|By : Hippo_and_Friends_with_Benefits|
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Views: 916 -:- Recommendations : 0 -:- Currently Reading : 0
|Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII, Crisis Core, it any characters therin. I am not making any money here.|
Chapter 14: Another Invasion
April 2, 0001
As Zack approached Shinra Headquarters, he could see searchlights pointed at it from all directions.
"The Shinra Building!" he exclaimed. "Damn you, Genesis! What's the matter with you!? I'll stop you once and for all!"
Suddenly, three Genesis copies descended.
"They don't waste any time!" Zack exclaimed. "I'm in a hurry here, so back off!"
He quickly killed all three with his sword.
"All right!" he said aloud. "Gotta move!"
Several yards down the road, two floating robots bore down on him.
"Next up, we have mechs," Zack announced to himself. "They look pretty adamant about not letting me pass. Well, I'm pretty adamant about busting through!"
He sent them to the scrap heap in two strokes as more Genesis copies began to attack.
"More of them?" he exclaimed. "Enough already! Now I'm surrounded! It's like an army of ants or something. I'll take you all down at once!"
He finished them off in two more strokes. Nothing pursued him after that.
"Finally settled down a bit," he said to himself. "This is taking longer than I thought. I'd better get moving."
And then, he heard something landing behind him.
"Or not," he finished before turning around.
It appeared to be a sophisticated Genesis copy.
"I guess life's just not that simple," Zack continued as he drew his sword. "Yeah, yeah. You don't have to remind me!"
Whatever it was, the creature advanced on Zack and struck at him with a mace, forcing his sword to the ground.
"That stung a little," Zack grunted. "A cut above the usual riff-raff, are we? But you are going down!"
Zack charged the creature and swiped, cutting it in half at the torso.
Turning around, Zack saw a road sign that read "Shinra Company-1.5 km."
"Run the credits," he said, "because that's gotta be the end. I'd better hurry."
Beyond the road sign, Zack dealt with another major surprise. Angeal floated down and landed softly in front of him.
"I need your help," he announced.
"Do you?" Zack taunted as he walked past him. "Honestly, what're you thinking, Angeal?"
"I'm not really sure myself," Angeal replied. "At times I feel as if my mind is mired in fog. But Zack, no matter what happens, I have to protect my honor. As long as I hold the Buster Sword. Zack, join my battle! Our enemy is all that creates suffering."
Zack folded his arms and sighed.
"All right," he said, "I'll help you."
He then turned, but Angeal was gone.
And then, Zack felt himself being lifted in the air.
"Hey, what the fuck?!" he exclaimed.
"I'll carry you there," Angeal announced.
He had grabbed Zack, and was now flying him to the Shinra building.
"No, wait!" Zack protested. "I-"
"Flying feels pretty good," Angeal said.
"I'm going to hurl," Zack complained.
"So you have a girlfriend now?" Angeal inquired.
"You were watching us?" Zack demanded.
"I've been watching everything. But Zack, this girl. She's a-"
"Don't tell me she's a Genesis copy!" Zack exclaimed.
"You might wish she was," Angeal warned.
Angeal flew Zack in through a broken window just as Sephiroth was killing a Genesis copy.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Zack apologized as his feet touched the floor.
"You're late," Sephiroth replied as he turned to face him.
"Sephiroth, have you lost weight?" Angeal greeted.
Sephiroth grunted and lowered his head.
"On to business," Angeal announced. "It is safe to assume Hollander has ordered Genesis to eliminate Hojo."
"Hojo, the director of the Science Department?" Zack asked.
"Yes," Angeal replied. "He believes Hojo robbed him of his rightful position."
"Then they'll be targeting the Science Department floor upstairs," Zack realized.
"Forget about Hojo," Sephiroth dismissed as he began to walk off.
"You're in your usual mood, I see," Angeal observed. "Sephiroth, take the floors below. I'll handle things outside. Zack, you go up. Hojo will be your responsibility."
"Understood!" Zack agreed.
Zack quickly made his way to the science floor. There, he could see Hojo staring at a console.
"Professor?" he greeted. "Ah, you're safe."
"Shh!" Hojo reprimanded. "Please, be more quiet."
"The building is under attack by the Genesis army," Zack warned. "They may be after you, Professor Hojo."
"And you're my protection?" Hojo asked while observing a clipboard instead of making eye contact.
"In any case, we have to evacuate," Zack insisted. "Will you come with me?"
"Degrading monsters are nothing to fear," Hojo cackled.
"Are you talking about Genesis?" Zack asked.
"Indeed," Hojo replied as he finally turned to face Zack. "A memento from an unenlightened era, when men could deem any unclassified life form an Ancient."
"Unclassified life form?" Zack inquired.
"Jenova," Hojo clarified. "The calamity that fell from the sky."
Zack scratched his head in confusion.
"Your ignorance is of no consequence," said Hojo as he turned away. "SOLDIER's duty is not to think; it is to protect men who think for them, like me."
Zack then turned his attention toward the glass pod that Hojo had been facing.
"What's inside this pod?" he asked aloud. "Oh, nothing's inside."
"Are you certain?" asked Hojo from behind. "There should be something quite intriguing in there. Look closer."
Suddenly, the front glass wall elevated, allowing Zack access to the pod.
"Intriguing?" asked Zack as he foolishly wandered in. "Where? Professor, what-"
Just as suddenly, the door closed behind Zack.
"Hey!" Zack exclaimed as he spun around.
"Don't be concerned," Hojo assured him. "It's merely a simple experiment."
"How can I not be concerned!" Zack protested.
"Answer the following questions," Hojo commanded.
"Questions?!" Zack exclaimed.
"Currently, which do you admire more?" Hojo asked. A SOLDIER operative like Angeal, or like Sephiroth."
"Angeal!" Zack naturally answered.
"What do you think Shinra needs most right now?"
"State-of-the-art science and technology," Zack replied, hoping to flatter the madman.
"Which do you believe to be more befitting a SOLDIER member?" the scientist inquired.
"A person who gives all to Shinra!" Zack answered.
"You are a most promising SOLDIER member," Hojo complimented.
"What's this all about?" Zack demanded.
"In accordance with your wishes," Hojo replied, "I shall enhance your physical capabilities."
And then, the chamber lit up.
"Aaaaaghhh!" cried Zack, but that turned out to be a reflex action. "I thought I would feel more of a surge of power, or something," he said.
"That's just the limit of your cellular structure," Hojo explained. "Or perhaps you would like to be altered to the point of degradation? Like some second-rate scientist I know has done?"
Zack shook his head and exited the chamber. He spent the next several minutes pacing the room.
"It appears you're not keeping very busy," Hojo observed.
"I wouldn't say that," Zack defended, "but-"
"Did you not say I may have unwanted company?" Hojo interrupted. "Are you prepared to defend this brilliant mind with your life?"
"Of course I'm prepared!" Zack assured him. "'Come and get it' is what I say! I'll show them the power of a next-generation SOLDIER First Class!"
"Most encouraging," Hojo laughed. "I won't abide any losses to some second-rate scientist's creation."
Amusingly, just as he said this, black feathers began to appear from above. A moment later, Genesis landed near Hojo.
"Well, look who's here!" Hojo taunted.
Genesis immediately threatened him with his sword.
"Hollander sent you, correct?" Hojo inquired. as he adjusted his glasses. "You think that if you obey Hollander, he'll stop your body from degrading, is that it? Pitiful, just pitiful, I say."
"Genesis," Zack acknowledged as he drew his sword.
"A second-rate hack like Hollander couldn't cure a cold!" Hojo cackled.
And then, there was another visitor in the room.
"Genesis, that's enough!" Angeal ordered.
"Ah, what do we have here?" Hojo inquired.
"My friend," began Genesis as he quoted Loveless again, "the fates are cruel. There are no dreams, no honor remains. The arrow has left the bow of the goddess."
"The entire case of Hollander's freak show!" Hojo taunted.
"Shut up, you!" Zack shouted.
"Loveless, Act IV," Genesis said.
"Where the two friends challenge each other to a duel," Hojo added.
Everyone gasped. Hojo was the last person anyone had expected to be a fan of Loveless.
"An ancient epic," Hojo continued. "I read it thinking it might aid my research, but pure drivel."
"How does the duel end?" Angeal asked.
"Unknown," Hojo replied. "The last act is missing, and yet to be discovered."
"There are various theories," Genesis added.
Before anyone could stop him, he walked up to the testing chamber and destroyed it with a fireball. The force was so strong it left a hole in the wall.
"The mysterious gift of the goddess," What is the meaning behind it? For us, at least."
With that, Genesis disappeared into the hole.
Genesis walks toward the hole, then takes flight and exits through it. Zack runs after him, and Angeal trails after.
"Hey!" demanded Zack as he began to charge. "Hold it, Genesis!"
A moment later, Angeal grabbed Zack and lifted him off of the floor, just like the other time.
Hojo stood alone in the destroyed room, cackling softly to himself.
Angeal and Zack found Genesis on the balcony of the seventieth floor.
"My soul, corrupted by vengeance, hath endured torment, to find the end of the journey, in my own salvation, and your eternal slumber," Genesis said as he raised his arm.
Suddenly, portal began to open.
"He's summoning again!" Zack shouted.
"Zack, I leave this to you," Angeal announced as he set Zack on the floor.
"You can do this," Angeal assured him. "Trust me."
"Don't leave me here!" Zack protested.
Angeal began to ascend.
"Stop!" Zack called. "Come back!"
As Angeal and Genesis began fighting, Zack's cell phone began to ring. Shinra carries a strict policy requiring all employees to turn their phones of on missions, but not only did Zack's phone ring, he answered it!
"Aerith?" asked Zack. "Listen, can I call you back later? I have some company."
"Don't keep your guests waiting, handsome!" she replied before hanging up.
And then, the summon presented itself; it was another behemoth, only this one was golden.
"'Don't keep your guest waiting,' she says," Zack repeated as he drew his sword.
The behemoth took a swipe at Zack, which he easily dodged. He then returned the swipe, and struck the creature for sure, but the behemoth didn't flinch. It struck at Zack again, causing him to jump backward once more, and a sudden shock came when his back hit the glass behind him. He was against the windows; the next swipe the behemoth would take would be fatal.
Wasting no time, he stabbed the behemoth in the neck. Black blood oozed from the wound as the dying creature seemed to attempt to grab its neck. It began to step backward. Suddenly, it was out of view, and Zack knew right away that the creature had fallen to its death from the ledge.
Zack quickly ran forward, turned around, and looked up.
Angeal and Genesis were nowhere to be seen.
"Where is everybody?" he asked aloud.
Aerith knocked on the door next to the mailbox that read "Cline" on it.
Gehrig answered the door and immediately threw her arms around her friend. She was beyond excited to hear about her good fortune.
"Someone's had a surprising day!" she said. "Come on in!"
The two girls walked into the kitchen and sat down. Aerith then realized that she and Gehrig were the only ones in the house.
"Where's Mary Ellen?" she asked.
"On the prowl, as usual," Gehrig sighed. "Almost forty and won't slow down."
"Oh," Aerith said sheepishly. "I'm sorry."
"I'm used to it," Gehrig said. "So what's he like?"
"What do you mean?" Aerith asked.
"How tall is he?" Gehrig clarified.
"Six feet," Aerith replied.
"Good enough," Gehrig said. "Is he handsome?"
"As hell!" Aerith answered.
"Did you take a selfie?" Gehrig asked.
Aerith shook her head.
"The date kind of ran away with itself."
At that moment, the front door opened. In came a woman who looked like Gehrig, but was a couple of decades older, and had blond hair.
"Aerith!" she greeted.
"Hey, Mary Ellen," she greeted back.
And then, their classmate Ronaldo (the one who mooned them with a steering wheel drawn on his ass) appeared in the kitchen.
Gehrig gave Mary Ellen a disappointed look.
"Mom, you brought Ronaldo over?"
"He won't bother you," Mary Ellen assured her. "He'll be with me."
Gehrig rolled her eyes; she knew exactly what that meant.
With that, Mary Ellen led Ronaldo up the stairs.
Gehrig pressed her forehead and sighed.
"This is a new low," she muttered. "But anyways, are you going to see him again?"
"Oh yeah," Aerith replied with a smile. "We have a date at the aquarium."
"You better kiss next time," Gehrig said.
"I wanted to this time!" Aerith informed her. "But I didn't want to be too forward."
"The second date won't be," Gehrig assured her. "Trust me on this one."
"I believe it," Aerith said.
"How old is he?" Gehrig asked.
"I never asked," Aerith replied. "I think about our age."
Then, Gehrig got a wicked grin. "Does he have any hot friends?"
"Someone named Angeal," Aerith replied.
Gehrig became disappointed.
"That sounds like a girls' name," she said.
"He's got a cute butt," Aerith added with a smile.
"What does he do?" asked Gehrig.
"He's in SOLDIER," Aerith replied, wondering how her friend would respond.
"SOLDIER?" asked Gehrig skeptically.
"First Class," Aerith clarified. "He's really a great guy, though. I swear. He even forgave a kid who robbed him."
"I'm sure," Gehrig said. "I just haven't been a fan of the Shinra ever since Mary Ellen brought Rufus home."
"She brought Rufus Shinra home once?!" Aerith exclaimed.
"She sure did," Gehrig replied. "And you know how they say nobody's ever seen him bleed or cry?"
"Mary Ellen said he cried during sex," Gehrig informed her.
Both girls began to laugh in unison.
"Oh, did you wear that when you met him?" Gehrig asked, pointing to he outfit.
"Wear it again," Gehrig ordered. "It attracted him this time. It'll attract him next time, too."
Just then, a very happy looking Mary Ellen came down with a very happy looking Ronaldo.
"You girls didn't hear us, did you?" Mary Ellen asked.
An embarrassed Gehrig slapped her forehead again.
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