"How's it going, Cid?" Zack asked, as he and Vincent stood by the Shera's helm.
"Smooth sailin' so far," the pilot replied. "Though we might get some company as we get closer. How's your cargo?"
"Everyone's asleep last I checked," said Zack.
"Not everyone," said Cid, looking out of the corner of his eye. "The runt's up." Zack and Vincent turned to see Denzel at the top of the steps.
"Zack?" he said, "Are we almost there yet?"
"You should be probably be below deck, kiddo," Cid called.
"Please? I want to see Cloud and Tifa." Zack and Vincent exchanged glances. The last they had seen Cloud and Tifa, they were hanging over a minefield. And they didn't feel like traumatizing the kid for life. But Denzel had already crossed the room and had his nose pressed against the glass of the airship. "Hey, what's that?" he asked. Zack came over to see where the boy was pointing, and froze. Where the old Shinra base had once stood was now a smoldering cliff. Some of the walls still stood, but they could see the exploded minefield and the giant hole that the Ifrit had made. Smoke poured up from the ruins. Denzel turned to Zack, who still hadn't answered. Suddenly the ex-SOLDIER noticed something else. The last dozen or so Shinra infantrymen were assembling atop the wall for a final stand—with rocket launchers. The pilot saw them too as they took aim.
"Activate air-to-ground missiles!" Cid ordered. But it was too late—the enemy troops had already fired.
"Incoming!" a crew member shouted. Zack seized Denzel and yanked him away from the glass as the rockets hurtled towards the Shera.
A blonde blur broadsided the J-cell machine as Morse's dagger struck, and a sharp cry of pain rang out as two bodies hit the floor. As Morse let go, he was stunned to see that the weapon was not buried in the chest of the 'sample', but in—
"The Sephiroth clone!" cried Morse. "You little bastard!"
A seething Cloud dragged himself to his feet, and reached around to his back with a shaking hand. "Those…days…are over," he croaked, tearing the blade out, "and so…are…yours!" With one swing Cloud lunged at the guard and slashed his throat.
Morse's eyes widened in shock as he fell to his knees and began to choke, holding his hand to his neck. As he staggered to his feet again, he spotted his dead friend's gun on the floor. He grabbed it and fired towards Cloud's hand, knocking the weapon away before the swordsman could make another move. A maniacal grin crossed Morse's face as his prisoner stumbled backwards against the machine. Morse aimed the gun once more with an unsteady hand, seeing double as he tried to figure out which blond spiky head to shoot. At that moment Tifa reached up and snapped off the closest broken lever. With the last of Jenova's strength she hurled the jagged metal directly into the dying guard's heart. The gun went off as he fell, clipping his target. Tifa heard the back of Cloud's skull hit the cold stone floor with a sickening thud.