Vigil of the Fates Chapter 10


By PeterEliot

The Garden car takes us into the nearby harbor town of Balamb, dropping us off at the dock where SeeD attack cruisers await us. I note that only one of the dozen or so cruisers is still anchored to the dock, signifying that we are the last of the squads to get onboard. The vessel starts moving as soon as the hatch closes shut behind us. A familiar-looking female SeeD member greets the squad in the cramped main compartment of the cruiser.

“Welcome aboard, field exam participants. Hello, Quistis.”

“Hi, Xu. These are the Squad B members.”

“Nice to meet you, ma’am!” Zell salutes the SeeD.

“Pleased to meet you,” I say, saluting also. Seifer doesn’t bother with pleasantry, already having seated himself. Evidently not offended, Xu cuts him an amused if a little twisted grin.

“Back again, Seifer? How many times has it been now?”

Seifer doesn’t lose a beat. “Oh, you know, I just love these exams...”

Xu’s snort is distinct amid the noise of the high-speed cruiser. She takes her place in front of the briefing screen.

“I will explain the current situation and the mission. Take your seats.”

We do. Xu proceeds immediately.

“Our client for this mission is the Dollet Dukedom Parliament. Request for SeeD intervention was made eighteen and half hours ago.

“Dollet has been under attack by the Galbadian Army forces for approximately seventy-two hours. Forty-nine hours into the city-wide battle, Dollet forces abandoned their positions in the inner city and retreated into the nearby mountains, where they are currently reorganizing their troops. That’s the basic current status.

“Now on to the mission objective. According to reconnaissance reports, the G-Army invasion force has diverted the better part of its troops to mop up the Dollet troops in the mountains. We are to make a landing at Lapin Beach. The mission objective for the SeeD candidates is to eliminate the remaining Galbadians within the city and help liberate it A.S.A.P. Once the city is secured, SeeD members will intercept any G-Army forces trying to reclaim the city from the mountains. At this time, the exam participants are to assist SeeD members in engaging and eliminating the Galbadian forces that manage to push back into the city."

“...Sounds important,” mutters Zell, almost to himself.

“Sounds boring,” Seifer picks up quickly. “So what will you people be doing during all this? There are only twelve candidates—you gonna let this nice little fleet just stand by and watch while we do all the dirty work?”

“SeeD members will make their landing and proceed to combat zones alongside the exam participants. However, they will whenever possible yield the front line to the cadets, allowing them to demonstrate their competence and at the same time observing them—until such a time when it becomes imperative for them to take active control of the situation.”

“When we screw up, you mean.”

Xu regards Seifer patiently. She wisely switches her addressee back to the entire squad. “Oh, and this goes without saying, but the order to withdraw takes priority. Do not forget that returning to the landing site on time is required for successful completion of the exam. We will reach the destination shortly. We anticipate a battle upon disembarking, so be prepared for immediate action. That is all for the mission briefing. If you have any questions, direct them to the instructor in charge of the squad.”

* * * * * * * *

“We’ll be landing pretty soon. Be ready,” says Instructor Trepe as she returns from the control room. “Remember that your objective is to eliminate the Galbadians inside the city. The idea is for you to engage them in small groups at a time. You must take caution not to push too deep into larger Galbadian companies, however, you must not hesitate to avail yourselves on an opportunity to rout as much of the invasion force as possible before withdrawing.”



“Yeah, Yeah...” says Seifer carelessly. “All you boys have to do is take orders from me, the captain. ...Well then, Squall, go see what’s going on outside.”

I look at Seifer, who has deemed it fit to address that last remark not to me but to the wall that he’s been staring at. What the hell kind of order is that? Nonetheless, it is an order, and I only need to endure this farce for a few hours. “All right.” I rise from my seat to climb the ladder. As I open the top hatch, I hear Seifer’s voice again behind me.

“Hey, you look like you’re about to piss your pants. If you’re that nervous, at least wait till we make the landing.”

“Huh? You talking to me?” is Zell’s incensed reply, and suddenly I am glad that Seifer has ordered me out of the compartment.

* * * * * * * *

The pale full moon has appeared precociously in the afternoon sky. In the open air above the seemingly infinite ocean, the swiftly sailing SeeD vessels to my left and right are deceptively quiet as they leave behind orderly parallels of foam trails. At last, a set of closely situated dark specks appear at the center of the immaculate curve of the horizon. The specks quickly widen and connect to form a dark sliver, and within minutes the sliver thickens, rising above the sea as the rugged shore of Dollet. Flames flicker momentarily along the shoreline and decorate the fast-approaching beach.

Somewhere beyond that beach, people are fighting—and dying.

Somewhere beyond that beach, I will kill today.

The instructor’s voice calls me from the deck below. “Squall, we are about to land. Come on back down.”

I do.

Chapter 11

Final Fantasy 8 Fanfic