I do not own the characters, the plot or the other little bits and pieces to be found here. They are the property of Square/Enix. I do own the thoughts I have placed in the heads and the words I have used to express those thoughts.
The dates at the beginnings of the various entries into this journal are to be read as: year of the current Sin, month, day. So 197S9.8.42 is – the forty-second day of the eighth month of the ninth year of the one hundred ninety seventh incarnation of Sin.
So here I am, finally away from the hospitals and rehabilitation – finally free of all the people who want to touch me and tell me how to live now that I managed to miss dying by so narrow a margin. They think I should be so grateful and happy just to continue to breathe the air. Fools! When I was packing my remaining few possessions to come here to wait to see what would be done with me, I found that the communicator I ... er ... 'liberated' before my most recent encounter with Sin was still there, buried beneath some dirty laundry in the bottom of my duffel bag. It still works; they made those first ones strong - no doubt about that. I suppose, as a man of honour, I should feel guilty about retaining this device. I do not. We were instructed to salvage what we could from the dead piled like driftwood on the beach. Weapons and armor were in short supply - as usual - and so were all other useful items. Had I not picked up the communicator, the next tide would have buried it or taken it out to sea. So I did no wrong. I would have turned it in with the other salvage had I not forgotten in the rush as we moved on to the next assembly point. Now this thing is so battered and out of date, it is a miracle it still functions and no one but me is likely to want it. It is a metaphor for my life. Except that not even I want my life.
As I was about to say before I became maudlin and defensive, I have just discovered this communicator in addition to its capacity to transmit and receive messages has a device to record notes and reports. Since I have nothing better to do until I am given fresh orders, I think I will use it to hold my observations. Who can tell? There may come a time when it will be valuable to have some sort of reminder of what happened here and how. If it all turns out as badly as I suspect it will, there may be charges to be brought and it will be useful to have documentation of the facts as I see them. Now, I think I have the time stamp set properly ... Yes, that's it.
When the Crusaders decided they no longer had a place for me, they sent me here. Here being the Mushroom Rock Road where the Maesters are assembling some sort of cadre for some sort of special mission. The rumor is that they are planning to train a group of soldiers to take command over the decimated remnants of the Crusaders themselves. I had not heard that my old unit had been so misused although I am not surprised, given the stupidity of those who ultimately issued the orders. I think I would have been more surprised if any great number of my old comrades had survived this long. But there is no logic in the idea of taking a rag-tag group of disparate individuals and trying to turn them into disciplined Warriors who can command the loyalty of of hardened veterans. It would be wiser to create officers from the ranks as we always did. This entire project stinks of dishonesty.
Still I have no other place to go now that the vivisectionists are done with me, so here I am. The main gathering area is up the road a bit. It is so crowded I am unable to bear the stench and the constant touching which is the inevitable result of so many filthy men and women - they do not distinguish - crushed together. I left my name and the tone code for this device with the one who seemed to be in charge and came here to this place. Here I can make a nest behind the statue of the Hero and be alone to think about this thing they are trying to pass off as a plan.
I do not understand why I was no longer acceptable to the Crusaders. I have led men there and they have followed willingly, eagerly. True, I am no longer a swordsman; you need agility and accurate footwork for that. But I have trained with firearms of varying sizes and weights and am an adequate marksman in spite of the fact my visual acuity is not what it was. The spectacles atone for that. I can still hold my own in battle and I am sure soon I shall be able to dispense with the cane. I am still a Warrior ... they cannot take that away from me. Not ever.
The noise from down the road is increasing and I almost think I can smell the reek of the unwashed bodies from here. If they are this dirty now, I shudder to think how they will be when they are actually on the march or in bivouac. Disgusting. And this is what they say they are planning to use to make into an elite unit. It is a fraud. I do not know what they are plotting but it is not the formation of an elite force.
The one to whom I gave my name - he recognized it even though he did not dare to say anything to my face. I wonder how many others he will tell. 'Nooj, the Undying, is here, going to be a part of us.' I suppose I should have used another name. ... I may be developing a sense of humor - as if I could hide under another name. I may be the most recognizable man on the surface of Spira. Or maybe I flatter myself. I am going in circles with this.
I hear we are to be assigned to small groups. I wonder if they will name a leader or leave it to each group to choose its own. I hope I am not compelled to deal with amateurs; they get in my way and do not understand the code of the military man. And I have not the patience to teach them. Oh well, if they are amateurs, they will never realize what my real purpose is so that may work to my advantage.
Here I go again, theorizing without data. It will be better to sleep. Rest is always in short supply once training begins.
Today was a busy day. Finally something happened. I have been placed in a team with two amateurs - an Al Bhed and a Yevonite. The former is an arrogant one-eyed bastard and the latter is a more of a child than I feel comfortable having as a comrade in a fight. Naturally, they selected me to be leader and I had to bring them back here to my asylum. It is my duty to protect and take care of them. Damn!
The Head Weapons Master recognized me. He did not use my name, thank Ixion. But he knew me all right. And the Gippal (if I have his name right; it is a barbaric word.) creature kept staring at me. I do not know why. He is a vulgar man with no control of his behavior or his tongue. The priestling, named - Baralai? - is too gentle to ever make a Warrior; I must question him to learn if he has other skills which might suffice to gain his admission to this unlikely force. For some reason, I am reluctant to see him go.
We were given weapons, machina ones. I have a monster firearm which has more controls than a hover. It apparently shoots both pellets of some sort as well as flames. It is not like those I learned to use in the rehabilitation center, but I shall master its ways quickly enough.
The Weapons Master informed me, respectfully, that we can expect to be told where we will be sent for training in a day or so. And it seems the Recorders have been delayed at sea for some reason, probably the usual incompetence, and will not be assigned for several more days. All the normal efficiency of a camp run by the Maesters.
The other two are finally sleeping. Now I can get some rest. Why is that Cyclopean boor staring at me? I can feel his eye on me even when he is asleep. I miss my sword; a gun is no weapon for a real man.
The sun is up and the others are still sleeping. I shall go down to that spring I located and wash before I have to start dealing with their problems and teaching them some military discipline. I never feel like myself until I am clean. I will tell them about the spring when they finish their dreams. Wonder if they are accustomed to washing regularly? One never knows.
The little one - why do I keep saying that? He is not so little; he is taller than the Al Bhed. The - Yevonite - is drooling in his sleep. He looks like a child with that fine white hair and smooth brow. And the - Gippal - is at least turned away and not staring at me with that eye behind the patch. Wonder how he lost it. Probably in some kind of drunken brawl. It is none of my business. I simply do not care enough to pry into their pasts and besides, there will not be enough time to bother with it.
I do not understand why I am taking the trouble to train these two since I shall not be doing it for the usual reason ... to save my own life. Thank Shiva I was given two neophytes; they will not understand what I am doing while I hunt my death. They will just think I am brave. I must teach them not to follow me too closely. There is nothing to be served by getting them killed as well.
Damn! It is hard to get up without something to pull up to. The arm is all right but this leg is too stiff even now after all this time. I hate the damned cane. And debris is always sifting into the open connections. Why didn't they seal these places like they did the ones on the torso? More inefficiency.
Well, off to wash before the Al Bhed wakes up and wants to accompany me. He seems to have an unhealthy passion for staring at me. If he is one with such desires, I must explain to him about the 'battle boys' since my tastes lie elsewhere. Mostly.
In the progress of training or warring, when alternatives are few, a man takes his comfort where and as he can. A few such episodes do not define the man. I do not know how many children I may have left scattered about the planet. I am not always as careful as I might be. Those seedlings of mine prove my bent.
They are beginning to stir; I must hurry - as much as I can. I fear I am no longer a runner.
It seems I need not have been concerned with losing my solitude. The barbarian and the priestling have vanished. I should have expected it, I suppose. Desertion is not rare when the amateurs discover what they are in for. The one-eyed outlaw obviously realized he could not bend his so-called free spirit to the discipline required of regular forces and took off to find his own band of brigands. And the failed priest, poor boy, I suspect the very thought of actually killing made him vomit up his guts. I hope the Al Bhed did not take that tender creature with him into a life of rough living and rude men.
Ah, it is out of my hands now. I shall study this bedamned machina firearm a little longer. I think I am on the verge of understanding the controls. The buttons are marked with symbols which are susceptible to comprehension. It should not take long for me to decipher them. Then I shall go back to that stinking main camp to report the desertions and request assignment to a fresh team - and hope this time I draw one with staying power.
I should have remembered - this is the history of putting together an army. Make a loud outcry, collect as many fools as possible with the greatest urgency that can be managed, rush, rush, rush. Then drag your heels and waste time. I should be used to it by now. But I do not seem to have the patience I once did. I am in a hurry to reach my own goal. And I will seek it alone if necessary.
Things do not always occur as one might expect or even wish. Just as I was preparing to go down to the main gathering to report the absence of the other two assigned to this team, the communicator sounded. When I responded, I was informed the recorder due the team had arrived and I should come collect him. Then, on my way down to the specified location, I encountered the pair of supposed deserters just coming into the defile which houses this secret den of mine. They looked flushed and uncomfortable to see me and had that hazy look one gets after an amorous episode. So! The Al Bhed has his personal battle boy, does he? And one nicely at hand. This means the priestling will be useless when we finally meet the enemy but I never expected much from him anyway. I hope they will wash before I have to be in their company again. I am offended by the stench of sex outside the bed chamber. They have been told the way to water, but will they take the hint?
Wishing to leave them to themselves until they had done with their canoodling, I continued on to the base. Dust, confusion and people milling about like so many heads of cattle. The image is not that far off; the vast majority of those who enlist are headed straight to the abattoirs. I see no signs of any effort to actually teach these innocents what to do to save their own lives, let alone the lives of their teammates. That's a laugh. Why should I care? My job is to find a way to terminate my own existence as efficiently as possible. At least, I will not go down for no reason and not uselessly. I fully intend to take a goodly number of Sin spawn with me. It would be pleasurable to take the parent creature as well but I dast not set my sights that high. No, it will be enough to find the time and place to die with honor, keeping my word as well as I may.
When I reached the principal tent, I was hailed by the officer in charge – the one who recognized me – and drawn aside into a smaller connected area. With an exasperated sigh, he shoved a tall, thin woman into my chest with the announcement she was our group recorder. And he was gone.
I disengaged myself from the woman who has the most extraordinary red-brown eyes and pewter hair although she is still young, younger than I in any event. She stood there like a bull pup, belligerent with her arms folded over her chest. Then her eyes widened as she noticed the anomalies which make up my body and an uncertain look replaced the defiance in her eyes.
It seemed to me to be a good idea to take advantage of her momentary confusion since I am not fond of brutalizing women, so I slapped her shoulder and told her to follow me and led her out of the tent. She obediently walked just behind me as I marched away from the crowded meat market and into the only slightly less packed road. When we reached the crevice which houses my chosen space, I stopped and confronted her.
I demanded her name and experience. Never let it be said I showed favoritism to the supposedly weaker sex. Although I had not expected the recorder to be female, I will treat her exactly as I do the two men under my command.
It seems she is called Paine and claims to be proficient with the sword. I am pleased with her attitude. Someone has obviously taught her how to respond to her leader.
I told her she was unlikely to be using a sword and instructed her to practice her sphere work. I was glad to see her looking straight ahead like a proper recruit, not staring at me. She nodded briskly. No unnecessary words for that one.
I smiled, which seemed to upset her somewhat, and told her where to find water to refresh and clean herself then pointed her to the lift and instructed her to join the rest of the team when she was ready. She hoisted her backpack and the awkward camera and strode off without looking back. I think she will be a fine addition to the team. Much more of a man than the little one. And more biddable than the Cyclops.