Another random idea I had. Updates could be sporadic, I'm writing something else entirely too, but I'm hoping to start writing this as a break.
Awakening. Well, first a word about what it contains. This bit is just the slightly drawn out introduction, the main body of the story contains some Fanille-as a side note, my first time writing yuri (is that the right word?) but then again, that's not too different from general romances (until you get into lemons, but I'm not going that far)-anyway, that's a bit of a dilemma, as I love Hope and Vanille, but anyway, I'm nattering on.
Without further ado, I present to you- hee that rhymed...
Okay, I'll try that introduction again.
Let me present: 'Awakening'
"Supports in place."
"Roger, I can see you."
"Focus on the task at hand please."
"Roger. Lifting up extraction model D-X2."
"You don't need to tell me, I'm on it."
"Focus on the task at hand please."
"Touché," there was a tiny chuckle through the microphone
"See them yet?"
"How can you tell you're almost there if you can't see them?"
"I'm over halfway up the thing."
"Roger," a buzzing noise rippled through the speakers.
"Activating extraction procedure A1."
"Can you really believe we're about to do this?"
"Whew, you're better than me then. They're heroes."
"Do you mind? Trying to concentrate here."
"Fine. You nearly there?"
"Oh, very nice. It's just, you think of them like a myth, you never expect to actually meet them."
"Do you mind?"
There was a moment's silence.
From a distance, the whole elaborate set up could be seen. Huge browning metal scaffold, constructed over decades if not centuries, in a rigid structure, all based around a central design of crystal. Littered on the ground around it were buildings made of metal, some lightning up at seemingly random times, a signal to those at a great distance. Several of the buildings were within the metal scaffold, and it was in one of those perches, each with huge walls made of glass, like a window, one of the speakers rested, sitting, idly talking into a microphone as she sat back, legs crossed, watching the central crystal pillar.
A lift had been constructed, running from the very top of the scaffold, incredibly high, all the way to the ground. Three quarters or so up this line was a complex metal cage, a circle, a ring around the pillar. Within here sat the second speaker, smiling in excitement, in the knowledge of what she was about to accomplish. Concentrating, she manoeuvred a series of blocky metal chunks around, beads of sweat rolling down the sides of her face as she slowly moved levers.
"You done?" the woman's voice from the scaffold crackled through the speaker
"Sheesh, you mind? This isn't easy."
A second of silence.
"In position." the woman with the levers spoke quietly.
"Yes! You can do it Sheri!"
"I would be able to if I could concentrate." Sheri murmured, keeping still, waiting for the other woman to be quiet.
"Got it, just remember, this is the product of centuries research and construction, and the slightest slip could ruin it forever. No pressure."
"Yeah thanks." Sheri rolled her eyes, before slowly dragging sliders up and down the panel.
There had been countless simulations over the last few years. She'd been chosen out of a pool of a few million, a pool she'd entered when 18, and had only concluded when she was in her twenties. By now, after all the training and preparation she was middle-aged. And yet, even all the simulations couldn't quite prepare her for the thrill, the tension of actually doing it.
No one wanted to get this wrong.
A horrid groaning, creaking started up as the chunks of metal grinded into the crystal. Sheri looked up, the window in her elevated room showing the crystal pillar and its contents. A metal ring around the pillar was steadily contracting, moving at the right speed to replace this segment of crystal.
But, naturally, that wasn't her only aim.
Sheri winced upon the continuation of the screeching of metal on crystal. That was another thing the simulation hadn't prepared her for. The bordering-on-painful drone. Still, failure wasn't an option. Trying to stop her hands shaking, she tightened the metal ring, squeezing three of four sides inwards, inch by agonizing inch.
Three possible outcomes: either she'd succeed, or she'd kill the two idols of the whole of Gran Pulse, or she might accidentally end up killing the whole world. Definitely no pressure.
Most of the crystal had been displaced after the next half hour: a huge block had been painstakingly removed, pressed into a storage bay below where Sheri stood. A quarter of the needed chunk had been pressed into the chamber, while the place it used to stand was gradually being replaced by metal, tiny crystal chips falling the giant distance to the ground.
"So close," Sheri murmured, hoarse.
In the hours that followed, the metal squeezed further, pressing what, in the end, was the core of the crystal pillar, and the wedge section that went between that centre and the edge. But Sheri didn't rest, not even when the needed bit was safely in the hold below. Carefully, with a slow urgency, she finished tightening the central knot of metal, not resting until the whole section of the pillar was replaced by metal.
There was a soft click as the movement of the ring completed, the segments locking into place in the centre.
Sheri let out a breath she wasn't aware she was holding, falling back on her chair, fingers aching from the last few hours of work.
"My God," she murmured, voice hoarse into her microphone, "My God, we've done it Roxy, we've got them. We've bloody got them."
"Seriously?" Roxy's voice carried back after a second or so from within the scaffold.
"Seriously." Sheri repeated, breaking out into an insistent giggle of relief. "Send a memo to Captain Freya, she's gonna want to be here when we finish."
"You've got it, Roxy out."
Sheri laughed, excited, overjoyed, basking in the feeling of knowing what was held in the room beneath her. A block of solid crystal, containing something immeasurably precious.
Smiling, she clicked a button, illuminating a screen with the lower chamber, eyes meeting the contents of the crystal as she prepared herself for the long descent towards the ground.
Ten minutes later, she opened her eyes, waking up to a thud. Hastily, she sat up straight, turning off the screen and turning just in time to see the doors open.
"Sheri?" a tall woman stepped, confident, through the door. She was dressed in grey, with a hood covering most of her head except for a severe, yet kindly, face.
"Captain Freya!" Sheri sat up straighter.
"No need for the formalities," Freya smiled, "When word of this gets out, you'll be my boss. Please, release the lower chamber to the waiting trucks."
"No formalities, remember?" Freya's eyes twinkled
"Yes Freya," Sheri nodded, the word feeling strange spoken alone. She turned, pulling a lever down and letting the priceless crystal be lowered onto a waiting transport.
After three more hours, the crystal had been moved to a scientific facility and placed in a sealed room, with only one airlock-style door in and out. A five centimetre thick sheet of one-way glass formed one of the walls, and from behind that wall Freya, Roxy and Sheri stood, with a eight or so others, all but one non-descript members of the public who'd spent a small fortune to get in.
"Eight point three billion gil went into this operation," Freya turned to face her audience, the few in the room, and the cameras facing her and the room behind her through the glass. "One hundred and seventy six years in construction, a further twenty eight planning, not counting the two hundred and ninety five years before that when this was just a dream," Freya smiled.
"But no longer is it a dream," she spoke after a few second's pause, "With the cutting-edge technology of a lost age, augmented with designs from today's foremost scientists we have completed the task our ancestors began, oh so long ago. With our study of the fal'Cie, a study spanning three years in itself, this last step is possible," Freya extended a hand, inviting the eight member of the audience, the one who was not part of the paying public, up to the desk next to her. The desk was fitted plainly, pale brown wood with one sleek, silver, cylindrical lever set in the centre, composing around half the surface of the pedestal.
"For four hundred and ninety nine years, this has been a dream of our people, ever since we descended from Cocoon. Now it is made reality. I would like to invite my colleague, Dr Babil." she spoke the name as if she couldn't believe it was really his name. "To perform the final part."
"Thank you Freya." Dr Babil put an emphasis on the last word as he looked up at the still hooded lady.
He was quite short, slightly shorter than Freya, and had unruly silvery hair. It looked as if he'd tried to flatten it, but it hadn't worked very well at all.
With a winning smile back at the cameras, Babil lifted one hand and slowly, majestically, pulled the lever back.
On the other side of the glass, a specifically engineered, complicated gas flooded the room. As it ran through, it touched the crystal, and each area the gas touched it, the crystal seemed to melt away, becoming nothing but air.
The gas slowly cleared and, in the room, two silhouettes could be seen.
For the first time in almost five centuries, Fang and Vanille started to breathe.