The Ragnarok type spaceship shone the reflections of the summer sun's natural light. The Ragnarok was lustrous, like a dragon in flight, with a bow that was shaped like a dragon's head, neck extended in flight. Two arms were clutched close to its chest, clawed fingers gripped in fists. Beyond the ship's "shoulders" was what looked to be the ship's cockpit. At the spaceship's back were swept a quartet of wings at far-reaching angles, the wide fans of red metal covering a foursome of long, powerful turbines. The ship gleamed crimson underneath the morning sun. Currently, its cargo hold was open for everyone to see as it was being loaded with large containers.
"Alright! Let's do a sum up! A container filled with vital stuff that none of us three understands its essentiality. Another container, this one filled with a ton of desiccated food. I have to admit, Irvine, your 'customers' have got it all! I even see that there is fasticolan in the menu!" The technician's notes concerning the cargo of the Ragnarok were filled with gibberish that was supposed to be letters. With just one look at the notes as he got prepared to add his signature on them, Irvine swore that the world's biggest problem were not the Sorceresses but low education.
"Yeah, and they pay well, fortunately! All I've gots to do are one or two transfers like this per week and I'm officially rich."
The chubby man across the Galbadian pilot chuckled at the awkward but honest joke. "I bet." He offered. He was dressed in the bright orange suit all Esthar technicians wore obligatory, trucker hat perched on his head and a half-smoked cigarette hanging from his lips. Across him, Irvine signed the documents and handed them to him.
Irvine was dressed in casual clothing, a complete contrast to the technician. A loose blue tee-shirt adorned his well-built muscles, courtesy of SeeD training, and jean pants embraced his legs. Army boots were on his legs, and the ever usual dark brown cowboy hat sat proudly on his head. His light brown hair had remained long during the years, and was now caught in one thick ponytail on the base of his neck. Combining style with a stopper for the high winds the Estharian plains possessed, Irvine wore a leather jacket similar to the one his ex-commander wore, albeit without the fur around the shoulders – it just wasn't him.
…That didn't stop him from purring whenever he was around Selphie though…
"Alright guys, I'll be back here tomorrow evening, completely empty and not so sober." Irvine used his light blue eye to wink. "If that jackass Thelos asks, everything is normal, right? Oh, dudes. Please try not to go on a strike tomorrow; I'd rather not stay in the stratosphere for more than a day."
Irvine and the two technicians shared a good laughter and shook hands. With a satisfied smile, the cowboy waved them goodbye and got inside the Ragnarok spaceship, leaving the orange-clad men behind. Their smiles had turned into grins, and their eyes shone with a wicked glean that had nothing to do with the sun's reflections. "Don't worry, Irvy-boy. No strikes are going to happen tomorrow. We made sure of that with a small 'enticement' just ten minutes ago…"
The duo started laughing, one of them going as far as going into a coughing fit. In their age of thirty, investments had to happen, and happen early. So they were guilt ridden as they headed to the parking lot, where one of those ominous mobster persons they saw in the movies waited for them.
"Well?" The gigantic black man asked. He was dressed in a suit that not even four of the technicians' monthly paycheques could buy, and dark sunglasses covered his eyes. He had a short Rasta haircut, and spoke with a thick accent between bites of a snack he munched on.
"No problem at all, big guy." The technician who had conversed with Irvine said with a confidence he could never show to his wife. "In fact, I think it's high time for you to drop the cash…"
Irvine sat down behind the complex control panel the Ragnarok used. Steering his hands away from the weaponry controls, he flicked the machine to life with practised ease. Three switches and one stir of the engine's lever later, the gigantic spaceship came to life with a brutal roar of its turbines. The radio beamed into life as Irvine came into contact with the Control Tower. "This is spaceship Ragnarok/Fatality calling Control Tower," the cowboy said as he spoke, inwardly thinking that the nicknames Selphie gave to things should stick only in the bedroom, "heading to Lunar Base Ellone; am I clear for takeoff?"
"Affirmative Ragnarok/Fatality, you're good to go. Wind south-eastern at 190, use high velocity. Hynespeed, Irvine." Irvine smiled as he heard the female voice beam at the microphone.
"Good to go was all you needed to say, sweet bums." Irvine said with a good natured chuckle, and then whatever response was to be made was drowned under the titanic noise the Ragnarok caused at its takeoff.
Irvine managed through the tremendous force applied to him for exactly 9.16 seconds, and then it was over as the Ragnarok discarded the extra boosting engines and turned to automatic control by the ship's system. For a second that Irvine used to recollect himself and shrug off the dizziness, the young Galbadian man was in front of the space's glory. It was open to him and more inviting than a lover's tender touch, yet the cowboy could not care less; he had two goals, and both of them involved something sweet.
One was a big, fat paycheque and the other…
The cowboy dug into his leather jacket's inside pocket, fishing for a Polaroid picture. There she was, his soul mate Selphie, in her semi naked magnificence during that time when they visited the reconstructed orphanage's beach. She was a cutie, with her wavy brown hair, emerald eyes and petite frame. She was wearing a pine green two piece. In the picture, which Irvine himself had taken, Selphie had deadlocked Squall; the fact that she was one third his size and that she had even managed to capture the SeeD commander made the scene even funnier. The cowboy allowed himself a chuckle and reached for a red button on the control panel after tucking the picture away.
"Hey, Fatality, care for making a report?" Irvine asked while turning the automatic pilot on.
The computer beeped into life and the visage of a scantily dressed woman that resembled a famous buxom actress appeared on one of the screens. "Sure thing, honey!" The computer exclaimed through the speakers, assimilating Selphie's voice and demeanour. "It was a great takeoff, during which you managed to save a couple of dozen gallons of fuel. Take into account that the cargo is lighter than it should be though, and discard all that 'I'm-a-great-driver-that's-why' crap, alright?" The screen winked at Irvine, who frowned at both the information and the taunting.
"Is that so?" He asked, not really waiting an answer. "I should start checking the merchandize, see if one of the boys back home steals stuff in order to get a better monthly…"
In the meantime, said cargo was awakened from a deep slumber as both of the containers gashed open, spewing the men they contained outside in the cargo bay. There were ten of them, each sporting firearms and bullet-proof body suits reinforced with adamantine plates. Despite the heavy name, the plates themselves offered almost absolute protection against all manners of attacking while being very light-weighted.
Nine of the cargo bay's current occupants turned to look at the tenth one, who stood at the centre of the room. He was the only one who did not possess a powerful ranged firearm, but instead kept a small handgun at a holster tied up around his leg. With a sharp nod the man produced, the rest snapped into life and headed to the door separating them from the rest of the ship's parts…
A small jolt that ran through the ship signified the engine support having detached itself from the Ragnarok; in a matter of minutes it would head to the atmosphere, where big words and science Irvine did not understand would turn it to dust. Honestly, sometimes he thought the only thing that allowed him to stay a pilot was Selphie being his girlfriend. A smile crossed his features as he thought of his big girl waiting for him wearing nothing but his cowboy hat, causing the computer to scoff.
"You've taken on that happy face, like every time we head to Lunar Base Ellone." She (it, really) deadpanned. Irvine chuckled and feigned being hurt as he grabbed his chest in mock pain.
"You dare accuse me of being in love," he loudly declared, when he found that his role-playing was too funny for him; he burst out laughing.
Fatality scratched her head in curiosity. "What's the matter, honey?"
"Here I am, flirting with a computer while my girlfriend's only ten miles away. Tell me, Fatality, is that considered cheating?"
Fatality's image scratched her chin with a finely polished nail as her clothes changed from a kimono to a lone scientist's robe. "Well," she said in a sultry voice, "it is a different time zone."
Irvine's laughed long and hard while the super-computer's visage emptied the screen, turning back into the tropical themed screen saver. As the cowboy got off his comfortable chair and headed to the built-in refrigerator in order to catch a drink, though, Fatality reappeared on screen and screamed into the speakers. "Irvine! There's abnormal movement inside the cargo hold!"
Before the cowboy's long trained SeeD reflexes were able to kick in – I ought to practise more, Irvine chastised – the doors to the cockpit were hissed open, allowing the men from the bay to step in and aim weapons that promised at least four different types of death at him.
"Don't you dare move, Kinneas." The man in the middle ordered, his features obscured by the bad illumination. "Now turn that artificial intelligence off and sit your ass down! We're continuing this trip manually."
Irvine gulped, realizing who the man was and what exactly did he want. His hands in the air and completely at the men's mercy, he could only nod as cold, uncharacteristic to a SeeD sweat started dripping from his pores. "Whatever you say, man; you're the boss."
"This is Tifa Lockhart live from the aptly called research facility here at Esthar. As the viewers themselves can see, we're directed exactly at the monitoring room, where our little planet, so to speak, has access to the moon's conditions at all times." The reported said at the camera. Tifa Lockhart was a beautiful woman in her middle twenties who possessed a body many would kill for, long raven black hair and also black and also beautiful eyes. She was baby faced and nice to the camera, giving off a girl-next-door feel. According to the media, she was by far one of the most desired women on Gaia, compared easily to all time classic beauties like Julia Heartily. Currently, Tifa's long legs were covered up to the knees with a black satin skirt and her ample breasts and well toned body was embraced by a blue jacket that allowed more enough of her neckline to show; her managers and producers definitely knew how to handle marketing.
Tifa knew she had one of the best issues she could get; as the tip of the iceberg, it was also exclusive. She turned to smile semi-seductively and semi-encouragingly to her interviewee, President Laguna Loire himself, who was clutching his right knee like it was sweet life. Laguna was a middle aged man (although if it was not for the light greying of his hair, one would and could not notice), who had honey brown eyes and a healthy sample of the afore-mentioned hair, which he kept long enough to reach his shoulders. His nose was long and straight, his smile crooked, as if he was in pain, and he currently wore something combining a tuxedo's elegance with a two-piece suit's simplicity.
"Of course, we owe our being here to President Loire himself, who was glad enough to allow this visit as well as show us around." Tifa moved closer to Laguna and kept the microphone between them professionally, so they could both be heard nicely over the conversation. "President Loire," she started, "we are all set and good to go. For starters, let us talk about the Lunar Base Ellone."
"Hi Tifa, hi world!" Laguna exclaimed, obviously more relaxed (what Tifa and the cameraman did not know, was that Laguna's calm was due to the interview being recorded as opposed to a live feed. Kiros and Ward were bound to spend more than a night editing the random goofiness). "Uh, for starters, I have to admit I'm a great fan of yours, Tifa."
The reporter smiled sweetly. "Thank you, Mr. President."
Laguna cleared his throat tentatively before deciding to focus. "Anyway, back to Lunar Base Ellone and our pet peeve project, right? Well, to cut it straight, Tifa, the scientists here spent a good part of these two years brainstorming and manufacturing a way to prevent the greatest tragedy of all time happening a third time. That tragedy is, as you probably understand, the properly dubbed Lunar Cry."
"I see." Tifa said, a good way to provoke him into saying more.
Laguna nodded and then gestured to the delicate machinery spread out behind the two of them. "This is not the actual machine to do so, however; here at the Research Facility the best minds process the various phases the moon goes and thus predict the exact time of the next Lunar Cry."
One of Tifa's thin eyebrows rose to the occasion. "Is that so? And when is one going to happen, if you do not mind?"
"Twelve hours and roughly thirty two minutes." Laguna honestly answered.
Tifa was not able to hold back a really unprofessional gasp but managed to cover up nonetheless. She cursed herself for the slip-up inwardly and eliminated the frown on her face instantly; such crap could cost her beauty parlour merchandise stocks to drop by even three percent!
"Are you a hundred percent certain about the number, Mr. President?" She said, locking eyes with the camera's screen. "I mean, there was a fifty year period between the Lunar Cry that decimated the Cetra civilization and the one that plummeted Esthar two years ago."
Laguna's eyes softened on the recalling of the event. "Note that while the first Lunar Cry was a natural event, Tifa, the second one was artificial, caused by the Galbadians using the Lunatic Pandora."
"Yes, but how does that explain the third one happening in about twelve hours?"
"The Lunar Cry is nature's way of telling us that we overdid it, Tifa. Since the most recent Cry was not natural, the circle or rather, the reasons behind it have been maimed and twisted to serve a random cause. Thus, the latest cry, one that, should it land, will cause a mayhem never seen before."
"You mentioned landing. Do you know where it is going to happen?"
"Yes, but by the time this will be broadcasted it will mean nothing at all. In any case, the estimated area to be damaged was Deling City itself." Laguna pushed a stray lock of hair behind his ear.
Tifa nodded in understanding. "Which brings us to how will Lunar Base Ellone prevent such a tragedy from happening."
"Well, it is not going to prevent it, per se. Ellone up there is simply going to change the Lunar Cry's direction in order for the thousands of monster to pass by Earth and towards wherever, really. Stopping what seems to be the Apocalypse itself is not so simple, no matter which way you cut it." Laguna explained.
"Can you clarify that a little more for our more casual viewers?"
"Sure. As you know the Lunar Cry is, in a way, a gigantic tidal wave formed of excess energy and monsters. With a well placed laser shot, we plan to manipulate the energy keeping the little buggers together. Since we cannot simply dissipate the energy and leave them literally hanging, we plan to work as a gigantic magnet, drawing the energy's direction to a side that suits us. By the time the energy is dissipated naturally, it will be too late; the threat will have left us for good.
"I see. One last thing; the firepower of the Lunar Base has been debated over and over, Interlink and otherwise. In a recent announcement, Galbadia noted that despite the success it has shown in experiments and such, Ellone could prove to be a terrifying weapon, should it fall in the wrong hands."
Laguna coughed in his hand. "Well, I'm afraid such a thing simply isn't compatible with the scientific ways; Odine himself had not predicted that his own devices would be used by dictators and then terrorists. When a train derails the deaths are numerous. Does that mean that we should declare travelling via trains illegal?" He asked, rhetorically. "Of course not. Ellone was built as a means to saving thousands of peoples' lives! In any case, as an answer to our little 'backstabbers', I reassure you myself that everything has been done to ensure the global populations safety, even going as far as hiring SeeDs."
"Thank you, Mr. President."
Laguna grinned and caught Tifa's hand not holding the microphone. "No, Tifa, thank you." He replied with a wink.
Tifa smiled back. She had heard that the President was a smooth talker as well as somewhat of a ladies man, but to come to this? Oh well, she shrugged inwardly, let's give the Interlink guys something to gossip about…
"This is Ragnarok/Fatality towards Lunar Base Ellone, requesting attachment process."
"Control towards Ragnarok/Fatality: Request for attachment copied." Was the formal response, where it broke down to a loud exclamation. "Hey, Irvine! I hope you haven't forgotten my cereal!"
Back at the Ragnarok, the situation was simple. There was a weapon, belonging to a probable murderer. There was a head, belonging to Irvine Kinneas, SeeD and sniper. The weapon was being aimed at, and its target was Irvine's head. Meaning, Irvine was currently forced to lie his teeth out unless he wanted his brains to decorate the floor. At the time, Irvine sweated profusely as he managed to perform in casual conversation. "Don't worry about it, Jake! All six packs of it are stacked perfectly in a container."
At the Lunar Base's security rum, the man named Jake sat in front of a dozen screens. He was in his thirties, sported a moustache, and kept the radio's transceiver at his left hand, since he had lost his right one at the end of a loose grenade at the Dollet war. Jake smiled at Irvine's response, and pressed some buttons of crucial importance. "Say, Irvine, I am not receiving any feedback from Fatality. Is something wrong?"
"I have a small power problem is all, mate." Irvine blinked a bead of sweat away as he kept saying his profuse lie. "I can't get her back online."
"Damn!" Jake cursed. "I'm sorry, man, but you know the drill. I have to run a search on the Ragnarok from top to bottom for security reasons. Be patient, will ya?" Stifling Irvine's response, Jake turned to the other person in the security room. "Hey Tom, can you get this through the scan?"
Tom did not respond, apparently occupied with something. He was probably listening to that Hyne-awful music of his…
"Tom?" Jake asked louder, turning to look at his partner, only to find Tom aiming a cocked handgun equipped with a silencer at his eye. The weapon was so close to Jake that he could feel its tip with his eyelashes as he blinked.
There was a thump of displaced air as the trigger was pushed and bits of skull, brain and lots of blood splattered the wall behind Jake. A whole second after that, Jake's corpse collapsed on the floor, where it fell with a sickening splat. Not even breaking a sweat, Tom wiped pieces of retina and sclera combined with rhesus negative off of him and grasped the radio's transceiver. "Control to Ragnarok/Fatality: Security scans complete. Everything is alright." The only man alive in the Lunar Base's security room glanced at the sole eye of his now really dead partner impassively before pressing a button on one of the consoles. "I'm opening the compression chamber."
Mechanisms and gears awoke and computerised methods prepared to pull the Ragnarok inside the Lunar Base's bowels. It was a grotesque birth in reverse, as Irvine liked to think it. Jake was dead, it seemed, seeing as another person answered and how the man aiming a gun at his head pulled the weapon off and cackled. A hand fell on his shoulder and the Galbadian gasped as he turned to look at the assaulter of his private space. He glared at the man as soon as he recognised him.
"You were brilliant, amigo, brilliant!"
Irvine would never forget that voice or the sickening posture of the man. He was literally haunted by the cruelty he now possessed as opposed to back then, when he could still claim knowing him. "Fuck off, Seifer; I'm not your amigo." It seemed that Seifer had more than changed in the two years that had passed since he had last seen him; an unhealthy green glow had claimed his eyes, giving him the look of a demon. He was now sporting a well trimmed goatee on his chin, and he seemed to have discarded style in favour of changing his image, since he had shaven his head with militaristic profession.
Seifer Almasy was the man in the centre, the one the others followed. Instead of a large firearm he kept the Hyperion sheathed on his back, and a combat knife was tied on his belt. He, like the others, wore a combat suit. Irvine recognised the style, having seen it back in G-Garden; it was a stealth operations unit, and unless nothing sort of AP (armour piercing) rounds could destroy them. Made sense, really; where Balamb used augmented reflexes and strength to increase the survivability, Galbadia used technology.
Seifer hummed before calmly punching Irvine twice; a swift, forward jab on the cheek and a harder uppercut as Irvine turned to look at him. "One was for swearing and the other for hurting my feelings, dumbshit." He moved to the back of the cockpit with a soft laughter, leaving Irvine alone, spitting blood. He's junctioned. That much was for certain; Irvine had sparred with Zell once, and such strength was only displayed when the brawler was enhanced with Guardian Forces.
No wonder he doesn't need weapons…
A sudden tremor passed through the Ragnarok; they were now locked into the hatch, and the automated progress on connecting the spaceship with the lunar station had just started.
"Seifer, we're ahead of schedule." The only female in the group called. She looked at him with a clearly submissive stare and spoke with a thick accent that betrayed Trabian origins. Unlike Selphie, though, whose accent had softened due to her stay in Balamb all those years, the woman's was unchanged. Irvine could not help but think that whoever hired her had no qualms on witnesses having any clues on this group Seifer was leading. As if they did not care.
The train of ominous thoughts was derailed when Seifer spoke. "Excellent." He said with a delay of a few seconds, as if he was brought back to reality unexpectedly. "Disarm Kinneas and be careful around him. He might be an idiot, but he's still a SeeD."
"Love you too, Seifer." Irvine spat, but a powerful hit with a gun's butt end shut him up with a grunt.
Unknown to the others, the ex-Sorceress' Knight was lost in thought, something that was a definite negative in both SeeD and militaristic operations. Yet, he could not help it. As he allowed darkness to cover his features, the only sign of his being there being his unnerving, radioactively sickening green eyes glowing, he felt himself being pulled into a memory he did not want to recall.
"Seifer!" A male voice, filled with arrogance and hot-headedness.
"Seifer! Where are you?" A woman's voice, the worry apparent in her tone.
The person in question was hiding beneath a gigantic tree's roots, arms covered in bandages and a light head injury steadily dripping blood from his forehead. Seifer himself seemed unhindered by both the sight of the red liquid and the nausea coming from the blood loss. I was always thick headed, truth be told. He was cradling the Hyperion, but it was broken, severed directly at the point where the blade was connected to the handle. The blade was nowhere to be seen, but the handle was clutched protectively at his chest.
The custom built Gunblade was broken, and Seifer did not understand either the why or the by whom.
"Seifer!" The male's voice echoed once more and the former Galbadian general glanced around him deciding that, by the proximity of the voice, they would soon find him either by stumbling on him or by a mistake he'd do.
"Move it, Almasy." Seifer hissed the order to himself begrudgingly and then he was off rushing away, his footsteps unsteady yet holding.
From the way the hand holding the Hyperion was clutched to his chest, it was easy to see that the problem was not Seifer's weapon of choice being broken, but the fact that his hand was otherwise completely limp and unmoving, as if it was frozen in place.
Seifer ran, and his footsteps echoed through the forest. Or was it a marsh? There was too much water everywhere for it to be a forest… Perhaps a river had flooded nearby, thus causing the water to flow free and now cause him to be heard?
"Make another move and your brains will follow, Almasy, I'm warning you!" The cocking of the powerful rifle did not echo, but reached Seifer's eardrums easily. He is twenty feet away, to my five o'clock. Seifer froze on the spot like he was directed, a deer caught in the headlights.
"Hands in the air, now!" Seifer complied only with his good arm, the other kept firmly in place. "Turn around."
"Whatever you say, Vladimir." Seifer called, and turned to look at the man, whose facial features were obscured strangely; it was as if Seifer was watching through a bad television screen. His face was distorted, along with the clothes he was wearing. It looked as if a bad Invisible Man wannabe was aiming a Valliant rifle at him, yet the ex-SeeD cadet knew that was not the case. "How's Daphne, by the way?"
"Don't you get your name in your filthy mouth, you son of a bitch! You're not worth it!" The man barked in reply.
Seifer chuckled sorrowfully, before glaring at the man with one of his infamous smirks that used to make Squall crazy. "Daphne, Daphne, Daphne, Daph-"
"Shut the fuck up!" The Valliant's aim rose from his heart to his head, right between the eyes.
"Or, what, Vladimir? You're gonna shoot me like you ought to have done when you first found me half-frozen to death and pitiful? Fuck you and fuck your politeness, I don't need it. Look at us now, you crazy fuck! You're aiming at me, ready to pull the trigger! You're aiming at me, for Hyne's tits!"
Vladimir's distorted eyes were distorted more, perhaps from a frown or something similar. "That was because you attacked her."
"I had to! She's controlling all of us, Vlad! And she ain't gonna stop unless we all drop dead!"
Vladimir spat on the ground. "The only one to drop dead is you, Seifer." The man in question smiled sadly.
"We'll see." Almasy shot to the left headfirst, avoiding the readied shot aimed at his head. Deciding that taking cover was not on schedule with the Valliant on a semi-automatic setting, Seifer charged forward while dodging another dangerously closer shot to the left of his torso. He gritted his teeth at the pain as the shot did connect, albeit with his useless arm. His good one shot to the front, where it connected with the man, who suspiciously exploded. Perhaps it had something to do with Seifer seeing him distorted in the first place.
"Seifer!" He turned at the cry of his name, only to see a single tear fall to the ground. There was a loud bang, pain and… "Seifer!"
Unearthly radiant green eyes shot to the call of his name, making the voice's originator flinch. "Uh, we're in." The Ragnarok, Lunar Base Ellone, the Lunar Cry – the objectives. Seifer grinned, and it had nothing to do with the poetic knight of the fairy tales he once thought he was. That grin belonged to a man hell-bent with rage and lunacy. "Excellent. Arm up, boys and girl; we're going in!"
In front of a recoiled mechanical branch sat five men, three of them belonging to security and two of them being first-level technicians. The technicians operated the branch so that it could deliver them much wanted food and resources back from the home planet without any sentient being having to do a lot of work; a labourer's dream.
"It's compressed, Alex; pressure at one atmosphere, air-tight test was positive."
Alex smiled and grabbed the lever that operated the branch. He winked at the men around him. "Open sesame!" He said dramatically, pressing the lever forward. Immediately, the heavy machine shot forward with speed that things of its size usually did not possess, grabbed the food container and pulled it inside the station, where it would be opened for the security guys to operate as henchmen.
"All hail Irvine, super space delivery boy!" Alex yelled while pumping his fists in the air, making the others laugh.
"Food time!" the other technician yelled harder in order to be heard over the pandemonium of voices and noise as Alex placed the huge metallic container on the platform.
An unknown voice spoke from the door that was connected to the Ragnarok's cockpit, causing the two technicians who were operating next to it and one of the security guards to gasp in surprise. "Alright! Here's the good food!" Seifer Almasy yelled, a somewhat demented glean in his radiant eyes.
No conversation; they had no time. While the blue clad security guard's arm shot downwards to his holster, Seifer had already moved and unsheathed the Hyperion in one swift move. He was right in the guard's face before any of the men's brains around them could tell them what was going on, a manic chuckle erupting from the war criminal as he turned the unsheathing into a downward cleave on the guard, effectively severing one third of the man's torso along with an arm and a piece of his leg. Having crippled and essentially killed the guard, Seifer stepped once to the left, where the technicians were, and pressed the trigger of the Gunblade while it still had momentum from the slice. Along with a fast movement of his arm and the trigger's effects, the Hyperion was drenched with kinetic energy and shot forward with immense speed.
The effect was the instant decapitation of the two sited technicians before they could even bat an eye.
The other security guards had heard the commotion, but being displaced near the container there was little they could do. They had their chance when the container they had thought contained food shot open, revealing an armed squadron inside, but their reflexes just weren't enough; not against a GIM52A's mechanical precision. The android was an eight foot tall monstrosity composed of mechanical limbs of little delicacy, high tech circuits and all sorts of fatal weaponry. It was painted in a bright red colour, possessed four amber tinted eyes that allowed it to aim with the three firearms it had at its disposal and its exoskeleton would resemble that of a man in full body suit weren't it for the machineguns attached on the top side of his forearms, as well as the incredibly powerful multibarreled machinegun mounted on its shoulder, which could load bullets from a highly stocked part on his torso. As a plus, the GIM52A possessed strength unseen even in a junctioned SeeD and its memory core always had sixty ways to kill a man at its backup unit.
At the time, the two guards stood frozen in fear as the GIM52A aimed at their throats with its forearm weapons. One of them blinked in confusion as he realized that the android actually had the logo 'Hello, my name is Fuck Off' sprayed on its figurative chest. One of the men sitting behind the android with his weapon cocked lightly said "Boo!" and time resumed its pace for the two guards, who understood that the android was shooting at them ten seconds before they died.
On top of the console, Seifer grinned at his team as they left the container, professionalism a prerequisite as they headed to the other parts of the Lunar Base Ellone with their weapons on the ready. Fine men, woman and android all of them. Almasy was not proud of partaking in this mission, but he'd be damned if he wasn't getting any answers from the whole damn thing.
"Sorry, chaps." He offered to the bodies as a way of atonement, and followed his team (and a subdued Irvine) to the rest of the station.
Ellone blinked her daydreaming awake and glanced around her, hoping that no one had caught her dozing off. She would have been laid off the hook, of course, being the President's daughter and all, but that would not make the experience any less mortifying. She decided to go grab a cup of coffee now that she could, getting off her seat and heading to the room's exit. She mouthed 'coffee' to the head scientist in the room, who nodded and mouthed 'for me too please' at her, causing her to giggle. Honestly, Professor Alexander Fierce was so different than the other scientists she had known, it was almost ridiculous. She could not imagine Odine with his pee wee beard and silly hairdo asking her of all people to bring him a cup of coffee. Nor any other type of beverage, come to think about it; the man was so caught up in his antics that he would not even drink water.
She shook her head to clear the random thoughts and straightened her blouse and skirt. What was wrong with her that day? It was as if she had a look inside Selphie's head and now she just could not reorganize her brain into a proper pattern!
With a frown that only made her seem cuter, Ellone decided to use her inherent ability to contact Squall with the first chance she got. It seemed that it would have to be postponed along with the idea of coffee, though, since as she reached the exit of the main lab from where they could see the moon, the whole reason they were positioned there, one of the technicians exclaimed: "That's weird; we just lost contact with earth!"
Ellone sighed, cursing her fate for the umpteenth time. She was in the Lunar Base carrying her name for two reasons; one, true, was because she was the President's daughter and most trusted person along with his two friends, Kiros and Ward. The other was because she was one of the best telecommunication experts of her generation. She turned on her heel and approached the console the technician along with Professor Fierce. "That's weird indeed… What do you think, Ellone?"
The young woman in question straightened her skirt once more, a nervous habit she had got off from being in the centre of the attention all the time and sat down, pressing buttons and reading the indications on the screen. Her hazelnut brown eyes darkened at the realization, and a delicate hand ran through her brown hair, pulling them back into a bun. "If it was a malfunction, the distress signal would have been activated. However, the transmission was cut off in the control room."
Professor Fierce frowned as he thought that he understood the situation. He was a bald man with a carefully shaven moustache and goatee passing off as the only ornaments on his face, which was somewhat wrinkled with anxiety and age. "I bet it's that damned Jake Corner again, in hurry to see his friend Irvine." Ellone's face visibly brightened as she remembered that she would see one of her step-brothers soon.
"That's right, he's coming today! I need to tell Selphie that he's here!" She exclaimed loudly, smiling widely.
A machinegun's safety was off, and the lone security guard in the room turned from the screen he was pretending to watch and aimed at the two most valuable persons in the room, knowing that under threat the rest of the six technicians would not try anything stupid. "I can't let you do that, miss. Now all of you get in the elevator and to the launching pad, pronto! We have guests that will be delighted to see you."
With startled cries, Ellone and Professor Fierce got off their chairs and complied with the traitor's orders, with the six technicians accompanying them. "Don't try anything stupid!" The security guard warned. "Remember, I am the one armed here!" The eight persons got in the large elevator, under the guard's watchful gaze. He waited for Ellone to press the button for upstairs. He knew that they would not try to escape, since the escalator they currently used had only two exits, and he was at one of them.
"Good. Now, to go and fetch the doctors…"
Unknown to the guard, the two doctors watched from above a set of stairs. They were husband and wife fifteen years now, and had survived natural disasters like the second Lunar Cry together. They were not about to let one traitor separate them. William Roark turned to his better half, Suzan, with a plan at hand. "Suzie, this idiot thinks that we're in the med chamber." On cue, the guard headed to the hall leading there. "You heard them, right?" Suzan nodded.
"Someone's attacked the Lunar Base." She confirmed. "We-we've got to do something!" She stammered as panic got the best of her.
Being alone, the normally reserved William hugged his wife and kissed her passionately on the lips, comforting her. It had worked. She was smiling. "Listen, we have to rush to the escape pods. If we manage to activate one – and get in, of course – the alarm will sound automatically!"
She nodded as she understood his course of action. "Alright, Will, I'm ready if you are."
Will managed a jest. "I like the sound of that, it's kinky." He patted his wife lightly on the bottom and then the two were running hand in hand, both extremely careful as they headed to the escape pods.
They were in the room, which was illuminated with a red light, signifying it as a place of importance – and it was. Still running, they headed to the pods, where someone sat with hands in his pockets. A technician taking a break, perhaps? "We've got a problem! Get in one of the pods, quick!"
The man hummed and removed a handgun from his pocket. William's eyes widened as he realized that it was a .45 GAP, one of the most lethal weapons despite its size; it was fully automatic and, if the man was half a decent shot, both he and Suzan would die quick but painfully. He moved protectively in front of his wife and glared.
"Don't look at me like that, doc. I'm only following orders, you know?" If Irvine was there, he could identify the man as part of the group that had hijacked the Ragnarok. He was the only one taking this like a game, wearing no bodysuit, nor flak jacket. He was instead wearing a tee shirt of a famous Estharian heavy metal band called 'Tetsu Otome', with a gothic font writing 'Fear of the Dark' underneath it. William found himself actually fearing the dark under the man's calm stare. The man, whoever he was, reeked of pot and was shaven bald. In place of hair were numerous tribal tattoos. He kept a dyed green goatee at his chin, which was hanging long – probably an extension, and his ears, lower lip and left eyebrow all sported earrings of all sorts. He was wearing loose jeans that reached the floor, seeing as how the man himself was short.
"So," the man said, and Suzan cringed under the heavy smell of narcotics, "that's a nice pussy you're fucking there on your alone time, man. Care to sell her?"
William bit a violent retort back and kept his mouth shut. Rule one; never piss off the man with the gun.
"Hey, chick, what's the price?"
"Fuck off!" the male doctor yelled, and immediately the man emptied the entire clip on him. Suzan's screaming filled the entire room, but the man was still unfazed.
"You look hot with all the blood and shit on you, you know that?" The man said, kneeling next to where she had fallen. "I'm Blight, what's your name?" She didn't respond, so 'Blight' loaded his gun and pointed it at her. "Look, I'm sorry about the mess, sugar. I get confused sometimes, I have a condition and shit, you know?" Blight's black eyes reflected sympathy. Suddenly, he shot his hand forward and grasped the woman in shock by the shoulder, lifting her up harshly. "Now get your ass up, we're heading to the meeting room!"
Selphie was exuberant. She was ecstatic. She was happy beyond imagination. She was high on anticipation. And it showed.
The petite woman sat on the Lunar Base Ellone's cafeteria, from where she had a perfect view to the little planet she had left two months ago, back when Laguna had called for SeeD's help. She was dressed in the standard security uniform, a jumper suit that was blue on the insignias and black on the actual material out of which it was composed. It bore no difference to the other guards' uniforms, with the sole exception being the little SeeD emblem on the heart's side of the suit; the silver tribal marking resembling a spiral. Normally, it was supposed to be a circle-like insignia resembling Balamb Garden's floating ring, but that had been Squall's choice, where the tribal (and far more fashionable) one was Rinoa's.
As the expression went, hell hath no fury…
Selphie was currently reading an old picture album she had brought with her from Gaia. It contained pictures from wherever she had gone, and had even made sure to post them in her Garden Blog while making certain to explain the significance of each and every one of them.
Her time in Trabia, with her friends Holly and Shannon, her first impressions of Balamb and even Galbadia Garden, heck, Selphie had even managed to get pictures of Esthar and Fisherman's Horizon. The petite SeeD smiled at her rocking on the bass at the little concert she had organised along with Irvine in Squall's honour. She leaned her head to the side and allowed it to rest on her hand as she flipped through the pages, pausing once at the picture of Squall and Rinoa kissing in the balcony at the war's end. These two were truly an adorable couple, and Selphie's sorceress friend sure had gotten it lucky; Squall would go to amazing lengths to keep her happy.
Selphie shuddered at the thought of Squall running around on a pregnant Rinoa's every whim and switched the pages fast.
There it was; her whole family's picture. The only one missing from the orphanage gang was Seifer, but that was understandable. Even Quistis, who once though to brotherly love him, had disregarded the ex-knight off her life. She traced the smiling faces in the picture with a fond smile in her own lips. Everyone was there; Cid, Matron, Squall (who was grinning widely in the picture, perhaps the only proof that the SeeD commander was capable of such a facial gesture), Rinoa, Irvine, herself, Zell and Ellone with Laguna. The picture's font was the orphanage's beach, and every person in it was half hugged and happy beyond understanding.
She left the pictorial book on the table next to her and glanced up at Leon, one of the three rest SeeDs stationed in the Base.
"Hey, Selphie!" Leon greeted, grinning cheekily. "Have you heard? Irvine's back, they're unloading cargo as we speaking."
Selphie was off the chair and jumping in the air before Leon could even register it. She was too hyper in the male SeeD's mind, but she at least she was not annoying, unlike the third SeeD they had in the base…
"Are you serious?!" Selphie yelled.
Leon nodded in return, chuckling in the process. "Yep. Once I knew, I came here to tell you."
She punched him playfully in the shoulder and headed to the doors leading to the cargo hold, giggling all the way. "Thanks Leon! See you later!"
Leon, who was a twenty year old prodigy of a SeeD with blonde spiky hair and blue eyes, shook his head at Selphie's childish enthusiasm, but couldn't help feeling for her. Being stranded alone up in the Lunar Base Ellone could make anyone agitated and yearning for love or someone to really talk to. Perhaps he ought to ask Ellone out sometime? She was the most level-headed person in the base, and unarguably one of the most handsome women in there.
Selphie activated the keypad next to the door, and the metallic dam split in two with a swift hiss. I'm going to see Irvine! Was a mantra in Selphie's head, one that stopped as she came face to face with a foreign woman sporting a MP5 fully equipped with a silencer and a laser pointer aimed at the SeeD's throat.
The woman had silver hair, long to the shoulder, and violet eyes, gained either with technical means such as contacts or genetic alteration - something not really that uncommon. She wore a full body armour that hugged her generous assets like a snake's skin and was black in colour, and kept two army combat knives in her left hip's holster. Her right one bore a handgun, and tied around her waist was a belt from which hang three fragmentation grenades.
Selphie gaped like a fish at the foreign woman, but her SeeD reflexes helped her regain her composure long before the woman was able to do or say anything. From the back of the station's cafeteria, Leon gasped a "what the fuck?" as he saw the woman. The male SeeD reached for his weapon of choice, a short sword, but the woman realised what he was doing.
With speed that startled Selphie, who, after weeks in the station, had turned out to be a slacker when it came to exercising, the woman struck at the petite SeeD's with the machinegun's butt and kicked her aside, where she fell with a yelp. The woman, whoever she was, stepped inside the room and aimed at Leon with envied precision. From where he was, Leon could understand that a headshot would be nearly impossible to avoid, especially when he was not junctioned. Leon found himself cursing the scientists that had sent him up there.
"It's not good for you to get there with Guardian Forces, Leon." The man had said. "You see, with you being so near the moon, the origin of monsters, the GFs could become unstable, controlling you temporarily or even consuming your very being. Until further testing can be done, you'll have to protect Lunar Base Ellone with nothing else but your skills, understand?"
"What if I took the GF stones with me, but did not use them?"
"…You could do that, yes. It'd be better than having them back here, gathering dust. Just remember, with a single misbehave from the little buggers, you are supposed to disjunction them at once!"
"I…" Leon said, understanding the direness of the situation and the power this woman had, "…I surrender." He tossed the short sword to the ground, where it impaled itself with little sound and effort.
"I didn't ask you too, pig." The woman countered with a sadistic smile, before pressing hard on the machinegun's trigger.
Blood and flesh dripped on the ground, and Leon was forced back at once, falling on a table behind him with a wet sound, courtesy of his front and back being shredded by bullets. The woman turned to the originator of the screams, who was Selphie.
A Selphie who, during the commotion, had grabbed her Nunchaku dubbed the Strange Vision and charged straight to the woman. She swung her weapon wildly, aiming at the silver haired woman's head; the Strange Vision, which was made of Adamantine and Star Fragments, was light and delicate yet viciously deadly. If it connected with the woman's skull, her survival would be doubtful. With speed surpassing Selphie's own, though, the woman ducked under the assault, and once again was bringing the MP5 up for another relentless attack on Selphie's head.
As the expression goes, fool me once, shame on you, full me twice, shame on me; Selphie pulled herself backwards headfirst, before using the short gained momentum and the MP5 aiming upwards to roll into her back. She rolled all the way, before getting back up. The woman, whoever she was, had regained her battle prowess and was turning the machinegun's most lethal end to shoot at the petite SeeD – who was not going to stand idly and take the bullets like that.
Selphie jabbed the Strange Vision forward, aiming for the weapon; the durable materials and sharpened edges were all it took; the significantly lighter MP5's edge was crushed, rendering the weapon useless. Selphie pulled the weapon back, swung it above her head before clutching it with both hands, each of her delicate fingers grasping each outer part of the blue coloured nunchaku and pulled out, the chain connecting the blunt edges of the weapon straightened out under the pressure. She has two knives and a handgun, Selphie! Don't let your guard down!
"That was impressive." The woman offered. "You truly did save the world back then, eh?"
Selphie dared to lean her head downwards and spit the blood that was pooling in her mouth due to the strike she had suffered just seconds ago. "Thanks, but I'm just warming up."
"No you're not." The woman said softly, seeing though the intimidation and vigilante's façade. "You're scared, you're tired and you're out of breath due to weeks of non-exercising. Your body's not yet accustomed to the slightly different gravitational levels. In other words, you're going to lose, Miss Tilmitt." Selphie's emerald eyes widened at both the immaculate report of her capabilities as well as the realisation that struck her; the woman was talking with a faded Trabian accent!
"Who are you?!" The SeeD yelled, and mauve eyes glinted dangerously as the woman exploited the ever so trivial change in Selphie's guard. She's a caster! Her mind screamed as she saw one of the faster Fira castings she had ever witnessed. It was on par with her abilities; rarely had she seen such a pathetically easy casting. The woman had just pulled her free arm backwards, and then shot it forward, conjuring the fireball and unleashing it on the delicate SeeD, who caught the blast head on. Selphie was tossed twenty feet away, where she landed hard on the floor; she kept slithering on it with a screeching sound until she reached a wall.
Had Selphie been junctioned, not only would she have seen the spell coming, she would have even conjured a shield of her own to protect her. But she was not junctioned; Siren, Leviathan and Cerberus had all been in her room and disjunctioned for weeks now. Unless she used her Limit Break, she was as powerful when it came to magic as a six-year old. She was literally smoking; steam rose from her. The fire itself had not dealt her significant damage – it had just worn her out. It was the shockwave of the blast that had rendered her a tired pile of meat on the floor. At least, that was how she felt.
"Selphie Tilmitt, SeeD rank thirty." The woman spoke flat, to the point. "Born in July the sixteenth, which was five days ago; happy birthday. That would make you twenty one. Along with the so-called by the press 'Children of Fate', you and your friends defeated an evil from another dimension and secured the world in the process. Guess what, Miss Tilmitt; you should have tried harder."
"Ah, Sis, it's good to see you again!" Seifer greeted, hands crossed behind his back as he waited in polite attention. Ellone cringed at the nickname. At the mouth of Squall it was tender like a lover's touch, but at Seifer's it was the worst of insults. Especially after she saw that he had not redeemed. The Hyperion in his hand still dripped the blood it had drawn from the persons he had killed earlier.
She could only look at him surprised, like she had when they first had gotten up there. What was he doing? He was so different… The implants in his eyes were sickening, so different from the eyes of a normal person. Seifer seemed buffed, no longer the normal person she had first seen back at the Lunatic Pandora. And his grin was that of a demon.
Seifer did not press her into conversing, and neither did the other three from Seifer's team in the room. Irvine was next to Ellone, staring as impassively as he could, but since he had got more than a good conk in the head when he had spoken earlier he kept silent. All he could do was intertwine his hand with Ellone's tenderly, comfortingly – a poor attempt of saying 'it's going to be okay'. With Seifer looking as insane as he did, showing their brotherly affection was all they could do.
The guard that had hauled the technicians into the elevator walked into the room, the machinegun casually cocked on his shoulder. "Seifer!" He yelled. "The doctors weren't in the med facility. We need to find them." He lowered his voice as he approached, perhaps as in not to alarm the observers.
As Seifer was about to assign two of his men to find them, Blight walked in the room, pulling a stranded Suzan by the hair. She was not pulling or screaming or anything, she just looked defeated, without real life inside her. Blight's free hand was holding one of his 'special stuff' as he dragged the pitiful woman in the room and tossed her to the hostages. "Found her and the deceased doctor ready to play 'honeymoon' with the escape pods, yeah." He said, slapping Seifer in the shoulder. Almasy didn't even flinch at the loud smack, but kept staring at him. "Oh, right!" Blight exclaimed, as if remembering something at the last second, "I also performed a lock down on the four pods using the agreed code." The tattooed man puffed away at his cigarette and headed to the back of the room.
"Good." Seifer nodded. "Now all that remains is for all the happy family of the Lunar Base Ellone to gather round."
As if on cue Selphie and Maxwell, the SeeDs assigned to the station's security walked in the room, clearly defeated. They were followed by the lone woman in the assault group, one of the men and the android. Selphie sported a large bruise on her chin, but it did not seem like anything serious. Once she saw Irvine, she forgot all about the armed villains around her and ran at him, who caught her in his tight embrace at ones. The cowboy briefly wondered where Leon, the third SeeD was, but then he understood. With the homicidal urges this group was giving off, he was probably long since dead.
"Irvine," Selphie whispered, a sob threatening to choke her words, "they're junctioned, probably all of them!" Irvine closed his eyes and soothingly caressed her hair, wondering how they were going to get out of such a mess.
"People!" Seifer yelled, catching the hostages' attention. "Now's not the time to rejoice. We've killed eight people so far, and it was all in our good intentions. I won't backhand you into this; you're screwed beyond imagination. But to more important subjects." Seifer turned to look at the head director, still on polite attention but otherwise undecipherable body language. "Professor Alexander Fierce, I think I don't have to rub salt in your wounds by saying that you just lost your position as authorised director of this station."
Alexander Fierce being any different from his name was only a façade he kept playing; in reality, he was a former Estharian general, and was the only person with authority who had rebelled when Adel had first became a dictator. So, it was with no surprise when his eyes flared and when he decided to stand up for himself against this piece of neo trash that threatened him and his men. "Who the hell do you psychotic piece of shit think you are? Do you actually have the impression that-"
Ellone barely managed to grab the man's shoulder. "Alex! Stop!" She pleaded, but then saw her maddened brother's reaction. "Seifer, no!" She yelled, but it was too late. Seifer had moved so fast that the unearthly glow of his eyes had left a trail of afterimages behind. He had pierced Professor Fierce's chest before any of the non-combatants could realize what was going on. And, with a decisive pull on the Hyperion's trigger, Fierce had a disgusting cavity in his chest where his heart should be. He was dead.
Irvine moved next to her and pulled her in his arms, where she broke down crying. Seifer pulled back, delivering a swift slash to the air for the blood decorating the Gunblade to leave. Selphie looked on, gritting her teeth. Why was Seifer doing all these?
"Ellone, you alright?" Irvine asked, but she kept on soiling his shirt. "Ellone?!" He yelled, worry in his features, but Seifer's authoritative voice echoed through the halls.
"Enough! Your ship is waiting for you, 'cowboy.' You're to take with you the bodies of everyone not thoughtful enough to keep his mouths shut. The scientist group," at that, the GIM52A grabbed a handful of them and urged them on, "is going to be detained in the resting room. As for you!" Seifer pushed Irvine away and grasped a yelping Ellone by the arm, before retaining a firm hold of her chin. "You're coming with me!"
"Selphie!" Irvine yelled, but one of the men backhanded him.
"You heard the boss."
Irvine was on the verge of sanity, but at least knew what he had to do – finally, he had a plan. "Alright then, show me the way out, will ya?"
"What do you mean 'connection with Lunar Base Ellone has been lost'?" A man yelled into the image feed.
"I meant exactly what I said, mister Kiros. All communication with Ellone has been lost, exactly thirty-two minutes ago. Despite that, everything is working normally and they are still following the normal course. Again, as I said, all communication has been lost."
Kiros was a thin, black man in his late fifties. He was immaculately shaved and had his rapidly greying hair in lots of braids, all caught together in a wild ponytail in the bottom of his neckline. He had adapted with Esthar's fashion, and was currently wearing a crimson mantle engraved with a famous clothes' designer on the back. At that point, he was the only person with authority knowing of the dire news the technician just passed him. He was in a luxurious car designed to cover his every need, since with himself being Laguna's political advisor, it was common for him to be seen inside a car than in his own house.
Kiros light up a cigarette and glared at the young man. "And today I though the only thing that could go wrong was Laguna goofing off during the interview… When did you say last contact was at?"
"14:11 Esthar time, right before the provisioning spaceship was attached."
"The provisioning spaceship? You mean Ragnarok?" Kiros asked.
"That's right, sir."
"And then the Ragnarok was not disengaged?"
Kiros blew the smoke off his lungs along with a well-drawn sigh. "Shit."
The young technician in the other line continued with even more dreaded news. "Sir, the council waits for your opinion before they continue with a Special Forces send-in…"
Kiros shook his head. "If they even remotely try it we're goners. They'll get all the Medias' attention on us, exactly when we have only a few hours left before the operation is engaged. As if that was not enough, Tifa's interview with the President was aired an hour ago. Fuck, it is stuff like this that makes my hair go grey." Kiros sighed once again. "Alright, listen. We have to take matters into our own hands, or else we're damned to the Island Closest to Hell and stranded there with nothing else but suntan lotion, understand?"
The technician's eyes proved that he did not.
"Whatever." Kiros dismissed the idiom and glared at the young man. "It's crucial that I talk to the Council itself; can you pass me through?"
"Of course, sir. It'll only take but two minutes."
Exactly opposite of him, Ward grumbled. He was a gigantic man, way over seven feet in height. He was blonde and sported a crudely trimmed beard. He wore green and white robes. At his prime, he was one of the most dangerous men one could try to trounce.
"Yeah, I know. Times like these make me wonder where Laguna gets all this confidence at times. Speaking of which, where is the old bloke?"
Laguna treaded lightly, for he was stepping on dream-like material. With a wrong move, the entire thing could blow up in his face and compromise everything. But yet, he was certain it was worth it.
Finally, there it was; the objective of his mission. Quickly, yet poetically, as if he was performing the greatest act on stage, Laguna picked the handcuffs up and allowed them to dangle on him… without use of his hands.
"Oh, mister president…" Tifa cooed from her corner. "Careful, you'll make me blush."
Laguna grinned. "Well then, mademoiselle, don't just stand there; come and get it."
Tifa smirked with arrogance. "At the end of the night, Laguna, one of us will beg for more, and I bet that the one is going to be you."
"I beg to differ…"
Kiros shrugged inwardly. Like it mattered; wherever he was, he was out of reach, not responding his calls et cetera et cetera. Looked like Kiros would have to manage (not surprisingly) by himself.
The doors hissed open with the easily distinguished cold, metallic sound, allowing Blight, Seifer, and the now turned captive Ellone inside the mainframe room. Seifer whistled appreciatively at the vast proportions of the technology used, while Blight smiled smugly.
"Awesome." Seifer said, pulling the brunette woman with him. "Simply awesome." In their travel to the room from the cargo bay, the ex-knight had tied Ellone's hands up with a plastic material that seemed to confine her hands together with every single move the young woman made.
"Look, Seifer, I don't know why you turned into a crazed killer once more, but I beg you to reconsider!" Her brown eyes moistened with sadness. "In less than twelve hours, millions of people will die unless we use the Lunar Base!"
"You're talking about the Lunar Cry event. Yeah, I know all about it, since I caused one and all." Seifer grinned with pride and Ellone found herself fearing this new 'brother' of hers even more. To the background, the tattooed Blight started connecting portable super-computers to the mainframe, whistling a happy tune as he did so. Seeing him do so, Ellone turned to Seifer with an insulted face.
"If you think that I'm going to remotely tell you even one piece of the computer's password…" She threatened, but Seifer chuckled and shook his head, pulling her into a one handed embrace.
"Don't you dare worry your pretty head about that, El. We have our friend Blight here to do that."
Blight turned to wink at Ellone before continuing his work, reaching for his backpack. Three laptops joined the first one, and after cracking his knuckles, the man started typing the hell out of every single one.
Ellone was impressed; she doubted anyone could possess such hacking skills; even a SeeD would have trouble performing so easily on the computer as this 'Blight' character did. The young woman realized that Seifer did not plan for them to stick around. Instead, he took them to the viewing room.
It was made of incredibly durable material, obviously in order to prevent the immense pressure it was being subdued to; the catch was that the material was crystalline, thus completely transparent. One was able to witness the moon's glory with significant ease. With the corner of her eye, Ellone saw that the Ragnarok had already disengaged and was heading back to Earth. Godspeed, Irvine. She wished. Save us all.
She turned to look at Seifer, who was glaring apathetically at the departing spaceship. Her resolve was settled. "You mind telling me what this is all about, dear 'brother'?" She mocked him, but was beyond caring. Irvine had left, he would call for help and Seifer and his murdering, kidnapping friends would all get help and a permanent entrance to an asylum. "What do you want from me, huh? Tell me, or send me back with the others."
Seifer seemed to notice her. With long strides he reached her position in the middle of the empty room and untied her arms, pocketing the material with which he had tied her. "What I'm doing here, dear Ellone, has nothing to do with you or my hatred for Squall." Seifer whispered, before grinning widely, immensely proud of the whole mess he had brought upon everyone's head, just like he was grinning back in the Orphanage when he would get Squall or Quistis in trouble. "However, my… employers…"
So there is someone else behind all this, thought Ellone.
"…Have given me direct authority on this mission. Carte blanche, if you may, and I'm planning to exploit that fact as much as I can in order to settle things with my past." The sudden emphasising Seifer gave to that last word made Ellone understand; he wanted to use her ability of sending people to the past! But why? What would he get that way?
"Seifer, this can't be the reason. You can't have killed all these innocent men just because you wanted to get to me! Such a thing is monstrous, far beyond your capabilities!"
The ex-knight snapped. "And what do you know about my capabilities, Sis? Did you measure me back when we were kids? Did one of you fuckers looked at me back then and saw Seifer? No, none of you did! If it wasn't that little piece of crap called Squall or the chicken-wuss it would be all the attention everyone seemed to give you!" He grasped her by the shoulders and pulled her closer, gaining a startled yelp in the process. He did not smile sadistically as he had done when he did such in the first time. On the contrary, he seethed with rage. "No, you did not see Seifer because you did not want to see Seifer! My bench warming was done so often, so usually! No one asked anything when I first killed that little bird! No, it was all you're grounded Seifer, and think what you've done for me, always!"
"Are you crazy? What are you saying, Seifer, that you're pardoned because you did not get enough breast feeding when you were younger?" Ellone's brown eyes glistened with unshed tears.
"Even when I got my attention by becoming world enemy number one, it was once more away with grounding and thinking what I've done! Well, I've thought it Ellone, and the fact that I fucked Matron when Ultimecia possessed her did not change! The fact that I brought more death than even Adel had when I used the Lunatic Pandora did not change!"
Ellone gasped. "You did what with Edea?"
"Oh grow up." Seifer spat. "It wasn't as if her coward of a husband did not know that when they got back together. He thought about it and he accepted it."
"…You're seriously messed up."
The slap actually echoed throughout the room, and Ellone fell on the ground, her cheek and pride stinging. That was the first slap she had received in her whole life, and it was not an enjoyable memory. Not in the slightest.
Seifer cradled the now unsheathed Hyperion in his hand, allowing it to rest on his shoulder as he paced in front of Ellone. "Pardon my act of high treason, Sis," Seifer mocked her, "but you asked for it. Now, let's talk sanely. I need you to send me to the past, simple as that. I need some things cleared up inside my head, as you can probably tell, so refusing that simple request is not going to be something I'll enjoy responding to."
Ellone stood shakily. "You need help." Was all she said, but the ex-knight laughed.
"I'm doing what I'm doing for good reason, Ellone. I'll ask you one last time nicely, and then I'll stop playing by the rules. Send me back to the past."
"Go to hell."
Seifer's grin disappeared, contrary to the small device he had produced and now kept in his arm. "I'll take that as a no. Well then, say goodbye to the Cowboy." Seifer pressed the button, and Ellone could only scream as the still ongoing Ragnarok exploded to debris, damning everyone inside to painful death.
Author's Notes: Welcome, readers, to the end of the first chapter. I hope you still fare well. As you can guess, this is a piece of my mind as I write this down, chapter finished and spirit clearing. This fiction is a product of good roleplaying, love for Final Fantasy VIII and gunblades and the need to tell a good, unique story, before heading back into the Abyss of ideas and limitless possibilities that is a crossover between the two best FF titles.
My mind works in strange ways, you see; as I wrote the third and fourth chapter of Crossing Over, I just could not help but feel unsatisfied by what I was writing. I had most of the story ready, for crying out loud, yet could not write it down; I want a story that is original in both its writing and storyline, and my dear beloved crossover just could not help me in that part. I think that I went over my head trying to get such an epic work done. I envy Peptuck and Darren Shier for managing the completion of such amazing works, especially when the first one admits to being too damn unfocused during writing. Imagine that.
But back to the story, right? Earlier I mentioned it as a product of roleplaying. The subplot that is going to reveal Seifer's madness is that part, nothing more and nothing less… probably. I have seen so many plots, original and not, that I sincerely do not know what is going to be induced inside by the story's end. I just hope Seifer will not turn into some sort of a Bourne or Solid Snake, running around like headless chickens under immense strain and the twisted imagination of the writer.
…I can sure as hell promise that for Irvine and Selphie, though…
Which I know realised seemed pathetic for the start of the story. Oh well, what is one going to do, right? Anyhow.
Back to technicalities, I plan to work on Crossing Over to a full extent, going far and wide in order to make this story different from others, yet as enjoyable to read as Bittersweet Synthesis by Peptuck and as original as the first read of The best of two worlds by Daz Shier. Honestly, if you haven't read them, go do so now – they're easily two of the best writers found in the FF8 fandom.Now, some self-commentary on the 1st chapter of this sci-fi saga.
Irvine as a Ragnarok pilot? You'll see.
Blight, the demented [cencored? You'll wish you didn't see.
A lot of Seifer's crew's ass-kickery? Later explained.
Selphie not kicking ass? I'm sorry, I'll do my best to change that in the chapters to come.
The Lunar Base Ellone will be described at another point, where the focus will be on it as appropriate. Remember, I'm describing things based on characters' point of view; if Irvine stopped to enjoy what a space station looked like while having a pistol ready to blow his mind, well, that would be stupid.
Fatality, the AI? She's basically the caricature of a friend of mine.
Finally, how was I able to come up with a Laguna/Tifa relationship? Hey, as John Travolta said, it's illegal to use it in public places! )
Alright, I think that, by this point, it's going to be useless to dribble more and more; all I can ask is for some ego-boosting, aka reviewing.