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By Mikari

Action / Humor

Chapter 1

Shinra is reformed, but the Turks still need to go on missions. It's just that the missions are a little different, all for the sake of making the world a better place.

Missions: Report I

Mission 01: Puppy

"Found anything yet?" This had to be one of the most boring missions Reno had ever been on.

"No," and Rude wasn't helping.

"Hey Rude, who do you like'"

Rude looked at his partner and shook his head, offering no verbal response.

"Yeah, I know, I already asked you that."


"Seven times, I know, I know... This stinks..." and it quite literally did. Searching for a lost puppy in the wreckage of old Midgar was not Reno's idea of a cool Turk mission. "I'm going to look over there."

Rude nodded and the Turks went their separate ways.

A few more minutes of fruitless searching passed, until Reno saw a white and black spotted puppy. "Hey!" He ran towards the dog, "here puppy! Come here!"

Unfortunately the puppy did not listen and instead ran away from the strange human.

"Come back here!"

The dog hid in a pile of wreckage that was too small for a grown human to fit in.

Reno reached in to try to grab the puppy by the collar, but the dog bit his hand, causing Reno to quickly retreat. "Stupid mutt!" He clutched his hand and gave the pile of junk a frustrated kick.

The debris came crushing down, the puppy's cry was heard, and then there was silence.

Reno cringed, it looked like he would fail this mission, but he should at least heal up. He retrieved a small bottle from his jacket pocket and drank a little of the potion. It tasted like sour medicine, so instead Reno resolved to apply it directly to the tiny cuts on his hands and he was healed. Against his better judgment, Reno rounded the pile of debris and found a small opening to look in. He looked away quickly, yeah, the dog was dead alright.

A stray puppy slowly approached, whimpered a little and wagged his tail. He wasn't too used to seeing humans around that area, but this one didn't look particularly scary to him.

"Looks like my problem is solved, come here little mutt."

The puppy looked at the human curiously; it looked like he was being called so he went over there and allowed the human to pick him up.

"Good puppy," Reno held the dog with one arm and called Rude on his PHS with the other. "I found the dog; let's go back to the chopper." It was all for the sake of positive publicity, and a dog is a dog, so who cares?

But Rude noticed and pointed out the difference, "that is not a Dalmatian." He wasn't sure what breed the dog was, other than being a mutt, maybe a cross between golden retriever and something else.

"Who cares, let's get out of here!" Reno gave the dog to Rude and they both boarded the helicopter, leaving the ruins of old Midgar behind. The new Shinra missions sucked.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 02: Pancakes

Rufus poked and prodded the food with his fork, but where the utensil should easily sink in, it did not. The president wrinkled his nose in disapproval and pointed an accusing finger at the items on his table. "What is this?" They looked like pancakes, but unlike pancakes, they were not fluffy and soft. Instead they were hard, like a disk one would throw to a dog in hopes that the canine catches it and brings it back to win some silly competition.

"Pancakes," Reno replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, and to him, it was.

"These are not pancakes!" Rufus' tone grew more offended with every word. "I don't know what they are, but they are not pancakes." He pouted like a child refusing to eat his vegetables and crossed his arms, sticking his nose up in the air.

Reno grumbled a few inaudible words and removed the plate from Rufus' table. It was a fine time Elena picked to come down with such a bad case of the flu. Tseng was tending to the fallen Turk and that left Reno and Rude to pamper Rufus.

Reno deposited the rejected pancakes, plate and all, into the kitchen trash can. He was about to complain about his effort not being appreciated, when a particular scent reached his nose. The scent was familiar and pleasant; it was the scent of freshly made pancakes. That is, pancakes that, unlike his, did not turn into an inedible disaster. "Rude, I didn't know you knew how to make pancakes. Why didn't you say so'"

"Try," Rude took the pan away from the stove and carefully moved the pancakes to a new plate.

"Why should I waste my time trying if it's going to turn out to be a mess'" Reno pouted. "You know I'm not good in the kitchen."

"Learn," Rude placed the plate with the pancakes on a tray and added a glass of orange juice on the side.

"No matter how much I try, there are things that some people can't learn. Rude the silent can't learn to be talkative, Elena the chatterbox can't learn to be quiet, Tseng the workaholic can't learn to be a lazy hobo," Reno lowered his voice for the next one, "Rufus the spoiled brat can't learn to stop being a spoiled brat," then he spoke normally again, "and I can't learn to cook." Those were the impossibilities that kept the world in balance, and if any of them were defied, Sephiroth would surely sprout out of the ground as the result.

"..." Rude quietly left the kitchen and served Rufus his precious breakfast. The president eagerly devoured the pancakes, chewing with his mouth open and everything.

After breakfast was done and Rufus was transported from Healin Lodge to his office at the new Shinra Headquarters and Reno continued to pester Rude the entire day. Those pancakes smelled really good and he wanted some too.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 03: Frying Pan

As soon as Reno looked at the report detailing their next mission, he thought it would be annoying. Then he saw the name of the person requesting the mission and he knew it would be annoying.

Reno and Rude met their client at the shopping mall, near a store that sold kitchen appliances. "Everyone thinks this entire help the community thing is a joke!" Albeit a well paid joke. If not for keeping his regular Turk pay check, despite the trivial missions, Reno would not be there.

"I wanted to see what you were really doing," Cloud admitted. The entire campaign about making the Turk services available to the public so people could see how nice they are, looked like a desperate effort to cover something. Cloud didn't know what Shinra was hiding, but they had to be hiding something.

"You just wanted to see Rude because he's the new greatest chef..." Reno walked past the two, slightly bumping into Cloud, and went into the kitchen store. He wanted to get this mission done and over with as soon as possible, and hopefully without being reminded once again that he would starve if fast food restaurants ceased to exist, because he couldn't cook anything edible if his life depended on it.

Cloud tried to counter Reno's odd accusation, but couldn't come up with anything and just stood there open mouthed with no voice. Rude quietly waited for the client to wake up, until Cloud finally reacted. "It's not like Rude even knew about the frying pan before the mission," the blond muttered.

Rude gave Cloud an odd look, though it was impossible to tell behind his shades.

"Tifa's frying pan," Cloud explained, then silenced himself. Tifa promised a variety of fried treats to who ever gave her the 'ideal frying pan'. Sure she was only thinking aloud while cooking, but Cloud had heard, and he brought it upon himself to find that ideal frying pan for Tifa.

Reno happened to be on break at the time Tifa spoke those words and he also heard. He was eating at the Seventh Heaven because he didn't feel like setting foot in the Shinra cafeteria if anyone had heard about the latest Turk missions. If they laughed, he would kill, and that would ruin the very image those missions were trying to construct, and possibly get him fired, since Rufus couldn't afford his precious reformed image to be tarnished.

Cloud and Rude both entered the store, the blond grumbling about having specifically requested that Elena be sent on the mission, she would have been the easiest to deal with, and she would have no reason to try to steal his glory. But apparently Elena was already busy with some other mission and Cloud got stuck with Reno and Rude.

The delivery boy and the bald Turk walked around the kitchen store completely lost. Rude knew how to cook but he wasn't an expert in the kitchen. There were many kitchen appliances and tools, some of which they had no idea what they were used for.

"May I help you'" A woman with a big smile approached Rude and Cloud. She was wearing a uniform that matched the color scheme of the store, identifying her as an employee.

"We're looking for a frying pan," Cloud replied. You never find those customer service people unless you're not looking for them. Hence why Cloud assumed he wouldn't find any and decided to hire Elena, while at the same time investigating Turk activities.

"Of course, but let me show you our selection of pots first, we have a large variety!" The woman proudly proclaimed.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the store, Reno was talking to someone on his PHS, "so I turn right past the bowls, left past the spoons, then straight down the aisle' I see them, which one? Is that written on a tag' Okay, I got it." With a victorious grin, Reno picked up a frying pan and headed off to the front desk.

xoxox xox xoxox

Due to the severe headache that overtook Cloud, having to listen to the annoying employee, the delivery boy fled the scene without buying anything. Having no need or desire to stay at the store any longer, Rude left as well.

They both retreated to the Seventh Heaven just in time to see Reno leave with a bunch of take-out bags. "Don't get me wrong, I was just hungry." The red head promptly left.

Cloud and Rude looked at each other, wondering what that was about. They soon found out when they entered the Seventh Heaven and Tifa served them french-fries. "Try these fries; I made them with the new frying pan Reno gave me. He was at the kitchen store and called me to ask if I needed anything. Well actually he called the Strife Delivery Service number, but since a certain someone is never around, everyone knows I'm the one who always answers. It's a really great frying pan, he even asked me what kind he should get, wasn't that nice of Reno? I think I finally found the ideal frying pan. Oh and he left this envelope for you, Cloud."

By now Cloud was twitching with a murderous mako glow in his eyes. But at least Rude remained cool, calm and collected as always. Cloud opened up the envelope and found his own credit card. The moment when Reno bumped into him at the kitchen store replayed in his mind, he must have used the stolen card to pay for the frying pan. This couldn't get any worse.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 04: Child

Rufus stared at his reflection in the mirror and fixed his hair for the millionth time. He looked at himself from every possible angle, smiling in satisfaction. "Is everyone ready'" He did not take his eyes off the mirror as he asked this.

"Ready when you are," Reno replied.

"Then let's-" Rufus looked away from the mirror for the first time in the past hour. "Reno!" He scolded.


"I thought I told you, you had to look presentable!" Rufus complained.

Reno shrugged, "I do look presentable." He was in his uniform, mostly. He wasn't wearing a tie, but he never did, and his hair was messy, but it was always messy. To Reno, that was presentable enough.

"We're going to be on TV, you need to look more professional!" Rufus felt a headache coming on. The media had been very annoying lately and today's interview should quiet them down for a while.

"I don't know what the big deal is," Reno had been waiting at Rufus' office for the president to finish fixing his hair for a long time and he just wanted to get this over with.

Rude remained quiet as usual and Rufus gave an exasperated sigh. The door flew open and a little girl ran in, followed by Elena, "you're supposed to wait outside with the press people!"

The little girl pouted, "I'm only saying nice things about Shinra because they're finding my puppy for me. I want to see Lucky or I won't say nice things anymore!"

Reno pointed at the mutt who had been quietly eating in a corner of the office, "there's your dog."

The little girl shook her head and pointed at the puppy, "that's not Lucky! Lucky is white with black spots, that dog is light brown with no spots!"

Lucky had not lived up to his name, having died while Reno was trying to save him. He didn't know what to say except that accidents happen, but he couldn't tell that to the little girl. Surely the kid would start crying over her dead pet and that would ruin all the positive things she had told the press so far.

"You brought the wrong dog'!" Rufus threw his arms in the air dramatically.

"A dog is a dog, who cares'" The Dalmatian was dead and the mutt had been found just in time. Reno thought his resolve to bring the mutt instead, was a good enough solution.

"I care!" The little girl yelled.

"Of course you can't just replace a pet that easily," Elena agreed.

"Whose side are you on'" Reno picked up the light brown puppy. "Look kid, just take this dog, it's better than no dog at all, right?"

"I want Lucky!" The child refused.

"C'mon don't be so stubborn, just take the dog!" Reno tried to talk the girl into accepting her new pet, and maybe she wouldn't mess up the nice image she created for Shinra in front of the press.

Tseng entered the office, "the press members are getting impatient."

"Great, they want to see the touching scene of a Turk giving this little br-beautiful young lady her lost pet, but it turns out we don't have the right dog after all." Rufus dramatized.

"President, relax, I'll figure something out," Reno was fed up with everything and having a hard time staying there. He just wanted to hop on his chopper and fly away, far away. The new Shinra missions sucked and so did the new goody-goody image. "Hey kid, take the dog and don't complain, if you don't like it we'll get you another one later, just accept this dog now as a gift, alright'"

The little girl curiously tilted her head. "Then you're giving me this puppy as a gift'" She pointed at Reno, "A gift from you," then pointed at herself, "to me'"

"Yeah, that's right," Reno was relieved that it looked like the child would finally accept her new pet and quiet down.

"Okay, I'll accept it then, what's your name Mr. Turk'" The little girl asked.


The little girl squealed in delight, "then this puppy's name will be Reno Jr. and he'll be our baby!" She held the dog with one arm and clung to Reno's leg with the other, she was five years old but she was very small.

"Why do you have to name it after me'" Reno complained, and tried to pry the child off.

"Because you're his daddy, you gave me a gift so that means you like me. It's okay; I like older men anyway so I'll go out with you!" The little girl continued to cling.

"What? No! You're just a child!" Reno continued trying to get her to let go.

"I'm not a child, I'm a lady!" The girl argued.

Rufus covered his face with his hands, "this is bad."

Elena took a deep breath and walked over to the little girl, "hey little lady, I have an idea, you should keep this a secret."

The girl looked curious, "how come'"

"Because it's so much more romantic to have a secret boyfriend than it is to have a regular boyfriend," Elena smiled.

The little girl was happy that she was apparently being treated like an adult and quickly accepted Elena's idea. "Okay! I'll keep it a secret!"

Reno was about to protest, but Tseng shook his head and the redhead remained quiet.

"When we talk to the press, tell them that I found your puppy and gave him to you. Tell them that Reno Jr. is Lucky, okay'" Elena continued.

The girl nodded, "okay!"

It looked like Elena had saved the day, "and what about Reno'"

"Reno who'" The girl asked as if she did not know of anyone by that name.

"Very good! Now let's do the interview." Elena left along with the little girl and the puppy.

Rufus checked his hair in front of the mirror once more and left with them to face the press. Tseng left as well, and Rude stood at the office door glancing back at Reno. The redhead shook his head, indicating that he wasn't going and grumbled about how annoying children could be, becoming fan girls at such a young age.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 05: Cat

Reno's goggles slipped off his head and fell on Rude's head. They bounced off and were caught by the bald Turk. He considered taking revenge on his partner for all those times his sunglasses had to suffer, but Rude knew that Reno didn't do it on purpose, and he had an infinite supply of patience when it came to the redhead.

The aforementioned redhead was currently up in a tree, trying to reach a cat that her owners claimed was stuck. "Here, kitty, kitty." He called as gently as possible. "Here kitty..." but the cat ignored him and sat there regally grooming herself.

"Save her! Please, save her!" An overly dramatic young woman wearing fake cat ears begged.

"Save her, save her, save her! Save our precious baby!" A chorus of a dozen other women also wearing cat ears echoed.

The cat was the precious mascot of their college sorority, and they have requested Shinra's help in recovering the little darling who got herself stuck in a tree.

"I'm trying!" The branch where the cat sat looked too fragile to support the weight of a human, so Reno was trying to reach her from a near by branch. "Come here kitty cat, be a good girl and come to Reno."

The white cat looked at the red haired man for a moment, green eyes glowing with interest for just a split second, before she returned to grooming herself and ignoring her would be savior.

"I don't think she wants to come down..." Reno concluded.

"She's terrified, petrified in fear!" The leader of the sorority cried.

"Terrified! Petrified! In Fear!" The other women echoed.

"No, she looks pretty calm to me..." Reno tried to reason with them from the tree but they weren't listening.

"Save her! Save her!" The cat obsessed women chanted.

"I'll try..." Reno grumbled. "Come on kitty cat, your owners will feed you if you go back with them, and I'm sure they have cat toys and stuff too, so come over here."

The cat ignored him.

"Here kitty, kitty, meow..." Reno kept trying to get her attention.

The cat's ears perked up with half interest.

"Meow'" Reno tried again.

The cat finally looked at him.

"Look at that Rude, I think she understands!" The only problem was that Reno didn't speak cat, so he had no idea what he was saying. "Meow, meow, meow, meow..."

"Reno," Rude tried to get his partner's attention without causing a commotion.

But Reno kept trying to communicate with the cat. "Meow, meow, meow..."

"Reno!" Rude called in alarm.

"What's is it Ru- hey what's that' How come the sorority girls are setting up that net, and chains... and a big cage... Is all of that just for the cat' Oh oh..."

The cat finally jumped into Reno's arms purring happily.

"If you want to get down from the tree, do it yourself, because I'm staying." Reno put the cat down on the tree branch and she easily jumped off landing on her feet, but her owners ignored her. Down below, the cat obsessed fan girls where trying to chop down the tree. "Rude... a little help'"

Rude shook his head.

Reno should have known not to try to speak cat around cat obsessed women. Now he held on to the tree for dear life. "I'm not a cat! I'm a human! Why must I be so attractive? Rude do something! Hey! Where are you going? Rude! Don't abandon me!"

A few minutes passed and a helicopter piloted by Rude flew by. Reno was able to grab the rope ladder and climb aboard, right before the tree went down. Then they safely flew away with another mission fulfilled.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 06: Bagel

"Did he fall asleep'" Denzel pointed at Reno who was sitting at the Seventh Heaven's front counter leaning on it, his face hidden in his arms.

Rude shook his head.

"I'm awake," Reno muttered and looked up. "I'm just in shock," and he was completely unmotivated to work. He would much rather take a nap and pretend all of this was a bad dream.

"Why'" Denzel curiously asked.

Reno wondered if he should dignify that question with a response, he looked at Rude searching for support. Rude nodded, as if telling Reno to go ahead and answer. Reno grumbled before finally offering his reply. "We were hired by a child."

Denzel shrugged, "even if you think that way, the Turks work for me for today. Marlene and I won the sweepstakes after all. She gets to play with Tseng and Elena for today and I get the two of you."

It was rigged, Reno was sure. Rufus wanted to create a good image for Shinra by having the Turks baby-sit children linked to Cloud Strife and his friends. But either way, Denzel had a point; Reno and Rude were stuck working for him for the day.

"I'm hungry," Denzel informed the Turks. "I want a bagel."

"Of course, you can't boss us around on an empty stomach. Rude, get the kid a bagel," Reno returned to his nap.

"No, you get the bagel and get a bagel for Rude and one for yourself too, then maybe after eating you won't be so grumpy. You could at least try to have fun." Denzel started to feel a little cheated, Elena was always cheerful, and Tseng was serious but he was readily helping with anything Marlene requested. Rude was quietly standing around, blending in so well with the equally silent furniture, one could forget he was even there, and Reno clearly did not want to be there.

"Fine..." Reno got up and went to get the bagels, but realized that Denzel was following him. "Anything else'"

"It should be a lightly toasted chocolate chip bagel with butter!" Denzel cheered.

"Alright, I'll see what I can do," Reno attempted to toast the bagel, Tifa was working in the kitchen and stood back to watch the show. It already had chocolate chips, so the bagel just needed to be toasted and covered in butter. But instead it was burn until it turned black, and a piece of a butter bar was placed on top of it. "Here you go; you know this isn't all that different from working for Rufus."

Tifa tried to hide her laughter while Denzel received the inedible bagel and looked at it. "This is what Rufus eats?"

"Actually, Elena does most of the cooking and sometimes Rude cooks," Reno explained.

"Oh, in that case, Rude could you make us some edible bagels'" Denzel asked.

Rude nodded and made the bagels, they tasted very good.

"So the cooking should be left to Rude," Denzel made a mental note. "What about videogames'"

Reno realized that maybe this wasn't so bad after all. "I'm good at videogames, I'm the best!" It was turning out to be much better than babysitting Rufus, even if his current boss was a kid.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 07: Handcuffs

"What'" Reno laughed. "No, wait, don't give me the details; let me imagine the strange story behind this." He clicked his PHS shut and returned to his previous task of sleeping on his desk and ignoring the paper work, he would have some very amusing dreams.

The silence that had taken over the Turks office at Shinra HQ was once again broken when Elena curiously asked. "What happened'"

Rude had been out on that last mission for a long time, and it wasn't like him to take so long with how simple the missions have been lately. As far as she knew, Rude's mission was to help Cloud deliver some packages. Thanks to Reeve, Strife Delivery Service was doing well, but Cloud could only do so much on his own.

"Who knows'" Reno shrugged and went back to sleep.

Meanwhile at the Seventh Heaven, in Tifa's bedroom to be specific, Cloud sighed and closed his PHS, "I don't think he's coming."

"..." Rude didn't know what to say. The truth of the matter was that they were handcuffed together and the third cuff of the triple handcuffs was attached to Tifa's bed. Unless they broke the bed, broke the handcuffs or carried the bed with them, which would be too noisy, they were trapped. There were no means to pick the lock of the handcuffs anywhere within reach and the key sat tauntingly on the other side of the room.

"How did we get into this mess'" Cloud Strife was not having a good day. The events that led to his current predicament replayed in his mind.

Cloud requested some help delivering packages and during most of the day, Cloud and Rude had gone their separate ways. They met up at the Seventh Heaven after their respective deliveries were completed as planned.

When Rude arrived, Cloud had been upstairs, delivering the last package, one that he had to pick up from Yuffie to give to Tifa. Tifa had asked him to leave the package in her room and Rude went up to find him.

Against his better judgment, Cloud succumbed to his curiosity and opened Tifa's package. It was a triple handcuff, supposedly a ninja collector's item from Wutai.

The delivery boy heard footsteps approaching, and in his haste to hide his snooping, he couldn't tell they belonged to Rude and not Tifa. He tried to wrap the package again, his wrist getting caught by the handcuffs. Cloud looked in horror at the triple handcuffs. "Get it off!" He uselessly tried to shake the handcuffs off.

Rude caught Cloud's hand on time before the delivery boy's flailing hand hit him on the face, but with a click the Turk's fate was sealed along with Cloud's.

"The key!" In his panic, Cloud slipped and knocked the box off the bed, sending the key flying to the other side of the room. He moved too suddenly, pulling Rude along with him, and they fell on Tifa's bed, the third cuff getting caught on the bed post.

Cloud didn't want Tifa to find out he opened her package, which meant that breaking the handcuffs was not an option. Hence why Cloud had called Reno and told him about the situation in hopes of having the redhead rush over and pick up the key they couldn't reach.

To which Reno had replied with a surprised, "what?" followed by an amused laugh.

Cloud tried to explain, "Tifa is down stairs right now and we-"

"No, wait, don't give me the details; let me imagine the strange story behind this." Reno hung up, which brings us back to the present time with Cloud and Rude handcuffed to Tifa's bed together.

"Cloud, Rude'" Tifa went up the stairs, receiving no reply. Cloud and Rude had been up there for a long time.

Cloud desperately tried to slip the handcuffs off to no avail, while Rude remained cool, calm and collected, looking completely serious despite the situation.

Then Tifa appeared at the door and crossed her arms over her chest, her face holding an annoyed expression.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 08: Roses

At times like this, it became painfully obvious that being a Turk was no longer what it used to be. Reno was not happy with his latest mission. He had not liked any of his missions recently and they were getting worse.

Reno received the item he had just purchased and paid for it with the money he was given for the errand. He felt as if he was a kid sent off to the store to buy a few things for his mother. Except Reno wasn't a child and Vincent was certainly not his mother.

Feeling completely ridiculous, Reno made his way from the flower shop back to Vincent's apartment, fighting back the urge to go to Healin Lodge instead, and strangle Rufus for his bright idea of making the Turk services available to the public. The redhead, hurried to his destination as quickly as possible, and finding the door unlocked he let himself in.

"It is disrespectful to enter one's home without knocking," Vincent pointed out.

Reno ignored him and held out the flowers. "Here's the delivery."

Vincent shook his head in disapproval. "I cannot offer her black roses!"

"Why not'" Reno asked, "they fit your entire vampire theme."

"I am not-"

"Denial!" Reno shoved the roses into Vincent's arms and started to leave.

The click of a gun ready to be fired was heard and Reno turned around to face an angry Vincent. "You will fulfill your mission!"

"Why don't you just buy the flowers yourself'" Reno argued, despite being at gun point.

"I wish to surprise her. Besides, I hired you for this job, you should not argue." Vincent did not lower the gun.

Reno grumbled, "fine, I'll take the black roses back. I don't know what the surprise is, it's not like she'll see you buying them." Unless the flowers were not for the frozen lady in the isolated cave that Vincent was rumored to like. "Who do you like'" Reno couldn't resist.

"Out," Vincent was still aiming Cerberus at Reno.

"You're so anti-social," Reno left, off to exchange the black roses for more suitable flowers.

Upon his arrival at the flower shop, Reno spotted some red roses that Vincent might like. He was tempted to exchange the black ones for the reds, Vincent liked to wear red after all, but he decided against it. Reno was in a bad mood, and even if it made the chore harder upon himself, he wouldn't make it easy for Vincent, who dared to hire a Turk for such a trivial task.

Instead of the red roses, Reno exchanged the black ones for some ice blue roses, with bits of white that made them look as if they were really frozen. He didn't care if he was sent back to the flower shop at gun point, he was annoyed and he would annoy Vincent for causing him this annoyance.

Once again, Reno intended to enter Vincent's apartment without knocking. He paused at the door and noticed that Reeve was there, with a laptop and several folders in his arms. He was probably going to discuss some WRO work with Vincent. "What'"

Reeve seemed to wake up from his daze, a surprised look evident on his face. "Nothing," and he scurried away deciding that it was best to come back later.

Reno shrugged and let himself in, but this time Vincent was not upset. He received the roses with an approving look, "Icy blue... she'll like these."

Reno blinked, great, he had failed in annoying Vincent. "I hope you get dumped," he let himself out without waiting for Vincent's reply. All in all he didn't even get the information out of Vincent about who the girl he liked was. It appeared that Vincent had finally moved on from his crush on that lady frozen in a cave the rumors spoke of, but the identity of Vincent's new girlfriend remained a mystery, and a nosy guy like Reno simply had to know.

Later that day, the evening news featured a report about an electrical problem that occurred in an apartment building, resulting on several people being injured. No one knew how or why it happened, and the cause was classified as an accident but not investigated in detail.

However, Vincent was not amused and demanded an explanation the next day at Shinra HQ, having suspected that Reno was behind the so called accident.

"I don't know anything." Reno denied his involvement.

"I know you did this," Vincent insisted. He didn't want anyone disturbing the peace of the apartment building where he resided. The neighbors gave him odd looks all the time as it was, he didn't need it to become worse. Maybe hiring a Turk to run errands wasn't such a great idea after all.

"Sure, accuse me just because I'm a Turk," Reno replied sarcastically. "You don't know what it's like."

"Actually I do," Vincent revealed, "I was a Turk too," though things were different back then.

Reno looked curious, he had been severely bored lately and was easily entertained. "Do you remember your old employee ID'"

Vincent paused, wondering if he should really disclose that information. But he didn't even work as a Turk anymore, so it wouldn't really matter. "36105997"

Reno looked up the files on the computer. "You should talk; you had to make it look like an accident too. Hey Vincent..." Reno's tone suddenly turned serious.

Vincent wondered about the change, "what is it'"

Reno made an overly dramatic pause then asked, "who do you like' Who were the flowers for' There's no need to be embarrassed. C'mon tell me! Who do you like'"

Vincent felt his eye twitch, as he was once again tempted to shoot Reno. Fortunately, he was able to resist the temptation and quietly exit the Turks' office, leaving Reno without an answer.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 09: Miscommunication

"Can you believe the missions we've been getting lately?" Reno glanced at his desk, the chair was on the floor. He was in such a hurry to leave work yesterday before another unworthy mission came, that the chair was thrown back when he bolted to his feet and out the door. "What's next'" He kicked the chair flipping it right side up, "another delivery mission with Strife' A pizza that needs to be delivered in thirty minutes or less' This is a job for the Turks'" Reno sat down, and put his feet on the desk. He picked up the latest issue of the Shinra Magazine, which was delivered to the Turks office monthly even if no one requested it, and placed the open magazine over his face to block the ceiling lights and try to take a nap. He really hated his job lately.

Elena sighed, "I'm not in the mood for sarcasm today." She looked at her watch. "I need to go to my next mission... alphabetizing books in the public library."

"That sucks," Reno commented and continued his previous task of trying to fall asleep.

The sound of the door opening and closing, accompanied by Elena's footsteps leaving, was the last sound that was heard for a while.

Several minutes passed, until eventually, the door to the Turks office was opened again and another rhythm of footsteps entered. The newcomer lifted the magazine off Reno's face, causing him to close his eyes tightly at the sudden light.

Reno looked at the young woman standing there. "I have a mission for you," she voiced.

She appeared to be a Shinra employee, though Reno didn't know who she was. But the fact still stood that she had made her way high up in the Shinra Headquarters, all the way to the Turks' floor where the access was restricted. "I haven't seen you around here before."

"I'm new, started a few months ago. I'm usually down at the tech department working with data and stuff," which meant that she could have access to the codes that operated the electronic locks, and access to the technology to make herself a special card granting her entrance to just about any floor on the building.

Reno chuckled, "I thought all the tech people were nerdy men," goody-goody nerdy men who followed the rules and didn't make themselves special key cards. Nerdy men with oversized glasses held together with tape over the nose, who wore their pants up to their chests, with bow ties around their necks and an assortment of pens in their shirt pocket. He looked at her up and down, what could be said if not that technology had improved.

"I was going to try out for the Turks," the girl admitted, "but I'll wait until they're cool again. Community service sucks."

"Tell me about it," Reno hoped that, as the girl said, the Turks turned cool again very soon, because he was at the end of his rope putting up with the goody-goody act.

"I know there's a waiting list and all, but maybe you can slip this on top," she handed him the form detailing the requested mission. "It's an unusual request... interested?" She grinned mischievously.

Reno looked over the form. The job description was short, simple and to the point, consisting of only two words. He grinned, "sure, I can help you with this," and signed the form.

Later that evening, Reno arrived at the young woman's apartment. She let him in and handed him a list. "Here you go."

Reno looked at the list with a puzzled expression, "what's this?"

"The list of the chores you need to do," the girl replied.

Reno started reading a few of the items on the long list, "clean the house, do the laundry, wash the dishes, take out the trash, feed the fish, feed the cat, make sure the cat doesn't eat the fish, go grocery shopping, wash the car... what am I your slave?"

"Isn't that what you signed up for? Personal slave, with emphasis on slave more so than personal." She gave him a pat on the back, "good luck."

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 10: Ham

It seemed that ham had become Rude's worse enemy, as odd as it may sound. His latest missions had somehow involved ham, and he was fed up with it, no pun intended.

First it was Tifa and her quest to find the most delicious ham for the big dinner she was planning for a reunion with all her friends. Rude's job was simple, to carry the grocery bags filled with an assortment of different hams and other foods that went well with ham. Cloud was off delivering packages, so Tifa didn't even bother to ask him for help with the groceries.

As luck would have it, Cloud's deliveries for the day were not just any packages; they were ham, special gourmet hams that were to be taken to the Shinra grocery store for safe keeping, until Elena went by to pick them up and take them to Healin Lodge later that day.

After Cloud delivered the gourmet hams that Rufus would eventually consume, the grocery store employees made him an offer that was hard to resist. They would give him a little extra gil if he helped unload and set up some regular hams that had just arrived in a truck, and Cloud agreed.

The delivery boy was setting up the hams at the grocery store when he spotted Tifa. She was discussing hams with Rude as if it was the most interesting topic in the world. That's when his jealous side woke up and his insecurities kicked in. Then Cloud proceeded to whine and complain to Tifa about being excluded from ham shopping.

The argument, and Tifa's attempt to console Cloud, made the shopping process move a lot slower, which meant they had to stay in the meat section right next to the hams for far longer than they originally intended. Even after Tifa finally picked all her hams, and the groceries were paid for and carried back to the Seventh Heaven, by both Rude and Cloud, Rude could not get the scent of ham out of his nose.

At first Rude was annoyed, but when the scent of ham finally left him as he got home after a long day's work, he inexplicably felt like eating ham. That should be easy to solve, he had some ham in the refrigerator. It wasn't as fancy as Rufus' gourmet ham, but it would do.

But alas that was not Rude's day. When he tried to search for the ham in the refrigerator, anticipating the delicious ham and cheese sandwich he would make, he found that the ham was missing, as were several other foods.

"..." Rude only had one suspect, his best friend who came and went in and out of his apartment, making a mess, eating whatever he could find, and disappearing without cleaning after himself or mentioning what he ate. "Reno..." Rude settled for some ramen since he was not in the mood to leave his apartment again just to go buy some ham.

The next day, Rude discovered that Elena had not cooked Rufus' ham on the previous day. The president had changed his mind and said he wanted to "leave it for tomorrow." That was the previous day, so the "tomorrow" that Rufus spoke of was today. On the previous day Elena could have cooked the ham, but today was her day off, which left Rufus' secondary cook in charge of feeding the hungry president, and the secondary cook was Rude.

"No," Rude was not in the mood to deal with hams. Hams have been there when he did not want them to, their scent stayed with him when he wanted it to go away, and then, when he actually wanted ham, he didn't have ham.

Rufus stared at Rude in disbelief, "you said no?" The Turks were there to protect him and to tend to his every need, which of course included food.

Rude shook his head and looked at Reno. The redhead pointed at himself, "me? But the president banned me from the kitchen." Not only did Reno burn everything he attempted to cook, but he ate everything that did not needed to be cooked.

"Rude, get me my ham, that's an order!" Rufus insisted.

"No," Rude walked away. It was best that he didn't force himself to attempt to prepare Rufus' meal, because as fed up as he was with ham, the president might end up with a too large to swallow piece of ham forcefully jammed in his throat.

Rufus was in shock from seeing Rude walk out. Reno was also surprised but he was the first to recover the ability to speak, "should I get the ham'"

"No," Rufus decided that the ham would just have to wait. "Order a pizza instead."

To be Continued

Missions: Report II

Mission 11: Whips

He slept in a coffin, he dressed like a vampire and he was just plain weird. It didn't come as a surprise to Reno, when he was assigned against his will to help Vincent Valentine move some of his old things from the Shinra mansion to his apartment, that the black haired man would have some odd items among his possessions. But Reno never imagined that Vincent had such a large collection of whips.

As far as Reno knew, Vincent's weapon of choice was a gun, a three barreled gun with a cute little doggy charm hanging from it. Apparently decorating one's weapon was the in thing, and not wanting to be left behind, Reno had recently placed a viera keychain on his electro-rod. But that would be straying from the topic of Vincent's seemingly endless collection of whips.

Reno stopped his insistent chanting of "I hate this job", placed another box full of whips in the helicopter, and looked at Vincent. "Why do you have so many whips?"

"It is none of your concern," Vincent answered.

"Does that mean I don't want to know, or that I should mind my own business?" Reno questioned.

Vincent took a deep breath, he had not learned his lesson about hiring Turks to help out with simple tasks, and for that he felt that he could crawl back into his coffin and sleep for the next hundred years. "They were in the attic."

"That's it? So you're just taking them?" Reno was relieved to hear a somewhat normal answer. The Shinra mansion had been abandoned many years ago, so it was no big deal if things were taken from there, no one really cared. At least it wasn't an odd answer like having a whip obsession. Though the question still remained, why would Vincent take the whips and not something else? "Why the whips?"

"I mentioned it to Reeve and he asked me to bring them," Vincent replied.

"Reeve..." Reno wondered why Reeve would want that many whips. "I know he collects cats, but why whips?"

"The WRO's budget is not very extensive. I assume he wishes to help equip the troops or sell the whips." Vincent tried to remain calm.

But Reno didn't know when to stop talking. "How cheap! With all the money Ruf- I mean, the mysterious benefactor has been giving the WRO that could have been used to pay for vaca-er... other things."

It was no secret to Vincent, or to Reeve, or to the majority of the population of the new Midgar, that the mysterious benefactor was in fact Rufus Shinra. Who else was that rich anyway? "Shall we finish loading the boxes so you may leave?"

Reno nodded and followed Vincent back inside. However, he did not remain quiet along the way as Vincent wished he had. "So how come we're taking this stuff to your apartment and not the WRO headquarters? Is Reeve going over to pick up the whips later? Or is it that he heard you hired a Turk and doesn't want Turks near the WRO? Are they planning something against Shinra?"

"There are no conspiracies taking place," Vincent mentally begged for silence.

But Reno would not allow that wish to be granted, "are you sure about that?"

Vincent sighed; in the past he thought he should punish himself for his mistakes. But now he was sure his debt was paid and he wondered what he did to deserve this. Had he not been punished enough listening to Reno all that time? Oh how he wished to cast a spell of silence...

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 12: Date

Rude was not very expressive or emotional, so when the identity of his mystery date was revealed he remained cool, calm and collected on the surface. But deep down Rude was frustrated.

Rufus had the bright idea to make the Turks participate in a celebrity Valentine's Day auction, where the prize would be a date. Tseng and Elena avoided it by making it clear that they were dating each other. As deadly as Turks are trained to be, it was best not to provoke feelings of jealousy. Thus Tseng and Elena were out.

Reno immediately said he had a girlfriend, but Rufus paid him no mind claiming that, "it's okay as long as she doesn't find out," because he didn't believe the girl existed anyway.

In their little reunion at the president's office, it was at that point that Elena crossed her arms and glared icy daggers at Rufus, "don't encourage him to cheat."

To which Rufus responded by assuring Elena that "Reno is lying."

"I'm not lying!" Reno immediately defended himself. "If you don't believe me I'll tell her to come over tomorrow," and by then he would have turned that lie into a truth. Even if it was an improvised girlfriend, it was better than having no say at all on who the date was.

"I know you're lying, you're just going to go out and find a girl at the last minute to get out of the auction." Rufus saw right through the plan.

"So what if I am?" Reno challenged. "Actually, forget that, I'll just refuse."

Rufus shrugged, he couldn't look too disappointed for his trick to work. "Very well, then I will fill in for you."

The room was filled with gasps. "Wait, I changed my mind!" If Rufus was willing to go on the date, then the auction was either rigged to go to a certain girl, or all the richest girls participating were hot.

"Fine, fine, I'll leave my participation for the last auction. Rude, you're in the first auction, Reno in the second, and I will be in the third," it was a lie. Rufus would not participate at all, but he needed to keep Reno motivated.

As we end this little flashback at the president's office and return to the present at the Shinra lobby, we find Rude in a state of extreme frustration and making an inhuman effort not to show it, for there stood Cloud Strife, holding out the little slip of paper that proved he had won the auction.

Reno, who had accompanied Rude to the lobby for moral support, and most of all to get a clearer idea of what awaited him in the next auction, was quick to point a finger at Cloud and yell at the top of his lungs, "Cloud Strife!"

"I had to!" Cloud yelled equally as loud, if not louder. The random employees whose attention had not been caught by Reno, was now captured by Cloud, and the blond felt countless pairs of eyes focused on him. "It's not... It's just that..."

"Tifa," Rude voiced. His only hope was that this was a gift for Tifa. Not that he actually expected it to be.

Cloud took a deep breath, "okay, I admit it. I overheard Tifa talking about an auction and thought it was for Rude, so I outbid her... But then I realized that I actually outbid a girl I don't know and the auction Tifa was participating in was some online auction for a plushie."

Reno burst out laughing, "you messed up!"

Rude was not happy, he cleared his throat and Reno immediately fell silent.

Cloud shifted uncomfortably, "sorry," the delivery boy apologized.

Rude shook his head, it couldn't be helped. It was too late, since the auction was already over.

Cloud rubbed the back of his head and shifted his weight from one foot to the other, "we could go play cards at Cid's house."

Thus Rude ended up playing cards with the guys instead of going out on a date, but in the next auction it was Reno's turn. To quiet Reno's complaints, Rufus set some new rules for the second auction, only women could bid, which banned jealous men who suspected their crushes were bidding from ruining the auction. After the auction ended, Reno waited in the lobby to meet his mystery date, but she was nowhere to be found.

A couple arrived and the lady handed Reno the paper. Then the woman spoke, "we'll be gone all day, so you'll have the house to yourself," and she handed him a set of keys.

Reno thought his real date must be waiting in the home of this couple; maybe it was a sister, cousin, or friend. Then he finally realized that he had seen these people before. They were Shera and Cid Highwind. "So who's the date?" Reno asked, Shera had already said she and Cid would be out, plus she was married, so it was obvious she didn't enter the auction for herself. Reno could only reason that he was intended to be a gift for a fan girl.

"There's no date for you," Cid informed him.

"Sorry, but I wanted someone to clean the house and do a few chores while Cid and I go out. The Turks mission requests were cancelled until the Valentine's Day auction was over so I just used the auction..." Shera explained, but she was leaving a very important detail out, that would soon be revealed.

"Why do you need a Turk? Why go through all of this for a house keeper?" It made no sense to Reno, it was all too suspicious.

Cid lowered his voice, "not exactly, you need to complete this list of chores," and Reno was given the list, "but your real job is to guard the plans for my new airship. Someone will try to steal them tonight."

"So who's guarding the plans now?" Sure it was only the afternoon, but if the goods were left unguarded, thieves could strike in broad daylight.

"No one, because I'm taking the disk with the plans with me. I would catch the thief myself but," Cid glanced at Shera.

"No more canceling our dates," Shera warned him.

"The thief might chicken out if I'm around, but the Turk's new goody-goody reputation will trick him into taking the risk, then you can catch him." Cid finished.

"Do I get to beat up the thief?" Reno asked.

Cid nodded, "sure, why not?"

He might have been cheated out of a date with a hot rich girl, but at least Reno would get to release some stress and defend the reputation of the Turks tonight.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 13: Chocobo

Elena and Tseng had exhausted their patience dealing with the two indifferent chocobos. At first the male would avoid the uninterested female, and the Turks would lead the female towards the male in hopes of starting some attraction between the two chocobos. This only served to scare the male who ran away to be chased by Tseng.

That chocobo was not the brightest creature, running towards the swamp where he was nearly eaten. Tired, muddy and in a bad mood, Tseng returned from his mission having rescued the suicidal cowardly chocobo.

Then, by the effects of the heat or the scent of the odd smelling greens that the chocobos were being fed, Elena had an idea. "Give him a man to man talk while I give her a make over."

Thus Tseng ended up trying to give the male chocobo a man to man talk, or a man to chocobo talk to be more precise. The chocobo was tied to the fence with a rope around his neck to prevent him from running away again.

"You're ignoring me, aren't you?" Tseng already felt ridiculous trying to talk to a chocobo, but being ignored by a chocobo was too much. "Why can't you just give her a chance so we can leave?" The Turks' mission was to feed all the chocobos at the farm and play matchmaker for those two chocobos. Feeding the chocobos was simple enough, but the chocobos that were supposed to be a couple were not cooperating.

Meanwhile, inside the chocobo stables, Elena had busied herself in brushing the female chocobo's feathers. "I'll make you look really pretty, then that chocobo will like you." But the female chocobo remained indifferent.

Outside, Tseng continued his effort to motivate the male chocobo. "It's okay; women are not as scary as you think they are..." he felt a little guilty lying to the poor bird, but it was all so he could get his mission done and leave. "All you have to do is give her a chance; I know you'll end up liking her. Then eventually she will lay an egg." Tseng had his serious doubts that a valuable racing chocobo could come from such a combination, but it wasn't his job to question the chocobo farmer's choices.

"Come back here!" Elena suddenly came running out of the stable, chasing after the female chocobo. "Tseng, stop her! I tried to give her a bath and she ran away!" Apparently, that particular chocobo wasn't too fond of water.

Tseng got ready to capture the chocobo, but the female didn't run out of the ranch as he expected. Instead she ran towards the male and started pecking and scratching at him, while he tugged on the rope trying to break free.

"Oh no, they're fighting!" Elena panicked, "this is terrible, we failed the mission and now they'll never be together!"

"Elena..." Tseng pointed towards the two chocobos, surprise evident in his voice.

"How do we stop them from fighting?" Elena paused, a shocked expression appearing on her face. "They're not fighting anymore?"

"No, they're not," Tseng confirmed.

"They like each other?" Elena blinked; the two chocobos seemed to have worked things out after their short fight. She shook her aching head and held it in her hands. "No one is going to believe us if we say we got stuck playing matchmaker for the strangest chocobos in the world," and it was best to just forget about it anyway. At least the mission was done, but this would not be their last mission at the chocobo farm.

Time passed and Tseng and Elena were called for another mission. Once again they were left to deal with feeding all the chocobos, which wasn't all that hard. But of course there had to be a catch. It turns out that the egg from the couple on their last mission had hatched, but the parents were away at the chocobo races, leaving the chick to be cared for by humans.

"It's so cute!" Elena held the small chocobo chick. It was hard to believe the baby had come from the egg of such a troublesome and odd chocobo couple, and it was even harder to believe that the tiny bird would grow to be large enough to carry a human. Elena tried to feed the chick the baby chocobo formula filled with all the nutrients he needed to grow big and strong, but the chick wouldn't drink it.

"It probably tastes bad..." Tseng observed. That green goop did not look appetizing at all, even for a chocobo.

"But he needs the vitamins..." Elena tried again, resorting to everything from the classic airplane dramatizations, to the overused trick of pretending to eat it herself to show how yummy it was. Of course it was only a side view visual trick, and the green stuff never touched her mouth.

The chick then began to chirp, proclaiming his hunger in a loud high pitched voice, but still refused to eat the sticky green stuff. "I'll ask if there's something else we can feed him." While Tseng went to seek some advice from the chocobo experts that hired them out of laziness, Elena sang a little lullaby.

After a while of Elena's singing, and rocking the chocobo in her arms, the chick calmed down but continued to chirp softly, as if asking to be fed. "Poor little one, I wish I had something yummy to give you."

As if on cue, Tseng arrived with some gooey white and yellow stuff that looked slightly better than the green stuff. "They said this is sweeter, and he might like it better." He handed the food to Elena who once again tried to feed the chick. This time the baby ate it.

The Turks continued feeding the little chick, and admiring his cuteness, until some footsteps were heard, followed by the click of a camera. There stood Reno, looking victorious, "mission accomplished!"

"Mission? What mission?" Tseng asked.

"I got a mission directly from Rufus," Reno replied. It was a mission that not even Tseng knew about. After all those missions for civilians, Reno was glad to receive a mission directly from the president. It might not be a cool, spy-movie style mission, but it was better than what he had been doing lately. "My mission was to capture a cute and fluffy moment with the Turks on camera. You two look like the chocobo is your baby."

So far, Tseng had more or less eluded having his cool Turk image be fully destroyed. Sure all their images suffered, but Tseng had not been completely ridiculed yet, and he wasn't looking forward to some paid journalist try to make the chocobo lovers favor Shinra by portraying Tseng as having a chocobo obsession himself. "Give me the camera!" Tseng chased after Reno, who ran away with the camera. A man had to have his limits after all, and Tseng would draw the line right before the last shred of Turk dignity was consumed. Elena shrugged and let them go; mistakenly assuming the article wouldn't be so bad.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 14: Scissors

Elena grumbled as the scissors chewed the thick cardboard paper, art was not her best subject. She was feeling very frustrated with her project, but she motivated herself by imagining it was some kind of odd Turk mission.

Elena's older sister, Gun, had excelled in all her classes; she graduated from high school with perfect grades and went off to follow in their father's footsteps and become a Turk. Though most of the information concerning Gun's missions was top secret, Elena always heard how proud her father was, and she was condemned to be not 'Elena', but simply, her father's daughter, or worse yet, 'Gun's sister'. Their names were often attached to her relation to them as a way to identify Elena, and that did not feel good at all, she wanted her own identity outside of the shadow of her father and sister.

Elena had grown a competitive spirit, fueled by the need to please and be noticed. She wanted to at least catch up to her sister, and if possible someday outshine her. She wanted to be the one to carry her father's legacy along with the Turks.

But alas, Elena was still a high school student, battling with an annoying art project. She threw the scissors across the room at the same time the door was suddenly opened. She didn't have time to warn the person who had just entered her father's office about the flying scissors, but he easily caught the projectile and surveyed the office as if nothing ever happened.

Elena would have apologized for the sudden loss of her temper, but her voice seemed to disappear when she noticed that the one standing at the door was none other than Sephiroth, the hero and legend.

The tall silver haired man looked down at the blond girl who sat on the floor surrounded by a multitude of art supplies that did not fit on her father's desk, the smooth wood surface already occupied with a computer and several folders. "Where is your father?"

The question was simple enough, and the tone was generally calm, but Elena couldn't decide if she should be angry, embarrassed or thankful that her thrown scissors were disregarded. But the scissors were not the point, being treated like a child was. She pushed her voice out of her throat, vowing not to allow another awkward silence to form ever in her life, and thus eventually becoming quite talkative. "He's not here, but if you need to hand in a report I can give it to him." Elena got up and dusted the small pieces of left over paper off her skirt, letting them fall on the floor like confetti. It wasn't unheard of that sometimes Soldiers and Turks went on missions together, and that would explain the folder Sephiroth was holding, even legendary heroes couldn't escape paperwork.

That girl, the daughter of that well known Turk, Sephiroth didn't know her, but it was rather obvious that she came and went in and out of Shinra with her father's ID as she pleased, and no one complained about it. She was probably a future Turk so she might as well get used to being in Shinra. Sephiroth handed her the folder, which Elena received and placed in her father's desk. Then the Soldier gave her the scissors back.

Elena took the scissors and muttered an embarrassed, "thanks."

The silver haired legend nodded and left the office. Out at the hall, Sephiroth observed his hand. Somehow that school girl's unintentional blow had punctured his glove. He removed the black glove and examined the small cut.

"Let me see!" Zack Fair came out of a near by elevator and stared at Sephiroth's hand. "The great Sephiroth bleeds!" Zack gasped dramatically.

Sephiroth tried to ignore the sarcasm, "it's nothing."

"Who was it?" All the Soldiers from third to first class had been begging to spar with Sephiroth, and when he did grant them the honor, they were quickly beaten effortlessly. The Soldiers had made it their mission to at least put a scratch on Sephiroth, but none had succeeded until now. Zack had to know who managed to make that cut, but Sephiroth wasn't telling.

However, despite the silver haired Soldier's determination for silence, Reno eventually learned the truth, with his incredible ability to annoy people until they talked, all while making it sound like a friendly conversation. Of course, he had to exaggerate the tale when he passed it forward, needless to say, Sephiroth wasn't happy... and neither was Gun.

xoxox xox xoxox xox

Mission 15: Polish

"Polish?" Reno looked absolutely horrified when he was informed about the mission. "Polish?! There's no way I'm going to polish anything. I'm a Turk!"

"I never said you had to polish something. Your mission is only to find and buy high quality polish," Vincent clarified. He didn't really feel like hiring a Turk to run this errand, but he couldn't find anyone else to do it, and he did not wish to go himself because of the inevitable questions that would follow.

"What's the polish for?" Questions such as the one Reno just asked.

"You do not need to know that," Vincent didn't feel like explaining it to Reno any more than he felt like explaining it to the shop keepers, hence why he intended to send the Turk to buy the polish and let him deal with the questions. "As a Turk you should be trained to accomplish your mission without questioning it."

"Yes, but..." But this wasn't a real Turk mission; it was an errand, the kind of thing a child would do to earn a little extra allowance; and it annoyed Reno to no end thinking this was his job. "I won't know which polish to get unless I know what it's for."

"Metal," Vincent replied, unconsciously hiding his left hand in his cloak.

"For your glove and shoes?" Reno laughed, "you could have just said so from the beginning, but I'm only buying it and you're paying for it. I refuse to shine anything; you'll have to do that yourself."

"I already told you, you only need to buy it," Vincent was losing his patience, he didn't exactly feel comfortable with the subject, but Reno didn't understand that.

"What's so bad about going to the store and buying polish?" The redhead continued asking questions, and drying what was left of Vincent's patience.

"It is... unusual and..." Vincent paused; then glared, "you must leave on your mission at once! Questioning your mission will not be tolerated!"

Reno did a mock salute, "yes sir!" and started heading for the door of Vincent's apartment, where he stopped and looked back at his client. "You're probably afraid people will think you're a freak."

A golden shoe came close to hitting Reno, but the Turk reacted fast enough and ducked, the dangerously pointy shoe flying over his head. "Okay, okay, I get it! Armored vampires have feelings too!" Reno made his escape before he became the target of Cerberus.

Buying the polish was easy enough, and so was delivering it. "Good, well done, you may leave now," Vincent received the polish and practically pushed Reno out the door.

However, Reno held on to the door frame and refused to leave. "Wait! Aren't you going to let me watch how it works?"

"I do not ask to watch you while you work on personal hygiene." Vincent reached for Cerberus, which would also get polished soon.

"That would be weird, but it's not like you're going to bathe in polish, are you? You're more of a freak than I thought!"

"I will not use the polish for bathing, now leave!" Vincent insisted.

"I get it! That glove thing is attached so you can't take it off. That sucks; I bet it scares away the fan girls. Good thing I don't need polish to look good." When Reno lowered his guard, Vincent shoved him out the door and closed it, locking the complaining Turk out.

Next time Vincent would buy the polish himself and put up with the questions and strange looks. It was certainly better than putting up with Reno.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 16: Ninja

"Sign here," Yuffie eyed the paper Reno was holding. "Is that what I was called here for?"

"Yes," the Turk replied holding out a pen as well. The Wutai Pagoda could be seen in the background, surrounded by complaining tourists that were not allowed to go up.

"I guess you don't mind if I read it." Yuffie wasn't stupid. Her father had called her, claiming that she needed to perform an important task for the benefit of her country, and that just made it seem all the more suspicious.

But Reno had nothing to hide, "go ahead, there are no tricks."

Yuffie took the paper and read it. "So basically it says that I gave you a tour of Wutai and discussed important historical events. You want me to skip all that and sign this, right? This is part of Shinra's good image propaganda! They want to prove that the Turks enjoy and respect the culture of Wutai even if it's a big fat lie. I refuse to sign this!" The ninja stomped her feet, feeling the beginning of a temper tantrum.

"Wait a minute!" Reno countered, "I appreciate Wutai and if you would just sign it so I can call my mission done, I will continue appreciating Wutai. Besides, I'm bringing proof just in case." Reno wasn't wearing his uniform for this mission. Instead he was wearing, jeans, sneakers, a Tshirt with a picture of two ninjas and the word 'Wutai' written in bold font, and a metal plated headband with a W.

"Covering yourself in souvenirs is not the same as appreciating Wutai's historical value! We're not just a tourist trap!" Everyone could hear Yuffie yelling, and a group of tourists was starting to form a circle around them assuming it was some kind of tour guide promotion, oh the irony.

"Fine, then you can enlighten me about Wutaian history in that restaurant over there," Reno pushed past the crowds, leaving Yuffie with the unsigned paper.

The ninja girl followed the Turk, "I'm not done talking!"

Once seated in the restaurant, it became apparent that Reno would pay more attention to his food than to anything Yuffie would say. "You can start the history lesson any time."

"Right," deciding that she might as well try to enlighten the Turk, and this was as much attention as she would ever get, Yuffie began the lesson. "Wutai is a proud nation of ninjas, or at least it was until Shinra came to invade us and turn this place into a pitiful tourist trap! My father has no sense of Wutaian pride; I think I'm the only real ninja left around here!"

"Wait, are you going to give me stuff to write on the report for Tseng and Rufus, or are you just going to vent?" Reno interrupted.

"This is important!" Yuffie took a deep breath; she would at least try to share some Wutaian history, if only to satisfy her own ninja pride. "Wutai was founded on... on this land, by... a ninja. Our culture is very interesting and..."

"I think the tour guide booklet explains it better, not that I actually read it," Reno interrupted the so called lesson.

"Fine, so I paid even less attention in history class than in the rope escape lessons," Yuffie admitted. "But that's not what Wutai is all about!"

Reno's PHS beeped, it wasn't a call but a text message. He looked at the sender and opened it. But before he could read the message, the PHS was gone, seemingly vanished into thin air. "What?" He was holding the PHS a second ago and now his hand was empty.

"This is what Wutai is about," Yuffie held the PHS victoriously, "ninja skills!"

"I didn't bring my materia," Reno pointed out.

"That was the first thing I noticed," Yuffie read the message, "from your girlfriend?"

"Give that back, it's from work!" Reno attempted to recover his PHS but Yuffie ran away with it.

"From work? I don't believe it!" Yuffie ran out of the restaurant with Reno chasing after her. The owner didn't make a fuss, and simply added the unpaid bill to Shinra's tab, assuming Reno was on a paid company vacation, though he had not been on one in a while.

"It's true!" Reno yelled as they ran all the way to the pagoda, pushing past the crowds of tourists.

"So who at work calls you Ren-cake?" Yuffie pocketed the PHS and bolted past the guard inside the pagoda.

Reno hit the guard with his electrorod, and followed Yuffie. "Fine, so it's not from work."

"Yuffie!" A little girl from Wutai who aspired to be a ninja like Yuffie called out to her. "Look how far up on the pagoda I made it on my own! Let's train together!" She ran over to Yuffie.

"I can't talk now," Yuffie continued running, this was kind of fun. "Turks are slowpokes!"

"Who are you calling a slowpoke!" Reno continued giving chase.

The little Wutaian girl pointed at Reno, "you're not supposed to be here!" But he had already run past and didn't listen.

When they finally arrived at the top floor, having beaten all the enemies that got in their way, Reno chased Yuffie around in circles for a while, trying to recover his PHS. This went on until the same little girl arrived, "you're in big trouble Mr. Turk! I called your boss and told him that you're in the pagoda!"

"How do you even know Rufus' number?" Reno didn't believe her.

"It's on your PHS," the little girl held up the devise victoriously.

"What? How? Hey!" Yuffie pointed and jumped around. Her little prodigy had stolen what she stole first. "Not fair!"

"I'll take that back now," Reno took his PHS.

The little girl returned the PHS without complaints. "Its okay Yuffie, I told his boss so now he's in trouble!"

Reno rolled his eyes, "tattle tell," and he headed downstairs to leave the pagoda.

"Must train harder..." Yuffie muttered, though the little girl was only trying to help, Yuffie couldn't let her young fan surpass her.

As Reno came out of the pagoda, several tourists took pictures because it was very rare that someone who wasn't from Wutai went up to the pagoda, though the pictures didn't show he forced his way in.

It turns out the little girl from Wutai wasn't very specific during her call to Rufus, and the president was left with the impression that Reno was actually allowed to go to the pagoda. With people's vacation pictures being sent over Shinra's internet service provider, it was easy to get some of those pictures and the mission was considered a big success even if Reno never obtained the signature of someone from Wutai's leader family.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 17: Flowers

Reno and Rude were surprised to find that, though this mission was requested by Cloud Strife, it didn't involve delivering packages or helping him pick a gift for Tifa. Instead it was all about gardening.

"You want us to take care of the flowers?" That was not something Reno was good at.

"Yes, I'll give you the easiest part, water the flowers," Cloud handed Reno a watering can. "Rude and I will take care of collecting seeds and planting them."

"The easiest part? Are you saying I'm bad at this?" Reno complained.

Cloud nodded, "yes."

There was a short moment of tension in which Rude considered stepping in, "yeah you're probably right," but the tension dissipated as if it was never even there when Reno accepted the truth. Reno went off to do his assigned task, grumbling that he was a Turk and not a gardener.

Cloud and Rude went to work as well, but they weren't all that great at gardening either. "Don't step on the flowers!" Cloud suddenly yelled.

Reno threw the watering can in surprise and it hit Cloud on the head. The redhead looked at the flowers crushed under his feet. "Oops..."

Cloud rubbed the sore spot on his head. "Stop stepping on them!"

Reno scrambled away from the flowers, stepping on more as he did. "How am I supposed to water the flowers in the middle without stepping on any of them?"

"Step between them, not on them," Cloud pointed out.

"Easier said than done," Reno snatched the watering can and tried again, this time stepping between the flowers like Cloud said.

Cloud nodded in approval and went back to his previous task of collecting seeds so they could be planted. "Rude, don't pull out the seeds like that, you're supposed to be gentle with flowers, Aerith said so."

Rude offered no reply beyond "..." and continued working.

Reno continued to balance himself stepping between the flowers, until he lost his footing trying to avoid squishing a flower, and ended up falling on a lot of flowers.

"Reno!" Cloud yelled so loud that his voice echoed. "The flowers!" He was supposed to be doing something in Aerith's honor by helping take care of her flowers, but now Cloud thought that maybe it was best to let the flowers take care of themselves. Cloud's eyes glowed mako green and he passed out.

Cloud found himself in an endless whiteness. There was someone standing behind him. The voice was familiar, it was Aerith's voice. "You've been working very hard."

"But I let them die, the flowers, crushed like Sector Seven," Cloud replied.

"It's alright, you only wanted to help. Accidents happen, don't worry so much about it, the flowers will grow back." Aerith spoke gently.

Cloud tried to turn around, but as it always happened, Aerith disappeared, and Cloud woke up. "Ow..."

"I think you crushed more flowers than I did," Reno sounded amused, he hated this job and he was so bored he became easily amused.

"What?" Cloud quickly got up, realizing that when he fainted, he landed on the flowers. He sighed; maybe it was best to leave the flowers alone from now on.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 18: Apology

"You're such good children..." It was the seventh time so far that Elmyra had said this.

Elena endured it with a smile and nod; she wasn't too bothered by it. Tseng nodded with a neutral expression, Rude remained as still as a statue and Reno twitched.

"We're not good children," the redhead grumbled, loud enough for his Turk companions to hear, but not loud enough for the sound to reach Elmyra. "We're Turks."

Tseng elbowed Reno, while Elena kept Elmyra distracted by asking, "is there anything else you need?" despite Reno frantically shaking his head for her to stop. He didn't want to do anything else.

"Tseng, darling, could you water the flowers, Aerith used to water them all the time," Elmyra requested.

"I will water them..." Tseng left to do his assigned chore, trying his best not to sound like it was a drag, even if it was.

"Elena, sweetie, could you get started in the kitchen? Let's all have lunch together!" Elmyra continued assigning chores.

"No problem!" With her best media face, Elena went off to accomplish her next task.

"Rude, dear, you look like a strong boy, you can help me rearrange the furniture." Elmyra only received a nod as a response this time and Rude remained characteristically quiet. "Reno, strawberry, could you help clean around the house?"

Reno twitched, dear, sweetie and darling were silly enough, but strawberry? "Strawberry?"

"Oh yes, your hair is the same color as a strawberry, it's so cute," Elmyra giggled.

Reno continued to twitch, doing his best to keep his temper in check. The solitude and the trauma of losing all her family was getting to Elmyra, and she was now convinced that the Turks were the grandchildren that Aerith never gave her. She didn't even realize that they were close to the age Aerith would have been if she was still alive, some even a little older.

In reality, the Turks were there to bring an apology from Rufus to Elmyra for all the trouble Shinra had caused her, including the death of her husband serving Shinra in the past and the sacrifice of her adopted daughter who was trying to stop Sephiroth. As usual Rufus was sending off the Turks to do the hard work, because no matter how much Shinra changed, some things never changed.

A giggle came from the kitchen, and Reno knew that Elena had heard Elmyra calling him strawberry and was laughing at his account. Then he noticed Tseng looking inside the house from the window when he should have been out watering the garden, he too had an amused expression. Even Rude almost laughed, almost but not quite, because he was Rude and Rude never laughed out loud. But on the inside, Reno was sure that Rude was laughing like never before.

"You're such good children..." Reno glanced at Rude, searching for support, as Elmyra repeated yet again. Then he looked towards the window but Tseng had already left to water the flowers. The sound of pot and pans was heard, and the scent of food filled the house indicating that Elena was busy in the kitchen. "Let's move this couch over there, so strawberry can clean behind it." Elmyra was oblivious to it, but that day Reno hated the new missions more than ever.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 19: Reconstruction

"You should reconsider, it's not safe here," Tseng had been trying to reason with the inhabitants of Mideel for the past hour. "There are some very good apartments available in Edge."

"No, no, and a million times no!" The mayor insisted, supported by the unanimous decision of the rest of the Mideel population. "This is our home and we will not abandon it! We didn't abandon it when it had a big hole of life stream in the middle, and we won't abandon it now!"

The planet had eventually began to heal its wound, though there was still a crater where the large pool of life stream had been, this wound wasn't as big as the one in the Northern Crater. The life stream was sucked into the ground and the dry land of the crater was livable, but uncomfortable. Even so, the residents of Mideel stayed in their land and built their new houses around the crater.

The new structures were weak, having been constructed in a hurry due to the pressing necessity of shelter. The materials used where of poor quality, random pieces of wood collected in the area, and reused parts of what was left of the old houses. To summarize, the new houses were not all that stable and the media made it Shinra's duty to make sure everyone had a safe place to live.

If those houses came apart and someone was crushed to death, injured, or even lightly scratched, it would be Shinra's fault like everything else in the world. Thus the Turks were sent to try to talk the residents of Mideel into relocating into an apartment complex in the city of Edge.

Should the Mideel people refuse to move, the current structures that housed them would be strengthened and remodeled into something that resembled a decent living area with the Turks as the remodeling crew.

"..." Rude was silent as usual.

"Yes, I know," Reno agreed with Rude, as if he could tell what Rude was saying just by looking at his neutral expression.

"Do you two have a psychic connection or something?" Elena took a break from painting the neighbor's house to see how Reno and Rude were doing.

"What do you mean? Didn't you get what Rude was trying to say just now?" Reno placed the nail on the wood and attempted to hammer it in.

"Not really..." Elena admitted.

When Reno threw the hammer back and brought it down on the nail, he realized that he only had the handle. "Cheap hammer..."

"Duck!" Elena suddenly looked alarmed.

"Wark!" A baby chocobo curiously approached Reno.

"It's a chocobo," Reno paid no mind to the hammer, which was missing the metal part that had flown off and knocked out the mayor.

"Oh no!" Elena pointed at the unconscious mayor, as a circle of Mideel villagers surrounded him.

"..." Rude watched quietly.

"Yes it is," Reno petted the baby chocobo; any distraction from the unwanted work was welcome. "It's a chocobo, it's still a baby but it's bigger than a duck."

Tseng arrived with more materials, setting a bunch of wood down and rubbing his sore shoulders. "What are those villagers doing over there?" He didn't like how it looked at all.

The Mideel villagers dissipated the circle, revealing the knocked out mayor, who was being carried to the clinic. "Hey, what happened to the old guy? Did he have a heart attack or something?" Reno asked, as if he had no part on it. Then he saw the missing part of the hammer near the scene of the incident. "Is that...?"

"Yes it is!" Elena yelled.

"Reno!" Tseng scolded him.

The villagers had quickly gotten ready to hunt down the Turks with torches and pitchforks as if it was a classic ogre hunt from medieval times. The four Turks ran to their helicopter and took off full speed to Shinra HQ, and away from the murderous villagers.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 20: Entertainment

Instead of feeling a great foreboding, and refusing the mission at all costs, Reno was relieved to hear the setting of his next mission was the Forgotten Capital. He didn't know what in the world he was supposed to be doing there, but it couldn't be community service, because there was no community to serve in such a remote area.

The red haired Turk took to the skies on a helicopter, assuming he was to lead a dangerous expedition or something like that. There was nothing to worry about as far as he knew, but he could at least pretend this was an adventure and attempt to mend the broken pride of being a Turk.

By the time he landed at his destination, Reno had not even fully read the mission request, having left Shinra as soon as he read the location of the mission. Thus where the mission took place was all he knew about the mission, and he still ignored what his task would be, but it couldn't be that bad, right? It was about time Lady Luck stopped being angry at him.

But alas, unknown to Reno, Lady Luck was moody and pissed off, so he was not going to catch a break today. Had Reno taken the needed time to analyze the mission, he might have noticed that the origin of the form was a mystery. The paper appeared on his desk out of nowhere, even if no one had placed it there, and few had access to the Turks' floor anyway.

The security cameras, had they been checked, would show nothing but an eerie green glow. There had been a ghostly presence manifesting itself by printing out the request form, filling it out and placing it on Reno's desk; but none of that was checked.

Reno left the chopper parked as close as he could get to the Forgotten Capital and walked deeper into forest of unusual trees that looked like a combination between trees and ocean flora. Shells and sand adorned the area, making Reno wonder if the place had been under water long ago. But quite frankly, he didn't care; he just wanted to get some decent entertainment out of his mission like he used to do while blowing things up and dodging bullets.

"There he is!" The voice was child-like, and Reno couldn't help it but to cringe, fearing that he had been tricked into another babysitting job, though at quite an odd location.

"Kadaj? Yazoo? Loz?" They looked like miniature versions of the three remnants of Sephiroth.

"Play with us!" Kadaj demanded, pouting, crossing his arms over his chest and stomping his foot for emphasis.

Reno pulled the mission form out of his pocket and cursed his own haste. The mission's description that he read for the first time there and then indeed requested that he played with the boys, that was his mission all along. "Are we going to play destroy the world or kill Strife?" Reno actually sounded hopeful.

"No, we're going to play tag and you're going to be it!" Kadaj and his brothers ran off, fully expecting Reno to chase after them.

Reno stood there for a few seconds rooted to the spot. Finally, he breathed deeply and started running. "You better be plotting to call meteor or something!" Because Reno was desperate for a real mission, even if it meant the possible destruction of the planet.

After running for a while, and losing sight of the three boys, Reno set out to search for them to interrogate them about their mysterious return, and the possibility of Sephiroth coming back. At least that would give the Turks something to do and Rufus would be forced to suspend the ridiculous missions.

A small laugh was heard, but Reno pretended not to hear it. He searched the bushes at the base of a tree then pretended to be on his way, but he suddenly turned around and dashed towards the three, climbing faster than most people could. "I found you!" He sat on a branch next to Loz.

"You didn't catch me!" Loz went further out into the tree branch.

"Come back kid, if you fall and crack your head open, Sephiroth might come out. I know that's Kadaj's deal, but I'm not taking any chances." As much as Reno wanted Sephiroth to return for the sake of having a mission worthy of a Turk, he didn't want the One Winged Angel to come back as a reaction to a broken remnant and possibly seek revenge on the one who let that remnant get hurt.

"I don't want to be it!" The branch where Loz was started to crack under his weight until it broke.

Reno reacted fast enough, and grabbed Loz's hand pulling him up to safety. Loz got scared and clung to Reno who somehow managed to get both of them down from the tree without any casualties.

As soon as they were down from the tree, Loz jammed his fingers into Reno's nose, "I didn't want to be it!" Little Loz cried.

Reno pried the crying child off and put him on the ground, "stop that you little brat!"

"What did you do to my brother?!" Yazoo came running out of nowhere and kicked Reno on the knee.

"You little son of Jenova!" Reno hopped around on one foot.

Then Kadaj joined them, "hey! Why are you playing with everyone else and not with me? I don't want to be ignored!"

The three children then tackled Reno, demanding attention and piggy back rides from their new toy. Reno really wanted to get rid of them permanently, but the return of Sephiroth might be the only thing capable of bringing enough chaos to require real Turk missions and restore the meaning of being a Turk.

To be Continued

Missions: Report III

Mission 21: Career Day

"Why do I have to do this?" Reno complained for the millionth time.

"Because it's simple and not even you can mess it up," Tseng tried to reason with him.

But Reno only pouted, not satisfied with the answer. "Not even I can mess it up? I used to finish all my missions when they were real Turk missions!" Reno complained and grumbled all the way as he headed out the door.

"Take the train, not the chopper!" Tseng called out, but the mode of transportation chosen for Reno caused him to curse loudly and refused to listen. "And watch the language!" Tseng added, much to Reno's dismay.

Of course the redhead used a helicopter to reach his destination anyway, a school. He landed the chopper in the middle of the playground where some kids were previously playing baseball. The pitcher, whose cap had been blown off, just stared at the helicopter that landed inches away from him.

Reno hopped off the helicopter and looked at his mission form. "Hey kid, where's room 101?"

"Over there, but it's recess right now so it's empty," the shocked pitcher pointed at the classroom.

"Recess, huh? That was my favorite subject in school." But that also meant that Reno would have to wait until recess was over to give his silly little career day speech in front of the class.

The kids seemed to finally get over their surprise in seeing a helicopter land in their playground and surrounded Reno asking to ride the chopper. A group of little girls pushed past the baseball team wanting Reno's autograph and phone number, though Reno only provided the autographs.

By the time recess was over, with a bunch of kids crowding around him, Reno somehow managed to make it to the classroom where an old lady with graying hair was, with a dark aura around her. The old lady had the most unfriendly face one could imagine, as if she hated joy and happiness. "So you're the Turk?" She gave Reno a disapproving look, "sloppy."

Well sure, his hair was messy, shirt un-tucked, he had no tie, and his posture was laidback and carefree, save for the slight twitching caused by the constant squealing chibis all around. Reno tried to ignore the old lady that he was certain he had seen somewhere before, as he pulled out a wrinkled paper from his pocket and began to read. "My name is Tseng... What!? Tseng!? This was supposed to be Leader's mission?!"

"I knew you looked familiar!" The old lady pointed with a ruler. "Reno, you always copied Rude's homework and actually read his name a few times during show and tell. So you're still copying someone else's work?"

"You're the same old hag that was here when I was in elementary school!" Reno could hardly believe it.

"How dare you!" The old hag hyperventilated, waving her ruler around like the conductor of a very crazy orchestra. "I knew you wouldn't accomplish anything in your life. You've been doing Shinra's dirty work all this time, haven't you?"

"Pyramid!" The old hag found herself trapped inside a triangular force field, with no one willing to break her out. "Now for the real career day speech, being a Turk is all about being cool and not putting up with stuff like this." The students cheered, having decided what they wanted to be when they grew up.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 22: Scavenger Hunt

Though they were supposed to be on somewhat friendly terms, and even if Rufus Shinra funded his organization, the flames of rivalry burned strong when ever the pretty president saw Reeve Tuesti. The ex-executive had left Shinra to support Avalanche. Though he physically remained with Shinra during most of the Meteor ordeal, he sent his more useful representative, Cait Sith, to lend a hand in stopping Sephiroth along with Cloud's group. That traitor!

Sure there was a debt to be paid, and Rufus would finance it, but letting go of his pride was another story. The Shinra Company would not lose to the World Restoration Organization in the noble game of a scavenger hunt. Rufus made certain of that when he and Reeve, the team captains, who were not to participate in the hunt itself, hid the plushies that were the prices of the scavenger hunt.

The locations of said plushies would be deciphered through clues. Those clues were very easy to figure out, because that was not the real test at all. The places where the plushies were hidden would prove difficult to reach. Reeve's team was made from mostly volunteers, Rufus assumed, and the strongest players, the only concerns, were Vincent Valentine and Yuffie Kisaragi. Traveling by air was a requirement so that might considerably slow the ninja, which left Vincent as the only fully capable player on Reeve's team, as far as Rufus knew.

However, Rufus had fully trained Turks at his disposal, whom he expected to come out victorious at the end of the game, which was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Shinra would be proven to be friendly enough to play with the WRO and strong enough to win. But Rufus did not expect Reeve to hire Cloud Strife to be on his team, neither did he expect Cloud to drag Tifa Lockhart into this.

The signal to start sounded off with a bang and the two teams ran to the helicopters previously prepared for them. Representing Shinra were Tseng, Elena, Reno and Rude and representing the WRO were Vincent, Yuffie, Cloud and Tifa.

The helicopter ride was easy for the Turks, while their opponents were not doing so great. Yuffie's complaints could be heard, while Vincent tried to remain calm and Cloud and Tifa got into an argument about who should pilot the helicopter, though neither actually knew how. Miraculously, the WRO team wasn't killed in the attempt, and managed to make a crash landing to the first location, the forests around Mideel after deciphering the clue "with a fountain of life stream, its doom the house meets."

The WRO Team picked up a Reeve plushie, leaving a Cloud plushie in its place, next to the unclaimed Rufus plushie. The Turks actually landed their helicopter just outside of the forest, far from the town, and went into the forest on foot.

However, the WRO did not stay in the lead for long, since they had to make an emergency call to Cid and have him pick them up while the Turks went off to the next location after having obtained the first Rufus plushie, leaving a Rude plushie in its place. The trip so far had not been easy, as both teams were worn out by the hot and humid conditions of the forest.

The second of the four plushies each team had to obtain, in the image of their respective leaders, was located in the Nibelheim Mountains, a place that Tifa knew well, except for the shortcut that only the Turks knew about and not even Soldiers were informed about it in the past.

Because of this, the teams remained tied, the WRO having made up for the time they spend waiting for Cid by the faster travel of his airship. The plushies of Tifa and Tseng were left there as proof each team had been in the location by the tracking devices inside them, which also prevented cheating, and the second plushies of Rufus and Reeve were recovered.

The Gold Saucer was the location of the third plushies, a place filled with fan girls and fan boys that nearly tore both teams apart. The Turks went on ahead, since the WRO were missing a team member, Yuffie was just too motion sick to do anything after traveling too much too fast.

The Turks took the lead, exhausted from the fan battle and the dessert heat. The Gold Saucer's air conditioner just had to break down on that day. But they were not giving up, if anything, the difficulties helped them pretend this was a real Turks mission filled with all kind of dangers. A Reno plushie was left at the Gold Saucer, along with a Vincent plushie, both plushies becoming the cause of a large fan war to obtain them.

Finally they arrived at the location of the last plushies, Gaea Cliff. After nearly freezing to death and having a few slippery close calls, both teams miraculous left the Elena and Yuffie plushies there and obtained the last Rufus and Reeve plushies.

Exhausted and sore, both teams landed outside the city as planned, for the final task of racing from the city entrance all the way to Shinra Headquarters while being tracked by the devices on the plushies, but they were too tired to go on and collapsed on the street.

"I really, really, want to kill Rufus right now," Reno admitted, receiving unanimous agreement from everyone else. "And Reeve, he needs to die too," once again the agreement was unanimous.

"Let's quit this scavenger hunt and go to the Seventh Heaven instead," Tifa offered. "We can have a nice meal and rest, then both Rufus and Reeve would lose if none of the teams make it." Thus it was done, and the secret rivalry between the WRO and the proud Shinra was not resolved that day.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 23: Treasure

Lately, Reno had been suffering with some really bad Turk missions, but today he finally hit rock bottom, literally. He was sent on this mission despite the warning of an unusually strong hurricane heading north after hitting Costa Del Sol. Some said the bad weather was due to the planet's long overdue rage, since it had been too injured to fully execute its vengeance right after the Meteor incident ended.

But Reno didn't care about those theories; he only knew that, though he was a considerable distance from the hurricane, he had caught a few rainstorms on the way. One would have to be insane or a Turk to be out in a helicopter in that weather, and Reno was a Turk, though in the mist of chaos one would question if he was also insane to continue with his mission.

Maybe it was actually the danger that made Reno persist with the mission. He was sick of cleaning, babysitting, shopping and doing similar trivial tasks. He was a Turk, he dealt with kidnappings, blackmail, espionage, assassination, the cool stuff, and facing danger made him feel like the Turks were turning cool again.

As Reno's journey progressed north, the rain eventually evolved into snow, until his helicopter gave out and crashed on a cliff near the town of Icicle. It was freezing cold and the snow continued to pour, burying the helicopter in a thick blanket of white. Reno left the unfixable helicopter at the bottom of the cliff and started to climb up. On the way he resorted to shocking himself with lightning materia, absorbing the electric element to stay warm and conscious.

Finally reaching the top, Reno made the journey to Icicle, but the town was not his final destination, it was only a reference point. He decided not to stop, at last feeling like a real Turk again, facing danger and laughing in its face.

Reno pressed on until he reached an abandoned cabin. It must have been luxurious when it was still in use, but an avalanche had destroyed a good portion of it and the rest was in bad conditions from lack of maintenance.

Reno crawled into the cabin, pushing snow out of the way. He heard the wood creak with every step he took, and hoped what was left of the structure didn't come apart. If it did, he would die trapped there, or most likely, the weight of the roof and abundant snow on top of it would crush him before he even had a chance to freeze to death.

Lifting some loose floor boards, Reno took out a chest containing the treasure that Rufus had sent him to recover. It was as if Rufus had forgotten about it, being busy with other things, suddenly remembered it, and decided he wanted it back. The chest was locked, and Rufus had instructed Reno not to open it. But after all his work, Reno thought that he had the right to see the treasure he worked so hard to find.

With the lock easily broken, Reno opened the chest and found a plushie, a classic little teddy bear, worn out by the years. The Turk could imagine a young Rufus hiding the bear, because a big boy who will one day inherit Shinra could not be playing with such childish things after a certain age.

Again Reno stopped feeling like a real Turk. The mission certainly had the danger of a real Turk mission, but the treasure he was hunting was not what he expected. Even so, Reno would find a way to turn this into a real Turk mission; a mission that involved kidnapping a certain plushie, holding it hostage and using it for blackmail. It was about time for some payback.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 24: Highwind

"This isn't so bad..." It came as a surprise when Reno spoke such words.

Rude shook his head; alas, Reno had finally lost the last of his sanity.

"As glad as I am that you're not planning to spend the rest of the day complaining, I'll have to disagree." Tseng had his hair in a ponytail, his shirt stained with oil, sleeves rolled up, jacket and tie missing, in a similar way to his companions.

"I rather fix an airship than baby-sit, shop or be a delivery boy." Besides, Reno liked piloting flying machines and he had been getting along with Cid better than expected so far. They both liked flying and goggles, and that was more than Cid had in common with any of the other Turks.

Tseng twisted the wrench, putting all his strength into it, but the stubborn nut wouldn't spin off the bolt. He kept trying until the bolt broke, and the wrench slipped out of his grasp by the sudden lack of resistance against the force he was applying to it. The metal tool flew over Reno and Rude's heads and jammed itself deeper inside the large engine.

With a deadly glare that silenced any possible comments from Reno before he could even make them, Tseng attempted to retrieve the wrench that had gotten stuck at an impossible angle. Logic would dictate that if it went in, it would have to come out the same way, but logic was not on their side.

Tseng pulled at the wrench until it finally came out, oil from an unknown source sprinkling at his face in a surprise attack. As if that wasn't enough, the large engine started with a roar, shocking the three men who instinctively jumped off and away from the increasing heat.

Elena peeked out by the window from her position in the cockpit. She bit her lip with a troubled expression and muttering an inaudible, "I think it short circuited," she went off to undo the wires she just put together.

"That was kind of cool, with the electricity and all." Reno looked somewhat amused, which caused Tseng and Rude to exchange concerned looks. Maybe the redhead really had lost the remainder of his scarce sanity.

Cid arrived after having spent some time enjoying his tea while the Turks worked. It was nice having Shinra working for him instead of the other way around. "How are the repairs going? You better not hurt my ship."

"The repairs are fine." Tseng assured Cid, with such a straight face, confident voice and even breaths; that not even a lie detector would sense he was not telling the truth.

"That's good to hear, keep working at it. I'm going to do some work on Tiny Bronco II, who's going to be the test pilot?" Cid didn't actually expect a volunteer.

Reno managed to entertain himself fixing the airship but flying was still more fun than repairing. "I'll do it!"

As Reno and Cid left to work on Tiny Bronco II, Tseng and Rude quietly nodded to each other, grimly concluding that Reno had lost his mind, and they sadly wondered when their time would come.

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Mission 25: Carnival

"And that's all you have to do!" Yuffie finished explaining with a mischievous snicker. The ninja was very amused, but the Turk was not.

"I have a better idea," Reno replied, "why don't we just get Shinra to build a gigantic plate right over Wutai!"

"What does that have to do with the carnival?" Yuffie inquired.

"Nothing, but then I can drop the plate on Wutai and there would be no carnival!" Reno yelled; then he turned around and walked away as if the conversation never happened.

Yuffie scoffed, "it's not that hard!" She followed Reno and went over the procedures again. "Like I said, all you need to do is sit in the carnival booth; you don't need to do anything else!"

"I knew it sounded suspicious when I read the mission request." It wasn't just any carnival booth, it was the kind where people threw balls, or in this case materia since Yuffie was managing it, at a target to make the unfortunate person sitting in the booth fall into the ice cold water below.

"Only suspicious? I thought you knew all along what it was about." If the job was described as simply sitting in a booth without doing anything else, then one could only conclude the job was not about managing the booth, but about being a target.

"I thought I was supposed to sit around and attract customers or something," which Reno was certain he could easily accomplish with his mere presence. "Why can't Rufus do it? I'm sure more people want to throw him in the water, since he's the president and all."

As part of Shinra's good will towards Wutai, which was obviously more image washing propaganda, even Rufus himself would help at the carnival. "Rufus is working with the body art finger paint booth," which was a place were desperate fan girls went to feel Rufus' hands on them with the excuse of getting painted decorations. "He's the only one who can do it because Tseng and Elena are a couple and they might make each other jealous if they spend too much time finger painting fan girls and fan boys. Then there's Rude, he's up there in the watch tower keeping everything in order. No one else would look as striking as Rude and everyone knows that, so I had to give that job to him to make sure the carnival runs smoothly."

"Why can't I just help Rufus or something?" Reno asked.

"Well that's because..." Yuffie shuddered as she remembered being nearly killed by a laser that came out of nowhere, and there was still a hole on the ground in front of her house to prove it.

Her PHS had mysteriously rang following the laser shot with a call from an unknown number. "I can borrow Shinra's satellite whenever I want and if you make my Reno do the finger paint job, I will kill you. Don't tell him I called you, he's not supposed to know I'm stalking him and if he finds out, I will kill you." The call ended before Yuffie could say anything.

How was Yuffie supposed to fight an enemy she couldn't even find? While Reno had some mysterious tech savvy fan girl watching over him, it was best not to provoke her. Besides, Yuffie's ninja instincts told her that, unknown to Reno, the fan girl could be watching his every move in the carnival with the Shinra satellite she hijacked, and like everything Shinra, the satellite was heavily armed. The lasers could reach the carnival grounds, but people on the ground could not reach the satellite, so it was not at all a fair fight.

Yuffie shook her head and pushed the memories aside. "Never mind, Rufus doesn't need any help. What this carnival needs is a target."

As if on cue, Reeve innocently walked by, minding his own business. Reno and Yuffie nodded to each other, tackled Reeve and tied him up. Thus the water booth finally got its target, not as good as a Turk, but better than nothing. As for Reno, he was free to enjoy the carnival, play in the booths and stuff his face with junk food... and he never found out he was being watched.

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Mission 26: Identity

Once a Turk, always a Turk. It wouldn't be the first time the phrase was spoken, thought or implied. But this time Vincent nearly got fired over it. The cause of his almost jobless state was not being a Turk in the past, as Reeve himself had been a Shinra executive, but rather the second part about always being a Turk.

Vincent had not done any actual Turk work for many years, but apparently he had been all over the place causing mischief. It was as if someone had made it their personal mission to take revenge on the world for the hardships that the world had brought, such as the recent very annoying missions.

It slipped that what was done, was done by a Turk, and the archive containing the records that identified him, slipped out as well. Shinra denied it all, claiming that the man in the reports no longer worked for them. But none the less, the press accused them because, Shinra or not, the man was a Turk. Once a Turk, always a Turk.

Somewhere in the main Shinra building, Reno would laugh like a maniac as he watched the entire thing. He had caused all the trouble and for the sake of keeping his job, because annoying missions and all it was still a good pay, he had credited it to someone else. Someone who had committed the terrible mistake of revealing his old ID number: Vincent Valentine.

Vincent knew right away it had to be Reno's fault, because when things went wrong it was always Reno's fault. Not pleased with the identity thief; Vincent went off to give him a visit. Reeve tried to stop him, concerned that it would prove Rufus' story in the eyes of the media; that this was all the WRO's plot against the innocent reformed Shinra, but Vincent did not stop.

So began the chase of the hunter and the hunted, which left Shinra's new headquarters full of damaged equipment and several random injured idiots who didn't run away on time, but they were not famous so nobody cared.

It also left the WRO in a difficult position, with Reeve pulling out his hair in frustration while he ranted to a Cait Sith plushie. He couldn't very well fire Vincent, his most competent employee, but to keep him around would be problematic, to say the least.

Meanwhile, the hunt continued. Reno carefully peeked out from behind a desk. "Don't you ever run out of bullets?" Bang! Apparently, he didn't.

"I had enough of your mischief." Another trio of bullets flew dangerously close to the target.

"I was just trying to cheer you up old man, to remind you of the good times!" Reno of the Turks, he was either suicidal or stupid, some would say, or maybe incredibly cocky.

"Old man?" Vincent felt his eye twitch.

"Old man, vampire, armored freak, monster, reject experiment!" Reno stuck his tongue out. He couldn't get close enough to Vincent to fight back, so he had to resort to verbal attacks.

Vincent put Cerberus away and just stood there. "Is that what I am?"

Reno noticed that Vincent had seemingly lowered his guard and cautiously approached. "Don't tell me I hurt your feelings just now. I thought the undead didn't have feelings," he joked.

Vincent grabbed Reno by the ear; fortunately it was with his hand not the golden glove. "Someone needs to teach you to respect your elders."

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 27: Mother

The woman was just old enough to be Reno's mother, but not too old, to the point where one would be surprised she had her first child at such a young age. She tugged a long strand of red hair behind her ear and smiled victoriously.

"You've got to be kidding me..." Reno wasn't expecting that. It had been one surprise after another. First he received a mysterious mission request, with the description left blank and only an address, then he found his own mother in the address listed. "Mom? You called me for a Turk mission?'

"Of course not, sweetie, I called you to give you milk and cookies and spoil you, because you haven't visited in ages. Come in, come in!" Anyone would have assumed this was all about a mother wanting to spend more time with her son, but Reno recognized the mischievous glint in his mother's eyes. He should know, besides the hair it was something else he inherited from her.

"Mom, what's the real reason you called me over here?" Reno picked up a chocolate chip cookie and ate it, the entire situation was suspicious but he might as well help himself to the treats.

"To have one of those mother and son moments remembering old times. Look, I even set aside a bunch of pictures for us to look at!" She picked up the album and opened it, "do you remember this?" It was the image of two little boys buried in a mountain of cookie boxes.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Mom I want cookies," a little boy with bright red hair reminded his mother, and random passer bys stared wide eyed because at first glance they would assume the child was the woman's little brother.

"Go get them, honey," she patted her son's head and expected to watch him run off a few isles down in the super market as soon as she spoke those words, but he stopped only a few steps ahead.

"You're in the same classroom I'm in!" Reno pointed at another boy who had also been dragged off to the super market with his mother.

The quiet boy nodded, with the same serious expression he always had. But his mother squealed loudly in sheer happiness. Her little Rude was very shy, much like his father, and thus didn't have many friends. "You're Rude's friend? How cute!"

Reno's mom couldn't help it but to be amused at the outburst and didn't even bother to remind Reno that there was no need to yell and point if he wanted to say hello to a classmate.

"Mom said I could get cookies," and cookies were high on a child's priority list.

"Oh right cookies, go with him Rude, and get some cookies too." Rude's mother encouraged him.

But of course, children don't want the cookies on the lower shelf; they want the very same cookies on the top shelf. It was as if Reno's mother knew it would happen, but her mischievous side prevented her from stopping it. Soon after, there she was, camera in hand, ready to capture the moment.

xoxox xox xoxox

"About that girl..."

Reno nearly chocked on the milk. He knew it, his mother was just trying to distract him and lower his guard with pictures to get information out of him. "So there was another reason to call me here."

"Sweetie I know you're a big boy and all, but you have to tell your mom when you start dating so she won't try to send any girls to you. Out of the five I sent over the last few months, one was found injured, two were found terrified and hysterical, and the other two were not found at all. It's okay, I'm very happy your girlfriend is such a strong woman who's been taking good care of you. But I do wish you would invite her over sometime."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Reno was actually telling the truth, no denial, just the truth. He had not seen any of the girls his mother sent, and he had not witnessed what caused their grim fate.

Yet all of that only made his mom squeal with joy, "Reno has a stalker!" It could be a stalker, or it could be fan girls protecting their prey, who knows. The point was that girls thought her baby was hot, and for that she was proud.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 28: Revenge

It had been several weeks since Reno went on a mission to recover a box of unknown contents. Though he was instructed not to open it, after facing countless dangers to obtain it, Reno thought he had earned the right to do so. Inside the box he found Rufus' old teddy bear, which in revenge for the ridiculous missions, Reno decided to take hostage; a fact that remained unknown to Rufus when he called Reno to hear his report.

"You were supposed to finish your special mission a long time ago and you haven't turned in your report yet!" Rufus' scolding held a hint of worry as he stabbed his pen into a random document he was supposed to be signing. "You didn't open it, did you? May I remind you that I specifically ordered that you did not open the box and I am the one who signs your paychecks."

"I know," Reno tried to play innocent, "that's why I continued the mission after I found the box was already open. I've been investigating but didn't want you to worry about your precious item."

Rufus paled, "do you know what the precious item is?"

"Yes, a cute and fluffy little teddy bear." Reno grinned from ear to ear, watching Rufus' mortified expression. "But I know you must have your reasons to treasure it so I won't go into that. I will continue my investigation even when taking new missions until I find the thief, I mean the kidnapper." Reno left Rufus' office before the president even had time to react.

Reno headed off to his new mission, because he was good at playing videogames, Marle and Denzel decided to hire him. The opportunity was perfect for Reno to sneak the bear into their toys and leave it there.

After Reno's mission was over, the children were cleaning up their toys when they found the bear. Denzel held the old teddy bear. It was worn, dirty and about to fall apart, the bear certainly wasn't his. "Is this yours?" Usually Marlene had better taste in toys so Denzel had to ask.

"No, I've never seen that bear before. I wonder where it came from." Marlene took the bear with the same disapproving look from Denzel. "I'll ask Tifa about it," and Marlene went downstairs to find Tifa.

Tifa looked at the bear; she held it carefully as if fearing it would fall apart. It had lost some of its filling on one side due to a hole in the fuzzy fabric. "I've never seen it before, maybe it's Cloud's bear..." Truth be told, Tifa wouldn't put it past him, and maybe he was a bit embarrassed so he hid the bear among the kids' toys. Then again, Tifa couldn't really blame him, having plushies was fine, but having such a messy and smelly bear was indeed shameful. "I'll clean it up."

When Cloud returned from his deliveries and went up to his room, he found a teddy bear sitting on his bed. The bear had been recently washed and it smelled of soft perfume. It had been filled up to be pillowy and fluffy with a few patches here and there, but the mending work was so good the patches looked more like decorations than patches. Cloud was curiously holding the bear when he heard Tifa's footsteps coming, and she soon appeared at the door. "Did you...?"

Tifa nodded, "yes."

Cloud misinterpreted the situation and thought the bear was a gift from Tifa. Maybe it was her old teddy bear, which she treasured, something precious to her. He smiled, "thank you."

Reno eventually returned to the president's office and told Rufus that he had found the kidnapper and gave visual confirmation in the form of a picture of Cloud Strife playing a videogame with a teddy bear on his lap. The picture was taken when Reno decided to go back to play some games even if it wasn't for a mission that time.

Of course Rufus was angry, but he couldn't very well say that Cloud kidnapped his bear, that would be embarrassing. "You misinterpreted," Rufus lied. "I really thought you were kidding about the bear, so I didn't say anything, I have no idea why you thought the stolen item was a bear. It wasn't a bear," Rufus denied it, "It was... materia, but never mind; it would be too hard to track it down, the mission is over."

Materia before the time of the mako generators? Right, Rufus was desperate for an excuse but Reno didn't question him. "I'll try harder next time." Satisfied with his revenge, Reno left the office.

Rufus looked out the glass window at the city. He held the picture Reno had brought as proof. Strife looked like he was taking good care of the bear and it had been washed and repaired. "Maybe it's for the best," the young president mused and silently entrusted his little childhood friend to Cloud.

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Mission 29: Girl Scout

Elena felt like the girl scout she had never been, because she had always aimed for the Turks, and they were hardly well behaved little scouts. "Mister Bugenhagen," she attempted to reason with the old man to no avail. "I was hired by your grandson to help you around the city, so please be more cooperative and allow me to help you cross the street." She felt her eye twitch as the words left her mouth, with the sour realization that the Turks kept falling further from what they used to be.

"I don't need any help from you youngsters!" And to prove his point, Bugenhagen floated, gliding several inches above the ground. "I bet you can't do this, young lady. I'm giving Nanaki an earful as soon as I get home, sending someone to tend to me as if I was an old man!"

"Nanaki hired me because he was worried about you!" Elena tried to reason, but Bugenhagen paid her no mind.

He was in a stubborn mood, refusing to accept his age. "I'm telling you I'm fine!" In his haste, Bugenhagen crossed the street at the wrong time and nearly got run over by a passing car.

"Mr. Bugenhagen!" Elena froze the car, saving the old man from certain death.

"Hey!" The driver yelled. "What do you think you're doing?!"

"Shut up!" Elena froze the driver as well. "Mr. Bugenhagen, wait!" Calling was useless, for Bugenhagen would not listen.

However, Elena finally caught up to the floating old man when he stopped at a park. "Mr. Bugenhagen, why don't you sit down and rest?"

"I'm not tired," Bugenhagen stubbornly refused.

"Running, or floating, around so much isn't good for your health, you should sit down and enjoy the afternoon," Elena insisted as she spotted a vendor near by, "look, they're selling bird feed over there. Why don't you just sit on this bench while I go buy some and then you can feed the pigeons all afternoon!"

Bugenhagen frowned at the suggestion. It seemed that Elena annoyed him just as much as he annoyed her. "No! No! And absolutely not! When will you understand that I'm not an old man!"

"Don't lose your temper grandpa, that vein on your forehead looks like it's about to pop!" Some random kid yelled and ran off with his friends. Elena laughed; she had to admit the child was right.

"You little brat! I'm not old!" Bugenhagen stomped his feet in frustration. "Nanaki, you're so grounded!"

"I'm too old to be grounded, grandpa." Next to the girl scout that had been pestering him all day, stood his grandson, whom Bugenhagen did not hear coming.

Bugenhagen pouted and floated away muttering something about kids these days having no respect for their elders.

Elena sighed, "what's next? Selling cookies?"

"Yes," Nanaki replied.

Elena gave him an incredulous look, "you have to be kidding!"

"Actually, I came to tell you that I requested another mission for you after this one." Nanaki explained. "The Cosmo Canyon archeologists need some funds so we will be selling cookies and you've been hired to help."

Elena really did feel like the girl scout she never was, and never wished to be. This was the last time she agreed to trade missions with Reno.

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Mission 30: Strike

After all the ridiculous and annoying missions the Turks had to endure, they decided to go on strike. None of the Turks showed up for work and when Rufus called they demanded better missions and other things. The president was trying to reason with Tseng on the phone but it wasn't going well. "So basically, you're saying that you rather risk your life in a war of bullets and materia than do simple community service?"

"Yes!" Came the unanimous chorus from the phone, Tseng probably had the speaker on.

"You'll regret going on strike, you're all a bunch of ungrateful cowards!" Rufus Shinra was frustrated. "I'll just have to find some replacements and-" there was a knock on the door which caused the pretty president to let out an unmanly shriek. "Who's there?!"

"Number zero, five, four, eight, three, seven, with your coffee, sir," a female voice replied.

Rufus breathed deeply, he noticed that the call had disconnected and put the phone down on the receiver. He grumbled about the nerve of those ingrates for going on strike and hanging up on him, then strode to the door and opened it.

"You sure are gullible, that wasn't even a real employee number, I made it up!" Yuffie laughed victoriously.

"What are you doing here?" Rufus inquired with growing alarm.

"Reeve is cheap; he hardly pays me enough, so I'm doing some work on the side as a paid ninja mercenary." Yuffie grinned mischievously. "In other words, I'm here to kill you."

Rufus backed away, "there's no way you can win!" He prepared for the attack, but realized that he was so used to having the Turks protect him that he wasn't carrying any weapons or materia, and Yuffie's arrival was too coincidental. "Did the Turks send you?"

"Does it matter? You'll be a dead man soon anyway. Besides, do you know how many people are out to get you? The Turks' strike isn't completely public yet, but once that's out in the open everyone will know you're a sitting duck!" Yuffie had a point, without the Turks, killers and fan girls alike would go after Rufus.

Rufus continued to back away and frantically reached for the phone. Yuffie threw her shuriken, the blades cutting the phone cord then the shuriken returned to her like a boomerang which she easily caught. Rufus searched for his cell phone and dialed, but Yuffie seemed unfazed. "Tseng? I need all the Turks to come over here right now, Reno? Put Tseng on the phone! What do mean unavailable? Fine, then get Elena! She's gone too? On a date with Tseng? Then tell Rude to get over his dislike for the phone and answer it! You're hanging up because I don't want to talk to you? It's not that, it's just that I need to talk to someone competent right now... wait, Reno, no!"

"Nobody's coming to save you!" Yuffie mocked.

Rufus called again, though this time it took a little longer for someone to answer. "Reno? Who? Cloud? Tseng said he didn't need this phone anymore? But it's his company phone! The Turks hired you to be the negotiator? Fine I'm listening..."

The Turks had a long list of demands, such as better missions, more money, frequent paid vacations, a bigger Christmas bonus, better health insurance, private company cars, and every other thing they could think of.

"Fine, but they still have to do the community service missions! Oh, alright, I'll pay double for those. Fine, fine triple, just tell them to come back before there's no one left in the world of the living to sign their paychecks!" Rufus pleaded, "what? Two more demands? I have to pay the bills for the negotiator and mercenary?" So the Turks did send Yuffie... But alas when faced with certain doom, Rufus had no choice but to comply.

There were too many people out there who wanted Mr. Rich and Pretty out of the picture, and the Turks were the only ones that could, and would be willing to, protect him, even if it came at a high price.

To be Continued

Missions: Report IV

Mission 31: Jump

Being a Turk, Rude got plenty of exercise; it was required for his job. After all, a Turk had to be ready at all times, because no one knew when spoiled princess Ruru would wake up in the middle of the night with a craving for Farbucks coffee, with all sorts of cream and a silly assortment of sprinkles. Obviously it couldn't be home made coffee, goodness no, it had to be bought from princess Ruru's favorite establishment, which was so conveniently open twenty-four seven, thus nullifying any possible excuses.

When the pretty boy princess had more than one Turk over to guard his door at night, and rush in to rescue him should the under the bed monster decide to come out, they would play a game of rock paper scissors to decide who would go out to get pretty boy's midnight snack.

Try as they may to avoid the midnight, or early morning, runs, Rufus would only accept freshly bought goods, nothing re-heated or re-frozen. Because re-heated coffee didn't taste the same according to him, and soft-serve ice-cream tasted best when eaten right away, becoming more like shaved ice made with flavored water if left in the freezer for too long.

Then the unfortunate Turk who lost the game would have to make a run to and from the establishment, be it Farbucks or Basket Robin, all the way to Healin Lodge, which was most of the time done in a helicopter and sometimes a car, and be back before the delivery cooled off or melted; running up the stairs to tend to Rufus' needs.

Because of all that exercise, even if Rude wasn't as much as a cat as Reno, he was very agile and had a vast supply of stamina. One could also point out, especially of that one happened to be a fangirl, that Rude also had great abs, but that would be getting into another topic.

The point was that today, even if Reno had once again unwittingly lost the game of rock paper scissors, the redhead took to showing his cat-like attributes in a different way, by giving his partner the saddest kitten look he could muster, thus making Rude feel like heartless if he exercised his right to stay in Healin Lodge while Reno went out to fetch Rufus' snack.

That was how Rude's predicament started, and now he found himself in front of the Seventh Heaven, which was already closed. Rufus had once tasted Tifa's cooking in a propaganda filled visit to the Seventh Heaven, during which the Turks were ordered to discreetly taste the food for poison first, which fortunately went well. The problem was that Rufus, also known as Mr. Spoiled Brat Pretty Boy, had developed a liking for Tifa's cooking, and now he wanted some fried chocobo from Tifa.

One would reason that Rude could simply go to one of those twenty-four hour fast food establishments and buy some fried chocobo, but Rufus, who was without a doubt the pickiest eater in the world, would immediately notice, and Rude's paycheck would suffer.

Thus Rude found himself jumping, he jumped until he reached a pipe sticking out of the wall of the Seventh Heaven and careful not to slip, climbed up to the second floor ledge. Of course, Rude had considered calling Tifa, but she would either murder him for waking her up in the middle of the night asking for fried chocobo, or decide to go back to sleep while she sent Cloud to murder him, hence why Rude was sneaking around trying to cause Tifa to wake up indirectly to avoid the blame.

If his plan worked, then Rude would call and say he saw the lights on and wondered if everything was alright. He would say it was his latest mission to patrol the city at night, and maybe the kind hearted Tifa would take pity on him and offer him a snack. He would find some way to bring fried chocobo into the conversation, ask her to make it 'to go' and leave, so as to not keep Tifa awake for longer than needed. At least that was the plan, and Rude was thankful that Reno wasn't present to make a comment about how it was all about sneaking into Tifa's house more so than getting the fried chocobo.

Confirming the location of Tifa's room, Rude climbed up to the roof and jumped up and down on the surface. The noise succeeded in both waking Tifa, and getting Rude's foot trapped in the hole he just made in the roof. A scream soon came, confirming just how awake Tifa was. Rude pulled his foot free, losing his shoe in the process, and ran for dear life.

Rude jumped from roof to roof until he got away, then dashed to his car, which he parked a safe distance away. Thankfully, Rude carried an extra suit and shoes, since Turks jobs sometimes got messy, or they used to in the past. He put on a new pair of shoes and casually drove by.

Rude didn't even have to call, for Tifa opened the door with a fierce look and her fighting gloves on, but she calmed down as soon as she recognized the driver. "Rude, thank goodness it's you, I thought there was some stranger driving around and I was ready to give him a beating if he turned out to be the guy who tried to break in."

"Someone tried to break in?" Rude tried to ignore the guilty feeling that pained him. Turks were not supposed to feel guilt.

"Yes, a little while ago someone was walking on the roof. I'm pretty sure it was a man judging by the shoe he lost when his foot went through a thin spot on the roof right over my bedroom. I screamed and the kids woke up, but I sent them back to bed, saying I just had a nightmare; I didn't want to scare them. The guy must have run away when he realized I woke up. Cloud sleeps like a rock, so I just let him rest. I'm not going back to sleep until I install a good security system," Tifa explained.

It broke Rude's heart to see Tifa that way because of something he caused, all for the sake of Rufus. "I can stay if it'll make you feel safer."

"Oh no, I couldn't ask that. I'm sure you must be tired after a long day's work. I know how the Turks' missions have been lately," Tifa replied.

"It's alright, I'm not sleepy anyway, I can keep you company and tomorrow I'll have someone from Shinra come over and install a security system for you, free of charge," Rude offered.

"Really? You would do that? Thank you so much! If you're sure you want to stay over, how about a midnight snack?" Tifa discreetly glanced at Rude's feet as they went inside, he had both his shoes, how silly of her to suspect. The similar shoe sizes were a mere coincidence. Who knows how many men in the area wear the same shoe size; and Rude was so kind...

Meanwhile, in the second floor of the Seventh Heaven, Cloud Strife tossed and turned in his sleep, as if he were having a nightmare. But back at Healin Lodge, Reno was having the real nightmare putting up with an impatient Rufus who wouldn't get his fried chocobo until the next morning.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 32: Stalker

Lately Reno had been followed by a mysterious stalker and he made it his mission to find out who she was. He suspected that the same mysterious stalker was leaving those messages in his PHS, calling him Ren-cake. The number was impossible to trace, and thus impossible to reply to, and the stalker's true identity remained a mystery.

Tired of waiting for the mysterious girl to show herself, Reno declared at the top of his lungs, from the roof of Shinra headquarters, that he wished to take his stalker on a date at the Gold Saucer. However, when he went to meet her at the entrance to the Gold Saucer, the place was closed for repairs.

They claimed that there had been an asteroid shower, but those who knew about materia, knew that wasn't the case. Someone had a fully developed Comet materia and knew how to use it. The area had been cleared and the girls that gathered retreated.

Some said the culprit was hiding among the crowds, some even said she might have allowed her own attack to hit her to keep up appearances. Either way, one thing was for sure, she was sneaky.

Regardless of the set backs, Reno would not give up. His fellow Turks had already declared he was insane to want to meet the stalker, but the redhead had reached a new level of insanity with his latest plan.

"This is bad," Rude stated the obvious because it looked like Reno had somehow missed it.

"It's okay, just tie me up and don't forget the blindfold." Reno was currently on the roof of the Shinra building, tied up and blindfolded, no fan girl could resist the opportunity. The Shinra satellite should give out his location when the fan girl borrowed it again, and just in case, Reno had talked Tseng, Rude and Elena into guarding all the access routes to the roof.

Rude left Reno there and went to his position. The stalker should be able to track him down, get inside Shinra and past the other Turks. It couldn't be just a regular fan girl; it had to be the skilled stalker.

Time passed and nothing happened, and time continued to pass. "This isn't going to work, she only appears when I'm near other girls..." but it couldn't just be any girl, it had to be a girl with an interest on him, otherwise the stalker didn't really mind. "Rude, untie me, this isn't working! Rude!" That time, Reno had to untie himself the hard way. He knew the Turks were still at their posts because no fan girls got to him, but they let him untie himself on his own. At least he practiced rope escape in case he ever needed it.

Even after that experience, Reno still refused to give up. But if he set himself up to be captured random fan girls could interfere, and if he made sure they didn't interfere by making it too much of a challenge to get to him, then the stalker wouldn't get possessive and she wouldn't come. If he tried to find a random girl to flirt with, the stalker would attack from a distance and he wouldn't be able to catch her. It didn't look like she was planning to try to go out with him, she simply kept other girls away; and that was the most annoying part.

Exhausted, Reno went home and tried to get some sleep, until his PHS rang. "Ren-cake, don't endanger yourself. I'm always watching, always keeping you safe, but don't do anything stupid."

It was the stalker, after all that she had the nerve to call. At least this time she was actually talking instead of only leaving a message, even if the number was still untraceable. "Who are you? How did you hack Shinra's satellite?"

"I didn't have to hack Shinra's satellite, I work for Shinra, I just borrowed the satellite for a while. Don't try to find me in the employee records because I took care of that. But if you really want to know who I am I'll tell you, do you want to know?"

"Of course I want to know!"

"I'm all of them, each and every fan girl. I'm a body of thoughts, a being created from their love and their possessive instinct. Because I'm all of them I can't give you to one girl alone, I have to make sure they keep their distance so that you may live for all of them. That's the reason I was made."

"A body of thoughts... You're like the remnants except you're made from fan girl thoughts..." Needless to say Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz were nothing in comparison to a creature made from fan girl thoughts. "Is all of this true?"

"Maybe..." The call was ended.

Reno stared at his PHS in disbelief. "What does she mean maybe?" All in all, he went in one big circle and didn't truly accomplish anything... And he would forever wonder if she was telling the truth or not.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 33: Stapler

The continuous clicking sound was really starting to get on Tseng's nerves, and it only got worse when he looked at the four mountains of papers on his desk. In rhythmic motion, Tseng picked up one of each paper, lined them up and stapled them together. The four papers were placed on a fifth mountain, and the action was repeated.

First paper, second paper, third paper, forth paper, align them, stapler, clicking sound, place them in a pile. It was driving Tseng insane, and the fact that Reno was sitting across the room staring at the process with a zombified expression didn't help.

"Reno," the redhead completely ignored the leader's voice. "Reno!" There was no reply. "Reno!" Tseng slammed the stapler on the desk, accidentally stapling the smooth wood.

"Huh? What? Where?" Reno looked around as if he just woke up, but it made no sense because his eyes were already open before. It was as if he was so bored, he was hypnotized by the stapler.

"Help me staple these papers." Tseng's words made Reno wake from his trance completely and spring to his feet.

"I think I hear Rufus calling!" Reno dashed out of the Turks' office at an inhuman speed.

Tseng continued his robotic motions, stapling was his mission after all, not Reno's. Elena returned from her latest mission, it wasn't so bad; she just had to waitress at a restaurant. She sat at her desk to write her report, but instead watched Tseng.

"Do you want to help me staple?" Tseng asked.

"I have to write a report," Elena didn't take her eyes off Tseng.

"Then why aren't you writing it?" Tseng asked, with the same automatic motions, first paper, second paper, third paper, forth paper, staple.

"I am..." Elena continued to stare. Tseng's movements were so precise; she couldn't help it but to watch.

First paper, second paper, third paper, forth paper, staple, Tseng continued his work. First paper, second paper, third paper, forth paper, staple, the same thing over and over. First paper, second paper, third paper, forth paper, first paper, staple, wait, that's not right. First paper, second paper, forth paper, staple, no, no! Tseng put the stapler down. He had lost the rhythm of work and found himself unable to recover it.

Elena finally started writing her report and finished it fairly quickly, while Tseng had slowed down but managed to regain some of his working momentum. "I'm done!" Elena announced.

Tseng's concentration shattered and he stapled his finger, but he took it like a Turk and didn't say anything.

"I can help you now!" Elena pulled her chair to sit across from Tseng, but before she started stapling, she noticed Tseng's stapled finger. "Oh my God! You're hurt! Let me help you with that!" She rushed to get the first aid kit, then carefully removed the staple from Tseng's finger and wrapped a band-aid around it. "There you go, all better." Elena put the first aid kit away and sat down again, while Tseng stared at his bandaged finger.

As a Turk, Tseng had spent a good portion of his life dodging bullets and there he was, getting injured by a stapler, how did he fall that low? Further more, Elena's stapling speed was far grater than his, even before he lost his concentration. He wasn't sure why he cared, but it somehow felt like insult upon injury. Tseng didn't think it could get worse... until Rude arrived with another mountain of papers that needed to be sorted and stapled.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 34: Zolom

"It's dangerous, they say, it eats travelers, they say, and chocobo and even children. It has to be dealt with; it's bad so it must be Shinra's fault. It's bad so Shinra must have somehow made it and Shinra has to fix it. And when you want trouble to come, it doesn't!"

The blue chocobo tilted his head to the side and looked at Reno as if he were insane. "Wark!"

"My thoughts exactly, buddy." Reno had been sent off to the swamp near the chocobo farm to deal with the giant snake that resided in it. Any problem that troubled the world would be declared Shinra's fault and it would be the Turks' mess to clean up.

"Wark!" The chocobo stood around idly, trained to wait for its master, even if said master was just standing around. Arquan, the blue chocobo, tilted his head back and looked away and if trying to say 'I'm better than you.'

Reno pouted, the Zolom wasn't coming out and the chocobo that was supposed to help him in this very annoying mission had a superiority complex. He stood at the swamp, where the ground was humid slippery and muddy, made noise, threw rocks and waited, but the deadly serpent that allegedly lived in the swamp refused to come out to greet him.

Stupid overgrown worm, when people wanted to get past it, it came out to eat them. But when the brave knight stood ready to slay it and rescue Princess Paycheck, the beast refused to show itself.

Arquan walked around the area near Reno, bored out of his mind. "Wark!" He was practically begging for the Zolom to try to sneak up on him, but it didn't. "Wark!"

After a while of fruitless, and snake-less, waiting, a yellow female wild chocobo approached the domesticated blue one. "Wark!"

"Go away!" Reno threw some greens as far away as possible into the swamp.

The hungry wild chocobo rushed after the greens; she sat down, not caring about the mud sticking to her feathers and ate.

"Wark!" Arquan looked displeased, but then looked away with the same superior attitude he gave Reno. If that other chocobo preferred food over him, then she wasn't good enough anyway.

"You're not here to flirt or give me an attitude; you're supposed to be helping me!" Reno was muddy, dirty, filthy and very uncomfortable. He was certain that he would need to spend a lot of time in the shower to get the mud off, and obviously his uniform was a lost cause that would be thrown away.

"Wark!" The yellow chocobo female called as if asking for more greens, but she didn't even get up. "Wark!"

"Fine, just shut up!" Reno threw more greens at her and she continued eating them.

"Wark!" Arquan complained because he wasn't being fed, and he was used to being fed top quality greens all the time.

"I get it," Reno was about to toss more greens on the ground but the blue chocobo protested.

"Wark! Wark! Wark!" Arquan sounded offended.

"Oh right, you're too good to eat off the ground." Reno held out the greens, his glare reflecting the same sarcasm and frustration as his voice.

"Wark!" Arquan regally ate the greens off Reno's hand in small bites, giving Reno a few glances of superiority as if the red haired human was his slave. At least Arquan was too civilized and egotistical to sink low enough to bite his 'slave', that would be primitive and uncivilized.

Time passed and the Zolom still wouldn't come out. Just when Reno thought he hit rock bottom, a stray black chocobo female landed near by. Arquan elegantly walked around, wondering if the dark feathered lady would have better taste than the blond feathered one who only cared about greens.

The stray black chocobo gently nudged Reno. "Wark!"

Reno petted the black chocobo, "I guess you want greens too. Sorry girl, I don't have any more food. Yellow girl and Mr. Superiority Complex ate it all."

"Wark!" The flying chocobo didn't leave but continued cuddling Reno.

"You don't want greens, just attention?" The chocobos were too calm, as if they knew Zolom wasn't coming and Reno found that to be very suspicious.

Eventually at the end of the day, Reno returned home, leaving a trail of mud in his path. He threw his uniform on the floor and took a very long shower to get the mud and dirt off. Several hours later, he emerged fully clean and starved.

While Reno looked around the refrigerator, his PHS rang, Tseng's name displayed on the screen. "If you're calling about the Zolom report then I don't have it."

"You don't need to make a report for that, since the mission was cancelled. I tried to call you, but you didn't answer so I assumed you knew the mission had been cancelled and turned off your PHS."

The entire day replayed in Reno's mind in fast forward. Everything from Arquan being a loud mouth brat demanding attention, just like Rufus, to the wild black chocobo female who didn't know the difference between a chocobo and a human.

"The signal must have been bad in the swamp. I was trying to tell you that the WRO's nature loving activists moved the Zolom to Wutai's new aquarium to stop Shinra from killing it. At least it won't bother the travelers anymore." Tseng explained.

"Then I spent the day in the swamp putting up with Arquan's Rufus-attitude for nothing?" Reno heard some tapping on his apartment window and saw the flying chocobo female he met in the swamp. "Did you say Wutai aquarium?"

The next day people would speak of the surprise attack; the rain of bombs dropped by a flying chocobo that annihilated everything in the Wutai aquarium.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 35: Rookie

The boy was still a teenager, having finished high school less than a month ago and already well into his Turk training. Some were not too happy with his choice to join the Turks, while others told him to "do what you believe is right" and Tifa trusted that he would be the one to make the difference.

The ambition to go to the top, the desire to be the best, the need to prove himself, and the longing to protect, were all too familiar to Cloud, and it took some convincing from Tifa to calm him and assure him that Denzel would be alright. Of course Barret was another story, as he would never shut up about how he wished Denzel would have done anything else, except join the Turks.

However, Denzel had been a small child during the meteor ordeal and the Turks were not all that bad afterwards. Besides, one could not change the world without being close to the force that moved the world. Despite the hidden, and not so hidden, power struggles; that force, though a bit shaky, remained to be Shinra, not the World Restoration Organization or Wutai, and definitely not the dormant Avalanche.

But that was okay, because this was the good Shinra, not the Shinra of the times he barely remembered. Many years had passed since the return of Sephiroth and the attack of Geostigma, and though the World Restoration Organization eventually became stable, without Shinra's financial help during that time, admit it or not, the WRO would have fallen, and Wutai might have been dragged down with it if Shinra stopped marketing it as a tourism spot.

The point was that Shinra had fixed things, it was still doing so and they didn't get enough credit for it. With no soldiers, and only the shadow of an army, it was all about the Turks. Some said they had intensified their training and skills to fill the gaps, and some said they were in a way mako-less soldiers, armed with materia instead.

"Ready? Go Rookie, no messing up." At Reno's signal the simulation began.

The rookie Turk wearing their well known uniform launched the first attack. He wore gloves covered in metal armor, but they still allowed movement in his hands. Three knives about five inches long came out from the knuckles of each glove, colliding against the training robot. Denzel's materia glowed, as flames were summoned to attack the mechanical beast, then the relentless attack continued until the simulation was abruptly stopped.

Reno had received news on his PHS; he looked satisfied with what he heard. "The WRO and Wutai couldn't handle that Behemoth that started attacking for no reason. It came back to the city and their forces are down."

"You sound happy," Denzel observed.

"That's because it means it's our turn. Get ready for your first real battle, Rookie." For all the unworthy missions Reno suffered through to stay with Shinra, it was payback time. Because in the end, the WRO, Wutai, and everyone else, would have to admit that there were things that only the Turks could handle.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Reno! Reno! Wake up!"

Reno woke up to find himself in a place that had become familiar. Toys were scattered about, posters were up on the walls, and the TV was on, depicting the frozen image of a videogame with the word 'pause' flashing on the screen.

There was a special offer in Turk missions for a limited time, and it was affordable even with a child's allowance. Due to messing up his boring missions lately, Reno had been forced to take the easy cheap missions, such as playing videogames with Denzel when Tifa was working, Cloud was out on deliveries and Marlene was at a friend's house with a bunch of other girls. But it wasn't so bad, because videogames were definitely a lot more fun than the missions Reno had to do lately. He allowed himself to relax and catch up on the sleep he missed.

"You're supposed to play, not sleep," Denzel reminded him.

It took Reno a moment to return to reality and remember that Shinra had not yet recovered its coolness, there was no Behemoth on the rampage, and Denzel wasn't a Turk in training; at least not yet...

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 36: Suspicious Delivery

Maybe if he pretended the suspicious package was a vital and valuable item, Reno would feel better about being hired by Cloud Strife who was overbooked for deliveries thanks to Tifa making an effort to get him customers. She was only trying to help, but Cloud could only travel so far so fast. With that in mind, pretend he did, but it didn't make him feel any better, for the package was simply suspicious.

The weather had been bad around Costa del Sol, it was hurricane season after all, and that particular area seemed to attract the natural disasters like a magnet. However, despite that, tourists still came and went in between the showers of rain, wind and thunder. The eternally tropical beach had plenty of people occupying it despite it being a relatively low season due to the weather, and Reno faced the same dilemma he would face when it was the busy season, he couldn't find a place to land.

Every parking lot as far as the eye could see was full, so Reno resolved for landing his helicopter on top of a random building, or he would have done that if only the surface wasn't covered in satellite dishes that were so easy to set up and put away in less than an hour, allowing the residents to be free of their dependency in the ever fragile cables that took much longer to be fixed when the bad weather knocked them down.

Finally after flying a considerable distance away from the coast, Reno managed to find a landing spot and hurried towards Costa Del Sol's main coastal area under the blazing sun on foot. Just yesterday the city was constantly stalked by rain, but today the sun was shining as if making an act of rebellion against hurricane season. It was not a comfortable walk, especially not in his Turk suit.

Grumbling about the heat and the lack of parking space at a decent distance, Reno made his way to the assigned location where the package was to be taken, at the Costa Del Sol inn. "I'm sorry sir, but the inn is full." The receptionist informed Reno when he arrived.

"I'm not on vacation," the words left a sour taste in Reno's mouth. "I'm here to deliver a package to one of the rooms," and due to the possibility of ditching the mission, for it to be considered complete, Reno needed the signature of the recipient. He would have tried to fake it if he actually knew who the recipient was, but the package only had an address and if Cloud knew who it was for, he kept that a secret from Reno to prevent having him try to forge the signature and falsely claim the delivery was done.

"I see, go ahead then." The receptionist continued filing some papers and answering the phone, while Reno went off to search for the room where the package would be delivered, only to find that it was locked and no one would answer the door, thus he concluded it was empty.

Reno returned to the front desk. He considered leaving the package there but he needed the signature, or at least the identity of the recipient. "I need to know who is staying in Room 205."

"I'm sorry sir, but we're not allowed to give out information about our customers," the receptionist looked at Reno suspiciously. "If you are here to deliver a package you should know who it's for."

Reno didn't feel like explaining the situation and instead pointed his electrorod at the receptionist. "Tell me who is staying in Room 205 and where this person is now, or else!"

"Y-yes ss-ir!" The receptionist quickly looked up the information on the computer and revealed the mystery person to be "Vincent Valentine, I do not know for sure, but my guess is that he is at the beach."

"The vampire?!" Reno headed towards the beach not happy with the identity of the package's recipient. Finding Vincent wasn't too hard, despite the crowds. He was the palest being on the beach, wearing red trunks and he had long black hair falling on his face as usual. "What are you doing?"

Vincent looked up at the shadow that was cast over him. "Tanning, and you're blocking the sun."

Reno laughed out loud, "tanning? Well you certainly need it, but to you it would be more like committing suicide with how most vampires react to the sun."

"Not even you will ruin my mood on this day, now move," Vincent tried to ignore the teasing.

Reno looked at Vincent's golden claw shining in the sun light. "Won't that rust if you go into the ocean?"

"Cloud is delivering something to solve that." Vincent simply replied.

The package contained a special kind of polish that would protect Vincent's claw from the harsh sun and most of all the salty waters. "Cloud was overbooked and couldn't make it," Reno held up the package.

"Is that..." Before Vincent could finish the question, Reno was already running away, with the package.

Forget the mission; if Reno couldn't enjoy a day off at the beach, then he wouldn't let Vincent enjoy it. "I hope you rust!"

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 37: A Turk's Life

"I'm going to be a Turk soon!" When Barret arrived for a surprise visit and was told the children were playing upstairs, he found nothing unusual in that and headed up to see them. It had been a while since he saw Marlene and Denzel. But then he heard Denzel's voice speak those words and stopped, frozen half way up the stairs.

"I want to join too; I want to be a Turk!" If Denzel's words shocked Barret, Marlene's words came close to throwing him into cardiac arrest. Barret gasped for breath, feeling that his lungs had lost the ability to process oxygen, as his heart was broken in a million pieces. How could his sweet little daughter say such things? And Denzel, he looked like such a nice boy. Had they both been brainwashed by Shinra?

"With just a little more training I'll get there," Denzel sounded so happy. Barret could only assume that the innocent boy had, in fact, been brainwashed by the evils of Shinra, and had no idea what he was saying.

"With this I'll catch up in my training in no time," it was Marlene's voice again. Barret forced his legs to move, carrying him the rest of the distance up the stairs. Tifa had remembered their visitor and rushed after Barret to make sure things didn't get out of hand, she knew he didn't like the Turks.

"Marlene you can't join the Turks! Denzel, you have to quit too!" As if things were not suspicious enough, Barret spotted Reno, a Turk, the same Turk that pressed the button to drop the plate on Sector Seven, his least favorite Turk. "You!" Could it be that Shinra was recruiting children to join the Turks? With Barret's terrible opinion on Shinra and the Turks, he wouldn't put it past them. Kids were young, and easy to mold, they learned fast and looked harmless, which could be used to their deceiving advantage.

"Barret, calm down!" Tifa rushed in to stop the possible battle.

While Marlene innocently asked, "do you want to play with us?" She smiled pointing at the board game in the center of the circle that Marlene, Denzel and Reno formed on the floor.

"A board game," Barret glared at Reno suspiciously.

"It's about the life of a Turk," Reno explained, "it's a new board game from the Shinra Toy Factory." Barret did not like that board game where the players became Turks, and he specially did not Reno's presence.

"Calm down," Tifa's voice sounded more like an order than anything else. "They're only playing a game, you should join them. The Turks have changed," at this point Reno grumbled displeased and Tifa continued. "Their missions are for the well being of the world." More grumbling from Reno was heard; something about wanting better missions in the future and bringing back the old Shinra, but it was hardly audible over Tifa's voice. "You see, Reno's mission is only to play with Marlene and Denzel, it's okay." Not to mention provide amusement for Tifa as she watched him be at the mercy of the children.

"Barret pouted, I don't like it," but he sat down either way. "Is there an Avalanche in this game?"

"No, it's about becoming a Turk and going on missions," Reno explained.

But Barret wouldn't accept that, "well I'm bending the rules and playing as Avalanche, pass me the dice."

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 38: Doctor Reno

It was that mysterious request again; the payment had been received; though it couldn't be tracked. It was them again; Reno knew it, the three little terrors of what was left of Sephiroth. But even if he knew this, Reno was bored, so bored in fact, that he hopped on his helicopter and went off to see the three little monsters. His better judgment screamed for him to turn back, but Reno ignored the voice in his head and landed in the Forgotten Capital.

At least there would be a challenge in this mission, though it may just be too much to handle. He needed to practice his survival skills anyway before he lost his Turk abilities, and this was a perfect opportunity to train. Turks were fearless, marching to their doom unfazed, and coming out of an impossible situation alive. He was a Turk, off to battle the three biggest terrors the world would ever know, the child versions of Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz.

Even if he was deliberately marching into danger, that didn't mean he was suicidal, so when Reno didn't hear the trio of energetic little voices that belonged to his torturers, he knew something was wrong. The three boys were nowhere to be seen, and the only sound faintly carried by the breeze was that of a sneeze.

Reno curiously followed the sound, wondering if the boys were playing hide and seek. Instead he found the three children curled up in a corner of a gigantic sea shell shaped house. "Brother!" The three of them ran, though not energetically, towards Reno and clung to him desperately.

The boys had been crying, and Kadaj was the first to calm down. "Yazoo, Loz, don't cry. Even if he's not mother's son, Reno will be our brother and take care of us. He did come when we called him."

Little Yazoo nodded and sniffled, while little Loz looked up at Reno pouty faced, "you'll take care of us, right?"

"Wait a minute, what's going on?!" Reno backed away from the three boys, their feverish red cheeks, warm foreheads and wet noses.

"Brother!" The three boys whined in unison, as they once again clung to their unwilling savior.

"We're sick, heal us," Kadaj demanded, he sounded funny with his stuffy nose.

"I'm not a doctor, I can't heal you!" Reno had come to do some action training, to get some practice in basic survival skill, not to take care of sick children. Those three little boys could certainly cry loudly and Reno could feel a headache starting. He knew that if he ran away, the vengeful little brats would risk being discovered to give him a bad mission review and the press would exaggerate and say Shinra is cruel to children, never mind if they are the remnants of the man who tried to destroy the planet. "Okay, fine, stop crying!"

Yazoo puckered his lip and asked, "then you'll take care of us?"

"I'll see what I can do..." Nothing ever went Reno's way, and even when he was prepared for things to be very hard, they turned out to be far more difficult than he ever imagined. Truth be told, he had no idea where to start. "How about you rest?"

"We've been resting all this time, I want to be healed, heal me!" Kadaj weakly stomped his feet and sneezed.

"Stay here, I need to get some things from the chopper," fortunately the helicopters by standard order, were to be equipped with basic emergency supplies, and Reno was pretty sure there was a box of tissues in there.

"Don't leave!" But getting the supplies would be much harder than it looked, with three little boys clinging to him, whining, crying and sneezing.

"I'll be right back, let go!" Reno pried one of the boys off, and by then the other two would start clinging to him again. It only got worse when they decided they wanted to be carried.

The walk back to the chopper, though relatively short, felt incredibly long to Reno, as he had to make it there carrying a little boy on each arm and putting up with their constant sneezes because they just didn't get it when they were told to cover their mouths. Kadaj rode on his shoulders, occasionally kicking and pulling at his hair. In short, Reno was not going to walk back like that, so he attempted to take care of the three boys in the helicopter. He found the box of tissues and hoped it was enough to last a while.

Reno knew he couldn't do this alone, so he called the only person he could think of that was constantly around children. "Tifa?It's Reno. I need to know what's the cure for a child's cold."

Needless to say, the question surprised Tifa, but then she figured Reno was stuck babysitting a sick child. "There is no real cure for the common cold, but you can treat the symptoms with over the counter medicines."

Though Reno didn't mention that he wasn't even sure a cold was the problem. Those three were different from normal children; there was no telling what it could be. He dug around the helicopter searching for some kind of medicine, finding a small bottle that was supposed to heal all status problems, a Remedy. "Found it... you three each have to drink one of these!"

A chorus of "no!" echoed all over the Forgotten Capital despite the children's sore throats.

"Tifa, they don't want the medicine, what else can I do?" Reno asked over the phone.

In the Seventh Heaven, Cloud wondered why Tifa was laughing so hard while talking on the phone. "Keep trying, you have to convince them to take the medicine. Also, you can make them chicken soup," Tifa paused, remembering the tales of Reno's kitchen disasters. "On second thought, its best if you don't try to cook for them. You could offer to tell them a story if they take their medicine and take a nap."

"Okay, I'll try that." Reno was desperate for a solution and nothing was working. "Listen up, I'll tell you a story if the three of you take the medicine and get some sleep!"

The mention of medicines and sleep only made the three boys cry and wail "big brother is mean!"

"They hate me now," Reno grumbled into the phone. He wasn't listening to Tifa's reply and instead pointed out of the chopper. "Out! If big brother is so mean, then it's best if he leaves." Forget the negative reviews and his plans to let the three terrors grow and bring the necessity of real Turk missions in the future.

"Don't abandon us!" The three boys clung to Reno again, and actually took their status problem relieving medicines, not that it did much for a cold. "Story! Story! Story!" They chanted.

Tifa continued to laugh at the sounds in the background, without realizing who the children were. Cloud gave her curious looks saying "put it on speaker phone, whatever it is, put it on speaker phone!" But the call had already been ended.

The three boys tackled Reno, effectively trapping him in a corner of the helicopter, where the three of them got comfortable, despite Reno's discomfort, and used the Turk as a living pillow. "I hate my job," Reno grumbled, but there was no room for his complaints with all the complaints from the boys that wanted a story. "Once upon a time, there was a really cool Turk. He went on all sorts of fun missions and lived an action movie style life. Then one day, the company he worked for decided to turn stupid and the missions were not fun any more. The Turk ended up getting stuck babysitting three annoying little brats that... fell asleep in the middle of his story... acho! and gave him a cold. But he couldn't leave because the brats were sleeping on him, and if he got up they would wake up... and they all lived unhappily ever after."

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 39: Mysterious Secret Mission

The time and place of the meeting was to be kept a secret from everyone, especially from members of the male population. Elena found that rule particularly odd but didn't question it, despite not having the full details about her mission.

She had been instructed not to wear her usual Turk uniform; instead she had to wear casual clothing that allowed her to blend in among the civilians. Maybe this was the work of a spy she was assigned to do. Maybe there was already someone tracking her, a man, a suspicious unknown man, an enemy that had been somehow identified as male, but nothing else was known about him. Thus any and all men were suspicious until the identity of the enemy man was confirmed.

Elena didn't complain a lot about the less than glamorous and non-adventurous missions that Shinra had been giving her and the other Turks lately. She was a professional after all, and she had a strong need to be recognized as a successful Turk, that was why she didn't question her missions.

"Elena," she brought her hands down on the paper sitting on her desk, covering it at the sound of Tseng's voice. The Turk leader curiously raised an eyebrow, more so at Elena's lack of uniform than at the paper she covered, though he certainly had no complaints about her chosen attire. "Were we supposed to dress casual?" Leave it to Tseng to know about all the important company details, and miss out on basic information like that.

"Not really, I'm going undercover in this next mission." Elena bit her lip to prevent herself from revealing any more information.

"What is the mission about?" Tseng asked.

Elena shook her head. "I can't say." Tseng was the leader of the Turks, he couldn't possibly be the suspicious man in the spy movie style story that Elena made up to explain this mission. But the instructions clearly said she could tell no man about this, and she intended to accomplish her mission flawlessly.

Tseng paused for a moment, wondering why Elena would refuse to tell him about the mission. He concluded that it must be something silly and embarrassing so he didn't press the matter. "I understand."

Elena nodded, relived that Tseng didn't insist on knowing what this was about. She wasn't sure if she could stop herself from telling him if he kept asking. The ability to keep a secret was something vital in a Turk, but Elena knew she still needed to develop that ability, though she had been improving. She left the office and only after she was gone did Tseng recall what he meant to ask her. He decided it didn't matter, surely she wasn't to blame for Reno being knocked out, tied up and locked in a storage closet, where he awoke some time after the incident. Well, it had been her doing, but she still wasn't to blame, Reno must have been pestering her, possibly about the mission she refused to reveal. Tseng smiled, her ability to keep secrets had improved a lot since she joined the Turks.

xoxox xox xoxox

Finally, the time came to go on her mission. Elena arrived at the gates of Edge where she found Tifa, Yuffie and Shera. "What's the mission?" She whispered.

"Shopping," Shera started.

"Going to the hair salon," Tifa continued.

"And gambling at the Gold Saucer," Yuffie finished.

"Is that a code or..." Elena didn't finish her question.

But it was answered anyway, in a chorus of Tifa, Shera and Yuffie, "girls day out!"

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 40: Snow

The request was unusual, that was for sure. For a moment Tseng wondered if the request for snow was actually a request for ice-cream, but the paper clearly read "Snow". The mission would be a challenge that was for sure, because Tseng knew that a small amount of snow would be unacceptable, and it couldn't be fake snow or ice from materia. Tseng knew they were expecting a high quality delivery of natural snow.

Thus the leader recruited all the other Turks for this mission, "our objective, is to gather as much snow as we can from the mountains up north. To avoid accidents when we drop it on Rocket Town, we must filter out small stones and the like out of the snow."

As strange as it was, the Turks did not question their leader and went off to the snowy mountains to gather the snow. For this they recruited the help of Cid and his airship, the only ship large enough to carry everything by air.

Thus the Turks left their summery weathered headquarters and ventured into the freezing cold mountains to gather snow. "I can't believe we're doing this," Reno shoveled more snow in the machine that would blend it and extract all the stones, pebbles and unwanted materials, producing nice clean snow that would be packed in the refrigerated cargo boxes in the air ship. "Cid, whose idea was this?"

The pilot shrugged, "I don't know. But the weather's been hot in Rocket Town, makes me wish I thought about it myself."

Reno pouted, "can't you people wait until winter?"

"At that speed it will be winter by the time you're done," Cid pointed out.

"You're not helping!" Reno complained.

"It's not my job," Cid was amused, he was enjoying watching the Turks work. That was it, Reno couldn't take it anymore. He made a snow ball and threw it at Cid, who responded with an angry colorful remark.

"Reno!" Tseng scolded, "we're here to work not play!" At that very moment, Cid made a snow ball and threw it at Reno in revenge. But the redhead ducked and the snow ball hit Tseng instead. "Cid!" Though he was supposed to be the composed leader, Tseng lost his patience as well and returned fire, or rather snow.

The exchange continued until a stray snow ball hit Rude's bald head, making him yelp in a very un-Rude way. He wished he wore a hat. Whoever threw the snow ball would pay, and Rude joined the battle.

"Stop it, all of you!" Elena flailed her arms, trying to get the others to listen. Then a stray snow ball hit her. She growled as she wiped the snow away from her face. "Don't forget, the one with the ice materia is me."

It was an all out war that lasted several hours, until the Turks and Cid exhausted their energy. But even if they were tired, they would finish their mission, because they were Turks. Thus they finished gathering the snow and flew back to Rocket Town.

From the airship, Tseng announced with a loud speaker, "to bring relief from the summer heat, Shinra will now make it snow in Rocket Town, just as it was requested!"

The citizens of Rocket Town gathered around and cheered when the airship spread the snow around their town as if it were really snowing. It would soon melt, but it would be just enough to help everyone cool off.

Feeling satisfied with the conclusion of his mission. Tseng went off to get his client to sign the completed mission form as soon as the airship landed. That's when a woman approached him and asked, "where's my bowling ball?"

"Bowling ball?" Tseng repeated confused.

"I sent you a mission request to deliver a bowling ball," the woman reminded him.

With a heavy feeling of foreboding, Tseng read over his mission request form again. Rocket Town, Snow, bowling ball... Deliver snow to Rocket Town for... No, that wasn't it... Tseng realized his mistake, he trusted Reno's interpretation of the request form, but Reno was never a careful reader, to him even a sentence was TLDR. They were not supposed to deliver snow to Rocket Town; they were supposed to bring a bowling ball to a woman named Snow who lived in Rocket Town.

To be Continued

Missions: Report V

Mission 41: Shot Glasses

Rude was busily cleaning a multitude of shot glasses, regretful that he didn't empty them himself. It was sad, but he had worked so hard during this mission that he didn't have time to drink, even if the mission took place in a bar. He didn't even have time to talk to Tifa, or listen to her since he wasn't very talkative. Though admittedly he was hired to work, not to socialize and drink, but it would have been nice if he could.

One thing that confused Rude was how the shot glasses piled up so much. There were not that many customers that night after the incident which made Elena leave the mission and pass it on to Rude. Tseng was also forbidden to take the mission because of that same customer scaring incident; and Tifa didn't quite trust Reno not to drink everything himself.

It was funny in a way, the situation with Reno, Rude and booze. Sure they went to bars together, but Rude, ever the calm and composed one, never gained the drunken reputation. In fact, Rude actually went bar hopping more often than Reno himself, and drank more than Reno as well. But somehow, Reno always got the rep, which Rude didn't really mind as long as he got the booze.

The bald man set another clean shot glass aside and picked up the next, washing it, drying it and putting it away. He had never seen so many shot glasses in one place, and wished he had not ended up stuck with the mission.

Originally, this was Elena's mission. She was supposed to be the bartender while Tifa took a break. However, Tifa didn't warn her about how to handle flirty drunken idiots. An icy glare and the occasional waving of a fist was enough to make them back down. But Elena was a Turk so instead of an icy glare she used ice materia, freezing the drunken idiots that annoyed her. She scared many customers that way, until Tifa came to tell her not to do that.

The night was young and after the frozen customers where dumped outside by Cloud at Tifa's request, though they did not bother coming after they melted free, other customers did eventually arrive, oblivious to the icy misfortune of their fellow drunken idiots.

Inevitably, that new group of customers included more drunken idiots who also wanted to flirt with Elena. Tifa told her not to hurt the customers and she didn't want to fail the mission, so instead Elena glared, but it wasn't quite enough. She was about to wave her fist threateningly, without actually hitting the customer, just to give him a scare like Tifa said, but Tseng did the fist waving first, right into the drunken idiot's face.

The leader of the Turks had heard about Elena's mission and came to see her and get a drink. He didn't understand why Elena didn't freeze that guy immediately, and interpreted her lack of action as a call for help. Of course he couldn't abandon a fellow Turk, especially not Elena.

As it happens in bar fights, punches and kicks slip, drinks are knocked over, and chaos spreads. However, the drunken customers didn't know, or didn't understand, that Tseng was a Turk, and Turks are dangerous. Once again it was up to the unfortunate Cloud Strife to clean the mess of unconscious and badly beaten men after Tseng was done. That was what finally made Tifa request that someone else took over the mission.

Rude was currently in the clean up area behind the bar, since the customers had left after the bar fight, he was stuck there cleaning the glasses, which continued to pile up, especially the shot glasses, Tifa had many of those. This confused Rude, how could the used glasses continue coming in if the customers had fled? It couldn't be that the customers actually returned after all that happened, and even if they did, there couldn't be enough customers to use this many shot glasses with the bar being so quiet.

Tifa set another dozen shot glasses next to the sink for Rude to wash. "It will be closing time soon," she assured him, and Rude nodded in response, ever the quiet one.

However, Rude's confusion begged for an explanation. He paused his work and dried his hands, curiously looking to the front of the bar where a single customer sat. It was a familiar looking customer, "Reno..." and he was drunk.

"Hey Rude! Tifa told me about what happened, hic. I was going to give you a hand but Tifa said she rather hic have me as a customer. She didn't believe me when I told her you drink more than me," a string of silly laughter followed. "Gotta mess up more glasses like Tifa said, I'm helping!"

"I didn't say that!" Tifa thought back about what could have given Reno such an idea; then the realization hit her. When she was explaining what happened at the bar, while Reno was still slightly sober, but apparently less sober then she thought, Tifa sarcastically commented that "the success of a bar is measured by the mess left behind." It was an old saying between bartenders, but that particular mess had not been profitable.

Rude glared behind his ever present shades. Reno was the reason why he was stuck washing so many shot glasses. Rude was once again enduring the consequences of his partner's actions, but this was even more annoying than being hit on the head or having his shades stepped on. One of these days Rude would lose his patience, one of these days Reno would be in big trouble, one of these days...

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 42: War!

Reno was the last to enter the Turks office, meeting with a disproving glare from Tseng. "Now that we're all finally here, I will explain the mission." There was a sense of urgency in Tseng's voice that the other two Turks had not heard in a long time.

Rude remained silent, as usual, and Reno had to comment on everything, as usual. "Elena isn't here yet!" The redhead pointed out. "I'm not the last one to get here this time." It was odd, Elena was usually very punctual.

"Elena is the one in need of our help," Tseng dramatically revealed. "She left, disguised as a civilian without her uniform or anything else to identify her as a Turk. I suspect the worse."

Rude was silently confused while Reno was loudly confused, "I don't get it. What do you mean the worse? We've been getting the lamest missions, there's not even a lot of danger in them. Unless you're worried she'll be bored to death." Reno paused, thinking about his own deadly boring missions. "Well, at least there shouldn't be anyone trying to shoot her or something."

"A date," Tseng spoke with more gravity than anyone would expect from such a word. "I suspect that Elena was hired to go on a date with someone under the threat of failing the mission and being fired if she refused. That's why she wouldn't tell me what her mission was about."

Reno grinned, with an expression that obviously indicated he was about to say something annoying. "Tseng is jealous!"

Tseng frowned, deadly glare locked on Reno, "I am not jealous; I am... concerned, frustrated and angry. Elena shouldn't be forced to go on that kind of mission and I will kill who ever requested it."

As always, Reno never knew when to shut up. "Oh yeah, he's jealous!"

Tseng's stapler flew at Reno, but fortunately the redhead ducked on time. "Since Elena has not filed her report yet, the information is only in the paper form, which she took. There's nothing about this mission in the databases, so we'll have to find Elena ourselves. To make matters worse, her PHS is off and she can't be tracked. Reno, you are to take a helicopter and fly over the entire city, contact us immediately when you see Elena and inform us of her location. Rude and I will search on the ground. Rude, you will take the north side of the city and I will search the south." Each Turk went to carry out his assigned task.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was Reno who first spotted Elena when she was coming out of a shopping mall, which was sort of a reformed wall market in the new city. Elena was with Tifa, Shera and Yuffie. Reno landed the chopper in the parking lot; there were no men in the group, just the four girls. "Aren't you supposed to be on a date and that's why Tseng is so jealous?"

"Date?" Elena looked confused, "I didn't say I was going on a date, it's a secret mission!"

Tifa, Yuffie and Shera glared at Reno, who didn't know why he was being glared at, until a large shuriken came dangerously close to his throat, held by the ninja's hand. "Ruin our girl's day out and die!"

"Girls day out?" Reno blinked, he wasn't expecting that. His theory had been that this was a conspiracy to turn Elena against Shinra.

"Elena!" Tseng spotted them and rushed to the group, dodging the shuriken that Yuffie threw at him, at the same time giving Reno the chance to get away and take cover among the parked cars.

"Tseng!" Elena called out in surprise, before Tifa pulled her behind one of the cars.

"I don't feel like talking to male kind today," Tifa admitted.

Shera nodded, "me either."

"I'm with them," Yuffie agreed.

"So you're all mad at your boyfriends and husbands?" Elena concluded.

The three girls nodded, and Yuffie added, "I'm mad at my lack of boyfriend. This girl's day out is supposed to take our minds off men."

"Let Elena go!" Tseng yelled from behind the barrier of parked cars.

Reno was amused and didn't feel like revealing the information he recently obtained. "I don't think they're going to listen, they tried to kill me and brainwash Elena!"

"Then we'll just have to save her," Tseng aimed for one of the cars near the one the girls were hiding behind though not the same one, and he fired a warning shot. The bystanders screamed and scattered in a panic.

"He's shooting at us!" Yuffie flailed her arms.

Tifa clenched her fists, "coward," she pulled her gloves on and prepared to invade the enemy territory. "I'm going in, cover me."

"Alright, charge!" Yuffie threw a rain of kunai knives at Tseng's side of the field, where her shuriken was still stuck to one of the cars, and Shera fired her gun sized flame thrower.

"I didn't know you had a flame thrower," Elena curiously commented, before realizing the gravity of the situation. "Stop, you'll hurt them!"

It was too late; Tifa had already infiltrated the enemy lines, thanks to the distraction from Yuffie and Shera. She caught Tseng while he was reloading his gun and kicked it out of his hands. The Turk leader stepped away, weaponless but far from beaten, and Reno got ready to join the battle. "Looks like we'll have a hostage of our own to negotiate with. You were a fool to come here by yourself!"

Tifa grinned, "I didn't come by myself."

The two men turned around to find Yuffie and Shera standing behind them and Elena watching the event unfold; with the glow of icy materia in her hand. "I'm sorry Tseng, but you told me that Turks always finish their missions, so I can't help you."

"Elena, are you siding with Avalanche?!" Tseng was in disbelief.

But Elena shook her head, "no, I'm siding with the girls, it's part of my mission in this girl's day out. I already told Reno before."

Tseng glared at the redhead, "Reno?!"

The leader demanded an explanation that Reno could hardly provide. "I thought we could win?"

xoxox xox xoxox

Rude had been disappointed with his assigned search area. He didn't find anything of interest, but little did he know he was better off that way.

A monument had been constructed, a comet flying towards the planet, its long tail of light behind it. From that tail there hung two ropes, and tied to those ropes there were two partially frozen men waiting for their comrade to rescue them.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 43: Hawaiian Shirt

It was silly really, and he felt silly thinking he had to wear it. Tseng examined the shirt with a look of surprise that such a bright thing existed. It was odd and unusual, it was cheerful and it was bright.

Tseng looked down at the clothes he was currently wearing. Black and white, orderly and "what's this?" the opposite of Reno. Without allowing the leader time to reply, the redhead opened the plain white box that had been left on his desk with a yellow sticky note carrying only his name. From inside the box he pulled out a shirt, a very brightly colored shirt and some shorts. "What's this?" Reno asked again, though by now it should be obvious.

"A shirt," Tseng replied somewhat annoyed. "It's for our next mission; we're supposed to wear these to advertise a clothing store. There were no names, no ads and no logos on the clothes, but even so it was advertisement, because there was only one store in all of Midgar, and possibly the Planet, that sold such ridiculously brightly colored clothes.

"It's the same color as my hair," Reno was amused, he was easily amused, and it was true. The shirt Reno received was indeed a bright red, the same color as his hair, but it had ridiculous bright yellow polka dots that would make one question the sanity of any man who wore it.

But at least it wasn't lime green with bright pink flowers like the one Tseng got. "Do you want to trade?"

The leader's question caused Reno to shove his shirt back in the box and hold it protectively, "no!" Though it was rather silly, at least it wasn't lime green and flowery pink.

"There is no choice; the Turks always complete their missions." Tseng's solemn expression didn't match the bright colors of the shirt at all.

"So we have to wear these? That doesn't sound so bad." At least it wasn't bad compared to Reno's other missions.

Tseng frowned, leave it to Reno to walk around in public with such a ridiculous shirt and not be embarrassed. Sighing, the leader figured that there was no use in putting off the mission, and he might as well wear the shirt, walk around a little, enough for the one who requested the mission to see him, and get it over with. "We should," Tseng paused, noticing that Reno was already wearing the silly outfit, the leader had no idea how the redhead changed so fast.

"What?" Reno asked, as if the clothes were not weird at all.

"Never mind, I'll change in a moment." While Tseng was changing, right there in the office, Elena and Rude arrived. Rude was wearing a similar silly outfit; his shirt was yellow, decorated with little blue triangles. Elena, who was wearing a Hawaiian outfit, complete with grass skirt, coconut bra, flower necklace, wristbands and anklets, did nothing more than stare at Tseng, who didn't even notice right away that someone new had entered the office. But he eventually did notice and tripped when he was putting on the shorts, which left him laying on the floor in his boxers, while Elena continued to stare, and Tseng, momentarily forgetting his position, stared right back.

Of course the predicament could only bring more consequences, as Reno began to sing "Tseng and Elena sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!" This would be a long mission...

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 44: Drink up!

It was only fair, and it could only end in disaster, because life was not fair. The stressed leader and rich bartender would testify this for years to come.

"Our mission is to go drinking?" Tseng blinked as he stared at the mission form. He didn't believe it when Reno told him; the redhead was known to make up stories at his convenience every now and then.

But this one was true and Reno could only grin in pure happiness. "Isn't it great?" After spending some time literally hanging around the meteor monument, tied to the end of a rope like a fish trapped at the end of a fishing rod, it was only fair that things were balanced out.

If their predicament was the result of Elena's girl's day out, then the guys deserved their own day to have as much fun as Elena did, doing their own things with other guys, and hopefully getting the girls to feel guilty and care for them during their massive hangovers. But life was not fair and balance was unheard of.

Tseng had a heavy feeling of forebodding, which had become the norm when starting a new mission lately, since Lady Luck had decided to hate him. But the fickle Lady Luck not only hated him, but also most of his Turk companions. She had probably only shown mercy towards Elena in an act of kindness for a fellow fan girl. "I don't know..."

"Don't be so pessimistic!" Reno was practically jumping with joy; actually he was literally jumping with joy all over the Turk office. But that was not surprising, as annoying as the missions had been lately, and with all the Turk torture the Planet was bringing upon them, Reno saw a drop of mercy as if it was an ocean of bliss.

Tseng sighed, when you hit rock bottom, all you have left to do is climb up. Maybe this was a sign of the start of their climb back to the top. Tseng could only hope.

But fate would have it that it was not quite an improvement in their lives, not mercy, not hope, but the product of a pilot's boredom. Cid Highwind had heard about Rude being able to drink quite a bit, more than Reno even, and so he decided to cure his boredom with a drink off destined to end in disaster.

With Tseng as the only semi-sober one, their fate was looking grim, but Tifa had bills to pay so she didn't kick them out of the Seventh Heaven... except Reno, his silly singing had gone from amusing to annoying half an hour ago.

Never try to out drink Rude, it was a lesson Cid had learned that day when the story was retold about how he snuck into Shinra HQ and tried to jump off the roof, certain that he could fly. Of course, Reno never learned his lesson so he would probably end up very drunk, many times in the future.

Rude hid his drunkenness better than anyone would think was possible... until he was finally pushed over the edge and joined Reno in the strangest duet Edge ever saw. The cherry on top was that the next day, the girls went for another day out and the guys were abandoned with their merciless hangovers.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 45: Sober

Reno couldn't believe he had been dragged to the middle of nowhere; to a place with a name that fit so well. Forget Me Not Valley, as if the small town begged not to be forgotten because it was so small, so rustic, so out of the way and away from civilization, that it was indeed easily forgotten.

Thus it was also easily overlooked and the thief slipped past the defenses of the big city, stashing his loot in this forgotten place. He had been caught rather easily, as he was so confident that his movements fell into a predictable routine, and the treasure was recovered with the mysterious thief surviving only because of the interference of a farm girl.

Reno had not seen Tseng so angry in a while, though the redhead could only laugh at the silver haired thief's obvious attempts of escape while he flirted with Elena. Despite that she almost looked like she was falling for it, she disappointed the thief informing him "that's what I would do if I wasn't a Turk, but I am," and at that point Reno laughed the most.

Yet the Phantom Thief, as he called himself, would not desist, causing Tseng to get angry and attempt to make it look like said thief had an unfortunate accident, from which a farmer girl saved him at the last moment. The incident ended with the girl actually believing it was an accident, even if the thief claimed he was nearly killed on purpose. Stupid country bumpkins.

Thus Skye, the thief, was left in the care of the farmer girl, and the Turks recovered the stolen goods and ended their mission a little too late to be heading back. They stayed at Inner Inn, a place that was so low tech it wouldn't rate a single star even against the cheapest hotel in Edge.

There was nothing to do, since a decent television or internet signal didn't reach that far into the wilderness, so Reno went to a near by bar and suppressed the need to strangle the bartender when he was handed the menu. The place sold everything from alphabet soup and milk to oddly named vegetable juices, which at first Reno thought were actual bar drinks until he tried one... and they dared to call this place a bar.

xoxox xox xoxox

"There he is!" As Reno exited the bar some time later, darkness had already invaded the poorly lit valley. Then he found Elena pointing at him the second he set foot outside.

"What?" Reno wondered what he did now.

It was a question which Tseng was quick to answer, "it was your turn to guard the recovered goods. Rude has them at the inn."

"Okay, I'll go guard them now. There's nothing to do in this town anyway so I might as well sit around staring at a box." Reno was about to head towards the inn, but Tseng stopped him.

"I would rather you not guard it in this state," the Turk leader shook his head. "Couldn't you wait until after the mission was over to get drunk?"

"Rude goes to bars a lot more often than I do, so why do I have the reputation?" Reno thought it wasn't fair, but it didn't truly bother him as much as it intrigued him.

"You just came out of a bar, of course you're drunk!" Elena reasoned.

"I'm not! I only had some weird vegetable juice!" Reno was telling the truth, but no one believed him.

Tseng sighed, "you must be really drunk if you hallucinated about drinking vegetable juice at a bar." The rumors said that city bars sold soft drinks that were nothing compared to the pure alcohol of those rustic country bars.

"Really, just go in and see for yourselves! They sell a different kind of vegetable juice for every season, herbal medicine, milk and alphabet soup!" No one would even try to give Reno the benefit of the doubt after that explanation. What use was telling the truth if no one ever believed it?

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 46: Turkey

"This is a disaster!" Elena glared at Reno, the one she blamed for the so called disaster.

"What's wrong?" The redhead innocently asked, this time truly unaware of what he had done wrong.

"The decorations are all crooked and uneven, this has to be perfect!" Elena stressed, "Tseng entrusted us with the very-"

"Annoying," Reno cut in.

"Important," Elena emphasized, "task of decorating Healin Lodge while he's busy guarding the president at headquarters. This place has to be perfect, or Rufus won't approve of it and he won't give us the day off on Thanks Giving and... and..." she blushed.

"And you overheard Tseng saying that he wanted to ask you out for Thanks Giving if we got the day off," Reno finished.

Elena blushed more and shook her head, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just doing my job!"

"Right... But do you really think Rufus is going to give us the day off?" The main door was opened behind Reno, but he ignored it. "Rufus has a huge ego; he thinks Thanks Giving is all about thanking him. He won't even let us leave early, and he'll probably expect presents." Reno paused, finally taking note of Elena's signals, "what?" He turned around and realized that the one who had arrived was not Rude with the groceries as he had originally thought, it was Rufus and Tseng.

"Big ego?" Rufus glared, taking a few threatening steps into his home. "You should be grateful I haven't fired you!"

A mere few seconds later, Rude arrived with the groceries. The quiet Turk immediately heard the argument. He couldn't leave Reno alone for a little while because the redhead always got into trouble. "They were out of turkeys," Rude announced, shifting Rufus' attention from Reno to himself.

"We need one!" Rufus insisted; then once again glared at Reno, he wanted the ungrateful Turk out of Healin Lodge. "Reno, go out and buy a turkey."

"Fine, fine, I was bored of being here anyway," Reno extended his hand to receive the credit card from Rude, but Rufus snatched it away and instead gave him some gil. "I can't trust you with the card. This is enough gil to buy one turkey, I don't care how far you have to go to find it, make sure you don't come back without a bird!"

"Got it!" Reno did a silly salute and left Healin Lodge. The way Rufus phrased his request could only bring trouble.

As Reno left, Elena asked, "do you like the decorations?"

Rufus looked around nonchalantly. There were pictures of turkeys and autumn leaves all over, but no new pictures of him. "They're okay," he sounded uninterested.

"Ingrate," Elena muttered.

"Did you say something?" Rufus asked.

Elena forced herself to smile, "nothing."

Time passed and a few hours later, Reno returned. There were no turkeys to be found in Edge or the neighboring towns, but he didn't come back empty handed. "I'm back!"

"Where's the turkey?" Tseng asked, seeing that Reno wasn't carrying any grocery bags. "Don't tell me you bought a live turkey? Reno, I told you not to do that again after what happened last year!"

"I couldn't find a turkey, but Rufus said not to come back without a bird, so I bought a chocobo. I got it for a good price too, but don't tell Rufus I'm keeping the change," Reno smiled proudly, but Tseng was not convinced.

"Rufus wanted a turkey," the leader reminded, "you know how stubborn he is, a chocobo won't do... But I guess we have no choice. Maybe Elena can disguise the flavor with the condiments and Rufus will believe it's a really big turkey," it seemed farfetched, but it was the only choice they had left. "Where is the chocobo?"

"It was following me a minute ago..." Reno looked down the stairs that led to Healin Lodge. "There it is! Come on chocobo, there are cookies up here!" The fat chocobo, warked and tried to push itself up the stairs.

"A live chocobo? We don't have the time to turn it into something edible. Besides, there is no way Rufus would eat that chocobo, it has too much fat." Reno signaled to the unsuspecting Tseng, but the leader disregarded it as random Reno silliness and continued talking, while Reno uselessly flailed around. "You know how Rufus is a complete narcissist, he'll worry about gaining weight, then he'll blame it on us because chocobo meat not only has more fat then turkey meat, but how healthy the meat is, is proportional to how fit the chocobo is."

"Narcissist!?" Rufus yelled; he had been standing right behind Tseng the entire time. "So I'm an egotistical, ungrateful, narcissist?! Nice to know what you really think," Rufus pouted and went to lock himself in his room.

Rude only shook his head in silence, and they dared to wonder why he always got the biggest Christmas bonus. Sometimes silence is best.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 47: Best Friends Forever

It was another normal day at the Seventh Heaven. Marlene and Denzel were playing upstairs, Cloud was hanging around idly downstairs while he waited for a new delivery request to come, and Tifa was cleaning the counter. Everything was normal and nothing was out of the ordinary.

Then Reno came running in, he stopped, leaning on the counter, his breaths fast and heavy, he looked as if he had been running for a long time. Reno tried to speak but no sounds were produced from his dry throat, while his starving lungs continued trying to recover. "W..."

"W?" Tifa blinked, trying to complete the sound into a word, "w... whiskey?"

Reno shook his head.

"W..." Tifa went over the names of different drinks in her mind, wondering what Reno wanted.

"Water..." Reno finally managed to force the word out.

Tifa tilted her head curiously and blinked. "Right, water, maybe you should sit down. Cloud, check his temperature."

Cloud nodded, "okay," he wasn't sure why they were helping a Turk, but then again, they were not enemies anymore and Reno was a good customer for Tifa's bar. Though the redhead still occasionally pulled a few annoying pranks on Cloud that made the delivery boy wish they were still enemies. Cloud placed his hand on Reno's forehead, lifting the goggles to do so. "Warm... It feels like you have a fever."

"No fever," Reno tried to say. Then Tifa placed a glass of cool water in front of him on the counter and all words were momentarily forgotten while he drank it in a split second, "more."

Tifa was a bit surprised, but she complied none the less and after Reno drank his fifth glass of water, he seemed to have recovered considerably. "What's going on?"

"He has a fever," Cloud pointed out, as if that alone could answer Tifa's question. Reno was odd, for lack of better term, when he was healthy, so Cloud found it logical to think that he would continue being random in a different way when he was ill.

"It's not a fever, I just feel warm from running for the past... what time is it?" Reno asked.

Cloud looked at the time on his PHS, "Nine thirty-five."

Reno counted on his fingers and finally replied, "ten hours, that's how long I've been running." Reno's face was nearly as red as his hair, he seemed to irradiate heat, and it looked as if he had lost some weight. "I'm hungry..."

"Why were you running for that long?" Tifa asked, while she rushed to prepare a nutritious meal for the exhausted Turk. Her motherly instincts had kicked in and she didn't even bother asking what he wanted to eat. Reno would eat what Tifa gave him or she would force it down his throat, it was for his own good.

"Today is our day off, so last night I went to get Rude to ask if he wanted to go to the Gold Saucer and party all night or something. But instead of just saying no, he tried to kill me! He chased me all over the city until I finally lost him a while ago," Reno explained.

Cloud couldn't help it but to smile, "serves you right!"

"Isn't that a bit harsh?" Reno complained.

"I'll have to agree with Cloud," Tifa voiced, "maybe now you'll learn your lesson. Poor Rude, having to put up with you all the time, that poor man must have finally snapped."

"But Rude has always been my best friend, he's never tried to kill me before..." A plate of food with meatloaf, mashed potatoes and rice was placed in front of Reno and next to it a tall glass of orange juice.

"Eat," Tifa was commanding yet motherly all at once, "every bite."

Reno did a funny little salute, "yes ma'am!" Tifa was a great cook anyway and he was hungry, besides, he didn't need someone else trying to kill him today.

Then Rude entered the Seventh Heaven, causing Reno to almost choke on his food. "..."

"You're not going to try to kill me again are you?" Reno asked.

Rude's expression remained unchanged "..." there was a pause until finally the cause of Rude's homicide attempt on his best friend was explained, "sleep walking."

Reno's jaw dropped, "sleep walking?! You were sleep walking and trying to kill me?! But I yelled at you to stop, why didn't you wake up?"

"Ear plugs," Rude replied. He slept with his sunglasses, so Reno couldn't see if his eyes were open or closed and Rude could follow Reno by use of his Turk sense alone. "Security camera," Rude didn't say a lot, but he spoke the words that needed to be voiced. By chance he had run into Tseng who managed to safely approach Rude enough to wake him up. Then they investigated to see how far Rude's slumbering destruction had gone, the apartment building's lobby was a mess.

"Are we still best friends?" Reno childishly asked and Rude nodded. "Good, I thought you were tired of having me around. Of course that's not true. No one can get tired of me." Reno... he never learns...

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 48: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

"I can't believe we're babysitting sheep!" Elena wasn't sure for how long she had to stare at the sheep for the truth to sink in. The Turks were, in fact, babysitting a group of sheep.

"At least it's peaceful," Tseng consoled. There really wasn't anything to do, save for keeping an eye on Reno, and Rude was on the job, he was used to it.

"The last time I saw a sheep I was really little," Reno commented though no one had asked. "There was a talking wolf too, but no one ever believed me."

"You probably imagined it," Elena replied.

"I'm sure I saw a wolf, a red wolf, and it talked! His name was Na... Na... Something with Na!" Reno was certain of it; the memory was still crystal clear in his mind. But just as no one had believed him back then, he didn't really expect anyone to believe him now.

xoxox xox xoxox

"I want to ride it!" As soon as her son made that, rather loud, announcement; Reno's mother prepared to enjoy the show with a large grin plastered on her face.

Although, before her son could do anything amusing, her goody-goody nephew had to ruin it all. "No, Reno, you can't ride the sheep." Reno's cousin thought he was being a good cousin as he dragged the complaining little Reno away from the unsuspecting sheep.

"I want to!" Little Reno insisted, while his older cousin looked at his aunt wandering why the child's mother hadn't said a single word.

Little did he know that Reno's mom enjoyed watching her son's antics and encouraged him to have fun, no matter how much she was told by older relatives and neighbors time and again, that her son would grow up to join some sort of gang or something if she didn't discipline him. Reno's mom just rolled her eyes at them, and when Reno did join the Turks later on, she thought it was cute, everything he did was cute.

"I have a present for you," she looked through her purse until she found a gift card and handed it to her nephew. "It's good for any Shinra store, enjoy." She was too busy shopping for herself to pick out things for others, so instead she shared the joys of shopping with a card. The gift was there, he just had to go pick it up, and it could be anything he wanted, since there was a Shinra store for everything.

"Thanks" the boy gave his aunt a big smile, even if he wasn't certain how to use the card, but he had a feeling it could get him something cool.

Then they went into the house following Reno's aunt and uncle. While his mom was chatting about every day things, after Reno was released from the hugs and ruffling of his 'pretty' hair, he dashed towards the sheep again.

"Hey little cousin, you're not supposed to ride the sheep." Once again, his older cousin frustrated Reno's attempt to ride that fluffy white, walking pillow.

"But I want to!" Reno insisted, which only caused his cousin to start randomly ranting about the joys of baseball and offer to play with Reno. That poor boy later learned that putting a bat in Reno's hands was not a good idea, because the small redhead really wanted to ride that sheep, and he did, after knocking out his cousin.

Little Reno was carried away into the fields behind his aunt and uncle's house riding the startled sheep. He was lost for several hours until a red talking wolf kindly led him and the scared sheep back to the house. Since nobody saw the polite and gentle wolf, nobody believed it existed. Thus the story about the red talking wolf was disregarded as part of Reno's active imagination.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 49: Surprise

It flew past Tseng unsteadily; then the fragile air craft crashed against a wall and fell on the floor. "Reno," Tseng warned.

However, the stern look and serious voice that the leader used was lost to the redhead. Reno busied himself in making another paper airplane; it was his idea of putting those important documents to good use. He threw it but this time his aim was a little off.

Another improvised airplane made of paper flew over Rude and Elena, this time crashing against Tseng's head. "Reno!"

"I'm bored!" Reno complained.

They were all bored actually, but that didn't have to be a bad thing. Quite frankly, Tseng would rather be bored than have to put up with one of those annoying missions they had been receiving lately.

Elena got up from her desk, her steady footsteps sounding off louder than they should, due to the excessive silence of the office. She nodded her head in a quiet goodbye, a bright smile upon her face, as she closed the Turk office's door on her way out.

"She's been going out like this every day lately, but I don't know what her mission is. Elena won't talk about it, she only smiles and blushes when I ask." Tseng didn't like that at all. "She keeps saying it's a top secret mission, some internal work for Shinra instead of a mission hired from the outside."

"Jealous?" Reno threw another paper airplane.

The airplane unsuspectingly flew in front of Tseng towards the opposing wall. But it never reached its destination because Tseng reached out and grabbed it, crushing the paper in his fist. "I am not jealous, I trust Elena... I just don't trust, who ever is with her. What if he tries to hurt her?"

"You're really overprotective of Elena. She's a Turk, she'll be fine. Besides, we don't know anything about the client." Reno grinned, it may have sounded as if he was consoling Tseng, but he was actually poking his curiosity.

"I want to know more about that client..." and Tseng fell for it, just as Reno had hoped.

"Want me to investigate?" That would certainly make things easier for Reno, instead of going through the trouble of sneaking out of the office.

"Yes, then maybe some of the paperwork will be saved," Tseng agreed.

Thus Reno left to investigate what Elena was doing and to make sure the deadly innocent maiden wasn't being deceived. Elena had become more skilled since her days as a rookie, surely anyone could see that, but Reno wouldn't complain about having a chance to get out of the office.

When Tseng asked Reno about what he saw, Reno reported that Elena had gone out with Tifa, Shera and Yuffie. It made sense; those four had been spending more time together lately. Elena must have been smiling because she was looking forward to a girl's afternoon out. But then that would mean she skipped work and she never skipped work, much less that often.

Tseng was not gullible; he knew that Reno was hiding important information. Then the theories started to pile up in Tseng's head, like the papers on his desk. Whoever was trying to steal Elena away must have bribed Reno and bought his silence, leaving the redhead to make up excuses for Elena. Tseng had tried asking her directly but she always avoided the subject.

Another day came and Tseng breathed deeply, looking at the pile of paper work waiting for him at his desk with disdain. Usually he would attack the work none stop until it was done, but today he just didn't feel like it. It was an odd coincidence that just when Elena started to mysteriously leave the office, his paper work started to pile up. It was almost as if Rufus himself was in on it... Wait, Rufus?! No, it couldn't be!

xoxox xox xoxox

When Reno later brought his false report, Tseng decided to try to get more information out of him. "Rufus is involved, isn't he?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," though Reno denied it, for just a split second he had a deer caught in the headlights look.

"He is involved!" Tseng concluded. Then the Turk leader looked at Rude, "take care of the paper work. This time I will investigate myself. Maybe Elena is feeling ignored because I'm such a workaholic and Rufus is taking advantage of that."

"This is starting to sound like a soap opera, I'm leaving now," and Reno made his escape.

"These papers need your signature," Rude pointed out.

"Forge it!" Tseng couldn't believe his own words, but with that said, he ran off. Yet coincidentally Rufus had a minor emergency soon after, which forced Tseng to go to his aid at the risk of losing his job if he refused. But also it helped Tseng confirm that, at least on that particular day, Elena was not with Rufus.

After carrying Rufus around piggyback for the day, because the young president insisted to have twisted his ankle, Tseng was too exhausted to do anything other than sleep, and the mystery of Elena remained a mystery for another day.

xoxox xox xoxox

Finally, the moment of truth came, Tseng would investigate what was going on if it was the last thing he did. Elena didn't even show up at work that day and neither did Reno. Strangely enough, Rude was no where to be found either.

Tseng headed to Healin Lodge to settle his suspicions about Rufus. That day when Rufus supposedly twisted his ankle, Reno could have alerted him of Tseng's suspicions. It was odd that Rufus' injury was inexplicably healed the next day. Rufus overreacted sometimes, but even taking that into consideration, it was still too odd to ignore, given the circumstances.

However, when Tseng arrived at Healin Lodge he was met with a big surprise. "Happy Birthday!" Confetti rained down on him as much as confusion did.

Rufus had heard from Cloud when he went to the Seventh Heaven for Tifa's cooking, about how much fun it was to make little surprise parties. The topic of Zack was already present when Rufus arrived and he caught the conversation when Cloud was narrating a particular occasion in which he and a few others surprised Zack on his birthday.

Rufus was feeling bored. He had taken to trying a variety of different pastimes and often wanted to try something new when ever he saw it or heard about it, which included completely random ideas every now and then. He had received plenty of surprise parties, and some of them he actually didn't expect, thus making them real surprise parties, instead of in name only like the majority. But he had never planned a surprise party with gifts, cake, decorations and the like. The way Cloud descried the process it made it sound like fun.

Thus in an unexpected turn of events, Rufus decided to inquire whose birthday was next, which his escort at the time, Rude, revealed to be Tseng's. That was how that crazy idea came to be. Rufus was picky and it had to be done right. Who better to help pick out the necessary materials than Tseng's girlfriend Elena? Of course it had to stay as a secret so Reno, Rude and the paper work were the distractions. Although, one had to wander if a surprise party was really worth nearly giving poor Tseng a nervous breakdown, not that he actually showed it.

xoxox xox xoxox

Mission 50: Red Alert

"Tell me again why we're here?" Nanaki was confused. He felt out of place in the Gold Saucer, among so many unfamiliar two legged things.

"That's because hanging out with you is my mission and this is a good place to hang out," Reno replied.

Nanaki shook his head. What was Cloud thinking when he hired Reno to 'hang out' with Nanaki? "Why you?"

"What? Am I not cool enough?" Reno pouted.

"I meant no offense, I'm only curious," Nanaki clarified.

Reno looked unsure at first, as if he knew what was going on but was debating if he should reveal it or not. "Tifa said I should be more polite and follow your example. Then Cloud had the idea to hire me to hang out with you, I guess he wanted to impress Tifa or something."

"I see..." Nanaki gave Reno's words some thought, but they didn't make as much sense as he wished. Anyone could teach Reno some manners; it didn't have to be him. Then again, maybe it was more accurate to say that no one could teach Reno manners, not even Nanaki. But the question still remained, "why was I chosen for this task?"

"I don't know, maybe it's because we're both redheads or something... well actually, you're all red. Yeah I think that's it, the color." Reno nodded to himself; it was the only explanation he could come up with for receiving this unusual mission. "Let's go to the chocobo races or something, it's not fun if we just stand here with random kids pointing at you."

"They must have mistaken me for one of the actors." Nanaki wasn't sure how he felt about being mistaken for part of the entertainment, and he wasn't sure what he should do about Reno, but he might as well play along for now.

"Hey Red, roar a little and jump around," Reno's suggestion was met with a confused look from Nanaki, but the Turk assured him with the most unsure statement, even if it was spoken with absolute certainty, "trust me."

Nanaki paused, realized that Reno was actually serious, and sighed, shaking his head. Yet none the less he complied, roared, catching people's attention, then proceeded to show off his acrobatic abilities. People gathered around to witness the show, and even the guards were surprised by the new actor, who was assumed to be a man in a costume. The distraction gave Reno the chance to sneak into the chocobo stable and feed sleeping pills to some of the chocobos.

The pills varied in strength and the time they took to take effect, they would not make the chocobos fall asleep right away, that would be too suspicious, but the chocobos that took the pills would definitely slow down during the race. Other than that, there was no harm done, so Reno, with his own special logic, thought there was nothing wrong with the arrangement. Then the Turk placed a large bet on the chocobo he left fully awake and obviously won.

"You cheated," Nanaki stated with disapproval. "That was wrong and I'm reporting it."

"You helped and I couldn't have done it without you, so you're guilty too," Reno grinned victoriously.

"That's not fair, you tricked me!" Nanaki looked at the gil Reno offered.

"I'll share the winnings," Reno always thought that he couldn't get into trouble unless he got caught, and shared his logic with everyone else. Nanaki was a useful partner in crime so it would be worth it to give him his rightful part of the loot.

"This is still wrong," Nanaki remained firm in his disapproval.

"So what if it's wrong? Accept it and get on with your life," that was how it worked for the Turks.

Nanaki made a long pause, then finally sighed and shook his head one last time before accepting the gil. Thus the mischievous redhead took the first step towards corrupting the polite redhead and another mission backfired.

To be Continued

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