The Cry of the Planet Chapter 2

Shinra Inc. Science Division

By Edyn Cross

Professor Gast was sitting in his lab hunched over a microscope, staring intently and writing on the ledger beside him at the same time. As head of the Science Division at Shinra Inc., he had a ton of work on his hands and his over eccentric laboratory assistant wasn’t helping much at all. Gast was sturdily built, in his mid thirties and would be quite the ladies man if it weren’t for his ragged scientist look consisting the five o’clock shadow on his face below a moustache, bags under his eyes magnified a bit by glasses, and careless hair. Gast’s assistant, Professor Hojo, had been furious all day because one of the other lab assistants had lost a specimen critical to one of his experiments. Gast could see so much potential in his young assistant, but something in that man had always seemed a little off about Hojo’s personality… Something unstable. Nonetheless, he felt his assistant was a brilliant man, and without him, some of his successful experiments haven’t been possible.

He looked up just in time to see Hojo ranting at Gast’s other lab assistant, Lucrecia, about the specimen that had been missing. All he could see through the sound proof glass of the laboratory walls, was Hojo’s ridiculously thin arms flailing over his head while he could barely stop yelling long enough to take a breath. His long black hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail that sat just above his neck with a few strands hanging in his face. Unlike Professor Gast, Hojo still had the gangly body of a teenager who has yet to fill out even though he is in his late twenties. The glasses that Hojo wore slid to the end of his narrow nose and the cheap cologne he wore mixed with laboratory chemicals and sweat wasn’t making him GQ’s man of the year. Gast saw that Hojo finally gave up and stormed out of the laboratory leaving Lucrecia to clean up the mess that he had left through his ranting.

Professor Gast got up from his work and opened the laboratory door so that he could go and at least try to comfort the poor girl.

He knelt down beside her and put his hand on her shoulder, “Are you okay?”

Lucrecia looked up at him with red eyes stung with tears, “Yeah, I guess. I misplaced a specimen of Hojo’s earlier this morning and he’s furious with me that I haven’t been able to find it yet.”

“So I saw,” Gast smiled warmly. “Leave that mess, come here and let me show you something that might cheer you up.”

Lucrecia’s eyes widened, “But I can’t leave it, if Hojo comes back and sees that I’ve left this mess…”

“Bah! Forget about him for now, I’ll take full responsibility and he won’t DARE yell at me, will he?” Gast asked.

“No… But…,” She looked down.

“Come. I have something interesting I would like to show you.” He motioned towards the open laboratory door and gave Lucrecia a nod.

They stepped through the thick glass doorway opening to where he had been previously working and walked over by the stool and patted the top of it indicating for Lucrecia to sit. As she moved towards the stool, her beautiful light brown hair pulled up into a sensible ponytail shined brilliantly under the laboratory examination lights. A few pieces charmingly fell in front of her face accenting her dark brown eyes and her slender and feminine figure was still completely noticeable beneath her laboratory coat. As she sat in the stool and looked at the ledger beside the microscope, Gast couldn’t help but wonder how Hojo could get so furious at such a sweet girl.

“Look in there,” Gast motioned towards the microscope, “And tell me what you see.”

Lucrecia looked into the microscope and narrowed her eyes. What she saw was a single hair, which was fire-orange in color.

“This isn’t…” She paused, her mouth agape.

Gast looked at her and grinned, “Yes, I believe it is. This is a hair that I have located from a fire lion with the life longevity. If we can get a hold of one of creatures, so many experiments that will have to be terminated because of the short life span will be able to continue if we can find one of these creatures and convince it to cooperate.”

“That’s amazing!” Lucrecia beamed. “I didn’t think those creatures existed, I thought it was all a myth.”

“No, they are quite real, but the problem at hand is trying to locate one alive and in tact,” Gast said. “I’m afraid their race has diminished quite a lot over time, and this single hair is the only proof we have that one or more may still be alive. The specimen of Hojo’s that you lost was from the same project as this, the only difference is that all the previous samples we have are from deceased fire beasts and we have reason to believe that the sample you are looking at now belongs to one very much alive.”

Lucrecia looked back into the microscope at the strand of hair thinking of all they will be able to accomplish once they find one of these beasts, and how she will be a part of it all. While Lucrecia was lost in her thoughts, Gast took his ledger and went to his desk, studying the information he has gained so far on the hair sample. From completed tests, he concluded that the sex of the beast that the hair came from was male, around 15 years old and judging by the dust that was on the hair, the animal resides in the canyons just west of the Gold Saucer. The Cosmo Canyon area would be more likely than not, but he would need to run a few more tests. While organizing his notes scattered throughout his desk, the phone began to ring.

He picked the phone up, “Gast speaking.”

The personal assistant to the President’s nasally voice came on the line, “Please hold for President Shinra.”

“Great, this should be fun.” Gast said to the hold music. Knowing this would take awhile; Gast propped the phone up to his ear with his shoulder and continued to go through papers with his free hands. After about five minutes on hold, the music finally stopped and someone picked up on the other line.

“Professor!” President Shinra’s voice bellowed. “How are things going down there in the Shinra Science Division as of late?”

Gast switched the phone from his left ear and propped it up to his right, “Fine, President, just fine. I’ve come across a sample from a creature, which will prove to be a very useful specimen in the future if we can just get a hold of it; the creature with the life longevity.”

“Most excellent, Professor,” President Shinra lit and puffed a cigar.

Which Shinra went through his cigar ritual, Gast rubbed his hand across the side of his face, the five o’clock shadow feeling like sandpaper before rubbing his moustache. He lifted his glasses with the same hand and rubbed his eyes with his first finger and thumb wondering when Shinra will be getting to the point.

“Let me get to the point now, Professor,” the President said almost reading Gast’s mind. “You are aware of the ongoing archeological excavations taking place in the Northern Crater, are you not?”

“Sure,” Gast said sounding more interested. He looked back over to Lucrecia, who was already back to cleaning up the paper mess from Hojo’s latest outburst.

“The diggers have found of great interest to me,” Shinra said. “And if that something is true, it may be of great interest to you as well. It may also be what I’ve been looking for to get my global project underway, I’m sure you are aware of what project that is, Professor.”

“You don’t mean the Neo-Midgar project… Do you?” Gast gawked. “That would mean what they found up there could possibly be an Ancient! But, even if it were an Ancient they dug up, the Neo-Midgar project would still be years away from any real progress.”

“Yes, I realize that, but this would be the starting point that I would need to get the other executives motivated as well. I want you to head this project, Professor Gast, and if what they have found up there is a confirmed Ancient, you and your scientists will be getting full funding for however long the project takes, and you know what that means so I don’t need to spell it out.” Shinra took another puff of his cigar.

Sure Gast knew what that meant. Full funding meant that he wouldn’t need to worry about money for the length of the project and if his estimation of how much time it would take to complete his work, Professor Gast wouldn’t have to worry about money for the rest of his life.

That was all the thought the Gast needed to put into the decision. “What do you need me to do?”

The President chuckled. “I’m going to be sending you and two members of SOLDIER to the Northern Crater to examine the life form. You will investigate then confirm or deny whether or not the creature is an Ancient and report back to me with the status. If the creature appears to be an Ancient, we will send a team to the Crater to extract it and bring it back to the mainland for further experimentation.”

“What will become of the creature if it’s not an Ancient?” Gast asked.

President Shinra puffed his cigar thoughtfully. “Destroy it.”

“Sir?” Somehow Gast wasn’t that surprised with Shinra’s response.

“Destroy it,” President Shinra repeated. “If it’s not what I’m looking for, then the least I can do for the creature that would be wasting my time and money is put it out of its misery.”

“Understood,” Gast frowned

“Very well. You will leave first thing tomorrow morning traveling via Airship, six o’clock sharp, don’t be late. If you have any further questions, you can reach my personal assistant with your PHS. Good day, Professor,” And with that, President Shinra hung up.

Gast set the receiver down and stared at his phone for at least a minute, thinking about the Northern Crater and what lies beneath. If what those archeologists uncovered was in fact an Ancient, Professor Gast wouldn’t be getting much sleep in the next year or two… or ten. He has always been fascinated by the race of the Ancients, who called themselves the Cetra and spoke the divine language. He’s read every single history book, examined every single artifact that had anything to do with the Cetra, and to actually see one of them in tact was nothing less than rapture in his scientific mind. He decided not to tell Lucrecia or Hojo yet until what President Shinra and those diggers suspect is confirmed as to not get them excited over nothing if the creature turns out to not be an Ancient, but he decided not to spread the news to mostly contain his excitement.

“Found it!” Lucrecia squealed in excitement shattering Gast’s thoughts. “I found the specimen I thought I lost! It was right here, ugh, oomf…”

Gast looked over and saw Lucrecia on her hands and knees with her ass end up, crouched under a desk reaching for something between the back of the desk and the wall. She crawled back out holding a sample dish and on the lid was a label reading “Specimen-RED08.”

“Oh, Professor Hojo will be see happy to see that I’ve found it, won’t he?” Lucrecia said with a brilliant smile.

“Yes, young lady, he will,” Professor Gast smiled warmly. “Why don’t you pack up your things and head home early for the evening? The President has ordered that I go out on assignment early tomorrow morning and I’ll need to head home early myself to pack. Will you and Professor Hojo be alright here for a few days while I’m away?”

“Of course we will,” Lucrecia looked at him curiously. “But, where are you going?”

“Something has been located at the Northern Crater archeological excavation, and I’ve been sent to investigate it,” Knowing Lucrecia’s natural scientist’s curiosity, he added, “I’m sorry I can’t tell you any more, but I will let you know all the details when I get back.”

Lucrecia pouted, “Oh, all right. Is there anything you need us to do?”

Professor Gast thought for a moment and grinned, “Just keep Professor Hojo out of trouble until I return.”

Lucrecia laughed and went to shut down her terminal and prepare to leave. She turned off her desk lamp and flashed Gast a cheery smile and wave before leaving for the day. Gast returned the smile and gathered his briefcase and stuffed all the material he had at the office with information pertaining to the Cetra race. As he was leaving he remembered the sample still left on the microscope tray and went to make sure it was stored properly before Hojo came back and threw another temper tantrum. Gast removed the sample from under the microscope and replaced the lid with the label on it and then placed it back into the storage rack. The label on the lid read “Specimen-RED13.”

Chapter 3

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic