Junon - Part Two
By the time Cloud and Tifa arrived at the WRO headquarters everyone else had already gathered in the conference room. Barret looked distressed and outraged; they assumed it was from the news of his hometown being attacked. Reeve was at the head of the conference table with Cid, Vincent, Miles and Barret sitting around him. They all stopped talking and looked at Cloud and Tifa as they enter the room.
“Good morning,” Tifa told the group as she sat down.
“Good morning,” Reeve replied. “As I was just telling everyone we might have to cut your time in Junon short due to the situation in Corel. Cid will take you to Corel this afternoon while I stay to oversee the demolition of the underwater reactor. I will meet up with you as soon as I am finished. Then we will continue on to Mt. Nibel.”
“Why do we have to wait ‘til the afternoon to go?” Barret asked obviously annoyed with the idea of having to wait to go to Corel.
“Don’t worry Barret I’ve dispatched all available WRO peacekeepers to Corel. I need you and Miles here for the day to meet with the engineer who is going to help with the Junon reactor,” Reeve informed his one armed friend. “Now that you two won’t be staying to complete the Junon project I need you to go over the plans with him before you leave.”
Reeve pulled a brown envelope out of a briefcase that was sitting on the floor next to him and handed it to Miles. Tifa recognized it as the package Rude gave Reeve two nights ago.
“Here is all the information I could find on the Corel reactor,” he informed Barret and Miles. “It includes schematics, reports, data and some other information that might prove useful.”
Miles was closest to Reeve so he took the package and placed it on the table between him and Barret.
Reeve looked over at the rest of the group. “The next few days will probably be very busy so take this time to go get supplies, food or anything else you might need before you leave. Please be on the airship at 1400 hours.”
Cloud, Vincent, Tifa, and Cid all got up from their seats to leave while Barret, Miles, and Reeve stayed behind to discuss the underwater reactor project. Before Cloud could leave the room Miles called out to him causing him and Tifa to stay behind.
“I have something for you,” Miles told Cloud pulling a vile of blue liquid from his pocket. “This is what we use to give SOLDIER recruits to help them with their mako induced headaches. If it is mako exposure that’s causing you headaches this should help.”
He handed Cloud the vial. “Don’t worry it’s not old, I made a fresh batch and it’s all natural so even if your headaches are not mako induced taking it won’t harm you in any way.”
“Thanks,” Cloud said accepting the vial.
“Just take it next time you feel one coming on,” Miles directed him. He looked back to see Barret and Reeve watching him waiting for him to finish talking. “I should get back to the meeting. See you later.” Miles than walked back towards Reeve and Barret while Tifa and Cloud exited into the hallway.
Tifa looked at Cloud. “Headaches?” She asked him a little concerned. She didn’t know Cloud was experiencing headaches and she wondered what they had to do with mako.
“Nothing major,” Cloud replied shrugging it off. “Just these little headaches I get. Miles thinks it might be from the mako poisoning.”
“Oh…” Tifa was not surprised that Cloud didn’t mention it to her. He always kept this kind of stuff to himself especially knowing it would make her worry. “Do you get them a lot?”
“Not often.” Cloud lied. At first they were occasional but the last few weeks they have been increasingly frequent, lasted longer and were more painful.
They stepped into the hallway to see Vincent and Cid talking.
“How are you feelin’ girly?” Cid asked Tifa as her and Cloud approached.
“Better,” she smiled sheepishly. “I don’t know why but there was something about the fort that really got to me.”
“Yeah that place gave me a bad vibe. Glad to see you’re feeling better.” He turned to the rest of the group. “Man there is some crazy shit goin’ on. I heard some of the workers in Corel went missin’ after last night’s attack.”
“So it’s not just WRO members?” Tifa asked surprised. “What could these disappearances and the monster attacks have in common?”
“I asked Reeve about Genesis and Angeal copies.” Vincent informed them. “He said he didn’t know much but he remembers an incident when the Shinra building in Midgar was attacked by Genesis copies. As far as he knew Genesis and Angeal were the only two at the time related to the Jenova project who were able to make copies of themselves.”
“But if they’re both dead then who is making the copies?” Tifa inquired. “Tseng said Deepground had ties to project G. Is it possible one of them survived and learned how to make copies?”
“Maybe,” Cloud mumbled deep in thought. If this was related to Deepground he wondered why they had not seen these copies until now.
“I can call Shelke and see if she has any information,” Vincent suggested. “She might know something about project G since she was linked to Deepground.”
“When you call her can ask how the children are doing?” Tifa added.
Vincent nodded yes and parted from the group.
Cid turned to Cloud. “I was speakin’ to one of the workers who is overseein’ the Junon reactor project. He said that since the reactor has been turned off the monsters crawlin’ around have gone down but there are still some lingerin’” Cid grinned at Cloud and Tifa playfully. “I volunteered to go down and clean the place up, you two wanna join?”
Cloud looked at Tifa who nodded in approval and starting to put on her gloves.
“Just like old times,” the captain said as his grin widened.
He was a little disappointed he missed yesterday battle and wanted to let off some steam.
The three made their way down to the underground reactor. Cid was right; the number of monsters around the reactor had decreased dramatically since they last visited. The majority of the creatures were confined to the underwater glass pipe. Having the reactor deactivated meant there was no mako runoff being leaked into the environment creating all kinds of mutated monsters. They could tell the area had rarely been used, up until now, and the few WRO members who patrolled the reactor in preparation for the upcoming transformation seemed to be relieved that the creatures will soon be eradicated.
Clearing out the tunnel was easier than anticipated and the monsters were weaker than they remembered, or they were stronger. To speed up the process the three split up to fight solo. After their battles Tifa and Cloud met up at the south end of the tunnel and went to go find Cid. They located him at the North end of the tunnel lighting up a smoke.
“What took you so long?” he asked with a smile and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.
“I think that’s all of them but we should take one last look around,” Tifa suggested.
She was actually feeling more rejuvenated after fighting. The three wandered around the underwater structure looking for monsters but did not find any. They circle back towards the glass pipe and continue on towards the reactor.
By the time they reach the reactor it was already full of people who must have received word that the monsters were cleared out. The workers appeared to be so busy they walked by the three like they were invisible. From the entrance they could see Miles, Reeve and Barret standing in front of the reactor with two other people, most likely engineers. All their backs were turned so they couldn’t see exactly what they were doing.
“I wonder if they have any old Shinra submarines still down here.” Cid commented finishing his cigarette and looking around for somewhere to put it out.
“You want to go check?” Tifa asked with a smile.
She hadn’t been down there in such a long time she kind of wanted to take a look around. The two continue down the catwalk towards the submarine dock with Cloud slowly trailing behind. As he walked past the reactor he saw Miles walking towards him alone.
“Hey Cloud,” Miles greeted the blond who stopped to talk. “You’re also here to watch the real professionals at work?”
“You’re not helping with the reactor?” Cloud asks a little unsure what he was referring to.
Miles smiled. “No. When it comes to reactors Barret is the professional. He actually helped build the Corel reactor and has destroyed his fair share, from what I heard. They asked me down here to see if the site the reactor was pumping mako from was sealed before they dismantled it. The planet’s crust is so thin down here the last thing they want is a mako spill. I also came down here looking for something mako related.”
“Well inside these reactors should be a rare type of materia that is larger than the average materia but I just can’t seem to find any.” A look of frustration quickly passed over Miles’ face.
“What do you plan to do with the huge materia?” Cloud asked.
Miles looked at him a little surprised.
“So you know what I am referring to?” he smiled at the blond. “Well I have this project I am working on. As you know even though I am helping Barret with the Corel project I don’t see oil or coal as a long term sustainable energy source and, as we all know, Mako is out of the question. But materia is just as powerful as mako and once mako has been turned into materia it can’t be turned back into mako. Also Materia will never run out; it’s a renewable long lasting source of energy and the more you use it the stronger it becomes. I have created a device that can harness the materia’s power and with one ‘huge materia’, as you call it, I should be able to power a whole city. Assuming my hypothesis is correct of course.”
“But I thought only humans can use materia?” Cloud asked.
“Not necessarily,” Miles objected. “Cait Sith is a robot and he was able to use materia. It was actually Reeve’s toy that gave me the idea. He approved the project as long as I don’t break the mako/materia laws and he wants to oversee the prototype. He’s not sure how the public will take it but if they are supportive he said he will fully fund it. Do you know where I can find some huge materia?”
“I have a few pieces stashed in a safe place.” Cloud was very protective of the huge materia and was not sure if he should tell Miles where it is but Reeve and Barret seemed to trust him.
Miles looked at Cloud in shock. “You mean you have more than one?”
Cloud nodded in agreement and Miles smiled.
“Well I guess it’s good that you got to them before Shinra, who knows what they would have done with it. Do you think you would let me have one after this mission is over? Just think of the possibilities if we discovered a limitless form of clean energy.”
Cloud was reluctant to answer. He liked Miles’ ideas but didn’t know if he should give him such a powerful materia.
“You don’t have to answer me now,” Miles said sensing Cloud’s hesitation. “Just please keep my request in mind. I will prove to you my intentions are for the greater good.”
It’s not that Cloud didn’t trust Miles; he didn’t want anyone to have such destructive power even if it was for the greater good. Cloud knew from past experience how too much power can corrupt someone and he took the huge materia from Shinra to stop them from using it for nefarious purposes. Miles should know this since he worked for Shinra. That’s when it occurred to Cloud to ask Miles about Project G and Genesis.
“I know you worked on the SOLDIER floor do you know anything about the experiments on some of the 1st class SOLDIERs?” he asked the scientist.
“Well as I said before I only worked in the materia division but on occasion when a co-worker was on leave I would help out with the mako infusion on the new SOLDIER recruits.” Miles paused for a moment thinking. “A few of my coworkers talked about experiments on some 1st class SOLDIER’s but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge, apart from what they told me.”
“Do you know anything about a project G?”
Miles laughed a little.
“It’s funny you ask. Normally Shinra scientists are sworn to secrecy even amongst fellow employees but I had a friend who worked as Hollander’s assistant and after Hollander deserted Shinra he became a lot more vocal about project G.” Miles paused and folded his arms looking deep in thought. “I was told this a long time ago but if I remember correctly, Project G stood for Gillian and Gillian was a woman Hollander injected with Jenova cells. Hollander predicted that whoever received Gillian’s cells would receive Jenova’s powers. Genesis was the first test subject and is the only one I know who was made this way. Hollander’s project was not deemed very successful though. I heard Genesis succumbed to degradation and died.”
“Degradation?” Cloud asked puzzled. “I was told a SOLDIER named Zack killed Genesis.”
“Zack? That name does not sound familiar. But there were lots of people in SOLDIER, it’s possible I’ve never met him. Maybe you are right and I was given the wrong information.” Miles paused for a moment thinking then suddenly snapped his finders remembering something. “Oh, I do know of another person linked to Project G named Angeal but he was more of an accident.”
“Angeal was Gillian’s son so he inherited the Jenova cells from Gillian,” Miles paused again trying to remember more details. “I think he was deemed the more successful specimen because he inhered the cells from Gillian directly and his degradation was slower.”
A wave of fear rushed over Cloud. Angeal inherited Jenova cells from his mother and died from degradation. He wondered if the same thing would happen to his child if he passed on the Jenova cells to him or her. He suddenly had a mountain of questions to ask Miles and didn’t know where to start.
“Would anyone with Jenova cells pass them on to their offspring like Gillian did? Would it matter if it was the mother or father who possessed on the Jenova cells?”
Miles laughed at the question.
“Well I’m not that kind of scientists. Even with the little knowledge of biology I do have I do not know enough about the circumstances of Gillian’s case so I would have no way of knowing. For example I don’t know if she was with child when she was injected or if it occurred after. I would need to review the research papers or examine someone who has been infected but I think at this point we will never know; all research papers related to project G were destroyed and everyone with Jenova cells are long gone.”
Cloud knew that was not true. Apart from himself having Jenova cells he knew Shelke was also experimented on using Genesis’ cells.
“What if I could give you a sample?” Cloud suggested. “Would you be able to tell how the Jenova cells would affect the infected person’s child?”
Miles paused and contemplated the question.
“I suppose once I study the sample and see how the Jenova cells affected the human cells I could make an educated guess on what effects it would have on their offspring. There are so many factors to consider. I think it would also depend on if the affected person is the mother or father and how much time the Jenova cells had to alter the host’s cell…” Miles appeared to trail off lost in thought then suddenly looked back at Cloud confused. “But how would you be able to secure a sample?”
Cloud could tell Miles was puzzled with the nature of his questions so he figured it probably won’t be too long before he put two and two together. Cloud took a deep breath debating whether or not to tell Miles but he really wanted to know the impact the Jenova cells might have on his child, if any, especially after hearing about degradation.
“I was injected with Jenova cells years ago. Will you help me?”
A look of understanding appeared on Miles face when he realized why Cloud was asking all these questions.
“I will gather some supplies and can take a sample on our way to Corel.”
“Thank you,” Cloud replied.
He wondered if he should tell Tifa but decided it would be better to wait and tell her when he had more information. There was no point worrying her until he had all the facts.
Miles looked at his watch. “Well it’s almost one o’clock and I still have some stuff I have to take care of before we depart. See you later.”
Miles turned and walked towards the exit while Cloud continued on towards the submarine dock to go meet up with Tifa and Cid. They were standing by the dock with Cid looking a little disappointed that there were no submarines left. Cloud made a mental note to tell Cid where he last left the submarine they commandeered a few years ago so he could let the captain take it for a spin.
Seeing Cloud approach Cid looked at his watch.
“We still have some time. Do you two want to come see the project Shera and I were working on?” The captain asked. “I was going to go anyways to say hi to the team.”
“Are you talking about your satellite?” Tifa asked. “I heard from Barret you launched last week. Sorry we missed it.”
“That’s OK,” Cid told Tifa. “I know you two are busy and Rocket Town is far.”
“We would love to see.” Tifa told Cid and they proceeded to the WRO Headquarters.
They followed Cid to the 4th floor and down the hall until Cid stopped at a set of double doors marked ‘control room’. Inside was a big wide open room full of tables with mechanical parts, computers and equipment. The surrounding walls were full of schematics of what looked like satellites. The room was full of people working on various projects.
Straight ahead of them was a door leading to another room. On each side of the door was a window and inside they could see that there were a few people sitting in front of a large control panel and multiple screens.
“This is where the magic happens. It was nice being able to work with Shera on something,” Cid told his friends.
“Where is Shera now?” Tifa asked.
“She’s back working on the oilrigs. She took time off to help us with this but she had to get back as soon as it launched.”
Then a young girl who was working at a table nearby spotted Cid and walked over to him.
“Hey Cid!” She greeted him.
“Hey Samantha,” he greeted the girl back. “These are my friends Cloud and Tifa. I was just giving them a tour of the place.” He turned towards Cloud and Tifa. “Guys this is Samantha. She helped programed the navigation system.”
“Hi,” Cloud and Tifa greeted the girl.
“Nice to meet you. Cid has told me about you and all your crazy adventures,” she told the two. “I could listen to his stories all day,” she said looking at Cid. Her cheeks started to turn a little red as she looked at the captain. It was apparent to Cloud and Tifa that this young girl had a crush on him. Cid looked oblivious to this which made Tifa smile.
Realizing she was starting to stare at the Captain Samantha looked away.
“Did you hear about what happened to Ken and Sarah?” the girl asked changing the subject. “It’s horrible, they were such nice people.”
“I heard, I hope they catch the person responsible.” Cid said looking a little upset. He glanced over at Tifa and Cloud who looked a little lost. “They were the two people found murdered in Edge. They worked on the satellite with us.”
“With Sarah gone they had to find someone to replace her as head programmer. I heard they asked Shera but she turned the offer down.”
“She didn’t mention that to me,” Cid informed Samantha. “Not surprisin’ though; Shera is more of a hands on kind of gal. She wouldn’t want to be glued to a computer all day.”
“Well, I will let you finish showing your friends around. See ya Cid.” Samantha smiled sweetly and walked back to her station.
Cid waived goodbye.
“She’s a sweet girl,” Cid said turning to Cloud and Tifa. “What?” he asked wondering why they were both grinning at him.
“Cid, you know she has a crush on you right?” Tifa asked.
“Her? Nah, she knows I am married,” he told Tifa.
“If you say so,” Tifa said trying not to laugh. “So you were going to show us the control room?” She asked changing the subject.
“Yeah this way,” Cid said as they followed him towards the door across the room.
They entered the control room and inside were three people busy working. Two of people were sitting at the control panel while one was sitting at a desk behind them working on a computer. All three people stopped what they were doing and looked in their direction when they entered the room.
“Hey Cid,” all three of them said at once before turning their attention back to their work.
“Hello,” Cid replied before turning to Cloud and Tifa. “This is where they control everything and where all the information from the satellite comes in before it’s stored.”
“What is this satellite used for?” Tifa asked.
“A few things,” Cid replied. “We use it for telecommunications so now WRO members will have satellite phone service available anywhere on the planet. Only a few people have the satellite phones right now but we plan to expand it to all members and then in a few years open to rest of the population. We also have a telescope for surveillance so we can see and map every corner of the globe. We also collect data for research purposes. Those are just some examples. It is a lot more advance than the old Shinra one.”
“I didn’t know Shinra had a satellite,” Cloud said.
“Yeah I helped send one up when we were testing our rocket capabilities. This was years before they even considered sending a human up into space. We based some of our plans on their design but updated the technology a bit.”
One of the young people working at the control panel furthest from them was listening to Cid and laughed.
“A bit! That old design was seriously outdated. Like you it belonged in the Stone Age,” the man joked.
Cid shook his head at the cocky youth.
“Kids today,” he laughed, “he thinks I’m old.”
The boy was the youngest looking one amongst.
“That’s because you ARE an old man,” the student said with a smile not even looking away from his computer screen.
“I’m not THAT old,” the thirty-six year old said jokingly trying not to laugh. “You better respect you elder’s young man. I’ve been to space you know.”
“Yeah yeah old man we all know you’ve been to space,” he said rolling his eyes still smiling.
“That’s Peter,” Cid told Cloud and Tifa. “He’s a genius. He’s only sixteen and is a university student doing an internship with us.”
Then Cid looked down at his watch. “Shit its quarter to two. I got to go prep the ship before we leave.”
Cid said goodbye to his friends and the three of them rushed towards the airship.