Well I'm not gonna say much til the chapter is over only that I'm sorry for the LONG wait, but I hope you enjoy this chapter, it's 8k words before I added the Author's Note, be sure to leave a review at the end. Enjoy.

Technical Difficulties

The past week had been a very stressful one for Andrea Pryde. The tense atmosphere of the SeeD encampment was not an overall friendly one. She was looked at with distrust and resentment by many of her peers, she was thankful that none of them knew her secret, If they found out she was a sorceress, the distrust would probably turn to fear and from there they'd all be trying to kill her. That was another good reason not to use her powers, the more experienced SeeDs would be able to sense that kind of magic being used this close to them, so no matter how much Harry tried to convince her that learning to get used to them was the best idea, she had to disagree.

That was another thing that was bothering her. Harry had been acting odd, odder than usual and for him that couldn't mean anything good. She wasn't one to try and pry, but she was well aware that Sheyna had tried figuring out what was troubling the wizard, and had so far hadn't gotten much out of him. Andrea had her suspicions and whatever was bothering him probably had something to do with his late night excursions away from the base.

It always looked like he was in his bed, but a close observation one could see the slightly translucent features of the illusion he placed on his bed every night. None of the other SeeDs seem to notice and if they did no one said anything. Being cramped up in this base was starting to get to her, she needed something to take her mind off it, she was heading to the commander's office to request a fiend patrol or anything to get away from her own thoughts when there was a loud whistling sound quickly followed by an earth shattering explosion from the main entrance of the makeshift compound.

Every SeeD was instantly on alert and the higher ranking SeeDs began issuing orders to their fellow soldiers, obviously they had been through something like this before. She saw a red haired SeeD she recognized and called out to him.

"Dincht what the hell is going on?" she yelled over the growing noise

"Cyborg attack! what the hell do you thi-…oh it's you." he finished with a deadpan drawl "Just take that gunblade of yours and start using it if any of those damned things break through the first line of defenders."

He ran off without another word and Andrea resolved to do whatever she could to help her fellow SeeDs while tracking down Harry and Sheyna.

There goes another one Laguna." said Bastian holding the binoculars to his eyes, the optical enhancers were more powerful than anything he'd ever used before and allowed him to see up to 5 miles away at their strongest setting, that was why he was able to see a large battalion of cyborgs heading north from the direction of the main city. This had been happening a lot in recent weeks even before their ill fated broadcasting mission. He found it very odd. They would always return a few hours after passing with noticeably thinner numbers and if they were close enough, often times Bastian would see heavy damage to the returning ones, whatever they were doing they weren't having too much success.

The difference this time though was that there were a lot more cyborgs than usual, a battalion had passed only an hour before and still hadn't returned.

"They can't be up to anything good." said Laguna coming to stand beside him.

"That's what I was thinking." said Bastian worriedly "I think it's time we see what they're up to."

"They aren't attacking us, that's all we need to worry about." said Laguna "We don't have the resources right now to do much of anything but lay low until we get an opportunity to acquire some more."

"But there could be potential allies up there that their trying to destroy." Argued Bastian "What if it's someone who heard the broadcast and is coming in to try and help?"

"I understand what you mean, but you're suggesting that we engage all of them in open combat, with no idea who or what their fighting against." said Laguna "They could be more enemies, then what?"

"I'm only suggesting we stay at a safe distance and observe." said Bastian

"I'll let you take a vehicle but that's all I can offer you right now." said Laguna "Just get back here is all I ask, you've been a good ally, I'd hate to loose you now."

"Don't worry I won't do anything rash." said Bastian, but it was doubtful that Laguna believed him.

Harry sat deep in thought near the north end of the SeeD base. He was behind the Garden's and no one was likely to disturb him here, not even his watchers. It was odd being watched again, but this time they weren't trying to protect him, they were watching him with suspicion and distrust. "Well at least they don't dote on me." he thought wryly. They were doing an admirable job of trying to remain undetected, but he knew they were there, having learned to tell when Grindlewald watched him, these two weren't a real challenge to track. Now they stood on the roof of the Western Garden, he couldn't remember the exact name, and they were still watching him very closely.

His guards weren't the most pressing thing on his mind though, he had managed to gather a great deal of information since his time at the SeeD compound and not all of it was to his liking. He was no where near the computer genius Ethan was, but he'd learned to use the ones in this world well enough, and with a little magic on his side, he'd managed to come by a good deal of facts about this world that he didn't know before.

For instance the way GF worked, in the simplest terms they worked similar to Materia. The specific guardian put an echo of their presence into a stone disk-like device that could then be equipped to a person via "Junctioning" as the person fought with the GF their connection to it grows stronger enhancing their own power and the amount of will the guardian can express on this plane in it's physical form. One thing had been confusing him when he'd seen multiple images of the same GF during the fight between the Empire, Strife and the Gardens. The file on GF he'd found also explained that phenomenon. Junctioning stones as they were called divided over time after an extended use. The new stone had a much weaker link to the GF than the one it had divided from but could still be used in the same way, and even with multiple conduits to this world a summoned guardian could act through multiple conduits at the same time, albeit with a much weaker result than acting through the one conduit with full power. There was still much about the topic that was unlisted in the archive and he supposed that he'd have to ask a Guardian to get the full understanding of it all.

Unfortunately the SeeD computer system, or at least the

portion of it that the base had did not have very many files on the Merger only vague references to something called Time Compression and a Sorceress Ultimecia, nothing at all on how to go between worlds or anything of that nature. That was why he'd called up a map of the surrounding area and had begun scouting it out during the night when it was much easier to slip away unnoticed.

He found several installations while roaming around the Eshar wilderness. The security in them was tight though, and he'd had little headway in finding any information within the outposts, he knew that such a thing was a long shot, but he had to try. Sheyna kept asking him about what was troubling him, but he didn't want to tell her about it right now, especially not with so many unfriendly ears around.

His moment of tranquility was shattered by the sound of an explosion and the shouting of all the SeeDs throughout the rest of the base, he felt a shift in the tracking charm he'd placed on his watchers and knew that they were now moving away from him to investigate whatever had happened on the south end. He decided that he'd better go as well to see what was happening.

The base was complete chaos, cyborgs fought with SeeDs everywhere. By the main entrance, in the forest surrounding the base, on the roofs of the crashed Gardens and everywhere in between the battle raged. Several SeeDs were already seriously injured or

worse dead. The cyborgs had lost a lot of units as well and for a time it seemed as though the SeeDs would win in the end, that was until another battalion appeared.

Andrea fought alongside a group of SeeDs as they fought twelve cyborgs, making the odds three to one in favor of the machines. One of the soldiers had an arm dangling uselessly at his side, and another one was limping badly. Andrea had her fair share of scratches and bruises but this was nothing a quick Cura couldn't take care of. She cast the spell on all four of them, her wounds closed rapidly leaving only faint markings as any sign that they had been there. The others surveyed themselves and found that they too were not nearly in as bad of shape as they had been. They nodded to her gratefully for the assistance and together they began to dispatch the cyborgs. Andrea noticed though that they only used magic sparingly as if they had precious little to bother using it fighting. She needed to talk to someone about that after this was over, that was not a good sign at all.

She turned quickly to avoid a slice from one of the enemies that would have beheaded her had she not avoided it. Bring her gunblade up she parried a second attack from another cyborg and counted it slicing clean through it's chest and causing sparks to angle all throughout its body. She viciously wrenched the weapon free pulling its trigger as she did so sending a powerful blast into its head and disabling it permanently. She cast a powerful Thundaga spell on four of the machines causing them to falter in their action sand gave her the opportunity to get in their midst quickly hacking them to pieces. The others had managed to take out the remaining cyborgs.

Using the short reprieve Andrea decided to take a quick look at these SeeDs' junctions. They were all using low level GF which had limited junctioning capacities. They had little to no magic in their reserves and one didn't have a GF at all. It was what she had feared. The SeeDs were seriously under supplied to be where they were and it was a wonder that they had survived this long. She saw glints of Materia on some of their weapons and armor but even that was few and far between. Now that she thought about it the weapons weren't in great shape either, some bore cracks and warn edges the armor showed signs of taking heavy damage and little if any of it looked capable of protecting the wearer.

"No not good." thought Andrea "not good at all"

Fifteen more cyborgs came barreling toward them and the fight began once again. This time Andrea decided to give her four companions more of an edge focusing on her magical reserves she brought forth several protection and enhancement spells. Protect and Shell helping to negate physical and magical damage. Haste, increasing their speed and dexterity and therefore helping their reaction time greatly and finally Regen to handle any minor damage they might receive while fighting. After giving all of them the spells she barely had time to avoid the attacks of three cyborgs that had launched some long range laser fire at her. It seemed that they had determined her as the greater threat because six more cyborgs began coming toward her from the other group that was fighting the three other SeeDs. The Cyborgs surrounded her and didn't attack right away, it was like they were thinking, and that was not typical of normal machines. Three of them charged at her from different angles, she jumped into the air expecting them to collide with each other, instead the ones remaining in the circle around her, fired lasers at her while the other three jumped after her, two of them grabbed her, and restrained her with inhuman strength. The volley of laser fire hit its mark. The attack would have killed her if she hadn't cast the Shell and Protect spells on herself; they still burned her very badly where they struck and they hurt like hell. The third cyborg that had jumped after her had apparently gone for a high jump and came down with a devastating dropkick to her head sending her plummeting toward the ground. She was going at an astonishing speed and instinct seemed to take over as she thrust her hands towards the ground causing her course to change as a powerful blast of wind left her hand. She knew she didn't have any spells like that in her reserves, but she didn't stop to think about that at the moment. She landed safely on the ground and cast a quick Curaga on herself dulling the pain in her head and healing over her various burns in order to be ready for the cyborgs that were already advancing on her position with four more in their midst. She chanced a glance over to where the other SeeDs had been fighting and gave an involuntary shudder at the battered bodies of her comrades. They'd managed to take out one of the Cyborgs between them with even with the spells she'd cast on them, this either meant that they were horrible fighters or that these cyborgs weren't like the others. . It was probably a combination of the two and the fact that these SeeDs were seriously unprepared for this situation. She charged up a strong Thundaga spell as she waited for just the right moment to unleash it. The cyborgs were going for a pincer attack once again, as soon as they got into position she'd let loose.

The moment came a few seconds later and the attack sent the cyborgs flying in all directions. They seemed to be recovering quickly and Andrea decided to press her advantage while she could. She focused lightning into her gunblade and attacked the nearest machines with renewed fury tearing it asunder and causing a small explosion from its ruined remains. Her hand slammed into the ground releasing a massive quake spell that ripped a deep chasm ahead of her catching five more machines before slamming shut over and over before closing again. The other cyborgs backed away weary of her.

She could see the decimated SeeDs all over the battlefield, they'd lost a lot today and the battle seemed to be a loosing one if the cyborgs got anymore reinforcements. She heard a horrible roar echo all around the base and knew that whatever it belonged to probably wasn't on their side. Further pondering was put on hold when she head a faint whirring sound from behind her a quick glance showed seven new arrivals, cyborgs armed with pulsing plasma blades, others with glowing rotary blades. This situation had gone from bad to worse and she was right in the middle of it.

Sheyna back flipped out of her position narrowly avoiding the incoming volley of laser fire from the cyborgs that had chosen her as their target. The roof of Galbadia Garden had seemed like the perfect place to gain an advantage on the incoming forces, but unfortunately she has not counted on their resilience, shots that would have killed normal humans barely caused them to falter, it was only thanks to her magic that she'd managed to kill any of them. They had uncanny maneuverability as well, vaulting onto the roof had been no trouble for them at all, and staying ahead of them was taking everything she had.

"If only I still had that automatic laser cannon." she thought bitterly as she dodged another barrage of fire before letting loose with a volley of her own. She took cover in an alcove of the roof in order to give herself some cover and a momentary respite. She checked her clips once more and cursed. The armor piercing rounds weren't cutting it, and while she had an extended supply thanks to Harry they weren't doing the kind of damage that would take these things down. The normal ammo was out of the question and with no demolition ammo there was only one option, however risky, it was the only thing that would get her out of this situation. She reached into her ammo bag and brought out a single clip, it was black with a dark purple strip running down either side of it. She slammed it into her right pistol in place of the armor piercing ammo. Listening carefully she judged her enemies to be around twenty yards away, she chanced a quick look and was immediately set upon by their laser fire, keeping her pinned to her position. When the fire ceased she made a quick dive out of her hiding place and fired rapidly with both pistols. The normal shots simply pinged off the superior armor of the cyborgs, but the other shots had a far more destructive effect. When each of the purple tipped bullets hit their target, they burst into a large sphere of black and purple energy which caused the cyborgs to convulse and disintegrate without a trace, unfortunately it did the same thing to the Garden roof underneath them and Sheyna's pistol had not been able to withstand the backlash from such powerful blasts in quick succession. The weapons barrel had exploded. Luckily Sheyna had thrown it away from herself beforehand saving herself from injury, but still down a weapon. The good thing was that all the cyborgs had been caught in the blast leaving the roof deserted.

She heard a scream coming from below and ran to ward the holes now in the garden roof. Below several cyborgs and even some fiends were chasing some kids around. She remembered Teagan telling them that there were cadets here, but she had no idea they were that young, the kids looked about 8 maybe even younger. Not wasting any time she jumped down through the whole blasting a Firaga spell at the oncoming machines, stalling them long enough for her to cast a Blizzaga spell at the ceiling above causing it to collapse onto the cyborgs that had stalled due to the intense heat burning in their path.

"What the hell lady now we're trapped!" yelled one of the cadets, a tanned boy with dark brown hair and brown eyes. "Are you trying to get us killed?!"

"Shut it kid!" said Sheyna irritably "The Cyborgs won't be held up by that for long, we need to get you guys somewhere safe!"

"We were headed to the armory." said another boy timidly "It has strong doors and stuff we figured it'd be safe."

"Where is it?" Sheyna prodded gently

"It's on the other side of the fucking pile you dropped on those damn robots!" snapped the first boy snidely "Fine job you're doing of 'protecting you poor children' huh?"

At this point Sheyna had had enough. She yanked the boy up by his collar and looked him right in the eye. "I said shut it, now if you don't have anything constructive to add to the situation then this mouth of yours better remain shut, do I make myself clear?"

The kid looked to be ready to make another flippant remark, but a loud roar from outside stilled whatever comment he was going to make and he nodded reluctantly. Sheyna sat him down. She didn't know what that noise was but she had a feeling it wasn't anything good. Now she needed to find another way to the armory and manage to keep all these kids safe along the way with only one pistol and her magic. This would not be easy.

Following his guards had proved to be yet another of his grand plans gone wrong. After getting about a mile east of camp the guards had suddenly been ambushed and then brutally killed by the cyborg army. Harry, while being invisible at the time, had somehow gathered their attention and was their next target, however he was prepared, unlike the guards. The first ten cyborgs to attack him had met a quick end from a powerful Thundaga spell. Several of the cyborgs broke rank and attempted to flank him, but he used several Quake spells to head them off, this didn't seem to deter them however as they quickly vaulted the small canyons formed by the spell and shrug off the violent vibrations of the ground around them.

Instead of flanking him, they continued onward toward the SeeD camp. Harry wanted to stop them but he was preoccupied by several cyborgs that stood out from the rest. These had odd circular devices on their hands and he was a bit worried about the look of them. Wanting to end it quickly he attempted a powerful Tornado spell, but instead of blowing the machines to pieces, the spell was simply absorbed by the devices on the cyborgs' hands.

Harry was a little annoyed by that, but some fiends did the same thing, but there was one thing he was sure they wouldn't absorb.

"Explodra!" The dark red bolt of magic soared toward the cyborgs, but just before it hit, two of the monstrosities raised their hands and sucked the magic into themselves, leaving Harry dumbfounded. THAT had never happened before. He unsheathed his gunblade and Summoned the Atma Weapon in the other, if he couldn't do this with magic, he'd just have to use brute force.

He had to admit these robots were better than he thought machines could ever be. Instead of waiting for him to attack, they rushed him. Attacking from four different angles, he attempted to jump at the last second, barely avoiding the machines as they changed direction, doing the exact opposite of what Harry had been hoping for, out of habit he launched a strong Flare spell towards the group, they brought up their hands to absorb the attack, but only managed to reduce about half of the damage, this let Harry know that their devices had limits, all he had to do was overload them, that wouldn't be much of a problem.

Landing Harry put on a sudden burst of speed and slashed the bots with magically charged blade strikes. When the bots tried to absorb the magical energy they paid no heed to the physical damage being wrought by the gunblade and Atma Weapon. It wasn't long before Harry had disposed of the last of them, only to hear a startlingly loud roar from very close by; he looked in the direction of the cry of primal fury to see a most terrifying creature. It had once clearly been a species similar to the T-Rexaur he'd seen in the Bessaid training grounds, but it had several new additions. It was much bigger, had two heads, wings, spikes along its spine going to the tip of its tail and horns on both its heads. If that wasn't enough he could see that it had several mechanical additions as well, such as metal tipped claws, horns and spikes, as well as a metal tip on its tail. The eyes didn't quite look natural either, this was one nasty looking creature.

The thing charged Harry at surprising speed for something of its size. He barely managed another dodge feeling the acrid breath on him as one of the creature's maws came within centimeters of his arm. He slashed at its flank, only to be batted away by the massive tail. The snake-like appendage wrapped around him upon impact and slammed him brutally into the ground several times before letting him go and turning to take another bite at him. Harry surprised the beast with a Firaga spell. The spell barely caused the beast to waver, but gave Harry enough of a chance to get away from the incoming jaws of doom. He couldn't afford to let this fight go on much longer. Summoning up some of his vast magical reserves he summoned an extremely strong Meteor spell onto the unfortunate beast. It let out another roar before collapsing to the ground in a charred and battered heap.

Harry sighed in relief hoping that was the last of it, unfortunately he heard another deafening roar, only this time there sounded like more than one of them this time. He glanced over his shoulder, not at all liking what he saw. There were four more of those dinosaur-cyborg fiends. This was going to be difficult. Another wave of the humanoid cyborgs flew past him some taking a few shots at him, but not directly engaging him. This was not good. He was dealing with these vicious and very strong fiends, and there were several battalions of cyborgs heading towards the SeeD camp. The soldiers would have their hands fool with the cyborgs , if they had to deal with these things too it would be a disaster.

"Andrea won't use too much magic because she's still afraid of using the sorceress powers." He thought worriedly as he dodged an incoming volley of acid spat from two of the new fiends. "And Sheyna only has her gun, which won't do much and Materia, I hope they can handle themselves…"

Thoughts of his companions were put on hold as he evaded a spout of fire from one beasts and a spurt of acid fired by another. "And it just keeps getting better" He thought somberly before casting a series of spells on himself to help him deal with this situation easier. Charging into the beasts was out of the question, they would have little trouble tearing him apart at close range, and while he was confident in his speed, especially now bolstered with a Haste spell, he wasn't quite confident that he could avoid all harm from the vicious monsters. He needed to separate them since using the more devastating spells in his arsenal would expend more energy than he felt comfortable using since he had no idea what else he would have to face today.

"Try a Berserk spell on them" suggested Seth "They're less likely to spit at you then, they'll only think about ripping you apart with those claws, then you can run away and make them chase you, kill the first one that catches up with you."

"And if they're immune to Berserk?" asked Harry evading more plumes of fire and acid and back peddling to avoid getting smashed by another of the beasts' tails.

"If all else you could summon me or Zero." Suggested the Guardian

"For all I know these could be the grunts, I'm sure there's something close to here controlling them, the things are working pretty well together with those cyborgs" Harry cast the berserk spell on one of the fiends, unfortunately it didn't seem to do anything at all "Nope didn't work, no way I can outrun them with them having a ranged advantage over me. Guess I got no choice here then." He began gathering his magic for one of his more devastating attacks. If they survived this, he wasn't quite sure what he'd do, but this was a start. One of the beasts was preparing to charge him, and Harry released his spell before the thing took two steps. "ULTIMA!"

Andrea was quickly becoming exhausted. She'd managed to take out the next wave of Cyborgs, but she was quickly running out of stocked magic. She couldn't afford to keep blowing the spells she had junctioned in order to defeat the cyborgs, that left her with engaging them at close range, which left her farm more vulnerable to their close ranged attacks as well. On top of that, she kept getting an urge that she wasn't sure she could ignore for much longer. The power that had been lying dormant within her for weeks now was itching to be released, and it was becoming very hard to resist.

She flipped over two charging cyborgs and quickly turned and slashed them with her gunblade using the contained explosive force of the blade to tear right through their armored torsos. There was no relief however as four more of the deadly machines were heading her direction as well as something else. The thing looked like an Adamantoise, a large turtle-like creature, with spikes on its shell and powerful legs as well as tusks on its grotesque head. This was not a normal one though. It was much larger than any she'd seen before and it was clearly enhanced by cybernetic implants.

Ifrit would help here, but she wasn't confident she could summon him quickly enough, she had not been using him for very long meaning her connection with him was nowhere near as strong as it had been with Quazicotl. Still she had to try. Focusing on the Guardian she channeled energy in an attempt to call him forth. Unfortunately the Cyborgs had other ideas and she had to break her focus in order to combat the deadly machines once again. Parrying a slash from one of the machine's plasma blades she beheaded it and jumped to avoid a barrage of laser fire from two others. She felt a presence looming behind her and quickly dodged to the side narrowly avoiding a plume of frigid air coming from the Adamantoise's huge mouth. The Cyborgs weren't so lucky though, they'd been charging after her, and the breath attack froze them solid and a second later they shattered.

Andrea was at her limit, she had spent all the stocked magic she could afford and her magical reserves were at their limit as well, making casting materia spells almost impossible. She didn't have enough time to summon Ifrit, and even if she did, she wasn't sure how long she could hold him into this plane with such a limited supply of magic. She felt the pulse of power within her again, and she couldn't resist it any longer. A surge of magical energy surged through her and if anyone could see her face they'd notice that her green eyes had turned a solid shade of white as the power flowed through her. Her wounds healed and the exhaustion slowly started to fade away. The Adamantoise was not detoured however and prepared to launch another plume of frigid breath at her, however a quick thrust of her hand in its direction sent the beast flying back several hundred yards end over end. It struggled to raise itself off the ground but with another gesture, huge spikes of stone jutted from the ground underneath it causing it to roar in agony. Andrea didn't let up however and cast a very powerful lightning spell on the beast. Unfortunately this proved to be the wrong thing to do. Instead of hurting the monster the spell seemed to invigorate it.

The large turtle-like creature pulled itself to its feet, still impaled on the spikes, but with a large amount of effort it broke free, still with several stone spikes running through its body. It charged at Andrea and the sorceress blasted it with a powerful Flare spell. When the spell cleared there was nothing left of the creature, not even ashes. There were still cyborgs about, and the battle was far from over. The power was flowing through her and she was barely in control, her only thought was defeating her enemy and that's exactly what she did.

"What's under this room?" Asked Sheyna urgently. She could hear the cyborgs attempting to get through the barrier she'd created and they needed a way out before the machines broke through.

"I think the dormitories." said one of the female cadets uncertainly.

"Any chance someone's in there?" She asked loading another of her precious few demolition clips into her gun.

"There shouldn't be." Said the flippant cadet "I don't see why you-…" He quickly jumped back when Sheyna blasted a hole into the floor "You're crazy!"

"I'm trying to keep us alive so shut the hell up and do what I tell you" Sheyna said impatiently jumping into the new hole she'd created "Jump down, and watch the shrapnel and rubble!" she yelled through up at them. Some of the cadets hesitated but a shifting in the rubble from the collapsed roof made up their minds and they quickly followed her.

The dormitory was thankfully deserted and the hallway outside it was clear of any enemies as well. When the last cadet cot through the hole Sheyna quickly ushered them out of the room and welded the door shut with a Fira spell in order to hold up the cyborgs as much as possible.

"Is there a way up the armory from this floor?" she asked

"The elevator, if it still works." said the flippant cadet again

"What's your name kid?" asked Sheyna

"Trent" was the simple reply

"Alright then Trent you lead the way, I hope you can cast some spells though, just in case."

"I'll manage," he said simply heading down the hallway with Sheyna and the other cadets quickly following.

Sheyna didn't know what to make of the kid. He obviously had an attitude problem, but now was not the time to say anything about it. They needed to get to the armory, hopefully there was something useful in there. At the very least some ammunition as she was running low on the specialty bullets and the normal ones didn't seem to phase the bots at all. She still had her materia and a very limited bit of white magic she could cast without materia or junction. There was also Leviathan if it was necessary, but in this enclosed area, she hoped that it wouldn't be needed. They reached the elevator without incident, unfortunately it wasn't working.

"The lift is on this floor, but it won't be going anywhere." Said Trent "Any bright ideas lady?"

"Sheyna, and yeah, we're going to have to climb up there." Replied Sheyna I'm going to blast open the doors, Trent you go up first and open the doors on the next floor, you do have a spell that can do that don't you?"

"I'll manage" he said simply

Sheyna blasted the doors with one of her three remaining demolition shells to open the door. Trent went in and blasted the grate off the roof of the elevator cart with an Aero spell, and quickly made his way up the shaft. The other cadets followed while Sheyna watched the rear. As the last cadet was scrambling up the shaft Sheyna heard a loud explosion coming from the direction of where they'd entered this floor and seconds later saw the first of undoubtedly many cyborgs making their way toward her position. She blasted them with a Blizzaga spell, but they absorbed it and kept advancing, cursing she fired a demolition shell at the first cyborg and followed it up with a powerful Aeroga spell, the concentrated blast of wind wasn't something that the machines seemed able to absorb and the force of the spell sent them flying back. Using the opportunity she saw that the last of the cadets had made it up so she began the climb herself. Getting to the next floor, she saw the doors had been blown off, most likely by an Aero spell and made her way into the hallway. The cadets were looking around uncertainly waiting for some kind of order.

Sheyna waited for the cyborgs to make their way into the elevator cart, when she saw one preparing to climb up she blasted the cable holding the cart and it crashed down to the bottom of the shaft taking several of the machines with it.

"Trent, go! We need to get to the armory now!" Ordered Sheyna urgently.

Trent began moving immediately heading down the hall making a left turn at a t-junction and stopping outside a room with a keypad lock on it. Sheyna wondered why he stopped until he looked at her and explained

"I don't know the entry code." He stated simply "I don't think you'll be able to blast your way in either, it's reinforced against explosions and has some magic resistance too."

Sheyna bit her lip in contemplation, this was their best shot and the cyborgs wouldn't be held up much longer. She began just pushing buttons on the console randomly hoping to get lucky. A loud beep sounded and a surge of electricity surged through her, not enough to knock her out, but enough to let her know that trying that was a bad idea.

"Yeah we should have warned you about that." One of the cadets said sheepishly

Sheyna coughed up before casting a Cura spell on herself and turned to the cadets "If none of you knew the code, why were you heading here. Before any of them could answer the door to the armory opened and Sheyna sighed in relief when she saw it was Teagan.

"Good this is the last of the cadets" He said relieved as well "Quick get in here!"

The cadets wasted no time going in and Sheyna quickly followed them, Teagan shut the door and Sheyna took the opportunity to slump against the wall taking a deep breath.

"I think it's safe to say the situation is pretty bad out there." Said Teagan "This is the worst attack yet."

"So this has happened before?" asked Sheyna

"About every eight days or so since we landed here, never this bad though." replied Teagan "Thanks for getting the cadets here, protocol is for them to get to one of the secure rooms like this during an attack. I was in the Garden taking care of something for the commander when the attack started, so I started rounding up as many undergrads as possible to make sure nothing happened to them."

Sure enough there were about twenty-five cadets in the room including the ones Sheyna had helped get here. She noticed that the armory looked kind of bare not much was here, the odd gunblade or sword as well as some other spare weapons, but she did see something that caught her interest, heading over to the limited ammunition she found that there was some Dark Ammo mixed in with the normal and armor piercing rounds.

"Not much here for an armory." she noted as she loaded a clip of Dark Ammo into her pistol. She saw that there was a semi-automatic handgun on one of the shelves and picked it up to use as well, loading it with some armor piercing rounds.

"It's not like we're in much of a position to restock." said Teagan dryly "We barely had enough junction discs to go around, only three real GFs from both Gardens and what Materia we did have is already distributed. Our armor and weapons have been taking a beating thanks to the attacks, so we've been holding out with what we can."

"So what do we do now?" asked Trent "Hold up in here and wait for them to come in and rip us apart?"

A few of the other cadets shivered at this and Sheyna sent the boy a withering look "I don't know what your problem is kid, but now is not the time for that kind of talk." she told him irritably "Our best bet is to hold up in here for as long as we can. The machines will have some trouble getting into this room and if they do we'll be in a better position to hold them off with them only having one way in."

He looked unconvinced, and Sheyna wasn't really convinced herself, but if the last few years had taught her anything it was that there was always a chance as long as you kept trying. She hoped Harry and Andrea were faring better than she was.

Bastian drove the ATV as fast as he could in order to catch up to the battalion he'd seen heading north. Sophia sat beside him in quiet contemplation. She hadn't said much since he'd told her about what he and Laguna had seen. She actually had been saying much lately at all, but he assumed she was worried about Ethan, and that feeling was more than mutual. As they neared the border of the woods he say smoke rising in the air. He stopped the ATV at the very edge of the woods and hopped out drawing his broadsword. Sophia followed suit with her crossbow at the ready. It wasn't long before they found the place where the cyborgs made their base of operations, the vehicles they'd used to get to the forest were arranged around the parameter of a small clearing where a few of them had set up some strange machines There were some empty cages that undoubtedly housed some of the mutated fiends they'd come across in their time on this continent.

"Wonder what they're doing here" whispered Bastian

"Whatever it is I'm sure we won't like it." said Sophia quietly

A bright flash of light went off in the distance several different colors flashing in quick succession drawing the duo's attention away from the camp and deeper into the forest.

"I think that's where the fighting is." noted Bastian "We should head that way."

They crept away from the cyborg outpost and headed deeper into the woods, the native fiends to the area were absent, undoubtedly already dead, based on the corpses of some they'd come across, or scared off by the intrusion of so many people into the forest. Whatever the case was, Bastian was thankful he didn't have to fight any of them on his way to the battle he knew he was headed into. Bastian didn't know what to expect to see when he finally found the battle, but what he saw was the last thing he expected to see.

Harry Potter stood over the blackened remains of some sort of fiend and he was panting heavily. He had several wounds and he looked exhausted. He was undoubtedly the source of the spell they'd seen from a distance. Throwing caution to the wind he approached him, Sophia fallowing closely behind him.

"Harry?" He asked uncertainly

The wizard turned preparing to cast a spell, but relaxed when he saw who it was. "I'm not sure how you got here, but we could really use your help right about now." Said the wizard tiredly. Sophia tossed him a potion which he drank gratefully. "Ethan's not with you?"

Bastian was silent for a moment before replying "We'll talk about that later, what's going on here?"

"There's a SeeD base up there, well two crashed Gardens that were functioning like an outpost since we saw them at the attack in Glacia." Said Harry "The cyborgs started attacking though, and they brought some nasty fiends with them." He gestured to the piles of smoldering flesh "There are a bunch of cyborgs I took out a few but most of them ignored me when the fiends showed up."

"Let's go then." said Bastian "I may be a 'traitor' but I don't think it really matters at this point."

"I'm definitely not turning down the help." said Harry "I hope Sheyna and Andrea are alright."

"Andrea is with you?" asked Sophia "Thank Hyne, I was so worried about her when Antym sent us out of the sorceress' tower."

"Antym got you out?" asked Harry surprised "Know what we can catch up later let's go."

When they got to the Gardens the scene that met them was complete chaos. Cyborgs were lying destroyed all around as well as several SeeDs either severely to critically injured or simply dead. Others were still fighting all around the area even on top of the Gardens.

"Sophia try to tend to some of the injured." said Bastian "If we can get any of them up and fighting again it will help."

She nodded and got to work on the task of saving as many as she could, thankfully she kept a very large supply of healing magic and was able to cast some without the aid of junctions or materia. Bastian and Harry got into the fray dispatching cyborgs wherever they found them. It wasn't long before they found Andrea. She was probably single handedly turning the tide for the SeeDs in the area. The machines didn't stand a chance against the magical onslaught she was unleashing on them. A few enhanced fiends had also clearly been destroyed and when Harry and Bastian joined the battle the cyborgs' numbers were clearly taking a dent, but they were still severely outnumbered.

Harry was impressed at the display of power Andrea was showing, but he was worried at the ferocity she was showing, usually in battle she had a sort of controlled calm about her, even when in trance in the battle with Sorceress Mia she had been in a sort of controlled fury, but now her spells were so destructive and she was wielding them with such reckless abandon. More than once he saw her almost catch an unprepared SeeD with a stray spell, though thankfully that hadn't happened yet.

The Cyborgs on the Garden seemed to be meeting little resistance so that's where Harry headed using his magic to enhance himself in order to jump onto the roof of Galbadia Garden. There were several holes in the roof already, meaning that some cyborgs were inside. He knew that there were some cadets in the Gardens in that worried him even more; kids should not be in this kind of situation.

He was getting tired of fighting and he knew that the SeeDs that could still fight had to be at their limits as well. The attack had been going on for close to two hours now and it had been forty-five minutes since the last cyborg reinforcements had come. Their numbers were now about three to one in their favor instead of the twenty to one it had been when the machines had first shown up. Suddenly some of the cyborgs outside started to retreat. Others remained engaged with their opponents but the rest simply stopped what they were doing and ran away from the battle. Some began jumping from the holes in the roof, Harry took out a few but most of them managed to slip away. Soon there were only a handful left and it wasn't long before they had completely vacated the area. Everyone still remained on guard though expecting them to keep attacking. Except that Andrea, she was caught up in battle and didn't want her enemy to get away. Harry cursed and jumped from the roof chasing after her.

He managed to catch her at the edge of the compound attempting to reason with her "You need to calm down" He said commandingly, but she ignored him, attempting to push past him, but he grabbed her arm.

"Let me go!" She snarled trying to wrench her arm free

"That's enough, the battle is over, and we need to work on recovering now while we have the chance." he said

"They all must be destroyed!" She shouted eyes ablaze

"Control yourself!" he shouted back "You can't let the power get to you, it served its purpose so it's time calm it down, or better yet why not work on healing some of these injured people?"

Andrea took a deep breath, and for a moment it seemed she was going to listen to him, but then she blasted him away from here with a wave of magic. Harry quickly got to his feet and apparated in front of her before she could get too far away and hit her with a strong stunner catching her as she fell unconscious. Hopefully when she woke up she'd be in control again. The attack was over, but now they needed to regroup and fast, if there was another attack any time soon there wouldn't be much they could do.

A/N: Well yeah it's been a while huh? I told you I wasn't gonna abandon this fic, just that I had a lot going on, and playing WOW (World of Warcraft) takes up a lot of time when you let it, sorry about that I really am, on top of that I had a nasty nasty case of writer's block, but the creative juices seem to be flowing again and that's good. There isn't a lot left in this part of the story maybe eight to ten more chapters depending on how much content I get into each chapter. Again I'm not abandoning the fic, it might be a little while before I update again, but I am going to try to get antoher chapter out before this fic has another birthday, I might even get one out before New Years, but I'm not promising anything. Please Leave me a review I appreciate them and they do motivate me to keep going, I probably lost some readers by taking so long though. Until next time guys.