RISE OF THE SILVER PHOENIX

BY : SabreTooth
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Crossovers
Dragon prints: 1500
Disclaimer: I do not own the original story line and characters of the canon FF7 genre. I do own the original plot sprung from my deviant mind and some new characters. No money/profit is made from this.

Rooting

 

Rufus ShinRa, descendant and heir of the massive ShinRa Corporation that had been his father’s legacy to the world. It was the most powerful entity ever built, reaching through every layer of society and providing the world with branches that made its political and financial influence felt everywhere. In public, it was the world’s largest supplier of advanced technologies ranging from electrical power for the planet, to healthcare, to everyday science in the form of facility constructions and agricultural development. However, as the knowledge of extraterrestrial life grew and travel had been made possible to and from different worlds, investment was made in military technologies and genetic engineering to defend, to learn about and to sustain life; even in altered and improved specimens. This had generated massive profits that rooted a steady foundation into peoples’ lives; unable to live without the ShinRa Corporation. But even the sturdiest oak trees can die from the roots and so had the ShinRa Corporation. Something had gone wrong. It was the Jenova project that had started the downfall.

The discovery of the ancient alien species that could turn soldiers into fearsome fighting machines capable of using the powers of the planet, taming the energies flowing through the core and using it to win legendary wars. Indeed, legendary wars gave rise to legendary warriors and one such warrior was Sephiroth. But even though legends survive through ages of man, they eventually ebb out as time erodes the fragile memory of the flesh. Sephiroth had been generated through a human mother inoculated with Jenova cells. They had given the child an unprecedented advantage in developing the Herculean abilities and properties he harboured. No other creation following him had been as successful. He was the Soldier of all soldiers; a front figure representing the power and magnificence of the ShinRa Corporation. But his mind was as feeble as that of a simple human: it was misled and twisted into confusion by Jenova and lies.

Sephiroth was driven mad as his past was revealed by his discovery of Jenova at Nibelheim. He was presented with the tortures and lies of his past, never knowing he was part human, he was led to believe that he belonged nowhere… only in the presence of Jenova. He was HER son, no one else’s. He could not be killed because the Lifestream did not accept him and Jenova had the power to have him lingering in limbo until the trinity of his powers in the shape of Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz, were summoned.

Rufus had planned for it, even tracked down and kept a piece of the ‘Mother’ securely encased as a biological sample in order to regenerate the most magnificent Soldier ever, but things did not go as planned. Once he had realized that there was no way of taming Sephiroth, Rufus had turned to Cloud and the rebels to bring the Soldier down. With only one third of his power intact, Sephiroth was defeated by Cloud and dissolved into a memory.

Rufus ShinRa sighed as he watched the numbers of floors pass by on the indicator above the elevator doors. He had about a hundred floors more to descend. Three hundred floors below ground was the location of the core facility of the newly seeding ShinRa Corporation. It had been destroyed once, well almost, but now it was rooting again. Behind him stood the company of four Turks, ready to defend him against any assault; his loyal bodyguards. They were silent and if it hadn’t been for the notion that they were bodyguards, Rufus would have almost thought he was in the elevator alone.

Apart from protecting Rufus ShinRa, the Turks were a group that performed covert operations on behalf of their employer, including espionage, kidnappings and assassinations. When the old world was still standing they had also scouted for potential candidates for ShinRa's elite military unit. The group’s full name was the Department of Administrative Research, but consisted nowadays only of Reno, Rude, Elena, and their leader Tseng. Though they mostly served as antagonists to all who rose against the ShinRa Corporation, they were not above forming temporary alliances to Cloud and the environmental rebels of the Avalanche.

Elena was their junior member and the only female. She was a high school student during the time her father was a teacher in the ShinRa Military Academy and following the footsteps of her older sister, she joined the Turks. Although it ruffled her feathers that her sister and the other member of the organization outperformed her in their status, Elena later obtained her position as the newest recruit after her colleague Reno sustained injuries battling the rebels in Midgar. Since then, the young lady had proven that she took her work much more seriously than her more laid back fellows. Finally, she had earned the respect she had fought for, but as befitted a Turk, she never revealed her pride of being accepted. Emotions were outside the scope of duty.

Reno was the most prominent member of the Turks, ranking directly below the current leader Tseng. He was characterised by his lanky physique and unkempt, red hair that terminated in a long ponytail, and an attitude, which was arrogant and cynical. However, he was highly skilled and took pride in his work and often added a humorous flavour to a serious situation alongside his sidekick and friend, Rude.

The contrast between the two was striking as Rude had more hair collected in his goatee as compared to what he had on his head. His brown eyes were always hidden behind sunglasses and he always carried a number of spare pairs with him. Even in this fairly dim elevator, he scanned the area around him behind the comfortable anonymity of black shades. But the odd couple suitably compensated one another in skills, as well as shortcomings. Hence, Rude was rarely seen without his long-time partner and was rather introverted, tending to delegate and leave the talking to Reno or Tseng.

Indeed, Tseng was stern, but polite and calm; the leader of the remaining Turks. His long, black hair was always properly groomed and cleared from his forehead on which he carried a tilak; a gift and heritage from a mother devoted to the goodness of Titan. She had longed for a child for years, praying to the God of the earth and fertility every morning as the sun rose beyond the mountains. She would bow to the sun and kiss the ground until one day, before her ability to carry a child ebbed out she gave birth to a son. The only one, her only child. He was a gift and thus, he would forever be honouring the God seeding his life. However, Tseng never spoke of his past and most of it was an enigma to all those surrounding him. In fact, Tseng was exceptional in all he did.

Already at a tender age, he had been an active member of the Turks and served under the wing of legendary leaders. Over the years, many good lessons, but also brutal awakenings had shaped his view and determination with which he led the Turks today; with fierce loyalty to the hand that fed them. As with most people on Gaea, Tseng had suffered his share of Sephiroth’s rage when wounded by the General during an investigation of the Temple of the Ancients. After a difficult recovery he had gone back to work, and on his first major assignment, to retrieve Jenova's remains from the Northern Crater since the temple, Kadaj and his brothers took Tseng and Elena captive.

After enduring torture by the hands of Kadaj and Yazoo in particular, the two Turks were rescued by Vincent. Yes, no matter which way one turned, Sephiroth and spawns like him were haunting the memories of people. And thus, there were reasons to build up the corporation again.

But although the face of the company above ground had already reclaimed the lead position as the sole provider of people’s needs, there was more to the core facility than agriculture, healthcare and safety. The insatiable hunger for power was an immense driving force, which through years of organization in the shadows of the everyday life, had managed to re-establish the foundation it was once built upon. But the soul of the corporation was still, and would always remain off-limits to the Turks; it was ShinRa policy since Rufus had concluded from the lessons of the fallen era that the fewer people who knew about the workings of the company, the more tangible its longevity.

The elevator stopped and the doors opened, but only the flaxen haired chief executive stepped out. He continued on towards a set of pressure-sealed doors, leaving the bodyguards behind. He tapped in a familiar code and a bright, sterile environment revealed itself in heated mist and eerie hissing. A familiar face, carrying the characteristic lines and worn features of a bitter man, greeted the heir with a;

“Good morning, master ShinRa.”

Rufus responded with a slight smile befitting someone of his position and greeted the old man.

“Good morning, Professor Hojo.”

Without further ado, the executive leader asked for a debriefing on the results of the current project.

Rufus listened to the scientist while they strolled through connective corridors lined with passageways to numerous laboratories and administrative offices, whose directions were displayed on digital screens that provided holographic projections of facility maps. The halls were lit with tamed daylight so as to provide the workers beneath ground with the essential radiance of the sun. Walls were decorated with windows projecting images of outdoor environments to counteract depression and the feeling of being trapped. Channels of light were directed to recreational rooms designed as parks to give the employees an opportunity to take a relaxing stroll or perhaps jog with the dog after the exhausting day at work. The corporation was living again.

“The preserved blood samples taken from the child have been successfully restored to the original host. By observing the dynamic imprinting on the genome, we managed to distinguish what was from Jenova and what was human. There were subtle changes in base-modifications that were exclusively hers. The modifications were fantastic. They allowed for the genetic material to function as if it had eight bases, twice as ours, making them vastly more dense with information. When we found out which ones were hers, it was easy to extract them,” Hojo said triumphantly.

“Interestingly, each and every cell of Jenova has the ability to store the memory of an individual and no matter how many times it is passed on, it will remain faithful to its origin. You see, when human primary cells exceed a certain number of passages, they senesce and eventually, if continuously provoked or acquire damage, the cells transform and become more malignant and resemble cancer cells. Those cannot grow in a specific order, but rather in a lump of cells, a tumor if you will. The Jenova cells, however, remain like stem cells no matter how many passages they go through. This can be used for an incredible purpose, master ShinRa. We have not thought of it before, but you will be amazed.”

“Which is?” Rufus stopped and looked at Hojo.

“Sometimes when an equation doesn’t add up in the end, it is better to start at the end and work backwards,” the projected image of Hojo explained.

His mind was ever as sharp as it had been when it was in his body and his eyes flashed with that malevolent soul that was trapped in the digital world.

“Let us take a step into the gestation chamber.”

With the hissing of the releasing airlocks a doorway to a narrow passageway was revealed behind rigorous computerized safety. The main computer identified both men and a disinfectant mist washed over Rufus before it isolated the tiny connective corridor and allowed the inner set of doors to be unlocked. The brightness in the passageway was dimmed and replaced by ultraviolet lighting whilst the massive, steel entrance opened soundlessly. The mist from the gestation chamber poured into the passageway and reflected off the ultraviolet lighting resembling a ghostly veil dancing in an ethereal display, fleetingly before the eyes of mortals. Rufus felt a shiver down his spine and his heart beat faster as he gathered strength to obey Hojo’s encouragements to advance forward.

Slowly, Rufus stepped inside the darkness and once the chamber was sealed, subtle lighting revealed a marvellous world of spherical cocoons of crystal clear liquid, hovering in their thousands in an order resembling a bee hive. Advanced technology monitored every heartbeat and breath of the growing fetuses, whilst wires and tubing provided the biological lives with the essentials they needed to develop. Rufus was amazed and gapingly kept on staring at the future ShinRa army; he was most pleased.

“You see, master ShinRa, previously we endeavored to culture humans that we implanted with the Jenova cells, recruiting them into our ranks,” Hojo began in a soft murmur so not to disturb the sensitive dwelling of the Soldiers. “But now, we've managed to splice a part of Jenova's genes into empty, human oocytes, which subsequently adopt a feature akin to that of Jenova’s original cells. These were then fertilized with the traits taken from our ‘intermediate’, who is a descendant of Jenova, although far back and indirectly. This makes the fetuses far less frail than humans with tremendous physique. Human minds are feeble and can easily be destroyed, hence Sephiroth’s destruction, but a stable mind and body like that of Jenova, tamed through human influence, is much more reliable. So basically, we take Jenova-like cells and implant them with semi-human traits."

"Are they really superior in mind, professor? That can be a problem, you know. Too much intelligence can lead to defiance."

"Well," Hojo chuckled, "I guess calling them intelligent is stretching the truth a little. These creatures will never read poems or create art, or work in a laboratory, but they can lock themselves onto a target and never give up. Like weapons."

"Easily managed, automated weapons, you mean."

Hojo bowed to the statement, continuing. "The second generation is successful and is ready to be harvested within a few days. Previously, the Jenova cells were too powerful and had in many instances abandoned the surrounding, foreign environment, creating its own microenvironment in vacuoles that collapsed cellular functions and killed the cells. It can distinguish between what is original and what is foreign. However, with this ‘intermediate’,” the professor pointed to an immaculately pale body of masculine power lying limp and in comatose on life-support, “we can and have achieved milestones in research.”

“Please explain,” Rufus asked kindly.

“The cells within this one are already a viable combination of Jenova and human heritage… it goes way back… and not as pure as that which belonged to my son, Sephiroth… but close enough to harbour a platform for both traits to meet. See,the traits of Jenova serve the paradigm onto which all inflected forms are based… on a single stem. And so, with this one, we can bypass the rejection state and create the new world; hence, him being a suitable donor to fertilize the oocytes. But the most triumphant achievement has been to isolate the essence of the quinitnity and harvest it to infuse the fetuses - to enhance them."

"Is that a similar process to that which was conducted to enhance Soldiers with Mako during my father's time?"

"Yes, similar so, young Master, but I use only the trinity for the Soliders. The fourth object is far too precious for that. It has a much grander purpose and one that will change the course of this world as well as to abolish the detriment of your desire."

“Fantastic, Professor,” Rufus flashed the projection a vicious smile. “You have certainly outdone yourself. Absolutely outstanding! Commence training as soon as possible.”

™˜–—


 

Vincent was sitting in the bar where Tifa was attending some guests who had just ordered something to eat. She told them she could only arrange snacks to accompany the beer, as the kitchen had not yet started up for the evening. It was too early still and apart from a few regulars, people had not yet finished their work. Tifa’s bar was an after-work hideout for many customers who went there to eat, but that was usually after five in the afternoon. It was now merely three. Of course, Vincent’s current job offered him a kind of freedom that not many occupations did. He was a ‘Hunter’; meaning he was a gun for hire to hunt down the monstrous fiends emerging from the dark cities where they resided after Hojo’s experiments had been terminated. They were relics of the past that had bred uncontrollably with nature and each other, and were plaguing smaller towns and villages.

Vincent hid his face in the collar of his mantle as he waited for Tifa to finish her chores. When she returned, they sat down at a secluded table to take a drink in private. Vincent watched the silent expression of the girl who was indifferent to that black lock that stubbornly shaded her face. She looked tired and worn, obviously due to a lack of sleep and of inner tranquillity. Vincent remarked at her condition to which she unwillingly opened up with a deep sigh that carried the words out of her chest.

“His nightmares are getting worse and worse. It’s draining the life out of him,” the girl complained. “He’s not there anymore, Vincent. Not even when we…”

She paused as he lowered his gaze and buried it in the glass of cranberry juice beneath his face. He couldn’t find words to respond to her but he didn’t need to for she kept on talking.

“He never talks to me about what disturbs him, but not much can make Cloud jump out of the bed screaming like a madman. He had once told me about a child. He had said something about the boy not having a voice and drowning in needles and knives.”

She shook her head explaining that it made no sense; not to her and not to Cloud either. Vincent knew exactly what she was referring to, but he, on the other hand, kept silent through the entire time. When Tifa ran out of words and the will to continue with her monologue, Vincent took a sip from his drink and submerged himself in his thoughts before he spoke. His red eyes flashed behind the curtain of raven hair as he lifted his gaze; both his hands enclosed around the glass as if he aimed to heat the drink he was holding.

“Look, Tifa,” Vincent started with a smooth, deep voice. “I don’t want to burden you even more, but right now it’s better to leave the questions aside and just support him. I think he needs you now.” The Daemon host finished his drink and stood up, leaving Tifa with some words of advice. “Please don’t make it harder than it is. Just be with him.”

With that last piece of advice, Vincent left the bar. He contemplated using the force of Chaos to arrive faster to the private mews that he now called home, but it remained nothing other than a thought. The small village that embraced him with calmness had since long given up chocobo farming as a source of income, and so the streets were lined with stables that had recently been converted into housing, which added an undeniable, picturesque charm to the development. Consequently, he decided to walk. The road home would take a long time, but Vincent had the company of the anguish that followed every step of the way… always.

It was difficult to rid himself of emotions, even the irksome galling his soul, since those were the only remnants anchoring him to his past as a human, as someone’s son, as someone, as Vincent Valentine. Where were all those years, all those years that had passed by, all those decades migrating along shifting entropy and solely in one direction. Vincent glanced up at velvety sky, which was gradually darkening, along with his wistful thoughts, as the dusk was setting. The lone man hardly even noticed that somewhere along the dusty roads he was joined by the great sentient, Nanaki. They said nothing, just enjoyed the stillness of the approaching dusk. They had the sun setting behind and the shadows cast before them were growing longer and longer as the golden disc sunk behind the concrete jungle of Midgar.

Since the ending of the war, Nanaki and Vincent had joined forces to hunt remaining relics, whilst enjoying the undemanding relationship of one another and the space of freedom it provided. Nanaki walked silently next to Vincent as they moved along the vast streets, advancing through the city underneath the blinking streetlights, showered by the awaking stars and moving over the rocky dunes of the town-outskirts towards the little mews where both had found refuge. Their steps vanished behind, in the past where the remnants of the sun still cast a few rays against the evening dome, and ahead of them was darkness, just like the future. Finally, they had reached home. Vincent stopped for a swift moment and inhaled the pleasant freshness of the night; his eyes resting upon the moon at its zenith in the black skies.

“There is a halo around the moon,” Nanaki pointed out.

Indeed, the moon was surrounded by a crystalline halo and in ancient times such a sight was considered a premonition of something dangerous approaching. Vincent agreed.

“I think there is something in the air,” the sentient being continued with his deep animal-like vocalization. “I sense change is coming.”

Vincent nodded again and then lowered his head, retracting it behind the collar of the mantle, the way he always did when brooding, and motioned for Nanaki to follow him inside. The feline creature, however, politely declined and explained he would spend a few more minutes outside alone. As a person well aware of the need for solitude, Vincent did not argue, and left his friend, bidding him good night.

Minutes passed into hours and quite soon, stillness settled upon the blackening skies. The vine of the night was climbing higher on the pillar of the day, overpowering it with obscurity until no more light was raining through the skies. It was only the drops of a dissolved boy that floated through the heavens and congealed in a body of white. He was lifelessly pale in the dark corner of the room, but the veins under the marble skin were squirming like dark worms encasing his frame in a mesh of blackness that coursed inside his body. Fade… they would be made to fade if his name was spoken and acknowledged with forgiveness. It only needed a little whisper to ease the pain, but he was lost in the beyond where the gates were closed to the emotions he needed in order to be saved.

Vincent awoke to alien sounds of scratching increasing in intensity from the darkest corner of the room. Time was spinning in uneven events as a fluorescently white creature appeared squatting with its face hidden in the angles of the walls. The creature was moving in incoherent, jerky motions as if the essence of space and time had detached from each other and moved in differing paces. The creature hidden in the obscure corner was ferociously scratching the wall and as Vincent’s eyes quickly became accustomed to the darkness he saw the body of a young man squatting, trying to claw his way through the structure like a frightened animal.

Gathering his strength and courage, Vincent got out of bed and slowly approached the ghostly silhouette in the corner. Discretely, he pulled out Cerberus from under his covers; he always slept with a gun close at hand. His heart was pounding violently in his chest almost to the point where it was difficult to breathe, but he continued his quest. He uttered a careful question.

“Who are you?”

The scratching immediately stopped and the figure froze like a startled animal attentively observing a sudden change in the environment. Vincent crept closer and as his eyes adjusted to the darkness even further, he could clearly discern the shape of a naked human body huddling up in the corner and slowly turning around.

“Who are you?” Vincent repeated and as a response agonized sobbing filled the vicinity surrounding him.

It was the sobbing of a child yet what he saw was the body of a mature man. The impressions perceived by his senses were conflicting and confusing and thus weakening the gate of flesh that was slowly beginning to give way for the Daemon pressing against the boundaries of the human body. However, Vincent had to maintain control, for no matter who this young man could be, he was obviously in pain or hurt and he would be startled by the presence of Chaos. No! The Daemon must not surface. Vincent swallowed his fear and posed another careful question.

“How did you get in here?”

Silence.

It really troubled Vincent that someone managed to sneak past him and into his private sanctuary without him sensing it. This had never happened before and thus he took another step towards this young man. The sable hair of the frightened stranger was hanging like a drape before the face and an inhuman growl escaped the visitor as Vincent stepped closer. It made him immediately halt. After a while of futile communication, a slight flicker of anger sparked within Vincent and he approached the stranger once again, this time with a steady voice, whilst feeling the weight of Cerberus he held behind his back.

“How did you get in here?”

Suddenly, the young man started moving again, hitting the back of his head against the wall as he spoke to the rhythm of the blunt thud of bone against stone. In a series of echoing whispers enigmatic messages were floating from the pale stranger.

“Dark bodies emerging from torn wombs, no light or life… I am imprisoned in a world, robbed of memory of what was. Cut from the womb where I sparked into life and I dissolved into isolation. I remember myself floating, flying” the young man set forth in a breathy chant. “I am so close to the edge of the skies and I keep on climbing higher and higher to touch the sun.”

In an unexpected change of the course of actions, the stranger made a move, and like a frightened doe, he cautiously crept into the light of the moon. When he was at Vincent’s feet, he slowly reached out and embraced the gunman’s legs, clutching them close to that trembling, pale body. The shivers of the stranger were so intense that it set Vincent into motion and he went down on his knees to join the frightened man on the floor. The telltale moonlight revealed that the sable hair was all but dark and the chill that ran right through Vincent made his blood turn to liquid ice. Could this be? He watched the pale light merge with the silver shimmer in those thick strands of hair; dirty, oily and split.

“Sephiroth?” Vincent gasped with obvious fear.

The young man responded with a whimper. “I tried to climb closer to the sun… but the brightness scourged my eyes.”

With a sudden jerk the ghostly shadow of Sephiroth threw the horrid image of his distorted face into view and exposed the black, scourged sockets of his hollow eyes. Vincent involuntarily reacted with dread and attempted to escape, but the ghost overpowered him and pinned him to the floor. At that instant Vincent noticed that Sephiroth’s nails had been scratched down to the beds, fingertips bleeding and filled with splinters. The hollow sockets of his eyes were wet with blackness pouring out like unholy grails being emptied. The smell around him was of putrid flesh, like a rotting corpse.

“I fell from the sky like a meteor and I saw my own destruction. My life was so dark... my mind was so dark... everything is dark… please, help me.”

Vincent closed his eyes, internally trying to summon Chaos but he was ever so silent. Why wasn’t he emerging now? What kind of powers kept Chaos in hibernation at a moment like this? Vincent felt the weight of the cold body straddling his chest and as he opened his eyes he saw the angel reaching towards the moonlight entreating the mortal world for deliverance he so desperately sought. The veins beneath his skin moved like living organisms and his ribs were visibly protruding underneath his sickly greyish skin. Suddenly, he froze and scanned the surroundings with his empty eyes. Black mass was beginning to pour down his face and mouth again as he began weeping.

“Do you hear?” Sephiroth asked repeatedly. “Do you hear? It’s here to get me… to get you.”

Vincent listened as hard as he managed, but there was nothing but silence surrounding them. He could see the decaying heart of the pale body beat behind the ribs and hammer against the breastbone. The angel started shivering and covered his face with his wounded hands, as he ever so slowly lowered his body and rested on top of Vincent. The warrior was immobilized by the cold that exuded from Sephiroth and was helplessly drawn into holding the decaying corpse close, although his own conscience protested in a violent storm that stirred Chaos from within. Still the Daemon was unable to break free, just like Vincent was unable to break the embrace. The cold face was buried in the curve of Vincent’s neck, whispering warnings of a dream, preaching about ‘dark bodies floating in darkness’.

Suddenly the pale body was ripped from Vincent and slammed violently into the corner from where it had emerged. Sephiroth was fighting against something that no mortal could see and Vincent felt sick to his stomach, hating to see this nightmare and not being able to help. He witnessed the pain, he witnessed the fear and as the body began burning, the final plea of a ravaged young man who wished for nothing higher than deliverance soaked into his soul. The choking smell of burnt flesh filled Vincent’s senses, overwhelming him, and he threw up in his sleep awakening to the sour stench of his vomit saturating the pillow.

Nanaki was standing beside him and called his name until he found his way through the darkness into the comfort of the known world. Vincent jumped out of bed, stumbling over the covers that had coiled around his feet during his nocturnal turmoil. He was visibly disoriented and confused and incoherently repeated Sephiroth’s name. Vincent turned a few times in his room and Nanaki kept on asking what he was looking for. The fifth time he turned, Vincent remained frozen facing a specific corner of the room. The dread that reflected off his face was unmistakable and Nanaki shook his head denying the fact presented before him. The wall was marked with scratch marks and blood, depicting a message from the other side.

“Make them stop… make them stop.”



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