The other half

By Matt Holland

BOOK I: THE BLOOD OF THE FALLEN

 

The rain came down in torrents, pouring down against the window of the plush Midgar apartment. It battered against the glass heavily, at least it sounded that way to the occupant who was now sitting at his desk, scribbling frantically on an A4 page with a black biro pen.

The man in the apartment stopped and held up the paper so he could better read it. Satisfied with his work he was about to place it in an envelope when he heard a knock at the door.

Cursing under his breath the large man, walked out of the room, switching off the light switch in his room. The note at his desk remaining unread.

He opened the door. There stood a white man in a blue suit with brown hair held in place with a pair of black sunglasses. In a sheath hanging from his belt was a club-like object.

"Rude, weíve got a job," The man said with a grin.

"Where?" Rude said looking at the man through his dark glasses.

"The old train tunnels near the mako cannon, Avalanche is attacking," his friend replied.

"Avalanche? What do they hope to achieve, Rufus is already dead, and weíve already opened the way for them to get Sephiroth, why not just got there now and end this?" Rude asked.

"Dunno, but Heidegar and Scarlet want them eliminated before they get to the cannon," His friend paused to take a breath "Lord knows why,"

"What about the other executives?"

"Dead all of them except for Hojo and Reeve, Hojo had disappeared and Reeve has been taken into custody for acts of rebellion against the company, but we canít stand here all day," He glanced at his watch "Damn, already late," He thought out loud "Come on get a move on,"

"Just hold on a sec while I get my things," Rude said disappearing into the apartment.

Rude rummaged about until he found what he was looking for, his Turk made fast firing .48-calibre desert eagle. Fitted with a silencer. How many people had this weapon killed? Rude mused. A little too many, all dead simply because of their rebellion against Shinra. Looking back now it seemed like such a waste of life, if Rude knew what he did now, would he still have killed all those people? Rude pulled back the slide and checked its ammo, before slotting it under his jacket, into its holster. Casting the thoughts from his mind. Just one last job, he told himself for possibly the hundredth time, one more then you can finally leave this god-awful job with this evil company. Grabbing a few clips of ammo he re-opened the door. Where his friend awaited impatiently.

"Okay Reno, letís go," Rude said.

Reno just nodded in reply then led his friend out of the building. Leaving the apartment in darkness. The note lying at the writing desk, reading

Dear sir or madam

I hereby submit my resignation from the Turks, for moral reasons, I cannot stand all of this needless slaughter for much longer. Over the past few weeks I have realised that I was on the wrong side all these years. May god have mercy on your souls.

Yours Sincerely

Rude

Chapter 1

The Shinra building, 5 years earlier.

The conference room in the Shinra building was by no means full. This meeting was only set up for a few high flying executives. There was Heiddegar head of public safety maintenance, Vice President Rufus Shinra, President Shinra and Tseng the head of the Turks.

The Turks were an organisation of people recruited for the purpose of performing Shinraís dirty work, nothing was beyond them, murder, blackmail, extortion anything to sort out Shinraís problems with rival companies and crime that appeared to be localised entirely in the lower plate slums of Midgar.

The meeting had been called by Tseng, he had only wanted a few people here, he had really only needed to have the President there, but the President had called Heiddegar and Rufus to the meeting, god knows why, Tseng thought to himself as he slowly walked up to the head of the table.

Tseng hesitated to start to speak for a moment. He was nervous, this was very important to him. But the nervousness quickly passed.

"Hello gentlemen," he began "I would first like to thank you all for coming, I know how much of an inconvenience this must have been for you all, and I promise to get this over with as soon as possible. As you know my organisation, the Turks, was founded in order to work as a security force for the science department. You probably know what type of work we did already but I will inform those of you who have doubts. Basically my men work as bodyguards for the numerous scientists who work for this company, to be used as the scientist sees fit. My men get trained to be extremely efficient, almost fifty times as efficient as the average Shinra soldier. We obviously perform many odd jobs for the science department, more recently, for example many of my men have been Ďrecruitingí possible candidates for Hojoís Jenova project."

The men at the table knew exactly why Tseng had said the word Ďrecruitingí with sarcastic tones. They all knew how the members of the Turks had been going down into the Midgar slums to kidnap those with the physical and mental ability to take Hojoís experiments. That man was obsessed with having the best Ďspecimensí that could be found. Hojo didnít even seem to care that what he was doing to his specimens was very dangerous and life threatening, in his eyes, the specimens were expendable and more could easily be brought in.

Tseng knew about this, he knew about everything that went on in the Turks. One of the first thing you are taught when you begin training is to carry out your orders to the best of your ability, never letting your emotions get control of you, always keeping your cool and being calm and collected despite what you have to do. Whether it be killing rival company executives, or kidnapping children, barely even able to walk, to be used in sick, evil experiments performed by a man who couldnít even care less about them.

All the Turks despised Hojo for his total lack of morals and his ruthlessness. If Hojo wanted to achieve something, he didnít even care who gets hurt getting in his way.

Now, after Hojoís main scientific rival, Professor Gast, had mysteriously disappeared, Hojo seemed more ruthless at achieving his goals than ever.

It had been Tsengís job to watch over Hojo and his experiments, to make sure no one knew what Hojo did in his laboratory. Curiosity had once got the best of Tseng and he had sneaked a look at what Hojo did in his lab. He promised he would never do that againÖ

The truth is, no one in the Turks hated Hojo more than Tseng. He would like nothing better than to stop Hojoís experiments, but Tseng was dedicated, he was proud to be head of the Turks, even though he knew what they were doing was wrong.

He had become an almost unfeeling person for a long time now, hardly even showing any emotion in anything, least of all his job.

Tseng stood there, letting his thoughts swim about in his head, he realised he had paused for about 3 seconds. He continued, "Anyway, after the Nibelheim incident, many of my men have left the team because of what they saw and did."

The Nibelheim incident had sickened the Turks, especially Tseng. In short there had been an accident at the reactor in Nibelheim, two members of SOLDIER, Shinraís elite combat unit, had been dispatched to Nibelheim to deal with the problem, one of whom was Sephiroth, the great hero of the Midgar/Wutai war.

Sephiroth was the best warrior in the world; his courage, will and strength had inspired everyone. He had fought hundreds of enemies armed only with his sacred sword, Masamune, and came out unscathed.

When the SOLDIERís arrived at Nibelheim, Sephiroth lost his mind, destroyed the town and fleeing into the reactor. There he had almost killed the SOLDIER, called Zack, and had hidden in the bowels of the reactor. He then got been killed himself by a lowly Shinra guard who had surprised the former war hero. Sephiroth fell deep into the reactor core, never to be seen again.

The whole incident was of course, covered up by Shinra, and any survivors where brought to Hojo for his Jenova experiments. The Turks had arrived on the scene to round up the survivors; they had been told they were taking them to be simply moved to a safe place. But only after they had delivered them to Shinra, had they discovered Hojoís plans, they had been so disgusted that the scientist would use people who had already suffered great hardship at the hands of Sephiroth, for his experiments. So all but Tseng and a few others had left the Turks.

"Get to the point Tseng," growled Heiddegar "I have another appointment in half an hour."

"I apologise if I am keeping you, I donít mean to ramble on, Iím sure you know all this already, butÖ"

Tseng was cut off by the voice of Rufus Shinra, the youngest man at the table, he said

"Why donít you just shut off that flabby mouth of yours while Tseng is trying to speak," he continued, "besides no one is forcing you to remain here."

"Thatíll be all Rufus," said the Presidents voice, loud and full of authority. Rufusí eyes flashed in anger for a second, but than he mumbled something under his breath and fell silent.

Tseng knew he had to hurry this along before the meeting turned into an argument.

"In a nut shell gentlemen," Tseng said "I am merely asking to recruit new members of the Turks, but not just any members, I would like to be able to recruit the following young men into the organisation." With that he handed some sheets of paper to each of the executives in turn, while they read the sheets Tseng continued.

"The normal procedure for recruiting new members of the Turks is to check through the Shinra guards to find who is the most efficient, and employ them as a low level operative, performing minimal risk assignments, as the recruit completes this missions they move up the ranks until they are of a higher level status and perform sensitive operations."

Heiddegar stammered "But all of these people live down in the slums, we canít allow people from the slums to work in Shinra, or even mix with people of the upper plate, that is the way things have always worked, and we have functioned efficiently, why change now? What are you planning Tseng?"

Tseng had expected Heiddegar to react like this to his request, the old man was so predictableÖ

"Well Heiddegar, you of all people should know that as well as disease and poverty, the lower plate has been recently subject to a very profit draining affliction, organised crime. Before this point small time gangs, not making any gil, just causing a nuisance for the police force, have run all the crime in Midgar. But now organised crime run by such figures as Don Corneo have been manipulating the gangs to their own ends, and now several businesses on the upper plate, as well as the lower plate have been under threat of attack from the syndicates, many of those businesses are run by Shinra. Protection money alone is costing Shinra almost 20% of all profits."

Tseng paused, he had gotten their attention, all the president seemed to care about was profit, if something was eating into profits he would want to put a stop to it. Money seemed to be the only thing the president cared about, even his own son was discarded in favour of money.

Heiddegar didnít care all too much about the money, he already had more than enough, but he despised every creature that lived without breeding or wealth, that included every single person living below the Midgar plate. When Tseng talked about the upper plate being under threat from attack by people who lived in the slums, Heiddegar had been angry and he hadnít been afraid to show it. His face was bright red and his fists were clenched, his knuckles had turned white. Talk about overreacting.

Rufus Shinra just looked very bored with the whole thing, he was too young to be bothered with affairs of the company, and he would probably vote for whatever benefited him the most. Tseng had everyone right where he wanted them.

Tseng didnít really see this whole matter to be important enough for a whole meeting about it, but if he had just gone and recruited the men who he wanted he would have to face all kinds of paperwork that he really did not need, better to get everyone who mattered to vote on it now, rather than having Tseng do boring paperwork at his desk for weeks on end afterwards.

Tseng didnít actually see why this bothered people so much; he was hiring people from the lower plate, big deal. The Shinra guards had been recruited through the lower plate; people with what it takes to be in the Soldier programme were more often than not, from the lower plate. Why couldnít the Turks be recruited in the same way? The people from the lower plate were obviously tougher than those people from the upper plate.

The reason why the Turks couldnít be recruited from the lower plate is because the Turks were expected to be professional, cool, calm and collected at all times. The average person in the upper plate thinks that all people in the slums are angry, lazy, stupid brutes whose only talent is to break rocks or whatever it is that the lesser people of the slums do for a living.

"Hmm," said Heiddegar, obviously considering what to say next "I say we should probably just destroy the slums entirely to wipe out this problem, it would serve as an example to everyone, it would show people the glory and power of Shinra. But that us impossible, so I think that Tsengís idea is pretty good, even though it employs lower plate scum."

"Whatever," said Rufus "Do whatever you want, it doesnít matter to me,"

"Well Iíll allow this for the time being, Tseng, but make sure that your boys in the slum know what they are doing, any mistakes, and youíll have to pay for them," the president stated.

Tseng nodded and the meeting was closed. The board parted ways, Tseng had to finish his shift at Hojoís laboratory then he had to finish off some paperwork and plan what he would do tomorrow when he visited the slums to recruit his men. They had been handpicked from the gangs down in the slums, gangs with no affiliation to the organised crime syndicates. Tsengís spies had been observing the gangs to try and find the best candidate for the Turks, they had came up with eight people so far, Gamez, Rackob, Mikel, Reno, Tergus, Rude, Damien and Yen.

He just hoped they wouldnít let him downÖ.

Chapter 2

"Rude, my god what happened!"

Rude walked through the door of his house. He was bleeding around his nose and his eye was swollen, his lip was cut and there was a slash across his forearm, made by a knife, a sword or some other sharp edged weapon.

"What happened?" Said his mother a little more sternly.

"Itís ok, itís nothing," stated Rude with a shrug.

"Nothing? Thatís not nothing youíve been fighting again havenít you?"

"Yes, but itís ok, it doesnít hurt too bad,"

"Thatís not the point, what have I told you about hanging around with that gang,"

"Itís not a gang Mum, they are just my friends, we donít provoke trouble, it just sort of comes to us."

His mother looked at him with a mixture of anger and sympathy in your eyes "I know that, but these fights have gotten more frequent recently, and it says on the news that gang related deaths have increased over the past few weeks, Iím just worried about you,"

Rude almost laughed, he was only 17 years old and he was already way over 6 feet tall, and he was way stronger than all of the other boys his age, if anything the gangs should be worried about him not the other way around..

"Iím a big boy, I can look after myself," Rude said with a grin.

Rude and his mother, Mara, had lived alone together in the Sector 6 slums all their lives, Mara had a job working in one of the numerous shops in Wall Market. Rude also had a part time job loading and unloading trucks that go daily to Shinraís mako reactors all around town. They never had much money but there was always food on the table and a roof over their heads.

They lived a normal and happy life, or as happy as oneís life could be living in the slums, just recently however there had been a very large increase in the amount of gangs roaming the streets, Rude had to fight virtually every day just to get to and from work, before the muggers would be running from him, now they seemed to have a new-found strength and courage and wouldnít hesitate to spring up and attack anyone nearby. Mara always left the house armed with a six shot pistol just in case she was attacked along the way to work, as did most women in the slums.

His mother was about to say something when there was a knock at the door.

"Who could that be?" Rudeís mother mused as she answered the door.

Rude could not see who was there but he could see his mothers look of shock.

"Hello, is Rude home?" the voice behind the door asked.

"Yes, he just came back now, would you like to come in?" Rudeís mother replied.

"Donít mind if I do," said the man as he stepped into the living room. The man was around 6í2, with white skin, long jet-black hair and piercing ice blue eyes. He wore a neatly pressed blue suit, which obviously meant he was from the upper plate, but the dark blue shade of the suit instantly gave him away as a member of the Turks.

Everyone in the slums feared the Turks, they could do things to you that left you wishing for a bullet in the head, theyíd probably do that too..

It was for this reason that Rudeís mother was so shocked when she had seen the man at her doorstep. She was very obviously terrified to have a member of the Turks in her home.

The Turk looked at them both in turn and, as if he sensed the womanís fear he said "Donít worry Iím not here to hurt you or your son, My name is Tseng, the head of the Turks, and trust me I have no quarrel with you, I just wish to talk to Rude."

Rude stiffened up, he was now extremely scared for his own sake as well as his motherís.

"What about?" asked Rude, the fear obvious in his voice.

"I would rather talk to you in private," Tseng said glaring at Rudeís mother, who nodded gave Rude a quick glance and walked into the kitchen.

Rude gave Tseng a worried look, but did not back away. Tseng stepped closer to him, "Donít worry," he stated "It isnít Turks policy to attack people without a reason, I have an offer for you,"

Rude was curious and still a little afraid, even Tseng had been sincerely trying to reassure him, rude hadnít known this and didnít the Turks where above lying to people. But what would he want to hit him and his mother for? Rude hadnít done anything wrong, and he was pretty sure his mother obeyed all of Shinraís rules and laws.

The only thing that Rude could think of was that maybe the Turks had made a mistake and had sent Tseng to deal with someone else who Tseng had then got confused with Rude and his mother.

Rude had never been in a life-threatening situation before, sure he had lived in the slums all his life, but from a very early age (thanks to his height and strength) most of the muggers and bullies learnt to live him alone. Those who hadnít left him alone had been taught a very painful lesson. Generally involving a very heavy beating.

The closest thing to a life-threatening situation Rude had ever been in was the fights he had been having up until recently. Rude wasnít lying when he said he wasnít part of a gang and that trouble just seemed to come to them. Thugs and Muggers appeared to be on the increase recently, many of them simply out just to beat people half to death and leave them bleeding in the streets. Rude and his friends had been skirmishing with a few of the gangs in the area. There was nothing-serious going on; the gang just came over shouting abuse at Rude and his friends.

Then it turned ugly when one of Rudeís friends had retorted to the gangís insults. The gang had two or three more than Rudeís group, but Rudeís fighting skill made him count for at least four people in a melee. Rude had nearly won when the man who he had been trading blows with drew a knife and slashed at him, he had been cut along his forearm as he attempted to shield his face. Rude would have been killed if his friends hadnít helped him out against the armed man.

"What are you offering?" Rude asked, trying as hard as he could to keep the fear out of his voice.

"I saw you in the fight today," Replied Tseng, seemingly ignoring the boys question, "you where very good, I donít think Iíve seen anyone fight that good at your age before,"

Rude looked shocked for a moment, how did Tseng know his age? He knew that the Turks had a very intricate spy network, but why would Tseng be spying on him? He was nothing special, he was like all the others in the slums, you had nothing to look forward to except your inevitable death, if you were really lucky you may be able to live a slightly more fulfilling life, or maybe have a little more gil than others, but at the end of the day the people in the slums were uncared for by Shinra, and so were uncared for by anyone in power.

"How do you know how old I am?" Rude asked the Turk, as soon as he said it he realised how much he was overreacting, maybe Tseng had just guessed that Rude was young, he may have been tall but he didnít look that old.

"Well Iím not going to lie to you Rude, we have been watching you for a while, the Turks are very interested in anyone with your fighting skill." Tseng paused for a moment "Iím going to be blunt with you, how would you like to become a member of the Turks?"

Rude was stunned, had the world gone mad? First Rude had been getting into fights, now a highflying member of a prominent organisation of bodyguards and soldiers wants to hire a poor boy from the slums.

"WellÖ. I donít know," Rude said finally "It is a big decision, Iíll need some time to think it over."

Tseng looked at him with is piercing blue eyes and said "Of course, youíll need time to talk with your mother about this, it is a pretty big decision for you to make alone. Just think about what you will accomplish, for one thing you will be able to move onto the upper plate, be paid enough money for you and your mother to live extravagant lives, and be trained up to become a high-ranking member of the Turks." Tseng looked at his watch "Iíve wasted enough of your time already, I really must be going, thank you for considering my proposal, good day,"


With that Tseng walked slowly towards the door, he paused before he walked out into the street. "Oh I almost forgot here," he held out a small piece of card in his hand, rude came over and gingerly took it, "If you are ready to accept my proposal or would like any more information, phone this number, good bye."

Tseng then left the house while Rude went back to his mother to tell her about Tsengís offer.


"Mikel wake up," came a voice of an obviously drunk boy. "You canít lie there all day, wake up,"

The other boy mumbled something and opened his eyes. The two boys were lying in an alley, both of them had drank a considerable amount, the one who was previously asleep had obviously imbibed a larger amount of alcohol than the other, but both them were out of it.

"Wha time iz ih?" Said the more drunk of the pair as he staggered to his feet.

"Whaíd you say," said the other.

"I said what time is it?"

"Síabout midnight, do I look like a clock?"

"Not yet,"

"Well lets get some more booze down and see what, wha, what was we talkiní about again?"

"I dunno, what time is it?"

Both of the boys stood up and staggered out of the alley, leaning on each other as they stumbled through the streets of the slums.

"Ay Reno what time is it?" Said Mikel his voice slurred by alcohol.

"About 8 ish."

"You said midnight before,"

"What before?"

"You said it was midnight a little while ago,"

"Whyíd you ask what time it was twice?"

"Oh I donít know, what time is it?"

There was a reply from the shadows.

"Itís time you hand over your money and booze,"

The one called Mikel said "Is it that time already, Iíve got work in erm, Reno what time is it?"

A group of men and women came out of another alleyway, they werenít that much older than Reno and Mikel, they were only about 17 or 18 years old, but one of them had a lead pipe, while the lead man had a knife. There was a woman behind them all holding a long sword. Altogether there were around seven muggers there.

"Sorry man," said Reno trying not to slur his voice too much "But we spent all our money on b-booze, there are some people round back that way who had loads of gil on them, they might have some left," his diversion worked, the muggers were distracted for just long enough for Mikel to fish something out of his pocket.

There was no chance Reno and Mikel could beat the muggers in a straight fight, especially unarmed as they were, but they had something the muggers didnítÖ

Mikel concentrated on the glowing green orb in his hands, as he did so the man with the knife charged forward, hoping to slash at him before the orbs power was released, but he was not that lucky. A lightening bolt streaked out of Mikelís hand striking the lead mugger in the chest, knocking him back several feet and into the man armed with the lead pipe.

Reno shot forward seizing the knife that had just fell out of the injured muggers grasp, he took a wild swing at the nearest man, the mugger ducked out of the way, receiving only a glancing blow from the sharp blade.

Mikel fired another blast of lightening knocking back the man with the lead pipe as he struggled to his feet.

Renoís opponent ran into Reno with his shoulder, knocking the younger man back, Reno felt a blow to the back of the head, which caused him to stagger slightly.

The woman who was armed with the sword seemed to concentrate on her weapon, a moment later Mikel felt a stinging cold all around his body, he cried out as he hit the ground, his lightening materia falling from his grasp and rolling, immediately being scooped up by another mugger who was the biggest of the lot.

Renoís elbow shot backward catching the man behind him squarely in the gut. He bent down for a moment, just long enough for Reno to launch an attack with the knife, catching him in the chest, not cutting deep, but enough to knock him back into the wall.

The mugger with the sword started to advance on Reno, her weapon flashing in the moonlight. Renoís original opponent picked up the pipe and moved towards him.

The fight had taken place in a large enough opening in the alleyway, however now Reno found himself backed into a corner. The woman brought her sword up, ready to kill off the drunken young man. Reno closed his eyes tightly, waiting for the final blow.

Reno jumped slightly when he heard the unmistakable sound of a gun going off, really close by. He opened his eyes and found an older man, dressed in an immaculate blue suit, armed with a large pistol, which was held in one hand, pointed up into the air, the smoke that was gathering around it suggested that it had just gone off.

The new man stepped forward, his gun still raised in the air, the mugger who had just stolen Mikelís materia stood in front of him, normally an action like this would get someone shot and you would have to be insane to step in front of a man with a loaded gun in his hands, especially in the slums, but the man in the suit made no move to fire his gun.

"Get out of the way," was all the man said, glaring up at the taller man not making an effort to bring his gun forward to shoot. The mugger made no effort to move.

Quick as lightening, the man in blue swung the gun around, hitting the tall mugger in the temple forcing him to collapse in a heap on the floor.

Without even looking at the now unconscious mugger, the gunman walked forward, taking care to step over the body of the mugger.

The man with the pipe dropped his weapon and started to run as fast as he could go out of the way the muggers had came in. The only mugger not to do anything in the fight moved back slightly, the woman edged backward her sword raised ready to kill the newcomer if he came close enough for her to use her sword.

Reno took a good look at the manís blue suit and panicked, he recognised it instantly as the uniform of the Turks, the muggers were right to be scared.

"Leave now, leaving all weapons, materia and gil here, and I wonít be forced to use this," the Turk said tapping his gun.

The man dropped some gil on the floor and fled, without even saying a word, out of the same way his friend had just left. The woman made no effort to move away but she backed off slightly.

The Turk had a humourless smile on his face, he pointed the gun at her, then moving it to point at the exit to the alley, the woman still made no move.

Reno went over to Mikel, he shook him in order to wake him up, it didnít work. Reno checked his pulse and his breathing; at least he was still alive.

The Turk and the mugger stood there staring at each other, neither one of them moving, they looked like statues, just standing there watching each other. This would have to be Renoís chance to grab his friend and get out of here; he attempted to pick Mikel up, as he did so the Turkís head shot back to glare at him.

"Stay here until Iíve finished," he stated not unpleasantly, but with authority, Reno did as he was told.

As the manís head was turned however, the mugger picked that moment to strike, pouncing forward like a cat, her sword swinging madly in the air as it attempted to slash at the Turk.

The man in the blue suit sidestepped her wild swing, bringing his free arm around to scoop her up over his shoulder; his other hand grabbed her head forcefully, using that momentum to throw his adversary over his shoulder. She hit the floor with a loud thump, her sword spinning along the floor, right towards Reno and Mikel.

The woman looked straight at the barrel of the gun that was now eye-level with her, she knew instantly that she was about to die. Her last action before the Turk pulled the trigger was to spit hatefully at the manís blue suit.

Reno sat there his eyes widening, he had just watched this man murder a teenage girl in cold blood, and he felt both anger and fear all at the same time. Growing up in the slums, Reno had seen a lot of death, but never had he seen such senseless death, he tried to ignore the body that was lying on the ground in front of him. This man seemed unfazed as he wiped the saliva from the lapel of his jacket.

The Turk turned towards Reno, he gave him a pleasant smile and he strolled over to him.

"Forgive me, for that little act of violence," explained the well-dressed man (Reno couldnít help but notice the word "little" if that was little to this man, what would a big act of violence be?) "But you have to understand that it was necessary in order to get rid of her, and I did ask them to run anyway, so it was in my duty to kill her," he sounded like he meant to reassure himself with that statement, rather than Reno.

"Your friend is injured," The man pointed out, as if Reno hadnít figured that out already, "allow me."

With that the Turk took out his pistol, he looked intensely at it, at first Reno thought he was about to be killed as well, but than he saw a green glow emanate from the gun and into Mikel, who suddenly sprang up as if waking from some nightmare.

"Where am I? What time is it?" Mikel said as he sprang up into a sitting position.

"You got knocked out in that fight," Reno hurriedly explained "Then this dude appeared and helped us out, speaking of which," Reno turned to the pale skinned man and said "Who are you anyway?"

The Turk stared intently at him "My name is Tseng I am the leader of the Turks, I donít think I need to tell you what we do."

Reno nodded he didnít even want to think about what the Turks do, or what they are supposed to do. They demand respect and fear from all people and if they donít get it, some people will disappear. Reno envied that respect and fear, all his life he had been told he was nothing, a throwaway, a dirty little orphan who spent more time drunk and hung over than he did actually sober.

Reno had grown up in an orphanage with his closest friend Mikel until a few months when he was forced to leave because he was too old to stay there. The Sector 6 orphanage was very strict about its age policy, once you turned 16, you were gone, and they didnít really care much for where you went. Not that they cared much for you when you were in the orphanage either.

Reno and Mikel had found it difficult to get work, they didnít want to work in one of the stores and in sector 6 they were the only jobs going. The stores in sector 6 had the worst pay, and finding somewhere to live on that money was impossible. Both of them wished they were on the upper plate, people up there had it so much better, there was no poverty or suffering up there.

So the two orphans had been forced to live as homeless pickpockets, that was a hell of a lot better than working in a shop, getting paid next to nothing at entry level. At least stealing from people got you paid daily.

Tseng knew all of this, it pained him to see the suffering of the lower plate, and these people had done nothing to deserve this. This was the worst he had seen in his lifetime. Two orphans having to steal just to make ends meet, having to live with nothing more than a tent for shelter, the only problem was that as they were still only children it was impossible for them to find a home no matter what they did, so even if they were in one of the best paid jobs in the sector, they still would be living on the streets. Tseng cursed all the lower plate orphanages for allowing this to happen.

That was part of the reason that Tseng wanted these two boys in the Turks, they needed to be taken away from the suffering, nobody deserves to be living like this. But the main reason why he wanted the orphans in the Turks is because they were tough, you had to be tough to live on the streets or you didnít survive, but these two were exceptionally good in combat. Rude, Mikel and Reno were by far the best fighters he had recruited in the programme, considering that they were the youngest. Just give them a few more years, Tseng thought, and they will be fighting machines.

"I came here to make you both an offer, one that I hope you will accept. The Turks have been watching you for some time now, and we have noticed you have a very wide range of talents that would be useful to my organization. I am here to offer you both positions as low-level operatives in the Turks," Tseng explained.

Reno couldnít believe it, he would have jumped for joy had he not been in the presence of a trained killer. He was about to accept Tsengís offer when Mikel spoke up, "Donít we have to be Shinra officers before we can become members?"

The hopes that Reno had a few moments ago where now about to be dashed, Mikel was right, the Turks only wanted the best Shinra soldiers, not a pair of no-good orphans that had as much hope for a future as a tree caught in the path of a raging inferno. Reno was about to lose all hope, but then Tseng said, "Normally only seasoned officers are allowed to join our ranks, and half of them donít even make it. But we have began a new recruitment policy, we want to hire people who have learned to survive, we want people who have lived through slum-life, that includes people like you." Tseng paused for a moment and gave them both a questioning look with his piercing blue eyes "So, what is you decision?"

"Can we think about this for a moment?" Mikel said, once again before Reno had a chance to answer, he was really starting to get hacked off by Mikel jumping in. Tseng nodded and went about his work of disposing the body of the young woman with a fire spell, Mikel and Reno were so disgusted that they had to turn away.

"So what do you think?" Mikel said, sobered from the Cure spell and the adrenaline from the fight.

Reno was still a little drunk, the adrenaline fuelling his sobriety, at least for the moment.

"I think we should do it," Reno stated, "Whatever we do in the Turks has got to be better than living like vermin down here."

Mikel did not look convinced "Iím not so sure, Iíve heard rumours about the Turks and that kidnapping stuff send shivers up my spine, I donít think I have the stomach for that kind of work."

"Címon what have you got to lose," Reno cajoled "If you ainít got what it takes then theyíll probably just drop you down to an infantryman or something, and even thatís less dangerous than living down in the slums."

"Hmm I guess," Mikel though out loud, "Oh what the hell!" He exclaimed "Letís get out of this hell-hole and get a real life on the surface,"

Reno could hardly contain his excitement as he and his friend walked over to the waiting Tseng, this single moment changed his entire life, and in later years Reno found that he could still recall every detail of that moment. The death he had seen just a few short minutes ago had been forced out of his mind with the prospect of a new life on the upper plate.

"Tseng, count us in," Reno said.

Chapter 3

Rude concentrated on his target; he was walking down the street, oblivious to the fact that the spectre of the death personified in Rudeís sniper bullet awaited him just a few short steps away.

A few more seconds and it would be over, just a pull of the trigger andÖ.

The sound of the gun was deafening, the bullet blasted down like a flash of lightening and, hit the pavement of the street below with a ricochet noise.

"What the hell happened there Rude?" the man called out from the street below.

"I-I hesitated sir," Rude admonished.

"A hesitation on a job will cost you your life," Tseng called up to Rudeís hiding place on a building on the fake street. "Donít let it happen again."

"No sir," Rude called down as he reloaded his rifle.

"No," Tseng called back up to Rude "Donít bother reloading, weíll start up tomorrow when your body and mind are refreshed." He turned and began to walk back towards the door at the end of the sniper training room, slipping off his bullet proof helmet, vest and leg pads. "Donít worry, youíll pick this up eventually, itís only been a week and even I canít turn you into a master marksman in that time," the head Turk said reassuringly, "Youíre off duty until target practice at 1700 hours."

"Yes sir," Rude said with a salute before turning around and heading outside.

 

The target practice arena was a small field built into the Turks training ground, at one end of the field was a row of handguns and on the other was a group of targets, one for each gun.

It was turning dark when the Turk recruits got to the firing range; the wind brought a soft chill in the air that was carried all the way through the open-air arena. If someone was to look over the sides of the arena they could see a breathtaking view of the entire upper plate of Midgar.

Rude had been training at the Turk training complex in the centre of upper Midgar for a week now. Even he would admit he wasnít a model recruit, but he was learning, and things could only improve. Materia had just been introduced to the young recruits and Rude was one of the best at using it, he was also beginning to show promise in the more physical side of things as well. At the start of the week Rude couldnít run the short distance around the running track before getting breathless, but now he could run around it five times before needing a rest.

Rude could never be called unfit, he excelled at hand-to-hand combat and had always been exceptionally strong, but he got tired very easily. Still the Turk training would toughen him up.

The hardest part about joining the Turks was leaving his mother behind, she had cried for days after Rude told her he was going to join, before she finally gave her blessing for Rude to join the Turks. He knew that even at that moment she was sitting in their home down below the plate, alone. Once the training was over Rude had promised to visit her, he just hoped that he could pass.

Reno and Mikel where two totally different cases altogether, they had no relatives, nothing from their old life to cling to. For the first time in their existence they had a purpose, something to work for. They both excelled at anything physical, and Mikel was a whiz with Materia. Reno was already getting a reputation amongst the recruits as someone who could really anger someone just by saying a few things; he had a real gift with words.

Rude had no idea what he was supposed to do; the past week had been mostly physical and psychological training. Rude had never fired a gun in his life.

The eight recruits awaited the arrival of Tseng; Rude didnít know them that well. All the recruits had introduced themselves to each other, telling the other recruits their names and briefly telling them about themselves. After that though they had hardly said more than two words to each other, the Turk training was basically every man to themselves.

There was Gamez, a slightly older boy at 19, he was shorter than all the other recruits though, and he had short black hair and dull green eyes with a brown complexion. Gamez grew up in the slums as well, he worked as a mechanic before he signed up to the Turks, he was very good with machines of all types and he had a knack for the more mental side of things, including the use of materia.

Rackob was the oldest of the recruits; he was also by far the tallest, and the stockiest. He was around 7í3 and 400 pounds, with long brown hair and a large unkempt beard, he was about 25, and he worked in the lower plates corrupt, Shinra controlled police force. He was immensely strong, but was probably the stupidest person Rude had ever met in his life. He accidentally set his beard on fire when he attempted to use a fire materia

the other day, which proves how stupid he was.

Tergus was quite an enigma, the same age as Rude, but several inches shorter, he had blonde hair blue eyes and was Caucasian. He didnít bother to say very much to anyone and so far he had only ever spoke with monosyllabic words. However he was a star recruit and he was probably the best at almost everything out of everyone.

Reno and Mikel had joined up together, they were both fairly competent, except for Mikel, who was a genius when it came to materia. Mikel was a year younger than Rude, he had black hair, brown eyes and a black complexion. Reno was a skinny boy, the same age as Mikel, with green eyes, brown hair and a knack for getting under peoples skin. Out of all the recruits Reno had probably said the most.

Damien and Yen were identical twins, they both had brown eyes, pale skin and black hair. Damien had a scar across his left cheek, which was the only way you could tell the two of them apart. They were both fairly weak physically, but they possessed an indomitable spirit that couldnít be broken.

It was amazing really how eight young men, so totally different could be brought together with one thing in common, a desire to be a part of the Turks. Of course they were all from the slums as well, but that goes without saying.

All of the recruits recognised the shadowy form of Tseng as he walked out of a small door at the North of the arena, carrying a black leather suitcase. The pale man now approached them, walking slowly and relaxed.

"Gentlemen, I see you are all in attendance," Tseng shouted to all of them as he approached "You have all proven yourselves after your first week of training, now we will see if you can fire a gun."

"Shooting is one of the most important parts of being a Turk," Tseng explained, "Even if you train with a different weapon your gun will always come in handy. In a fight it is always good to keep your gun concealed about your person at all times, a Turk should always have the upper hand."

The Turk was now standing just a few feet from the recruits; he set his briefcase on the floor and opened it up. Inside were eight, black handguns all placed inside a kind of grey foam, with gun shapes for holding the weapons cut out of it, from this distance the Turks could make out the Turks insignia carving placed on the handle of the gun and the shining stainless steel trigger. These were truly masterwork guns; hopefully they would be as pleasing in combat as they were aesthetically, Rude thought.

"These are Turk standard issue firearms, donít be fooled by their size, they have twice the destructive size of a magnum and are as light as the lightest plastic handgun. Recoil is virtually non-existent and reloading is easier thanks to a lubricated, polished titanium that runs along the inside. Clips just slide into it." Tseng demonstrated this by taking the clip out of one of the guns and then sliding it back into the butt of the gun. He repeated this several times before placing the handgun on the floor by his feet.

"In addition to this," Tseng said, taking the next gun our of the case, he twirled the gun around on his finger before grasping the butt firmly in his right hand. "The gun has small orb shaped ridges throughout, these are designed to hold and link pieces of materia together." He took a glowing yellow orb from his pocket and placed it on one of the ridges. The weapon glowed yellow for a second and then the gun turned to normal. He emptied the rest of the guns to the floor, closed the briefcase and tossed it into the air. He pulled his gun up aimed and blasted the case into unrecognisable pieces. Tseng them turned back to everyone and said calmly "For example here I have used the Deathblow materia for deadly effect."

"There is one gun here for each of you," Tseng said as he slotted another bullet into the clip of the gun he had just used. "The object of this exercise is to hit those targets. As you can see they are just over 30 feet away. Each one of you must empty an entire clip into your allocated targets, once you have done this you can go, those of you who fail, replace the clip and try again until you complete the task. You have a maximum of 48 hours to complete this task; obviously you must complete the task before the fatigue of missing your sleep takes effect. If you finish in your first go then I shall have a special reward for you. If you fail to hit the target with all fifteen bullets, I regret to say that you are off the training course. Good luck to all of you." Tseng pocketed his Deathblow and took his place at the back of the arena as everyone took their guns and got into firing position.

Rudeís heart was pounding, as he aimed his gun at the target, it was just too far away for him to get a clear shot in. He heard heavy footsteps coming up beside him as a Shinra guard came over and stood nest to him, a small plastic shopping bag in his right hand.

"The men beside you are here to provide you with clips as and when you need them. They will also make sure you actually hit the target, so please donít lie about it. You must hit your target fifteen times in a vital spot. I say again, good luck." Tseng shouted to all the recruits as he sat and watched.

Rude began to panic, he couldnít make out any vital parts, and it just looked like an indistinct black blur placed against a white background. He held the gun out in front of him in both hands. It was comfortable to hold, and very light, made of black metal all over, and emblazoned with the Turk emblem around the butt of the gun.

He knew basically how to aim a gun, he had seen movies, and all you had to do was align the two ridges at the back of the gun with the fin at the top of the gun so that both are pointed at your target. He could pick out basic parts of the target, but his hands where shaking too much for his aim to stay true.

He decided it would probably be best if he could aim at the top of the black blur, which he assumed was the "head" of his target. He forced his body to relax by taking deep breaths as he pointed the gun at his target. He let his first shot fly from the gun.

The gun let off a deafening blast, the first one he had heard as Rude realised that he was the first to fire his gun. The bullet struck the target, but he couldnít make out where. The guard next to him put a pair of binoculars to his eyes and said, "Right in the head, great shot kid."

Rude was bolstered with more confidence as he fired of three more shots to the head. The guard looked again "Three more in the head, damn youíre good." Rude could hear the other guards giving encouraging advice to the other recruits, saying things like;

"Not bad for a beginner,"

"In the shoulder, unlucky, just try again you can do it,"

"Try aiming at the centre of your target next time,"

"Donít worry, try again."

"Just try and relax your whole body first to stop your hands from shaking."

"You missed, but donít worry your still a beginner after all."

"Plenty more bullets, just relax,"

Rude felt better about himself knowing that he had been the only one to his target in the head. He let out five more shots, directed a little lower then the others. The guard looked again "Yup, thatís two more in the head, one in the neck and two in the torso youíre a natural."

Rude popped off four more shots, the gun felt good, as Tseng had said there was virtually no recoil in it. "All four in the torso, just one more to go." The guard said.

Rude took careful aim, he could actually do it, and he could actually finish this task now. He fired the last bullet, the guard looked again "One shot in the torso, thatís all of them, congratulations kid youíveÖ no wait, hang on that just missed the torso, youíve actually hit in the shoulder. Sorry about that, nobodies perfect, have another clip."

___________________________________________________________

Rude sat in the spacious Turk lounge at one of the empty leather seats, occasionally taking long gulps from a tall glass of clear water. He had just finished his shooting practice, he was the first to finish, getting to his third and final clip before everyone else had even finished his third. Tseng had given him some free time and told him that he would be called when needed.

Although a very patient man, even Rude could grow impatient for this amount of time. He checked his watch, what was taking everyone so long? For a group of people known for their ability with firearms, the Turk trainees where awful shots. The only person in the entire lounge to talk to was the silent barman, who hadnít made any attempt to start a conversation.

The doors to the lounge opened and in stepped a boy, about Rudeís age wearing the same blue combat fatigues as him. He had brown hair and jovial features. He walked over to the barman.

"Beer please." He said.

"Sorry, but we donít serve alcohol to minors." The barman replied as he continued polishing the counter.

"Excuse me, but do you know who I am?" The boy asked forcefully.

The barman looked up from his work, gazed at the boy thoughtfully before saying "No."

"Well Iíll have you know that Iím a Turk recruit, and a very good one at that."

The barman looked at the boy with a look of boredom and said "Oh," before adding "The waters over there Tseng said to help yourself."

The boy walked away from the counter, picked up a glass of water and sat at the same table as Rude.

"Honestly," he thought aloud "What was that guyís problem, I always got served in the slums."

"Things are different up here," Rude replied to him.

"What good is coming second in the shooting competition if you canít celebrate it?" The boy said, "Iím Reno by the way." He offered his hand.

"Rude," Said Rude shaking it.

"So anyway, you came first eh? How did you manage to do that? You must have used a gun before."

"Actually Iíve never fired a gun before."

"What never? I thought all of us where from the slums, you must have at least held one before."

"No, but my Mum always used to carry one, for protection."

"Well what else would she use it for?" Reno said sarcastically "I used guns quite a lot, I never fired one at a live target though."

"Why where are you from?" Rude asked.

"I grew up in sector 6, I never knew any family so I was raised in an orphanage, probably the filthiest and most disgusting place youíve ever seen in your life. The place was like a convent, very strict, you were beaten if you were found out of your cell after hours," Reno stared thoughtfully at the ceiling "Ah, those where the good old days," he added sarcastically. "Anyway, I always used to sneak out all the time, sure I was caught a lot. But it was worth it just for a few hours of freedom. A couple of months ago I turned 14 and the orphanage has a kicking out policy that throws its kids out on the streets at the age of 14. The extremely low pay made it impossible to get a good job down there, I couldnít afford to stay in any kind of home, and the long hours were not for me. I decided it would be best to scrounge what little money I could from stealing, begging, busking or anything."

"That must have been terrible." Rude commented.

"It wasnít as bad as you would think, but I canít say that I enjoyed it. My friend Mikel and I were always hungry, as all of our profits were spent on the booze, and a tiny bit of food. Our luck changed when we met Tseng and he dragged us off of the streets. So how about you?"

"My life isnít that interesting really, just average."

"You must have something to tell me about it."

"Well I-,"

Rude was cut off by the sound of the door opening, and in walked Tergus. He silently got a glass of water and sat down at a table as far away from anyone as possible.

"Whatís that guys problem?" Reno asked "I mean, he never speaks, he just sits there."

"He must have his reasons," Rude said taking a casual sip from his water, which was going empty.

"He gets right under my skin though, the way he is the best at everything, I wonder where they dragged him up from."

"Itís not likely weíre going to get any answers from him though." Rude commented.

The door opened once again and in walked Mikel. He strode confidently over to the water, took a glass and sat down next to Reno.

"Well that was easy," Mikel said with a grin.

"Mikel this is Rude," Reno said pointing to Rude "Rude meet Mikel, the dude I was telling you about."

"Hey, youíre the guy who came first," Mikel commented, "I personally canít see why youíre so calm, I would have bragged about it to everyone who cared to listen."

"Still fourth isnít a bad place either," Rude added.

"But itís still fourth out of eight." Mikel pointed out.

"True," said Reno, "But itís better than last."

"Reno," Mikel started "Anything is better than last, yah big moron."

"You could drop out completely." Reno added with a smirk.

Mikel paused for a moment and then turned back to Reno "Now, how the hell could you do that?"

"You could shoot yourself in the foot." Reno stated.

"True, but how would that stop you from aiming a gun." Mikel said, "and besides whoís stupid enough to shoot themselves in the foot, apart from you of course."

Rude hadnít said anything throughout this entire scene of what was, in his opinion complete and utter idiocy. They had started arguing over nothing at all, and now it had degenerated into mindless name-calling.

"Fool,"

"Jackass,"

"Testicle spitting rectal wart,"

"Lazy sack of shi-,"

The door opened again and in came Gamez, who walked over to the water; he took a seat next to Tergus as the table that Reno, Rude and Mikel where sitting on was nearly full.

"Do we have leprosy or somethiní?" Reno said, "Why is everyone going over there?"

"Tergus was probably lonely over there." Rude stated, "He was all on his own."

"He likes it that way." Reno commented, "And besides Gamez isnít exactly what you would call a social wizard either."

"Yeah just give him something mechanical and heís happy." Mikel remarked, "They should become fast friends."

Rude couldnít help but noticed the way that Reno and Mikel could start insulting people behind their backs simply by them walking in the room.

Rudeís glass was empty, so he got up and left the other two bickering about something unimportant, and something he wasnít particularly interested in. He began to wonder if that was all those two ever did, fight amongst themselves and talk about other people.

Other than that though, they seemed to be two okay people. At least now Rude had someone to at least talk to in order to stave of the boredom.

 

Tseng watched the scene unfolding before him from the security room located within the Turks training complex. Leaving the young Turks on their own and unsupervised was an exercise in itself. It gave a chance for Tseng to observe his recruits and accurately guess who would work together with who. This would provide great information when he decided to choose who worked with who on assignments.

His secretary walked in the room, carrying a mug with steam coming off it. "Hereís your coffee sir." She said.

"Thank you Elena, you should really be getting home now." Tseng said without looking up from the security monitor.

"No thank you sir, Iíve got a ton of paperwork to do." His assistant stated.

Tseng turned his chair around to face her "Elena, Iíll finish it off for you, youíve been working hard enough today."

Elena seemed worried about this "Oh no thank you sir, itís my job and I-I."

"Itís my paperwork anyway, and Iím staying late tonight, Iím not incapable of completing a few forms."

"Thank you sir," Elena stammered "Goodbye."

"See you later, have a nice weekend." Tseng said as his assistant closed the door and left.

Tseng shook his head, she was a hard worker, but she worried too much. He had only recently hired Elena, she was only thirteen, but he was desperate for a new secretary, she shouldnít have been working this late.

He began absent-mindedly twirling his gun about on his finger. Seeing all the young Turks socialising and talking reminded him of his days in training. It brought back memories of him and his partner back in the good old days, when he was blissfully unaware of the evils of the Shinra Corporation.

He was drafted into the Turks from the military; of course he was a lot younger than todayís recruits, at the age of 15. He too was trained by the head of the Turks at the time; he always finished last in everything there. His instructor had labelled him as a "no-hoper," but then he met his best friend. Who was a lot like Tergus, shy and reclusive, but strong in all the ways a Turk should be.

He worked along side his new friend, they became inseparable, over the weeks that followed Tseng got better and he began to work with his "mentor," on all operations. Tseng couldnít help but remember the night that he died.

Tseng sat in the hotel room in Nibelheim, drinking beer and generally keeping an eye on the scientists in this project. They were all sitting in this room, just talking and drinking. He was playing cards with his partner.

"Right Vincent lets see what youíve got." Tseng said looking over at his partner.

Vincent coolly laid his cards out on the table "Royal flush." He stated.

Tseng put his cards down on the table "A pair of twoís."

"I knew you were bluffing," Vincent stated with a smirk "Now pay up."

Tseng fished in his pocket and slapped down 200gil onto the table "Damn, youíve got such a good poker face." Tseng commented "Well Iím broke what do you want to do now?"

Vincent wasnít listening; instead he was watching Hojo, the head of the project, arguing with his fiancée Lucrecia.

"Vincent, come on man, youíre not still obsessed with that Lucrecia girl are ya? Get back to reality, sheís brains and beauty, what could guys like us offer a girl like that?" Tseng said, Vincent wasnít listening.

Without warning Lucrecia departed the room crying, Hojo shrugged and walked casually in the other direction.

"Lucrecia!" Vincent yelled as he got out of his seat and ran after her.

Tseng shrugged and went back to his drink. About an hour later Vincent appeared again, with murder on his face.

"Vince what happened buddy?" Tseng asked as Vincent left the room in the same way that Hojo went.

Tseng started to go after him but Lucrecia stopped him.

"Tseng," she moaned.

"Lucrecia? What is it?" He rushed over to her as she collapsed to the floor.

"Tseng the babies coming."

Tseng panicked, he had no experience at this, "Ok donít panic, Iíll get a doctor." He ran out of the room and down the stairs, out into the pouring rain. His mind raced as he ran for the nearest house, he knocked on the door, he asked to use the phone to call a doctor, but that was all he remembered.

Alcohol, adrenaline and fear rolled together to cloud his memory, but he remembered clearly for years afterwards what happened next. He got back into the room and saw Lucrecia gone, and all the other scientists riddled with bullet holes. A gun was cast aside onto the floor.

Vincentís rifle, Death penaltyÖ.

Hojo had said that Vincent went mad, killing the scientists, and coming after Hojo, before Hojo shot him that is, though Tseng never saw the body.

He never saw Lucrecia or Vincent after that, Hojo decided to continue the Jenova project alone without any security.

Tseng looked back to the monitor and saw Rude, Reno and Mikel all talking with Tergus and Gamez alone in the in the other corner of the room. The others mustnít have finished.

He switched off the monitor and left the room, deciding to get a drink at the local Shinra bar to help him forget about his job for awhile, before going back to his deluxe apartment for meaningless sex with a bimbo executive, and then back to looking after his pupils and going about his daily duties as a Turk. Turks worked of a weekend, they never took a break from their "duties," and Tseng had a lot of work to do tomorrow. He flicked the light on the monitor room to off before heading out.

Tseng began to walk through the silent halls of the Turkís training centre, he loved the silence, and it was extremely peaceful. It gave him a feeling of tranquillity, which was a rare thing in a job like this one.

He left the building and began to walk the short distance to the bar. Along the way he saw a man who had his back to him leaning against a wall with one hand, his other hand was in the pocket of his jacket. He was dressed like someone from the lower plate.

"Are you okay?" Tseng asked as he approached the man, who didnít reply, instead he turned around and put a knife to Tsengís throat.

"Hand over all you gil NOW!" The man ordered, waving the knife menacingly in front of his marks neck.

"I didnít think they allowed street crime in the upper plate," Tseng said, unfazed.

"Shu-," the man began, he didnít have time to say anything before Tseng grabbed his knife hand with his right hand and connected with his elbow, straight in the manís jaw.

The man dropped his knife; Tseng pivoted on his right foot and threw the mugger over his shoulder. Tseng grabbed him by the lapel of his jacket and flung him up against the wall, lifting him several feet above the air in one hand. With his other, he drew his Desert Eagle and held it inches from his would-be-muggerís face.

"Now," Tseng said slowly "Who are you, and what are you doing on the upper plate?"

The manís face contorted with fear and pain, realising the situation he was in. The crotch of his pants became damp.

"Iíll ask you again," Tseng said, a bit more forcefully, pulling back the hammer of his gun "Who are you?"

"M-My name is, Johnny," The man said, his eyes white with fear.

"Good doggy," Tseng said "Now what are you doing on the upper plate."

"Working," Johnny, said, his eyes never leaving the gun that was pointed towards his face.

"Working? What is it that you do?"

"I wait for people to come over to me and then I r-rob them."

Tseng just now realised that this was only a boy, the same age as his Turk recruits. It seemed a shame for him to waste his life in crime. Tseng lowered his gun and dropped his prey to the floor.

"What do you do with that money Johnny?" Tseng asked.

"I give it to my boss," he stopped, Tseng recognised the look in his eyes, that look was a look of a man who had said something he shouldnít and now regretted it with every fibre of his being.

"Now who is your boss?" Tseng asked, a smirk on his face, he pointed the gun at Johnny again.

"I canít tell you, heíll kill me."

"So we now know your boss is a he," Tseng mocked, even though he knew most of the crime bosses on the lower plate were male. "I donít think I need to remind you of who is holding the gun here." He clicked the safety on and off to illustrate his point.

The boy looked like he was caught between a rock and a hard place, a hard place holding a very big gun.

"His name is Sunaki," Johnny said reluctantly "Please donít tell him I told you." Johnny was on his knees begging.

"Alright," Tseng agreed "But if I find you robbing anyone again youíll be getting more acquainted with my good friend here." He twirled the gun around on his finger before slotting it back in its holster. "Now get out of my sight." Johnny didnít need to be told twice, he was already off.

Tseng made a mental note of Johnnyís bosses name for future reference; he would have to have a talk with this Sunaki.

Chapter 4

"Blood Red" Ricky Ginoli stood with his back to his guest, looking out of the window of his warehouse hideout. He was a muscular man, 5 feet 11 inches tall, with dark hair and goatee beard. He favoured wearing red clothing and today was no different. He was wearing a bright red trench coat with a red business suit under it. When he spoke people stopped and listened, he spoke with power and loudness, even in normal conversation.

"It is an honour to finally speak to you Don, you seem rather difficult to get hold of as of late," Ricky said in what he thought was a quiet way.

The fat man sat in a wooden chair opposite his hostís desk; he was dressed in a brightly coloured robe. He was smoking a cigar.

"Actually," he said, "I am pleased to meet the most powerful man in the lower plate, but to what do I owe that pleasure?" The Don grinned, he always grinned, even in the tensest situation; it made him so difficult to read.

The room also contained both menís bodyguards, Rickyís were all dressed in red while the Dons where dressed in street wear.

"As you know Iíve been involved in the organisation of many alliances with the bosses of the slums, I already have friends in Sectorís 7 and 8. To complete my collection Iíll need Sectorís 1 and 6. You own Sector 6, as Iím sure your well aware. Can you see where Iím going with this?" Ricky explained.

The Don grinned "You wish to propose an alliance with my Ďassociatesí and I?" The Don guessed.

"Would you be willing to do so?" Ricky asked.

"I need more time to think it over." The Don answered with a grin.

Ricky turned around and sat down in a plush leather armchair, so he was face to face with his host. His bright blue-green eyes met dead on with the Donís, who had to look down at his feet, the grin still plastered on his face.

"I trust your search for a wife is going well?" Ricky asked.

"Well not really," The Don said, "Itís difficult to find the right woman."

Ricky smiled "Itís difficult for us all. Have you even come close to the right one yet?"

"Well there was a few nights ago," He looked up at the ceiling in memory "She had the perfect body, beautiful blue eyes like two deep pools, witty, charming, graceful."

"She sounds pretty good, why didnít you choose her?"

"She was a thief," The Don bluntly stated, "After our night was over, I found 200 gil and a rare Corel diamond had gone missing from my robe."

"What where you doing with a rare Corel diamond in your robe?"

"I put it in there earlier," The Don explained "I forgot it was there until in the morning I suddenly remembered to take it out."

"What did you do with her?" Ricky asked. A grin came over one of the Donís guardís faces.

The Donís grin became wider "Scotch here tracked her down, and had his Ďahemí "way" with her."

"Well looks like you had your revenge anyway." The Red clad mob boss stated.

The two of them talked for around half an hour before Ricky called their audience to a close. The Don waddled out of the door, one bodyguard in front of him, and another behind.

"That man makes me sick," Ricky thought out loud.

"A disgusting man," One of his bodyguards commented.

"I donít pay you to talk." The boss snapped, "Pass the word down the ranks, have someone Ďpersuadeí him to agree to my offer."

"Yes Mr. Ginoli," The other guard said.

A few seconds past, "Blood Red" Ricky then ordered, "Well, what are you waiting for?"

The guard nodded and walked out of the room.

 

Sunaki stood at the corner of two roads; he had received a call from one of his bosses that he was to wait for a man dressed as though he was coming from an office. He had three bodyguards with him, and a sniper up in one of the abandoned buildings. It was a gang zone but Sunaki still felt safer with protection, you never knew what would happen in the slums.

Suddenly a man with black hair and a blue suit started walking towards Sunaki. This must be him.

"Are you Sunaki?" He asked as he approached.

"Yes," Sunaki answered.

"Good, youíre coming with me," he said.

Sunakiís guards drew their pistols. "Who might you be?" Sunaki asked drawing his own Uzi.

"Tseng of the Turks." Tseng said bluntly, making no move for his own weapon.

A bead of sweat appeared on Sunakiís forehead, how could he be so stupid not to recognise the man? He was obviously a Turk, you could tell from his blue suit instantly. He clicked his fingers; the guards pointed their guns at Tseng.

"Donít move," Sunaki commanded as his guards moved closer to Tseng.

"Youíre only making things worse for yourself," Tseng stated calmly.

"Shut up!" Sunaki said panicking.

Sunaki blinked, and Tseng had one of the guards gun hands pointed at the guardís head. "Make one move and I blow his brains out," Tseng ordered, cursing himself for the cliché. "Drop your weapons."

No one made a move, to drop their guns "Iíll do it you know," Tseng explained, "One last time drop your guns." No one moved again.

The gunshot was deafening, Tseng dropped the limp body and rolled away from the pistol shots with one motion. He drew his gun, firing two perfect shots to the head, killing the other two. He leapt to his feet spin-kicking the Uzi out of Sunakiís hand.

A sniper bullet whistled over his head, he spun around, pointing his gun at Sunaki placing his quarry in front of him, making himself a difficult target. He looked up for the sniper; he couldnít see anyone up in the building.

The sniper hesitated to shoot, his gang was willing to get the job done no matter what, but he still didnít like the idea of explaining how he had shot Sunaki.

Tseng decided it wasnít worth it, moving away slowly, looking around for any more snipers, hiding in the rooftops. He was well out of Sector 5 before he finally decided to put Sunaki in the care of Shinra guards, ready to be transported to the Turks compound.

 

Rude, Reno and Mikel sat in the large hall awaiting Tseng. He was always late.

"This guy always takes so long!" Reno complained.

"Stop moaniní Reno!" Mikel said.

"Youíve got to admit that Tseng is one of the slowest people I have ever met in my life," Reno stated.

"Iíll admit that heís late, but it doesnít make him any quicker with you complaining all the time." Mikel explained.

Rude shook his head "What is it with you two? Can you have a decent conversation without an argument?"

Both people hung their heads low.

"Sorry mother," They said in unison.

Tseng then entered the room, followed by two Shinra soldiers armed with machine guns. Tseng was dragging a handcuffed man with a black sack over his head.

"Now donít be alarmed," Tseng began, "This man is a criminal that was recently brought in for questioning. I thought this would make an excellent opportunity for me to teach you the intricate art of interrogation."

"First I will show you how I interrogate this man, then I will tell you what it was that I did, then we will play a kind of game where we can test what you have learned. OK, now Iíll begin."

Tseng flung the man violently into a metal chair that was present in the room. He quickly brought the sack off the prisonerís head with his left hand, and then smacked him with the back of his right. Both guards stood with their guns pointed at the man.

"Now who do you work for?" Tseng loudly shouted in the manís face. The prisoner moved backwards in fear but still answered with defiance "I ainít telliní you shit."

"Watch the language in front of the children!" Tseng shouted, slapping away with the backs of his left and right quickly. This continued until the man was bleeding at the nose.

"Now Iíll ask you again, who do you work for?" Tseng screamed, the young Turks where amazed, they had never seen Tseng ever raise his voice.

"Iím not talking, no matter how hard you hit me. Damn Shinra lapdog."

"If I didnít know better Iíd say that was an insult," Tseng said in his usual calm voice. Like lightening Tseng grabbed the man by the head and flung him to the ground.

Tseng quickly delivered several quick kicks the prisonerís ribs; he then lifted his head off the ground by his hair. He then proceeded to slam his head on the wooden floor repeatedly; he then lifted his head again.

"Who do you work for?" Tseng asked, loudly again, "If you donít answer me then Iíll get angry."

"I canít tell you, I swear, heís ruthless, heíll kill me before I can even take one step out of the door."

"What makes, you think that you will ever be stepping foot out the door?" Tseng asked calmly.

He then picked up his prisoner with ease by the throat and started to strangle him.

"I canít tell you!" The man choked out. He then got dropped.

"Guards!" Tseng ordered, "Keep beating him please, keep him conscious though, I have more plans for him."

Tseng then turned to his shocked audience. "So, can anyone tell me what I did to begin answer extraction?"

No one moved.

After a brief silence Reno put his hand up.

"Yes, Reno?" Tseng said.

"Well basically sir," Reno began "You simply beat on him, threatening him sometimes. Ooh, and you shouted in his face a lot."

Tseng looked up at Reno "Exactly," he said with a smile, "Thatís exactly what it was, donít worry Iíll explain all this in due time. Now everyone just watch,"

Tseng ordered the guards of the beaten man "Good work, Corporal go and fetch the Electro-mag rod."

One of the guards saluted and jogged out of the room, Tseng then clicked his fingers and the other guard dragged the limp body over to the chair again.

"Last chance before a world of pain Sunaki, which gang do you work for?" Tseng asked calmly.

"Gggh," The man grumbled. Tseng produced a blue bottle and poured its contents down the manís unresisting mouth, a small amount of his wounds cleared up.

"Who was that?" Tseng asked.

"Seriously stop, I canít tell you, please stop." Sunaki said.

The corporal came back in with a long, thin nightstick like object, he handed it to Tseng, who held it up to the group of recruits.

"This is a Turks G400 2,000 volt shock rifle, though in the Turks it is known as the Electro-mag rod. It has several settings of voltage; if one knows how to use it you can use the electricity to produce a variety of weird effects, such as stunning, shocking or even killing opponents. It is very useful in interrogation, if you shock someone in the right setting you can cause extreme pain without death, observe."

The prisoner attempted to get off the chair, but a blow from the corporalís rifle butt knocked him back down. The two guards then held him still on the chair. While Tseng jammed the rod in the manís ribs, turning the voltage on and pulling the trigger.

Blue streaks of electricity coursed through Sunakiís body for ten agonising seconds. After the end of which he slumped forward, breathing heavily.

Tseng admired this manís toughness, he was either really brave, which was doubtful, really stupid which didnít seem very likely, or he was more afraid of his bosses wrath. This really made Tseng wonder who he was dealing with here.

"Now I donít want to hurt you anymore than I have to," Tseng explained softly, "Just tell me what gang youíre with and you can go, you will have a Cure spell cast on you and you will be placed in protective custody."

Sunaki replied between his deep breaths "IÖcanítÖ.tellÖ..you."

Tseng gave Sunaki another short blast of electricity that made him slump forward, unconscious.

"Guards," Tseng said, motioning with his hand towards Sunaki, "Take him to the holding cells, heís had enough."

The soldiers nodded and proceeded to drag the unconscious body out of the hall.

"Now," Tseng started calmly as he turned to his recruits. "Are there any questions.

 

Authors Note: OK, I seriously hate scenes like this Iím always worried that Iíll overdo it and people will think Iím Psycho. The work at the moment may seem rushed but Iím just trying to hurry things along in order to reach the new Turks first mission, and characters may seem too underplayed. This will improve as I develop them, just a little diversion from the story here, keep reading.

 

Reno entered Tsengís office, after being led down the corridors by a guard. He knocked on the door, receiving a low grunt from Tseng as acknowledgement of his presence.

"You called for me sir?" Reno questioned as he walked into the door, Tseng was sitting back in a leather office chair. Tsengís office was immaculate, it was meticulously cleaned and polished, with red carpeting. His desk was a deep brown colour, and it stretched around in an arc with Tseng sitting at the other end of it. On the desk rested a computer and several monitors. A small chandelier lighted the room, and wooden chairs with brown cushions on sat in front of Tsengís desk.

"Ah Reno, please take a seat." Tseng instructed with a gesture. Reno obeyed.

"How are you getting on with your training so far?" Tseng asked, "Everythingís going ok I trust?". Reno was a little frustrated that Tseng had only asked the young Turk to his office in order to find out about his training. It seemed like a waste of energy to him, nevertheless he answered, "Everythingís going fine."

"Thatís good to hear." Tseng said, "How are you finding the exercises?"

Reno shrugged "To be honest I donít think that Iím doing that good." Tseng laughed. "You obviously havenít seen your performance, you have not seemed to fail on anything so far, you beat Tergus on both shooting and interrogation."

For the interrogation exercise Reno had to question Rude to find out a number that was given to him prior to the test. In this interrogation you could not strike your victim, but must attempt to lure the victim into using the number in normal conversation. Then the process was reversed.

"However, I must say that youíre hand-to-hand combat skills are second only to Rudeís , you two have performed exceptionally well in the hand-to-hand test that we had earlier this week. When we perform the advanced hand to hand tests tomorrow, I want you and Rude to come with me."

Reno nodded. "Make sure that you tell Rude as well," Tseng stressed, "Thatís all," he finished.

"Can I ask you a question sir?" Reno asked.

"Of course."

"Well I was wondering, why did you tell just me to come here and not Rude as well?"

"That was what I had planned to do but Rude was unavailable at the moment, I do believe he was doing some gun training. I thought it best not to disturb him, so I entrusted you to tell him, is there anything else?"

"No sir," Reno said, he walked back out into the corridor. The guard was waiting outside, and he escorted Reno back to his quarters.

 

Rude fired off another 10 bullets, hitting the target. He had positioned it at 45feet and so far he had not missed a single shot, although he was not just aiming for the vital parts of his target.

He had thought that he should come up here and practice his marksmanship as he knew it was one of the things he did best. It was not that difficult to get the gun either, as there was a small plastic case in the corner of the range that contained lots of guns and ammo.

Rude fired off the remaining five bullets and started walking towards his target, wanting to replace it with a fresh one, he replaced the clip as he walked. It was a bright sunny day, with hardly a cloud in the sky. The perfect day to be outdoors.

As Rude turned around to go back to his shooting stand, someone was standing right in front of him. Rudeís heart skipped a beat and he dropped the bullet-ridden target on the floor.

"Jesus, Tergus you scared the crap out of me." Rude said, visibly relieved. Tergus just stood there, not moving a muscle, not even blinking. Rude tried to walk around him but Tergus simply sidestepped in order to stand in front of him.

"What do you want Tergus," Rude said, the annoyance clear in his voice. Before Rude could blink, Tergusí hand shot up and grabbed Rude by the throat.

Rude was shocked by this sudden attack, he kicked futilely at Tergus but he held Rudeís throat in a vice-like grip that sapped his strength.

"WhatÖthe hell?" Rude choked. His blonde-haired assailant tossed Rude aside, Rude landed hard on his back. He struggled to catch his breath as Tergus approached, fists raised. He swung at Rude, who rolled under the blind attack.

Rude took this opportunity to deliver a kick to his fellow recruits ribs, it struck with a powerful cracking noise but Tergus didnít even flinch. Tergus swung again with his right hand, clobbering Rude in the side of the head.

Rude was knocked onto his stomach by the force of the blow. This manís strength was phenomenal! Rude tried to force himself onto his knees, but his opponent launched a brutal kick to the side that sent Rude crashing down to the dirt.

The taller Turkís head was swimming from the power of the kick, he almost passed out after his head was slammed onto the floor three times. The pain was incredible, Rude realised now that Tergus may actually be trying to kill him! Rude tried to roll back onto his stomach, but the pain was too much for him to even move. It was with supreme willpower that Rude had even stayed awake in the first place.

After another few punches to the back of the head, Tergus rolled his opponent onto his side, where he proceeded to pound at Rudeís head and ribs. Rudeís face was covered with dirt and blood, his clothes were torn and dirty from the fight and he was in immeasurable pain. He was now lifted up by the scruff of his neck and placed on his feet, as though Tergus wanted a fair fight.

Rude threw a punch that missed completely, then another, and another. All of his punches missed, Tergus was seemingly content to dodge. Rude threw a right hook that caught Tergus right in the jaw, his head moved reflexively but Tergus was unfazed. He threw a punch of his own, a left uppercut that caught Rude below the chin and lifted him off his feet and down to the ground once more.

Tergus stood triumphantly over the crumpled body of Rude, who was barely clinging to life, ready to deliver the final blow. He raised his foot ready to stomp down.

With one final effort of will Rude rolled over, his hand landed on a small object, his gun! Rude raised and fired at the indistinct blur, red blurry liquid trickled out of the top of his body and he fell to the ground. Rude finally let go of his consciousness, he saw a dark blob and a white blob hovering above him but he didnít care anymore, he gave into his urges and sank into oblivion.

Chapter 5

"Is he still asleep?"

"Yup, eyes closed, still breathing, seeming not to want to get up. Thatís asleep in my book."

"Do you have to be such a sarky bastard all the time?"

"Not really but itís a habit."

"Itís the lowest form of wit you know."

"Really? Says who?"

"ErrÖ some really famous, err philosopher."

"You donít know do you?"

"Not as such."

"You should really look it up, it could be a lifesaver in these types of arguments."

"What type of arguments?"

"The ones that you are losing, and also the ones were you make a complete fool of yourself."

"That technically sums up every argument Iíve ever had in my life."

Rudeís eyes opened slowly. He was painfully slowly getting used to the bright light in the room. From what he could tell he was lying in a bed in a white room, there where faint voices in the background. As his vision returned Rude could make out the figure of Reno sitting on a chair to the side of the bed. He could just make out the dim figure of what he thought was Mikel standing by what he thought was the door, leaning against what was either the wall or a really big solid cloud.

"Hey, heís waking up!" Reno suddenly stated excitedly, "How are ya feeliní Rude?"

Mikel suddenly piped up, "Why donít you guess? How would you feel after a beating from a monster?"

Reno ignored Mikelís comment, "That was one hell of a pounding you took, Iím surprised you survived."

Rude seemed to remember having his head slammed onto the ground, and also taking several powerful blows to the head. He also remembered firing a gun at a living target, catching it in the head.

"What happened to me?" Rude said weakly.

Mikel replied, "You got in a fight with some kind of monster, it gave you one hell of a concussion but thanks to some cure spells the brunt of it was healed over. The doctor says that you should get plenty of rest and donít take part in any strenuous activities for at least a week."

"A monster?" Rude questioned, "I thought I was fighting Tergus."

"Itís only normal for your memory to get messed up after a beating of that calibre, it should return soon."

"How long was I out?"

"Only a couple of hours." Mikel replied.

Rude sat up in the bed, he had an enormous headache, and it felt like heavy drums going off inside his brain. He brought his hand up to his forehead and found it covered with a bandage. He had had enough of asking questions for now and was content with just listening to what Mikel and Reno described to him about what happened.

"Yeah you were fighting some crazy thing from the Shinra science division." Reno explained, "It broke loose and went on a rampage a few weeks ago, something called a Jenova."

"Anyway," Mikel went on, "It messed you up pretty bad, before running off, you fired a shot at it as Reno and I came to the shooting range, you hit it in the head. We came running over, but the thing suddenly leapt to its feet and over the railing before we got a good look."

"What did it look like?" Rude asked, curious about the fight.

"It looked like a human from the distance we where at." Mikel said, "But I couldnít really tell, anyway we brought you down here to the infirmary and the doctor cast some cure spells. That was only about half an hour ago."

At that moment the door opened, Rudeís vision had cleared up and he recognised the man walking in as Tseng. Reno spoke to him, "Rudeís just woken up now."

"Good," Tseng stated, "How are you feeling?"

"A little dizzy," Rude explained."

"Thatís only to be expected after a concussion of that magnitude. Even after cure spells have been cast. You see cure spells can only heal superficial damage like cutís and bruises, it cureís quite a lot of serious injuries as well, but not at any rate for them to be too effective. So things like broken bones cannot be healed by cure. You were lucky enough that your injury was fresh enough for the cure to be effective, but you will still probably feel the after effects of the attack for some time."

Rude nodded along with what Tseng was saying. "Oh yeah," Reno spoke up, "I was supposed to tell you, weíve got to go to Tsengís office during advanced hand-to-hand tomorrow, will you be able to do that."

"I wouldnít recommend it," Tseng said, "Get a few more days rest, just surviving that monster attack was enough to prove to me that you are tough enough to survive most anything. However," he turned to Reno "you still need to see me."

Reno nodded, "Well Iíd best get going, Iím going to try and get a few hours training before I turn in, see you guys later."

"Hey Reno, wait up!" Mikel said running after his friend.

Tseng started to leave.

"Tseng?" Rude said, Tseng turned back to him.

"How would a monster get into the compound? Do you think it could have escaped from the science department at Shinra?"

"I doubt it," Tseng explained, "Hojo is very meticulous about his security around his experiments, and it looks doubtful that one managed to escape under his supervision, Iíll have to check later. That reminds me, I need to get back to work, Iíll come by and see you again tomorrow."

"Yeah, see you then." Rude said with a nod, Tseng turned and left. After a few minutes Rude drifted back to sleep.

 

"Come on keep it moving." Rickyís stern voice echoed through the garage. "We need these deliveries made by tonight and at the rate youíre going we wonít finish them until next Wednesday, now move!"

His workers where loading heavy boxes into a series of trucks, no one questioned that in the boxes was stolen materia. It was going to be delivered to various stores above and below the plate.

Reynold was one of the drivers taking his load up to the upper plate, one of the riskiest jobs. Still no gain without pain, he thought.

Rickyís voice really bugged him, he was always giving out his orders loudly and sternly. At the moment he sat on a small wooden stool watching his people work. Another thing about Ricky Ginoli was that he never did any of the work himself, all he ever did was watch.

Someone came up to him and whispered something, it seemed to infuriate Ricky and he shot up screaming, "Well get somebody else! Sunaki isnít the only person who can get things done, let someone else do it for Christís sake!"

The man nodded and left again, Reynold wasnít a man who questioned his boss. That type of thing got a man killed or worseÖ. Reynold just liked to stay out of Ricky Ginoliís way and collect his cut when he had done his job, that had kept him alive this long so he wasnít about to quit now.

He and his fellow worker finished loading up the rest of the boxes onto his truck. Reynoldís security team quickly jumped into the back of the large vehicle, with one of them in the front seat with Reynold.

Altogether, there would be 9 men making this delivery 7 in the back with the materia armed with carbine rifles. 1 in the front with Reynold armed with a pistol she was keeping in a holster that was beneath her jacket, and then there was Reynold himself, with no weapon. He didnít need one, he was just a driver.

"All ready to go?" The woman said as she jumped into the front seat. Reynold nodded and started the truck. The huge garages door opened up onto a street. Reynold knew this area well, he grew up in the slums of sector 3, and he was now driving threw his old home.

It took him ten minutes to reach the ramp to the upper plate, this was where his job got difficult, as the ramp was heavily guarded. There was a huge gate with two Shinra guards on either side. There was a guardhouse behind the gate in which rested two more guards and a member of Soldier as the plan stated.

One of the guards walked over to the truck "Clearance please," He said gruffly. Reynold was prepared for this, he reached into the glove compartment and produced a fake delivery permit.

"Sayís here that you are delivering materia, is that correct?" The guard asked.

"Yes," Reynold answered trying to avoid sounding as nervous as he actually was.

"Do you mind if I take a look in the back?"

Reynold nodded, got out of the truck and led the guard round the back of the vehicle. As the plan had stated, the security team had hidden themselves right at the back of the storage hold, where they would not be seen. The guard opened one of the boxes. Seeing the colourful contents where in order he shut the lid and shouted "Open the gate!"

The other guard nodded and opened up the gate with the push of a button on the wall.

"Be back in two hours," The guard ordered as Reynold shut the storage holdís door. "Proceed," he muttered walking back to his position.

The woman in the front seat breathed a sigh of relief as they drove off. "Well the hardest part is over now, all we have to do now is just deliver the stuff and then weíre home free."

Reynold nodded "Have you got the list with all the deliveries on?"

The woman cast him a worried look "I thought you had it?"

"No," Reynold said slowly, "Itís not my job to know all of the deliveries, Iím just paid to drive."

"So you just drive even though you have no idea of where youíre going?"

Reynold snarled "Look, itís got to be around here somewhere, all we have to do is-," he was interrupted by a tapping on the window of the truck.

When Reynold turned around he saw a well-dressed man in a blue suit standing by the door of his truck.

"Sorry for interrupting," the man said politely "But may I ask where youíre going?"

Reynold glared at him "None of your business." He started to wind the window up again.

The man in the suit punched through the glass, without any kind of damage to him, and grabbed Reynold by the throat.

"Iím choosing to make it my business," the suit said more forcefully "Whatís in the truck?"

The woman who was in the front seat took out her pistol and pointed it at the man; she was actually the first to see the logo on his right hand pocket.

"Heís with the Turks!" She screamed hysterically. As if on cue the back doors opened and the 7 guards stepped out. They formed an orderly strategy with 3 staying behind the truck, 3 going around the left and three going down the right to confront their assailant.

The ones who confronted the Turk approached cautiously, their carbine rifles pointed at the tall man in the suit who casually raised an eyebrow, viewing them as if they where the leftovers of a particularly bad meal.

"Donít move." The bravest amongst the guards shouted, stepping forward. His hands shook on his gun showing his fear, everyone knew about the Turks, people avoided them like the plague. But now here they where pointing guns at one of them.

The other groups of guards made their way to their positions, their guns pointed at the man. They could have easily hit him, but all of them hesitated to fire the first shot.

The Turk didnít seem to even care that he was surrounded, he stared at the brave guard, and his intense stare caused the guard to flinch. "I see that you know of our reputation," the Turk said with a smirk, eyeing the guardís hands on his rifle, "But you should know that a Turk never operates without a partner."

On cue two other men sprang from their hiding places, both of them only young and dressed in the same blue suit as their leader. One was a white man with brown hair and green eyes who gave the impression of confidence and assertiveness.

The other was a black man with black hair and blue eyes; both newcomers held pistols and the black man seemed nervous around the gun.

With lightening speed the leader quickly pulled Reynold through the window, holding him in a chokehold with one hand, in the other he held a large handgun, the same model as the younger Turkís where using. He pointed his gun at Reynoldís temple.

"Reno, Mikel," He commanded, take care of these men.

"Showtime," Reno whispered to his more nervous friend, "You hang back and blast away with your materia and Iíll do the shootiní,"

"I know, the plan." Mikel said, "Just move!"

As the Turks began to move forwards Tseng pushed Reynold into the group of guards that stood in front of the truck and spun around blasting away with his pistol at those that had originally confronted him.

Mikelís materia allowed him to attack those that hid at the back of the truck. He chose to launch a fireball at the closest one, which dealt massive damage, knocking him out instantly.

Reno performed a flashy diving roll and fired at the disoriented guards and the driver of the truck, he his one of them straight through the heart and the other two in the shoulder. This caused them to drop their rifles.

Two of the guards in front of Tseng where dead from the initial burst from Tsengís handgun. The one remaining guard sized up the situation, seeing it best to run now and live to fight another day, and with another group. Besides someone had to report this to Mr. Ginoli, he wasnít going to like this.

The two left conscious behind the truck dispersed, one going left the other going right, the left one dove to the side and blasted away with his gun, all of the shots where nimbly dodged by Tseng except one that grazed his left arm, luckily it wasnít the arm that held his gun. Tsengs gun flashed with a purple light that was gone in an instant. Faster than one humanly possible Tseng countered the shot with one of his own. It hit perfectly, right between the eyes, sending him back.

The right guard ducked and fired at Reno, who leapt down to the opposite side, luckily avoiding the fire.

The two that had lost their weapons put up their one usable hand "I surrender!" They both shouted in unison, by the time they had both finished the fight was over.

The woman in the front seat drew her pistol, leaning over the top of the truck while still sitting on the side of the door, she fired off a clip at the nearest, who was Tseng. Tseng rolled to the side this time his gun flashed with green light that passed up his arm. A lightening bolt flew from his outstretched left hand and blasted the woman, knocking her to the ground and rendering her unconscious.

Reno was close enough to the one that fired on him to go in at close range while the guard reloaded his rifle. He tried to remember his hand-to-hand training.

He threw a punch with his left, simply designed to make the guard dodge to the right, he did, and walked right into a powerful right hook that knocked his head back slightly. The guard could not react as a fluid series of punches hit him in the ribs and face. He eventually hit the ground.

"Is that everyone?" Tseng asked looking around, he cautiously peered around the sides of the truck, "You two have a look in the back for anymore of them."

Reno nodded and Mikel ran over to him, Reno opened the door, covered by Mikel who trained his gun on anything that moved. There was nothing there but boxes. They both hurriedly searched the boxes of materia. Mikel was just finishing looking through one box near the back of the truck when he knocked it right off, down into the street below.

"Nice work," Reno said sarcastically, he jumped out of the truck and began to put pieces of materia back into the box.

"Hold on," Mikel stated as he fished around in the half empty box, when he pulled his hand out he produced a clear bag of white powder.

"Tseng," Reno called out, "I think you should take a look at this."

Tseng responded a few minutes later he pushed the two unarmed prisoners forward he kept his gun trained on them as he looked at the white powder.

"I think that there is some in each box," Mikel commented, "What do you think it is?"

"I donít know," Tseng said as he stared at the powder, "Iíll hand it over to Hojo when we get back, he can probably analyse it for us. My opinion is that it is probably cocaine and that these men where transporting it." He looked up at the prisoners who were frozen with fear "Where were you taking this stuff?"

One man answered quickly "We donít know, they only told us to guard the shipment, we thought it was just materia, honest."

"How powerful must the materia be if it took seven men to guard?" Tseng asked eyeing them suspiciously.

"We never get told anything, honestly." The other guard said.

Tseng believed them "Ok, weíll find out more later, now get in the truck." The guards obeyed.

"Do you think theyíll know anything?" Mikel asked, as he tossed the other unconscious guards into the back of the truck.

"No," Tseng said with no emotion at all.

"Then what are we doing with them?" Mikel questioned.

"Weíll hold them until I get some more information from our friend Sunaki, somehow, I think that these two incidents are connected somehow."

Reno just stood, his back turned on the group, looking down at the floor. He didnít even help with the prisoners; he had been in the same position since he had finished searching through the boxes.

It had just struck him that he had killed someone, ending his life with his bullet. He had a life before now, possibly he had a family, friends, training, experience, happiness, sadness, excitement, boredom, pain and ecstasy, all of which Reno had ended with one shot from his gun.

It had just struck him almost as hard as the bullet had hit that man, and the scariest part was that he felt nothing for his victim. Not anger, sadness, anything, no emotion whatsoever for the man. Reno was a murderer, for no reason other than to train for a job in murder.

Reno wasnít normally one to let things get him down, but he had never in his entire life, done anything this big before. He had stolen before, but they where just objects, not lives. Reno had effectively stolen a life from someone who could have probably done something with his life. After this job he could have turned his life around, made something of himself. But now no one would ever know.

Reno couldnít shed a tear for this man, even after he realised all of this. He felt the sharp fangs of guilt, eating him alive from the inside, and he realised that was the first emotion he had felt since the fight.

Reno would never be the same again.

 

The sleek black limousine made itís way to the sector 3 ramp up to the upper plate. The shiny car seemed out of place in a world of dirt and filth, but the guards on duty only cared about doing their jobs, as long as they got paid they didnít care.

One of them tapped on the rear window, which rolled down revealing features twisted in thunderous anger at being disturbed.

"Sorry sir!" The guard said quickly, as he saluted, "Go on though."

The guard gave the signal for the gate to be opened and the limousine made itís way up the hill and down the completely different world of the upper plate.

It was amazing how two places so close to each other could be so different.

One side was built on poverty and filth, while the other, only ten minutes drive away was a place of cleanliness and safety. A person only had to view the upper plate and you knew that you didnít want to live anywhere else.

Midgar was a fabulous place on the upper plate.

The streets were swept daily, Shinra troops patrolled almost every square inch of every sector. The architecture of the buildings was all white stone statues, metallic shiny buildings that looked like mirrors. Houses that stood on their own with no other dwellings on either side crammed together like a sandwich.

Finally, there was the Shinra building, a symbol of the might and power of the most reputable company in the world. No one rivalled the absolute power of Shinra, they controlled everything, from trade, to weaponry. But most of all they provided cheap and efficient to the mindless civilians of the world, they were trusted, a Shinra brand product was literally a stamp of approval.

From Mako energy to automobiles, Shinra owned everything, at least seven thousand subsidiary companies working beneath them, manufacturing products, marketing, testing and research. There was nothing that they didnít have a hand in.

This was where the limousine was pulling into.

The car made itís way through the executive parking lot, each space had been specifically prepared for each high-ranking member of the company. The limo now pulled into one of them.

A man stepped out, he had a large thin sword strapped to his back. He walked towards the building as his chauffeur waited in the car. The man crushed a cigarette under one shoe before he walked into the main offices of Shinra.

He rode the elevator upstairs onto the 48th floor of the building, which contained his office. Without a word to anyone he walked into a door and sat behind a desk, placing his sword down at his right hand side.

"Sir, there is a man here to see you," a voice buzzed over the intercom.

"Tell him Iím busy," The man said lighting up another cigarette.

"Sir, he sounds pretty angry."

"Just tell him Iím busy," the man explained as if to a child.

At that moment a fat, blonde man with a grin and a cigar in his mouth burst into the room. The Don had one of his Ďangryí grins plastered on his face. He had no guards with him, which must mean that he was there to talk only.

"You!" He shouted, "How dare you!"

"How dare I what?" The Shinra employee asked, his voice calm and level.

"You, sent those men after me, they came down to one of my clubís and torched it." The Don explained a little calmer.

"Mr. Corneo," the man behind the desk said, "What makes you think that I sent those men?"

The Don removed his cigar and tossed it to the floor, "Because, they where trying to force my men to sign YOUR deal."

"Watch the carpet, Corneo." The Shinra man said, his voice rising higher into his usual shout.

"WHAT!? One of my best clubís is in cinders and all you can think about is your carpet!" Don Corneo started shouting, "The hell with you."

Don Corneo reached into his pocket and produced a small revolver, the Shinra employee just casually raised an eyebrow.

The gun went off, the recoil sending the Donís gun hand into the air. AS quick as a bolt of lightening the other manís right hand snapped downwards and then thrust the sword upwards.

There was a small metallic clanging noise as the bullet hit the cold, hard steel of the blade. The bullet shot harmlessly up into a metal filing cabinet, which only got dented from the impact.

"Th-Thatís impossible!" Don Corneo stuttered, for the first time his grin dropped into a look of pure horror.

"Is it?" The man said rising from his seat, his massive sword held in one hand easily, "I thought I could align myself with you through negotiations, but you refused. I try and warn you about what will happen if you donít join me, you refuse. You leave me no choice, but to declare open war on your territory."

"You wouldnít dare," Don Corneo smirked, "Your forgetting that I can tell Shinra who you really are, General Ginoli."

Ricky Ginoli just smiled "Do you think that theyíll listen to a maniac like you or a General who has served Shinra faithfully for years?"

Don Corneo pointed the revolver at Ginoli as he slowly approached him. "Even so," the Don started, "General or not General they will still place you under surveillance, and you wonít be able to undertake any activities in the lower plate. Thatíll leave you wide open to attack."

Ginoli just laughed, he was getting closer to the Don, who although his grin made him difficult to read, you could see the fear in his eyes.

"Donít come any closer!" Corneo yelled menacingly backing away slightly. He fired another shot, which Ricky sidestepped with ease, despite the close range of the shot.

Corneo fired again, four times and Ricky became a blur, deflecting bullets with his sword and dodging quickly. He moved with inhuman speed as he somersaulted over the Donís head, cutting off his retreat. Ginoli just stood there, his arms folded, his massive sword resting on his left arm.

"By all means tell them," Ginoli laughed, "Here Iíll open the door for you."

As Ricky Ginoli opened the door, several armed SOLDIER units sped in to the office. Don Corneo, still grinning produced a green materia orb, the SOLDIERís opened fire, but Corneo disappeared. His exit materia teleporting him to safety.

"Sir, are you alright?" One of the SOLDIERís asked.

"Iím fine," Ginoli informed him.

"Should we attempt to find him?" the SOLDIER asked.

"Yes," Ginoli said distantly, "I happen to know of one of his safe housesÖ"

Heiddegar sat in his office on one of the top floors of Shinra HQ, he was drinking coffee and reading the newspaper, which would probably the hardest job he would have to do all day.

Heiddegar loved his job, minimum work, maximum pay, respect, power and fear, to him it was the best job in the world. As head of public safety maintenance it was up to him to fund the Police, the guards and most importantly the Turks.

30 years ago Heiddegar had a vision, an elite fighting force trained in practically every field. They were odd job special forces, each one of them a Jack-of-all-trades and en expert in a specific field. They were spies, assassins, thieves, kidnappers, informants, soldiers and more. Anything Shinra needed doing that needed to be kept quiet, the Turkís where the ones they called.

Now Heiddegarís plan had been taken out of context. Lowly street scum had been hired simply because Tseng had found Turk candidates that he thought where a cut above everyone else. The truth was they where awful and Tseng only wanted them in the group because he was short of members, and he had developed a sense of charity, unusual in his line of work.

There was a knock at his door, in walked Tseng.

"You wanted to see me?" Tseng asked.

"Yes, take a seat." Heiddegar ordered, flipping the paper closed and putting down his cup. "The reason I called you in here is itís time for your half yearly report on your little pet project. How is it progressing?"

Tseng sighed, Heiddegar was always direct and to the point, especially now that he had a chance to dismiss Tsengís project. Tseng now knew why he had been called in here without warning, so that he would be unprepared for the report. Well he might as well improvise, on what had happened over the last 6 months.

"Well," Tseng began, "Everything is progressing smoothly. We have trained up our eight recruits to the highest standard, already we have 3 recruits that are ready for practice operations and the rest are still getting basic training."

Heiddegar nodded, feigning interest, "Are any of the recruits ready for Mako infusion?"

"Not yet," Tseng said, he seemed to remember something, "Oh yeah, and one of the recruits went AWOL at the start of the training programme."

"Is there anything else that you wish to tell me?"

"Yes, Iím considering passing two members over to standard guard work, they donít possess the strengths I thought they did, I also think that one member should be passed over to the SOLDIER programme as he lacks the mental equipment and stealth to handle Turks work."

Heiddegar counted up the members that would be leaving the Turkís "That means that only four Turks will become full members, the minimum is five, you have to either recruit someone else or keep one member on."

To which Tseng replied, "Since when has it been the requirement to have five members of the Turks?"

"Since you decided to go recruiting down below." Heiddegar pointed out, he had a sly grin on his face.

Tseng knew Heiddegar was up to something but he thought it would have been a lot less petty than increasing his maximum amount of qualified Turks.

"Thatís a little petty donít you think?" Tseng asked rhetorically.

Heiddegarís pig-like face changed colour from light pink to deep red, yet he kept his voice level and controlled, "I donít care if it is petty or not, the facts have been laid down. You must have at least 5 members of the group who are qualified to do the job. Now either you go down to that filthy, god-forsaken hell-hole of a slum and bring back a fresh recruit or you decide to improve the grade of one of your poorer squad members. Bear in mind that I can end this project with a single word, and I wonít hesitate to do so if you disobey my regulations."

Tseng bit back a retort and just simply nodded along with the fat-man, even though Tseng knew that Heiddegar would have to get the presidentís permission to end the project, and the president seemed to want this project to continue. Even so, he had a brilliant scheme in mind.

 

"Well, that was pretty cool," Mikel, stated with a grin.

"YeahÖ" Reno admitted distantly.

"Whatís with you?" Mikel asked, "youíve been acting weird ever since we got back."

"Oh, itís nothing." Reno abruptly replied.

Reno and Mikel were making their way towards the workshop, where Rude was currently stationed. They had just came back from their field exercise only half an hour ago, they had free time for the rest of the day, so they figured they might as well drop in and say hello to Rude, who was still waiting on his field exercise.

"Itís not nothing," Mikel said, "Dude, itís not like you to be so quiet, it kinda makes me nervous."

"Look if you must know I.." Reno hesitated, but then continued, "I feel kind of sick, yíknow, guilty."

"Why?" Mikel asked.

"I killed that man before," Reno explained bluntly, with none of his usual sarcasm or wit. "It sickens me to think that the only thing Iíve felt for the man was guilt, I didnít even feel sorry for him."

Mikel nodded, "I canít imagine what that must feel like, but, maybe thatís what everyone feels like after their first kill. Plus, maybe feeling nothing might help you in the Turks, as theyíve pointed out in the beginning, youíre not meant to feel any emotion for anybody. The guy was a criminal as well so he pretty much got what was coming to him anyway, who knows how many people heís killed, probably a lot of innocent people."

"Yeah," Reno agreed, "But still, what if he was planning on starting a real life after that job."

"Well his plans arenít going to do him much good now." Mikel pointed out.

Reno glared at his friend.

"Just kidding," Mikel explained, holding up his arms as if to defend himself from an invisible attacker, "If he was going to quit, then he was going to quit, no sense in worrying about it. Heís probably relaxiní with all the other dead guys, in the Lifestream. You probably did him a favour."

"Well, I guess youíre right." Reno conceded, "Just give me a while to get over it."

Mikel nodded, "But in the meantime, at least try and talk to Tseng about it. If anyone knows what this is like itíd be him."

Reno gave a powerful negative arm gesture, "No way, Tsengís a scary dude."

"He seems alright," Mikel said, grinning at the fact that he had changed the subject, "even if he is a bit cold. Thatís just probably from doing this job for this long, weíll all probably go that way in a few years."

Reno laughed, "If I ever turn out like that, I want you to shoot me."

"You donít have to ask twice." Mikel stated.

They reached the workshop after a few more minutes of walking down the well-lit hallway. Nobody passed the pair as they made their way down the stairs to the basement.

Rude was sitting on a workbench next to some tools, near Gamez who was working on an old car with a bored look on his face. When he saw his friends come down the stairs his face lit up like a candle. Rude always felt uncomfortable around the machine-lover, he was only down here out of boredom. Damien and Yen had taken up residence in the lounge, and Rackob was at the shooting range. Rude didnít want to talk to any of them, and thought that coming here was the best option, little did he know Gamez was here. If he turned back then he would look like a coward, as he knew Gamez didnít like him.

"How was it?" Rude asked.

Reno opened him mouth but Mikel cut him off, "It was great, youíd be surprised at how much all this training comes in useful, I think working as a team was definitely useful."

"What did you do?" Rude questioned.

"Not much," Reno answered with a cocky grin, "Just stopped a truck full of stolen materia, shot some criminals, brought in some prisoners and found some drugs on the truck. All in a days work."

Mikel smiled, the old Reno was back, "It wasnít that easy." Mikel added, "After all it was my spells that kept you from dying."

"Yeah, well if it wasnít for me, youíd have never got to cast those spells in the first place." Reno said with a smirk.

"And I must say you watched my back exceptionally well," Mikel stated sarcastically.

"What do you mean?" Reno laughed, "You didnít get hit did you?"

"You could have done a better job on those guards, you managed to hit, what, 1 out of three."

"Keep it down," Gamez yelled from under the car, "Some of us have work to do."

"Actually what is it you are doing?" Reno asked with feigned interest.

"Iím fixing up this car." The small man said proudly.

"I see." Mikel said, "May I ask why?"

"No you may not." Gamez stated abruptly, before going back to his work.

"Fair enough then." Reno said with a shrug before turning to Rude, "Hey, do you want to come with us? Weíre going to the gym to get some hand-to-hand practice in."

"Why not?" Rude replied, literally leaping off the bench, "Letís just go I couldnít stand to spend one more moment here."

They went back off up the stairs, Gamez still working away on his car; he probably didnít even notice they were gone.

Tsengs hand came down sharply across Sunakiís jaw, Sunaki fell forward slightly, but two members of SOLDIER sat him back down in the chair.

Sunaki had been completely beaten emotionally, mentally and, of course physically. Tseng had tried every single interrogation technique he knew, but nothing had worked, he was unsure of what course of action he should pursue next.

"Damn it," Tseng muttered, he half wanted to just threaten Sunaki with a gun, but the other half knew that Sunaki probably wouldnít even react anyway.

"Just tell me who youíre working for." Tseng pleaded, Sunaki didnít even react, and he just sat there not moving. Tseng was getting more than a little annoyed.

Tseng gave a roar of rage and spin kicked the little man with all his might. Sunaki was tossed right across to the other end of the room, crashing down hard against the concrete wall on the left side. The Turk picked up the man around the throat with his left hand, he lifted the criminals tiny form with ease.

Sunaki was dangling with his feet kicking the air as if trying to run on nothing. Tsengís right fist came crashing down, knocking Sunaki down to the floor, he crumpled into a heap on the floor. The Turk reached down to his holster, malice in his cold blue eyes.

The gun went off, the bullet striking Sunaki square in the kneecap, Sunaki screamed, even more so when a bullet struck him in his other knee. Tseng was about to finish off his burst off rage with a bullet to the head when Sunaki raised his right hand and shouted "Alright, Iíll tell you!"

The SOLDIERS had watched amazed as Tseng had beaten the crap out of Sunaki, they seemed to spring into action when Sunaki spoke.

"Who do you work for?" Tseng asked firmly, gun still in hand.

Sunaki didnít get a chance to answer, a rifle bullet hit him right between the eyes.

Tseng wheeled around, "What the hell!" he shouted as a shotgun fire blasted him right into the wall, he slid down to earth with a thud. The SOLDIERS placed their weapons back into their holsters and left the room.

Ricky Ginoliís men reached Corneoís safe house at 4:00am the next morning. SOLDIERS fully surrounded the building while teams of men entered the building at all sides.

Gunfire could be heard all through the slums for at least an hour, it stopped a 5:30 when three SOLDIERS left the building with a fat man in tow. At 6:00 Don Corneo was placed in a high security cell in the Shinra building.

Chapter 6

Tseng rose slowly to his feet, using the wall to steady him, whoever had killed him had done a sloppy job. The evidence of this was quite clear.

Tsengís suit had been ripped apart revealing the mako infused body armour he always wore beneath his clothes. Shinra guards burst into the room.

"We heard gunfire," one of the guards said, "What happened?"

"The two members of SOLDIER who were in this room with me," Tseng explained, "Find them and bring them to me."

"Yes sir!" The guard said as he led his men out of the room.

Things were getting weird, first this unusual interrogation, and now members of SOLDIER turning against their employers.

Tseng looked down at the body of Sunaki that lay beneath him, riddled with bullet holes and beaten within an inch of his life. Not the best way to die, Tseng thought.

Tseng left the body in the interrogation room, he would have to get back to his recruits. This could be good training for them, but first he had to get beck to his office and replace his suit.

 

Renoís gun twirled on his finger as the party of three Turks made their way down the corridors of the Shinra building.

"Those SOLDIERS have got to be around here somewhere," Reno explained, "I suggest we fan out to better search the area."

"Wouldnít it be better if we stuck together? I mean, one Turk trainee is no match for two fully trained members of SOLDIER." Mikel pointed out.

Rude said nothing and just watched the area cautiously, those SOLDIERs couldnít have gotten far in this short space of time.

"If I was a SOLDIER on the run where would I hide?" Rude mused.

"What was that?" Reno asked.

"Just thinking, where would you guys go if you where on the run from Shinra?"

"Someplace far away," Mikel stated, "Like the moon."

"They wouldnít have time to get to any form of transport," Reno pointed out, "So they would be walking."

"Probably trying to sneak in amongst the other memberís of SOLDIER," Rude said.

Mikel thought about this "Good point, if I was wearing a SOLDIER uniform the first place Iíd go to would be the barracks, or the science department."

"They wouldnít go to the science department, as theyíd want a clear line of escape, the barracks is a lot closer to the ground floor, so I say we go there." Reno said.

The company agreed and they made their way to the elevators, luckily they knew the names of the SOLDIERS who attacked Tseng so they could ask around when they reached the barracks.

The Turks found the elevator and dived in just as it was closing, two members of SOLDIER were in it as well.

"Excuse me," Reno said to them, "But do you know where I can find Captains Horace and Bloggs?"

The SOLDIERs looked at each other then quickly drew their swords and leapt to the attack.

Reno ducked under a sword swing and fired a shot at his adversary, it struck but it didnít do much damage to the mako infused warrior.

Mikel somersaulted backwards, dodging the sword attack, kicked off the wall and launched a brutal kick right at his opponentís head. The SOLDIER thrust his head back, making the stylish attack miss.

Rude, the only member who had not been attacked fired two shotís with his pistol, they both caught Mikelís member of SOLDIER in the torso, but they did not slow him down one bit.

Renoís SOLDIER stabbed forward with his sword and landed a glancing blow on Renoís shoulder.

The other SOLDIER stepped back concentrated and a green glow emanated from him, fire blasted Mikel right into the elevator control panel, causing it to stop.

Reno fired again, he couldnít get in a headshot thanks to the SOLDIERís bulletproof helmet, but he fired his gun at point blank range into the SOLDIERís heavily armoured chest. Still the bullet pierced the armour and hit the man right in the heart, killing him instantly.

Rude dodge a series of sword slashes narrowly, he was caught with his back to his opponent. He heard another slashing noise and he ducked, the sword stroke missing his head by inches.

Rude wheeled around, took a steady aim and fired. His bullet met his opponent in the throat, yet the SOLDIER appeared unfazed. He was about to strike again when a lightening bolt hit him in the back of the leg, he hit the floor but was still alive.

Reno quickly disarmed the fallen warrior and punched him in the head, this knocked off his helmet. The SOLDIER punched Reno in the face knocking him back, with his good leg he kicked Reno off him.

He rolled just as the bullet from Rudeís gun hit the elevator floor, with the momentum from the roll he swung his fist upward, hitting Rude in the knee, causing him to stumble. Another lightening bolt raked across the SOLDIERS upper body, damaging him immensely, but not enough to strike the decisive blow.

Rude felt extreme pain in his leg, this made him immensely angry. This anger was nothing he had ever experienced before, it was white-hot fury, burning in his veins yearning to be released. He could no longer fight it.

The white ring that now surrounded Rude startled Mikel, at first he thought it was another kind of material attack but then he realised that Rudeís glow was not materia based.

Rude lifted his opponent to his feet slowly as the ringís light diminished. The SOLDIER wound his arm back for a punch but instead, he found himself being struck by an unspeakable force. Rude had just delivered a punishing right-handed uppercut to the warrior.

The punch flung the body of the SOLDIER right through the ceiling of the elevator, the body punching through it as though it were nothing. The body continued its journey right up to the 75th floor and then came plummeting down into the carriage.

The cables holding the elevator began to snap, one by one, the force of the fall too much for them to take. Mikel shook the cobwebs from his head and slammed the door release button, the doorís slid open.

"Rude!" He called, "Grab Reno and get out now!"

Rude felt as though he was underwater, everything moved slowly and dreamlike, what felt like ages to him was in fact only a split second. Grabbing Reno took eons, running towards the doorway took millennia, and diving out to the cold hard surface of the Shinra floor took ages, even though he was out of the elevator in less than three seconds.

The elevator crashed down onto the first floor heavily, crumpling up like a paper cup.

"What the hell was that!" Mikel cried out, amazed as Shinra guards came running to the elevator doors.

The words seemed to be suddenly emblazoned on Rudeís mind, he turned to his friend and said "Limit Break."

 

"Limit Break," Hojo shouted to the board, "the gift of incredible combat skill. The most powerful can defeat gods, and the weakest can topple mountains. They are the ultimate weapons, more powerful than materia. No one knows truly where such gifts come from, but we in the science community have our theories. Some believe that it is magical, the power of materia is magnified a thousand times inside of someone and then released in compressed energy. Others believe that it is the ancientís gift to people who possess the blood of powerful beings.

My theory however is that it is the rage of our planet being processed and transmitted to certain angry beings. This fury is released in the form of immense energy, it then manifests into any form that the wielder wishes. This energy then becomes a permanent attack written on a personís mind, usable only when they get extremely angry. After prolonged usage, a new attack is then learned, capable of much greater power.

This may seem like a wild and unscientific theory, but let me explain, the souls of the dead that float around in the lifestream provide power to the planet. This power manifests itself as Ďspirit energy,í this energy is used to produce life on the planet and without it the planet would crumble into dust and all life, including us would cease to exist. As one being dies another is born, infused with the spirit energy required to live. The cycle is then repeated. This energy is what allows limit breaks to function. Some beings are blessed with more spirit energy than others, for example those trained in combat gain greater amounts of spirit energy to fuel their training, this excess energy can be transmitted, via the conduit of the rage of the being, into a limit break."

Hojo paused, he was in the Shinra meeting room explaining Limit breaks to the head executives of Shinra. There was the president, the vice president, Heiddegar the head of public safety maintenance, Palmer the head of Space travel and Scarlet the head of Shinraís weapon development. Also there was Tseng and Rude of the Turks.

The President himself had called this meeting to address the problem of fixing the elevator shaft that was damaged after Rudeís punch had heavily damaged it.

"There are certain people who gain excess spirit energy, and thus they are more likely to gain access to a Limit break. As I have already mentioned, people trained in combat would gain more spirit energy. People who harbour intense feelings of rage and bitterness also call upon greater amounts of spirit energy due to the amount that gets consumed by their bitterness.

People who use materia a lot may also gain more access to Limit breaks as they call upon the knowledge and power of the ancients that creates a kind of background Ďradiation,í of spirit energy. Finally, people infused with mako are also more likely to gain a Limit break as the mako in their bodies is power straight from the planet itself."

Tseng was watching for anyone to ask any questions as Hojo took a deep breath. But everyone remained completely still frozen like statues.

"The Ancients were the first to use Limit breaks, but they did not need to feel any anger to use them, they just called upon the power of the planet and things happened. People could be healed of injury, opponents could be crushed and the planet itself could be infused with greater amounts of power in order to allow the ancients to Ďcommunicate with the planet.í

This use of power created materia, a substance that as you know is used in our day-to-day lives. Iím sure you all know how materia is produced. Materiaís power however is only a fraction of the powers that the ancients commanded.

When the ancient race was extinct, there were huge amounts of spirit energy that was unclaimed by any one being. This energy dissipated into the bodies of the humans living at that time. Most of them became more physically powerful, as though they had been mako infused, however some gained access to Limit breaks.

The early humans had no comprehension of the power that they had gained. They could not use it the way that the ancients did. So over time the humans evolved a way to use this power by getting furious. However they could only use Limit breaks when they felt an unimaginable anger, thus our version of the Limit breaks was born."

"Very nice story Hojo," the President said bluntly, "But it doesnít fix the elevator shaft." Rude looked down at the floor, and wished he could go out of the room. "How much does it look like it will cost to fix?"

Heiddegar looked up at his boss and said "40,000gil."

"40,000!" The President roared rising to his feet. He spun around and glared at Rude, Tseng stepped forward.

"Sir, Rude was only doing his duty. It was his job to find and eliminate those men by any means necessary. It was not his fault that the elevator got damaged in the process." Tseng explained.

"Not his fault!" Heiddegar snorted, "He punched that man right through the ceiling! How could that be not his fault, he knew damn well what he was doing!"

"Heiddegar, have you even listened to a word Iíve said?" Hojoís pale skin reddened slightly, "A Limit break user does not know when their powers will activate and they have no control over them when they do."

Heiddegar snorted at that remark but said nothing.

"This is the most damage to Shinra headquarters I have ever seen!" The President spoke up again, "Iíll make sure that this boy is sent back to the slums that he came from." The President turned to Tseng, "And you!" He yelled, "Donít even think about entering this building again until youíve learned to lead properly!"

Rude felt hurt at the Presidents remark, as though it was a personal attack on him. He looked over at Tseng whose face remained complacent.

"Letís not be too hasty," Vice-President Rufus stated, "As the professor has said, he mustnít have known that he was going to use that much power. It must have sort of just happened."

The President was about to scream at the boy but Hojo cut in, "Heís right, youíre going a bit far for just 40,000gil."

The President was about to start on Hojo but thought better of it, Hojo was indispensable to the company, and he may walk out if he is mistreated.

"You can have your jobís back," he conceded, "but you must perform this service for me. The Turks must find out who those two men were really working for, and why they have turned against Shinra Inc."

"Of course," Tseng said, a grin starting to form on his face.

The meeting then broke off, with Tseng and Rude leaving first.

"Donít let the president get you down," Tseng explained as the pair of them walked back to the training compound, "That guy really blows up if any of his money has to go to something other than his own back pocket. Half of the time he doesnít even mean the things that he says when heís like that."

"He sounded pretty serious to me," Rude pointed out.

"He would have reinstated us tomorrow anyway." Tseng said.

"How do you know that?"

"Because I have been fired from this company more than 12 times in my entire career, and always I have got my job back the next day."

They didnít talk all the way back to the compound, Rude was pondering something.

"Tseng, how long have you worked here?" Rude asked as they reached the training compound.

"20 years," Tseng said, "I started work as a Shinra guard when I was 14, it was just a job, like any other to me. I had worked for only a few years when I was passed on to the Turks at 16. I trained hard and finally got in, working for, must be 8 years now, before I got promoted to head of the Turks. It had been a close call for who got the job as there was another man, who probably deserved it more than me."

"Who was that?"

"Vincent Valentine, probably the best sharpshooter that the Turks have ever seen. He was a Turk long before I finished training and was chosen to initiate me into the group. He had grown up in Junon to the west of Midgar and came here to find work as a guard. He, like me, got into the Turks quickly, simply because every single shot he fired hit his target all the time. It was uncanny, like he had magical powers or something."

"What happened to him?"

"The job got to him," Tseng went on, shuddering at the memory of the scientists bodies, "He went mental, kidnapping a Shinra scientist and killing the rest, he was eventually shot by a guards handgun. A lucky shot really, he was supposed to have went after Hojo but his bodyguard was too quick for him and, he killed him."

Rude stopped, this was obviously a tough memory for Tseng, and he said no more about it throughout the rest of his training.

 

"Back at last eh?" Mikel asked as Rude entered the lounge, "What did the big dudes say?"

"They just blew up over nothing really, probably the way all the meetings go around here." Rude explained.

Reno was lying back with his arms above his head staring at the ceiling, "We did pretty good back there, I thought," he thought out loud.

"Pretty good?" Mikel laughed, "You were passed out for the best part!"

"All just a rouse so I could lure the enemy into a false sense of security," Reno boasted.

"Yeah right, all after one punch as well, how did that SOLDIER manage to even get back up again?" Mikel said sarcastically.

"Hey, you know I have a weak heart, I just couldnít stand anymore, it gave out."

"More like a weak jaw," Mikel laughed.

"Hey those guys hit pretty hard," Rude admitted.

"Exactly," Reno said, sitting up, a smirk plastered across his face.

"Yeah, but you didnít go down after one punch," Mikel mocked.

"All jokes aside," Reno cut in, "How the hell did you manage to hit that guy so hard?"

"I donít know, just got really angry," Rude stated.

"Iím gonna try that in my next fight," Mikel began, before the tanoi cut him off, it was Tsengís voice.

"Will all recruits assemble in the main hall in one hour," Tseng said, "I repeat will all recruits assemble in the main hall in one hour. That is all."

"An hour?" Reno questioned, "Canít he just leave us alone? What could he want this time?"

"It could be something cool," Mikel pointed out, "Remember last time when he knocked the crap out of that guy?"

"How could we forget?" Rude muttered, "He was a little too brutal in there."

"I wouldnít say that, the guy mightíve deserved it." Reno stretched and yawned, "Anyways, heís dead now anyway."

"Whoa, wait a minute," Mikel cut in, "Heís dead, when?"

"That was the reason we where chasing those SOLDIERS, didnít you listen when we where briefed?" Reno said.

"Yeah of course I did, I just didnít know that the suspect that was shot happened to be that guy. I thought we were chasing them because they shot at Tseng." Mikel explained.

"Well now you know better," Reno stated, "next time youíre going to have to listen more when weíre briefed. After all we donít want to do something dangerous."

"Dangerous to who?" Mikel questioned.

"I donít know," Rene said as he shrugged, "Us, innocent people and the like."

"When was the last time you ever heard of Turks harming innocent people?" Rude spoke up.

"Iím sure that mistakes have been made," Reno explained, "even the Turks canít get it right 100% of the time."

"Do we have to talk about this?" Itís kinda depressing." Mikel moaned.

Reno appeared to ignore him, "Me and Mikel saw Tseng make a mistake once, he shot a woman trying to recruit us. Innocent or not she didnít deserve to die like that."

"I donít want to think about this too much." Mikel spoke, a little louder.

"Didnít Tseng even tell you why?" Rude asked, appearing to have ignored Mikel as well.

Mikel sighed, "As if youíd even listen to me anyway."

"No, just tried to cover it up as if nothing had happened." Reno explained.

"That guyís probably seen more death than anyone in the slums." Rude mused.

"Weíd better get used to it, weíre going to have to kill someday." Reno pointed out, a chill running down his spine as he said, "I already have."

Rude seemed to think about this, "Oh yeah, the live exercise that you guys did, and the SOLDIER that you shot, but letís not forget I beat that other SOLDIER to death."

"How does it feel?" Reno asked.

"Donít know, I donít really feel anything." Rude answered, "but I can take comfort in the fact that they killed one man, and attempted to kill Tseng too, at least I know that I killed a guilty man."

Mikel had given up on being heard but just listened, after the remark by Rude, he spoke up, "This is too depressing for me, and canít we talk about something else?"

Rude said, "I guess youíre right."

"Oh you mean you heard me this time?" Mikel asked sarcastically.

"Mikel," Reno said, like a parent scolding a badly behaved child, "Remember our little talk about sarcasm?"

Mikel smiled, glad that that conversation was over.

Chapter 7

"Glad you could finally make it," Gamez stated, a grin on his face.

"Here, 15 minutes early as usual, you would do well to get a life," Yen mocked.

"Honestly, what do you do for all this time anyway?" Damien asked.

"Just making sure I get here on time thatís all." Gamez explained.

"Iíll bet youíve even timed how long it takes to get down here." Damien remarked.

"Whatís wrong with that?" Gamez questioned defensively.

Rackob entered the room, his huge frame barely fitting through the door to the room. He took a seat next to Damien, who wondered if the chair was strong enough to hold the big manís weight.

Reno, Mikel and Rude entered not long afterwards, talking and laughing amongst themselves. Gamez gave Rude a harsh glance as he entered, he blamed Rude for the disappearance of Tergus and made sure he knew it every time he saw him. Rude did not return the look.

Gamez gave an audible sigh and sank back into his chair. Reno said to Rude, "Why do you take that of that weirdo?"

"Whatíd be the point starting a fight if it gets me kicked off the programme, only a few more months to go, Iíll get him when Iíve finished." Rude replied.

"Good logic, but Iíd still love to kick that guyís arse." Mikel mused.

"You take him, Iíll get Damien. That piece of crap needs another scar." Reno explained.

Damien seemed to hear them and sat forward to look at Reno, "Any time, boy."

Reno smiled, "You couldnít last 1 minute."

Yen spoke up "Leave it out Damien, heís just mad because he couldnít stomach his first kill."

Reno stiffened, Yenís words had hit home.

"Do you think you could do any better?" A voice said from behind Yen.

They all turned, Tseng was standing in the doorway, "The truth is Reno took his first and second kill like a man. Iíd like to see what youíd be like, if you ever even managed it."

Yen turned red and sunk down in his chair.

"And Reno, youíre a good recruit, but you lack the heart of Damien." Tseng stated, a perfectly level monotone in his voice.

"Finally Damien, from what you have shown me, you couldnít last one minute, Reno was right."

Damien looked angry, but he remained quiet fingering his scar. He muttered something inaudible.

Tseng made his way in front of everyone else; he held a sheet of paper in his left hand.

"First of all, I would like to congratulate all of you for making it through six months of training. You have all proved yourselves worthy; yet, I am saddened by the fact that three of you will be let go. But do not be disheartened, there are always positions opening as Shinra guards or members of the SOLDIER programme."

Damien, Yen and Gamez started to look smug, thinking that they had got into the programme. Reno looked pleased with himself, while Mikel and Rude looked slightly worried, even Rackob seemed at ease, obviously carrying on his training because of his strength.

Tseng continued, "The following have made it into the next stage of the training, Gamez." Gamez almost jumped out of his seat but he contained himself. "Mikel," Mikel looked totally gob smacked, "Rude," Rude breathed a huge sigh of relief but said nothing, "and Reno."

Reno leapt out of his chair, "Woo-hoo!" he yelled as he punched the air. His excitement was cut short, by a glare from Tseng. Damien and Yen looked like they where about to burst into tears.

"You canít do this!" Rackob yelled, rising to his feet. Those where probably the first words anyone had heard him say.

"Why not?" Tseng asked, his voice perfectly level, if he was intimidated by the large man then he did not show it.

"Iím the strongest man in this room!" Rackob explained angrily.

"True," Tseng admitted, "but you canít say that you are the smartest in the room, or the quickest in the room, you obviously canít use materia as well as anyone in this room, and you certainly are not the best shot in the room. Someone of your skill level may be better as a member of SOLDIER."

Rackob was shocked that Tseng had spoke to him like that, but he remained silent, leaving the room. Damien and Yen, as if on cue, followed the big man.

Tseng had just recently been reinstated; it had taken 20 minutes, a new record for him. Rude was also back in the programme, obviously. The President says things in the heat of the moment and regrets them later on. So in order to save face he hires people again, everyone is happy.

"Donít you think that was a little harsh?" Reno asked.

"What saying that Rackob was dumb, slow, loud and foolish? No I donít think so." Tseng replied, a sarcastic edge in his voice that rivalled even that of Mikel. "He had no right to shout out like that."

"With all due respect," Mikel said, "Rackob was probíly just upset that he didnít get into the next part of the training."

"Heíll say things like that, and then walk out anyway. If I was to not say anything he would regret shouting out. At least talking to him as I did will keep him from feeling bad about himself, true he will hate my guts for it though. But itís a price Iím willing to pay." Tseng continued, "From what we learned of him in the psychological profile speaking harshly to him will keep him working hard. He will remember my words, use them as encouragement, and will eventually become a SOLDIER: First Class, maybe even a general. His type of people always take insults as encouragement, heíll want to prove me wrong."

Rude remained silent, although jubilant about getting through the first part of his training, he was getting increasingly more nervous by the fact that Rackob, Damien and Yen where still clearly visible through the glass of the door.

"If I may continue," Tseng said clearing his throat, "I have now deemed you fit to become members of the Turks properly, most of your training from now on will be in unsupervised live exercises. The first I can explain now." He turned the piece of paper upwards, then he read it aloud to his new Turks.

"General Richard Ginoli, SOLDIER: First Class, was assaulted earlier in the week. The man responsible was Don Corneo, powerful force in the lower plate crime-world. The Don was apprehended at 6:00am this morning. We have no clue as to why Corneo would have attempted the attack," Tseng broke into a sly grin, "So as your first task as Turks you will interrogate him. It should be easy, the man has been deprived of sleep for almost 17 hours now so he will be confused, tired and irritable. An easy task for a trained Turk, especially in a first exercise. You will be split into teams of two for this exercise."

Tseng flipped the page over, written on this side where pencil notes while the other side was printed text. Tseng had condensed the text into an easy to swallow format for the young Turks, the unused text was mainly just figures and facts, available for any Turk on request.

"Reno and Rude, perform the actual interrogation. May I suggest using the clichéd ĎGood cop, Bad cop,í method. Reno, offer him anything, a bed, food, cigarettes, alcohol, ANYTHING in order to get him to talk. Rude, threaten him, beat him, use the electro-mag rod, insult him, and hurt him into talking." Tseng gave them what he thought was an encouraging smile, "Youíll be fine, just donít let on that this is your first assignment and remember what I taught you about interrogation, when in doubt, kick the shit out of him."

"Mikel and Gamez, work behind the scenes, Gamez, ensure that the interrogation equipment functions correctly. That means fix the electro-mag rod if it breaks, supply new equipment on request and even make some of your own if you think it will help." Gamez seemed relatively pleased with his task, breaking into a timid smile, "Mikel, your job is to use your materia in whatever way possible. Make the room uncomfortably warm or cold, to keep the Don in an uncomfortable state. Go into the room with Reno and Rude if necessary, to supplement Rudeís beatings with materia attacks." Tseng paused and then added, "Play nice now children, now more arguments. Tergus is gone, Gamez, get over it, Rude had nothing to do with it. Reno and Mikel, why not let Rude fight his own battles, he is as you know more than capable." Tseng coughed, though it sounded like the wordís limit and break where broken into it. "Start in a few hours, Iíll be ready at this time tomorrow to collect your final report on the task. Just an oral report, I cannot to bothered with any paperwork."

With that the meeting came to a close, Rude uttered the first words he had said throughout the entire meeting, "Guyís, the otherís are waiting outside the door."

"What?" Reno said, looking over at the door, "Nobodies there, youíre just paranoid."

Gamez wandered off without saying goodbye to anyone, he opened the door and a giant fist struck him in the face. Gamez was flung back, landing heavily on his left shoulder.

"Treacherous scum!" Damien yelled as he jumped past Rackob, landing heavily on Gamez launching a series of undisciplined punches and elbow shots. Yen darted across the room, going for Mikel originally, but Rudeís powerful fist sent Yen flying backwards into the ajar door, knocking it off its hinges and falling backwards with it. He landed heavily, the glass cutting him.

Tseng leapt forward, having a large distance to cover in a short time, he made it just in front of Rackob.

Rackob swung two fists in a huge arc, Tseng ducked easily, the fists slamming into the wall, a crack was heard from within Rackobís hands. He cried in pain.

Gamez rolled over, landing on top of Damien, his eye was swollen and his nose was bleeding. Gamez struck down hard with his right fist, while Tseng struck Rackob with an open palm shot to the chest that sent him flying back into the corridor outside.

Mikel searched for some materia while Reno ran up to Yen, grabbed him by the throat and banged him against the wall.

Rude executed a complex roll to the doorway, observing Tseng and Rackobs duel. Tseng was beating the man who was double his size with no problem, although he was cut below his left eye, just a flesh wound though.

Mikel found some materia, and cast a Cure spell on Gamez, his cutís and swellingís went down, yet the unsightly protrusion in his left shoulder remained.

Reno was beating Yen senselessly, glad to be letting loose his hatred of the skinny man. Reno used a deadly mixture of slim street fighting, and the tempered art of Turk martial arts to beat his opponent into unconsciousness. When this happened, Reno turned away letting his opponent fall to the floor, Damien was unconscious too. Gamez was walking away, holding his left shoulder.

"Much obliged," he said to Mikel without a hint of malice or sarcasm, "Your assistance was most timely."

"Er..what?" Mikel asked uncertainly.

"Thanks for your help." Gamez said.

"Right, right, I knew that." Mikel said, "Let me take a look at that shoulder, I may be able to fix it with Cure."

Gamez obligingly, rolled up the sleeves of his jacket and shirt, revealing a horrible laceration with a sickly yellow shard poking out of the skin.

Mikel almost vomited, his face turning almost white. "Get Tseng to sort it out." He muttered turning away, throwing up on the floor.

"Glad I didnít look at that." Reno said jokingly.

"Look at what?" Tseng asked walking into the room, his only wound was a slight cut on his face.

Mikel pointed it out, regaining his composure slightly, Tseng looked, Tseng immediately said, "Nasty break there, Iíll take you to the infirmary, weíll fix you up for now then after the exercise you can get proper treatment." As he led the machine minded Turk away he said to Mikel, "That was a generous use of materia, you two should get along well in your exercise."

Mikel remembered the disgusting wound and then promptly vomited on the floor again.

"Letís get a cleaner to tidy that up," Reno commented, "after all we donít want anybody to slip next another group of thugís attacks this room."

He kicked Damien heavily in the ribís, "Coz thatís all they where, just a bunch of unskilled, lower plate thugs."

Mikel smiled weakly as he lost the more carrots and peas that he was sure he hadnít eaten.

 

Rudeís fist slammed heavily on Don Corneoís left cheek. The Don spun out of his chair and landed hard on the ground face first.

"Thatíll be all Rude," Reno said, winking to Rude as he bent down next to the heavily beaten crime lord.

"This can all stop Mr. Corneo, just say the word and you can be relaxing in a nice comfy bed, with the finest plastic surgeons in Midgar working on reconstructing your face." Reno lied.

"Might want to rethink that," Gamez said through an intercom, "Youíre in a room surrounded by mirrors, the Don can see his face."

"I mean after Rudeís finished pounding it into hamburger." Reno conceded, looking over at the mirror on the wall.

Gamez and Mikel watched the interrogation through a small room on the left side of the interrogation room. They where looking through a one-way mirror designed to allow visibility of the interrogation.

Gamezís arm was in a sling, with the help of some Cure 3 spells, resetting of the splintered bone, and the use of a temporary sling, Gamez could perform the interrogation. He had to go in for some surgery afterwards though, and his arm hurt like hell.

Mikel sat on a chair with his feet propped up on the desk, he also had an intercom but that was for Rude to tell him when it should be colder or hotter in the room, or if his presence was needed for a magical attack.

"Thatís fine," The Don said, a grin on his face, "What do you want to know?"

"I canít believe you started beating the crap out of him without even asking him a question." Mikel laughed over the intercom.

"I thought it would help to soften him a up a bit," Rude explained, with a smile on his face, "Besides I didnít like his grin."

"First of all you can tell us why you where in this building in the first place." Reno said, helping the fat man to his feet.

"Thatís easy, I merely had a complaint about my electricity supply." Corneo explained, grinning.

"Whack him again Rude heís lying." Mikel instructed coldly.

Rude nodded and kicked the Don full force in the chin, he fell backwards again.

"Rude was that really necessary?" Reno asked, he then mouthed the words, "Nice work."

"How do you know heís lying?" Gamez asked Mikel, "apart from the fact that we know it was him trying to kill the general?"

"Trust me, Iíve met his type before. At my orphanage the head was a lying git, I figured how to read people in there. This guy hides behind his grin and I think we will see him grin more when he lies. Must be overacting, trying to make us think that heís telling the truth all the time. After a while heíll give up and start talking Iím sure of it."

"Iíll take your word for it." Conceded Gamez.

The conversation had moved on to another topic.

"So you are suggesting that a well-respected General in the Shinra army has his own private army, and uses it for criminal purposes?" Reno asked in disbelief. He motioned for Rude to punch again.

"Wait!" Mikel said, "Heís telling the truth, I know it."

Rude shook his head, indicating that torture was not an option for this topic.

"So, if this was true, how would you know?" Reno asked.

"Well, since I work in a nightclub, I hear all kinds of things. This came straight out of his mouth." Corneo explained.

"Rude, hit him." Mikel instructed.

Rude swung his fist around in an arc, knocking the Don down again.

"That is a lie." Rude said in a level voice, "We know about your criminal organisation in Sector 6, and about your prostitution network in all the other Sectorís of the slums. We even have you accused of over 50 different murders of young women. We could at any moment tell the police of this, so youíd better stop with all of these stories. Answer us straight or Iíll start with the heavy stuff."

"Wow," Gamez muttered, "Thatís the first time Iíve ever seen him say more than three words."

Mikel glared at him.

"OK, Iíll tell you, but first off it was more like 25 women."

Rude kicked Don Corneo heavily on the chin, slamming him hard against the wall. The Don still grinned.

"Iíve had it with that grin." Rude said, with a voice of pure anger.

Rude then appeared to go mad, his body flashed again.

"Rude stop!" Mikel yelled.

"Rude, calm down a little." Reno tried, "itís not time for that yet."

Rude appeared to stop and concentrate for a great amount of time, breathing heavily. Finally the light surrounding him disappeared. At least the Donís grin had disappeared.

Rude turned away, back kicking the Don in his ample gut as he turned, Corneo bent down clutching his stomach. Rude gave the mirror an apologetic look.

"Now Mr. Corneo you where about to tell us something?" Reno asked.

Don Corneo appeared mesmerised, he shook himself out of it and turned to Reno, for the first time he had no grin on his face.

"Yes, of course." Don Corneo stated, giving Rude a look of fear and confusion, Rude took a step toward him and the Don turned away.

"Firstly Ricky Ginoliís job is not a general, at least that is not his main job. He is actually the most powerful crime lord in the lower plate. He owns huge portions of the underworld, mainly due to the fact that no one will mess with someone who has SOLDIER on his side. He has recently begun to have plans to move into crime in the upper plate. Already organising muggings, thefts, prostitution, drug-deals, protection and gambling. The people on the upper plate have been easy to influence than those on the lower plate. Probably due to the fact that they have probably never seen anything like this before. After all there is no crime on the upper plate. His main connection to the upper plate is a man named Sunaki; he owns a warehouse in the sector 3 slums. He also can import cheap heroin, and most importantly smuggle people, criminals, muggers, gangsters and assassins, onto the upper plate in his delivery trucks."

"That must be where that truck must have came from." Reno mused.

"What truck?" Don Corneo asked.

"Shut up!" Rude yelled, smacking the Don with a weak left handed punch, but it was enough to knock the fat manís head to one side.

"Relax Rude." Mikel said, "Let the man talk, heís on a roll here, I didnít think it would be this easy."

The Don continued, "Anyway, Sunaki arranges for all the new criminals to be sent to the upper plate, he even pretends that he is the crime-lord, diverting the heat from Ricky. I believe that you people brought Sunaki into interrogation a while ago?"

"Thatís true, a little tough to break." Reno explained.

"Of course he would be. He feared that one day Ricky Ginoli would find out about his money laundering. I suppose I should explain." The Don sighed seeing his interrogators blank faces.

"Sunaki a percentage of the profits from the operations. A little more than his cut. Only a little so it wouldnít be noticed, just a little every now and then. He would never talk about his boss, to anyone, just in case somehow Ginoli was connected, waiting to hear this. When you Turks got him, he must have thought Ginoli had found out and was punishing him."

"I donít think thatís it." Reno interrupted, " he wouldnít even tell us who he worked for."

"Probably because he thought you where trying to break him down with questions. Hoo-hoo, he was paranoid. He always thought everyone was out to get him."

"Well thatís just, hey, hang on, how would you know this when Ricky Ginoli didnít even know." Reno suddenly realised this.

Reno indicated that Rude should begin with the heavy stuff, Mikel said it was alright. Rude drew the electro-mag rod.

"Whatís that for? UGGGHHHH!" The Don screamed as the white-hot electricity coursed through his body.

The smell of burnt flesh filled the room. The Don gasped heavily.

"OK, I didnít know," Corneo spoke when he got his breath back, "I was just trying to pad out the facts a little. I did have an inclining that he was stealing, I just couldnít prove it. Really I donít know why he was so hard to interrogate."

Mikel gave the all clear that this was truth and the Don continued.

"Anyway with Sunaki gone, Ginoli had no choice but to organise the operation himself. Buying Sunakiís warehouses and trucks and pretending to be delivering material to the upper plate, when really he was delivering drugs and criminals. This system worked well as he knew the schedules of the guards on the plate and he knew when the most gullible and lazy where on guard of the upper plate entrances. To be honest, I donít know why he didnít just remove all guards for a few hours and go to massive delivery."

"Well now that you are cooperating." Reno said, he offered the Don a cigarette. The Don took it gingerly, Reno lit it for him while Rude feigned a look of disgust, daring the Don to try anything.

The Don now spoke between puffs of his cigarette. "Anyway, Ginoli also wanted complete control of the lower plate crime world. So he had allied himself with other crime lords, he attempted to sign me up as well, but I chose not to." The Don proudly stated, "In retaliation he shot up one of my clubs."

"Lying," Mikel said.

Rude pulled his arm back to swing a punch but the Don screamed, "OK! OK! He torched it down."

Rude relaxed again, "Jesus, whatís the matter with you people? Anyway, I was in the building that day in order to get vengeance, hoping to just kill him and eventually take his empire from him. But, I neglected to think that he is a SOLDIER as well so he easily defeated me and called guards. I escaped with materia and then you apprehended me. Thatís all I know, I swear, beat me all you want, I donít know anymore."

"Donít tempt me." Rude muttered.

"Well thank you Corneo, did you get all that Gamez?" Reno spoke through his intercom, loud enough to be heard by the Don.

"WHAT!" The Don screamed. Rude hit him in the mouth, hard.

"We taped the whole thing, now if you donít cooperate, weíll tell the General, Iím sure heíll have a lot to say and clubs to destroy if he finds out that you squealed." Reno changed character from a good cop, to a Turk. Turks where always bad.

"You wouldnít," The Don stuttered, unsure his grin turning into a look of dread.

"Try us," Rude cut in, "Mikel send Tseng in, itís time for us to negotiate some other offer."

"Sure thing dude, nice work by the way." Mikel said happily. He then pushed a button on his intercom, "Tseng, Reno has got the Don in a good bargaining position. We think you should come down to help us out."

"Has he talked?" Tseng asked.

"Yep, told us the whole story, youíll love it."

"Iíll be right down, Iíve got something in mind for him to give us."

Chapter 8

Tseng walked out of the interrogation room an hour later. He had smug look on his face. Behind him walked Don Corneo his face hammered and beaten, his grin slowly returning. He saw Rude giving him a threatening glance and turned away, wiping the grin off his face.

"What did you get?" Reno asked Tseng after Don Corneo was escorted away.

"What did I get? It was you who performed the interrogation I merely decided what services the Don can offer us."

"Yeah, okay, what did we get then?"

Tseng paused, "Our plan was originally to simply execute Don Corneo, he is more trouble that he is worth. However, after you blackmailed him, our objectives changed. We instead wanted to find out what this crime lord can do for us. Think about it, what have the Turks been trying to do for years now?"

"Protect the science department?" Rude guessed.

"No,"

"Get a key to the executive washroom?" Reno guessed.

"No, believe it or not getting a key to the executive washroom is not in our list of long-term priorities. Besides, we donít have an executive washroom."

"Youíve been trying to wipe-out organised crime on the lower plate." Gamez said, completely sure of himself.

Tseng nodded, "We have now won sector 6 back for Shinra. That sector is no longer in control of Don Corneo."

"How?" Mikel asked.

"After you left," Tseng began, "I began to ask him what he would do in order to absolve himself of all crimes against Shinra and Ricky Ginoli. He began to suggest offering money to us, then offering drugs, women, guns, anything illegal. Finally he suggested that he offer us his own troops."

"At first this did not appeal to me. But eventually, I began to plan on how this could be useful. I put forward the idea that his men become our spy force in Sector 6. Don Corneo can still keep control on the surface of things, but in reality the sector is under our control. Don Corneo is now a puppet for Shinra. Technically, he is on the Shinra payroll as long as he doesnít perform any activities that might discredit the company. As well as the fact that his operations now have full Shinra and SOLDIER support. Shinra has nothing to do with anything illegal naturally; after all it is our laws we would be breaking. So instead the Don will make his money Ďratting out,í rebellious factions in Sector 6, and they our numerous."

"So what you are saying is that Don Corneo now works for us," Reno said wearily.

"Correct,"

"Thanks, cleared up a lot for me."

"Just one more thing," Tseng turned to Reno as he was walking off, "You didnít tape the conversation did you?"

"Of course not," Reno laughed, "itís all up here." Reno tapped his head.

 

"What happened?" Rude leaned up in his bed, his head felt like it had just been pounded through with a sledgehammer, his eyes could not focus and his mouth tasted of vomit.

Rude pulled back the covers and sat up. He laid his head in his hands, as if that would stop the pain. Something felt wrong.

Rude quickly ran off to the mirror in his bathroom.

"Uh-oh," he muttered, eyeing his reflection.

 

Rude flung open the door, Reno was lying on the floor and Mikel lay on the couch. When they saw him they began to stifle a laugh, but eventually it penetrated through, Reno and Mikel where laughing whole-heartedly.

"What the hell happened last night!" Rude shouted, not finding it the least bit amusing.

"Sure, Iíll tell you bald, I mean all, I mean bald the story." Reno laughed.

"Damn it Reno!"

Rude looked at his reflection in the window, "What am I going to do now?"

"Well if this job at the Turks doesnít work out you could always get a job as a light bulb, I can just see it now." Reno did his best impression of a light bulb, then began to laugh again.

Rude ignored him and moved closer to his reflection, all his hair had been shaved off, by who he did not know.

"What happened last night?" Rude asked a little quieter, Mikel spoke before Reno could make another remark.

"We all came back from that bar at around 1:00 and we thought it would be a good idea if we crashed here. Thatís why weíre here right now in case you are wondering. A little later we all thought how much fun it would be if we all shaved off your hair."

"Why would you do such a thing?"

"It was your idea." Reno cut in.

Mikel started laughing again, Reno also couldnít contain himself. Rude gave them a look of pure hatred. But after about five minutes his look melted down and into a slight smile. Within another few minutes he was laughing with them.

 

"Oh itís you, come in then sir." Mara greeted her guest.

"Thank you." The man said, "I have some information regarding your son."

"Whatís happened to him?" Mara asked, her eyes filling with a look of fear.

"Nothing, donít worry." The man was tall, pale and had black hair, just like when he had arrived a while ago.

"He actually wanted to give you this."

The man produced a Desert Eagle as fast as Maraís eyes could follow, before she could cry out she had been shot in the head, instantly dying.

 

"There you are." Tseng called out as he ran up to Reno, Rude and Mikel, he paused, "Rude, what happened to you hair."

"I decided I looked better with it shaved off." Mikel and Reno gave a chuckle, still unable to get over how ridiculous Rude looked.

Tseng turned his eyes away from Rudeís baldhead and said, "The next stage of your training is underway. I will have it sorted for you on Wednesday. Until then you are free to wander wherever you want."

Tseng abruptly walked off, he hated this part of the training programme, it usually involved a lot of wasted life, but at least he could get better Turks out of it. After all, they would have to face it sooner or later, better to get it out of the way now.

 

The storm raged outside President Shinraís window. Torrential rain, lightening and thunder. In a way it was more relaxing than the opera music that played in the background.

As usual the President was hard at work checking through some finance reports, and as usual he had made an enormous profit, even if he included the money for elevator repairs from that unfortunate accident the other day.

President Shinra loved money. He loved it more than his company, he loved it more than his friends (all 3 of them), he loved it more than his wife (who was at that moment sleeping with Bob from Sales), and he loved it more than his own son, Rufus.

In the Presidents eyes there was never enough money for him, he wanted money for moneyís sake rather than the comfort and protection it brought. It gave a man power, in todayís society a personís social standing was based on the size of their wallets.

Of course, the President made charitable donations (approximately 3 gil a year donated to his companies insurance policy, loopholes in the finance section meant that eventually 2 gil of this was returned to him, and there was a 1 gil subsidy required in order to get this money into the insurance policy). The President also gave a lot of his money to his family, (in fact all he did was buy a huge mansion a stones throw from Shinra headquarters and provide his family with anything material that they wanted).

The President took a long drag on his cigar, and a sip from his glass of red wine. Then he settled back in to his work (actually it was more like pleasure for this greedy, profit obsessed megalomaniac).

There was a knock at his door, "Come," the President called gruffly.

"Hello sir," Tseng greeted as he walked into the office, "You wanted me for something?"

"Ah yes, have a seat Tseng." The President pointed to a velvet lined wooden chair in front of his desk. "I would like to thank you on behalf of the company for winning the first battle in our war against organised crime." Oh god heís been rehearsing this, Tseng thought as he grinned inanely at the Presidentís words "Getting a whole sector in a nights work without killing anyone. Once again the Turks have proven to be an incredible asset in this company."

Strange thing to say, Tseng thought, after all Iíve only just been re-hired after getting sacked for probably the hundredth time.

"Thank you sir." Tseng said, using his best corporate suck up voice. "But it wasnít me that did the work. It was my recruits."

"Was it?" The President asked sounding uninterested, "Send them in Iíll have to thank them then, you can go now."

Within a few minutes, Reno, Mikel, Rude and Gamez walked in, looking like lambs being led to the slaughter.

"Well, you must be the four who won back Sector 6 from Don Corneo, take a seat."

The Turks hurriedly sat down, all except Reno looked terrified, Reno had the same look on his face that he always had.

"I would like to thank you on behalf of the company for winning the first battle in our war against organised crime. Getting a whole sector in a nights work without killing anyone. Once again the Turks have proven to be an incredible asset in this company."

"Thank you Mr. President," Gamez intoned, not needing much help with a suck-up voice. The others tried not to cringe.

The President looked Gamez up and down, "You are the boy with the broken shoulder, how is that healing by the way."

"Oh itís fine, your doctors did a superb job, truly amazing work performed by amazing people working for an amazing man."

"Give it a break Gamez!" Reno interrupted, "The man doesnít want to hear about how wonderful life is in his own company."

"You must be Reno." The President said in a voice that said that he was not amused by Renoís words. The President personally loved hearing how wonderful his company is. "Iíve heard a lot about you, although you have no respect for authority you are rumoured to be a competent man. I hope you wont disappoint me with any reckless moves."

Reno nodded.

No one else dared make a move, the President just stared at them in silence.

"Well weíd best be going," Rude said, wanting to break this god awful moment of painful silence.

Before they could leave a man of about Rudeís age walked through the door. He had auburn hair and was white skinned. He looked strikingly like the President except the young man was a lot slimmer.

"Dad, Iíve done all of that paperwork, is there much else you want me to do tonight, mother wanted me home by eleven and now itís twelve." The young man spoke in a voice clearly schooled in pronunciation and etiquette.

"Ah, Rufus, Iíd like you to meet Reno, Gamez, Rude and, sorry young man I donít know your name." The president said, ignoring his sonís comment.

"Mikel," Mikel informed the President, who ignored him totally.

"Nice to meet you," Rufus stated, clearly bored and uninterested, "Now can I go home?"

"Yes, yes of course, Iíll be staying late again."

"What do you have to do this time?" Rufus asked his father.

"Never you mind," President Shinra said, "Now go."

Rufus walked off, "Was there something else you wanted?" The President asked the Turks.

"No sir," Gamez replied.

"Good, now off you go."

The President returned to his paperwork. Losing himself in the gil, the profits and the cold, hard cash, truly it was heaven.

 

Rufus walked home in the storm, stupid, greedy old man, he thought. One day Itíll be me in charge of this company and Iíll do things a little differently.

Rufus was neglected as a child, it was true his parents spoilt him but his father worked too much and his mother was more concerned with hob-nobbing with the Midgar social climbers. Rufus did not know anybody his own age, he was home schooled and before he could leave home he was forced into a job at Shinra, he was the new vice president.

His father had unwittingly put his son in a position of such high responsibility that Rufus could never leave the company. He had no friends and nobody to talk to, neglected by both parents and unable to reach the outside world.

He longed to see the slums, to clean them up in order to improve Midgars image. He often dreamt about visiting Kalm, where people worked hard but where happy. Sadly he could never leave his job.

Rufus walked on getting soaked by the rain, he didnít see the young boy as he jumped out of the shadows at him, brandishing a knife.

"You there! Give me your gil and material, now!" The young boy yelled.

Rufus smiled, "You want my money, why certainly, here you go." He thrust his hand into his pocket and quickly flung a handful of shiny coins at his adversary.

While the mugger was distracted Rufus tackled him to the ground wrenching the knife from his hand and cutting the boy across the face.

The mugger kicked up, but Rufus was stronger than he looked and remained on top. Rufus quickly assaulted the mugger with a flurry of fist and elbow strikes. By the time he was finished, the mugger was unconscious with his right eye swollen over, his nose broken and his left eye blackened.

Rufus got up and smiled, heíd learnt his lesson, Rufus thought. Rufus walked on smiling, he had gotten over a lot of the fury of being alone by simply beating on that mugger. Heíd have to start fighting more often.

 

Reno stared directly in front of him, all his energy concentrated on his enemy. He desperately wished for his materia, for what reason he didnít know, but he thought his Turk training would help him find a way.

"I give up," Reno said in frustration sinking back into his chair. "What number was it?"

"Seven and a half," Mikel side with a smirk, "I win again."

"Seven and a half, you canít do that,"

"We didnít discuss the use of fractions in this game," Mikel pointed out smugly.

"Even so, seven and a half is not a number."

Mikel saw an opportunity to win an argument with his friend for once and retorted, "Not a number, then what is it, a letter?"

Reno just gave a grunt in frustration and tossed a 1-gil coin down onto the table.

"OK," Rude began, "Is that really how you spent your days in the slums?"

"Yep," Mikel answered, counting up all of his earnings.

"No offence but that game really sucks,"

"What did you expect us to do, play a rousing game of backgammon with stones?" Reno retorted sarcastically.

"Even so, couldnít you have thought of anything better to do with your time?"

"We did," Mikel explained, "We drank, very heavily, we also picked pockets, conned and begged for any money to spend on cheap booze. You have no idea how much fun playing guess the number is when the blood is just getting back into your alcohol stream."

"So what did you do when you where sober?" Rude asked. Reno laughed.

At that moment Tseng entered the lounge, "Good afternoon," he said, "Just coming to inform you that Gamezís operation was a success, he should be back in action in no time at all."

"Great," Mikel said sarcastically. "Canít you just break his other shoulder?"

Tseng gave a slight humourless chuckle, "No, you can go and see him if you want and on the way I can explain the finer points of what happened."

Reno hopped off his chair, "Well I for one want to visit my good friend Gamez."

Mikel raised an eyebrow at this, "You want to visit Gamez or you just want to hear about how gruesome the surgery was."

"Well its like killing two birds with one stone," Reno replied, "Now can you show us where he is?"

"Of course, just follow me." Tseng motioned for the recruits to follow him, at first only Reno went, but he was soon followed by Rude and Mikel, who was looking none to thrilled about the prospect of seeing the annoying, intellectual mechanic again.

When they caught up with Tseng and Reno, Tseng was explaining the procedure, they first heard Tseng saying, "Ödevised by Hojo, head of the science department. It has been tested on a live subject who survived,"

"Which is saying a lot, considering what Iíve heard about Hojoís experiments." Reno said ruefully.

Tseng continued on, worried about how Reno came across this information and also how Reno could still want to be in the Turks after hearing it. "Well anyway what has happened is that Gamezís shoulder and arm will be placed in a special kind of cast/arm protector with cybernetic muscle enhancing features." Seeing the vacant look in Mikel and Renoís eyes he restated this, "Basically itís a big metal arm that improves Gamezís strength and speed with his right arm, it has to be perfectly grafted on as that was the worst break that our doctors had ever seen. It can provide greater support than a sling, which would have to be permanently worn otherwise."

"So youíve gone and given him a great big metal arm without his say-so?" Reno asked.

"No he agreed first, he preferred this to be being taken out of the Turks due to ill health."

They reached the recovery room in the Shinra building a little while later. Gamez was sitting up in bed tinkering with the outer casing of the big steel arm that now extended from his right shoulder.

The young Turks gasped when they saw the arm. It was like something out of a cheesy sci-fi movie. It was made of a shiny metal, steel or titanium and had an oversized hand; the hand had a large hole on the palm, for what purpose the Turks could not even guess.

"You seem rather more awake than I expected, especially after going through surgery." Was the first thing Reno said.

Gamez just shrugged and said, "It must be all of those Cure spells they where using, after all, I did have the worst break they had ever seen." Gamez added the last part rather proudly, he seemed quite pleased with himself for getting seriously injured, which Rude didnít seem to understand at all. "Anyway," Gamez said, changing the subject, "all in the line of duty."

Rude seemed uncomfortable here for some reason, and he turned away from the others as they talked amongst themselves. He shut it out, it was now merely a murmur in the background as the Young Turk watched the city below.

He could see the upper plate lit by thousands of lights, towering above everything was the Shinra building, not far away from the Turks training area, Rude had to crane his neck upward, and even then he could not see the upper floors. Tseng had slipped out quietly without saying a word, Rude was unsure how long he had been gone.

"Rude!" Reno shouted, which made Rudeís head spin round to see the brown-haired Turk.

"What are you doing?" Reno asked, Mikel and Gamez still talked in the background, oblivious to the other two.

"Nothing," Rude replied, "Just looking out the window."

"Anything particularly interesting going on out there?" Reno asked with his usual sardonic tone.

"Not really," Rude said with a shrug, he felt something else must be added so he said, "It still looks unreal, the Shinra building I mean."

"I know. Youíd think a building that size would weigh down the plate wouldnít you?"

Rude glanced back outside again, "I wonder how they built that thing anyway."

"Who knows, magic probably." Reno stated.

At that point a doctor came in, pale-skinned with beady eyes behind circular glasses. Rude recognised the man as Hojo, but Mikel and Reno thought he was just a normal Shinra doctor.

"How is the arm feeling?" Hojo asked bluntly, seeming to ignore the others in the room.

"Itís fine." Gamez replied, "It just seems rather heavy."

"It should do that for a while until you get used to the extra strength the arm can give you. Have you felt strange at all?" The Scientist asked.

"Not any stranger than usual, why?"

Hojo turned away, speaking to Gamez with his back turned. He had a high-pitched voice, one that would grate on a personís nerve after prolonged exposure. "Well you are only the second person to take the procedure, and the first, went slightly insane at around this time."

Before Gamez could say anything Reno blurted out, "Are you saying that Gamez tried an experimental procedure that has only been tested once, and that one person went nuts?"

Hojo wheeled around and appeared to notice the Turk for the first time, "Well thatís pretty much the gist of what I was saying."

"He canít do that," Mikel thought out loud, he turned to the others "Can he?"

"Itís ok," Gamez said, "I agreed to this myself. I knew the risks."

"Why?" Rude asked, "Why would you want to do this if your sanity was at risk."

"Well it was either that or get thrown out of the Turks, better to undergo this operation than be sent back to the slums" Gamez looked up at Rude. "What did you do to your hair?"

"I shaved it off," Rude said, then adding, "and anyway why would you be sent back to the slums?"

Reno answered, "Didnít you listen to Tseng on the way down? He said that if Gamez didnít have this operation then he would have to spend the rest of his life in a sling. Doesnít anyone pay attention around here?"

Hojo gave the other Turks a glare and then said, "Well Gamez, just try to relax, your body is just getting used to having the cybernetics inside of it. That maybe what caused the madness last time around, as the subject was under a lot ofÖ.. stress, so to speak. Plus he was taking a lot of other experiments which may have caused his insanity."

"How would you know this anyway?" Mikel asked, unaware of who this man was.

Hojo just laughed, it seemed totally devoid of humour or any kind of emotion at all. "Iím a very important man in the Shinra science division," Hojo laughed again, "a very important man."

Hojo walked out, slamming the door behind him. The room fell into total silence.

Then Reno spoke up, "Weirdo."

 

Tseng walked down the hallway to the interrogation room in the Shinra building. People where just leaving for the night, going down to the local bars and clubs, the workers often did this, as those that worked the night shift often did not have much of a home life. Thatís why they worked the night shift. Still the building would be quiet again by the time Tseng was finished with the interrogation.

The Turk checked his watch, 2:35. He seemed to be working later and later each day, and he still had a lot more to do before he finished. Being a Turk was no 9-5 job.

Tseng opened the door to the interrogation room, it was small room, devoid of mirrors or hidden windows. This was built in order to hold discreet and confidential interrogations. Inside the room sat Rackob.

"Well Rackob, what have you got to say for yourself?" Tseng began, shutting the door behind him.

Rackob waited until the door was shut before saying, "Late as ever I see, Iíve been in here for ages."

"Sorry, but I had other engagements."

Rackob reached up to his shaggy, poorly groomed beard, and pulled it straight off. Then he pulled off the wig that gave the illusion of long, unkempt hair. "I donít know why you make me wear this disguise, after all none of the other Turk recruits know me." Rackob observed.

"You needed to look like you were from the lower plate, and besides," Tseng added, "you cannot afford to be careless in this line of work, as you know."

Rackob nodded in response to this, "Have you got my stuff?"

Tseng reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out an ornate Desert Eagle pistol, similar to Tsengís, that each Turk receives once they have been fully trained. Tseng then reached in again and produced a Turk standard issue ĎQuicksilver,í 9mm pistol.

"The big weapon is in your locker." Tseng said, "As well as your uniform and your personal effects. But before you go, there is still the matter of the breaking of Gamezís shoulder."

Rackob shrugged, "I just hit him like you told me to, I didnít know he was too weak to take a punch."

Tseng grabbed Rackob by the neck of his jacket and tossed him into the wall with one hand and with relative ease, turning the table over in the process.

"What the hell was that f-," Rackobís sentence was cut short by the stinging kick to the face.

"Let me just make one thing clear to you," Tseng stated calmly as he lifted Rackob up again and drove him hard against the other wall, Rackob did not retaliate, instead he seemed intimidated by Tseng.

"You do not under any circumstances call any of my recruits weak, they were trained by me after all, following the same training procedures as you. Plus, Gamez is barely even half you size, and you are also Mako enhanced. Do I make my position clear?" Tseng had spoken in a soft calm voice but it was hard to not be intimidated by his cold blue eyes and their icy stare.

Rackob nodded and Tseng stepped back. Tseng spoke again this time more sternly. "Don Corneo told me a lot more than he told the younger Turks. How much where you paid Rackob?"

Rackob gave Tseng his best innocent look, "What do you mean?"

Tseng sighed "I donít want to have to do this again, but you leave me no choice."

Tseng quickly kicked the large Turk in the stomach which forced him to keel over, Tseng then delivered a punishing knife hand chop to the back of Rackobís throat, who collapsed in a heap on the floor.

"This technically is an interrogation." Tseng reminded Rackob, "you of course know the methods of Turk Ďpersuasioní, now why donít you just tell me what the General did for you and why he wants to sabotage the training, before things start to get really ugly."

Rackob groaned and rolled onto his back, rubbing the back of his neck. "You donít get it do you?" Rackob said weakly, "This whole thing goes deeper than you could ever imagine."

Tseng couldnít believe what he was hearing, yet he tried to look as cool as possible. "What whole thing?" Tseng asked, hoping to finally get some information about the General. Half of the Turk wanted to put down thoughts of finding anything else, after all, Rackob might by talking about something else.

Before an answer could be given Rackob rolled to the side, grabbed his gun from the table and sat up in a crouched position.

Rackob pointed the gun at Tseng, who looked as passive as ever, unfazed by the oversized gun pointed at him.

"Iíve wanted to do this for a long time." Rackob gloated, he pulled the trigger. There was a click. "What the-?"

Rackob couldnít finish his sentence. Quick as a flash, Tseng drew his own pistol and fired, hitting Rackob in his right shoulder. Rackobís muscle-bound body and Mako enhancement, provided a strong form of natural Ďbody armour,í which allowed him to ignore most of the damage done by the shot. But the bullet had struck exposed flesh, causing a lot of pain.

Rackob gave a cry of rage, and dived at his enemy. Tseng fired three more bullets, each one dodged quickly, inhumanly fast, especially for such a big man.

The large Turk was now within striking distance, he still held the gun in his hand, although unloaded, and it provided Rackob with a striking weapon, which he now swung in a downwards-diagonal attack, which Tseng evaded with a quick twist to the side.

Now at close range, Tseng had a better chance of hitting his target, especially considering how it was so big. He fired again, Rackob sidestepped, taking only a scratch across the right side of his abdomen. Hardly noticeable for the giant man.

Rackob swung wildly again, fists flying uncontrollably, Tseng tried his best to evade this erratic attack, but he failed miserably, getting knocked to the side by a strong punch to the head.

The momentum now belonged to Rackob as he tried to wrench the loaded gun from Tsengís hand. This resulted in a battle off strength, which Tseng had no hope of winning.

Rackob aimed the gun at his opponentís head. His finger squeezed the trigger but he couldnít get a shot off. Tseng sprung forward, using the wall for leverage, this provided more than enough energy for the kick to Rackobís left kneecap.

The weight of the former Turks massive body came crashing down on the left side of his body, the shot from the gun hitting the wall. Rackob hit the ground hard, dropping Tsengís pistol as he hit the ground.

His hand reached for it but Tsengís foot came crashing down on it. It was the one he had wounded previously in the fight with the Turk recruits, and Rackob now felt an immense pain in his hand, there was some cracking noises as Tseng bent down to pick up the gun. As slowly as possible in order to cause the most pain to his enemy.

Tseng released his grip on Rackobís hand, much to the large mans relief. Rackob rolled over, clutching his injured hand. Tseng dispassionately stood over him, aiming the gun at his chest.

"They say that the worst place to be shot is in the stomach." Tseng said, almost as though he was in a conversation, not as though he had just finished fighting. "The bullet rends the flesh surrounding the stomach, releasing massive amounts of blood to the top of the wound. If the sufferer is left unattended then they die a slowly in immense agony, bleeding to death, after a while it hurts to breathe. Then you stop, not that it helps much, and the pain is too extreme. When death finally comes it is a relief." Tseng pointed the gun at the mans gut, "Now would be so kind as to tell me how you where paid?"

"Go to hell." Rackob said defiantly.

Rackob screamed wildly as the bullet ripped the flesh of his stomach. Tseng sat down on a chair laying the gun on the table.

"Iím sorry I had to do that," Tseng stated. "Iím also sorry about what I will have to do to your wife and child."

"What?" Rackob gasped, clutching his stomach. He then let out another blood curdling scream.

"Itís just a bullet lodging itself inside your stomach muscles, trust me the worst pain comes later." Tseng sat back, "You where sloppy, Turks must never have emotional attachments, no wife, no kids, no family, only your fellow Turks, who you have betrayed. All I have to do is say the word and SOLDIERS will have them executed, as slowly and as painfully as you are dying now, perhaps more so. Ready to talk yet?"

Rackob cursed loudly, and screamed.

Tseng sighed and picked up his gun, green light flowed from it and through the Turks hand, then being released it began to knit the wounds on Rackobís body together. Rackob stopped screaming and sat up slowly as he still felt immense pain, even after the Cure spell.

"OK," Rackob slowly said, "The Turks are in danger of being cut from Shinraís budget as you know. There are too few members for them to be effective anymore. I-I wanted to leave the Turks, but I knew that it was impossible. I never did anything anymore, just baby-sit a bunch of kids. Then Ricky came to me, he said that all I had to do to leave the Turks is sabotage your training scheme from within. As if I was gone, and your recruits where unable to become fully fledged Turks, then only you would be left. The Turks would be abandoned for sure."

"Why does Ricky want the Turks to be abandoned?"

"He said that sooner or later he would be exposed, the Turks would gradually uncover his operations. Sunaki, his most trusted employee tried to attack you first, I was told. He laid a trap for you in the form of a mugger, he knew that you would eventually come to him. As it happens you got him before he could damage you. Sunaki was a fanatic, he truly believed in Ginoliís goals."

"What goals?" Tseng asked. "The man is a criminal."

"You donít know? He is working on bringing Shinra down from the inside. I donít know why. He just said that the Turks are the only ones who could stop him."

"If that was the case, then why did he come to you, knowing full well that you where a Turk?"

Rackob hesitated, "He forced me. He told me that if I ever wanted to see my family again then I had to work for him. You where right Tseng I was foolish to even think of starting a family, like you said, Turks must have no emotional baggage that enemies can use against them."

Rackob then broke down and cried, Tseng waited patiently for him to stop.

"Well there is no way you can stay in the Turks." Tseng informed him. "But I doubt whether killing you would do much good, it would prove nothing. Find another job, one that allows your Turk training to be fully utilised. Leave town as well, that way no one can get to your family again. I apologise for injuring you."

Rackob nodded, "Thank you." He said finally, leaving, closing the door quietly.

 

Reno twirled his pistol around on his finger as he waited impatiently for Tseng to arrive. Rude, who was sat on his right seemed content to just wait, while Mikel on Renoís sat with his hands behind his head, relaxing.

"Always late," Reno muttered as he slid the ĎQuicksilver,í pistol back into its holster, he grew bored with playing with it. "Anyway, you guys are pretty quiet. What are you thinking about?"

Rude just mumbled in response.

"Give it a rest Reno, weíre all waiting here, canít you just relax for once?" Mikel asked.

"Whatís gotten into you today? Youíve been unusually moody today even for you, get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning did we?"

Mikel turned his head, not moving the rest of his body. "Where you born this annoying or did you take classes in irritation?"

"Thatís the Mikel we all know and love!" Reno said triumphantly, "Well the one we all know anyway."

Gamez then walked in, his artificial arm still attached.

"Good day." He greeted sitting down next to Mikel. "How is everyone this fine morning?"

"Positively jumping with joy Gamez, canít you see me?" Reno remarked sarcastically, "I did a merry jig a while ago, you only just missed it."

Gamez was about to reply but then Tseng walked in.

He stood in front of everyone else. "Youíve finally reached your next live exercise."

The Turks sat up, listening intently to Tsengís words.

"If you remember correctly, Don Corneo said that Richard Ginoli runs shipments to the upper plate every now and again. He follows no set course, sending shipments whenever he can in order to stop Shinra from guessing the pattern. He does a good job, but Corneoís spies have informed us that he will be making another delivery tonight, through the slums of Sector 3 of the Midgar slums."

Reno stood up and asked a question, "Why donít we just go to Ginoli and kill him? We know where he works after all."

"Good question," Tseng answered, "We do know where he works, but I have spoken to Heiddegar on the matter and he says that we need Iron clad proof that Ricky Ginoli runs a vast criminal empire. Even after we provide evidence, bringing down a General is a difficult task. Besides, his followers are fanatical, if we assassinate him, another, possibly even worse crime lord could rise up. After all it is better to deal with the Devil we know."

Reno nodded, considering his question answered.

"We will lay a trap for him," Tseng went on, "You will wait in the security booth and ambush his men, taking the truck plus any other proof you can find. You can start preparing at around 8:00pm, the truck will not pass through the gate until 10 so you should have enough time to get what you need. Iíve spoken to Hojo, you can take as many SOLDIERS with you as you need. But we donít expect there to be more than 12 men on the truck, including the driver. We do know however that as well as materia the truck contains drugs. Mikel and Reno have been on a mission similar to this before, so you two will lead the others. I advise you to talk to Hojo, he will most likely be in his lab in the Shinra building. He is expecting you, you can get him to provide you with as many SOLDIERS as you desire. This is a dangerous mission, try not to die."

 

"Yo, check this out!" Mikel called to the rest of the Turks as he looked away from the storage pod.

"What is it?" Reno asked impatiently, if they where going to ask Hojo about getting support on their mission they would have to hurry.

Mikel motioned for his friend to look in the pod; Reno lifted his head and looked in.

"WHOA!!! This womanís got no head!" He cried, removing his face quickly.

"Donít overreact," Gamez said as he began to look in. "Itís probably just an optical illusion or something- Holy CRAP!" He looked away in discuss, "Is that, a tentacle?"

Rude didnít want to look in the pod, but Reno motioned for him to do so, he didnít want to seem like a coward.

He looked away impassively, "Grow up you guys itís probably just some kind of sick twisted TV image."

As soon as he said this there was a thump from inside, Rude instinctively went for his gun.

"Itís OK," said a voice from behind them, they turned to see Hojo walk in, "Jenova has a tendency to get restless from time to time."

"You mean thatís a real person?" Reno asked.

"Yes," Hojo replied sounding slightly annoyed at Renoís ignorance.

"Fascinating," said Gamez, "How do you keep her alive like that?"

"Well firstly, Jenova isnít human, rather a mystery to science. She was found buried in a rock strata thousands of years ago. She was said to be the being that cursed the Cetra." Hojo noticed their blank faces; "Basically she is just a kind of alien creature, her body functions differently to ours. She has mastered her metabolic systems; the cells in Jenova can do whatever they wish to the body. She can mimic the appearance of others, their voices and mannerisms. She can lose body parts and still continue to function, and finally, the most interesting aspect of her powers, she can assume the form of a monstrous being with mighty powers and innate materia based spells. I have been trying to reproduce this effect in humans, but so far only one man is capable of transformation, the same man who survived the grafting of that cybernetic arm."

"The one who went insane?" Mikel asked, wanting to clarify this was the same person he remembered.

"Yes, the very same," Hojo replied, "Now down to business, Tseng told me you wanted SOLDIERS. How many will you require?"

Rude spoke up, "Tseng said there would be no more than 12 enemies, so how about 5?"

The rest of the group seemed to agree.

"Well Iíll just get in touch with General Ginoli and have them sent to the front of the Shinra building in two hours."

"NO!" Everyone cried.

"What? Donít you need the SOLDIERS?" Hojo asked.

"Well yeah," Reno replied, "But donít go through General Ginoli,"

"Why? He is head of the SOLDIER programme after all,"

The Turks thought this was a difficult situation to manage. Reno thought it would be OK to tell Hojo about the details of their mission, he was head of the Science department.

But on the other hand, what if Hojo decided to pass this classified information on to other Shinra executives, this could alert members of the press, or worse the General himself.

"Look, just try to find some way to get around using General Ginoli, just make sure he doesnít know about this." Reno finally decided to say.

"But why?" Hojo asked again.

"Thatís classified information," Rude answered.

"Oh, I see, private Turk matters." Hojo said, a smile forming on his pale face, "Very well, Iíll arrange for some new recruits to be sent to you, they may be inexperienced but it will be the best I can offer without going to the General."

"Fine then," Reno said, "Just make sure they can meet us in front of the Shinra building at, around 5 o clock."

"Iíll be sure to make the arrangements for you." Hojo informed them, "Goodbye."

They could see Hojo wasnít moving instead he was waiting for them to leave his lab. The Turks then left the room, with one last look inside the pod.

Hojo watched them leave, "You can come out now." He called into the lab when they where sure he had gone. A member of SOLDIER stepped out of the shadows.

"Iím sure you heard all that," Hojo stated, the man nodded. "Be sure to send men from the Generals personal unit,"

The man nodded again, he then saluted and marched out of the lab.

Chapter 9

Ricky Ginoli personally supervised the loading of his cargo truck, he knew from his spies in Shinra that the Turks where waiting for the truck in order to ambush it. He also knew that the Turks expected 12 opponents, so the General had sent 20, it was a little cramped inside but he didnít care he wasnít going to be inside. He also had members of SOLDIER waiting to surprise attack the Turks leaving them outnumbered.

He couldnít believe things where going so smoothly.

Yes, the Turks had managed to persuade a prominent mob boss to work for them, and yes they had thwarted one other previous excursion to the upper plate. But ĎBlood redí Ricky Ginoli was now about to destroy the entire Turks organization in one mission.

With all of Tsengís precious recruits dead, only Tseng would be left in the Turks. The company would not spend millions of gil per year on a group made up of only one person. Then with the Turks gone Ricky Ginoli could make his own power grab in the company.

First he would assassinate Vice President Rufus Shinra, setting himself up as Vice president, therefore next in line for presidency. Next he would arrange for President Shinra to have an Ďaccident,í and then he would control all of Midgar, both above, and below.

Not even the current President could do that.

His musings where interrupted by his second in command.

"Sir! Everything is loaded and ready for transport."

Ginoli turned and looked at his right hand man. "Are my men on board."

"Everything is loaded," the man repeated.

"Very good." Ricky Ginoli was staring to have a change of heart in this operation. "One more thing."

"Sir?"

"You and I are going to lay another surprise for the Turks."

 

"Now before you go on this operation there are some things I need to give you." Tseng said to the Turk recruits. It was now 4:45, if the Turks didnít start preparing soon, they would miss the truck.

He reached into his desk drawer, pulling out four beautifully crafted, silver inlaid Desert Eagles, each equipped with a silencer.

"Turk issue firearms," Tseng said laying them down on the table, "Standard issue. Should be slightly heavier than what youíre used to but just bear it for now."

The Turks gingerly picked them up.

"In addition to this, I have monitored your test results in armed and unarmed combat. I have set up for each of you to use a set weapon that you should be able to wield comfortably."

He pulled out something from under his desk, "Gamez, here is something we decided you should use very well considering you new limb."

Tseng pulled out a large mace, so heavy he had to lift it in two hands. "This should not be a problem for you, considering your cybernetics and your Mako enhancements."

Three days ago, Wednesday to be exact, Tseng had infused each Turk with Mako. Not as concentrated a dose as those in SOLDIER, but enough to allow them to be ten times as fast and as strong as they where before. Unlike in SOLDIER, the Mako infusion process the Turks used required no formal training, it was just an innate gift it worked like it had always been there.

Tseng hated giving Mako infusions, but it was an inevitable part of the Turks training. He hated seeing top quality warriors ill and weak.

In order to optimise results, this Mako infusion did not leave the person ill for long, only a few hours before their gifts kicked in.

"Thank you sir," Gamez said swinging the mace in order to test it, it looked as though it weighed nothing in his hands.

He drew out a long silver, diamond etched sword from a sheathe and laid it in front of Mikel.

"The Materia blade, holds more materia than your gun, and you also seemed to have a talent for swordplay, seems to be your perfect weapon."

The blade was beautiful, but sharp and hard. Mikel could see that the back of the sword was riddled with holes, designed for planting materia in.. The handle was made of ivory and had the Turks logo carved into it. He could see that a yellow orb was already present in the sword.

"Deathblow materia," Tseng said noticing Mikel staring at it. "Iíve already mastered that materia for you so it should do maximum damage. Be sure to put your own materia in the other slots."

Tseng pulled out another object, a gauntlet made of sturdy leather with metal studs all over.

"Rude, giving you a weapon seemed to be a crime against nature, as your fists are more deadly than any sword or club. I see enormous potential for you as a fist fighter, donít disappoint me now."

Rude nodded as he slipped the glove on his right hand, it was surprisingly light and on his hand the glove appeared thinner than it had before.

"It is also Mako infused to blend in with your hand, it can be useful in surprise attacks."

Rude nodded in gratitude.

"Reno, I know how much you liked using the staff and pole-arm." Tseng said turning to Reno. "But I thought it would be more appropriate to give you this, signifying your leadership qualities."

He placed an electro-mag rod on the desk, which Reno picked up. "This is a kind of supped up model, press the red button to fire a beam of unbreakable energy to encase your foes in. It has been reinforced with Titanium, so you can defend with it without fear of it breaking."

"Thanks Tseng," he said, "But I donít get how this signifies my leadership qualities."

"Turk leaders often wielded these, I wielded one my myself in my younger days." Reno nodded, he hadnít been expecting a flashy explanation, "Congratulations gentlemen, you are now officially members of the Turks. If you survive of course, now go and prepare for your final test."

 

Rude was breathing heavily, he had never been so scared in his entire life. He wasnít worried about his own death, or killing other people, after all he had done it before. He was more worried about the failure of this mission, if he failed he would be out of the Turks for good.

Reno was the only person confident about this mission, heíd do it. He was the single best fighter in the world and he was itching for a chance to prove it.

Mikel had resisted the urge to throw up many times, he had faced a live exercise before, and was supposed to lead the mission. He couldnít face the responsibility, even though he had already done his part.

Gamez paced nervously about the booth, he tried to casually chat to the SOLDIERS in order to put up a brave front. But secretly he felt his stomach knotting.

The four Turks awaited patiently for hours, not many people came through here. After all you needed a license to go through, and they cost more than a small house to the people of the slums. Shinra didnít want just anyone coming up to the plate.

"Here they come," Reno said excitedly, he quickly drew his weapon. "Letís do this thing, Rude and Gamez, you come with me to the cab, Mikel hang back and use magic. You SOLDIERS stand in front of the truck, try to hit the tires with your guns."

Without a word everyone took their positions.

The driver of the truck knew what to expect, he took out his pistol. His co-driver, so to speak, cocked his double-barrelled shotgun.

The people in the back checked their individual weaponry, praying that they would survive this mission. After all, it was not every day you fought four armed Turks.

Ricky Ginoli waited, those Turks would never find him, and they never looked hard enough.

As the truck pulled up to the booth, Reno dove forward, quickly opening the door of the cab. He dragged the pistol-wielding driver out, a stray shotgun blast struck the driver killing him instantly.

Mikel powered up his fire materia, unleashing a mighty blast against the shotgun holder, he went down with a cry.

Quickly the back doors of the truck opened, 18 men quickly leapt out, splitting into groups of nine they went round either side of the truck. The group on the left within firing distance of the SOLDIERS but none of the Turks could hit them. The other group took cover behind the truck and began to fire on the Turks.

Reno leapt out of the way, thankfully he had dodged bullets before, Rude luckily held a position, which provided cover thanks to the awkward parking angle of the truck.

As one man emptied his rifle another would start firing as the previous man reloaded, this created a string of never ending fire upon the Turks.

"Damn it!" Reno said, taking cover with Rude. "How long will they continue to fire like that.

"Theyíll run out of clips eventually, whereís Mikel?" Rude asked, concerned for his friend. Before Rude could answer a bolt of lightening struck the man firing at that moment, he fell to the ground with a loud thud.

On top of the truck Mikel reeked havoc upon the criminals. He had climbed up when everyone leapt out of the truck. Thanks to the Mako infusion he climbed up in only a few seconds and no one noticed him up there.

He powered up another spell, this time freezing one of the men on the left of the truck solid.

"Why arenít those SOLDIERS doing anything?" Reno questioned, "Open fire god damn it!" He called to them. They didnít respond.

"Screw you," One of them called, he was slightly smaller and thinner than the others.

"OK boys, you know what to do!" Another SOLDIER called out, the other members of the group shouldered their rifles in response.

Reno and Rude only had a few seconds to squeeze beneath the truck, Gamez was already under there, attaching something to it.

"What the hell is that?" Reno asked the one armed Turk.

"A tracer," Gamez replied bluntly, "If the Truck somehow gets away weíll know exactly where it is. Itís just a little something I threw together a while ago for just this very occasion."

"Good thinking Batman," Reno said dryly, "Now if you donít mind some of us have a battle to fight, Rude go further down and take out those annoying little gunmen, Iíll roll to the left." He whispered this so as not to be heard by the enemy.

Rude nodded and climbed out, just as soon as a SOLDIER stuck his head under the truck, he received a mace shot to the face.

Rude had surprised his enemy, he threw punch after punch, taking out one gun wielding warrior after another. Their guns where useless this close up as they where in danger of hitting their own men. Rude had disabled 6 of them, leaving three left. Who now where all facing Rude ready to let their bullets kill the Turk.

They didnít get a chance, Mikel leapt off the top of the truck and slashed the man to the left right across his back. The other two turned their weapons on him, but Rude quickly delivered a devastating punch to one manís temple, dropping him. The other was taken out by SOLDIER crossfire.

Meanwhile Reno rolled out from under the truck.

"Hello," he said pleasantly, flipping a switch on his nightstick, electric fire shot out in a wide area, blasting at least seven of his enemies high into the air.

He rolled out of the way of SOLDIER and criminal machine gun fire, leaping to his feet, he pushed the red button and a pyramid of energy quickly encased a member of SOLDIER, he called to his allies but they could not hear him, sound was somehow diminished by the energy.

Reno dove to the attack, fast as the eye could follow, he quickly jabbed with his nightstick, catching an enemy in the ribs, he flipped a switch and delivered a devastating jolt of electricity to his target, killing him instantly, now only one criminal remained, he turned and ran. Right into a clothesline from Rude, he was then stabbed quickly by Mikel.

"Where are the SOLDIERS?" Reno asked, but he was cut off by machine gun fire. The last SOLDIER came charging at them, seeing nothing left to lose dropping his gun and taking out his swords on the way.

One of them tried to hit Mikel, but the Turk was too fast and he parried upwards, knocking the sword harmlessly to the side, where Gamez took a swing with his mace, bludgeoning the Mako enhanced warrior to death.

Reno enjoyed the peace after the battle, he sat down on the floor, the smoke beginning to clear.

"Donít relax yet." Gamez warned, "there where two more."

"Theyíve probably ran off. Scared of our awesome firepower.

"Shouldnít you do something about him?" Mikel said pointing at the man still trapped in the pyramid with his sword.

"Funny thing really, I donít actually know how to take it off. Might as well just leave it on, he ainít going no where fast."

"What should we do with- URRGGK!" Gamez screamed, a long katana blade sticking through his ribs. It was quickly retracted, and Gamez fell to the floor his heavy cybernetic arm hitting the hard floor with a mighty clash.

The murderer stepped forward, a man in a SOLDIER uniform, but with the helmet removed, he had black hair and a black goatee beard.

"Gamez!!" Reno called out diving wildly at his enemy, swinging his weapon in an uncontrolled attack. The man ducked out of the way and threw a strong uppercut, it hit Reno so hard he flew into the air and landed on top of the truck.

The man laughed, "I thought Turks where supposed to control their attacks, and I certainly did not expect you to die quiet so easily."

Mikel and Rude stepped forward, the man raised his katana menacingly. "Donít try it," he said, "After all, Shinra wants me alive I believe."

"Youíre Ginoli?" Mikel questioned, ready to parry any sword attacks from this man.

"General Richard. E. Ginoli, SOLDIER: First Class." Ginoli growled. "I thought that you would recognise me, or didnít old Tseng tell you? I would imagine he would definitely have told you something of what I look like, yes, I can say it now."

Ginoli then spoke in Tsengís voice, perfectly mimicking it, the Turks could almost be sure he was right there talking to them. "íBlood Redí Ricky Ginoli is the finest warrior known to man, watch out for him gentlemen, you wouldnít stand a chance against his awesome power. He might take away the people you care aboutÖ"

He stared intensely at Rude, his Mako eyes flashing at him. Then to his horror, the Generals face changed, he changed to look like his mother.

"She didnít suffer you know," he said in his own voice, "A quick shot to the heart, with a Desert Eagle, Tsengís Desert Eagle to be preciseÖ"

Rude flew into a blind rage, his body filling with immense power, he cried with rage as his hand swung up, but it never connected.

Instead the General grabbed it, before Rude could defend himself, Ginoli threw a powerful punch to the chest, slamming with the hilt of his sword. The force sending Rude flying into the wall at the far end of the tunnel.

"BASTARD!" Mikel cried swinging his sword, this time he cut Ginoliís arm, it fell to the ground, and unfortunately for Mikel it wasnít his sword arm. Ginoli seemed unfazed.

"Oww my arm, oh how it hurts!" the General mocked, "Itís not the first time that that has happened. Watch."

Quickly Mikel noticed the arm suddenly grow back, it was red and more of a tentacle than an arm however.

The tentacle then swung around to strike Mikel, but the Turk was too fast, Mikel hopped back, drawing his gun and emptying an entire clip on Ginoli. The General spun his katana around rapidly, knocking most of the bullets out of the sky, three of them struck, each one hitting a vital part of the body.

"Youíre not human," Mikel said finally.

"How observant you are!" The general laughed, "I was once though, until Hojo had his way. Hojo did a lot of good for me, his Jenova cells allowed me to return home from the Midgar-Wutai war, a hero and finally attaining the rank of General. I was to be, the second Sephiroth."

"You like to gloat donít you?" A voice came from on top of the truck, "Incidentally what does the E stand for in your name?" With that a bolt of electricity blasted from the electro-mag rod pointed at Ginoli. Reno then jumped off the truck, ready to fight.

Ricky Ginoli dodged the first attack with the rod, but failed to evade the second swing. It struck him in the chest, sending another jolt of searing electricity through the Jenova infused crime lord.

Mikel recovering from his initial shock charged up a shot from his materia, he fired a bolt of lightening at his foe, but it bounced off an invisible barrier and struck Mikel instead, sending him down to the floor with a cry of pain.

Ginoli made a wall of steel with his sword in order to defend himself from Renoís close range attacks. He deflected each one, leaving Reno open to a sword attack from above.

Reno reacted quickly bringing his weapon up to defend against the attack. More shots where fired as Rude got up, gun in hand, each shot hit Ginoli in the back, a normal man would have died from the gunshots, but Ricky Ginoli did not even appear to notice them.

Rude raced over to Mikel, Reno would keep Ginoli busy long enough for Rude to use his own materia to cure his friend. Rude sent a wave of curing energy down to Mikel who instantly sat up.

But Rude did not notice the shadowy figure charging at him, it slammed into the bald Turk sending him once again flying forwards, landing heavily on his back.

Reno parried yet another fierce sword attack from his opponent, unable to react with his own attacks thanks to the Generals amazing defence. Reno found a far better strategy would be to stay on the defensive and attack from behind when given a chance.

Mikel leapt to his feet as the broad sword was swung at him, it missed by inches. He turned to face this new opponent, who looked very familiar.

"Tergus?" Mikel said in surprise as Tergus swung his sword a second time, it whistled through the space that Mikel previously occupied. "What are you doing here?"

Tergus grinned menacingly, thrusting forwards with his sharp sword. It stabbed through the air again as Mikel dodged.

Rude rose to his feet slowly, he had taken too many hard hits and he could only stagger back to the fight. On his way he cast another cure spell but this time targeting himself.

Ginoli attacked with his sword, swinging in a deadly arc, which was parried by Reno who stabbed forward with his nightstick, missing the General who hopped backwards. As the General dodged he swung with his tentacle, knocking the powerful weapon out of Renoís hands.

Ginoli knew he had won and as he swung his sword he shouted, "Youíll soon be joining your friend in the lifestream!" But the General did not expect Reno to somersault backwards landing perfectly on his feet.

Reno knew he now had no weapon to fight close range with, and that bullets didnít even seem to damage the General. Ginoli also seemed to have some sort of magical defence set up to deflect materia spells. Reno had to admit; even with his own formidable skills he didnít stand a chance on his own.

Reno and Ginoliís battle had moved both of them back behind the truck where they could not see Mikel or Rude battling Tergus. Reno wondered where they where and what was taking them so long.

Meanwhile Tergus had just been hit by a punch from behind, Rude had finally rejoined the battle, even in his weakened state Rudeís fists still dealt hefty amounts of damage to his enemy.

Tergus spun to face his new opponent; he shot him a sly grin and swung his broad sword. But it never got a chance to hit; Tergus dropped his sword as Mikelís sword pierced him through the chest from behind.

Tergus staggered away as Mikel took the blade out of his enemy. He limped over to a corner where he wheeled around to face his former allies.

The blonder-haired young man breathed heavily, the attack had wounded him horribly. The gaping hole could be seen where Mikel stabbed him.

Mikel and Rude waited for him to charge again, but he did not. Instead he let out a scream, he appeared to scream in an unusual language, but Rude and Mikel picked out the words, "Jenova Mindburst!"

Bright lights then surrounded Tergus, so bright that Turks could not see inside them. When the lights disappeared they faced a 10-foot tall monster that bore a striking resemblance to the creature they saw in Hojoís lab. It had a huge bulbous head with occasional clumps of straggly blond hair matted to it. It had no arms only tentacles; at the end of each tentacle was something that looked like mouth with sharp, gnashing teeth.

Itís body was muscular but with the same texture and colour of the Jenova in Hojoís lab. It had no visible legs, if it did they where covered by the huge fleshy robe-like object covering his lower body.

Mikel and Rude had to admit they where more than a little scared.

 

Tseng sat in his office his gun laid on the table, he hoped his recruits where doing all right. He received a call from his secretary, Hojo was waiting outside.

"Send him in Elena," Tseng said over the phone. Hojo then entered the office.

"You recruits are in danger, we must go to them." The scientist stated quickly.

"What?" Tseng asked.

"Your recruits have been double-crossed, the SOLDIERS have turned on them."

"How would you know that?"

"It was me who assigned these recruits, from Ricky Ginoliís personal unit." Hojo said, sounding slightly ashamed, Tseng had to admit this did not sound like Hojo at all.

"What do you mean? Why did you do that?" Tseng asked, it was not Hojoís way to apologise.

"Your recruits said they didnít want anyone from Ginoliís unit there, but I was curious as to why so I assigned the troops to them. I was happy until Heiddegar told me about your mission a few minutes ago, we must go to the Turks at once."

Tseng nodded, "Youíll need a gun," the Turk leader explained, Tseng reached into his drawer for his spare gun, funny it wasnít there. He felt around but there was no other weapon for him to use.

"Thereís no time!" Hojo yelled, "Iíll find one in my lab, just go on ahead Iíll catch up."

Tseng nodded again leaping to his feet and running out of his office.

Hojo watched him leave, "Gullible as ever I see," Ginoli said as he took his own form again, "Now to kill two birds with one stoneÖ"

Authors note: This scene took place before the battle at the tunnel, only a few minutes before the battle was about to finish.

 

Mikel was struck by another blast of concussive force from the beast standing before him, Mikel hit the ground again.

Rude dove forward, dodging a swipe with a tentacle. He punched wildly at the creatureís abdomen and chest. Doing heavy damage, but he was flicked away by a tentacle.

The monster then stopped, it seemed to focus its energy inwards, Mikel knew what was happening, and he quickly set up an Mbarrier to protect Rude and himself as a blast of fire came flying from the creature.

Rude thought it was hopeless, they where out of ammo, and Mikelís strength was fading thanks to the repeated use of Materia attacks, Mikelís last action depleted his strength, no more magic materia could be used.

Whereas the creature showed no signs of slowing down it blasted wave after wave of energy at them, thanks to the Mbarrier they only took small amounts of damage.

Mikel tried to desperately come up with a plan, when he noticed the yellow orb on his sword. Yellow command materia, you could have no skill with magic and still wield this to massive effect. He dodged a tentacle shot, but another tentacle hit Rude, who had taken one too many hits and fell to the floor.

Mikel stepped forward, tapping into the raw physical power of the tiny yellow orb. He ducked under a tentacle swing and charged.

His sword was surrounded in yellow light as it stabbed into the monsters stomach, Mikel then leapt into the air, cutting the creature on the way up, leaving a trail of yellow energy that damaged the creature further. But it still stood, even though it was severely wounded. That angered Mikel greatly.

A bright light then surrounded Mikel, he knew what was happening he had seen it happen to Rude.

Mikel tried to think of a way to unleash this energy, seeing his friend on the floor gave him an idea. A blast of light leapt from Mikelís outstretched palm, it struck the monster, crushing its skull and finally killing it.

A wave of energy then shot back to Mikel he felt it move all over him, curing his wounds and restoring his materia strength. He then passed some over to Rude, who sat up, his wounds cured as well.

"Limit break," Mikel said. "Iíve got to tell you, it kicks ass!"

Rude just smiled.

Meanwhile Reno was dodging Ginoliís powerful attacks, every once in a while getting cut or stabbed by a glancing blow, Reno could not continue like this. His entire body ached, he was cut, bruised, beaten and exhausted but Ginoli was still as fresh as ever, lashing wildly with tentacle and sword.

Reno wanted desperately to have a limit break, if he could hit someone with the force of Rudeís limit then this SOLDIER would be no problem. He tried to get really angry, but he felt nothing, no emotion at all. He tried thinking of Gamez, but he never liked the man anyway so he couldnít get angry over that.

The Body Armour that Reno was wearing clanged as another attack from Ginoli struck him, the armour would not hold out any longer, a few more shots and he would be dead.

Suddenly without warning a silver sword blade appeared poking through Ginoliís ribs. The General tore it out quickly, but before he could do anything with it Rudeís fist slammed into his face, breaking his nose and forcing him backwards.

Reno saw this as an opportunity to grab his weapon again; he performed a diving roll grabbing the nightstick on the way down. He felt anger welling up inside of him; all this limit break business was annoying him.

He charged forward, his nightstick hitting Ginoli from behind. Reno then flipped a switch on the weapon but instead of firing electricity Renoís own anger pulsed through it, sending out a burst of green light that went shocked Ginoliís Jenova enhanced nervous system.

Ginoli suddenly felt weak, immense pain stabbed at him at every movement he made, he couldnít see and he felt unimaginable anger at everyone and wanted nothing better than to swing his sword like a maniac.

With Ginoli making undisciplined attacks with his sword, and not being able to see, was an easy target for the group of Turks. They attacked in tangent, with Reno diving in, shocking the general and then leaping to the side, making room for a mighty punch from Rude. Then materia power would pulsate from Mikel, penetrating Ginoliís weakened Reflect spell.

"You canít defeat me!" The general yelled taking another shot at nothing, "I will cause you so much-ugh- pain that you will- argh- beg for my- unh- mercy." The poison effect was damaging him as he spoke, unable to get his words out.

Ricky Ginoli was totally helpless, easy pickings for three formally trained, mako enhanced Turks.

Suddenly Tseng appeared, no one had seen him coming he was just there. "Are you alright?" Tseng asked his recruits, he looked around at the bodies on the floor and saw the last remaining SOLDIER encased in a pyramid of energy. Tseng then noticed Ricky Ginoli, swinging his katana at nobody in particular.

The Turks where just sitting on top of the truck, occasionally, one of them would jump down and hit Ginoli with a weapon.

Reno was the first to spot Tseng, he called out to him, "Hey Tseng, have we got a story for you!"

 

"General Richard Ginoli, you are charged with manslaughter, theft, smuggling, conspiracy and rebellion against Shinra, how do you plead?" The judge asked the General.

"Re-uni-on," Ricky said, his voice holding no trace of emotion, "Must go to reunion."

"Plead guilty General," Said a voice beside him, which nobody but Ginoli could hear.

"Yes master," Ginoli intoned, he had been acting weird ever since Renoís new limit break had worn off, probably driven insane by failure, Tseng mused. "I plead guilty."

"Very well," the judge said, "You shall be executed formally in the Junon gas chamber in three days as punishment for your crimes."

Ginoli stared at the judge with a vacant look in his mako eyes, "Reunion," he said slowly as a Shinra guard dragged him away, Ginoli did not resist.

Sephiroth stood behind the judge, totally ethereal, Ginoli had paved the way for his coming very well, but the former SOLDIER had not expected him to succeed. Now all Sephiroth had to do was wait, when the time was right he would be ready. Ready to purge this world of all the weak, mindless humans, and he would be ready to find the Promised Land.

Authorís note: Finally I can get on with the good stuff! I must admit, I have had my doubts about this story as next to nothing is said of the Turks past in the game, plus we never get to see Tseng in action so no one knows what weapon he uses.

I know I kind of gave a lot of the spotlight to Mikel here, who wasnít really a true member of the Turks, as he is not a game character. But I wanted to resist the urge to do the cliché of Renoís past and have him as the leader of a gang. Honestly too many stories about Reno have said he was part of a gang, and I wanted to go the different route and make him a homeless orphan.

As for Rude, my favourite Turk, I could not really put his character across very well, as he is not much of talking kind of person.

I know I followed the regular storyline and made Elena Tsengís secretary, which is actually what most fan fiction writers say. She didnít do very much in the story, although in the next book she will have a much bigger role to play.

Also a note on Limit Breaks, how else was I supposed to explain it? Does anyone else have any better ideas? That theory helps to explain how Barret, Yuffie, Tifa and all the rest of AVALANCHE are allowed to use limits. Making Limits up for Reno, Rude and Mikel was a lot of fun and youíll see them gain new limits in the next book.

Thanks for reading my story by the way; I am very grateful that anyone reads this drivel that I have wanted to write for ages.

Until next time, see ya!

Matt aka Void 12

 

 

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