid *@ wit me, boy!"
"Uhh. . . George needs to talk to ya," he breathed, trying to keep Argo from finding out his daughter likes the new guy. He would blow a major casket.
Argo grumbled and slowly walked off to George.
Sai sighed, then stared angrily at Domon. He's gonna get himself killed if he doesn't watch himself. . .
The lock on the gates clicked and everyone except Sai filed in. Argo growled at Chibodee, "Get his ass in."
Chibodee nodded and used his spear to smack Sai upside his head.
"Shut up and get in," he growled. Domon looked at Sai strangely and tapped his foot impatiently. Sai walked to the elevator grudgingly.
"This is it," said Domon. "There's gonna be a lot of security once we're inside the reactor so just stay with me."
Little did they know how much danger they were in as Maxter Gundam followed their every move.