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Destiny JENOVA IV-2: Reverse Crisis (Chapter 20: Relentless)

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  1. Kadaj
    Chapter 20: Relentless

    (This part will focus on Cloud as the speaker) Me and Sephiroth entered the JENOVA Foundation HQ after a long and thorough discussion about how to go about the mission. While there was no perfect plan for the task we were given, precaution measures were still important, especially if we ended up with worst-case scenario where Hojo sets us up and we wind up captured and unable to continue the mission. Knowing that trap might be waiting somewhere inside, we proceeded with extreme caution. However, the minute we came inside, several armed employees came at us immediately. Sephiroth and I managed to take them out with ease, but we both were concerned after the sudden attack. I said “They were already armed and everything… were they waiting for us this whole time?” Sephiroth reluctantly agreed “Hmph… I’m afraid youre right. The workers are never armed like that unless theyre expecting unwanted guests. Which means Hojo already knew we were coming.” I sighed “Oh, great. Then he’s already ahead of us. Sephiroth… this whole thing could be a trap. If we get caught…” Sephiroth nodded in understanding “I know, but we have to keep going. If Mother were to find out that Hojo captured me, it would be a disaster… if Mother doesn’t control her temper, she could demolish the entire building by mistake…” I curiously asked “Huh? How?” Sephiroth explained “As you know, Mother is the family boss and ruler of this Planet, now called JENOVA Kingdom. The JENOVA Lifestream, as you can easily assume, is linked directly to Mother herself. While she can easily use her lifestream as a combat weapon with full control, it also reacts to her emotions in response to this connection. So if she gets too scared or otherwise, the JENOVA Lifestream reacts by using its powers on whatever is threatening her, regardless if she wants it or not. So if she gets angry at Hojo in a situation like that…” I understood “Uh oh… but the JENOVA Lifestream itself is so powerful, it could obliterate the entire Planet!” Sephiroth nodded “You are in fact correct. Not only could such power destroy this building, it could easily ravage the surrounding area which could leave many family members injured or even dead… for that reason, and for Mother’s sake, we must stay alert at all costs. Moving on, however… there’s another job we must tend to here. When the Divine Vortex opened in the sky, my Father JENBU got severely injured after it locked up and I had him sent here by Mother’s order. I checked on him a while back, but haven’t heard a word about him from Hojo since. I fear he might be abusing JENBU’s power to start another experiment.” I asked “Ok, do you know where he kept him?” Sephiroth nodded and approached the elevator ahead, and he entered something on the keypad. I heard a beep that seemed to come from it, but the doors didn’t open. Sephiroth shook his head “Great, I knew it… looks like the elevators are disabled by the facility’s security systems.” I asked “Now what? There’s gotta be another possible route…” Sephiroth turned back to me “Yeah, the stairs of course. I hope you’ve got strong longs, Spike. This place is huge. But the only way down is the elevator, and downstairs is where JENBU is…” I paused, then suggested “Well, then the only option we have is to go up and find a way to get the elevators going so we can help him. You think anyone besides Hojo can turn off the locks?” Sephiroth shook his head “I wish… especially since Mother only knows what he’s been doing down there. I doubt he’ll give us what we want easily.” I grumbled “Geeze he’s mad… what does he want anyway? Why’s he going after everyone like that?” Sephiroth turned to the towering staircase “I wish I knew, but the answers will have to come from Hojo himself. If he chooses to answer, that is. You know the man as well as I do.” I said “This is like the Shinra war all over again, during the JENOVA Project that started everything… the experiments, the war that broke out everywhere…” Sephiroth seemed a bit sad ‘I know… I never forgot any of it, especially the day you killed me, and I’d barely gotten any time with my Mother because you and everyone else just had to get in my way.” Sephiroth turned angry and gave me a hardened gaze. I felt a rush of guilt “Sephiroth, please… I’m really, really sorry… I know you’ll probably never forgive me, but I feel awful… after I saw JENOVA, saw this world and what it really is… Please, Sephiroth…” Sephiroth turned away “Just stop it already. Worry about the past later. We’ve got an important job to do for Mother.” I knew he only said that to shut me out, refusing to believe I was sincere. I decided to keep silent and followed him up the stairs. I realized I was crying when I began to follow him, and both my neck and my black wing began to ache. I felt the urge to moan, but held it in to avoid drawing Sephiroth’s attention. I thought What does it take? What do I need to do to show Sephiroth that I’m truly sorry? I felt like that just didn’t have an answer. He was as stubborn as Kadaj’s gang was; they all refused to believe my intentions were pure as much as they could. I was doing everything I could to help, and still no one would believe me except JENOVA herself. Even if she doesn’t trust me completely, she shows a certain amount of trust towards me, at the very least. We climbed several flights of stairs, and it was so quiet it seemed like no one was here. I grew suspicious “It’s too quiet… Sephiroth, be careful…” Sephiroth agreed “I know. I don’t like it either. This kind of silence is never a good thing when your enemy is expecting you to show…” Several minutes passed, and I asked “Will these stairs take us directly to the top floor?” Sephiroth answered “No, but it will get us close enough to corner the enemy. There’s a control room a little ways ahead that should help us out, as long as Hojo didn’t have it destroyed.” I followed Sephiroth into a large room that had several surveillance screens and some other machinery in it that looked like a big control system. He approached the surveillance screens and sighed “He’s been keeping tabs on us, alright… the man has cameras all over the kingdom. And I’ll bet it isn’t just from here, either. At the top level, there’s another more advanced set of surveillance tech as well. And to add to it, the master control room is there. Unless there’s a way to hack into the system controlling all the electronics here, disabling the security by ordinary means will be fruitless. Hojo will simply block all of our attempts. If Yazoo were here, that would be a piece of cake. He’s a natural at that, especially with his experiences fighting Shinra and protecting Kadaj and Loz from their nasty work. He destroyed all of the research like that.” I remembered how Rufus was gathering more information on the female larva of Sephiroth and her two siblings, and understood “So that’s why Rufus had to redo everything on them…” Sephiroth nodded “Precisely. And since my Sister was also a new type, their memories couldn’t do them any good on the subject of recon. Moreover, they also lost all of the records pertaining to the JENOVA Project, both in the fire many years ago and by Yazoo’s hacking.” Sephiroth smiled “The boy was an amazing kid, I’ll give him that… doing that so proficiently as a mere child and remnant is quite impressive. His combat abilities may seem more limited, but Yazoo is very intelligent. If he hadn’t destroyed Shinra’s servers back then, the three of them could’ve been killed that day…” I was amazed “Dang… I’ve never heard of kids being so smart… at least he knew what he was doing…” Sephiroth shook his head “Ahh, what am I doing..? Excuse my memories… we’ve got work to do… Spike, think you can do it?” I grew nervous “I don’t know… if I fail, there’s no telling what might happen. We could in worst cases have foundation troops coming in like an avalanche if I fail.” Sephiroth remained calm “I’ll take care of them, don’t panic. They’re not strong enough to defeat me. Just go for it and do the best you can, Brother. I’ll fend off any company we get.” I gazed at him with concern “Are you sure about this? If you fall, your Mother is literally going to kill me.” Sephiroth grew firm “Trust me. Mother knows I don’t go down easily.” I approached the computer system on the other side of the room and sighed “Ok, here goes nothing…” Suddenly, I heard a beeping sound from my choker and heard JENOVA’s voice in my mind “Cloud, can you hear me? Spike?” I answered her, putting a hand to my ear “Loud and clear. What is it?” JENOVA explained “The only way to get past the security’s firewall without setting off the deployment system is to bypass the facility’s armed response mechanism. If you don’t do that, you will have a brutal ambush and Sephiroth could be pinned down from too many bogies.” I replied “And how am I supposed to do that?” JENOVA answered “I’ll walk you through it, don’t worry. I created that place, so I know everything about the security measures it’s equipped with. I’ll help you do this as safely and quickly as I can.” I asked “What about Hojo? The minute he knows someone’s trying to get in, he’s gonna send them all our way.” She giggled “Don’t worry, I took care of that. He’s distracted by some extra help I sent ahead of time so you and Sephiroth wouldn’t have as much of a mess while youre there. He may think he’s the kingdom’s overseer, but he cant outsmart me.” I understood “Alright, I’m listening…” Then she began telling me step by step what to do, and I found myself at a window that was displaying ‘armed backup’ and some other stuff about emergency responses “Alright, here I am… now what?” JENOVA explained “You cant disable it with ordinary commands; there’s a hidden code I want you to enter, and it’s the only thing that works here. Fortunately, none of the main staff there know it. Hojo is the only one who knows about it since he’s the foundation President.” I commented “Tch, more like the rogue President… he’s got one-track mind. He doesn’t listen to rules at all. How do I get it to work?” JENOVA told me to press a series of keys, and a window opened up that said ‘enter security key’. She told me the numbers to push, and I obeyed. JENOVA explained “You should get a confirmation screen that will ask you to terminate the process. I want you to click on the blank box; don’t touch yes or no.” It sounded weird to me but I agreed “Ok, if you say so…” I followed her instructions, and I heard a noise somewhere close that sounded like something had turned off. I said “I think it worked… now what?” JENOVA explained “The rest should be easy. All you have to do now is disable the remaining security. I will help you disable Hojo’s system upstairs from there. This way he cant undo anything you’ve done. I’m the only one who knows how to reopen the master computer system, so don’t worry. While he’s blocked, all that’s left is for you is to go to the top and teach him a lesson.” I nodded in understanding, and got right to work.

    Meanwhile, upstairs…

    (This part will focus on Loz as the speaker) By Mother’s order, me and Tifa came to the JENOVA Foundation HQ to distract Hojo with a conversation that would interest him. I didn’t really get it, but I wanted to listen and just do what she wants. Since I was already at Tifa’s when I got called, I asked her if she wanted to come and she happily agreed to. So here we were, talking to Hojo about his current plans and work he had been focused on. It felt like hours of going on and on with him; he talked about his research and studies like there was no tomorrow. I had to keep myself from yawning and pretend to be interested so we’d keep his attention and avoid making him mad. So, I forced myself to keep listening to him ramble “Oh, and it gets even better. I have recent findings about JENOVA Kingdom’s ancient mythology, and there were mentions of an incredibly powerful specimen called Reunion Prince. And it looks like he does in fact exist in this world! I was so surprised but so pleased all at the same time! This is the discovery of a lifetime! Think of the many generations to come that could benefit from such power, if only I learned its secret! Now, if only I could hatch a plan to capture him… that’s going to be another matter. It turns out the subject is far more powerful than I anticipated. The specimen defeated my company’s troops with unspeakable ease, and is still on the move as we speak. I suppose that explains why the legends say he was feared by enemies… those certainly weren’t lies. But when I do get him, everyone in the entire kingdom could be saved!” I moaned under my breath, growing board of his nonstop rambling, and Tifa put a hand on my shoulder and whispered to me “Hang in there, Loz… Cloud and Sephiroth should be here shortly, I think… Did they get caught?” I grumbled under my breath “I hope not… I’m tired. I wanna go to bed…” Hojo kept going as though he didn’t hear or even notice us “And to think I wanted Kadaj’s power when I could have the powers of the Reunion Prince instead for my next project! What was I thinking?” He laughed and went on “Why waste my time on her with this remarkable specimen within reach? This one could be my greatest test subject yet! What else is JENOVA hiding in this place? Mounds of literature and research all around… endless possibilities! This is much better than Shinra! And everything is all to me, to make it even better.” Suddenly, the surveillance screens started to go black, showing nothing but static. Eventually all of them went dark. Hojo noticed the problem immediately and rushed to the master computer to find the problem “What’s this, then?” He started typing away, and his excitement quickly dimmed “Connection error? Impossible! This controls everything the facility!” I struggled not to laugh, forcing myself to keep calm. Hojo cried “Access denied? What?! What in the name of Her Highness is going on here?!” I noticed the elevator doors opened, and Cloud and Sephiroth both came out, holding their swords as if ready to fight. Cloud said “The game is up, Hojo.” Hojo hastily turned around and noticed them, and became very angry “You two? This was a trap? You didn’t care about my research! How dare you!” Sephiroth drew closer to Hojo “You know very well why we’re here. You threatened my Sister Kadaj, trashed Mother’s sacred town, threatened the life and well-being of the Reunion Prince… you’ve done nothing but make a mess of the kingdom.” Hojo tried to act tough, forcing a smile “Now, now, Sephiroth… you aren’t really going to scrap the JENOVA Foundation President, are you? Imagine what would become of the company, of the cetra race itself—if the company were shut down… you don’t really want those consequences, do you?” Cloud approached Hojo with a firm face “We’ll do whatever we have to in order to protect the rest of the kingdom. JENOVA Kingdom’s safety and security is our top priority—even if it means risking the loss of the foundation to protect everyone else. Your pursuing Kadaj and the Reunion Prince has caused the entire kingdom’s approval rating of JENOVA Foundation to plummet. If everyone else becomes too scared and cant trust this company—which is supposed to be dedicated to protecting JENOVA’s legacy in the first place—they will doubtless make haste to attack it, or keep as far away from it as possible. We cant put any more lives at stake; you’ve done more than enough, and too many people have died because of selfish ambitions and recklessness. Who would we be to let such a monster live on, who puts his own profit and gain before the lives of others? That’s not what JENOVA expects from the foundation’s President!” Hojo appeared nervous, but kept his expression hard and his stance strong. Sephiroth got into his fighting stance, wielding his masamune “Make your choice: we can do this easy way, and you can surrender right here. Or… we can do things the hard way. I don’t think you will enjoy that, so I’d choose carefully if I were you.” Tifa cried out happily “Yeah! That’s the way!” I smiled at her words. Cloud also had his sword ready, and was in a fighting stance beside Sephiroth. Hojo groaned angrily “You deluded things! You cant defeat me so easily!” Hojo pulled a large syringe from his pocket and took a small black box off the desk behind him “I feared it would come to this… but I’m not one who doesn’t think ahead. I have what I need to fight right here.” Hojo opened the box, and applied the syringe, filling it with thick fluid that was a mix of black and green. I recognized it immediately “JENOVA cells..? What an idiot… he’s gonna kill himself.” Tifa shook me and looked scared “Uh, Loz… I have a bad feeling about this…” He injected the JENOVA cells into his body, and raced to a machine on the other side of the room. Hojo entered something on a keyboard, then went inside of a cell that closed up. Some machinery on the inside held him in place, and several smaller blades cut into him. Something had seemed to electrocute him, and he was screaming from the pain. I realized a strange liquid was also being poured into him through the blades that struck him. I recognized the blades almost immediately “No, those are… those are just like Seffi’s! But how did he..?” A blinding white light started to envelope him, and the facility began shaking. Cloud appeared concerned “No way… he hasn’t become..?” Sephiroth lowered his masamune “There’s no use talking to him… he’s gone over the edge!” Cloud loudly asked over the noise “What’s he doing?!” Sephiroth answered “Hopefully I’m wrong, but he had that box of JENOVA cells, and fragments of the Reunion Prince’s bladework wings… and he might be using the powers of the samples he got to have that power for himself!” Cloud cried “Then we’ve gotta stop him before its too late! Sephiroth, hurry!” Sephiroth quickly agreed “Right!” They both hurried in to attack, but something clashed with them and blocked their attack. The tremors stopped, and the blinding light began to fade; on the other side, Hojo had silver hair and bladework wings of his own, which stopped their attack. Cloud cried “No way..! He’s become… a cetra?!” Sephiroth and Cloud pulled back, and Sephiroth said “I’m afraid so… just as I thought. Hojo utilized the foundation’s fusion device to make the powers of the JENOVA cells he took along with the fragments of Seffi’s bladework wings his own. But how he survived such a dangerous transformation is beyond me…” Hojo laughed, pulling his bladework back “It was too easy! I simply created a vaccine to grant myself immunity to the radiation and detrimental properties of JENOVA cells. You subjects are easy to amuse. While I may not wield the full power of the Reunion Prince, at least I have enough of it to defeat you both!” Cloud said “But if he doesn’t have Seffi’s full power… we might still have a chance.” Sephiroth added “While what you say is true, even small fragments of those wings contain horrendous power. Even when detached from the boy. It’s because the child is the physical embodiment of the Infinite Reunion, that even smaller parts are terrifyingly strong. Hojo probably knew that and made this fail-safe system of his to make sure we lose… curse this man..!” Cloud encouraged Sephiroth “Be strong, Sephiroth. We can beat him. Just fight like you always did, ok? It’ll go fine as long you stay confident the way you always did!” Sephiroth sounded like he would cry when he replied “Cloud, you don’t understand what we’re up against…! The powers of the Reunion Prince, even remnants of it that Hojo has now—they’re powers are beyond even mine. I’m not so sure…!” Sephiroth broke down and dropped his katana, and I hurried to help him, Tifa following me “Sephiroth!” Me and Tifa helped him back up, and Tifa asked “Sephiroth, whatever is wrong? Youre never afraid to fight anything.” Sephiroth answered “That man, Hojo—he was always one of the only things I hated more than Cloud… he’s ruthless, has a total disregard for life..! He kept me from Mother my entire childhood—lied to me about her, said she was dead… and what do I find later on..?!” I worried “Big Brother…” Tifa tried to help calm him “Are you scared, Sephiroth? It’s ok if you are.” He didn’t answer, just blankly stared down. Tifa explained “And now that he has the powers of that boy, youre afraid he’ll defeat you with that power?” Sephiroth reluctantly confessed “Ok, fine… youre right. I am afraid he’ll defeat me with that power. I’ve wanted to kill him my whole life, for so many years, I wanted to defeat him… and I thought it would be easy the entire time, if I had the perfect opportunity. And I did, but I lost it… and that man—this monster, standing before us, whole stole Mother’s power and the powers of the Reunion Prince Seffi… now he’s on another level. If I fail to take him out, the whole kingdom will be in danger… I’m not sure I’m ready all of a sudden.” Tifa gestured to Cloud, who was still in his cetra form, and Sephiroth glanced at him “Right there, that person youre fighting with… he’s very reliable. I don’t remember much about him for some reason, but when I look at him, I see a very strong warrior who you can always count on when you’re in trouble. You can trust his judgement, Sephiroth—just go for it! Just like he told you, ok?” Sephiroth retrieved his masamune and nodded in understanding. His tears stopped and he turned serious “If you insist… then I will. We’ll stop this monster together… Mother.” He seemed to stare off in space when he finished. Sephiroth took a fighting stance near Cloud, and Cloud sounded determined “Remember, Sephiroth: he might be strong, but he’s not invincible!” Sephiroth agreed “Hojo appears to be a new type as well… but that wont stop me from protecting the legacy from this vile creature."

    To Be Continued…