Looking After Their Own

By: Asellas

Notes/disclaimers: I don't own anything FF7 related, I only wish I did. I do, however, own Rucien and Talla. They are characters spawned from my mind in the wee early hours of the morning when I should be sleeping...

This chapter has violence, gore, and creepy-crawly things that have probably resulted in me playing way too much Half Life 2 and Resident Evil 4. So beware. I don't want anyone freaking out and having nightmares because of me /

Tseng looked closely at the monitor. The image was horribly blurry and pixilated, but he could just make out the shape of a body in a section the security recording.

"As you can see, sir, this figure here," the chief security officer tapped the monitor near the top right corner, "is what you were looking for. Further analysis and detailed record checks indicate that lab assistant Samari Sasaki's I.D. card was used to exit the Headquarters via a small, coded security door in the back of the building."

"Why did it take so long to find this evidence," Tseng asked.

"Well, sir, that one door is used by the janitorial staff as it is the quickest route to the back of the building, and many other employees use it to avoid notice when slipping out for lunch breaks and such. Since it is a commonly trafficked exit, its surveillance tapes are quite long and it is tedious work to sift through everything for a specific person."

"Ahh." Tseng nodded. "Very well then, is that all you wished to inform me about today?"

"Actually, I have something interesting to show you." The officer rolled his chair to a filing cabinet in the corner of the room. He unlocked the top drawer with a key and pulled out a nondescript manila folder.

"I reviewed some security tapes from sectors nearby and found this," he pulled out an enlarged black and white photo from the folder, and slid it towards Tseng. The picture was somewhat clearer than the security tapes, but not by much.

"Look here," the officer pointed out, tapping just to the right of the center of the photo. Looking closer, Tseng noticed a body being pulled through a doorway by someone just out of range of the camera. The body had short, dark colored hair.

"That's Assistant Sasaki. I can tell that much. Have you searched the building and its premises?" The officer nodded.

"Yes sir, I conducted a full search myself with an entire SWAT crew, just in case. It was a day after I found the evidence in the surveillance camera, which was time stamped less than a day after the body of your dead Turk went missing. Sadly, the search turned up nothing. We have no leads this time," the officer told Tseng.

"Very well, if you find any more leads, tell me straightaway. I appreciate your help, officer." Tseng gave him a small nod and departed the security room for his office.

A paper plane darted through the air, and hit him in the head. He ignored it, and it fell to the side. A few moments later, another paper airplane poked him in his head before fall oh so lightly to the side as the one before it. He ignored it, and continued writing his share of the week's reports.

A few moments later, yet another paper airplane came from across the office and poked him right in the forehead. It fell into the pile of the twenty-some-odd other paper airplanes on his desk. He set his pen down calmly, calmly, even though his hand was beginning to shake in rage, or was it just the urge to have a cigarette? He wasn't sure anymore.

Rucien looked up and glared at Reno, who suspiciously not looking towards him and seemingly trying to stick pencils into the ceiling. He kept glaring, and Reno stopped tossing pencils but didn't turn to look at him yet. The office grew very silent; they could even hear the ticking of the clock. Rucien pulled open a desk drawer, and as silent as he was Reno heard it. And turned to look over towards Rucien. Seconds later, a bright orange dart with a sucker on the end was stuck to the middle of Reno's forehead.

"Headshot," said Rucien, and smirked. Reno glared, and pulled open one of his own desk drawers.

"If its war you want, its war you get, bitch!"

With an eruption of sucker-darts, marshmallows, and rubber bands, the office wars began. It was a typical day in ShinRa Headquarters.

Rucien inhaled the last bit of smoke as the cigarette burned down to the filter, flicking the used up butt to the ground before grounding out the embers. He pulled his gun, a Browning Hi-Power, from his shoulder holster beneath his navy jacket. He checked the safety, magazine, and finally slid it back into its hiding place. Reno squatted on the curb nearby, fiddling with his mag rod. Rude and Elena both checked their own guns, and tightened their black gloves. The little intercoms in their ears fizzed static, and soon Tseng's crackly voice filtered through.

"You know the drill, boys and girls. Keep it quiet, keep it in the designated area, and try and keep it as clean and quick as possible. Try and minimize any collateral damage, and if things get out of hand call for backup. I want you all back alive and in one piece. Tseng, out."

The four Turks began to advance on the old, abandoned looking building.

"Security handed me this report less than an hour ago. We have a new lead in the case of the missing body," Tseng told the three, who were assembled before his desk. Rude, of course, was keeping Reno in a headlock to keep the younger man from running for the door.

"Sir, should I go find Rucien and bring him back for the briefing," Elena asked, and Reno had finally stopped squirming.

"Not yet," Tseng shook his head. "I have no idea how he'd take this news, so we're not going to inform him yet. For now we are going to tell him we're going after a terrorist unit. Until we are certain of his… mental state, I suggest we keep this information tightly guarded. No slip ups, understood," he looked pointedly at Reno, who indignantly rolled his eyes.

Elena took point. Pulling out her handgun she slipped inside the doorway, making not one bit of noise. She gave the all clear a few seconds later, and Rude, Reno, and Rucien filed in. The first room was something like an old living room, but little was left of it but for an old couch in the center and dark, rotting drapes over the windows. To the left of the room was a staircase, and Elena had already begun to gingerly make her way to the top, careful of any stairs that would not support her and collapse.

"Rucien, you stay down here and guard the exit. If anyone comes through that door take them out, and alert us. I don't think you'd be able to make it back down the stairs with your leg if we needed to rush out," Elena said, and Rucien sent over his affirmative. He crouched at the wall lining the doorway they had come in, but where he could see the stairs if he was needed. He pulled out his gun, and began waiting.

"This place is a dump," Reno informed them, kicking at an old take-out carton.

"Shut up, Reno, and stay focused on the mission," hissed Elena through their little radio. Reno rolled his eye and snorted, then went back to poking through one of the three rooms each Turk had taken to search. After finding nothing more than old junk and trash he sauntered back into the room they had started in. Rude was already waiting for him, gun pointed at the ceiling. The two exchanged nods as Elena emerged from the last room, shaking her head in the 'No, I didn't find anything either' sign. She looked to the door at the far end of the room, and nodded to Rude. Gun in hand, he walked silently over to it and gently grasped the handle. He slowly turned the knob, but it caught midway.

Locked, he mouthed at Elena, who took a deep breath and walked to stand to the other side of the door.

"Break it down," she whispered, and Rude gave another nod. She looked back to Reno and motioned him over with a jerk of her head, and he took the position behind Rude. Rude stepped back and kicked the door down, SWAT style. They burst into the final room with guns at the ready. What they found on the other side made Elena scream.

"What? Is everything alright," Rucien asked into his radio. He tried to look up the stairs into the room beyond, with no luck.

No response came over the radio.

He licked his lips and flicked off the safety of his Browning Hi-Power. He cocked it back, setting a bullet into the chamber. Making one last glance at the exit door, he began to ascend the staircase fast as he could manage.

The thing in the far corner of the room used to be lab assistant Samari Sasaki, and for all practical purposes her head still looked like her, for the most part. The same could not be said for what was below the neck.

Her skin from mid-neck had turned a dark red color, and looked as if it had begun to crack and peel away. Her arms were elongated, the bones themselves seeming to have swelled to twice their size in her hands. Two other arm-like appendages jutted out from her sides, tearing through the remnants of her only garment, her lab coat. Her legs and feet took up the same appearance as her arms and hands. Her face, while still a normal fleshy color, seemed to have been stretched thin to accommodate a set of massive jaws and an extremely long tongue. To top the whole, gruesome package off, blood was smeared about her whole body. Rude identified that it was from the remains of something that he would be his entire month's paycheck had been human and alive maybe an hour ago.

Elena did her best not to scream again, having already gotten the… that thing's attention. Despite her best attempts, a whimper escaped her clenched teeth.

And then it stated laughing.

It was a weird sound, starting off as some kind of gurgling sound deep in its throat before sounding like some insane man's cackling. Elena took a step backwards.

The thing took a step forwards.

Reno had gone pale, and couldn't take his eyes off the thing, as if mesmerized. Rude shook his head, trying to clear it of the fear starting to cloud his thoughts. And then it spoke.

"Youu aree too laaaate, humanssss. Missssstresssss is gone, ouuut makingssss more of usssss, he he he he he!" It licked its lips and took another step forward. Toward the three Turks.

A shot rang out, missing its intended target and shattering a window to the left of the monster.

"Shoot it in the head, and for God sakes don't let it touch you," yelled out Rucien, who began shooting in a two-handed stance for better aim. Elena, Reno, and Rude seemed to snap out of it, and began shooting at it as well. The monster gave a bone-chilling shriek and lunged forward towards them, but with a shot to the kneecap from Rude it tumbled to the floor a few feet away from them. After it took four more slugs its head exploded in a fountain of gore. They continued shooting at the now lifeless body till their guns each clicked empty.

"We need to burn what's left, and soon. If the blood from that thing gets into another animal or human, it'll manifest like that," Rucien informed the other three, looking pale and horribly shaken.

"You've seen this before," asked Rude. Rucien nodded, swallowing hard.

"Back at the mines I was last stationed at, a monster just like this had attacked the village there. It took out the men stationed at the reactor first, and we though they were dead. We found out otherwise when they attacked an outpost closer to the village. They assimilate whatever gets their blood in its system. We managed to wipe them all out before we left…" he trailed off.

"Then how the hell is it in Midgar now, yo," asked Reno, starting to recover from his own shock. Rude had clicked his radio to Tseng's frequency and was requesting a cleanup detail. Elena looked ready to sick up.

"Tell him," Rucien's breathing was short and shakey, "tell him napalm would be best. Take down the whole building if you must. We have a bit of a crisis on our hands." Rude nodded, relayed the message, and they waited for the cleanup crew.

Chapter 5: End.

I apologize for the wait, I had decided to wait till the night before all 8 of my english papers were due to actually do them and by some miracle of God I got them all done (each was at least 3 typed pages, with one being a 12-page research paper) and finished the semester with a B (for 'bullshit' XD) average! But its summer and I don't move out till mid August and for the while am jobless, so I have plenty of time to write (when the inspiration hits of course!).

As always, reviews, comments, suggestions and even flames are welcome and greatly appreciated (or in the case of flames laughed at)!

Oh, and I've been cross-posting this fic to my deviantART gallery. Its URL is http/korva-chan. if anyone would like to take a looksee through it :)