Final Fantasy VII
The Emerald Crisis
Midgar Ruins: Outskirts\
Yuffie sat atop a hill in the wasteland and stared across the vast, dusty expanse. The ruins of Midgar were a dark shape in the night, distinct but without definition. She had her binoculars set for night-vision, but even still could hardly see anything in the green haze of the city’s skyline. With a sigh, she sat back and pressed a button on the holographic display of her armguard. “I can’t see anything in there. You’re sure it’s tonight?”
“Yes.” Shelke’s voice came in clear through the speaker in Yuffie’s ear.
“Then I need to get closer, because I’ve got nothing from where I am.” Yuffie stood. It was a moonless, starless night, and she dressed in a dark suit meant to blend. She clipped the binoculars onto the belt about and picked up her weapon, a large four-point shuriken named—Conformer—and slipped it into the sling across her back.
“Be careful, Yuffie Kisaragi.”
“Okay, mom.” She hopped from the hill where she was perched and started her approach toward the city. Yuffie travelled by foot, a rarity in that day and age. Monsters still roamed the Midgar wastes. Rumors had it that they were escaped experiments from old Shinra testing facilities that had long been abandoned. Yuffie honestly never gave it much thought.
“By the way, exactly how many of them are there supposed to be?”
“It was in the mission report.”
“Let’s just pretend that I didn’t read it,” Yuffie said. Midgar appeared in finer detail, the darkness giving way to somber greys and broken rubble. A chain link fence rattled under her feet as she hopped from it, onto a broken ledge, and from there onto a fractured pillar before landing in a derelict city street. “Let’s just pretend I never read them.”
“There will be five men in total, two buyers, two dealers. The first meeting should start in exactly five minutes and thirty-eight seconds. I am sending the location to you. Will you arrive on time?”
Yuffie checked the holographic interface again and pulled up the map. She smiled. “I’ll be fine. I’m not far off now.”
Midgar’s interior was twisted steel and stone wrapped in shadows. Buildings and debris were scattered around her. Sometimes, when she was bored on an assignment, she liked to take the pieces in her mind and try to fit them together, like a jigsaw puzzle. At that moment, she preferred to hop over them.
“You should worry more about them showing up.”
“In all of our records, you’re the only person who has ever been late to one of these deals.”
“That’s cold, Shelke. Real cold.” Yuffie hopped over a broken crane and landed quietly on the other side. She sprinted and leaped, flatting her body as she glided between two sheets of jagged steel. “Weapons?”
“Yes. And materia.”
“You think they would use their product?”
“Materia drains the energy of the one it is attuned to, not the energy of the stone.”
“Right, right. Now that I think about it, materia that’s been used synchs faster, doesn’t it? So, I guess they could technically charge more.”
“Technically, though few people who move materia illegally understand the intricacies of its use.”
“Which is why they will always be small-fries.”
“You have your equipment?”
Yuffie dropped down off of a highway painted with graffiti and rolled to a stop. She sprinted across the rooftop she was on and leapt to another nearby. “I’ve got enough. Don’t worry so much. They’re just a couple of thugs. What are they going to do me? I mean, I did help fight Sephiroth and, you know, save the world a few times.”
“Records state you were in the city during the final battle with Sephiroth.”
“I meant in spirit. I definitely was there in spirit.” Yuffie dropped down and slid to a halt behind a nearby ledge. “Now, hush, I see them.” She peeked her head out long enough to get a head count. Shelke was right, two cars were meeting in the dark, their headlights the only thing to see by. Three men on one side, two on the other. The three wore suits and brought back bad memories for Yuffie. The two that were buying were just regular street toughs.
“Buying from the big guys and using it for their games.” Yuffie shook her head. “Kids these days.”
“Please, maintain radio silence, Yuffie Kisaragi. You must confirm the sale before you can make the arrest.”
“You maintain radio silence.” Yuffie yawned. “Besides, there’s no way they’re not selling.” She stood.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m bored. And their faces need to be punched.”
“Hold position, Yuffie Kisaragi. You must confirm the sale before...”
“Possession of materia without a permit is against the law, anyway. You really think they have the paperwork signed for the stuff they’re peddling?”
“Sorry? What? Can’t hear you, Shelke. You’re cutting out here.” Yuffie tapped her bracer and put Shelke on silent. Then, she dived from the building and landed on the soft earth below.
The five talked, shouting nonsense that Yuffie barely heard. Then, the suits went back to their car and pulled a chest from the trunk. They carried it out into the light and opened the lid, pulling a shining red sphere from inside. The sphere caught the light as they displayed it, and then they tossed it to one of the toughs.
The toughs looked it over, trading it between themselves. They talked among themselves, too, and approached the three suits cautiously. An envelope was produced and traded between them. The suits took it, pulled it open, and looked through it, and then they shook their heads. One of them pushed the lid back down on the chest and picked it up.
Yuffie grinned from the shadows and leaped forward. “Sale confirmed,” she said, and she spun through the air and kicked one of the toughs in the chest, knocking him to the ground while the materia fell from his hand. The remaining tough and three suits all stopped in place as she stood in their center, casting a smile at each of them. “Here’s your proof of purchase!”
The suits reacted first. The one with the chest sprinted around the car, toward the back, while the other two produced pistols from inside of her jackets and opened fired. Yuffie lifted her bracer and conjured a barrier. The bullets stopped a few feet in front of her, causing ripples in light where they hit the barrier.
She charged forward and directed her barrier to one suit while kicked the other suit hard in the stomach. Another kick to the chest sent him onto the hood of the car and left him unarmed. The suit behind her tried to move with her, to get behind her and shoot her in the back, but she used her bracer to knock his gun away before grabbing him by the jacket and pulling him into a head butt. He collapsed as she staggered away.
The suit behind the car drew his gun and opened fire on her from behind. She lifted her barrier and blocked the bullets while facing away from him, watching second tough as he moved. He had drawn a switch blade and had it ready. Despite his shaky legs, he made for her and lunged forward. His movements were heavy and clumsy, and she sidestepped it and lifted her knee up into his stomach. Soon, he was curled up on the ground, coughing.
The last suit she handled by leaping over the car—kicking another on the way—and spiraling through the air. She landed and swept his leg out from under him before wheeling around and landing a blow to his face with her bracer.
“And that, kids, is lunch.” She kicked the suit’s gun away as she stood over him. The first tough was up again. He was about to run, but Yuffie tossed confirmer in a way that placed it only a few feet in front of him and watched him go stiff. “Ah-ah, don’t you go anywhere, mister. You’re in big trouble, and we’re going to have to take you home to talk with your mother about all of this.” The tough shook and then sunk to his knees, head down, defeated. “Good boy.”
Yuffie was halfway to him when she heard a gun cock behind her. She turned just in time to hear a gunshot echo through the ruins. One of the suits had gotten up and put her in his sights when the gun was shot from his hand thrown into the darkness by the impact.
She met his awe and fright with a grin before kicking him across the face and throwing him to the ground. Then, she began handcuffing each one, as she spoke with her eyes in the ruins. “Good shooting, Daze. Though, I definitely had it under control.”
“Yeah. That’s why that guy had a gun on your back,” said the voice in her ear, smooth and familiar. It belonged to her partner, Daisy Gould, a sniper by trade who joined the W.R.O at a very young age. She, along with Yuffie and one other field agent, made up the bulk of the W.R.O. Materia Hunter squad. “And shouldn’t you unmute Shelke?”
Yuffie cuffed the one tough who was conscious and dragged him over by the jacket while he sobbed. “No. And I had my barrier up. I know you don’t really use materia much, but it takes more than a low caliber round like that to break through my protect spell, I can assure you.”
“While your materia is more advanced than most, it is still best to remain cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times, as ballistics tests have shown that even low caliber rounds, at a close enough proximity, can pierce barrier spell, Yuffie Kisaragi.”
“And hey, there’s Shelke. Finally figure out that I had you muted? Now, shush, I’ve got work to do.” She tossed the tough onto the pile and watched him bawl. “Oh, would you shut up? I’m not here for you.”
“Son, would you look at yourself? You’re in a grubby hoodie and a pair of torn denim rags. You haven’t got any money, which means you haven’t got any information. In fact,” she took his hat and jammed it into his mouth, “just shut up. And stop that crying already.”
After tossing the tough aside, she righted one of the suits and pulled out her shuriken. Focusing her thoughts on the thunder materia attached to one of the blades, she filled it with a low charge and then touched it to his shoulder. The man jumped a few inches and bolted awake.
“Ah! Ah. Ah—huh.” The man looked around himself and blinked a few times. Then, he saw Yuffie and slouched. “Oh.” He looked at the tough, who looked back at him in teary-eyed terror, and then he looked at the three other unconscious men beside him, and finally back at Yuffie. “You’re going to interrogate me, aren’t you?”
“Ding-ding-ding, we’ve got a winner. And what has he won? Well, he’s won an all-expense-paid trip to torture-ville, along with a free shock treatment for one if he doesn’t start talking. Fast.” Yuffie leveled her shuriken and held it to his face. The man could hear the charge humming through the steel. “Whose your pipeline? And I mean, really, who. I want names, numbers, embarrassing photos, everything you got.”
The suit spit at her, and though it missed, Yuffie felt it was important to teach him a lesson and tapped the shuriken to his shoulder again, just long enough to watch him hop. As he settled, she kicked him in the chest and pinned him on his back, the shuriken’s blade hovering inches over his eye.
“Spit again and I’ll see you smoking like burnt toast. Now, talk.”
After Meteor Fall the world changed. Midgar, once the center of civilization and the throne of Shinra Inc., was reduced to scattered ruins, inhabited only by those unwilling to leave the slums or those unwelcome in the cities in general. With its president missing and no unified voice found, Shinra Inc. struggled to recoup before collapsing into itself. Those guilty were found and tried. Some were executed, some exiled, and without its head, the serpent was no more.
The worlds fell into anarchy. The only government it knew had collapsed from the political upheavals, narcissism, and efforts of both those inside of the system and those working outside of it. Just as everyone thought the world would end for good, the W.R.O. appeared. Rising from the wreckage, this World Regensis Organization was led by Reeve Tsuesti in the public eye and funded by a mysterious benefactor.
With Reeve at the head, the W.R.O. led the charge in the construction of Edge, a home for the refugees of post-meteor Midgar and slowly let their influence spread from there. Relief programs in Mideel, reconstruction for Junon, military support for areas targeted by brigands and criminals. The W.R.O. made a reputation for itself by being everything Shinra wasn’t. It had the trust of the people and the resources to help when no one else could, and it promised to rebuild the world, or at least to make it better wherever possible.
The cities of the world flocked to this new banner and the hope it offered, and the W.R.O. swelled. It drew both volunteers and benefactors, adding funds to their already endless supply and growing political power. After a time, it seemed that a new regime had replaced Shinra, and while there were some who feared this new, rising power, most people found safety in its open arms.
Two years after Meteor Fall, the three remnants of Sephiroth, a blight on the land, appeared, and the W.R.O. was there. Bahamut SIN wreaked havoc across Edge and, after Cloud and the Heroes of the Fall appeared to save the city, the W.R.O. was there with its limitless funds and bodies to restore the city and make it better.
A year later, Deepground surfaced, an old evil newly released with ties to Shinra, and the W.R.O. raised an army to meet them head on. Popularly, it was seen as another Shinra experiment gone wrong, cleansed by the new heroes, the W.R.O., who had been righting the old regime’s wrongs from day one. The Omega WEAPON woke, and the Vincent, helped by the planet’s new protectors, put it down.
Each new crisis averted earned the W.R.O. greater praise and support. Soon, they had bases in every part of the world and recruitment centers with them. Everyone welcomed the W.R.O. into their boarders, into their homes, and started obeying the laws the W.R.O. instituted.
That is how the Hunters came to be. Old Shinra materia caches were often found and opened, and illegal materia distribution became a problem. Roaming gangs or newly rising mafias would attain and weaponize the materia found. Deemed too dangerous for the populace, the Hunters were founded to seek out these illegal materia smuggling rings and bring them to a close.
The story goes that there are international materia smuggling syndicates seeking to horde both combat and recovery materia and use it to build a new regime equaling Shinra’s power. The W.R.O. has built the new force, the Hunters, to meet this problem head on and solve it before it grows too great.
Yuffie was first on the list and was asked personally by Reeve to work in the field, feeling she was particularly well-suited to the task. Five years after Meteor Fall, and one year after the founding of the W.R.O. Materia Hunters Force, Yuffie has worked all across the world, shutting down one ring after another, earning a name for herself with the public because of her efforts in Wutai and Cosmo Canyon.
A rise in illegal trade was found in Edge and the Midgar wastes. The numbers moved there aren’t the greatest seen so far but are rising quickly, and so Yuffie was called back to help and solve the problem before moving on to her next task.