Premonitions II-C: Crisis Core

BY : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 709
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.

Chapter 8: Weird-Looking Trees

October 9, 0000

I woke up the next morning and showered. It was Monday morning, my least favorite time of the week. It meant there would be a whole week's worth of school.

I dressed and entered the common ground to hear the sound of a whistling kettle. I had nearly forgotten that I had a roommate now. This would take some getting used to. I stepped into the kitchen to see Cissnei pouring coffee.

She was dressed in a blue business suit and tie. I was almost stunned; I had never seen a girl dress like that before. I then recognized the kind of suit she was wearing. It could mean only one thing.

"You're a Turk?" I asked.

"Surprise!" Cissnei replied. "The apartment just got a lot safer."

I stood there awkwardly for a bit. Hell, I was associated with the Shinra myself, but I never expected to be sharing an apartment with a Turk. I actually didn't even know there were female Turks to begin with.

"Well, I'm off to school," I announced.

"Behave yourself," she said playfully. "You live with a Turk now."

I nodded and turned for the door.

"Hey wait!" Cissnei objected.

"What's up?" I asked.

"You didn't eat breakfast!" she complained.

"It's not the most important meal of the day," I insisted.

"But you can't go to school on an empty stomach!" she retorted. "Take one of my power bars."

Not wanting to argue, I did as I was told and was then out the door. I almost thought Cissnei was trying to mother me. She seemed around my age, but I could have been a year or two off in either direction.

In any case, she was beyond annoying.

LATER THAT DAY...

"Cissnei?" asked Durham with a skeptical look on her face.

"Cissnei," I confirmed.

"Is that her first name or her last?" Durham asked me.

"I didn't ask," I replied.

"And you're okay rooming with a girl?" she asked.

"Sure," I replied. "We still get our own private rooms."

"Where do you know her from?" she questioned.

"I don't," I answered. "The Shinra assigned her there. They're giving me the apartment, so I don't really have a choice."

"Does she have a boyfriend?" Durham asked.

"Not that I know of," I replied.

"She hasn't...tried anything funny, has she?"

"No way," I dismissed. "She's a Turk."

"A Turk?!" Durham exclaimed. "How many are there?"

"Four, by my count," I replied.

I realized that this was an interrogation. Durham was obviously less than happy that my roommate was a girl. I didn't know what to think. She obviously liked me, but she seemed a little insecure.

LATER...

Near the end of the day, it was another story.

"You're new roommate's a girl?!" Aerith exclaimed. "You're lucky!"

"Not really," I honestly replied. "She's kind of annoying. She wouldn't let me leave without a power bar."

Aerith giggled.

"You have a mommy away from home now!"

At least she didn't seem jealous.

LATER...

That night, I got an instant message on social media.

"So you're new roommate's a girl?" Yuffie asked me.

I sighed. Word travels fast.

"That's right," I typed back.

"Does she change in front of you?" Yuffie asked.

"No," I typed back.

"Did you walk in on her?" she then asked me.

Realizing Yuffie just wanted to be immature, I quickly logged out.

It did make me wonder, though. I was still on the fence about whether I wanted to date Durham or Aerith. Durham was initially winning; hell, she took her pants off for me. Aerith, meanwhile, not only kept her pants on, but her belt buckled tightly. On the other hand, Aerith didn't get the least bit jealous about Cissnei, and Durham obviously did.

As I spent too much time pondering this, weeks began to fall off the calendar, and one day I found myself at the school Halloween party. Aerith was a devil. Durham was a slutty devil. The latter was sent home for being a slutty devil.

More weeks fell off the calendar after that.

November 10, 0000

And then, one day at work, it occurred to me that I hadn't cloaked myself and gone where I shouldn't have gone for a while. So I did just that. I was wondering how Zack was doing, and what the hell happened with Angeal.

I cloaked myself as usual and took the elevator to the forty-ninth floor.

"Man, what is with Angeal?" I heard Zack say as I got off of the elevator. "How long is he gonna slack off like this? It's been a month now!"

He still wasn't over it.

"Sephiroth's got it all wrong, too!" Zack continued. "Lumping Angeal together with Genesis! Genesis is a deserter who took a bunch of seconds and thirds with him! He used his copies to attack us! Angeal would never condone something like that! He valued his SOLDIER honor more than anyone else! Ugh! Everything's so messed up these days! Angeal! Just come back, please!"

He then came into my view. He was doing squats, obviously to blow off steam.

Suddenly, I heard Zack's phone ring. He stopped his squats and answered it.

"SOLDIER Second Class Zack Fair?" asked an unfamiliar voice.

"That would be me," Zack replied. "Who is this?"

The other voice dodged the question.

"Director Lazard wants to see you," he replied. "Go to the briefing room."

"Hey!" Zack exclaimed. "Wait!"

Click.

"Who was that?" Zack asked out loud.

I followed him to the briefing room. I saw Lazard sitting at his desk, with his fist in his face. He was not at all happy.

"Any word on Angeal?" Zack asked.

"He hasn't contacted his family either," Lazard replied as he folded his arms.

"So what's this about?" Zack inquired.

"A new assignment," Lazard answered. "I want you to go to the hometown of our missing SOLDIER First Class, Genesis."

"Huh?" asked Zack as he leaned in.

Lazard folded his hands.

"According to the parents, they've had no contact with Genesis whatsoever. But, they can't be trusted."

"Why?" Zack asked.

"They're his family," Lazard replied. "I had already dispatched some staff, but we've lost contact. I want you to go and investigate. He will go with you."

As he finished, I noticed a man was walking over. He appeared to be from the Western Peninsula, and had his hair back in a small pony tail. He was wearing a suit identical to Cissnei's. Like I told Durham, there were four Turks by my count. This was the second nicest one, after Cissnei.

"Tseng, of the Turks," he greeted.

I recognized his voice; it was the stranger who had called Zack earlier.

"This job is looking really gloomy," Zack muttered.

Lazard became annoyed and put his fist to his mouth.

Tseng ignored the comment.

"Let me know when you're ready to go."

Just then, Zack's cell phone rang.

"Oh, excuse me," he said as he answered it, which neither Lazard or Tseng visibly objected to.

"Hello?"

"Yeah, this is Kunsel," the voice replied. "Did you read my mail?"

"Not yet," Zack said. "I'll read it later. I'm kinda in a meeting right now."

"Ah, gotcha," said Kunsel. "Hey, can I talk to you after that, though?"

"Well," Zack replied, "if you keep it short, I guess. Haven't got much time."

"Yeah yeah, it'll be short," Kinsey assured him. "I'll be outside the briefing room."

LATER...

After I finished my shift, I cloaked myself again and returned to the SOLDIER floor. I found Zack and Kunsel outside of the briefing room.

"Hey, Zack," Kunsel greeted. "What do you say we go down to Sector Eight? You can go to Sector Eight through the first floor entrance as well. Let's head over. You should always go do as much as you can before an assignment, so you have no regrets."

"Ummm...sure?" Zack agreed.

I followed them into the elevator, out the main entrance, and through the arch with a big number eight painted on it. They stopped by the fountain.

"Well, here we are in Sector Eight," Kunsel announced. "I guess we should split up here."

"What?" Zack exclaimed. "You bring me out here, and now you're leaving me?"

"You have an assignment waiting, don't you?" Kunsel replied. "Wouldn't it be quicker to go around just by yourself? The Shinra Building is straight ahead that way when you're ready to go back. So, I'll see ya, Zack. I'll send you another mail when I find the time."

Kunsel then turned and walked away.

Zack's first encounter was three women. I quickly wondered which one he would hit on first.

"Pardon me," said the short-haired one, "but are you a SOLDIER operative?"

"I sure am," Zack replied. "Zack's the name. Nice to meet you!"

"Zack?" asked the dark-skinned one. "Never heard of you. You must be SOLDIER second-rate."

"We were just talking about who the greatest SOLDIER operative might be," explained the short-haired one. "I think it's Angeal. That air of solemnity about him, and he's thrifty to boot! He's absolutely charming."

Obviously, she had not gotten wind of Angeal's desertion.

"If we're talking about the greatest in SOLDIER," insisted the dark-skinned one, "I can't think of anyone greater than Sephiroth. Just imagining him stripped to the waist makes me dizzy."

"Both of you!" snapped the brunette. "What are you talking about? It's got to be Genesis! There's no one greater in SOLDIER!"

"I never knew SOLDIER First Classes had so many female fans," Zack observed aloud.

At this point, Zack realized his chances of getting laid were close to zero. He thus returned to to the Headquarters.

"Hey, Zack," greeted Kunsel. "Finally made it back, did you? Weren't you in the middle of an assignment? You should get going. The Turks guy is waiting for you in the briefing room."

If I were Zack, I would have kicked Kunsel's ass for that. But, instead, he went straight to the SOLDIER floor.

"Ready to go on the assignment?" Tseng asked as Zack returned.

"I'm ready," Zack replied.

"Very good, then," Tseng said.

"A routine job, right?" asked Zack. "No sweat!"

"I wonder," muttered Tseng. "Originally, Sephiroth was assigned to this mission. That means it's a top-priority matter. Be alert, or you'll fail."

"And Sephiroth?" Zack asked in surprise.

"Refusing to go, apparently," Tseng replied.

"Oh, what is that?" Zack sighed. "They spoil him too much!"

"Why don't you say that to his face?" Tseng suggested.

"Uh, no thanks!" Zack dismissed as he placed his hands on his face.

November 11, 0000

The next day, being a Saturday, I was able to cloak myself and follow Zack and Tseng to Banora.

The first thing Zack noticed upon setting foot in that town were the trees. They grew from the ground like normal ones, but then turned a hundred and eighty degrees, with their tops touching the ground again. Their leaves and fruits grew from the middle. Curiously, someone had planted these particular trees so that they formed a tunnel.

Tseng simply began walking through the tunnel, as if he had seen it a million times before.

Zack, however, seemed surprised.

"Weird-looking trees," he observed.

"These are Banora White trees," Tseng replied. "A. K. A. dumbapples."

Zack became uneasy, remembering where he had heard that term before.

"Wait, that means we're in Banora?" he asked. "Angeal's hometown?"

"That is correct," Tseng answered. "Genesis and Angeal have known each other for a long time."

Just then, two figures appeared several yards in front of them. The looked identical to Genesis.

Knowing what they were, Zack immediately drew his sword and charged them, impaling them both easily.

As Zack stood over the bodies, Tseng approached him from behind.

"These guys!" Zack exclaimed. "I saw them in Wutai, too!"

"So they are here," Tseng observed. "We haven't seen any of the townspeople. They may have taken control of the entire town. When Genesis deserted, he took a large arsenal of weapons with him. The president's orders are to retrieve or destroy these weapons immediately upon discovery."

"Leave it to me," Zack said confidently.

Eventually, they reached the end of the tunnel, and the first building in Banora presented itself.

And in front of the building were two Genesis copies and a Guard Spider.

The two Genesis copies charged Zack, still giving him enough time to draw his sword and kill them both.

The copies turned out to be the least of his concerns. The Guard Spider suddenly game alive, targeting Zack immediately. With little warning, it fired from its left cannon.

I was fully expecting Zack to duck, but, instead, he drew his sword. As the bullet came by, the sword slashed it into two pieces.

I though he was crazy; that bullet could have exploded on contact.

"The president won't be disappointed!" Zack shouted triumphantly.

The Guard Spider began to advance on him, raising both of its cannons.

Realizing that it was do or die, Zack charged the Guard Spider, driving his sword into the red core between the cannons.

The Guard Spider let out a hideous noise before falling silent.

Zack withdrew his sword and inspected one of the nearby corpses.

"A Genesis copy," he observed.

"Where did you hear that?" Tseng demanded.

"Sephiroth said it," Zack clarified.

"The technology was stolen from our scientists," Tseng explained. "It apparently allows Genesis's abilities and traits to be transplanted to SOLDIER members and monsters."

"SOLDIER and monsters," sighed Zack. "We're the same?"

Not responding, Tseng proceeded to an opening in the stone fence on the right.

Zack went to inspect the Guard Spider.

"It's not gonna start moving again, is it?" he asked rhetorically.

"Zack, stop playing around," Tseng ordered. "We have to hurry. Internal issues like these must be dealt with before the public finds out. Still no sign of the townspeople. Let's check the houses."

Beyond the fence stood a large house with a windmill.

"This is Genesis's home," Tseng announced. "His parents are wealthy landowners."

Zack was not listening. His attention was on another dumbapple tree.

"But I never stole from that tree, because the wealthy man's son was my friend." he remembered Angeal saying. Slowly, he put it together.

Then, Tseng explained it.

"They weren't mere acquaintances. They grew up together, and were best friends."

"So Genesis deserts and gets his best friend Angeal to join him," Zack inferred. "Is that it?"

"Sephiroth believes that's the case," Tseng replied. He then pointed his finger to a pile of rocks under a tree. "There. A gravestone. Still very new. Zack, go find Angeal's house. I'll check the grave."

Zack groaned, realizing that Tseng had to inspect the resident stiff.

"So Turks always do this stuff?"

"Someone has to do it," Tseng answered.

"Must be rough," Zack said.

"Don't worry," Tseng assured him. "We're paid much better than you are."

"No way!" Zack exclaimed.

Unfortunately, that was true; Turks were the second highest paid Shinra employees, after the executives.

"Zack," ordered Tseng, "go and check Angeal's house. It should be in the group of houses over there. Be careful, the town may already be under the enemy's control."



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