View Full Version : Final Fantasy VII: Alpha
03-31-2010, 01:43 AM
"Midgar is a city floating approximately 50 meters in the air, linked to the ground by train and highway transit. We utilize a total of eight mako reactors, sequentially numbered starting with the #1 northern reactor, to supply electricity to the city.
Construction continues smoothly; Shinra Company Headquarters and Sector 4 are the last on the schedule to be completed. The headquarters interior in Sector 0 is complete and already in operation. The exterior is slated for completion in two years, while the surrounding city will be finished in seven years."
Reeve Tuesti, Director of City Planning (Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core)
Journal Entry #1-
So here goes. I?ve decided to keep a journal from now on. Wife says it might help. My name is Ole, and don?t you pronounce it with gusto. I really hate that. I?m just Ole, like ?old? without the hard ?D? of age. I sure feel aged though. My skin is weathered, but not from the weather. I work the Mako reactors, but heck you already know that; whoever you are who might one day read this (you better not read this!!!). Everyone here works the reactors. Well, pretty much. Since the beginning of civilization, people have always flocked to the job hotspots, and this place is really burning. I see it right before my eyes, but I don?t feel it. Not really. I don?t really feel much of anything. I can?t remember the last time I felt a real, concrete emotion. I suffer from depression. Major depression. Though if you ask me, I?m one of the lucky ones. I?d hate to be one of these poor hardworking bastards yelling at each other over the lunch table, arguing over blueprints and lining up to kiss Tuesti?s asscheeks. I?m just like them (minus the asscheeks part), but my depression helps me phase it out. Almost entirely. I?m so depressed that I can?t remember what I did yesterday, or the day before. Or last week, or even months past. I know what I did. I know I went to work, came home and watered the plants (those pathetic, poor, withering plants), ate a meager meal at our tiny kitchen table. But I really can?t identify any bookmarks, anything unique at all that really separates one day from the rest.
Man they work us hard here?
Signing off sincerely to myself,
Mr. Who Cares
Journal Entry #2-
Alright, alright, so I thought I was done with this stupid journal before I started it, but the wife says no sex unless I keep at it. So you bet your ass I will. There will be words! I don?t really wanna talk about my sex life (or lack thereof---you didn?t read that!!!), so I guess I?ll have to find something else to groan about. Oh gee, I know. How about the only other fucking thing there is.
Yep, big fucking deal this is. Midgar is what they?re calling it. These arrogant pricks got me sweating through my briefs, working double OT to put this floating piece of chocobo shit in the air. Like I told you before, my skin is weathered. Man, I look 50. I?m actually in my late 20?s though. I?ve got the tough, fleshy, incredibly strong build of an ox, without the physique that lets you take your shirt off in public. Someone tried to mess with me once. That was about eight years or so ago, give or take. That was the last time. I don?t really go picking fights, but I?m game for violence if it comes to me.
Ah what the hell. I?ll just diddle in my journal, writing ?ZZZ?s? for an hour while she keeps an eye on me. Enough of this personal stuff.
Journal Entry #3-
Alright well, that didn?t work. I had her going for a while but she just had to go and open it while I was at work, and the next thing you know I?m sleeping on the couch. Well now, what should I talk about? Oh yeah, the city. Not much to tell. It?s barebones. Even the rich have yet to move in. That?s how you know it?s a real pile of junk. Everywhere I look there?s pipes and substructures; silver foundations and concrete being poured. There?s the wood meant for building and the wood meant for showing off. There?s a taste of acid in the air, or something. Black smoke covers the sky, so that you can?t take a deep breath without wondering if it?ll be your last. Damn I?m unhealthy. Strong, sure. But with this atmosphere I wonder how long I?ll manage to keep going. The boss says it?s cleaner than the mines at Corel, but chances are he was just told to say that. They can?t get enough laborers, and the more they get, the less we each make. Shinra Electric Power Company is basically funding this whole thing, and they?re embedding themselves in every inch of the place, right from the foundations up. One day this?ll probably be Shinra?s city, if it ever gets completed.
(Note to self, from wife: Don?t write like such a hard ass just cuz I hate writing this.)
Actually it?s sort of growing on me a little. Just a novelty, perhaps. I am somewhat intelligent and well-spoken, I guess. She?s right. She?s my compass, oh yes she is.
Journal Entry #4-
Today I had an argument, which turned into a discussion, with a coworker; my friend Jaggo. We were helping to build a wall, which for some reason is slated to be painted red. Quirky fellas, these ones. I don?t even understand why we were?I mean look, I get it. It beats that giant serpent finding its way out of the grasslands, and maybe it protects you from a giant tsunami (as if one could reach so far inland!). But man, isn?t it just a little insensitive (they probably don?t know what that means) to leave everyone else all the way down there? I mean let?s face it. I mean I haven?t been constructing and deconstructing for most of my life to not know a slum when I see one. There?s no way the development is ever going to reach those holes down there. Once they?re nice and cozy on their big plate, they?ll scrap all the plans for ground level.
Oh yeah, the plate. It?s this enormous structure. Well, it will be. We could?ve had the damn thing built by now, but they had to get all fancy shmancy on us. The president of the Shinra Electric Power Company?whose name is appropriately: Shinra?wants a fucking railroad spiraling around the plate! Never mind how long it takes; what are the chances that it actually functions right?
The argument with Jaggo was basically me trying to save him from himself. The poor wretch is always trying to upgrade himself. Says he found a spot, grey and worn, like the city was being built around it. And no feeling comes from this spot. It?s small, but it?s covered. And maybe, just maybe, he can set up a small newspaper company there, with grey papers for the grey days. Something to read as you stand on the train platform, sheltered from the rain. Some glimmer of a voice in what will undoubtedly be a very unhappy place. Maybe he?ll write about daily stories, he and his journalists. Maybe they?ll make stuff up. I don?t know. I told him that this wasn?t a good time to stick his head in the clouds. Look how dirty they are, I told him. Keep to the mud, keep your head in the dirt. Work, work, work. And then work some more. Then he told me I would secretly be his most avid subscriber, at which point I thought about socking him in the jaw.
04-10-2010, 10:52 PM
Journal Entry #5-
Journal?s growing on me. City is too. Deep, deep. My sadness grows, and deeper I fall into this dark city. This machinery, this night. I dwell like the sewer rats. I work the early shift, the late shift, the midnight shift, the graveyard shift. The trains keep me company. Time passes, they come. They go, time slows down. Lurking around every wet, dirty corner is a shadow, never reaching the light. I am Midgar. Midgar is built around me, through me. The sky is never bright anymore. If it is, I have missed the day, and I am not sorry for it. I love this place. I need this place. There was no childhood for me. There is no life.
There is only this dark city.
Journal Entry #6-
Updating journal. It?s been a while. I was tortured. Very recently. I told this prick to fuck off. He was trying to recruit me for fighting. Guess he was some hotshot. They beat the living fuck out of me. Chained my arms to the walls and really went to town. I laughed when they used their sword hilts. Told them where to stick ?em. They had to go and get all fancy, whipping out magic and shit. First they enfeebled me. They poisoned me, they blinded me, they yelled at me. Then they beat me. After a while I told them I?d join, but the fucker?s said it was too late. Bet they didn?t even let the geeky guy know. They just kept pounding away.
Nobody talks to me, understood? I am not available for comment. I warn coworkers with a look. I warned the geek with a blunt response. Someone talks to me, I hit them. I hit everyone. I am Midgar, and Midgar is mean. It is a dark place, and the sinister rising of Mako is the evil of my spirit. Midgar is me. I am Midgar. I am Midgar. I AM MIDGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I AM MIDGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!
Journal Entry #7-
Today Jaggo and I, and a few others, went for a spin. Nobody talks to me, and I don?t talk to them. We started on the plate, with very little lighting. We took a ladder, a yellow one. It went down a great distance. We had to crawl. It was dangerous. I felt no fear. I felt nothing. We reached a staircase. Several platforms. Surrounding us were metal holding pins and towers painted yellow. I wanted to get away from them, so I jumped from a platform on to one of the towers. They?re ideal for climbing, but they?re not meant for it. The men were screaming at me. I promised them pain. They quieted, muttering. I beat them to the bottom. And they had to circle the perimeter. Past the fusion tanks, and the steel rods, and that never ending yellow construction tape plastered everywhere. I landed near some of that tape, except mine was framing a doorway. No door for this doorway. I went through, ahead of the pack. There was a makeshift walkway, a folded ladder. I crawled some more. I went through the ventilation shaft, just to piss them off. Just to go the ?wrong? way, and beat them to it. I?ll beat anyone. I am an animal. All the light was suddenly blue. I was going through an emergency evacuation shaft.
We met up in the slums. I call it the slums. Everyone else just calls it Sector 5, like it?s just another Sector, just one of the eight. I don?t think so. This place is a real shithole, and the people are poorer than rats. The young men are mostly hooligans, thugs. I want to talk to them, but they?re a bit uneasy around me. They know I could whip their asses, I bet. I pushed a few crates over, just to make a scene. I bullied my way through.
What is happening to me? I don?t even care.
I uncovered a weapons depot. Looks like they?re setting up shop. It?ll be a regular black market. I demanded a materia demonstration, but it was all shit. Well, at least what the guy showed me. He wanted 5,000 gil for a Buster Sword, but I told him to go fuck himself.
Signing off, cuz what the fuck ever,
Journal Entry #8-
Didn?t bother to finish the story last time. So there we were in the Sector 5 slums. Greatest fucking place on earth. Better than the empty train platform at 2 a.m., with the cold air, and the orchestral symphony playing in my head. Yeah, that?s right. The orchestral fucking symphony. We all set about fixing stuff. Pro bono gig. I pulled out my big man wrench, but I didn?t do shit. I was just there for the atmosphere. I wanted to sniff the air, see what I could dig up. Just be there, just live. There?s nothing cooler than the poor, but only when you?re on the outside looking in. I?m on the outside, but I?m trying to get inside. Maybe I should get a disguise, and come here on off days. Oh yeah, there are no fucking off days.
Fucking hate Shinra.
I?m strolling around. I come across this middle aged lady. She?s plain looking. She?s got green eyes and brown hair. By tomorrow, I won?t be able to remember her face. I take pity on her and lift a few big panels for her, which is now her roof. They?re an ugly, pale white color. She wouldn?t mind if I finished the siding, but I walk away. I don?t know, maybe some other time, if I feel like it.
I am the slums.
04-27-2010, 02:43 AM
Journal Entry #9-
I don?t know how to write this. I, I had a breakthrough, breakdown, with my wife. I was coming home from work the other day. The sunset was pale. Wasn?t supposed to look that way. I felt something coming all the way home. I take the train now; it?s finished. I didn?t give off any hints on the train, but I felt it even then. As I walked the last part to my home door, I felt it rising up. I was stronger when I entered. Strong for my wife. But then I saw her standing in front of the kitchen window, slowly chopping potatoes. That pale sun was behind her. Not even the shape itself, just the light of it. I stared at her, and all my concrete crumbled. Tears filled my eyes. I started weeping, harder than I knew I could. I have wept less for things I understood to be worth weeping for. This, I could not understand. Before I even knew it, I was falling to my knees, and she was cradling me, softly cooing to me, telling me everything was going to be alright; asking me what was wrong.
We talked. I told her everything was wrong. What were we doing with our lives? These are our lives! I tried to say something like: we live these miserable lives. We eat the poorest of foods, and there?s less and less of it, and less and less money. Shinra?s getting rich, getting everything. And it?s all because of people like me, willing, volunteering, to slave away for them! And she?s stuck in all of this because of me, to be with me. I don?t even know if she really loves me anymore. If she ever did. Sure she says she does, but I don?t know. I?m a steady paycheck, a way out of an even worse existence in this?man?s world. Maybe some other woman would go work for Corneo at Wall Market. But she just consoled me, and cried some herself. And then, after some awkwardness, and once I had gone to freshen up a little, she went right back to her potatoes. I wept all over again when I saw this, but I didn?t let her see me this time.
I didn?t even know I was going to cry at all. I feel so tired now, just thinking about it. I guess?I?ll just?I don?t know?drift off to sleep.
Journal Entry #10-
Everything is even worse than before. It?s crazy. The more the city progresses, the more I regress. I feel like I?m sinking. I noticed the daylight, or whatever in the hell you call that eeriness. There?s a great need for chit-chat and pep, and people being people. But at night I enter another world. The world of night, the true Midgar. It?s hard, it?s so hard. But the Mako sustains me; just the sight of it. There?s an energy I feel in my bones, and in my muscles; my mind is in a trance. I work so hard. Pounding away. I see my skin and how black it looks without much light. It seems I have no other color. I cannot remember seeing any other color of skin belonging to me. I am always working, and this is my work color.
05-11-2010, 05:06 PM
Journal Entry #11-
I don?t know. I don?t even know what I?m doing anymore. Drunk at the moment. Thought it?d be funny to write when I can?t see straight. Everything is fuzzy and hazy. Been hanging at the slums alot lately. Just drank and drank and drank and drank and drank tonight. Then on my way home the train stopped midway around the plate pillar. Some glitch or something. So I hopped off. Pushed away a train employee without a word. Went outside and hung on to the frame, suspended above the air. Bastards fixed the problem and drove off. They didn?t care if I fell, or if I got tired. I didn?t care either. I did a few pull ups, and then decided I did care, and then I clung and climbed my drunk ass down to a safe pit near the tracks, and jumped on to the next moving train that came along. Lucky they slow a little on the turns. Quite a night, but I don?t feel as thrilled as I should. Life still sucks.
Gonna probably go vomit now and then hit the sack.
Journal Entry #12-
Damn. Never thought I?d see this journal again. Back in Midgar. Just returned from a trip, which really did absolutely nothing for me. Still feel nothing. My soul is numb, my spirit is ash. I?m back at home with my wife. Just got back from a tour of the coast. I pretty much just said fuck it. Grabbed my hard earned cash (what little there was), failed to convince my wife to join me, stormed off in to the sunset, and the rest is at the bottom of some glass, or lost in the mines of Corel. I don?t know. Whatever. Costa Del Sol was like an oasis. Turns out the coast is pretty boring. Not much out there. Who am I writing this to? I?m not a travel guide. Maybe it?ll remind me to never go back. So anyway, I stumble in to town, all a shambles. Feet are crusted black. Tried to ride a wild chocobo, but the beast threw me off. My feet gave me less trouble when I took my boots off, but then I started getting cuts on my heels from the beach sand wearing through the layers, followed by the rocky dirt paths punching through the rest. My clothes were all gone to shit. I stumbled through this posh city, back all bent to shit.
But there was one good thing. Actually, as time goes by I think I?ll love the memory even more. I landed in a stool at a cheap bar. Cheap by their standards anyway. They didn?t kick me out. I sat in the back. Not much light. Threw all my money on the table and asked for the cheapest stuff, in shots. Keep em coming, I said. Man they worked me hard. I just drank and drank and drank. And drank some more. Fuck me I was seeing double, triple, quads. Random people were coming up to me and starting conversations and shit. I just started laughing at things that weren?t even funny. I didn?t even recognize my laugh.
I crawled, literally crawled, my way out of town. I don?t know what time it was when I started, but it was dark outside. They laughed me off at the arch, and it was bright enough outside to see their faces. I think I blacked out several times along the way. I think some people may have stepped on me as they walked past. I remember kids? voices.
Got to my feet somewhere in the plains. Dunked my head in some spring water. Dunno where that was. Damnit, wish I could remember the location of that wild spring. Good to know for future reference. Well I figure it was probably near a mountain or a hill, cuz those things tend to go together I think. So glad I ran in to a town, even if it was Corel. Used to live here a while back. Hated it then. Hate it now. Didn?t hate it at this point though. Fuck me, walking makes you thirsty. When you?re slaving away in my line of work, it?s weird but somehow you feel less thirsty cuz you know there?s guys around you, and you want to outlast them. You want to be the last to reach for the water. I had no money, but I got some free water, and then I talked a bar owner in to giving me a few mugs in exchange for cleanup duty. Lucky for me they?re poor and didn?t have many customers. Not too many dishes to wash. I actually enjoyed it though.
He gave me a free plate of food at the end of the night, as a bonus. He wasn?t going anywhere; he sleeps upstairs. I?m sitting there eating, and in walks a guy. Then a couple more guys. And so on. The first guy sits down in front of me, uninvited. I wanna knock him out, but I?m beat. Turns out they just wanted to talk. Stop me if you?ve heard this before: they?re an anti-Shinra group. Yeah. Another one. Honestly, how many of these dorks are there in the world? I just figure anyone worth their sand is gonna go to Midgar and take them head on, but apparently these guys are in and out. Probably the smart way to go. I didn?t know where I was headed, and getting a chance to really stick it to my boss sounded pretty good, so what the hell; I joined them. I fall in to the pack, walking behind the lead guy for a few days. Chatting and all.
A few days later we meet up in the attic of some crappy weapons shop, and I?m standing there above the candlelight with a wide smile on my face, my head cocked to the side, listening to some jacked revolutionary tell me jokes that kept me laughing in a steady stream. We talked right over the lead guy. I'm having fun with my guy though. I envied him immediately. Bigger, stronger than me. Tough as hell, and smart. Crafty. Black skinned; well, brown I guess. A tight cut. He puts the kick in kick-ass. I love this guy. I'm ready to divorce my wife and marry him. This man is my hero.
Well, that's what I was thinking anyway. As time went on, I started seeing holes in their arguments. My tongue was loosened from drinking, and man did I proceed to fuck things up. I go on and on- without anybody actually asking for my opinion- about how the world actually needs Shinra, despite how fucked up the company is. Bottom line, I say, Shinra is advancing everything. Everyone will benefit in some way. The trickle-down effect, I say.
I said some other stuff, but that's like in a time warp or some haze. All I know is that I ended up on my back. I know it was the black guy who put me there. There were some strong, tough dudes there, but none on his level. I thought they had put me in a coffin or something, cuz I couldn't stretch my limbs, but that was just a minor paralysis. Seriously, that guy needs to go to the market and challenge Big Boy. I bet he could beat the BA too. He's a real piece of work. They let me walk out of town on my own, and they made it clear that I had chosen to side with Shinra. Honestly, I never really felt like my opinion was worth anything, but hey whatever. I didn't bother to state my case, to tell them that I was just talking out of my ass, that I was just talking to the big fella. I should have. I just flat out didn't care either way.
On my way back in to town, I passed through LOVELESS ave., just to put the cherry on top. Damn that was depressing. And I thought I was already in the dumps. I'm sifting around like sewage, with other guys who look as despondent and hopeless as me, and some ugly women doing fuck knows what.
Damn, just imagine the horrible nature of a relationship started on LOVELESS avenue. Ugh.
04-28-2011, 07:20 PM
Ole wrapped his wrists, his hands, his fists, his palms, in tape. Draped the iron-hard bangle over the tape. Braced it with nail rods, and spit-shined it finished.
"How did it come to this?" Tony asked aloud.
Ole was lost in his preparations for the fight. He stretched, thrust his fists through the air, drank and spit, pissed, and then sat down, taking deep breaths and staring straight ahead. "Whattya think your wife would say about this, ya big dumb ox?"-"Couldn't care less."-"I can't believe you just left her there to fend for herself."-"That's not true, Tony. I begged her to come with me. But I didn't spare her the details of what might happen. Told her we'd be on the road a lot. She wanted the creature comforts. What can I say? Her life sucks, but she damn sure didn't do construction. Why are you fucking with me right now anyway?"-"Just tense, I guess."-"Why? You're just gonna go out there and rip them apart, like you always do."-"You don't know me that well. I was just a runt when I started here. I had to learn from my mistakes."-"Yeah, well you learned a lot. You're better than me."-"Bullshit."-"Whatever. It's almost go-time. Fuck off."
A few minutes later Ole was in the Battle Arena; the most popular attraction at the Gold Saucer. He won every match that day, like many other days. Afterwards, he showered in the room that was provided for him by Dio, the founder of the massive entertainment complex shaped somewhat like a beanstalk; located in the middle of a large desert. Ole knew himself to be nothing special. Just some passing champion who would earn what he wanted and then split. He didn't have the staying power of Tony, who was twice the fighter, yet half as humble, and wouldn't stop fighting until he was widely recognized as the best in all the land.
What Ole did have was the blank stare in the dressing room. The blank slate with which he approached every fight day, which were frequent for him, for gil was what he desired; happily given up by Arena gurus in exchange for his BP winnings. He would sit, waiting for his next fight, thinking of who knows what. After showering, he would trot, like a simple creature, to one of the Saucer's many bars, and drink away his earnings.
"Save some for your woman," Tony said. Ole got right in his face and barked, "Enough! Not one more word about my wife. I'll fucking kill you if you say anything else!". A couple of weeks later, on some random, moonless night, Ole was seen walking through the desert, wasted, with a huge bottle of liquor dangling in his grip. The wagoners that found him said he was mumbling uncontrollably.
Once Ole returned to the arena, Tony decided to take some time off. He broke into Ole's room and stole the journal that was always lying around. Tony sometimes drank as he travelled. He was alone much of the time, but at each establishment it wasn't hard for him to pick up a girl. He had the looks and the charms that they loved. Stumbling in to Midgar, he entered paid street fights, mostly pitted against construction workers. He went easy on them, knowing they needed to be able to keep working. One opponent was a bald guy with shades, who wore an impeccably well-kept suit. The two exchanged blows for a while, and then really went at it. They were well-bloodied when the organizers broke them up. Blood was usually a sign that the fight was over, in these bouts.
"Thanks for the fight. You've got a mean punch. Check out the BA, at the Saucer. I'm sure you've heard of it. You could do well there."-"I have no time for such idleness. Maybe you should come work with me. Do something meaningful with your life. Fight for Shinra, and the Turks who are its hounds."-"Nah, not my thing. Too political." Tony said, and walked away. His opponent called after him, "We decide policy." Tony turned back, and made as if to speak, but then simply shrugged and walked on.
He reached the slums, by chance. Bits of rusty steel rods, tape, and all other madness littered the ground, so that he had to pick and hop his way around. He sat down against a shabby, worn dwelling, and smoked a cigarette. Pulled out the journal and flipped through it:
Journal Entry #13-
Jaggo got his newspaper shop up and running. Damn, I got tears running down my face right now, just from thinking about it. He asked me to swing by. Damn...damn...damn...damn! Shinra's the cause of all this sadness! The divide between rich and poor didn't need to be this wide. It's only gonna get worse. There ain't no counterweight, see. That's what troubles me. No one and no thing can police Shinra. Their scheme is all-inclusive! They'll have it all, and then people like me will just say, "Oh, well how could we have known how it was going to be?"
Jaggo's shop...it's so small I could barely fit inside. There's like two coworkers there, and some middling equipment. It's pathetic, just pathetic. And I told him so, right to his face. "Get under the damn plate!" I told him. Here, space is at a premium. He says he needs it to look respectable. Ha! And he quit his fucking job for this shit!? Are you kidding me?...
There was more to the entry, but Tony lost interest. He sat back, with the cig in his mouth, breathing the filthy air. Good or bad, there was nothing else like it. In one's mind, presented with such a smell, you see only poverty. A while later, a ball rolled over to him. Two children came up to him, a little girl and her big brother. The girl looked at him with huge, child eyes, and said in a small voice, "Can I have my ball back?"-"Sure." The boy stared at him for a moment. "What's it like here, kid?"-"What's what like?"-"This place. This is the slums, right? I've heard about this place." The boy just stared at him. "You gonna work for Shinra when you grow up? Not much choice right? Maybe you should clean this place up so you guys can play a little easier. Don't the parents ever get together and clean up so you kids can have some clear ground?"-"Well yeah, but it wouldn't matter. They'd still throw everything down all the time."-"What do you mean?"-"You think this is all our stuff? Most of this stuff comes from above the plate. The people up there throw down whatever they don't want, or whatever. It lands here. Sometimes we find some good stuff, and sell it, or whatever."
Tony walked all over the city, above and below. He found himself on the MK93 II. Across from him sat a guy about his age. "So what about you then? You for or against Shinra?" The guy looked at him dumbly. "I take it you're not from around here. People don't really talk about Shinra so freely around here. You don't look like a slummer either though. Where are you from, stranger?"-"Oh, nowhere. So, stop changing the subject," Tony said in a friendly tone. The guy looked around, to make sure they weren't within earshot of anyone. "I'm sort of in the middle, ya know? At first I thought Shinra was kinda cool. I had a cousin who didn't think so. He and his friends got killed by Shinra, by their Security Department, or whatever it is. They got chased by dogs and gunned down at the end of an alley. Very bad-looking image for Shinra Corp. right? But the people who witnessed it just kept going on with their lives. No formal complaints, no investigation, no justice. I wasn't that close to him, so I didn't really do much either. Guess I can't say anything. All in all though, I'm probably leaning towards '"anti-Shinra"'."-Heard there's a ton of groups like that. You know of any?"-"Hey listen-"-"Don't worry, don't worry. I'm not an informant."-"But you can't prove it."-"I give you my word of honor." The guy looked at Tony, as if trying to remember some tiny detail from a long lost dream. "Never mind, buddy," Tony said. "You take care of yourself."
04-29-2011, 07:33 PM
Sometimes, Tony would swell up with anger towards Shinra. How dare they! How dare they, the bastards. How did they make it all look so easy anyway? With so few people on the planet, they had a monopoly on military and labor personnel. That's pretty much all it took to rule. No, they didn't quite rule. But if they wanted something, they had the power to take it.
But then, he would draw a deep sigh and cast it away, to wherever thoughts go. Yearning to visit the coast, he journeyed to the great city of Junon. Up and down the streets he walked. Here, there were people. It was something of a metropolis; not quite as large as Midgar, but with a calmer, less frightful air. Shinra was in command here too. But one knew that in the back of one's mind; in Midgar, one knew it in the front. There was something almost festive about the place. Tony felt strangely joyous here. Everyone was relatively well-off. Shops were cool, and exciting. Back-alley exchanges and sketchy gambling rings were happily ignored by the authorities. There was a sturdy freedom about the place that sharply contrasted its incredible military buildup. Tony had never seen so many soldiers. They were like common civilians, so often did he see them standing, or walking about the city, or drilling, or eating. He even found some of them gambling.
Feeling excited, and uncaring of the consequences, he climbed, at sunset, with only his hands and feet, from the bottom of the city to the top. He was all along the walls and balconies; wherever he could get a foothold. He heard faint shouts every now and then, but he didn't care.
By nightfall, he had exited the city altogether. He traversed the outskirts, back down to the coast. The next morning, he was astounded. It was as though someone had carried him somewhere else in the middle of the night. Looking up, he saw the massive Shinra cannon, the Sister Ray; proof that he was still around Junon. But now he saw only poor people and sad looks. On a filthy beach, he came across an old fisherman. The man's clothes were ragged; his teeth were missing in odd places; his throat was hoarse, and his breath smelled awful. He was skinny, very skinny, as though he'd not eaten for days. He sounded a bit cheerful though, as though the common attitude in the city above had rubbed off on him somehow. "I just don't see why they couldn't build their own damn city somewhere else. Hell, somewhere sorta close even. But damnit, they built theirs right above ours! I mean what kinda..."
Tony smiled at him, gave him some gil, and went on his way. The world was full of problems, and always would be. One can't go around trying to fix everything. Some things, many things, just aren't meant to be fixed. Some things are perfect in their imperfections. He longed to visit Corel now, and gaze on more impoverished people, more reasons to be angry, and righteous. Some unfamiliar longing within him...
Instead, he returned to the Arena. Ole was back in form now. He had just come in to the dressing room, fresh from a defeat in the final round. He and Tony stared at each other for a long moment. "I don't know how much longer I can do this."-"Ah, you just got bored out there. Liquor's probably dulling your senses, ya big ox."-"Cold sober for a week now."-"One full week? Is that a record?"
While each did their thing, in walked a young man. At first glance, Tony's eyes lit up. The young man rushed to him excitedly. They hugged, and exchanged greetings. "Ole, this is-"'-"I just go by Victory now."-"Alright then, Ole, Victory. Victory, Ole."
That night, the three went drinking. "Here, I borrowed this," Tony said, handing Ole the journal. "Bastard. Didn't know it was taken."-"Yeah, well. So, what should the three of us do now? Are we adventurers, or just people? Have we taken sides? Does our story end here? Do we just fade off in to the sunset?"-"Well, I don't know about you two, but I kinda like it here."-"You're just Dio's pet. You really wanna stay here day after day and fight in the same stupid tournament?"-"Hell yeah. If I'd known how lucrative this was, you really think I'd have stuck with construction all those years? Maybe I'd still be with my wife...I thought you were aiming to become the very best?"-"I was. But now, I just feel like it doesn't matter anymore. I'm done with this. Maybe once in a while, but not every single day."-"Chocobo Racing, then? Come on, this is the most happening place in the world! Anywhere else you go, you're guaranteed to be more bored than you are here."
"Let's ask Victory then. Maybe he has some ideas for me."-"Well Tony, I'm up for anything really. I'll race chocobos, I'll go snowboarding, I'll fight in the BA-"-"Can you fight?"-"Hell yeah!" Victory whipped out his dual swords and put on a brief, dazzling display of swordsmanship. "Let's go Tony. Let's just go. I don't care where, or how. Let's get out of here, and then return again and again and again. Let's adventure forever!"
05-01-2011, 07:55 PM
It was nighttime, and Jaggo was cleaning the wretched equipment in his newspaper shop; where he was founder and editor-in-chief. His assistant, a greying man named Walt, was helping; not because he really wanted to, but because he had nothing better to do. Jaggo slaved away, day after day, for the struggling startup. At first, it was almost celebrated in Midgar. But a few articles in to it, articles which didn't exactly flatter Shinra Corp., and it quickly lost it's appeal. Jaggo maintained that he was completely neutral, but that the truth could be ugly.
Someone banged on the door, and when Walt shouted that the place was closed, it was kicked open. Three men, in dark suits, strut in and looked around. "Ah, the Turks then," Walt said. They honed in on Jaggo, and he immediately began a diatribe, detailing the morality of the "free press"; his denial of complicity and wrongdoing; the flashing of his ID; his construction work pay stubs; his building permits; examples of his work. The Turks alternated between paying attention, and digging through desk-drawers. They seemed cold, emotionless. Walt sat back in his chair with an amused look on his face.
Finally, a suit spoke. "Where were you three nights ago?"-"Walt and I were here, doing exactly what we're doing now. Eina was with us too. She works here as well. These machines are in bad shape. We have to clean and maintain them constantly, otherwise we can't get the papers out in the morning. We needed her-"-"You were not here. Members of this newspaper outfit were seen reporting on the murder at the Sector 3 Reactor."-"Member. A member. Singular, not plural. That would be Jonas, a Mako beat reporter who sometimes freelances for me. He-"-"What is your interest in Mako?"-"Me? Look, I didn't even know he was reporting until after the fact."-"Had you ever spoken to the victim?"-"Nope. I'm not allowed to speak to Shinra employees, or I should say vice-versa. You guys are forced to sign some sort of confidentiality agreement, right?"-"Yet, you did speak to him. A few months ago. Who initiated contact, you or he?"
Jaggo seemed awestruck. "What are you talking about. I told you. I never spoke to that guy in my entire life."-"He was a scientist, you know. Scientists have a tedious habit of keeping journals." A red-haired Turk approached him and, as if it were the most natural thing in the world, hit him in the stomach with a baton. Jaggo fell to his knees, gasping for air. He thought he was dying, so painful was the blow. "I'm going to ask you one more time. The next time we hit you, we won't use a blunted weapon." The red-haired Turk gripped Jaggo's hair and pulled his head up. He was gasping and sweating and choking all at once. The pain was unbearable. "Who initiated contact, and what did he disclose?" Walt, who had remained calm throughout, responded, "What possible difference would it make who initiated contact?" He continued speaking, even as a bald Turk approached him menacingly. "You wanna know what the dead guy disclosed? He said, 'Hey, Shinra sucks! Got any positions open in that pathetic little newspaper shop over there?'"
The bald Turk brought back his fist, as if to swing at him, but Jaggo shouted, "Hey! Stop! Stop! Look, I swear to you, I never-"-"What's that? Repeat," the Turks were receiving some kind of message through their earpieces. "Let's go."
Just like that, the three men calmly and quietly left the shop. "Holy shit! I thought that guy was gonna knock me in to my next lifetime!"-"Whew. Ugh, hurts so much."-"Well, at least they're gone. They won't be coming back. It's a scare tactic. The Turks are known for it. They just made all that up. The thing with you and the scientist. They were just fishing. No problem, no problem."-"You're right, if they truly believed that I knew anything, they wouldn't have just left me here."-"Exactly. Whew, Eina will get a kick out of this, eh? Imagine her face tomorrow! She'll probably try to nurse away your pain. I tell ya, I think she-"-"There's just one problem, Walt."-"What's that?"-"Can I trust you?"-"Of course. Of course! It's me. I'm no spy. Jeez, don't get all spooky on on me. Tell me, what's the problem?"
Jaggo picked himself up from off of his knees and sat back in his chair, breathing heavily. "They were right. I did speak to the scientist."
05-25-2011, 09:02 PM
Victory could not smile as his blades tore through monster after monster. But afterwards, after these increasingly brief encounters, he could give Tony a silly "thumbs up", or perhaps just a grin.
It's true, his skill was strong. Tony couldn't help but admire the young pup's daring. The first time they encountered considerably strong monsters, he glanced at Victory to see if he would make to run.
The thought seemed well removed.
He himself was in constant training; until recently, exerting himself in the BA daily. How had Victory become his equal, or close to it? "When should we go to Cosmo?" That seemed to weigh heavily on Victory's mind. But when indeed?
They reached the august Northern Continent, a place of quiet and mystery. "Follow me. I know a place," said Tony. The two men bestrode the land like young lions; calm, majestic, serene, powerful; glowing with an aura of invincibility that said, "Try it, if you dare." It would take monsters of the deep, legends of the stories, to truly challenge them now; such was their dominance over common foes. Shinra's army would have no place for them, but rather push them in to SOLDIER, 1st Class no doubt; the truly elite fighting force. But their minds were on different business; of adventure, of snowboarding rush, and games galore. Of women especially, though Victory had no skill at this. Tony, of course, had enough for two.
The Icicle Inn was full of homes and taverns, and a gateway to a legendary trail. The residents of this sleepy town greeted the two adventurers wearily. Tony led the way to a hotel brimming with icicles. The two men stomped the snow from their boots, took off much of their clothing, sat down by the common fireplace on the first floor, and began to feel comfortable.
It may be that trouble finds such people as an animal detects, with ease, those of its own kind. A man burst through the front door, followed by another, and another man ran in, yelling at the first two. Victory, lover of fires' flames, sat transfixed, but Tony turned to listen. "Fuck me! All of them. That's...come on! Damnit, tell the truth! Ah, fuck you. Fuck you!"
The bartender had had enough from the outset, and asked the matter. The three men, who were quickly joined by more from outside, ignored him completely. Tony got up and shoved the loudest of them, gruffly asking for news.
"Shinra! Shinra's coming back. Tons of them."-"Why?"-"It's that damned scientist! I knew we should've kicked his ass out! I knew it! I told you-" Some in-fighting, and finger pointing followed, and the noise grew louder. The bartender got Tony's attention and motioned him over. A few minutes later, Victory joined them.
"Well, I hope you've had enough warm toastiness, cuz we've got Shinra coming this way, and they're loaded. I say we take 'em all on!" Victory grinned, and clasped his arm firmly. "No no no, it's not like that. It's not like that," the bartender said. "They're here to clean up a mess that has nothing to do with this town. We're just here. We're just people. We mean nothing to them. This is all about Gast. They'll pillage his old place, and leave. Don't get in their way, or they'll take it out on everyone in this town. Is that what you want?"
The two men looked a little disappointed, but they nodded their agreement and put thoughts of resistance to rest. They stayed at the hotel that night, and the next day they discovered that the event was already over. "That's how it is here," the bartender said. "Everyone got all worked up, expecting the worst. Only I knew what was really going to happen, and I was right. They went in to Gast's house for a couple of hours, and left. No information was available; security was tight."-"Did they take him?"-"Jeez, don't you guys know anything? Shinra killed Gast years ago. Obviously, they were looking for something he might've left behind."
Later that day, Tony said to Victory, "It's raw, it's live...let's do it!" His friend seemed less than pleased. "Cosmo Canyon will always be there, man. This is important stuff though. We've got to go to Midgar! Let's see where this takes us."
Victory thought of the great wonder of Cosmo Canyon. But then he saw the mischievous glint in his friend's eye. Tony was like a big brother to him. He couldn't let him down.
05-26-2011, 08:34 PM
Ole was back in Midgar. Hard at work in the construction business. The city was complete at last. Now he was being treated to periodic projects at great pay. The competition was minimal, and he had managed to get in with a wealthy company that knew him well. He had found his wife selling fruit in the slums. She looked tired, without makeup, and rather ragged. Aware of the poor people watching, he fought back the tears that welled up, held her hand without a word, and walked out of there with her by his side. He continued to write in his journal until he had reached his 47th entry. His wife asked to read it one evening, as they lounged in their new home; above the plate. Things had surprisingly turned out pretty well, Ole thought. He let her read it.
She was absorbed in it a long time. He did a few things around the house, and when he checked in on her, he saw her wiping away tears. Finally she said, "Honey, can you stop this?" He feigned confusion, but her meaning had gone straight to his heart. It was a part of him, he supposed. So much he had been through, and at times this journal was all he had to confide in. It was a part of him now.
But so too was his iron resolve, forged in the depths of the Battle Arena, where victory was the only outcome. Because without victory, there could be no drinking that night, and without drinking, no way to wash away the pain of his lost wife, or his futile career, or the damage he withstood fighting monsters that others could only run from. Not for nothing, his resolve. And he thought of the very birth of this same resolve, how it had grown with each dismissal of the water bucket during his labor. Working harder than others, harder than most, transforming himself in to the kind of beasts he would one day fight. A man amongst men.
And so, he kissed her warmly, he looked her in the eye, and he said, "Baby, for you, I will." And he tossed the journal aside, to some random spot. She trusted him; she knew he loved her, and that he was done with it; and with it all the pessimism and hard times, and agonizing journeys that led nowhere. The city was complete, and so too were they.
And yet, Ole would go out at night. Perhaps only to admire his creation. Midgar gleamed with electricity, powered by Mako. In this vast city, greatest in all the world, so many people made their lives; and he was partly responsible. He had an urge to call on Jaggo, and he twitched as if to do so, but then he felt the familiar pang of sorrow. His friend had been recently killed. Too much meddling, Ole thought. He wasn't really angry about it though. He had been close enough to death, over and over, so that he regarded it rather lightly. Any inquiry or vengeance would undoubtedly lead nowhere. He knew Shinra was behind it, for Jaggo couldn't make an enemy with anyone else. He wasn't going to risk breaking up his newfound peace and happiness, alone with his wife and, perhaps, a child someday. Not for justice against a corporation that lacked it. Especially not for Jaggo, who would himself have urged him to keep quiet.
As if to second guess him, fate threw a man in his way. An explosion roared, a not infrequent occurrence. Several shady characters leapt up and ran around, shouting excitedly. One of them gave him a quick look-over, and then entered in to what seemed a practiced bit of rhetoric; not bad, as far as Ole was concerned. He lacked interest, and didn't bother to record the name of the man or his group. He listened to him calmly, and at the end said, "No, friend. Good luck to you. I wish you all the best. I won't join." The man seemed prepared for this response, but before he could reply, he caught the notion that Shinra was coming. And so, he ran off.
The next night, Ole walked out of the city gates. In the dark blueness, not too far from him, he recognized Tony, with his friend Victory. Ole made no effort to speak to them. They seemed to him relics of a life he had put behind. Their whole existence was just a rumor, at this point. Yet, he stared at them a while. He admired them.
Tony was speaking to Victory now and then, saying little things. Their faces remained in mostly the same, moderately stoic state. They rarely blinked their eyes. Their weapons sat content and strong by their sides, and on their backs. Those strong, confident backs, which none of their foes had seen the sight of. They stood there, gazing up at Midgar. Destiny seemed present. One felt that at any moment they could take off, and carry out their plan; whatever it was. They seemed ready for anything. A terror to whomever they called enemy. Ole guessed that if they had one, it would be Shinra. It seemingly always was.
He didn't really know if they were here to fight, however. They just stood there. It seemed that this was where they should be. At this moment in time, they belonged at this spot, gazing at this sight. And Ole turned around and looked up, and around. What a sight it was.
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