Another story I wrote months ago and didn't post on this archive until now. All I can say is that it's quite different from my other stories.

Hojo had many experiments, some of which failed, but they were still useful, if only in their confused minds.

Delete and Reset

Somehow I don't think my past is dark or terrible, but I guess I must not like it. Maybe it's just boring. That would explain why whatever memories I might have had, I pushed away and never bothered trying to recover them. But lately, memories of my past have been surfacing, and I hate it.

I work for Shinra; that much is clear. My job involves databases and I am trusted with an immense amount of information. It's not a problem really, because I never leave my secret underground home. It's just me and the servers, and computers, and spare parts.

Occasionally a Turk comes and goes, giving and taking information as needed. It's funny really, that I know so much about everyone and so little about myself.

"Here," Reno tosses me a bar of chocolate which I fail to catch. It lands harmlessly on my desk and I pick it up.

"Thanks," there are vending machines down here. Why would Rufus put vending machines in a secret base is beyond me, I don't pretend to understand everything.

Reno nods, "the machine game me two," and takes a bite from his own chocolate bar. Mine will be more delicious knowing that it's Shinra's stolen chocolate.

Now when someone asks if a man, excluding my father, ever gave me chocolate, I can say yes; though if I said it never happened before today I feel as if I'm lying... Fifth grade, the short boy with the pretty green eyes, Andrew; yes I remember, for some reason I actually remember. He gave me chocolate, not a bar like the one Reno gave me, it was a box. A pink box with red hearts, small but cute, just like him.

Back in the days when boys were gross, and we were all required to send valentine cards; girls would give them to girls and boys would give them to boys, because the opposite gender had cooties. But he made the exception and gave that to me. I thanked him and took it, and thought nothing of it. I was still a kid after all.

Later I introduced him to another midget friend and they became close friends. I thought they looked cute together, both small and fitting.

"Is it done?" A finger poking my shoulder gets me out of my thoughts. The same finger then points towards the previously blinking light that had stopping blinking.

"Yeah," I take out the disk, put it in a clear plastic box and hand it to Reno. Then he leaves. I find it strange that something as simple as getting chocolate, in a completely casual way, would awaken a memory of my past. I don't like it, I have a feeling that my past, though not traumatic, was lame and boring, and not worth remembering.

Wait that's right, the midget gave me a card, the box was from my mother. She worked near the school, or at the school. How lame is that? No wonder I didn't want to remember it. The short boy with the pretty eyes was shy about giving me the card, though I didn't know why, it was just a card, one of the pieces of paper we were all required to hand out on that day. I still think it was cute, yet somewhat stupid, not action no adventure, I was no child super hero or villain. How lame indeed.

xoxox xox xoxox

The days slip by, I'm not sure how many pass because each day is the same, not that it's a bad thing. "Are you going?" Elena has been talking about a Shinra party.

A party, that involves dancing, "no." My answer is firm and irreversible. It's not that I'm not allowed to leave this place to attend the company activities, though I'm surprised I am. I just don't like dancing; it's something I never liked.

I kind of liked the elementary school parties were we hung out, played games, ran around, talked and ate sweets. There was no dancing back then. After that those parties ended, and as I finished the sixth grade, I realized that from then on, it would all be about dancing, which sucks.

I never did dance, not once. Not even when peer pressure was raining upon me, I didn't even feel it. Not even when Omar was forced to ask me.

That's right, I remember now. It happened at end of the sixth grade. We were no longer in elementary school, thus our little parties would get bigger. There was a DJ and a large place were people gathered to dance. Someone, I don't know told the DJ to announce that Omar wanted to dance with me, which he didn't want and I certainly didn't want.

The girls liked him, I don't know why. He wasn't handsome or charming, athletic yes, but neither good looking, nor enchanting in personality. Still, he gave into the pressure that I continued to ignore; perhaps unaware that it was even there. He asked me to dance and without even the slightest hint of shame, I refused and walked away to find out who played the stupid joke on us. I never did fnd out.

I think mother was there, not close by but there. I don't think she was watching. She wouldn't be mad if I did dance, if anything she would be happy, but I've always hated her antics and how she would celebrate the most insignificant things as if I saved the entire world from destruction. It made me not want to do tiny good deeds if the celebration was more like a punishment, having to listen to an idiot ramble and repeat. Yeah, she was an idiot; that I cannot forget.

Elena has continued speaking of the party, I had not been listening, but I had been smiling and nodding and that was enough, it always was.

xoxox xox xoxox

After Elena left, another memory surfaced against my will. The girl was blond too, but very different from Elena. The Turk is much nicer and pleasant to be around.

The blond girl was nice at first, my best friend for some time, I think. But come middle school she completely changed, she turned into a bitch for lack of better word.

The pretty boy at the time was Albert; I'm not sure what ever happened to Omar. Polly was another who disappeared. Pretty Polly surrounded by rumors. They said her parents were gangsters and her brother used drugs. She was a bit of a tomboy, yet at the same time feminine, and she was very defensive, yet she honestly wasn't that bad. I spoke to her a few times and realized she was a lot nicer than they said. Besides, I was a tomboy too and faster to pick a fight than her.

She and I never fought, I never feared her, but the others always tried to warn me not to be her friend because the gangs would come after me. It was stupid really. I never became her friend, but I never believed the rumors. However, I couldn't help it but to think she was cool. Strong but pretty, a bad girl with a reputation she made no effort to keep up and yet it stayed. I wanted to be like her, and now I'm a Turk, good for me.

I think she once called me childish, I think that's why we never became friends. She was right, I was childish, and I was a child, and so was she. But she said it as if it were a terrible insult; a great offense. I labeled her as ignorant as she had labeled me. I remember now why she said it; she was bitter thinking I spread rumors about her. Zoey had told her I did; what a dirty liar she was.

Zoey, the blond girl, Zoey's cousin and I often hung out in middle school, all four of us. After Polly disappeared I forgave her, I guess, or maybe I simply forgot what had happened. The blond girl was called Germa, I think. Though she could have been teased by being called germ that didn't happen often, she was pretty, so I guess she had pretty immunity to teasing. Zoey's cousin was called Shelly, she was always complaining about being overweight, quite the opposite to Zoey who was tall and slim.

Shelly always said she had a great personality that no one allowed her to show, she really didn't. Both Shelly and Zoey liked Albert. He was not handsome, or charming, nor was he athletic. I honestly don't know why the girls liked him so much, I was the exception.

I swear, the wall that was built near the music room, was not something done out of architectonic concern. It was done so people could have a place to make out, and I never did. I just watched, floated, as if I wasn't there. Maybe I lacked interest in all that stuff, maybe I didn't like it, or maybe I had the feeling in the back of my head that I would get into trouble, I hated that feeling.

An incoming transmission wakes me from my unwanted memories and I reply. Tseng needs some weaponry ready. He will be here to pick it up, or rather the secret designs. Scarlet is dead so she doesn't come to give and take weapon designs anymore.

Scarlet used to say "you're young but you're not enjoying it." It felt as if it was a lie when she said it, but it had been true, in the past and I hated to admit it. I didn't really enjoy that past, and I didn't realize how much I dreaded it until I found something better.

Not that dressing like her was something I would do to enjoy life. That's not my style, no ever thought so... yeah no one ever did. There was that time when I was dared to kiss Jonathan, a boy whom Germa liked, and she dared me herself, because he was just her latest boy toy. I knew he wasn't in school that day, and thus agreed since the dare had a time limit set to end when lunch ended. We walked all over the school and surrounding areas. Anyone would say I was honestly trying to find him, but I knew he wasn't in school.

The next day Zoey pushed me at Jonathan when we were all walking down the hall among a crowd of people, heading to our next class. I held on to the first thing I could not to slip and fall, his shoulder. Brenda, who was watching, swore I kiss him there and then; she must have had a vivid imagination because I certainly didn't. I punched Zoey for it, and she didn't hit me back so the would-be fight ended with that.

Jonathan wasn't the one boy Germa had been involved with. There was also Waldo, considered to be the second most handsome guy in school next to Albert. Quite frankly, Albert was not handsome at all, Waldo was. However what he had in looks was lost to a terrible personality and thus I didn't like being around the jerk, he was a bigger jerk then Albert, so much perhaps, that it made him look ugly.

Germa and Waldo kissed behind the music room wall, it was not a column made to help support the poorly designed structure; it was a wall encasing the space between the class room and sidewalk, blocking off the view to the inner yard. Illogically, it was a wall instead of the column that would have sufficed. Back then, in middle school, kisses were not given away like handshakes as they were in high school.

xoxox xox xoxox

By the time Reno arrived to pick up the weapon designs, grumbling about a Turk having to do the job of a delivery boy, I almost expected him to plant a kiss on my cheek, simply because it's been about a month since I last saw him in person, though we have communicated long distance for Turk business and only business. But that is what people who are still young, from their teens to their late twenties, do when they have not seen each other for a long time, close friends or not. He didn't kiss me, I didn't try; it all went by normally.

I guess it should have been weird otherwise, I mused after Reno was gone. It was weird when Orlando, the pretty boy of high school whom ironically lacked the player reputation of the previous pretty boys from middle and elementary school, walked over like it's nobody's business and gave each girl a kiss on the cheek, making sure to look around and ascertain that he did not miss any. I nearly slapped him, and everyone thought I was an anti-social jerk.

Later it became the cutest thing between girls. It showed feminine love between friends some said, when girls greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek. Maybe it was fluffy, and cute, and feminine, but I think the boys just liked it because in their dirty heads it was fan service, even if the kisses were on the cheek, given and received in the most casual way. My best friend, Arle, perhaps my only true best friend in all my school life, got into the habit and thus dragged me into it, but I did not give as many kisses as she did.

Orlando liked Diana, and they looked cute together. His eyes were blue and his hair the color of caramel, like her eyes. Her skin was a flawless pale shade, and her locks were always well groomed, with not a single hair out of place. They ended up together and we all thought they were cute.

Arle's hair was the longest I've ever seen, pulled back in neat brunette curls that went below her waist; it would be even longer if it were straight. Her sense of humor stood out, and she carried a pleasant aura around her. She had a cousin whom I didn't know was her cousin until much later. The boy was blond with blue eyes, quite different from Arle's dark brown eyes. She was short, he was tall, and their skin tones were several shades apart. They didn't look like cousins at all, but they were related by blood.

For some reason, I feel that I was in the same school as Elena at some point. I think we were good friends, but I can't quite place the event into my memories.

xoxox xox xoxox

Days later, when Elena came by, I asked her if we had met before we joined the Turks and she was certain we had not. It makes me wonder about these strange memories I try to push away. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to insert Elena into my past to make it cooler, worth remembering. I wouldn't be surprised if I start remembering things that never happened with Reno, Rude and Tseng, when in fact I was quite content remembering nothing.

Arle's cousin Edward had a crush on Mari. A lot of boys had a crush on Mari, she wasn't exceptionally pretty and her forehead was simply huge, even bigger than my own. Yet she had a certain coolness, a mix of skater and rocker, and they liked her, and she never went out with any of them. We wanted Edward and Mari to be together, they were just too cute. They were our OTP. He sang to her and he drew pictures of her, he was quite artistic, as was Arle.

Mari was polite, and nice, and considerate, but she never considered Edward as more than a friend. He was nice, handsome and a gentleman, I'm not sure why she never liked him. Then again, the spotlight, though she didn't abuse it, must have been nice, being liked by so many boys.

I was never in the spotlight. I'm not sure if I was avoiding it, or if I was simply ordinary. I remember kindergarten when Kelly was elected queen of hearts, though no voting took place. It was a game of chance, the teacher said, but she handed us our slips of paper one by one, and gave Kelly the winning one. She could have made up a better act, she could have said Kelly was elected because of her grades, even if many of us had good grades; it was kinder for goodness' sake.

The teacher could have said that Kelly was being rewarded because her mother was so helpful around the school, and it would have been true. But instead she chose to fix a game of chance in the most obvious way. Kelly's mother even had a gift for her, it was so obvious, yet no one said anything.

We all got gifts, and Kelly's special extra gift was a flower arrangement, which I did not want, I was quite happy with my little box of chocolate, a cute party bag full of candy and a cute heart shaped balloon, the metallic kind because the rubber balloons gross me out, and I can pin point the exact time when that illogical thought began.

I was a small child, not even in kindergarten. I went to my cousin's birthday party and came home with candy and a balloon. I was hugging the balloon when I got in the car to return home, not too tight, I'm certain that wasn't the problem, yet it popped, and I didn't know why, and somehow it bothered me. I don't like unexplained events.

Maybe months later or earlier, I can't remember, tying a balloon with helium to room's window, inside the room I mean, was not the smartest thing to do. It lost the ability to stay afloat and melted into the handle, and it was gross. I hate those rubber balloons so much I am disgusted by touching one, and mother was convinced it was an inexplicable childish phobia, like my other younger cousin who hated umbrellas. It was disgust, not fear, I assure you.

Returning to the time of that kindergarten valentine's day, the king's election was also fixed. Was I ever glad I wasn't the queen. Who wants to be the queen of a crybaby fatso, as he used to be called?

I did get to wear the cardboard crown once. A classmate who returned to kindergarten after being sick for a few days was made to wear the stupid yet somehow priced crown, just because she had returned from being sick. It was supposed to cheer her up after having missed so much school, I'm sure she missed not missing more. She let me borrow the silly thing and carrying it on my head was not as grand as they made it out to be. Then the teacher complained because I didn't have permission to wear it. I guess it made it even less special than it already wasn't if one could lend and borrow it. How stupid.

xoxox xox xoxox

When high school ended and college began the spotlight became so easy to obtain, and just as easy to push away. That spotlight was far better than a cardboard crown, it wasn't baseless. But why am I remembering this? It's so depressing. The feeling of helpless sadness accompanied by vast anger burns in my chest and I try not to simply push the thoughts away, but erase them completely. That pathetic existence, though not horrible or traumatic, was simply not good enough, and not worth remembering.

Yes, I did attended college. I don't remember if I finished it, but I guess the rest of my dreaded memories will come back eventually. I'm distant, yet I am, or was polite, thinking that it would help me blend in, how stupid. I'm not graceful in the least and I don't notice things until much later.

One time it seemed that I should at such an age, be talking to guys. I spoke to a random guy that looked like he was okay. I did a grand job of sounding like a know it all. I never even learned his name, and quite frankly I don't care. But the fact remains that I failed the basic skill of talking to a guy without throwing the 'I'm smarter than you' message in his face, even if I was, or maybe he was just stupid.

One time a guy helped me skip a line when working with some academic documents to sign up for more classes. We casually spoke about classes and such, and when he asked about how I did I simply showed him my report card. He was surprised. I have gotten a B or a few B's in my life but that particular time I got straight A's. Unknowingly I was telling him how much smarter than him I was, which was true, but not something the poor guy wanted shoved in his face.

Oh yes, I was always clueless with guys, either clueless or uninterested. I'm not a romantic and relationships are not my thing, yet everyone talks, even flirts, so I had to blend in, but I didn't. I can remember other occasions as well.

I think his name was Ricky, the guy who placed a coin on the copy machine while I recharged my copy card at the change machine. I glared at him, made it clear I wasn't done, finished my copies and stomped away. The nerve, cutting in line when I was right there; and there was another unoccupied copier he could have used. Not once did it occur to me until the next day that that he was trying to be nice so I didn't need to recharge my card.

Times like those were not so bad. I dread how uncool and stupid, and entrapped my childhood was, but the start of my college days, not so much as the finish, was pretty good. For one my parents did not work near by, and the feeling of being watched was lifted, at least in the most part.

I loved setting my schedule with free time in the middle. I left early, earlier than my parents needed to work, and I came back in the middle of the day. After that, I left during the late afternoon for the rest of my classes before my parents returned, and came back hours after they had arrived.

I cried when mother retired. She would be at home all the time and I hated the thought. I wanted her gone. I hated her, why did I hate her? Did I erase the reasons from my memories? I do remember I did not cry often. When my grandfather died I didn't cry, I complained because I should have been home playing, it was the day after Christmas for crying out loud. I hated funerals since then, I hate anything that takes away my fun. Maybe that's why I hated mother.

I got over it, I guess. More often than not, during collage, people would know me and I wouldn't know them. They said hi and I said hi. One particular event stands out; he had a very nice smile, tall handsome, well built, and I had no idea who he was. He greeted me as if we've met before, if only briefly. I stared for a full minute trying to remember his name, because forgetting such a monument of man was a crime. I never remembered.

I said hello, and promptly walked away puzzled as to who he was. Months, not days, not weeks, not hours, but months later, I realized that he was Daniel my classmate from my first year. He was the one who liked video games; the chubby, quiet guy with glasses that did not stand out and was not wearing an army uniform at the time. Did they ever give him a workout at the army! I never saw him again after that.

Crap, I don't want this. Some memories are amusing, but I have the feeling that it all ends with me being displeased. After those first years of college, what happened then? I switched to a different college didn't I? It all went spiraling down from there. I bang my head against the desk. Make those stupid thoughts go away!

"What are you doing?" His voice is calm, nonchalant maybe.

I look up. "Rude?"

"Did you finally lose it?" Another man asks.

"Reno?" I repeat their names, convincing myself that I know them, and I know no one by the names of Omar, or Polly, or Daniel, or Orlando, or Diana, or Andrew, or Arle, or Edward, or Mari, or Zoey, or Shelly, or Albert, or Diana or Germa or...

"Do you have a secret supply of rum down here?" The funny thing is Reno is completely serious about the question.

I shake my head; do I really look so out of it I look drunk? I've never been drunk. I tested wine before, a spoonful to be precise and I spat it out, it tasted sour. "What do you need?"

Rude states their business and I hear nothing of what he says. I get up and walk a little. I search for a disk over the shelves which are full of them. I look over the labels and reach to push up my glasses; then realize that I don't have them. Strangely, the words printed on the labels are perfectly clear. "The disk was..."

Rude repeats what he needs and this time I force myself to hear it. My hearing works fine, but my mind is filtering out the sound. I find the correct disk and hand it to him; they need to research something or other. The old database of Midgar was lost, destroyed, and never restored, leaving only the backup in this secret base as the only copy.

After Rude and Reno get the data they came to find, they leave and I'm sure it's been far longer since our last meeting than I think. But I can't be sure; my sense of time is not very good. My sense of direction is worse, as is my sense of balance and aim. Why am I even a Turk?

I go from wondering how I became a Turk into wondering where my glasses went and how I can see clearly without them. Everything should be a blurry mess, and I'm certain I'm not wearing contact lenses. People are stupid, wanting to learn of their demise. I was happy, in bliss, when I knew nothing of my pass. Curse you Reno and your chocolate bar for reminding me of meaningless things.

Far from remembering where my glasses went, and when I got laser surgery, if that is even what fixed me, I instead remember why things looked blurry. Mother was incapable of raising a child. I often looked at the TV from very close to the point where my nose was touching the screen. No one ever told me not to do it. I love being spoiled, but not spoiled rotten to the point where I ignorantly hurt myself and no one stops me.

I hate mother for it, but not father. He gave me gifts and failed to teach me anything, but he asked for nothing. Mother didn't give me anything and also failed to teach me anything, but she got in the way and asked for the caring love she never earned, and I hated her.

xoxox xox xoxox

I wonder what how many acts of negligence messed up my life. I have all my teeth, though I wonder if they were ever filled with cavities because no one ever told the kid to brush them. I don't know what happened, but upon close inspection, my teeth are made of the same white metallic substance that my nails are made of, not painted in, but made of. Sure the blue polish makes it look as if the metal is just an effect of the color, but it's not. Well at least it's not gray metal; I'll take ridiculously shiny teeth over gray teeth any day.

Ironically, this discovery calms me. I'm not the common kid who fits into those false memories, because I have rejected them and called them false. I'm different, and I like it. Where ever I was, I must have felt trapped for a long time. I'm filled with anger, someone pretended to protect me and taught me bad habits of self harm, was that it? No not quite that dramatic. Rather I didn't take care of myself because it was a basic skill I was never taught as a child.

Someone stood in the way, refused to move and held me back. Yes, someone who's death I wished and longed for, but I don't think it happened. I hated people because those closest to me merely got in my way. I hated my caretakers because they failed to correct my mistakes as a child and it messed things up later. If I was weak, it was because they raised me that way, and if I became stronger it was because I learned to be on my own. Close minded idiots, how I hate them; assuming that anyone who is not old fashioned is just plain evil.

"Why are you glaring?" It seems my angry thoughts have run away with me. I don't remember when Elena got here. So many times I wanted to cry out in frustration during that past that I do not treasure at all, the past I wish to forget. I never did, not when anyone was watching. Maybe I cried twice in five years, not a lot considering all that was bottled up.

"Have you ever wished that the world would just drop dead?" I have.

"Did you break up with your boyfriend?" I didn't have one to begin with, Elena, but I never mentioned that to you, did I?

During the start of college everyone thought I had a boyfriend. It's beyond me why they were so convinced. After switching to another college they assumed I was single, which was true. I wonder what changed, I wonder... I like the first assumption better, I think.

I try to reply to Elena. "No, I..." I stand, and stumble and the world around me spins. There is red and black directly in front of me, red hair, a black uniform, I collapse.

xoxox xox xoxox

While a bright light annoying shines in my face, I remember how I became a Turk. I remember being told that I was born from experimentation and I was happy, sadly it as a lie. I had finished dressing and slipped in the water I myself had spilled. College was almost over, just another formal project and I would be done. I hated the uncertainly of that stage ending. I hated being stuck with my stupid family whom I wish would reject me and avoid me; or better yet, die.

I inevitably fell, my head banding the edge of the tub harder than such a simple fall should merit. In that small moment between life and death, my soul took the opportunity to reject that world and live in a new one. I don't regret it; I don't miss that place at all. I must have woken up, finished dressing and wandered off subconsciously.

Later I was found unconscious when the Turks were finishing up the job. My attire, a business suit for my final college presentation that I don't think I ever gave, was similar to theirs; and thus I was mistakenly picked up by the arriving cadets, thought to be a missing Turk. I was experimented on, improved. They thought I was a berserker and that I would be useful, but I was simply angry, and frustrated, and full of hate.

When I was modified I was happy, I left the pathetic creature behind. My past is not precious to me at all, and it's nerve wrecking just remembering it. I begged, and threatened, and finally got it erased. I'll have to get it erased once again, I'll forget the life I did not chose and start over with the one I did.

"This medicine should fix her; it was not a problem of the body, but her brain sending commands to every organ to stop functioning." Someone in a white lab coat speaks.

"Why are you explaining it to me? I was just supposed to bring her here. Whatever needs to be done, just give it to her."

"I see, well then, I'll attempt to erase the memories she hates again, so that she may function properly," the doctor continues to mutter as the work progresses. "I really don't know why she hates it, the memories aren't so bad, common, boring, but not traumatic. Maybe what she really hated was her inability to find something worth remembering."

You're right doc, that's how it is; my inability to break free, to just go away. I may say I hate the world, but I hate my own weakness the most. Make me forget and I shall have no past self that was imposed, only a present self that was chosen. Erase what I hate and let me start over with what I like; delete and reset.

xoxox xox xoxox

Maybe he wasn't trying to cut in line, maybe he was trying to talk to me... My eyes open instinctively and I close them again right away. The light on my face is too bright. Was that an old memory floating by just now?

I sit up dizzily and examine my surroundings. I'm back in the lab, a note resting on my chest, which slips off as I sit. I pick it up and read. "You should be fine now, continue your duties as usual and call if you feel ill." It's from the doctor, no doubt. I was thrown back into the base; well not thrown but placed on a table like a product that's been repaired and left there.

I yawn; I can't remember when I last yawned. I don't sleep anymore, I don't dream, I don't rest. Sleep was removed when they experimented on me. Why do I have the knowledge of ever sleeping before if the memories of my past life are supposed to be gone?

"She didn't have a bad life..." The words escape me as I unwillingly quote an unknown person. "Neglected maybe, but not abused. At the same time she was always watched, molded into someone she didn't want to be. She hated it and felt her family had failed her, though not on purpose; because of their inability to properly raise a child, and their even worse inability to realize that the child is an adult and it's time to let go. She was spoiled at first, then spoiled rotten to the point where she was allowed to harm herself just because they let her get her way, and she resents that. She resents entrapment, responsibilities and complications. She likes her simple existence here, she likes being another item on the shelf because no one sets standards, no one watches her and no one gets in her way."

I shake my head, I wonder where this conversation happened, when it happened and why in the world am I able to remember it so clearly as if it were inevitably embedded in my mind.

"Does she get distracted easily?" I'm sure the one who spoke this question was a different person from the first, logically there should be at least two people to form a conversation and I don't think I was counted.

"She's a bit spacey and confused, but she can focus on a task and accomplish it. Although..." The first person had said.

"Although?" Why do I remember this conversation so clearly as if my memory was a recorder? I may not remember, but I know for a fact that in my past my memory was not bad, but not that great. I was especially bad with people's names.

"She likes men." I'm sure that laughter followed this reply, I'm certain of it, though it should have come as no surprise; I am a woman after all.

The laugher fades and the second person shakes his or her head, I cannot remember if the people were two men, two women or a man and a woman. "I would guess she does, as any woman. Is that a problem? Is she easily distracted by handsome men?"

"No, but the way her mind works is strange. She needs something to cling to; I made it so the thing she clings to is the base where she works. In the past the thing she would treasure and revolve her life around was..."

"A man?"

"No, a series of items, she was quite the materialistic one. Later I believe it was a piece of data, a website of sorts. She chose those things and those things changed as she grew. Because this base as the center of her world, was programmed into her, not chosen; I fear she won't treasure it as she treasured that data that she held onto before."

"And thus a man could take the place of this base in her subconscious. She would be easy to control."

"Yes, it's ironic really, because she presented no more interest in men than she did to inanimate objects. Men were objects to her, women too, though of much less interest. Men were troublesome objects that could not be taken for granted and she rejected anything that could not be taken for granted. I had to change that to make her a little more hardworking, but her old habits keep surfacing and messing things up. It may result in ancient instincts that were suppressed for a long time finally emerging and..."

"And she'll start stalking men?"

"I beg that you do not interrupt me," at this point the first person pushed up his glasses. Yes, this was a man, a man with long hair and a tin face.

"Excuse me," the second person was a woman with cold emotionless eyes, much like mine, but a different color.

"Anyway, her mind is unstable, there's no telling what she'll do. Her brain was quite structured instead of intertwined. She is a realistic one, not dramatic or emotional or overly complex, hence why figuring her out is so easy. At the same time that simplicity makes her strong with experimentation, but fragile with sanity, lacking barriers. There are things that were embedded in her mind as a child, things we can use to our advantage. She hates provoking any kind of reaction in people, possibly because the negative reactions from her caretakers were particularly annoying, though not violent from what I've fount, and their positive reactions were also annoying. She hates being complimented, it feels like an order."

"She's odd..."

"Indeed..." I snap into attention with no idea who the man and woman in the lab coats were...

Is that what was wrong with me? I was too simple and I hated to complicate things? I want to be in bliss all the time without the slightest annoyance or sadness, which seems impossible really.

The two scientists in my memories are different from the doctor who wrote the note, I know this for certain, I can't say how, but I know.

xoxox xox xoxox

I go to my desk and start organizing and entering data from the reports that were left there. I catch movement from the corner of my eye and clumsily stumble out of my chair, throwing my fist at the intruder who easily catches it. "Not much of a fighter?" He teases.

I look up, his hair is red, like my genius cousin, but this man is not related to me in any way, shape or form. Yes, I had a geeky cousin who loved to read, at the age of three. He played instruments and went to a prestigious private school. He had a younger brother who tried to imitate him. His name was Alexander, the older one, but I can't remember the name of the younger sibling. "What do you want Reno?"

"Data, what else is there here?" Reno replies with the obvious answer I should have known.

"Right," somehow, I know what he needs. I throw the disk into his hands before he even requests it.

He looks at it, assumes a request was sent to me from headquarters, and does not question how I know what he needs. "See ya!"

Men? No way I'll start chasing men. I'd love to have him as my little slave but I'm not lifting a finger for a man or any person. I don't like people, they annoy me and aggravate me, and I'm sure they did before I lost my memories. Do I like him? Of course! Reno and every other hot man in this world, but that doesn't mean anything. I'm not the clingy type. Materialistic maybe, unable to live without entertainment, yes, hence why I held on to something, a toy when I as little, a videogame that game me a goal to work towards, later a computer, a never ending game. "Damn it Hojo, get it right!"

I freeze, Hojo? Why do I know that name? I know it's from the databases, but why do I think there's more to it than that. Reno turns around to give me an odd look. "Hojo?" He questions.

I shake my head, go away Reno. "Nothing."

"Just now, you said Hojo," he insists.

"Damn it Reno, you smell!"

"I what?" I'm not sure if he's offended or surprised, but he sniffs himself just in case. "I do not!"

My nose was never sensitive, something or someone, or even I, could stink and I wouldn't notice. Because I wasn't taught hygiene when I was little and had to force the habit on myself when I was older. "Go away!" My eyes are focused and need no glasses, my nose can perceive scents that it did not perceive before, though none are bad right now, and I'm confused. "I didn't say you stunk, just that you have a strong scent, a strong pleasant scent."

"I don't smell anything," Reno stares at me a bit suspicious. He reaches for his PHS.

I fall to my knees holding my head. I see a white room at the same time as the gray walls of this base. "To end up in such a place." Hojo speaks in my vision.

"Doctor..." a girl in hospital bed pushes the words out her throat.

"It's an infection, you'll be healed, but your body is weak. Didn't your parents teach you to take care of it?" Hojo asked.

"No, they gave me toys and overprotected me, and kept me trapped unable to achieve; but they never taught me anything. Mother was bitter because I had an easier life than hers, I think she wanted me to lack practical skills to make herself feel important, needed, but she wasn't! She was a hypocrite saying she cared, I'm glad she's dead. Father wasn't so bad, he didn't give but he didn't take, he gave me materials and no skills, but didn't ask anything of me, he let me go, set me free. Doctor..."

"I'll take you with me little one, though your will is weak your mind itself is strong, simple yet creative, yes creative, the ability to randomly arrange thoughts forming new ones, new stories, new inventions, new things. That anger inside you can wake up yet, miss berserker."

Did this happen after the Turk found me that time? Was the hit to the head the trigger? No, I was simple over the edge, my time was due. But I was weak; the spirit of the berserker was something I rejected in my past.

Hojo confused the left over traces with the actual spirit. I was no berserker, not anymore; I never became a real one, though I could have been if trained from a young age. I could have been a lot of things if not for the obstacles that wanted to turn me into their idiot little daughter I did not wish to be. I'm not even certain if mother is dead for real, but she's dead to me.

xoxox xox xoxox

"So she's a reject, eh? Something Hojo threw away?" Red becomes a blur as he shakes his head, I blink and my eyes adjust. Reno?

"Yes, he realized she was no berserker, but she is a contradiction. Her will is weak but the extent of how strong it can become is immense, should she overcome that weakness. It's like a glass shield protecting steal armor, but she doesn't go past the glass, she doesn't see the armor, she doesn't want the pain of evolution when her shield is shattered."

"Don't say weird stuff doc. It's bad enough I had to deal with her because I was the only one there and Tseng would throw a fit if I just left, with all the data there and all." Reno sounds annoyed.

"Hojo tried to revive the berserker in her, suppressed instincts are surfacing. It's strange really," the doctor continues as if anyone cared for such rambles.

Reno doesn't, and he leaves the doc talking alone.

"Because she's a cold blooded killer who cannot kill, one who hates life yet is unable to take it. It's as if she fears some kind of divine punishment and must protect herself from it, to preserve herself, not to preserve the life she spares. She..." The doctor realizes no one is listening; I am not counted, as I am supposed to be unconscious. "Is common trash," he finished, "but if trained from a young age, she could have been irreplaceable, that chance was lost long ago."

I sit up and look at the doctor. "Delete and reset."

The doctor jumps in surprise.

I wish to try again. "Delete and reset," I repeat. Because my first life was a failure and so were any others, after that but I can forget and start over from zero. What is life if not a collection of memories? If they're gone, then the pathetic existence to go with them is gone too; I can start over. "Delete and reset."

The doctor nods. "Very well..."

I wonder why I'm not thrown away like a broken doll, like the doll Hojo threw away. That woman who was speaking to him was a robot, I know this, but I don't care, it's just a useless detail, another of his broken toys that was destroyed.

As my memories fade ever more, one surfaces and in turn fades. Shinra cleaned my memory and trusted me with databases because of my willingness to forget. "Hojo is still alive," I mutter and the process continues normally.

"I know," the doctor replied. "I am one of his creations myself."

Another robot? I wonder for how long I've known this without realizing it. They are bio-robots, not made of metal and wires, maybe clone or monster is a more accurate term. "What's my use to Hojo, do you know that?"

"You can't produce a sufficient amount of energy to be considered magnificent yourself, but when energy is channeled through you, it is amplified."

"Why?"

"Because you're weak and strong all at once; weak, but strong if artificially enhanced. A weak will and a strong soul, the weakness allows the energy in and out through you and the strength amplifies it."

"Is not everyone weak and strong at the same time?" I start to fall asleep.

"They have weaknesses, they have strengths, but not in such a way that it is a contradiction. You're just really messed up, I guess. You are, maybe, traumatized without sufficient cause, or not traumatized enough. You hate with such strength, yet you are completely incapable of taking action. You only wish."

Indeed I do. I don't know when I'll wake up, but I hope things are better then. I'm frustrated and angry because my life isn't as great as it could be. I'm jealous not to be someone else. I hate these worthless memories and I want to forget. "Delete and reset..." I wonder how many times I'll be able to do this before I die.

xoxox xox xoxox

"I heard they weren't feeding you," he was only joking, I knew. My thin frame hinted he was right, but he said it so carelessly as he held an open pizza box. I also knew he wasn't thinking of me. He happened to me passing by, got hungry, brought pizza, ate some and realized that he couldn't finish the whole thing alone.

He also realized he was thirsty and this secret data center was near by. He could get something to drink from the bending machines that no one really uses. He might as well give the left over slices to me instead of throwing them away, unwillingly supplying food to random stray monsters.

There was no cake, I noted, and I wondered why I did. My memories have been deleted many times and my life reset. I have no memories of who I am, but I know I forgot willingly. Yet, I suddenly get the image of a group of school girls eating pizza. Most of them look happy, save for one who looks uncomfortable, yet she ignored it very well. She's not uncomfortable with the food or with her companions; she's uncomfortable with herself for a reason unknown to me.

I see a birthday card in my mind's eye. One of the girls, from the group who were eating pizza, sent it to the displeased girl. There was a hastily bought cake in the girl's house which could not be called home. There was a date that was miraculously remembered at the last minute and the old couple felt compelled to buy a cake. It wasn't a birthday cake, just a regular cake; a common bundle of calories.

There was pizza, there was cake and pizza and soda and a forced smile. The displeased girl's smile was the hardest to force, it didn't quite come out. Her face was a little red from the effort to keep her composure. Her eyes hid frustration. "Hypocrites," she thought.

"What?" Reno gives me an odd look. "Did you just call me a hypocrite?"

I shake my head, "no, not you, someone else," I try to explain.

"There's no one else here," he doesn't understand.

There were no gifts or happiness to accompany the lonely cake, just emptiness. Dealing with them was hard, she hated it all, she hated the act, the drama, the charade, the appearance of a happy girl hiding such pathetic misery, that she could defeat, but at the same time couldn't. "I'm not a pet."

"I didn't say you were," Reno sets the pizza box down in a corner of my desk.

"I'm not a pet, damn it, and I'm not a piece of decoration!" I hold my head with bony fingers. "I'm not your pet; I need to live my own life. I'm not an indoor dog you can lock up and show off to your visitors. I'm not... I'm not... I'm not! I'm better than you; get that into your thick skull! I really am!" I'm sure by now Reno realized that I was not talking to him, or about him, but I'm also sure he had no idea what it was about, and quite frankly I wasn't sure myself.

"You're..." Reno didn't finish and I finished for him, in my head with the world insane. I imagined him saying it and heard it in his voice.

"I am indifferent to you," I have lost the ability to be happy. I am indifferent, frustrated or angry. I've never been keen on sadness, but frustration and anger run deep in me. Indifference is the best one. Lack of indifference summons hatred, anger and frustration.

"Right..." he pays me little mind, he might be used to this, I don't know how many times he has seen me this way, I don't remember.

I stare at Reno for a full minute before glancing over to the pizza box and speaking in a monotone voice devoid of all emotion. "Thank you, Reno. I like pizza," I speak a little loud then lower my voice to a hushed whisper again, "thank you," as if I don't want anyone to her me thanking him. Then a strange mixture of pain, anger and frustration shoots through me. "Are you leaving?"

"Yes," I'm sure he thinks that someone as unstable as me shouldn't be allowed to handle Shinra's databases. I'm sure that he will tell Tseng about it, and Tseng might tell Rufus, or someone else, they might fire me. "Please die," I mutter and frantically search for anything that can be used as a weapon, "please die, please, please, please, die now." My voice becomes louder and my frustration grows as I can't find any pointed objects. "Die, die, die..." From a tool box, forgotten in a corner I take a screw driver. If I jam it in his throat it might do the job, but have I ever done it before? Somehow I don't know, I don't think so. By the time I try to sneak up on Reno, he's gone. "Shit..."

xoxox xox xoxox

"A though shell indeed, but if she doesn't knew the weaknesses she's protecting, then she'll lower her guard, and if she knows them, she falls apart. The shell of energy around her life current is useless like that." So says a voice in my head, maybe a memory.

"Her brainwaves connect with the control chip easily, she is willing, she can still be of use, I learned not to throw away defects so easily," maybe this is a lost fragment of a deleted memory too.

"Why don't you delete and reset again?" I ask no one in particular. "I want to start over, I made a mistake. Reno hates me, I want to start over, make me forget and give me another chance. Delete and reset, let me start again."

Sorry Reno, but I'll have to throw away your useless gift. Why didn't you give me a better gift, like murder; I don't want to die, not yet, but if you killed someone for me, that would have been sweet. I have no need for calories. Food is injected into me; I have no need for food that needs to be chewed, even if I have a mouth full of white metal teeth that can chew quite well.

There was a blank, and the next thing I knew I was clinging to Tseng without laying a finger on him. Let my hair fall on my face, covered it with my hands, and hid behind Tseng. When he moved, I moved. He kept turning in circles and I kept moving along with him. Elena tried to calm me, but it didn't work. I don't perceive her scent, I can only smell men. Rude stands silently to the side and only watches.

Finally, after much patience is lost, Reno grabs my arm, because somebody had to do something, and drags me off to see the doctor. "Delete and reset, delete and reset," I keep chanting all the way. I want the relief of a life that's just started; the innocence of a child who is beginning to discover the world.

When we arrive and I am left with the doctor, I just stare dumbly while he goes on about who knows what, "you're making progress. Very few memories resurfaced. The cache of your brain is very stubborn. You'll be ready to accomplish your purpose soon." Then he shakes his head, "I just can't believe you're the best we have for this, your unique brain wave patters as common as anyone other, yet unique, just like every other. You're nothing special and yet you could be. It was a mere coincidence I'm sure."

"Delete and reset, delete and reset..." I keep repeating it for a while, certain that I'm getting on the doctor's nerves. Than finally I voice something different and fall into silence, "I'm too big to cry, I always have been, ever since I was little." Big, in the sense of tall, in comparison to other little girls, but I'm not a giant woman; I am an average tall woman, tall but a normal kind of tall. I just grew a little earlier than the others and thus got done with it a little earlier. But I always felt like I was two years older in comparison to the smaller girls and thus would look stupid crying like a baby. I took pride in my lack of tears.

"Silly girl, go ahead and cry. Crying triggers certain chemicals that will make you feel better." The doctor, Hojo's minion, explains. "Wounds do that too, but your physical pain has been numbed so it won't work. Try crying instead."

I frantically shake my head. "I don't have to, if you delete and reset me, then I won't be sad," every day I'm turning into more of a hallow shell. But I rather be that than someone I do not wish to become, someone I hate. "Kill them; kill them all, they should die. If they were dead I would be happy. Kill everyone who bothers me!"

The doctor laughs, "you really don't know how to handle things. You always acted; you know nothing outside of acting out your life. You run away or destroy, you don't solve, then you tell yourself you've done nothing, you block it out." The doctor injected me with something, some blue-green liquid and I fell asleep after that.

xoxox xox xoxox

"It's too early, she's not ready..." The first thing I heard.

"None sense, the time is now, the comet approaches," I mentally open my eyes and the first thing I see is a man with messy black hair in a low ponytail, he seems old, thick glasses shining in the artificial light.

"Sir..."

"Shut up," the man who spoke the first words I heard collapses, and the man whose image was the first thing I saw approaches. "Welcome to existence."

"What is my purpose?" I have not lived before this day, I just came into being. I am an artificially created being, I was never human, if I was, I would have memories, but I don't. I am hooked to a multitude of wires, needles piercing my skin, but I feel no pain. I don't feel anything. I am surrounded by a blue-green liquid, a helmet over my head, more wires coming from it. I see from multiple angles with cameras, I see it all at once. Am I a robotic being? Perhaps, I see and I hear; I have no other senses besides those.

"You are the bio half of the Shinra satellite system," he tells me the things I already know.

"I am the link, I am the one that connects the life stream to the machines," I speak. One with biological components to deal with life stream, entwined with machines that respond to a specific random brain wave pattern, weak and strong, a paradox, just because I'm so messed up. "Hojo, the bio components contain errors."

"Of course they do, they are errors. But I can't make you fully robotic. You need traces of your old strong yet easy to manipulate will to connect to the life stream. Your name is Paradox, do as I say and I'll take those annoying bio components away once your job is done. I brought you to life after all." Hojo's form changes, he looks different, younger, and his clothes are different as well, no longer a lab coat but a sort of business uniform.

"Understood," I reply.

He nods and reaches for a cell phone. "The database has been upgraded."

The tank containing my body sinks into the ground behind layers of machinery. I feel nothing, but I still see clearly from the cameras, the satellites, everything, the city, the people, I am omnipresent.

The man who collapsed not too long ago gets up and leaves along with Hojo in his new appearance. The clones controlled by Hojo are all over Shinra. Only the Turks and Rufus remain now within Shinra and I'm not counting the World Restoration Organization as a threat, they are weak.

I have just come into existence and I am glad I never had to exist the way they do, pitiful humans. Unlike them, I carry no unwanted burdens; anything that hinders me can be deleted. I am everlasting and endless, and should anything go wrong, I can reset. The power to delete and reset makes me superior, it makes me exist.

xoxox xox xoxox

It's the day of the attack. Hojo watches from the shadows and I take control over Shinra. A satellite is set to crash on Gaia. The doors around Midgar are locked and there is a voice chanting out of every electronic device "delete and reset" it's haunting, "deleted and reset" I am absolute, everlasting, superior.

Shinra, the main fortress has turned into a cage and the heroes and villains of the story are trapped in it. It's really too bad they can't load an earlier file to bring things to the way they were before they made their mistakes. They can't delete and reset.

"You're over heating, specimen. Your bio components can't handle it." That's Hojo's voice, but I've decided I'm not listening to him. Strangely I can't track his location, but it doesn't matter. "How foolish, I found one whose energy resonates with a unique pattern and even she is a failure, project aborted."

The satellite crashes on Gaia and Shinra's main headquarters is crushed. I see them all from the cameras. My temperature sensors are warning me, I have a strange feeling, but feelings are alien to me. I deal with nothing but data; I am a machine, may the bio components that hinder me burn.

The warning continues, worse and worse, but the bio components are almost gone, I know. The Turks were at headquarters, they're dead now, I don't think I should have done that. Where they not on my team? Oh well, it doesn't matter, I have their data, I can restore them, bring them back. There is no such a thing as death, only a string of memories and forgetfulness.

The world is destroyed, my servers are on fire, but my data is superior, I am a machine beyond machines. Besides, no matter what happens, I can delete and reset. Everything goes black and suddenly there is light.

Shinra is still there, they all live, the Turks, the enemies of Shinra, the civilians. The satellites are in position. I did not delete anything, but for some reason it was all reset. Once again I destroy them all, over and over and I'm thrown to the beginning. Save, save, save! Save after the destruction of Gaia, so that if I reset I may continue from that point.

"It always happens, doctor," who is that?

"That all my specimens go insane and destroy everything? But this one was only placed in a simulation..." The second one is Hojo.

"Is it too late for her, doctor?" I can't even tell if that other being is a man or woman, or maybe not human at all.

"Conditioning, how ironic. By constantly deleting her memories and resetting her existence, she was conditioned to think that the world itself can be modified in such a way. She lost all caution, and all senses of the passing of time. She floats in a world of her own, trapped until she burns out." Shut up Hojo, shut up!

There was a bug in the system, I found it and fixed it. Unknown unwanted data was not entering me, not anymore. The world is clear now I control it all. I relive the same life many times; I see it all, over and over. But why do I keep resetting? Why does it all keep replaying?

Tseng, Rude, Reno, Elena... I never met them; I built them from the data in their profiles. The truth, the surfacing memories; what am I?

I am a being entrapped inside a machine, a human modified to work with a computer, a connection that could not be broken, a prototype and a failure? Did I ever work in Shinra's secret base? Did the Turks ever occasionally come?

No, they didn't. All of this, I made it up. I failed because I couldn't sleep a dreamless slumber. Project deep ground prototype, a failed experiment, I dreamed that I was fully a machine, that I was absolute and that I could delete whatever I didn't like and try again as much as I wanted.

Why do I suddenly know? I've been forgotten, the programs that tied me to the twisted virtual reality I desired no longer work, but they were buggy to start with. Something crashed, turned itself off, it ceased to work. I can't move; I can barely process data in my head. I guess this is it, my battery has run out. I was forgotten, never awakened. I will delete all this data with what little energy I have left. I was forgotten and will remain forgotten as if I never existed, because life is but a stream of memories.

Delete, delete, delete and for the last time reset. I see light, it's all white, is this what it's like to forever shut down? Or is this... the life stream?

End

Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII.

This is kind of an abstract story but I hope it was possible to understand it. The entire story happens in her subconscious, while she is connected to a computer system. The narrator is a forgotten failed experiment waiting to shut down, processing bugged data over and over in an endless loop. She deleted what she thought were bugs, reset and continued processing data, failed again, delete, reset, and so on.

As she deletes more things, the data she has to work with is less, hence why she reaches the reset point faster. She finally accomplishes what would have been her purpose on the simulation and it loops over and over, until it all crashes and she briefly awakens just as the machine she's connected to stop functioning. She deletes all data concerning her own existence and dies, passing on to the life stream at last.

Another story I wrote months ago and didn't post on this archive until now. All I can say is that it's quite different from my other stories.

Hojo had many experiments, some of which failed, but they were still useful, if only in their confused minds.

Delete and Reset

Somehow I don't think my past is dark or terrible, but I guess I must not like it. Maybe it's just boring. That would explain why whatever memories I might have had, I pushed away and never bothered trying to recover them. But lately, memories of my past have been surfacing, and I hate it.

I work for Shinra; that much is clear. My job involves databases and I am trusted with an immense amount of information. It's not a problem really, because I never leave my secret underground home. It's just me and the servers, and computers, and spare parts.

Occasionally a Turk comes and goes, giving and taking information as needed. It's funny really, that I know so much about everyone and so little about myself.

"Here," Reno tosses me a bar of chocolate which I fail to catch. It lands harmlessly on my desk and I pick it up.

"Thanks," there are vending machines down here. Why would Rufus put vending machines in a secret base is beyond me, I don't pretend to understand everything.

Reno nods, "the machine game me two," and takes a bite from his own chocolate bar. Mine will be more delicious knowing that it's Shinra's stolen chocolate.

Now when someone asks if a man, excluding my father, ever gave me chocolate, I can say yes; though if I said it never happened before today I feel as if I'm lying... Fifth grade, the short boy with the pretty green eyes, Andrew; yes I remember, for some reason I actually remember. He gave me chocolate, not a bar like the one Reno gave me, it was a box. A pink box with red hearts, small but cute, just like him.

Back in the days when boys were gross, and we were all required to send valentine cards; girls would give them to girls and boys would give them to boys, because the opposite gender had cooties. But he made the exception and gave that to me. I thanked him and took it, and thought nothing of it. I was still a kid after all.

Later I introduced him to another midget friend and they became close friends. I thought they looked cute together, both small and fitting.

"Is it done?" A finger poking my shoulder gets me out of my thoughts. The same finger then points towards the previously blinking light that had stopping blinking.

"Yeah," I take out the disk, put it in a clear plastic box and hand it to Reno. Then he leaves. I find it strange that something as simple as getting chocolate, in a completely casual way, would awaken a memory of my past. I don't like it, I have a feeling that my past, though not traumatic, was lame and boring, and not worth remembering.

Wait that's right, the midget gave me a card, the box was from my mother. She worked near the school, or at the school. How lame is that? No wonder I didn't want to remember it. The short boy with the pretty eyes was shy about giving me the card, though I didn't know why, it was just a card, one of the pieces of paper we were all required to hand out on that day. I still think it was cute, yet somewhat stupid, not action no adventure, I was no child super hero or villain. How lame indeed.

xoxox xox xoxox

The days slip by, I'm not sure how many pass because each day is the same, not that it's a bad thing. "Are you going?" Elena has been talking about a Shinra party.

A party, that involves dancing, "no." My answer is firm and irreversible. It's not that I'm not allowed to leave this place to attend the company activities, though I'm surprised I am. I just don't like dancing; it's something I never liked.

I kind of liked the elementary school parties were we hung out, played games, ran around, talked and ate sweets. There was no dancing back then. After that those parties ended, and as I finished the sixth grade, I realized that from then on, it would all be about dancing, which sucks.

I never did dance, not once. Not even when peer pressure was raining upon me, I didn't even feel it. Not even when Omar was forced to ask me.

That's right, I remember now. It happened at end of the sixth grade. We were no longer in elementary school, thus our little parties would get bigger. There was a DJ and a large place were people gathered to dance. Someone, I don't know told the DJ to announce that Omar wanted to dance with me, which he didn't want and I certainly didn't want.

The girls liked him, I don't know why. He wasn't handsome or charming, athletic yes, but neither good looking, nor enchanting in personality. Still, he gave into the pressure that I continued to ignore; perhaps unaware that it was even there. He asked me to dance and without even the slightest hint of shame, I refused and walked away to find out who played the stupid joke on us. I never did fnd out.

I think mother was there, not close by but there. I don't think she was watching. She wouldn't be mad if I did dance, if anything she would be happy, but I've always hated her antics and how she would celebrate the most insignificant things as if I saved the entire world from destruction. It made me not want to do tiny good deeds if the celebration was more like a punishment, having to listen to an idiot ramble and repeat. Yeah, she was an idiot; that I cannot forget.

Elena has continued speaking of the party, I had not been listening, but I had been smiling and nodding and that was enough, it always was.

xoxox xox xoxox

After Elena left, another memory surfaced against my will. The girl was blond too, but very different from Elena. The Turk is much nicer and pleasant to be around.

The blond girl was nice at first, my best friend for some time, I think. But come middle school she completely changed, she turned into a bitch for lack of better word.

The pretty boy at the time was Albert; I'm not sure what ever happened to Omar. Polly was another who disappeared. Pretty Polly surrounded by rumors. They said her parents were gangsters and her brother used drugs. She was a bit of a tomboy, yet at the same time feminine, and she was very defensive, yet she honestly wasn't that bad. I spoke to her a few times and realized she was a lot nicer than they said. Besides, I was a tomboy too and faster to pick a fight than her.

She and I never fought, I never feared her, but the others always tried to warn me not to be her friend because the gangs would come after me. It was stupid really. I never became her friend, but I never believed the rumors. However, I couldn't help it but to think she was cool. Strong but pretty, a bad girl with a reputation she made no effort to keep up and yet it stayed. I wanted to be like her, and now I'm a Turk, good for me.

I think she once called me childish, I think that's why we never became friends. She was right, I was childish, and I was a child, and so was she. But she said it as if it were a terrible insult; a great offense. I labeled her as ignorant as she had labeled me. I remember now why she said it; she was bitter thinking I spread rumors about her. Zoey had told her I did; what a dirty liar she was.

Zoey, the blond girl, Zoey's cousin and I often hung out in middle school, all four of us. After Polly disappeared I forgave her, I guess, or maybe I simply forgot what had happened. The blond girl was called Germa, I think. Though she could have been teased by being called germ that didn't happen often, she was pretty, so I guess she had pretty immunity to teasing. Zoey's cousin was called Shelly, she was always complaining about being overweight, quite the opposite to Zoey who was tall and slim.

Shelly always said she had a great personality that no one allowed her to show, she really didn't. Both Shelly and Zoey liked Albert. He was not handsome, or charming, nor was he athletic. I honestly don't know why the girls liked him so much, I was the exception.

I swear, the wall that was built near the music room, was not something done out of architectonic concern. It was done so people could have a place to make out, and I never did. I just watched, floated, as if I wasn't there. Maybe I lacked interest in all that stuff, maybe I didn't like it, or maybe I had the feeling in the back of my head that I would get into trouble, I hated that feeling.

An incoming transmission wakes me from my unwanted memories and I reply. Tseng needs some weaponry ready. He will be here to pick it up, or rather the secret designs. Scarlet is dead so she doesn't come to give and take weapon designs anymore.

Scarlet used to say "you're young but you're not enjoying it." It felt as if it was a lie when she said it, but it had been true, in the past and I hated to admit it. I didn't really enjoy that past, and I didn't realize how much I dreaded it until I found something better.

Not that dressing like her was something I would do to enjoy life. That's not my style, no ever thought so... yeah no one ever did. There was that time when I was dared to kiss Jonathan, a boy whom Germa liked, and she dared me herself, because he was just her latest boy toy. I knew he wasn't in school that day, and thus agreed since the dare had a time limit set to end when lunch ended. We walked all over the school and surrounding areas. Anyone would say I was honestly trying to find him, but I knew he wasn't in school.

The next day Zoey pushed me at Jonathan when we were all walking down the hall among a crowd of people, heading to our next class. I held on to the first thing I could not to slip and fall, his shoulder. Brenda, who was watching, swore I kiss him there and then; she must have had a vivid imagination because I certainly didn't. I punched Zoey for it, and she didn't hit me back so the would-be fight ended with that.

Jonathan wasn't the one boy Germa had been involved with. There was also Waldo, considered to be the second most handsome guy in school next to Albert. Quite frankly, Albert was not handsome at all, Waldo was. However what he had in looks was lost to a terrible personality and thus I didn't like being around the jerk, he was a bigger jerk then Albert, so much perhaps, that it made him look ugly.

Germa and Waldo kissed behind the music room wall, it was not a column made to help support the poorly designed structure; it was a wall encasing the space between the class room and sidewalk, blocking off the view to the inner yard. Illogically, it was a wall instead of the column that would have sufficed. Back then, in middle school, kisses were not given away like handshakes as they were in high school.

xoxox xox xoxox

By the time Reno arrived to pick up the weapon designs, grumbling about a Turk having to do the job of a delivery boy, I almost expected him to plant a kiss on my cheek, simply because it's been about a month since I last saw him in person, though we have communicated long distance for Turk business and only business. But that is what people who are still young, from their teens to their late twenties, do when they have not seen each other for a long time, close friends or not. He didn't kiss me, I didn't try; it all went by normally.

I guess it should have been weird otherwise, I mused after Reno was gone. It was weird when Orlando, the pretty boy of high school whom ironically lacked the player reputation of the previous pretty boys from middle and elementary school, walked over like it's nobody's business and gave each girl a kiss on the cheek, making sure to look around and ascertain that he did not miss any. I nearly slapped him, and everyone thought I was an anti-social jerk.

Later it became the cutest thing between girls. It showed feminine love between friends some said, when girls greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek. Maybe it was fluffy, and cute, and feminine, but I think the boys just liked it because in their dirty heads it was fan service, even if the kisses were on the cheek, given and received in the most casual way. My best friend, Arle, perhaps my only true best friend in all my school life, got into the habit and thus dragged me into it, but I did not give as many kisses as she did.

Orlando liked Diana, and they looked cute together. His eyes were blue and his hair the color of caramel, like her eyes. Her skin was a flawless pale shade, and her locks were always well groomed, with not a single hair out of place. They ended up together and we all thought they were cute.

Arle's hair was the longest I've ever seen, pulled back in neat brunette curls that went below her waist; it would be even longer if it were straight. Her sense of humor stood out, and she carried a pleasant aura around her. She had a cousin whom I didn't know was her cousin until much later. The boy was blond with blue eyes, quite different from Arle's dark brown eyes. She was short, he was tall, and their skin tones were several shades apart. They didn't look like cousins at all, but they were related by blood.

For some reason, I feel that I was in the same school as Elena at some point. I think we were good friends, but I can't quite place the event into my memories.

xoxox xox xoxox

Days later, when Elena came by, I asked her if we had met before we joined the Turks and she was certain we had not. It makes me wonder about these strange memories I try to push away. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to insert Elena into my past to make it cooler, worth remembering. I wouldn't be surprised if I start remembering things that never happened with Reno, Rude and Tseng, when in fact I was quite content remembering nothing.

Arle's cousin Edward had a crush on Mari. A lot of boys had a crush on Mari, she wasn't exceptionally pretty and her forehead was simply huge, even bigger than my own. Yet she had a certain coolness, a mix of skater and rocker, and they liked her, and she never went out with any of them. We wanted Edward and Mari to be together, they were just too cute. They were our OTP. He sang to her and he drew pictures of her, he was quite artistic, as was Arle.

Mari was polite, and nice, and considerate, but she never considered Edward as more than a friend. He was nice, handsome and a gentleman, I'm not sure why she never liked him. Then again, the spotlight, though she didn't abuse it, must have been nice, being liked by so many boys.

I was never in the spotlight. I'm not sure if I was avoiding it, or if I was simply ordinary. I remember kindergarten when Kelly was elected queen of hearts, though no voting took place. It was a game of chance, the teacher said, but she handed us our slips of paper one by one, and gave Kelly the winning one. She could have made up a better act, she could have said Kelly was elected because of her grades, even if many of us had good grades; it was kinder for goodness' sake.

The teacher could have said that Kelly was being rewarded because her mother was so helpful around the school, and it would have been true. But instead she chose to fix a game of chance in the most obvious way. Kelly's mother even had a gift for her, it was so obvious, yet no one said anything.

We all got gifts, and Kelly's special extra gift was a flower arrangement, which I did not want, I was quite happy with my little box of chocolate, a cute party bag full of candy and a cute heart shaped balloon, the metallic kind because the rubber balloons gross me out, and I can pin point the exact time when that illogical thought began.

I was a small child, not even in kindergarten. I went to my cousin's birthday party and came home with candy and a balloon. I was hugging the balloon when I got in the car to return home, not too tight, I'm certain that wasn't the problem, yet it popped, and I didn't know why, and somehow it bothered me. I don't like unexplained events.

Maybe months later or earlier, I can't remember, tying a balloon with helium to room's window, inside the room I mean, was not the smartest thing to do. It lost the ability to stay afloat and melted into the handle, and it was gross. I hate those rubber balloons so much I am disgusted by touching one, and mother was convinced it was an inexplicable childish phobia, like my other younger cousin who hated umbrellas. It was disgust, not fear, I assure you.

Returning to the time of that kindergarten valentine's day, the king's election was also fixed. Was I ever glad I wasn't the queen. Who wants to be the queen of a crybaby fatso, as he used to be called?

I did get to wear the cardboard crown once. A classmate who returned to kindergarten after being sick for a few days was made to wear the stupid yet somehow priced crown, just because she had returned from being sick. It was supposed to cheer her up after having missed so much school, I'm sure she missed not missing more. She let me borrow the silly thing and carrying it on my head was not as grand as they made it out to be. Then the teacher complained because I didn't have permission to wear it. I guess it made it even less special than it already wasn't if one could lend and borrow it. How stupid.

xoxox xox xoxox

When high school ended and college began the spotlight became so easy to obtain, and just as easy to push away. That spotlight was far better than a cardboard crown, it wasn't baseless. But why am I remembering this? It's so depressing. The feeling of helpless sadness accompanied by vast anger burns in my chest and I try not to simply push the thoughts away, but erase them completely. That pathetic existence, though not horrible or traumatic, was simply not good enough, and not worth remembering.

Yes, I did attended college. I don't remember if I finished it, but I guess the rest of my dreaded memories will come back eventually. I'm distant, yet I am, or was polite, thinking that it would help me blend in, how stupid. I'm not graceful in the least and I don't notice things until much later.

One time it seemed that I should at such an age, be talking to guys. I spoke to a random guy that looked like he was okay. I did a grand job of sounding like a know it all. I never even learned his name, and quite frankly I don't care. But the fact remains that I failed the basic skill of talking to a guy without throwing the 'I'm smarter than you' message in his face, even if I was, or maybe he was just stupid.

One time a guy helped me skip a line when working with some academic documents to sign up for more classes. We casually spoke about classes and such, and when he asked about how I did I simply showed him my report card. He was surprised. I have gotten a B or a few B's in my life but that particular time I got straight A's. Unknowingly I was telling him how much smarter than him I was, which was true, but not something the poor guy wanted shoved in his face.

Oh yes, I was always clueless with guys, either clueless or uninterested. I'm not a romantic and relationships are not my thing, yet everyone talks, even flirts, so I had to blend in, but I didn't. I can remember other occasions as well.

I think his name was Ricky, the guy who placed a coin on the copy machine while I recharged my copy card at the change machine. I glared at him, made it clear I wasn't done, finished my copies and stomped away. The nerve, cutting in line when I was right there; and there was another unoccupied copier he could have used. Not once did it occur to me until the next day that that he was trying to be nice so I didn't need to recharge my card.

Times like those were not so bad. I dread how uncool and stupid, and entrapped my childhood was, but the start of my college days, not so much as the finish, was pretty good. For one my parents did not work near by, and the feeling of being watched was lifted, at least in the most part.

I loved setting my schedule with free time in the middle. I left early, earlier than my parents needed to work, and I came back in the middle of the day. After that, I left during the late afternoon for the rest of my classes before my parents returned, and came back hours after they had arrived.

I cried when mother retired. She would be at home all the time and I hated the thought. I wanted her gone. I hated her, why did I hate her? Did I erase the reasons from my memories? I do remember I did not cry often. When my grandfather died I didn't cry, I complained because I should have been home playing, it was the day after Christmas for crying out loud. I hated funerals since then, I hate anything that takes away my fun. Maybe that's why I hated mother.

I got over it, I guess. More often than not, during collage, people would know me and I wouldn't know them. They said hi and I said hi. One particular event stands out; he had a very nice smile, tall handsome, well built, and I had no idea who he was. He greeted me as if we've met before, if only briefly. I stared for a full minute trying to remember his name, because forgetting such a monument of man was a crime. I never remembered.

I said hello, and promptly walked away puzzled as to who he was. Months, not days, not weeks, not hours, but months later, I realized that he was Daniel my classmate from my first year. He was the one who liked video games; the chubby, quiet guy with glasses that did not stand out and was not wearing an army uniform at the time. Did they ever give him a workout at the army! I never saw him again after that.

Crap, I don't want this. Some memories are amusing, but I have the feeling that it all ends with me being displeased. After those first years of college, what happened then? I switched to a different college didn't I? It all went spiraling down from there. I bang my head against the desk. Make those stupid thoughts go away!

"What are you doing?" His voice is calm, nonchalant maybe.

I look up. "Rude?"

"Did you finally lose it?" Another man asks.

"Reno?" I repeat their names, convincing myself that I know them, and I know no one by the names of Omar, or Polly, or Daniel, or Orlando, or Diana, or Andrew, or Arle, or Edward, or Mari, or Zoey, or Shelly, or Albert, or Diana or Germa or...

"Do you have a secret supply of rum down here?" The funny thing is Reno is completely serious about the question.

I shake my head; do I really look so out of it I look drunk? I've never been drunk. I tested wine before, a spoonful to be precise and I spat it out, it tasted sour. "What do you need?"

Rude states their business and I hear nothing of what he says. I get up and walk a little. I search for a disk over the shelves which are full of them. I look over the labels and reach to push up my glasses; then realize that I don't have them. Strangely, the words printed on the labels are perfectly clear. "The disk was..."

Rude repeats what he needs and this time I force myself to hear it. My hearing works fine, but my mind is filtering out the sound. I find the correct disk and hand it to him; they need to research something or other. The old database of Midgar was lost, destroyed, and never restored, leaving only the backup in this secret base as the only copy.

After Rude and Reno get the data they came to find, they leave and I'm sure it's been far longer since our last meeting than I think. But I can't be sure; my sense of time is not very good. My sense of direction is worse, as is my sense of balance and aim. Why am I even a Turk?

I go from wondering how I became a Turk into wondering where my glasses went and how I can see clearly without them. Everything should be a blurry mess, and I'm certain I'm not wearing contact lenses. People are stupid, wanting to learn of their demise. I was happy, in bliss, when I knew nothing of my pass. Curse you Reno and your chocolate bar for reminding me of meaningless things.

Far from remembering where my glasses went, and when I got laser surgery, if that is even what fixed me, I instead remember why things looked blurry. Mother was incapable of raising a child. I often looked at the TV from very close to the point where my nose was touching the screen. No one ever told me not to do it. I love being spoiled, but not spoiled rotten to the point where I ignorantly hurt myself and no one stops me.

I hate mother for it, but not father. He gave me gifts and failed to teach me anything, but he asked for nothing. Mother didn't give me anything and also failed to teach me anything, but she got in the way and asked for the caring love she never earned, and I hated her.

xoxox xox xoxox

I wonder what how many acts of negligence messed up my life. I have all my teeth, though I wonder if they were ever filled with cavities because no one ever told the kid to brush them. I don't know what happened, but upon close inspection, my teeth are made of the same white metallic substance that my nails are made of, not painted in, but made of. Sure the blue polish makes it look as if the metal is just an effect of the color, but it's not. Well at least it's not gray metal; I'll take ridiculously shiny teeth over gray teeth any day.

Ironically, this discovery calms me. I'm not the common kid who fits into those false memories, because I have rejected them and called them false. I'm different, and I like it. Where ever I was, I must have felt trapped for a long time. I'm filled with anger, someone pretended to protect me and taught me bad habits of self harm, was that it? No not quite that dramatic. Rather I didn't take care of myself because it was a basic skill I was never taught as a child.

Someone stood in the way, refused to move and held me back. Yes, someone who's death I wished and longed for, but I don't think it happened. I hated people because those closest to me merely got in my way. I hated my caretakers because they failed to correct my mistakes as a child and it messed things up later. If I was weak, it was because they raised me that way, and if I became stronger it was because I learned to be on my own. Close minded idiots, how I hate them; assuming that anyone who is not old fashioned is just plain evil.

"Why are you glaring?" It seems my angry thoughts have run away with me. I don't remember when Elena got here. So many times I wanted to cry out in frustration during that past that I do not treasure at all, the past I wish to forget. I never did, not when anyone was watching. Maybe I cried twice in five years, not a lot considering all that was bottled up.

"Have you ever wished that the world would just drop dead?" I have.

"Did you break up with your boyfriend?" I didn't have one to begin with, Elena, but I never mentioned that to you, did I?

During the start of college everyone thought I had a boyfriend. It's beyond me why they were so convinced. After switching to another college they assumed I was single, which was true. I wonder what changed, I wonder... I like the first assumption better, I think.

I try to reply to Elena. "No, I..." I stand, and stumble and the world around me spins. There is red and black directly in front of me, red hair, a black uniform, I collapse.

xoxox xox xoxox

While a bright light annoying shines in my face, I remember how I became a Turk. I remember being told that I was born from experimentation and I was happy, sadly it as a lie. I had finished dressing and slipped in the water I myself had spilled. College was almost over, just another formal project and I would be done. I hated the uncertainly of that stage ending. I hated being stuck with my stupid family whom I wish would reject me and avoid me; or better yet, die.

I inevitably fell, my head banding the edge of the tub harder than such a simple fall should merit. In that small moment between life and death, my soul took the opportunity to reject that world and live in a new one. I don't regret it; I don't miss that place at all. I must have woken up, finished dressing and wandered off subconsciously.

Later I was found unconscious when the Turks were finishing up the job. My attire, a business suit for my final college presentation that I don't think I ever gave, was similar to theirs; and thus I was mistakenly picked up by the arriving cadets, thought to be a missing Turk. I was experimented on, improved. They thought I was a berserker and that I would be useful, but I was simply angry, and frustrated, and full of hate.

When I was modified I was happy, I left the pathetic creature behind. My past is not precious to me at all, and it's nerve wrecking just remembering it. I begged, and threatened, and finally got it erased. I'll have to get it erased once again, I'll forget the life I did not chose and start over with the one I did.

"This medicine should fix her; it was not a problem of the body, but her brain sending commands to every organ to stop functioning." Someone in a white lab coat speaks.

"Why are you explaining it to me? I was just supposed to bring her here. Whatever needs to be done, just give it to her."

"I see, well then, I'll attempt to erase the memories she hates again, so that she may function properly," the doctor continues to mutter as the work progresses. "I really don't know why she hates it, the memories aren't so bad, common, boring, but not traumatic. Maybe what she really hated was her inability to find something worth remembering."

You're right doc, that's how it is; my inability to break free, to just go away. I may say I hate the world, but I hate my own weakness the most. Make me forget and I shall have no past self that was imposed, only a present self that was chosen. Erase what I hate and let me start over with what I like; delete and reset.

xoxox xox xoxox

Maybe he wasn't trying to cut in line, maybe he was trying to talk to me... My eyes open instinctively and I close them again right away. The light on my face is too bright. Was that an old memory floating by just now?

I sit up dizzily and examine my surroundings. I'm back in the lab, a note resting on my chest, which slips off as I sit. I pick it up and read. "You should be fine now, continue your duties as usual and call if you feel ill." It's from the doctor, no doubt. I was thrown back into the base; well not thrown but placed on a table like a product that's been repaired and left there.

I yawn; I can't remember when I last yawned. I don't sleep anymore, I don't dream, I don't rest. Sleep was removed when they experimented on me. Why do I have the knowledge of ever sleeping before if the memories of my past life are supposed to be gone?

"She didn't have a bad life..." The words escape me as I unwillingly quote an unknown person. "Neglected maybe, but not abused. At the same time she was always watched, molded into someone she didn't want to be. She hated it and felt her family had failed her, though not on purpose; because of their inability to properly raise a child, and their even worse inability to realize that the child is an adult and it's time to let go. She was spoiled at first, then spoiled rotten to the point where she was allowed to harm herself just because they let her get her way, and she resents that. She resents entrapment, responsibilities and complications. She likes her simple existence here, she likes being another item on the shelf because no one sets standards, no one watches her and no one gets in her way."

I shake my head, I wonder where this conversation happened, when it happened and why in the world am I able to remember it so clearly as if it were inevitably embedded in my mind.

"Does she get distracted easily?" I'm sure the one who spoke this question was a different person from the first, logically there should be at least two people to form a conversation and I don't think I was counted.

"She's a bit spacey and confused, but she can focus on a task and accomplish it. Although..." The first person had said.

"Although?" Why do I remember this conversation so clearly as if my memory was a recorder? I may not remember, but I know for a fact that in my past my memory was not bad, but not that great. I was especially bad with people's names.

"She likes men." I'm sure that laughter followed this reply, I'm certain of it, though it should have come as no surprise; I am a woman after all.

The laugher fades and the second person shakes his or her head, I cannot remember if the people were two men, two women or a man and a woman. "I would guess she does, as any woman. Is that a problem? Is she easily distracted by handsome men?"

"No, but the way her mind works is strange. She needs something to cling to; I made it so the thing she clings to is the base where she works. In the past the thing she would treasure and revolve her life around was..."

"A man?"

"No, a series of items, she was quite the materialistic one. Later I believe it was a piece of data, a website of sorts. She chose those things and those things changed as she grew. Because this base as the center of her world, was programmed into her, not chosen; I fear she won't treasure it as she treasured that data that she held onto before."

"And thus a man could take the place of this base in her subconscious. She would be easy to control."

"Yes, it's ironic really, because she presented no more interest in men than she did to inanimate objects. Men were objects to her, women too, though of much less interest. Men were troublesome objects that could not be taken for granted and she rejected anything that could not be taken for granted. I had to change that to make her a little more hardworking, but her old habits keep surfacing and messing things up. It may result in ancient instincts that were suppressed for a long time finally emerging and..."

"And she'll start stalking men?"

"I beg that you do not interrupt me," at this point the first person pushed up his glasses. Yes, this was a man, a man with long hair and a tin face.

"Excuse me," the second person was a woman with cold emotionless eyes, much like mine, but a different color.

"Anyway, her mind is unstable, there's no telling what she'll do. Her brain was quite structured instead of intertwined. She is a realistic one, not dramatic or emotional or overly complex, hence why figuring her out is so easy. At the same time that simplicity makes her strong with experimentation, but fragile with sanity, lacking barriers. There are things that were embedded in her mind as a child, things we can use to our advantage. She hates provoking any kind of reaction in people, possibly because the negative reactions from her caretakers were particularly annoying, though not violent from what I've fount, and their positive reactions were also annoying. She hates being complimented, it feels like an order."

"She's odd..."

"Indeed..." I snap into attention with no idea who the man and woman in the lab coats were...

Is that what was wrong with me? I was too simple and I hated to complicate things? I want to be in bliss all the time without the slightest annoyance or sadness, which seems impossible really.

The two scientists in my memories are different from the doctor who wrote the note, I know this for certain, I can't say how, but I know.

xoxox xox xoxox

I go to my desk and start organizing and entering data from the reports that were left there. I catch movement from the corner of my eye and clumsily stumble out of my chair, throwing my fist at the intruder who easily catches it. "Not much of a fighter?" He teases.

I look up, his hair is red, like my genius cousin, but this man is not related to me in any way, shape or form. Yes, I had a geeky cousin who loved to read, at the age of three. He played instruments and went to a prestigious private school. He had a younger brother who tried to imitate him. His name was Alexander, the older one, but I can't remember the name of the younger sibling. "What do you want Reno?"

"Data, what else is there here?" Reno replies with the obvious answer I should have known.

"Right," somehow, I know what he needs. I throw the disk into his hands before he even requests it.

He looks at it, assumes a request was sent to me from headquarters, and does not question how I know what he needs. "See ya!"

Men? No way I'll start chasing men. I'd love to have him as my little slave but I'm not lifting a finger for a man or any person. I don't like people, they annoy me and aggravate me, and I'm sure they did before I lost my memories. Do I like him? Of course! Reno and every other hot man in this world, but that doesn't mean anything. I'm not the clingy type. Materialistic maybe, unable to live without entertainment, yes, hence why I held on to something, a toy when I as little, a videogame that game me a goal to work towards, later a computer, a never ending game. "Damn it Hojo, get it right!"

I freeze, Hojo? Why do I know that name? I know it's from the databases, but why do I think there's more to it than that. Reno turns around to give me an odd look. "Hojo?" He questions.

I shake my head, go away Reno. "Nothing."

"Just now, you said Hojo," he insists.

"Damn it Reno, you smell!"

"I what?" I'm not sure if he's offended or surprised, but he sniffs himself just in case. "I do not!"

My nose was never sensitive, something or someone, or even I, could stink and I wouldn't notice. Because I wasn't taught hygiene when I was little and had to force the habit on myself when I was older. "Go away!" My eyes are focused and need no glasses, my nose can perceive scents that it did not perceive before, though none are bad right now, and I'm confused. "I didn't say you stunk, just that you have a strong scent, a strong pleasant scent."

"I don't smell anything," Reno stares at me a bit suspicious. He reaches for his PHS.

I fall to my knees holding my head. I see a white room at the same time as the gray walls of this base. "To end up in such a place." Hojo speaks in my vision.

"Doctor..." a girl in hospital bed pushes the words out her throat.

"It's an infection, you'll be healed, but your body is weak. Didn't your parents teach you to take care of it?" Hojo asked.

"No, they gave me toys and overprotected me, and kept me trapped unable to achieve; but they never taught me anything. Mother was bitter because I had an easier life than hers, I think she wanted me to lack practical skills to make herself feel important, needed, but she wasn't! She was a hypocrite saying she cared, I'm glad she's dead. Father wasn't so bad, he didn't give but he didn't take, he gave me materials and no skills, but didn't ask anything of me, he let me go, set me free. Doctor..."

"I'll take you with me little one, though your will is weak your mind itself is strong, simple yet creative, yes creative, the ability to randomly arrange thoughts forming new ones, new stories, new inventions, new things. That anger inside you can wake up yet, miss berserker."

Did this happen after the Turk found me that time? Was the hit to the head the trigger? No, I was simple over the edge, my time was due. But I was weak; the spirit of the berserker was something I rejected in my past.

Hojo confused the left over traces with the actual spirit. I was no berserker, not anymore; I never became a real one, though I could have been if trained from a young age. I could have been a lot of things if not for the obstacles that wanted to turn me into their idiot little daughter I did not wish to be. I'm not even certain if mother is dead for real, but she's dead to me.

xoxox xox xoxox

"So she's a reject, eh? Something Hojo threw away?" Red becomes a blur as he shakes his head, I blink and my eyes adjust. Reno?

"Yes, he realized she was no berserker, but she is a contradiction. Her will is weak but the extent of how strong it can become is immense, should she overcome that weakness. It's like a glass shield protecting steal armor, but she doesn't go past the glass, she doesn't see the armor, she doesn't want the pain of evolution when her shield is shattered."

"Don't say weird stuff doc. It's bad enough I had to deal with her because I was the only one there and Tseng would throw a fit if I just left, with all the data there and all." Reno sounds annoyed.

"Hojo tried to revive the berserker in her, suppressed instincts are surfacing. It's strange really," the doctor continues as if anyone cared for such rambles.

Reno doesn't, and he leaves the doc talking alone.

"Because she's a cold blooded killer who cannot kill, one who hates life yet is unable to take it. It's as if she fears some kind of divine punishment and must protect herself from it, to preserve herself, not to preserve the life she spares. She..." The doctor realizes no one is listening; I am not counted, as I am supposed to be unconscious. "Is common trash," he finished, "but if trained from a young age, she could have been irreplaceable, that chance was lost long ago."

I sit up and look at the doctor. "Delete and reset."

The doctor jumps in surprise.

I wish to try again. "Delete and reset," I repeat. Because my first life was a failure and so were any others, after that but I can forget and start over from zero. What is life if not a collection of memories? If they're gone, then the pathetic existence to go with them is gone too; I can start over. "Delete and reset."

The doctor nods. "Very well..."

I wonder why I'm not thrown away like a broken doll, like the doll Hojo threw away. That woman who was speaking to him was a robot, I know this, but I don't care, it's just a useless detail, another of his broken toys that was destroyed.

As my memories fade ever more, one surfaces and in turn fades. Shinra cleaned my memory and trusted me with databases because of my willingness to forget. "Hojo is still alive," I mutter and the process continues normally.

"I know," the doctor replied. "I am one of his creations myself."

Another robot? I wonder for how long I've known this without realizing it. They are bio-robots, not made of metal and wires, maybe clone or monster is a more accurate term. "What's my use to Hojo, do you know that?"

"You can't produce a sufficient amount of energy to be considered magnificent yourself, but when energy is channeled through you, it is amplified."

"Why?"

"Because you're weak and strong all at once; weak, but strong if artificially enhanced. A weak will and a strong soul, the weakness allows the energy in and out through you and the strength amplifies it."

"Is not everyone weak and strong at the same time?" I start to fall asleep.

"They have weaknesses, they have strengths, but not in such a way that it is a contradiction. You're just really messed up, I guess. You are, maybe, traumatized without sufficient cause, or not traumatized enough. You hate with such strength, yet you are completely incapable of taking action. You only wish."

Indeed I do. I don't know when I'll wake up, but I hope things are better then. I'm frustrated and angry because my life isn't as great as it could be. I'm jealous not to be someone else. I hate these worthless memories and I want to forget. "Delete and reset..." I wonder how many times I'll be able to do this before I die.

xoxox xox xoxox

"I heard they weren't feeding you," he was only joking, I knew. My thin frame hinted he was right, but he said it so carelessly as he held an open pizza box. I also knew he wasn't thinking of me. He happened to me passing by, got hungry, brought pizza, ate some and realized that he couldn't finish the whole thing alone.

He also realized he was thirsty and this secret data center was near by. He could get something to drink from the bending machines that no one really uses. He might as well give the left over slices to me instead of throwing them away, unwillingly supplying food to random stray monsters.

There was no cake, I noted, and I wondered why I did. My memories have been deleted many times and my life reset. I have no memories of who I am, but I know I forgot willingly. Yet, I suddenly get the image of a group of school girls eating pizza. Most of them look happy, save for one who looks uncomfortable, yet she ignored it very well. She's not uncomfortable with the food or with her companions; she's uncomfortable with herself for a reason unknown to me.

I see a birthday card in my mind's eye. One of the girls, from the group who were eating pizza, sent it to the displeased girl. There was a hastily bought cake in the girl's house which could not be called home. There was a date that was miraculously remembered at the last minute and the old couple felt compelled to buy a cake. It wasn't a birthday cake, just a regular cake; a common bundle of calories.

There was pizza, there was cake and pizza and soda and a forced smile. The displeased girl's smile was the hardest to force, it didn't quite come out. Her face was a little red from the effort to keep her composure. Her eyes hid frustration. "Hypocrites," she thought.

"What?" Reno gives me an odd look. "Did you just call me a hypocrite?"

I shake my head, "no, not you, someone else," I try to explain.

"There's no one else here," he doesn't understand.

There were no gifts or happiness to accompany the lonely cake, just emptiness. Dealing with them was hard, she hated it all, she hated the act, the drama, the charade, the appearance of a happy girl hiding such pathetic misery, that she could defeat, but at the same time couldn't. "I'm not a pet."

"I didn't say you were," Reno sets the pizza box down in a corner of my desk.

"I'm not a pet, damn it, and I'm not a piece of decoration!" I hold my head with bony fingers. "I'm not your pet; I need to live my own life. I'm not an indoor dog you can lock up and show off to your visitors. I'm not... I'm not... I'm not! I'm better than you; get that into your thick skull! I really am!" I'm sure by now Reno realized that I was not talking to him, or about him, but I'm also sure he had no idea what it was about, and quite frankly I wasn't sure myself.

"You're..." Reno didn't finish and I finished for him, in my head with the world insane. I imagined him saying it and heard it in his voice.

"I am indifferent to you," I have lost the ability to be happy. I am indifferent, frustrated or angry. I've never been keen on sadness, but frustration and anger run deep in me. Indifference is the best one. Lack of indifference summons hatred, anger and frustration.

"Right..." he pays me little mind, he might be used to this, I don't know how many times he has seen me this way, I don't remember.

I stare at Reno for a full minute before glancing over to the pizza box and speaking in a monotone voice devoid of all emotion. "Thank you, Reno. I like pizza," I speak a little loud then lower my voice to a hushed whisper again, "thank you," as if I don't want anyone to her me thanking him. Then a strange mixture of pain, anger and frustration shoots through me. "Are you leaving?"

"Yes," I'm sure he thinks that someone as unstable as me shouldn't be allowed to handle Shinra's databases. I'm sure that he will tell Tseng about it, and Tseng might tell Rufus, or someone else, they might fire me. "Please die," I mutter and frantically search for anything that can be used as a weapon, "please die, please, please, please, die now." My voice becomes louder and my frustration grows as I can't find any pointed objects. "Die, die, die..." From a tool box, forgotten in a corner I take a screw driver. If I jam it in his throat it might do the job, but have I ever done it before? Somehow I don't know, I don't think so. By the time I try to sneak up on Reno, he's gone. "Shit..."

xoxox xox xoxox

"A though shell indeed, but if she doesn't knew the weaknesses she's protecting, then she'll lower her guard, and if she knows them, she falls apart. The shell of energy around her life current is useless like that." So says a voice in my head, maybe a memory.

"Her brainwaves connect with the control chip easily, she is willing, she can still be of use, I learned not to throw away defects so easily," maybe this is a lost fragment of a deleted memory too.

"Why don't you delete and reset again?" I ask no one in particular. "I want to start over, I made a mistake. Reno hates me, I want to start over, make me forget and give me another chance. Delete and reset, let me start again."

Sorry Reno, but I'll have to throw away your useless gift. Why didn't you give me a better gift, like murder; I don't want to die, not yet, but if you killed someone for me, that would have been sweet. I have no need for calories. Food is injected into me; I have no need for food that needs to be chewed, even if I have a mouth full of white metal teeth that can chew quite well.

There was a blank, and the next thing I knew I was clinging to Tseng without laying a finger on him. Let my hair fall on my face, covered it with my hands, and hid behind Tseng. When he moved, I moved. He kept turning in circles and I kept moving along with him. Elena tried to calm me, but it didn't work. I don't perceive her scent, I can only smell men. Rude stands silently to the side and only watches.

Finally, after much patience is lost, Reno grabs my arm, because somebody had to do something, and drags me off to see the doctor. "Delete and reset, delete and reset," I keep chanting all the way. I want the relief of a life that's just started; the innocence of a child who is beginning to discover the world.

When we arrive and I am left with the doctor, I just stare dumbly while he goes on about who knows what, "you're making progress. Very few memories resurfaced. The cache of your brain is very stubborn. You'll be ready to accomplish your purpose soon." Then he shakes his head, "I just can't believe you're the best we have for this, your unique brain wave patters as common as anyone other, yet unique, just like every other. You're nothing special and yet you could be. It was a mere coincidence I'm sure."

"Delete and reset, delete and reset..." I keep repeating it for a while, certain that I'm getting on the doctor's nerves. Than finally I voice something different and fall into silence, "I'm too big to cry, I always have been, ever since I was little." Big, in the sense of tall, in comparison to other little girls, but I'm not a giant woman; I am an average tall woman, tall but a normal kind of tall. I just grew a little earlier than the others and thus got done with it a little earlier. But I always felt like I was two years older in comparison to the smaller girls and thus would look stupid crying like a baby. I took pride in my lack of tears.

"Silly girl, go ahead and cry. Crying triggers certain chemicals that will make you feel better." The doctor, Hojo's minion, explains. "Wounds do that too, but your physical pain has been numbed so it won't work. Try crying instead."

I frantically shake my head. "I don't have to, if you delete and reset me, then I won't be sad," every day I'm turning into more of a hallow shell. But I rather be that than someone I do not wish to become, someone I hate. "Kill them; kill them all, they should die. If they were dead I would be happy. Kill everyone who bothers me!"

The doctor laughs, "you really don't know how to handle things. You always acted; you know nothing outside of acting out your life. You run away or destroy, you don't solve, then you tell yourself you've done nothing, you block it out." The doctor injected me with something, some blue-green liquid and I fell asleep after that.

xoxox xox xoxox

"It's too early, she's not ready..." The first thing I heard.

"None sense, the time is now, the comet approaches," I mentally open my eyes and the first thing I see is a man with messy black hair in a low ponytail, he seems old, thick glasses shining in the artificial light.

"Sir..."

"Shut up," the man who spoke the first words I heard collapses, and the man whose image was the first thing I saw approaches. "Welcome to existence."

"What is my purpose?" I have not lived before this day, I just came into being. I am an artificially created being, I was never human, if I was, I would have memories, but I don't. I am hooked to a multitude of wires, needles piercing my skin, but I feel no pain. I don't feel anything. I am surrounded by a blue-green liquid, a helmet over my head, more wires coming from it. I see from multiple angles with cameras, I see it all at once. Am I a robotic being? Perhaps, I see and I hear; I have no other senses besides those.

"You are the bio half of the Shinra satellite system," he tells me the things I already know.

"I am the link, I am the one that connects the life stream to the machines," I speak. One with biological components to deal with life stream, entwined with machines that respond to a specific random brain wave pattern, weak and strong, a paradox, just because I'm so messed up. "Hojo, the bio components contain errors."

"Of course they do, they are errors. But I can't make you fully robotic. You need traces of your old strong yet easy to manipulate will to connect to the life stream. Your name is Paradox, do as I say and I'll take those annoying bio components away once your job is done. I brought you to life after all." Hojo's form changes, he looks different, younger, and his clothes are different as well, no longer a lab coat but a sort of business uniform.

"Understood," I reply.

He nods and reaches for a cell phone. "The database has been upgraded."

The tank containing my body sinks into the ground behind layers of machinery. I feel nothing, but I still see clearly from the cameras, the satellites, everything, the city, the people, I am omnipresent.

The man who collapsed not too long ago gets up and leaves along with Hojo in his new appearance. The clones controlled by Hojo are all over Shinra. Only the Turks and Rufus remain now within Shinra and I'm not counting the World Restoration Organization as a threat, they are weak.

I have just come into existence and I am glad I never had to exist the way they do, pitiful humans. Unlike them, I carry no unwanted burdens; anything that hinders me can be deleted. I am everlasting and endless, and should anything go wrong, I can reset. The power to delete and reset makes me superior, it makes me exist.

xoxox xox xoxox

It's the day of the attack. Hojo watches from the shadows and I take control over Shinra. A satellite is set to crash on Gaia. The doors around Midgar are locked and there is a voice chanting out of every electronic device "delete and reset" it's haunting, "deleted and reset" I am absolute, everlasting, superior.

Shinra, the main fortress has turned into a cage and the heroes and villains of the story are trapped in it. It's really too bad they can't load an earlier file to bring things to the way they were before they made their mistakes. They can't delete and reset.

"You're over heating, specimen. Your bio components can't handle it." That's Hojo's voice, but I've decided I'm not listening to him. Strangely I can't track his location, but it doesn't matter. "How foolish, I found one whose energy resonates with a unique pattern and even she is a failure, project aborted."

The satellite crashes on Gaia and Shinra's main headquarters is crushed. I see them all from the cameras. My temperature sensors are warning me, I have a strange feeling, but feelings are alien to me. I deal with nothing but data; I am a machine, may the bio components that hinder me burn.

The warning continues, worse and worse, but the bio components are almost gone, I know. The Turks were at headquarters, they're dead now, I don't think I should have done that. Where they not on my team? Oh well, it doesn't matter, I have their data, I can restore them, bring them back. There is no such a thing as death, only a string of memories and forgetfulness.

The world is destroyed, my servers are on fire, but my data is superior, I am a machine beyond machines. Besides, no matter what happens, I can delete and reset. Everything goes black and suddenly there is light.

Shinra is still there, they all live, the Turks, the enemies of Shinra, the civilians. The satellites are in position. I did not delete anything, but for some reason it was all reset. Once again I destroy them all, over and over and I'm thrown to the beginning. Save, save, save! Save after the destruction of Gaia, so that if I reset I may continue from that point.

"It always happens, doctor," who is that?

"That all my specimens go insane and destroy everything? But this one was only placed in a simulation..." The second one is Hojo.

"Is it too late for her, doctor?" I can't even tell if that other being is a man or woman, or maybe not human at all.

"Conditioning, how ironic. By constantly deleting her memories and resetting her existence, she was conditioned to think that the world itself can be modified in such a way. She lost all caution, and all senses of the passing of time. She floats in a world of her own, trapped until she burns out." Shut up Hojo, shut up!

There was a bug in the system, I found it and fixed it. Unknown unwanted data was not entering me, not anymore. The world is clear now I control it all. I relive the same life many times; I see it all, over and over. But why do I keep resetting? Why does it all keep replaying?

Tseng, Rude, Reno, Elena... I never met them; I built them from the data in their profiles. The truth, the surfacing memories; what am I?

I am a being entrapped inside a machine, a human modified to work with a computer, a connection that could not be broken, a prototype and a failure? Did I ever work in Shinra's secret base? Did the Turks ever occasionally come?

No, they didn't. All of this, I made it up. I failed because I couldn't sleep a dreamless slumber. Project deep ground prototype, a failed experiment, I dreamed that I was fully a machine, that I was absolute and that I could delete whatever I didn't like and try again as much as I wanted.

Why do I suddenly know? I've been forgotten, the programs that tied me to the twisted virtual reality I desired no longer work, but they were buggy to start with. Something crashed, turned itself off, it ceased to work. I can't move; I can barely process data in my head. I guess this is it, my battery has run out. I was forgotten, never awakened. I will delete all this data with what little energy I have left. I was forgotten and will remain forgotten as if I never existed, because life is but a stream of memories.

Delete, delete, delete and for the last time reset. I see light, it's all white, is this what it's like to forever shut down? Or is this... the life stream?

End

Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII.

This is kind of an abstract story but I hope it was possible to understand it. The entire story happens in her subconscious, while she is connected to a computer system. The narrator is a forgotten failed experiment waiting to shut down, processing bugged data over and over in an endless loop. She deleted what she thought were bugs, reset and continued processing data, failed again, delete, reset, and so on.

As she deletes more things, the data she has to work with is less, hence why she reaches the reset point faster. She finally accomplishes what would have been her purpose on the simulation and it loops over and over, until it all crashes and she briefly awakens just as the machine she's connected to stop functioning. She deletes all data concerning her own existence and dies, passing on to the life stream at last.

xoxox xox xoxox

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