The Cry of the Planet Chapter 23
By Edyn Cross
"I know you tried, Mr. Valentine," Gast said over dinner. "But, Lucrecia
must have her own reasons for her decision."
It had been about five months since the night Vincent saw Lucrecia leaving Hojo's bedroom. Her and Hojo had completely separated themselves from Gast and Vincent, and from life itself. The two spend hour after hour, day after day in the Shinra Mansion Laboratory, studying and researching and experimenting.
"...but nevertheless," Gast continued. "Something isn't right."
"What do you mean?" Vincent asked although he felt the same way.
"She won't speak to me anymore. She won't even look at me with Hojo in the room and she doesn't even dare think about you, Mr. Valentine." Gast looked worried. "Something has happened to her, but I don't know what it is. What I do know is that Hojo has something has something to do with it. He's got Lucrecia whipped like a little dog and I don't see how or why."
Vincent nodded feeling nothing but sorrow for his Lucrecia.
"Something else is going on," Gast added while sipping his glass of wine. "Hojo is up to something, and I believe it's got nothing to do with the current Project."
Vincent raised an eyebrow.
"A few days ago I was working as usual down in the front room of the lab," Gast began. "It had been quiet for quite some time in the back room where Hojo and Lucrecia were working. Curious, I went back there to see if they had left without my knowing. When I got back there, they both had fallen to sleep sitting up with their heads rested on the table. I shifted a few papers and notebooks around for Lucrecia to make her more comfortable. I then walked over to Hojo and noticed his head resting on a laboratory log I have never seen before. I couldn't make out what was written on it without moving Hojo and risk waking him up, but I did get a few tidbits."
Vincent looked at Professor Gast thoughtfully.
"The only words I could make out of the notebook were, 'Jenova-Type: Host Specimen' and 'Jenova-Injection: Occurrence: #3.' Any idea what that means, Mr. Valentine?"
Vincent shook his head, "No."
"I tried to read more," Gast went on. "But Hojo's chicken scratch handwriting makes it almost impossible to decipher. I truly hope it's nothing but personal research information. If it's actual unauthorized experiment documentation, there's no end to what I would do to his career at Shinra Inc."
"But, then there's poor Lucrecia," Gast looked down. "If there is unauthorized experimentation going on, then I hope to dear God that she isn't in on it with him. She should know better than that, but I hate to see her career go down as well."
Gast sighed, "I just don't know what to do anymore, Mr. Valentine."
Vincent sat thoughtfully for a second and then looked down, "Lucrecia's pregnant."
Gast slowly nodded, "Yes, she's been showing for a few weeks now and she's not doing a very good job of hiding her morning sickness is she?"
Vincent shook his head.
Gast's face brightened a bit, "Is there any possibility that you...?"
Feeling what's left of his broken heart ache, the Turk shook his head, "No, not mine. Hojo."
Gast nodded slowly in sadness, "Yes, I thought so. Couldn't blame me for asking, call it wishful thinking. I feel as if I have failed her, Mr. Valentine. All I wanted was the best for that young lady and I feel like I was unable to come through for her. She says that she is happy, but in all honesty, I'm not inclined to believe her. Have you tried talking to her."
"Yes, the morning after," Vincent felt like dying. "It was obvious that she had made her decision and asked that I not interfere and as long as I let her be, then she will be happy. And if she is happy, then I don't mind."
Gast nodded and looked at the Turk in sorrow, "I don't think she is, Mr. Valentine. She may say she is happy and maybe she even has herself convinced that she is happy, but I don't think she is. Only time will tell, Mr. Valentine. Only time."
For the next two months, life continued as it had. Hojo and Lucrecia became
more withdrawn from life and more involved in their studies. Lucrecia's stomach
was getting larger with her seven month old baby, but Lucrecia herself was
still very thin. Lately she had become to get ill and spent most of her time
in her bedroom. Every hour of every day, Hojo would continue to check in
on her in her room (with research log in hand), but she wouldn't see Vincent
or Professor Gast.
Gast was concluding his own studies as the actual Project itself was nearing an end. President Shinra was demanding results and Gast couldn't give them. It was obvious that the Ancient was magically powerful, but Shinra needed to know how and why. None of the scientists could determine what exactly made the creature so powerful and President Shinra's patience and pocketbook with this Project was wearing thin.
Lucrecia had been in her bedroom for two weeks straight now and the only visitor she allowed was of course, Professor Hojo. As a scientist and in his nature, Gast was a keen observer and there were things that he noticed that were a bit off with Hojo and Lucrecia. Hojo and Lucrecia were "together," but Gast had never seen the two be intimate in any way. In fact, Gast had never seen Hojo look at Lucrecia in any way other than the way he would look at dog shit. He also noticed that Hojo put his laboratory log in his left inner lab coat pocket and it never left that position unless Hojo needed to scribble something in it. He also noticed that Vincent Valentine was one heartbroken man spending most of his time reading, and keeping to himself. There was virtually no work for the Turk as of late and Gast knew he wouldn't be able to go back to Midgar until the Project was over.
Early on a cloudy morning, Gast was leaving his bedroom like always on his way downstairs for breakfast when he walked past Lucrecia's closed door and heard faint whimpering coming from inside.
Gast lightly tapped on the door, "Lucrecia?"
The whimpering stopped.
Gast tapped again, "Lucrecia, are you okay?"
Lucrecia soft and sickly sounding voice came from inside, "Y... yes. I'm fine. Please leave me."
Gast thought for a moment and decided he couldn't just leave her like that, obviously sick and upset, and seven months pregnant on top of that. He opened the door slowly and peeked inside and what the man saw just about broke his heart. A very tired and pale looking Lucrecia sat in bed, her face soaked with tears and used tissues decorated her bed like confetti.
"My God," Gast choked. "Lucrecia what's wrong?"
She looked at Gast seeming not to recognize him. He walked over and sat on the edge of her bed and took her hand. She looked up at him with pain stricken eyes and put her hand on her swelling belly.
"It hurts," Lucrecia whispered.
Gast looked at her stomach, "Are you going into labor? Surely it's too soon..."
"No," Lucrecia whispered. "It always hurts. Ever since..."
She broke off into a fit of quiet sobs burying her face into her delicate hands.
"Oh, now don't do that," Gast said and then added. "Ever since what, dear?"
"The Experiment," Lucrecia quietly sobbed turning over in bed facing away from Gast.
A light went off in Gast's head, "What Experiment? Did someone do something to you, Lucrecia?"
She only continued sobbing, "It hurts..."
"Lucrecia?" Gast pleaded. "What Experiment? Please answer me, I want to help you. Lucrecia, please, tell me what the Experiment is."
"No one can help me," Lucrecia whispered in between sobs.
"Yes... Please Lucrecia," Gast was desperate.
"Are you deaf?" A familiar voice rasped from the doorway. "She doesn't WANT your help."
Professor Hojo stood just inside the room, his skin sheet white and hands behind his back, "Now leave, you don't belong here."
Gast tried to remain calm, "What is the Experiment, Hojo?"
"Hmm? I don't know what you're talking about," Hojo grinned.
"Lucrecia," Gast pushed. "She mentioned an Experiment. What is it?"
Hojo sighed impatiently, "I'm afraid the girl is hallucinating. Her pregnancy is having a few complications and she is heavily medicated at the moment. You should leave her alone, she needs her rest."
Gast thought of Hojo's research log and decided not to bring it up as Hojo may destroy it before he could see what's inside. Without another word Gast looked at the sobbing Lucrecia and stormed out of the room pushing past Hojo. He would investigate this on his own time and he knew just the opportunity.
Hojo quietly shut the door behind Gast and went to the bed where Lucrecia lay sobbing. She was turned on her side faced away from him. Hojo reach down and stroked her hair pushing it back from her face.
"Lucrecia," Hojo whispered lovingly.
After getting no response Hojo then grabbed a handful of her hair and pulled her up to a sitting position holding her face inches from his own. Lucrecia uttered a small yelp in pain.
"I thought I had made it PERFECTLY CLEAR to you that there was to be NO DISCUSSION of this Experiment to anyone but me!" Hojo released Lucrecia's hair and pushed her back into the headboard on the bed.
"I have come this far without the Experiment being jeopardized and you were this close to fucking it up!" Hojo yelled. "Two months is all I need with you, do you think you can handle that?"
Still sobbing, Lucrecia slowly nodded her head.
"Good," Hojo said turning to leave. "Now clean yourself up, you disgust me."
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic