Standard Boring Disclaimer: Characters in this story are the property of Square/Enix.
Note: Text in / is a character's thoughts.


Rude's final punch sends Cloud crashing into the tunnel wall where he slumps, no longer having the energy to stand unaided. Looking to his side, he sees that Tifa and Vincent are in similar condition. Lifting his eyes in what he thought would be his final moments, Cloud is surprised to see his foes turn to leave. "Why don't you finish us?" He groans.

At this Rude glances at his watch. " time."

"We've only got about a half hour before the reactors go," the Turk's flame-haired leader says while replacing his Electro-Mag Rod on his belt. "This might be our only chance to settle our grudge with Hojo."

Tifa looks up at this. "Grudge? What'd he do to you?"

Reno meets her gaze. "You probably don't know this, but Elena here's a damned good hacker. She found some interesting files in the Shin-Ra mainframes." He glances at the blond hacker, making a motion with his hand for her to continue.

"A few hours ago I found some files in Hojo's system describing an experiment he did 30 years ago on Mr. Valentine over there." She pauses to gesture at Vincent. "No one uses a Turk as a guinea pig and lives. We're going to explain that to him, then we're going to kill him."

"But I am no longer a Turk," Vincent protests.

"Not anymore," Rude concedes, "but you were then."

"It's the principle," adds Reno. "We'll get back to you." At this, the three Turks turn on their heels and begin to walk down the tunnel, away from the fallen members of Avalanche.

"Principle?" Cloud asks, looking confused.

"Yeah, since when has Reno had principles?" wonders Tifa.

"The spirit of the Turks. I see little has changed in my absence."

"What's that supposed to mean, Vince?"

"We always considered ourselves the most elite force on the planet. We had pride, honor, dignity. If someone assaulted one of us, they would be dealt with swiftly and permanently."

Author's Note: Hojo's experiment on Vincent being 30 years ago is just a rough estimate. From the game I know that Sephiroth was conceived before the experiment on Vincent and that he disappeared seven years before the beginning of the game. If Sephiroth was about 23 during the Nibelheim incident(which is pretty young to be the top officer in SOLDIER), then Hojo's experiments in the Shin-Ra mansion would take place roughly 30 years before the game starts. I know the manual says that Vincent's 27 years old, but that's just his physical age. Either Hojo's modifications to Vincent prevent him from aging, or he was in some sort of stasis sleep in that coffin.

New Note: Edited for style. The content's still the same. Thanks for the suggestion on tenses, Reno a la Turk.

Yet Another New Note: I added a line under the disclaimer to clarify what / means in later chapters.

Edited again because some site update deleted all the '--' lines I used to use to denote scene changes. So time to slap horizontal rulers into all my fics.