Disclaimer: Final Fantasy 7 and all is associated characters, location, etc… are property of Square Enix.

Author's Note: Revision! Revision! After a great deal of down-time I've finally rewritten my mediocre first chapter. (Hopefully now it doesn't seem so… amateur.) Anyways, to those who have just started reading my tale, allow me to say 'Welcome.' The basic premise of my story is that, 700 years after Advent Children, history is repeating itself as the world is endangered once again. Though the plotline is somewhat similar to the original game's own, you have my assurances that there are (many) plot twists.

Peace's End

By tfa1

Chapter 1: A State of Despair

Peace never lasts…

To deny this fact is folly. Happiness is temporary; bliss impermanent. Life ends, civilizations peter out, and even the Sun itself is scheduled to ride the supernova express into oblivion. All things end. All things will end. 'Happily ever afters' exist only in fairy tales.

And so it should come as no surprise that, 700 years after the defeat of Sephiroth, the Planet is once again in turmoil. From the ashes of peace, a new state of despair has arisen. The ancient heroes, slayers of Sephiroth, lay dead at the hands of time itself; and in their absence a new dystopia has been birthed upon the world: the savage and nameless Empire.

Led by a cruel, armoured Emperor, the Empire has spread to all corners of the globe, dragging misery and despair in its wake. Only the small island nation of Wutai, fuelled by respectable morale, potent magic, and little else, has manage to stave off the assault of the many, many Imperial forces sent against them. But the island's armies are limited, and the Empire boasts control of nearly the entire world population. It is only a matter of time before even Wutai falls under the harsh Imperial rule.

And harsh it is. One need only observe the Western Continent as evidence, where the lands lay barren, dry, and in ruin. All plant-life there has died, having been deprived of the sunlight needed to survive. The Empire's greatest creation – a gigantic dome-like structure erected over the entire continent – produces massive amounts of solar power at the expense of all who dwell beneath it. Called the "Sky," this humungous power plant is definitively both the Western Continent's greatest shield and its greatest source of misery. Only carnivores thrive in the West, beneath the Sky.

But beneath this perverse power plant – this despicable dome – the Planet's only hope resides…

- - -

Out on the plains of the Western Continent, unassuming and unnoticed, a small brown tent rested atop the earth. Within its fabric walls, crates and crates of stuff were stashed; with blueprints strewn about the place as carelessly as if they were autumn leaves. And among those crates and blueprints there lay a man…

A bald man…

A bald, groggy man…

A bald, groggy man with no memory of who he was, where he was, or why he was there…

He opened his eyes slowly, waking from unconsciousness. Everything was blurry; memory included. Who was he? Where was his hair? Why was he wearing plain, ugly, grey clothes befitting of an escaped convict? And above all, why was there a black cat standing at the tent door staring at him intently?

It was a strange black cat, with a mouth as wide as its face. The creepy grin formed on its face made the man feel uneasy, almost fearful. It stood on two legs, waddling about as if it owned the place – which was strange enough in itself because, as the man believed, cats didn't own tents. Nor did they walk on two legs. Nor did they talk with their oversized mouths.

"My, what a large mouth you have…," the man spouted in a half-daze.

"Well, it seems you're finally awake!" the cat replied, ignoring the man's comment. "It's good to see you haven't died, which is an all-too-common occurrence in these parts."

Some semblance of the man's intellect returned to him. "Wait a minute," he realized, "cats can't talk!"

"No need to worry," responded the cat, opening a hatch in the back of his head to reveal whirling gears and gizmos. "I'm a robot. Name's Smith."

"Uhhh… I'm…," the man choked as he searched the tent for signs of his own name, which still refused to be remembered. He settled on the first word he came across, scrawled across one of the blueprints on his left. "I'm Nimbus."

Smith the Cat eyed him quizzically. "Nimbus, eh? That's an odd name."

"What kind of name is Smith for a cat?" retorted 'Nimbus.'

"Would you prefer Fluffles, or perhaps Mr. Whiskerbottom?"

The bald man suppressed a chuckle. "Mr. Whiskerbottom would fit nicely in my opinion."

The cat was not amused. "It's 'RR-M666' to those who care about precision, 'Smith' to those who don't. Call me Mr. Whiskerbottom and I'll leave ya out in the wasteland for the wolves. Come to think of it, what were you doing out there anyway?"

"Taking a stroll?"

Smith opened the tent's 'door,' revealing what appeared to be a desolate desert in the middle of night. Dirt danced upon the air, kicked up by the strong winds that billowed across the rolling flats.

Nimbus cleared his throat, trying to make the lie stick. "Tough stuff – real character building. There's nothing quite like taking a midnight stroll in Hell."

"The plate that blankets our continent only gives the illusion of night. It's 3 in the afternoon." Nimbus' bluff had been called. "Trust me, my friend," the black cat explained, "I can read people like books, and it seems to me that either you're lying to me to hide who you are, or you don't even know who you are. Considering I've been hospitable enough to let you rest in my tent, I hope it's the latter."

The man formerly known as Nimbus nodded, "It is."

The cat's creepily wide grin returned, sending the bald man into another fit of uneasiness. "Excellent. Then I guess we both have something to offer each other."