Wish I could believe
That you care for me that way
Mirror, mirror speak to me
In the night
Don't you think I know
this grief can't be cried away?
In the tears I cry I see you
In the Night
From Key the Metal Idol
"Doctor Kimiko." The young man that stood slouched against the wall with a cigarette in his hand was an unlikely assistant for the short, slender, birdlike robotics expert that was at that moment bent over a computer console. The room that they were working in was all steel walls and corrugated metal floors, the ceiling acoustic times. "If ya need anything else, just tell me." Smoke curled around the man's head, blurring the brilliant hair, the bright orange red that most people would think was dyed, in several places.
The man in question was one of the newly rebuilt ShinRa Company's Turks, the Vice Director, Reno Kirbani, to be precise. The slim frame was in a relaxed posture against one steel wall, but the eyes, a blue green color that resembled the multi-color splendor of the southern seas off the coast of Costa Del Sol, were as sharp as an eagle's in the angular face.
Amber eyes the startling color of a Guard Hound's turned to meet those of the man speaking to her, the orbs uptilted with distinct epicanthic folds that spoke of her heritage. Hotaru Kimiko was from Wutai, a small village several hundred kilometers from the capital city. She had a natural talent with robotics and artificial intelligence that rivaled that of Reeve Tuetsi himself, one of the greatest roboticists that had ever crossed the threshold of ShinRa's gates. "I need you to be utterly certain that I am not disturbed. I must finish this robot so that it is ready for the presentation in the morning."
Spread about her on the table that stood next to her were gears and wires and other parts, the hulking metallic form that would soon be the completed prototype standing next to it. The shape was vaguely humanoid, with clear glass lenses set in a face of black frosted alloy. The chest plates were open, some of the mechanisms obviously missing. One of the main ones, and it was the reason she was sending him out of the room, was a small container that looked almost like an IV bag, but this bag contained a green viscous substance that hovered from gas to fluid to solid and back, not according to the temperature, but as if it danced to the beat of some strange inner drum only it could hear.
Reno nodded, heading out to stand near the door. If he had known that she was powering the machines with raw Lifestream he would have put a stop to the whole thing, and fast. Though he had some of the Ancient blood, as the Flower Girl that had saved them all had had, he had shut away the voices and the connection to the Planet that came with it that he failed to sense the secret ingredient that brought life to the Doctor's creations.
Once the ragged scarlet rat tail had disappeared from her sight which signaled the young man's exit Hotaru lifted the power gel pack, rubbing it lovingly against her cheek. "Soon my love. . .soon you will have life again."
Her eyes closed as memories washed over her. The loss of her family during the Wutai War had torn her world apart, turning her entire life upside down. Her robots had been all that remained to her after the bombs that had destroyed her home, wiped out everyone she had ever known. She could to this day feel the flames licking her skin in her dreams. . .hear the screams as her husband and child were buried inside the wreckage of her home. "You first, my sweet Akio. . .then our darling Daisuki."
The container was set delicately within the open chest cavity, before the doors were closed. The glass optics flashed once before going dark again, eliciting a smile of satisfaction from the woman. "So very close. . .soon. . .soon I will have my family back."
Reno's head suddenly shot up from outside the door at the same moment those optics flared with that eerie green light from within, as if someone had stepped across his grave. The faintest whisper had traveled across his consciousness, making him shudder with a sudden chill. "That was just fucking spooky." he muttered as he shook his head, passing the feeling off as being one of those strange premonitions he sometimes got.
He found himself a couch to settle into, and the next he knew the sun was leaking in through the windows that were set in the metal ceilings of the hallway, making him blink bleary eyes. He looked down to where his phone was vibrating, and picked it up as he pulled the half-crushed green and white striped pack from his jacket pocket, lipping one of the cancer sticks out as he answered it. "Yeah, boss." It was President Rufus ShinRa on the line, his boss and one of his five best friends.
The last four Turks and their boss had stuck together even after Meteor had nearly destroyed their world and the threat that had been Deep Ground had been defeated, after all, when your comrades in arms were all you had left in the world you became as tight as any blood family ever could. He owed Rude and Tseng his life more times than he could count, in fact the two had been the ones to remove him from the slums of Sector Seven when he'd been a half-starved boy of fifteen. "Yeah, the robot'll be ready by the time it needs to be. Doctor Kimiko sent me outta the room so she could finish it, she's been workin' all night."
"I see." Rufus was inside his own office in the rebuilt Tower, tapping slender, perfectly manicured fingers on the top of his desk as he spoke. "Make certain that she arrives at Edge Municipal Stadium on time. Though I am certain I can trust you to be sure that happens." Those same fingers brushed through wheaten blond strands, pushing them out of the glacial blues that were a ShinRa trademark. Despite his harsh tone, he trusted Reno to be certain the job got done. The man had saved his life during Meteor, pulling him out of the destroyed HQ after Diamond Weapon's attack, at the risk of his own life as the structure creaked around him.
"Yes sir." Reno knew very well what that tone of voice meant. Rufus suspected something was going on, but couldn't put his finger on what that something was. That set his own senses on alert, though he was not certain exactly what he should be on the lookout for yet. As the line was closed he headed down toward where he could find some coffee.
Tseng's dark hair rustled over his shoulder as he turned to Rufus. "Something about this bothers me. . .and I can sense it does you as well. You just do not know what that something is yet. It is like chasing a Jumping through its tunnels and hoping that what you find on the other side is what you seek, and not something that will prey on you." The analogy, though the Wutain Turk did not realize it at that moment, was a creepily accurate one. "Hotaru Kimiko. . .I know I have heard that name, outside of her fame as a robotics expert." He shook his head. "I suppose it will be figured out eventually."
The Director of the Turks knew it was time to put that pondering away for the moment, however, and help Rufus get things together to be ready for the demonstration. "I will check your car, sir. Then we will be ready to do the things we must today, including the presentation." A faint shiver ran up Tseng's spine at the thought. The mechanical beings were something very creepy to him, something about how only those who had been born of the Planet should have a semblance of life, a teaching he had been given early in his childhood. Reeve's creations did not bother him as such due to the fact that though they had AI, he controlled them to a great degree.
Rufus gave Tseng a nod. He too was a bit spooked by the idea of a fully sentient AI, though it was not due to a religious teaching, but the mere visceral response to something not born or organic having life. He supposed it was a natural human reaction to be disturbed by such things, though he put that unease away. These robots would make his corporation a fortune, and save lives, as they could go places no person could go in order to collect much needed energy resources.
I can not afford to wonder about the moral rightness of such technological advances, our world depends upon them now, more than ever, due to it being in such terrible shape. Strife will likely say that I am playing with things that should not be trifled with, but there is naught else I can do. I must protect what little is left and make up for the horrible things my father has done, both to my people and this planet. The blond shook himself from his thoughts as he slid the black vest and white jacket on over the gray turtleneck, the long coat hid the sawed off shotgun he carried on him at all times. As he turned and locked the door, he fought off the sense of chilling presentiment that something was going to go wrong.
He would look back later to his dismay and realize he should have listened to his gut and stopped things before they got so out of control, but then hindsight is always twenty-twenty.