Introduction

"Reno!"

Reno ducked as another explosion shook the ground around him, and then he heard gunfire and dove to the ground.

Why are they shooting at me? They're Shinra soldiers too, for Ifrit's sake! he thought, standing up and knocking away an attacking soldier with his baton. He stumbled over the wreckage of what was once a state-of-the-art training center, one he'd only gotten to use twice before today.

They'll pay. Whoever did this, they'll pay big time. By the time I'm finished with them, they'll never-

"Reno! Need you now!"

"I'm coming!" Reno yelled back to Rude, wondering why these things always had to happen while he was on his break. He ran toward the sound of Rude's voice, keeping low to avoid being caught in the crossfire. Rude and Rufus were ducked behind a pile of debris that used to be a wall, and Reno scrambled over it and jumped down beside them. Rufus appeared fine, and Rude was beat up, but obviously not bothered by it.

"Anyone know why the HELL our own soldiers are bustin' up the place? And each other?" he asked.

"No time to guess," the President said. "They appear to be targeting Turks and high ranking officers specifically."

"It's chaos out there. I don't even know who's on my side," Reno pointed out, and Rude nodded.

"We have to get the President out of here."

"We'll never make it if we just run," Reno said, "You get the President out. I'll distract them, draw their fire. I'm hard to miss."

Rude looked up at him. "You'll never make it out alive."

"Pssh. Think a few soldiers are gonna take me down? They'll have to do better than that."

"We need to move," Rufus pointed out, and Reno nodded.

"See you after the fight."

Reno crawled back over the pile of rubble, aimed his baton at the nearest soldier, and shot an electric blast at him. Now with sufficient attention on himself, he took off running, bullets crisscrossing the air where he's been standing moments before. He skidded down the embankment, away from the President and toward the thick of the battle.

They're all attacking anything that moves, Reno thought, looking out over the battle. It's like they're all berserked, except cursed to target high ranks.

Suddenly, Reno felt as if he'd been punched in the back, and he went down hard.

Someone shot me. Someone fuckin' shot me!

Breathing hard to work through the pain, he stood up and turned around. He didn't have time for a curative spell- a sword was swinging toward him. He sidestepped it, and then swung his baton at the soldier's head.

A split second before the baton made contact, Reno realized that the person who'd tried to kill him was none other than his old training partner.

Didn't matter now. He'd split open the man's skull, and he needed to keep moving.

A blast of magic suddenly sent him flying backwards, and he landed and rolled feet away from one of the few crossbeams still standing. He groaned and tried to push himself up, but moments later, a sword sliced through his shoulder and into the ground, pinning him in place. He cried out, his hands flying up to grasp the blade.

"Understand, Reno. You have to die."

Reno opened his eyes, his gaze meeting that of the green-eyes person standing over him.

This was someone he knew.

Knew, in fact, to be dead.

"Wh-What? You…"

The person smiled. "Don't be afraid."

The sword withdrew, and then sliced at the base of the crossbeam behind him. Green eyes turned away, then…darkness.

Why?