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The Fifth Act, Chapter 32

Title: The Fifth Act

Rating:
T for violence.

Summary: FFVII Time-travel. Gen. Cloud has an accident with a Time Materia.

Author's Note:  EXHAUSTED. But in a good way.  Melbourne trip was mostly brilliant, I will maybe post on it tomorrow.  In the meantime, here, take this chapter while I am still coherent!

Previous Chapter     

 

__________________

The Fifth Act
Chapter 32


__________________
 

Back in the cage.

 

Back in the tanks.

 

Back in the cage.

 

It never ended.

 

Cloud hugged his arms to his chest, struggling to suppress the shivering. The cell felt a lot colder and more unforgiving in sodden clothes. At this stage, though, he figured they should be glad Hojo let them keep any clothes at all. 

 

Power levels rising. Sixty percent… seventy percent… eighty percent…

 

The whine in his ears turned to a shriek. A flash of white, and Cloud stumbled, bracing himself against the bars, breath coming in harsh rasps that rattled his lungs. With shaky legs, he slid down to rest on the floor. Without Ribbon, the wave of nausea and aching that normally accompanied a jump turned into a sensation not unlike being hit by a truck. 

 

“Twenty-four hours and eighteen minutes. Error of less than two percent.”

 

Kunsel slumped down next to him. He looked a bit green, but it was hard to tell if that were from the time jump or the mako still clinging to his skin. Hojo had his assistants hose the tanks with water before they took them out for the next round of tests, but it was a matter of protocol at best – the green still settled inside their boots, nestled between the folds of their uniform, and lingered underneath their nails. “Cloud?”

 

“It’s fine,” he muttered, and knew better than to ask why there were three Kunsels spinning in his vision. “Give me a minute.”

 

Faintly, he could hear Hojo’s mutterings fade in and out as he paced back and forth in front of the microphone. “The increase in mako levels appears to have assisted the other specimen… possibly at higher percentages the effects plateau and become negligible… accumulation of time stress… could be related to the exhaustion reported by the repetitive use of Exit materia…

 

“Hey,” Kunsel said in a weak voice, “It’s that ribbon you gave me, isn’t it? Take it back. You’re a wreck.”

 

He shook his head. “It’ll be more effective for you,” he lied. “Besides, I’m already feeling better.” He didn’t risk trying to stand up, though. And his head felt like it had been stuffed with dirt. But better that Kunsel benefit from Ribbon’s protection. It was only fair. The Second Class had nothing to do with any of this.

 

A selfish part of him was grateful not to be stuck in this hell alone, for that silent support.  But even with Ribbon, Kunsel wasn't doing so great. He was a SOLDIER, at least, so he kept a cool head and didn't dissolve into hysterics, and could take a lot more physical punishment than the average human being.  That didn't mean Hojo's experiments weren't taking their toll.

 

The blond did what he could, whenever they were outside the dreaded mako tanks.  Talked to him in a quiet voice, the way Zack used to, to keep him in the present and responsive.  Told him about the Ancients, Jenova, Reunion, the Lifestream, how the Planet was dying in detail. He skirted around his personal experiences, especially those involving Hojo and his confusion over Zack’s memories, but relayed the story of how he’d first come to this timeline, and what had happened with Angeal and Hollander. Made sure he remembered to drink water whenever possible.  Woke him up when he slept too long, always gripped by the fear that he might slip into a coma.

 

It was a grim insight into how Zack must have felt when they were imprisoned those four long years.

 

Cloud avoided thinking too deeply about it.  Kunsel was a lot tougher - and a good couple of years older - than he'd been when he first fell into Hojo's clutches.  He'd last longer.  He was probably even handling the mako soaks better than Cloud was, at this point.

 

It didn’t change the fact that this new angle of Hojo’s experimentation could ruin everything. 

 

He needed to act soon, or the opportunity would be lost forever.

 

“I’ll get us out of here this time, Zack,” he whispered.

 

 

…………………….

 

 

The PHS clutched in his hand began to creak, plastic squealing under the growing pressure.

 

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Zack growled. “This is some kind of sick, messed-up joke, right? Right?”

 

Neither Genesis nor Sephiroth said a word.

 

The letters on the screen glowed steady and bright, as though mocking him.

 

‘…And lastly, an official notification in the change of status of the following personnel: 

 

Zack Fair, SOLDIER Second Class – promoted to SOLDIER First Class.

 

Kunsel, SOLDIER Second Class - killed in action.’

 

The company notices, cold and impersonal, listed the death of one of his closest friends as a footnote

 

Bullshit.”

 

If Angeal died from degradation, would he be reduced to this?  A careless afterthought in the newsletter, with no mention of the part they played in his death?

 

Zack clenched his fists. “I’m going.”

 

Sephiroth moved first, blocking the door before he could leave. “Don’t be a fool.”

 

“It can’t be a coincidence. He goes on a mission looking for Cloud, drops out of contact, and then we get this?” He shook his PHS at the General. 

 

He might as well have been arguing with a statue. “That doesn’t mean you should rush off to the West Continent without a plan,” came the stony reply.

 

"If we wait too long, it might be too late to act!"

 

“You won’t be of any use to anybody if you are put in detention, or worse, killed,” Sephiroth cut in. 

 

“I’m a First Class now! You can’t stop me!” snapped Zack.

 

“Being First Class means you can turn down missions, not that you have the right to flout the chain of command,” the General all but growled. 

 

His retort rested on the tip of his tongue, but Genesis gripped his arm hard enough to bruise. Confused, he glanced at the red-haired Commander, and was met with a steel blue glare and a very slight shake of the head.

 

He must have inherited some of Cissnei’s luck, because a Third Class chose that moment to knock on the door. “Enter,” Sephiroth called.

 

“Sorry to interrupt, General, Commander, Lieutenant,” the Third Class nodded to each of the Firsts in turn. “General, the Director needs you in the Briefing Room. It won’t take long.”

 

Sephiroth sent him a look that promised they weren’t finished with the discussion. “Wait here. And Genesis, make sure he stays too.”

 

Genesis gave a mocking sort of half-bow, still not releasing his arm.

 

Neither of them spoke until the General and the Third Class had left the room. As soon as enough time has passed for them to be a respectable distance away, Zack scowled and turned on his fellow SOLDIER. “What was that about?!”

 

“Are you a complete idiot?” Genesis hissed. 

 

“Don’t you start on that too, I know I’m right!” Zack was not in the mood for people to be insulting his intelligence. He knew he acted without thinking sometimes, but that didn’t mean he was stupid. It just meant he spent way too much time hanging around geniuses with freakishly good memories. Like Sephiroth and Genesis and Kunsel. Shiva, that last name hurt. “Besides, you agree with me!” he argued.

 

Genesis’s grip tightened.  "I do, but listen to me.  The problem here isn't so much the Turks as it is Sephiroth."


"What are you talking about?  He wants to find them too, doesn't he?"


"Precisely.  But have you even stopped to consider what might happen if ShinRa decides to stop playing ignorant and order us to cease our search?"  Genesis's gaze bore into him, as though trying to create understanding through the force of his stare alone. 

 

“Huh?”

 

“Must I repeat myself? They’ve been indulging us so far, but let us pretend for a moment that ShinRa decides we’re no longer acting in the company’s best interests, and orders us to stop looking for Cloud and Angeal. What would you do?”

 

Zack hesitated, then admitted, “In this case… I don’t think I would. Stop, I mean.” Even if it meant being accused of treason.

 

Genesis nodded as though he’d expected as much. “Truthfully, neither would I. But what do you suppose Sephiroth would do?”

 

Zack’s eyes widened. “You don’t mean-”

 

Genesis’s grim expression was all the answer he needed.

 

He hadn’t considered that. And if they kept looking against orders, ShinRa might decide to do something about it.

 

“But, I mean, surely there’d be a point when he’d just say no, right?” Zack asked, uneasy at the thought. “Or at least exercise his right to refuse missions?”

 

Genesis huffed, crossing his arms. "I should think that if something were to upset him enough, then he would. ShinRa is generally careful not to push it. But do you really want to take that chance, Zack Fair?"

Zack recalled Sephiroth asking him what he would do, if ShinRa ordered him to kill a friend turned traitor.  At the time it left him upset, but he hadn't ever believed it could really happen. He’d worried about ShinRa asking him to kill Cloud or Angeal, but never thought of the possibility that Sephiroth could be ordered to kill him

 

That would really, really suck.

 

“He’s that loyal to ShinRa?” Zack considered himself loyal to the company, but if they ever decided to change Angeal’s status from ‘on leave’ to ‘deserted’, he wasn’t sure if he’d able to kill his mentor. He looked the other way more often than he was comfortable with, but if it came to affect him personally

 

Genesis shrugged. “I would say more that it’s never occurred to him to be anything else. ShinRa is all he knows.”

 

That was kind of sad. And suddenly, the General’s cautiousness in their search for Cloud and Angeal made sense. Navigating through the grey areas and loopholes he certainly had no problem with, but uneasily, Zack began to wonder if Sephiroth had been so insistent on keeping to those grey zones for fear of confronting that exact scenario. Where his friends might become ShinRa’s enemies.

 

Genesis nodded. “It appears you finally get it.”

 

“This is bad,” he admitted.

 

Worse than bad. If the news about Kunsel was anything to go by, then their time might already be up.

 

It was supposed to be a happy occasion. As happy as it could get with Angeal’s sickness and Cloud’s disappearance hanging over their heads. He was going to surprise Kunsel with his promotion to First Class. Figured he’d just rock up in the uniform, see how long it took his buddy to notice. He anticipated the Second Class already knowing, probably bragging that he’d heard about it before Zack did.

 

Now, not only were Cloud and Angeal still missing, but Kunsel had been reported as dead, and they couldn’t even trust Sephiroth with their backs.

 

And, dammit, he still wanted to throw all caution to the wind and race to the West Continent as fast as possible.

 

He was about to say as much, when Genesis held up a hand for silence. A moment later, the door opened again, and Sephiroth returned, the same frown still drawing his thin silver brows together.

 

“Any problems?” asked Genesis, expression bored. With new eyes, Zack noticed that the Commander’s hand rested idly on his sword, despite the innocence of the query.

 

Angeal had always told him his friend was a good actor, but Zack hadn’t comprehended how good until that moment. 

 

“Just a routine matter,” Sephiroth replied distractedly, then refocused. “Where were we?”

 

“I believe you were lecturing our rookie First Class Zack Fair on the perils of his impulsiveness.”

 

Zack folded his arms. “I can’t believe you really think we should just sit back and do nothing.”

The frown deepened. “I suggested no such thing. But the whole situation bothers me. Think about it.”

 

“What’s there to think about?” Zack complained.

 

"It doesn't add up.  Why would the Turks have allowed Sergeant Kunsel to take the mission?  Lazard has been diligent about keeping us as close to Midgar as possible.  I had assumed that was to prevent us from searching."

 

Zack pondered that, but Genesis replied first. “You suspect a trap?”

 

“If not one of ShinRa’s own devising, then someone else’s.” Sephiroth folded his arms. “I’ll request a report from the Turks – as one of my men has died-” Zack’s stomach did a flip on the word. “-they’ll have no choice but to comply.”

 

“And then?” he challenged.

 

“And then we find a way to go to the West Continent, legitimately,” Sephiroth said firmly, with a significant glance at Genesis.

 

“What?” The red-haired Commander drawled. “Are you comparing me to our rookie First Class?”

 

“You’re just as prone to heroics,” Sephiroth remarked.

 

“Hey!” Zack protested. “Nothing wrong with being a hero!”

 

Neither of them acknowledged his offence. “Just be patient until I can find something that will keep the Turks off our backs.” Sephiroth pinned them both with a sharp green glare – the same stare he reserved for ordering around unruly troops.

 

Genesis scoffed, but didn’t argue. He glanced at Zack out of the corner of his eyes, but his gaze darted away again just as quickly. 

 

The General didn’t appear to be finished, though. “And Zack, you received a new materia as part of your promotion to First Class, didn’t you?”

 

He nodded, holding up his new bracer. “Thundara.” He’d done well practicing with Cloud’s mastered Bolt materia, so figured he should get his own. 

 

The General nodded. “Good. Focus on training it up as quickly as you can. And restock your potions and ethers if you’re running low. We’ll need to be prepared to act on a moment’s notice.”

 

“Got it,” he agreed, and while he felt a bit better at the idea of preparing for action, it didn’t go very far in dampening his urge to act immediately. Intellectually, he knew this was his only choice right now – if he didn’t want to wind up in a cell or in exile where he couldn’t help anybody - but a larger part of him chafed at the restrictions. Restrictions he’d thought he finally left behind with his promotion.

 

He stared at the materia locked in his bracer. SOLDIER First Class. He’d finally made it, but something about it felt cheap now.

 

He recalled the pride swelling in his heart as Lazard delivered the news, only two days before. The congratulations of his fellow SOLDIERs. The renewed determination to find Cloud and Angeal so he could share his achievement with them. The satisfaction of attaining his goal, the warm fulfilment of his dream as he put on the black uniform.

 

Then the official announcement of his promotion had come in the same company notices as the news of his friend’s death.

 

He couldn’t help but feel as though he had been bribed.

 

 

…………………….

 

 

Green.

 

Thick, endless, burning green.

 

It seemed like he’d never left it. Or would never leave again.

 

Through half-lidded eyes, he watched the white blob of the lab coat moving about the room. His body felt both impossibly light and enormously heavy as it floated in the thick liquid.

 

Detached consciousness. He recognised the symptoms now, well enough to fight them. He also knew that eventually that resistance would erode. 

 

The lab coat moved towards the exit, not even pausing by the tanks. It disappeared. Cloud waited.

 

It might have been a minute. It might have been twenty. Submerged in mako, it became hard to tell – it distorted his sense of time, like riding a drug high. Had a lot of the same side effects, too. Memory loss. Hallucinations. Impaired judgement. 

 

Enough time had passed to be sure the assistant wouldn’t be back immediately, at any rate. No way of being exactly sure when they would return, but he’d have to take a chance. Kunsel wouldn’t last long enough for him to memorise the patterns, the way Zack had. 

 

His gaze drifted to the second tube, where the limp form of a SOLDIER Second Class floated. Possibly asleep. Hard to tell with the helmet. 

 

He turned his attention back to the glass before him. In a daze, he reached out, caressing the smooth surface, fingers ghosting across the place he expected letters to be. Shapes painstakingly carved with nothing more than his fingernails.

 

‘We have to get out of here.’

 

It was glass, but so thick it might as well have been concrete.

 

As a trooper, wounded from Masamune, weakened from experiments, addled by mako, he’d pounded on the walls desperately, anxious to escape. He’d never so much as cracked the transparent barrier.

 

This time, he was a SOLDIER First Class. Stronger than Zack had been, wounded from his battle with Sephiroth. Stronger than his memories.

 

What was the point of trying to change anything, if he couldn’t manage this much?

 

Barely thinking, Cloud drew back his arm, and smashed his fist into the glass in front of him.

 

It splintered. He drew back, and did it again.

 

It shattered.

 

Mako gushed from the tank, half-dragging the blond out with it. The sharp edges of broken glass tore at his uniform, but he ignored them, pulling himself free and stumbling away. 

 

Out. He was out. 

 

Not much time. Operating almost entirely on automatic, he hurried to the other tank, splashing through the mako slowly disappearing down the drainpipe nestled in the tiles. He fumbled with the controls, until he finally found the emergency release. More mako sloshed over his boots, dumping Kunsel on the floor in its hasty rush from the cylinder. Cloud dragged him to his feet as the Second hacked and coughed, spitting out glowing green mouthful of poison. “Cloud?”

 

“We’re escaping,” was all he said. No sign of his or Kunsel’s weapons, but they could make do. “Can you stand?”

 

“I think so.” Kunsel pushed himself to feet, still dripping with mako. Shaky, but he could walk. They were already doing better.

 

Cloud headed to the exit, cracking it open to peer out. No sign of any guards or scientists in the next room. Hojo worried more about moving them to and from the Time materia chamber – he probably hadn’t bothered stationing anyone to keep watch while they were in the tanks. 

 

There would still be sahagins, though. Neither of them had anything to ward the monsters away with, and without weapons, the creatures would be bold. They couldn’t risk the commotion a fight might draw, either.

 

“We’re going to run for it,” he murmured. “Follow me. I know the way.”

 

Kunsel nodded. They slipped through into the next room.

 

The cursed library. For a moment, Cloud’s vision wavered as he watched the ghost of Sephiroth standing by the shelves, poring over file after file with glazed green eyes. 

 

“Cloud?”

 

The apparition vanished, and only books remained.

 

“Just memories,” he muttered, and headed for the exit, resolutely not stopping to look at the papers scattered on the desk or the tomes stacked on the shelves. 

 

The cavern looked clear as well. Silently, they ventured into the darkness, Cloud able to navigate their way with ease. He’d trekked this dim path through his dreams so many times. Their pace was more of a jog, neither of them able to move any faster without tripping over their own feet, still dizzy and sluggish from the mako. The quiet clicking of claws on rock echoed from the shadows. One sahagin ventured near, hissing, but Cloud lashed out with a well-placed kick, and it skittered back into the gloom, temporarily cowed. They didn’t wait around to see if it would get its courage back.

 

Kunsel stumbled behind him. Cloud dropped back and caught his shoulder before he could fall. “You okay?”

 

“Yeah. Sorry. I don’t know why-”

 

“Don’t worry about it,” he interrupted, slinging the Second’s arm around his neck and hauling him along at a slightly slower pace. 

"Don't worry about it.  We'll take it slow, okay?"


 They were almost at the stairs when he heard footsteps.

 

Cloud tensed, and shuffled them into one of the shadowy recesses in the cavern wall. Scientists? Guards? 

 

Too far away to ambush and knock out. He waited with bated breath. The stairs were right there, but if they went now, they might be spotted. They still had to make it through the mansion, out of the grounds, then away from Nibelheim. ShinRa probably wouldn’t send troops into town to catch them, at risk of alarming the locals, but there weren’t many paths off the mountain. The bigger a head start they had, the greater the chance of getting away. Maybe they wouldn’t stop to check. Maybe they wouldn’t notice.

 

Odin, it really was troopers. The pair of voices barely reached across the distance. “It’s just mako, one of the canisters must have been leaking.”

 

“No way, look here.” A pause, and a shuffle of feet. “See? Looks like blood mixed in.”

 

The other trooper swore. “It leads to the lab.”

 

Blood?

 

“Shit, Cloud, your hand-!” Kunsel whispered.

 

Blankly, he looked down at his fist. It was bleeding liberally, with shards of glass poking out between the knuckles. Bruised and swollen to the point of deformity. 

 

From when he punched out of the tank, he realised belatedly. He hadn’t even felt it. Couldn’t feel anything, really. His clothes were still sodden with mako, cold and clinging to his skin, but the sensation felt filtered, as though it were happening to someone else.

 

Adrenaline rush. It wouldn’t last. He’d take advantage for as long as it held out.

 

He tugged out the largest shards and tossed them aside – they were getting in the way of the mako closing up the wound. It wasn’t that much worse than when he’d tried to punch that security mech bare-knuckled. “We’re going for it,” he muttered, and before Kunsel had a chance to respond, propelled them up the stairs.

 

They were halfway up when the alarm started to sound – a distant, shrilling wail that tore at their ears and smothered any hope of listening for pursuers. Cloud practically dragged Kunsel up the last few steps with him, and fumbled in the darkness until he found the edge of the exit. No time to search for the mechanism to unlock it – he threw all of the SOLDIER-enhanced strength he could muster at it, and managed to shove the door open a hand’s width. Kunsel joined him, and the heavy stone entrance slowly ground open. 

 

They spilled out into the musty bedroom, the alarm fading to a muted ringing behind them.

 

“Where-?” Kunsel looked around in confusion.

 

“Come on,” Cloud ordered, and brushed past him. He fumbled with the doorknob with his good hand, gave up, and settled for kicking it open. The hinges squealed in protest. 

 

The mansion bore more signs of life than he remembered. He didn’t bother pausing to inspect the scattered research papers or check the closets for better clothes – even if their mako-soaked gear was doing them more harm than good at this point. He headed down the second-floor hallway, throwing a glance over his shoulder every few steps to make sure Kunsel was keeping up.

 

As soon as they stepped out onto the landing, they nearly barrelled into a trooper. Cloud kneed him in the gut and smashed his helmet into the wall. The ShinRa guard collapsed to the ground in a boneless heap before he had the chance to make a sound. 

 

Kunsel stooped to grab the dagger in his belt, and was in the process of collecting ammo for the gun when Cloud tugged him along. “Leave it – we don’t have time.” More were coming from the other side of the mansion, summoned by the alarm. One gun low on ammo wouldn’t make a difference.

 

They hurried down the stairs. Footsteps and shouted orders thundered behind them. They burst through the front door. Mid-afternoon sunlight kissed his face, along with fresh, clean air, for the first time in months. And just ahead, the gates-

 

Cloud faltered when he felt something sharp pierce his neck. Reflexively, he reached up to tug it out, even as he distantly registered a ping of metal from Kunsel’s helmet.

 

He stared at the object in his hand, numb with disbelief.

 

A tranquilliser dart. 

 

His bruised and bloody hand chose that moment to start throbbing.

 

“Cloud?” Kunsel paused when he realised his fellow escapee had fallen behind, and then swore when he saw what the blond held. “Shit.”

 

Kunsel had been lucky – the darts had bounced straight off his helmet. That stupid damn helmet he always, always wore.

 

It was a split second decision. He could already feel the sedative working through his system, dulling his reflexes and senses. They wouldn’t both make it. He had a minute, maybe two. Kunsel couldn’t drag him like Zack had, once upon a time. Looked like he could barely drag himself

 

Their eyes met across the distance – though Cloud couldn’t see through the helmet, he could read Kunsel’s thoughts all the same.

 

“Go,” he said. “Get out of here.”

 

Kunsel hesitated. “I can’t-”

 

“Don’t be stupid.” The guards were catching up. “I’ll buy you time.” His limbs were starting to feel heavy.

 

The moment stretched. For an instant he was afraid Kunsel was going to refuse, to be noble and insist on escaping together, but the Second was smarter than that. He nodded, turned on his heel, and dashed past the gate.

 

Immediately, three troopers rushed to follow, but Cloud leapt in front of them. Snatched one by the arm, swinging him around and throwing him back into the others. Kicked the second in the kneecaps, and he folded with a yowl and a painful crunch. Grabbed the third by the helmet and slammed his head into the ground.

 

The remaining dozen hovered, the red glow of their visors dulled by the mid-afternoon light. An army of three-eyed monsters. 

 

Three of them fired another round of darts. Two missed, and Cloud slapped the last one out of the air. 

 

He didn’t have long, but he’d make every second count.

 

“Embrace your dreams, and whatever happens, protect your honour – as SOLDIER!”

 

“Come and get it!” he snarled.

 

Zack would be proud.

 

 

 

Next chapter

 

 


Comments

( 36 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Mar. 21st, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
Nice to hear your trip went well :) {Hope you don't mind it coming from a random lurker)

So Hojo was trying to improve his specimens... ADGAGDGADGJDJG I fear for what he'll be doing to Cloud in relation to the botched escape attempt. GAH, I hope Kunsel makes it! Just wondering, though - what are the effects of an Exit materia in relation to the time jumps? *does not use Exit at all*

The Mako tank nightmare, Zack's talking to Cloud to try and keep him awake, Kunsel getting a dagger instead of a BFS, the callback to Zack's last stand... I especially loved Cloud's "Come and get it!"

That scene is really a downer, in a good way, but I keep giggling whenever I picture Cloud getting hit by these little darts instead of bullets in what's supposed to be him going down in a blaze of glory (the inappropriate imagery is a personal failing of mine, and not your writing XDDD)

I really, really love how you pull off all these parallelisms without turning them into hollow copies or flashbacks. Seriously, I could hug you for how well you do them.

The rest of this comment will most likely be inane ramblings about the bits that really hit me XD

Interesting to see how Zack gets to be the helpless one this time around, and it's so frustrating to see him so frustrated and sad that he can't be properly happy about his promotion.

Aww, Genesis, you really think Sephiroth's going to kill you guys just because Shinra says so? That's so sad :( Not much trust in the non-Angeal friends.

And that "routine matter" Sephiroth had to deal with.... Oh man, it isn't a mission to Nibelheim is it? *worryworryworry*

In a nutshell: awesome awesome chapter!!! You have me on pins and needles once more.
lunarfirefox
Mar. 21st, 2010 09:29 pm (UTC)
-tosses in my own speculation-
The exit materia, judging from its name and other fanfics I read, probably returns you back to your last location. So thus it will keep Cloud + Kunsel in place in the tanks instead of changing their placement. In the earlier experiments, Cloud came back from a jump outside of his cage because the jump transported him to his location in the future but this location is slightly different due to the rotation of the earth. Since exit materia returns you to where you were last, this change in distance won't matter and Cloud + Kunsel will be teleported into their tanks instead of outside it after a day's jump :(
(no subject) - sinnatious - Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lunarfirefox - Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
daemoninwhite
Mar. 21st, 2010 01:26 pm (UTC)
...
Not too sure if I love you or hate you right about now. Beautiful update is beautiful, a right treat for my last week in Australia. I just got back from watching The Hurt Locker, and this chapter has a very similar tone to that movie. Not despairing, not hopeless, but more of a sense of fate, that this is what it always will be. Like, hopeless but not. Apathetic, almost. But not really. Uhh, I can't describe it. It's late? :only excuse:

I will post a new chapter of your little ficcy tomorrow, and I'm going to post it on my journal as well.

Love this fic so much, will be one of the things I check every time I'm allowed near a computer.
sinnatious
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
Re: ...
Good for you! :D I'm glad you're posting the notquitecrack!fic elsewhere too - I feel as though it gets too buried in the comments here. *looking forward to it*

Good luck on your journeys! Hopefully you will still be able to steal internets regularly. :)
mickeytheblue
Mar. 21st, 2010 01:51 pm (UTC)
OMG
I can't believe it!!! I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN!!!!
GWAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!

I seriously SERIOUSLY thought that somehow, Cloud and Kunsel will be able to escape, but then Cloud gets captured but he tells Kunsel to go on and OMG WHY??!!! TT____TT

and... awwww at Sephiroth. Shinra is practically everything to him, but his friends are equally important too. I also feel bad for Zack, since his promotion wasn't happy again, just like in crisis core :-(

Lol at Sephiroth's comment on Genesis being prone to heroics XD and Zack saying there's nothing wrong with that. sooo cute!

All in all, another awesome chapter. Thanks for updating on time :D
sinnatious
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:18 am (UTC)
Re: OMG
Genesis was quite insistent on being the hero in Crisis Core... :D And yeah, poor Zack. :( At least he didn't have to go kill Angeal straight away this time. Although maybe this is just as bad.

You're quite welcome. I know how much I hate spiralling lateness in updates, so I do my best to avoid letting that happen. ^_^ Thanks for always commenting!
skedaddle_san
Mar. 21st, 2010 02:11 pm (UTC)
c:
DAAH! Cliffhangers are uncool!

Also: Great job in writing up this chapter. :)
sinnatious
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:19 am (UTC)
Re: c:
Cliffhangers are awesome.

There, I fixed it. :D
kiriana
Mar. 21st, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
Whoohoo! Now Kunsel can lead a rescue party back!

*__________*
ashoakandthorn
Mar. 21st, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
*Cue fight music.*
fateofshadow
Mar. 21st, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
Noooooes, Kunsel, run, run to Mini-Cloud, raise an army of Metero flinging Chocobos and materia packing Moogles and GET CLOUD OUT OF THERE~! ;_______;

This chapter tugged on so many heart-strings of mine, though I have the sneaky suspicion that Kunsel really is going to be hidden by Mini-Cloud, 'cos that would be a real mind bender, IC and the little tyke's not been seen for a few chapters. *Hugs Cloudy plushie in death grip*

Also, small typo a bit before the last section: "We’ll need to be prepared to act IN a moment’s notice.” Didn't spot any others, pretty flawless considering the word count (though I still want more *sniffles*).
sinnatious
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:21 am (UTC)
THAT'S AN AWESOME MENTAL PICTURE THERE. Why is everyone always coming up with crack!fic scenarios? XD

Ooo, thank you for pointing out the mistake, good spotting! Is now fixed.
basilton
Mar. 21st, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Oh! So very close! Poor Cloud, having to go back into the clutches of Hojo. At least we can hope that none of Hojo's experiments will work... everything he's done seems to be the genetic equivalent of pin the tail on the donkey, blindly shoving cell A into subject C. It's a wonder he managed anything at all!
sinnatious
Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:23 am (UTC)
That's what makes him a mad scientist, instead of just a regular scientist. :3
lunarfirefox
Mar. 21st, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Go Kunsel! For not being one of the few that go "NO I WILL JOIN YOU IN YOUR FATE BECAUSE IT IS NOBLE." It really was better that he was with Cloud than Zack. If Zack was there, Cloud would probably be trapped in more flashbacks with the beginning stages of mako poisoning.

And Kunsel is a smart cookie, I trust him to make the day better. Probably contact Zack/Genesis/Sephiroth/Vincent while helping Cloud destroy Genova before Sephiroth goes insane.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 22nd, 2010 03:33 am (UTC)
This is Obi again
Yo. Glad you had fun. :D

As for the chapter, I say BOOYAH! Unfortunately, I doubt Cloud will be able to do that again. Still, that was very sweet. :D

So someone needs to point out to Sephiroth that he does not need to be loyal to Shin-Ra, and when he IS loyal to Shin-Ra, he's only being loyal to his father. *shakes head* Sometimes, that man...

Anyway, can't wait for next week! :D
(no subject) - sinnatious - Mar. 22nd, 2010 10:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lunarfirefox - Mar. 22nd, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
ixtey
Mar. 22nd, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
This chapter is just so sad and heartbreaking and gaaaaaaaaaaah *rewatches Crisis Core ending and hopes what happened to Zack won't happen to Cloud*

asjkhdkjlasd it's so sad that Seph doesn't know life outside of ShinRa. And Seph being forced to kill Zack... I don't think I could handle that.

I got all excited when Cloud managed to break the glass that I jumped off my chair went all "HOO YEAH THEY GET TO ESCAAAAAAPE TAKE THAT HOJO" and cheering for the next minute, then promptly got back to reading with increased fervor. jakasj was so not expecting Cloud to get hit by a tranq dart so close to another step towards freedom. But Kunsel, though. KUNSEL! Kunsel gets a chance to tell Zack all about it and stuff, I hope he makes it.
sinnatious
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:27 am (UTC)
Oh wow, that Crisis Core ending... ;___; I've replayed it so many times and I still tear up.

Alright, chair-jumping ftw! \o/
laleira_granite
Mar. 23rd, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
And oh crap Kunsel still has ribbon. Graargh now Cloud needs it more though!

... At least it will help him to make good on his escape. Oh also, wouldn't it have been a good idea to -- I forgot that Vincent's already running around AGAIN. >.>

Right, so... Kunsel the information man is HERE! I'm SO happy right now.

And this could be just the kick to break Sephiroth's loyalty to Shinra. ESPECIALLY the time-travel information, though I wonder if Kunsel will find it prudent to share that with everyone? Maybe not.

And I KNOW you're not going to let him get recaptured. That would be too cruel. Though if he ran into Angeal that would certainly be interesting...
sinnatious
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:43 am (UTC)
XD How amusing it would have been if the whole escape attempt was foiled because in his mako-haze Cloud forgot he'd already freed Vincent and went to do it again. :P And if I did write in that he released Vincent, would anyone have noticed the repeat? Only takes a few chapters to wipe him from people's memories apparently!
aori_tsuki
Mar. 23rd, 2010 07:25 am (UTC)
O-oh, this breaks my heart. )8 Cloud's going to be back in the mako tank and Hojo might be paranois enough to move the lab, huh>

And for a brief second, I had this weird image during the middle of the chapter that Kunsel was going to get Cloud's memories/identity if they manage to escape and somehow make it to Midgar.
sinnatious
Mar. 23rd, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
Oh wow. That's a cool idea. But that would then be a whole other fic in of itself.
demon_vampirate
Mar. 24th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH SO LAAAAAAAAAAAATE *cry*
WAAAAAAHHHH CLOUD ,>_<,
He's such a good big brother... And Kunselllllll♥ *sniffcry*

"...– as one of my men have died-” Um, one of my men has died?

Zack's so cute. He's so idealistic! I love him.
Also, "He couldn’t help but feel as though he had been bribed." Amazing line. Really highlights the slap in the face he must be feeling. Especially our poor idealistic lovebug.

AKASJHFKJHFIUYSHFAAAAAAAAAAAAH OMG CLOUD BROKE THE TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK~!!!
GO BOYS GO BOYS GO BOYS GO!!

Cl-... Cloooooooooouuuuuud.....
I cried TmT

I simultaneously love and hate you for this chapter. You took me high when they broke out, then dropped me back to earth when the troopers caught up with Cloud with the damn dart.
I flailed. I squealed. I cried.

I can't wait. I'm almost glad I didn't have the chance to read this till now.
sinnatious
Mar. 25th, 2010 11:49 am (UTC)
Re: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH SO LAAAAAAAAAAAATE *cry*
He learned from the best! ;__;

Yes! Good catch there! This is what happens when you change your mind mid-sentence and don't rewrite it properly. :| Ta for that.

See, there are advantages to being late! The bite is taken out of the cliffhangers. :D
swyrel
Mar. 28th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC)
I think I'm about to cry. Cloud has really embodied Zack in this chapter, and it might be what's keeping him going. (Don't think I missed that reference up there that he was losing the fight to keep his sanity)

I just...omg, I wish they would make this into a FFVII movie. It would just be so awesome, especially to see Cloud act like this. To finally feel like he was able to do something for someone. I mean, he can't feel like he's failed Kunsel now, unless Hojo brings Kunsel's dead body to show Cloud later on...

And, yes, Zack, I think you have been bribed. You just don't know how badly yet.

Genesis, I think Sephiroth would betray the company. He's just so scared to think about it, that he doesn't know it yet.

Sephiroth, you should have been looking for Cloud right then! He was out of the lab, and your Cloud senses should have been tingling!

I just hope that Cloud can get through this now with his sanity intact. That's two escape attempts now, and you know Hojo is going to have guards every where now. Hmm...I wonder if Zack made attempts like this, and we just don't know about them b/c Cloud doesn't remember them.

*goes off to read last section again*
sinnatious
Mar. 28th, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
You have keen reader eyes. *_*

I so desperately need more FFVII!verse. Square has already delivered wonderfully in that department with the compilation, but IT'S NEVER ENOUGH. They should make a time travel FFVII spinoff! They have a history of time travel games, WHY NOT? 8D

Sephiroth DID betray ShinRa pretty spectacularly in canon! Don't get much more treasonous than sticking Masamune through the President. Except he had to go crazy to do it. o__o

I like to imagine that Zack had a bunch of escape attempts we don't hear about. But then, he and Cloud were on the verge of death from fighting Sephiroth in the reactor the first time, so maybe he never got his strength back enough to try. :(
(no subject) - swyrel - Mar. 28th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
caterfree10
Jan. 11th, 2012 04:09 am (UTC)
...well I was gonna have a snarky reenactment of my first epically amusing reaction to this chapter (if you thought my keyboard smashing in previous chapters was amusing, the one here would've taken the cake x3), but then I read the comments and am giggling at the Square's penchant for time travel stuff in their games and XIII-2's special thing and alskfhskdljfhaslkf XD but omg a time travel installment in the FFVII compilation would be amazing if Square would only do it alksjfhdjs *_*

UGH SO CLOSE. SO. FUCKING. CLOSE. Oh god, I can't imagine how Cloud is feeling. ;; AND THE CALLBACKS TO CLOUD AND ZACK'S BREAK OUT ASLKJFHDSLKJFHASLFKJHSLFS ;A; Still make me emotional every time alskfjhdslfkjs RUN LIKE THE WIND, KUN KUN! *flails*

Though as much as I understand Genesis' concern over Sephiroth, I can't help but think of how Seph was prepared to leave Shinra right before Nibelheim happened because of all the crap surrounding the situation in the original timeline. Not that this Genesis got to see that, but still. :V Have a little more faith, dammit! *shakes Genesis*
sinnatious
Jan. 11th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
Square knows how awesome time travel IS as a story mechanic. There are never enough time travel stories. Ever.

Yeah, Sephiroth's stance was a balancing act, and I do think in retrospect Zack and Genesis should have given him more credit. But then, even in Crisis Core pre-Nibelheim he was a tough one to read.
(no subject) - caterfree10 - Jan. 11th, 2012 09:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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