New World

Corel

At two o’clock everyone was on the airship and ready to go. Joining them on their flight to Corel were a handful of WRO peacekeepers and a few engineers to assist Barret and Miles with the Corel project. When Tifa and Cloud entered the bridge they found Vincent talking to Cid who was piloting the airship.

“How is everyone back home?” Tifa asked Vincent once he was done speaking with Cid.

“They are fine but Marlene misses you two and Barret,” Vincent replied.

“Any news?” Cloud asked Vincent.

“Shelke had very little knowledge of project G other than Deepground using Genesis’ DNA in some of their experiments. She said herself and the other Tsviets were the only members spliced with Genesis’ cells and Weiss and Nero even referred to him as brother.” Vincent paused and looked from Tifa to Cloud. “She also had some information on Genesis’ last known whereabouts. She said that last she heard Genesis he was alive and sealed himself in a cavern underneath Midgar. She didn’t know if he survived after Deepground and Omega were destroyed.”

“This doesn’t make since,” Cloud said confused with the conflicting information. “Tseng said that Zack killed Genesis and Miles said that he heard Genesis died from degradation. Now Shelke is telling us that he could be alive.”

The troubling truth was that he had more reason to believe Shelke since she was usually right about these things; she was like a living computer. If Genesis was alive it would explain the Genesis copies they have been encountering. The look on Tifa and Vincent’s faces told Cloud that they were thinking the same thing.

“But if he was alive why would he be abducting people and why is he sending copies to stop us from destroying the reactors?” Tifa questioned.

“There are still a lot of questions that need answering,” Cloud responded. “Nevertheless we need to find out who is responsible and hopefully find the missing people.”

From the corner of his eye Cloud noticed Miles walk onto the bridge and then stop looking around for something.

“Excuse me,” Cloud said to Vincent and Tifa before walking over to Miles.

Tifa and Vincent continued to talk amongst themselves.

“Are you ready?” Miles asked Cloud as he approached. “I found a room that will serve our needs.” Miles held up a black bag.

The aircraft was carrying a lot of passengers so the only room Miles could find was a large storage room with an empty shelf he could lay his supplies out on. They figured it was best to do it somewhere isolated so Cloud would not have to explain why Miles is taking a sample of his blood. Miles placed his bag on the shelf and took out a sealed package with a syringe in it. He took out a rubber tourniquet and tied it around the upper part of Cloud’s arm. He then used an alcohol swab to clean off the injection site on his forearm and opened the package with the sterilized syringe in it. He then stuck the syringe in Cloud’s arm filling it.

“Easy as pie,” Miles said as he covered the injection site with a cotton ball directing Cloud to put pressure on it. “I know a place in Corel where I have access to the equipment needed to examine the sample. When I have some free time I will look at it and notify you of the results.”

He secured the vile of blood putting it in his bag and cleaned up his supplies.

“Thanks,” Cloud told Miles before he left to go find Tifa.

It didn’t take long for the airship to reach Corel. Since the work camp was located in the mountains next to the reactor the airship had no choice but to land in the valley nearby.

Everyone departed the airship and Cloud helped unloaded fenrir and the supplies. Then Cid and his crew took off back to Junon. Cloud couldn’t take his motorcycle to the camp because it was in the mountains but he wanted to keep it nearby just in case he needed it.

As soon as they exited the airship the WRO peacekeepers headed straight to the worker camp to relieve their fellow peacekeepers currently guarding the camp.

What was once called North Corel was now called Corel and it had grown into a large city since Shinra was destroyed and people stopped using mako energy. Many cities went back to using coal so Corel was there to supply the demand and reek the benefits.

North Coral, which once consisted of tents and makeshift shacks, was now a bustling town full of multi-story buildings and houses. It was now larger than Kalm and growing thanks to the coal industry Barret helped promote as an alternative to mako.

With Barret’s oil discovery and the plan to transform the mako reactor into an oil refinery Coral was going to become the petroleum powerhouse of the new world. Corel even had a booming tourist industry thanks to the gold saucer station and with a growing economy people had extra money to spend.

As Barret entered the town Tifa, Cloud and Vincent were surprised to see the huge welcoming he received. A town that just a few years ago regarded Barret with such hatred now welcomed him like a king returning to his castle. The WRO peacekeepers were equally welcomed being provided with free food when not on duty.

Upon entering the town Barret, after stopping to talk to all the people who came to greet him, headed towards the WRO satellite office to get an update on the reactor project and recent attack. Miles fallowed Barret into the building while Cloud, Tifa and Vincent explored the town making sure to stay nearby.

The three were admiring an item kiosk across the street when Barret came out of the WRO building looking angry. Upon seeing Barret the three walk across the street to meet him.

“Two workers were killed last night and seven are missin’,” Barret told the group. “We don’t know if they were taken or ran off durin’ the attack but probably taken. It woulda been a lot worse had the Turks not been there. They were passin’ by in their chopper when they saw the creatures headin’ towards the camp. They fought ‘em off and stayed until Tseng and Elena arrived last night.”

Barret looked visibly upset over the news. He viewed the people of Corel like family and to hear of them being killed or missing really bothered him. He vowed to seek revenge on whoever was behind this.

“We should head towards the camp,” Vincent suggested. It was late afternoon and the train stopped running during dinner time so they had to travel by foot. The people of Corel utilized the Shinra train that Cid managed to stop before it crashed into North Corel years ago and was now used to transport people and supplies to the reactor sight.

“Right,” Barret nodded. “Miles says he has some stuff to do here so he’s goin’ to meet up with us later.”

The four of them made their way towards the reactor. They walked along the train tracks and crossed the bridge towards the steps leading to the camp. To their left on the other side of the bridge they noticed an unoccupied Shinra helicopter meaning Tseng and Elena was still there.

The camp was located on the mountain ledge overlooking the reactor. It was the perfect location for the camp since it was close to the reactor and the train tracks. The land was flat and there was already a railing built along the edge of the cliff.

The camp consisted of multiple tents and temporary shelters for the shift workers. The majority of the workers in the camp were engineers, some general labourers, and various other specialized professionals hired to dismantle the reactor and extract any useless equipment.

Barret was lucky they managed to hire a few ex-Shinra employees who had a working knowledge of reactors. The people who were considered essential workers would stay at the camp 24-hours rotating day and night shifts. The ‘non-essential’ workers would travel by train everyday bringing supplies and food for the camp inhabitants.

They were only a month into the project and haven’t even started on the reactor. It took a few weeks to hook the reactor up to Corel’s power grid and to set up backup generators since it was no longer able to run on mako. Corel itself was powered by coal and had a coal power plant located on the other side of the mountains where there was a water source. Many of the men and some women in the town either worked in the coal mines, in the power plant, or on this project adding to the booming economy.

Seeing Barret and the others enter the camp one of the workers ran up to them.

“Right on time boss. We just got the power on this morning. We sent some guys in there today to walk around the place and will brief you on what they found. Did you get the diagrams for the reactor?”

“Miles has ‘em,” Barret replied. “He said he will bring ‘em by later to go over with everyone.”

Barret looked around the camp and he did not like what he saw. There were tents and shelters damaged from the attack. All of the seriously injured people were rush to the Corel hospital but many of the workers that remained had bandages or visible injuries.

“Tell everyone to take the night off and rest. We’ll start fresh in the morning.” With that the worker nodded and left to go inform the others.

There were portable lights erected around the outside of the camp but in the center was a large fire and seats for people to relax.

Cloud and the others were just about to go sit by the fire when Tseng and Elena walked into the camp. Upon seeing the group the two Turks walk over towards them.

“We were just over by the reactor talking to one of the workers who was conducting the walkthrough,” Tseng informed the group. “He said he heard noises coming from inside the reactor but they could not find the source.”

The last inch of sun was setting behind the mountain so it was going to be dark if they decided to go take a look now. Luckily the reactor had power so if they decided to investigate they would not be doing it in complete darkness.

“What kind of noise?” Tifa asked.

“They said it sounded like a groaning noise and banging,” Elena replied.

“Hopefully no one is hurt or trapped,” Tifa wondered. “Maybe it’s the missing workers.”

“We should check it out now,” Barret told the group.

If it was the missing workers he wanted to go help them as soon as possible. Just as Barret finished speaking Miles walked into the camp with a backpack on. Seeing the group standing near the fire he walked over towards them.

“What’s going on?” Miles asked seeing the look on everyone’s faces.

“There are noises coming from the reactor but the workers couldn’t find the source. We are going to go check it out.” Tifa informed him.

Hearing that Miles took his backpack off and laid it on the ground opening it.

“Then I think I have something that might help you out.” He pulled out the reactor plans and opened it up laying it on the ground. “I was examining the plans last night and here,” he said pointing to a big open space at the bottom of the diagram. “There is a big empty room here that I can’t figure out why it is there or what its purpose is. It appears the only way to access it is an elevator shaft located here,” he pointed to a tunnel on the diagram located just above to empty room. “There also appears to be another tunnel in the back that leads to an access hatch outside. I think it might be those bay doors over there behind the reactor.” Miles looked over to the reactor lit up in the distance and pointed towards it. Everyone shifted their gaze from the map to the reactor to see what Miles was pointing at. “You see that catwalk above the number 27 written over there? I think there is an opening at the end of the catwalk that leads to this room but I don’t know where the controls are to open it so we need to find the elevator inside.” Miles looked back down at the plans. “If the workers couldn’t find the elevator inside its probably concealed but with these plans you should be able to locate it.”

Tseng reached into his pocket and handed Miles a little black transmitting device.

“Put this in your ear,” he directed Miles. “You can walk us through the reactor from here. There’s no point in all of us going and some parts of the reactor can get pretty tight.” Tseng didn’t say it but he had a bad feeling about what could be in the reactor and Miles was the only one who didn’t have any combat experience.

Miles took the device, switched it on and put it in his ear. He was curious to see what was in that room and wanted to go with them but he was not one to argue with a Turk.

“The reactor lights are on but you’ll need your flashlights to help you get there.” Miles reached into his backpack and took out a few flashlights handing them to the others.

Tifa took a flashlight from Miles for herself and Cloud. The light from the fire was starting to bother Cloud’s eyes and he could feel one of his headaches coming on. He was standing in the back of the group so nobody noticed him walk away from them towards the railing at the edge of cliff. The pain was starting to intensify so he took the vile Miles gave him out of his pocket, opened it and drank the contents. It didn’t taste very good but he could instantly feel his headache starting to go away.

Cloud took a minuet to lean against the rail and look around. He could see the reactor’s lights glowing bright against the surrounding darkness. He glanced back to see everyone else still talking to Miles about the plan but suddenly something caught his eye in the direction of the reactor. He couldn’t see anything against the night sky but he notice a big shadow pass in front of the lights of the reactor like a big bird circling it.

He was too far away to tell what it was exactly but he figured it must be some kind of flying monster. Then he saw it land in front of the reactor door and disappear inside. It almost looked human but it could fly and it looked like it had wings. He waited a few minutes to see if the creature was going to come back out but nothing happened.

Cloud was about to turn around and tell the others when he heard a noise coming from the reactor drawing his attention back. The noise sounded mechanical like one of the generators being turned on. A few seconds later he noticed the platform behind the reactor, which Miles pointed out earlier, start to open up revealing an empty void. Cloud then saw the human-like figure exit the reactor from where it entered and fly off into the night.

Cloud stood there gazing at the cavity that was just opened. Moments later he heard a screeching noise and multiple creatures came flying out of the cavity like they were coming from the pits of hell.

“Over here!” Cloud called out to the others. Realizing Cloud was not with them they looked over in his direction and ran towards him. “Looks like we have company,” Cloud said as he reached for the sword strapped to his back. Cloud could hear everyone reach for their weapons as soon as they noticed the creatures.

The creatures circled around the reactor a few times but upon noticing the lights of the camp they came swarming towards them. Realizing he would have a greater advantage in the air Vincent transformed into Chaos and took off towards to creatures.

Miles, who was the only one unaware of Vincent’s power, jumped a little when he witnessed the Chaos appear next to him.

Barret took off towards the tents to warn the workers of the attack.

It was difficult for Cloud to see the creatures against the surrounding darkness so he couldn’t tell how many there were. He could see flashes of lights in the distance followed by the sound of gunfire, he assumed it was Vincent shooting at the creatures.

As they approached the camp Cloud was surprised to see the creatures were actually humans with a large wing coming out of their left side. Some of them had swords while others had guns.

Cloud jumped out of the way as one of the creatures stopped in midair to fire at him. He then leaped into the air with his sword raised above his head bringing it crashing down on the creature sending it hurling into the ground.

Cloud looked around to see the Turks, Barret and the Peacekeepers shooting at the flying creatures. He could tell they too were having difficulty trying to aim into the surrounding darkness. He looked around for Tifa but could not see her anywhere. Suddenly to his right a creature fell to the ground a few feet away from him unconscious followed by Tifa landing next to it. Cloud new Tifa could hold her own in any fight but he was relieved to see she was safe.

“Cloud, look out!” Tifa warned him.

He turned his head to see a creature flying towards him with its sword drawn. Cloud jumped up just as it was about to reach him causing the flying person to hit the ground hard. Cloud landed next to it impaling it with his sword.

Cloud looked into the darkness trying to see or hear for any more creatures circling the camp. For what he could tell it appeared as if there were no more flying nearby so he gazed around the camp to evaluate the situation.

He could see multiple creatures lying dead amongst the camp. It appeared the Turks and Barret had each taken out a few and the peacekeepers killed several.

“Everyone ok?” Cloud asked everyone looking around.

“What are these things?” Tifa asked looking down at one of the winged humans.

“Genesis copies,” Tseng replied kneeling down to get a better look.

Their faces were all the same but their clothes were different. Most of them were wearing peacekeeper uniforms but there were two that were dressed differently.

“Do you think they are the missing WRO members Reeve was talking about?” Tifa asked.

“Looks that way,” Barret replied looking at the Genesis copy next to him. If they really were WRO members Barret felt bad killing one of his own.

Realizing there was no more danger Miles and some of the workers come out from hiding and walked over towards them.

“I only count 10 Genesis copies,” Elena commented. “Weren’t there over 15 people confirmed missing from the WRO not to mention the ones who went missing last night?”

“I think I saw more than 20 of those flying creatures,” Tifa added looking around the camp and then realized something important. “Where’s Vincent?”

Realizing Vincent was not amongst them Cloud and the others looked around the camp but he was nowhere to be found.

“He transformed into Chaos and took off after the Genesis copies,” Cloud responded.

“Hope he’s ok,” Tifa remarked. “We should go look for him. He could be injured...”

“The Genesis copies came from the reactor.” Cloud commented. “Some of us should go look for him there.”

“I should come with you,” Miles told the others. “He might need medical attention.”

Tifa, Cloud, Tseng, Elena and Miles went to go look for Vincent while Barret stayed at the camp with the remaining workers and peacekeepers.

They decided to follow the train tracks towards the reactor using flashlights to find their way in the dark. They were debating if they should try to enter through the opening from where the creatures emerged but they didn’t know exactly how far down it travelled so they decided to play it safe and try to find an alternative route first.

As they walked towards the reactor they would take turns calling out Vincent’s name and would stop to listen for a response. It was eerily silent around Mt. Coral; they didn’t hear any of the wild animal sounds you would normally expect to hear at night. As they approached the reactor the outside lights were so bright they no longer needed their flashlights.

When they entered the reactor Miles stopped to review the schematics. The inside of the reactor was bright with yellow lights, cement walls and the ceiling above them covered in piping.

“It appears we need to turn left to find the control room. From there we should be able to reach the elevator shaft.” Miles folded up the plans and put it in his backpack.

The group made their way towards the control room. They stepped through the portal into the control room which was much darker than the rest of the reactor. Inside it had three big control panels that were all light up in various colored lights and buttons, some blinking. Miles walked over towards the panels and slowly studied all three. He stopped at the middle panel and started pressing buttons. Suddenly a clicking noise is heard and a concealed door at the opposite end of the room opened. It was a big freight elevator so they all had room to fit inside.

Once inside the elevator they noticed a control panel on the wall requiring a swipe card or code to operate it. Everyone looked at Miles who shrugged not knowing the access code.

Tseng made his way through the group over to the control panel. He imputed a five digit code causing the elevator door close and start descending.

“Shinra executive override code,” Tseng explained to the group. He could tell by the look on their faces they were wondering how he knew the code. Truth was, this was only his second time in this reactor and he was unaware of the elevator’s existence until now.

It felt like almost a minuet before the elevator reached the bottom. They stepped out into a large dark room with blue lights glowing in the distance. If they didn’t know they were underground they would have thought they were in a warehouse it was so open and empty. The group walked towards the blue glowing light only to come across several dozen metal mako chambers. Cloud recognized them as the mako pods similar to the ones in the Mt. Nibel reactor.

“This could be Hojo’s doing,” Tseng suggested. “He always had a habit of requesting additions to Shinra constructions so he could run his experiments. He was the one who got Shinra to put the pods in the Mt. Nibel reactor. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was conducting experiments under this reactor before he died.”

Many of pods had the doors opened and emptied of all the mako. They all proceeded to spread out and checked the windows of the closed pods to see if anyone or anything was inside; they were all empty.

Cloud walked around the whole room and it was void of anyone apart from them. Next to the pods was a metal table with straps and another table covered with empty vials and syringes.

“This must have been where the people were experimented on.” Miles commented as he examined the table.

Tifa studied the opened pods with little pools of mako on the floor next to them. “It appears that thirty-five genesis copies were released but we only took down ten. That means there must be more still out there.”

Towards the back of the room there was a big aperture above them with light shining through it onto the floor. Cloud assumed this was the outside entrance he saw the Genesis copies escape from. He walked over to the light to see if he could find an easy way back up to the top. As soon as he stepped under the opening his PHS beeped. He took his phone out of his pocket and examined it. It only had one signal bar of reception and a voicemail message. Before he had a chance to check the message his phone started to ring.

“Hello,” the blond said answering the phone. Noticing Cloud talking on the phone everyone else in the room stopped what they were doing to listen in. “We’re on our way,” Clouds said after a few seconds of silence. Clouds shut his phone and put it back in his pocket looking up at the others.

“It was Vincent,” he informed the group. A sigh of relief could be heard from the two women. “He followed a group of Genesis copies towards Cosmo Canyon and needs our help.”

“We should hurry,” Elena told the group.

Cloud looked up at the long tunnel leading towards the surface.

“Tifa and I can probably jump up from here,” he looked at Tifa. “If we run to Corel we could take fenrir and be in Cosmo canyon in an hour.”

“We’ll meet you there in the helicopter,” Tseng told Cloud who nodded in approval.

Tseng, Elena and Miles walked back towards the elevator as Tifa walked over to Cloud.

“Ladies first,” he said as he slightly kneeled in front of her cupping his hands together. Tifa put her foot in Cloud’s hands jumping as he threw her up into the tunnel. He looked up to make sure she landed and then jumped following her up into the tunnel.

They proceeded to run towards the train tracks following them all the way to Corel. Once in Corel, Cloud retrieved his bike and they took off towards Cosmo Canyon. It didn’t take long for the pair to reach the Canyon.

When they entered the canyon they witnessed lots of people outside running around gathering medical supplies and helping injured people. There were five dead Genesis copies lying on the ground and some of the homes looked like they were damaged.

Vincent was back to his normal self and assisting with healing the injured civilians. Upon seeing Cloud and Tifa Vincent finished curing a young female and walked towards the two while the girl’s friend tended to her.

“What happened here?” Cloud asked the ex-Turk.

“I followed eight of them here. Five of them started attacking the civilians while three of them breached Bugenhagen’s house up top. I haven’t had a chance to go see what damage they caused but I witnessed three of them fly off while I was protecting the citizens. They appeared to be very coordinated like it was a planned attacked. I noticed them flying off into the distance back towards Corel.”

“I wonder what they were after…” Tifa asked looking around at all the injured people.

“I think I know,” Cloud replied reaching into his pocket for his phone. “I’ll let Barret know more Genesis copies might be heading his way. Hopefully they haven’t left yet.”

He presses a button on his phone and put it to his ear. “Barret, we’re with Vincent. He said he saw a group of Genesis copies head North towards Corel. You and the others should just stay there and we’ll be back soon.” Cloud paused with the phone to his ear listening to Barret. Vincent and Tifa could see a worried look appear on his face. After a few seconds Cloud mumbled “ok” and hung up.

“What is it?” Tifa asked.

“Barret said Elena, Tseng and Miles already left in the helicopter but moments later he received a call from Miles saying the helicopter was under attack by Genesis copies then he lost contact. Barret hasn’t been able to reach them since.”

“Hopefully their ok,” Tifa said worried.

“I’ll go see if I can find them,” Vincent said. “I can cover more land by air.”

“We’ll stay here in case they show up,” Tifa mentioned looking around. “It looks like they need some help around here anyways.”

With that Vincent transformed into chaos and took off towards Corel.

Tifa and Cloud spent most of the night and early morning tending to the injured. The people of Cosmo Canyon were very lucky that no one was badly injured and most only required a cure materia. The town’s people were grateful that Vincent was there to prevent the Genesis copies from causing further damage and harm to them.

It was early afternoon before Cloud and Tifa had a chance to go up and assess the damage to Bugenhagen’s, now Nanakin’s, house. Nanakin was still in Edge with Yuffie and the others so shortly after they arrived to Cosmo Canyon Tifa called to let Nanakin know what happened and to tell him everyone was fine.

Just as Cloud feared the Genesis copies took all four huge materia. There was a hole blown right through the observatory where the materia were kept. Cloud wondered how they knew where to find it but on the other hand they did not go to great lengths to hide it from anyone. It was kept at the highest point at the top of Cosmo Canyon and if the Genesis copies were drawn to it in any way they could tell it was there.

The more important question was what they were going to do with it? Miles did talk about being able to generate power with it. He said just one piece could power a whole city but Cloud doubted they wanted it to help the world with its energy demands.

The sun was setting when Vincent returned with discouraging news. He said he found what appeared to be a crash site it the mountains just east of Nibelheim but by the time he arrived the helicopter looked like a smouldering pile of metal. He couldn’t tell if there were any bodies inside and there was no sign of human activity around the crash site.

He said he scoured the area to see if maybe they managed to escape the aircraft before it went up in flames but couldn’t find any trace of them. They couldn’t help but notice how tired and worn out Vincent looked. He mentioned going back out tomorrow but he didn’t sound optimistic.

Cloud and Tifa agreed to join him first thing in the morning and Cloud suggested taking the bike back towards Corel checking various places along the way.

To show their gratitude for their help the people of Cosmo Canyon provided the three with a big feast. Although they didn’t feel like eating they tried to enjoy the food as to not appear rude. After Dinner they sat around the fire quietly remembering the three friends they feared were gone. They sat in silence until deciding to go to bed. The people of Cosmo Canyon offered them two free rooms to stay in for the night which they kindly accepted.

It took a while for Cloud to fall asleep. His mind was racing with so many questions after what transpired over the past few days. He was upset over what happened to his friends and he knew that this was not the end of these attacks.

Cloud looked over at Tifa who was sleeping soundly next to him. He cherished his friends, they were his family, and he swore to do everything in his power to protect them. As sleep overwhelmed him the dark thoughts of his lost friends consumed his mind.

When Cloud opened his eyes he was no longer in Cosmo Canyon. He couldn’t remember falling asleep but he knew he must be sleeping because he was now fully dressed and was standing inside the Mt. Nibel reactor. But this didn’t feel like one of his regular dreams. It felt different, like the time he talked to Areith when he had geo stigma. Could this be her trying to communicate with him again? He didn’t think so. With Aireth everything felt bright, warm and familiar. This felt dark and cold plus he didn’t think she would bring him to a place full of bad memories.

Cloud examined the room, he was inside the main pod chamber standing at the top of the stairs in front of the Jenova room. He knew this was not a memory and he was starting to wonder if this was even a dream but how did he get all the way here from Cosmo Canyon?

The last thing he remembered he was in bed with Tifa. Cloud peered inside the open door to the Jenova chamber to see a man standing with his back to him looking at the empty tank Jenova was once in.

Realizing he was not alone the man turned to face Cloud. The man had shoulder length brown hair and had one black wing coming out the left side of his back. Cloud assumed the man was Genesis since his face was the same as the copies he encountered in Coral. He was wearing a long red jacket and was holding a sword. Upon seeing Cloud Genesis smiled.

“You probably don’t remember me but we’ve met before,” he informed Cloud.

Cloud went to reach for his sword only to discover it was not with him. Realizing what Cloud was reaching for Genesis’ smile deepened.

“I guess you haven’t realized this isn’t real,” Genesis notified him.

“So this is a dream,” Cloud said softly to himself.

“Of sorts,” Genesis replied with a shrug. “I must say, you have grown stronger since we last crossed paths. When we last met you were on the brink of death; luckily you had Zack to help you. You were very lucky to have such a good friend with you. If I were in Zack’s shoes I would not have risked my safety to help out such a weak specimen. That’s probably what got him killed…”

Cloud knew Genesis was just trying to anger him. He was aware he was the reason Zack fell to the Shinra and he knew Zack forgave him. Zack risked his life to save Cloud that’s why he made the promise to live both their lives.

“What do you want with me?” He asked the former SOLDIER.

“I need you out of my way,” he frowned at Cloud. “You’re interfering with my plans.”

“The mako reactors?” Cloud questioned assuming that’s what he was referring to.

Genesis laughed. “That’s only a very small piece of the puzzle. Since my awakening I have managed to make myself stronger but not strong enough, yet. I needed you all out of the way so I can build my army.”

Cloud looked blankly at the former 1st class SOLDIER. He had no clue what Genesis was referring to.

Genesis continued. “I was always told Hojo’s experiments were stronger physically but I always found them to be inferior mentally. Sephiroth became obsessed with the thoughts of mother and you are a perfect example of an inferior mind. Your mind was so fragile at the beginning Sephiroth was even able to take control of you like a puppet.”

Cloud looked at Genesis with a surprised look wondering how he knew what happened years ago between himself and Sephiroth. Realizing what Cloud was thinking Genesis continued. “You would be surprised what I can find out about you in your dreams. Although I must give you credit; you seem to have grown much stronger than anticipated. Your battle with Sephiroth has made you much stronger physically and mentally. My brother has not been as lucky. After his battle with your cloaked friend he was injured beyond repair.”

“Weiss is still alive?” Cloud asked surprised. Last time he saw Weiss he transformed into Omega and Cloud witnessed the creature be destroyed with his own eyes by Vincent.

“If you want to call it living. Mentally he is alive but physically he is damaged. Not surprising considering his mind was taken over by a mad scientist then he merged with his brother Nero and destroyed as Omega. Only someone with project G genes can be exposed to such turmoil and survive. Simple Jenova cells won’t help him like they helped me. He requires the cells of someone like him and now that you and your friends are out of the way I can go retrieve her.”

It all became clear, Cloud now knew exactly who he was referring to: Shelke.

“There are people with her that will stop you,” Cloud told Genesis referring to Yuffie and Nanakin.

Genesis laughed. “You think the ninja and the beast will be a match for my copies? As we speak I have a swarm of copies heading towards Edge, Junon and Corel. But you have something more important to worry about.”

Cloud gave Genesis a perplexed look wondering what he was referring to.

“I have someone very important to you…” Genesis smiled wickedly. “How poetic that the last time you see your childhood friend will be in your hometown.”

Suddenly everything around Cloud went black, “come get her…” was the last thing Cloud heard before waking up.


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