Square Wars: The Shinra Strikes Back Chapter 5

A Dark Secret

By WarChild

Cecil and Robo went through the hallways of Cloud's City, still no sightings of his friends. As Cecil came upon an intersection, he instantly hid because of approaching footsteps. What he saw come by was a floating freezer case guarded by the three Turks and some SOLDIERs. A SOLDIER noticed Cecil and promptly fired as he walked. The boy retaliated with a few good Fire spells from his materia. Reno also noticed the boy, and unleashed an electric shock from his nightstick. Cecil dodged the threads of electricity. Now that convoy has moved down the hallway, Cecil started to pursue them. But he was forced back into his hiding place when more footsteps were heard. Now coming out of the hallway were a blond man with spiky hair, Aeris, Cait Sith, Red XIII, and Umaro, all surrounded by many SOLDIERs. After given them time to move down the hallway, Cecil motioned Robo to go on and start chasing them. He finally caught up to them when the group approached a doorway. The SOLDIERs then started firing on him. Aeris called out to Cecil. "Don't follow us! It's a trap!" Red XIII did the same.
"She's right Cecil! Don't try to get to us." But the group then disappeared through the doorway. Cecil, ignoring Aeris' warning, went through the doorway. What he found was a locked door and a set of stairways heading up. The doorway behind him suddenly closed, forcing Robo to find another path. Cecil left with little choice, headed up the stairs.

On the other side of the locked door Cloud and the others were escorted down the hallway by SOLDIERs. Now being fed up, he pressed a button that would contact his friends. In time, Zack and Tifa arrived, with several city guards. The guards aimed their blasters at the SOLDIERs. Cloud, Tifa, and Zack took the guns that each SOLDIER has. Zack then took the guns from Cloud and Tifa.
"Men, escort our prisoners to the holding cells. Zack take care of these weapons, and meet us at platform 64DD. Do it quietly." Cecil instructed. The city guards and Zack led the SOLDIERs in another direction. Cloud and Tifa then promptly started to undo everybody's bindings. Aeris is perplexed.
"What are you doing?"
Cloud looked at her. "What do you think? We are getting out of here."
Aeris was a bit skeptical. But Cait Sith accepted the explanation.
"Finally, you have come your senses Cloud. What they do to you? Mind Control?"
"Shut up!" Cloud told Cait Sith.
"What is it with me? I am always told to shut up." Cait Sith moaned.
"Just calm down, we don't want to gain any attention." Cloud now worked on Umaro's binds. After he undid them, Umaro turned on Cloud, choking him. "Ack!" he gasped.
"Umaro, I don't think that'll help us." Tifa noted.
"Look, you're always on Cloud's side, even what he has done to Cecil and Cid?" Aeris retorted.
"Look, not only we have you guys to worry about, but a city too." explained Tifa.
"Tifa's right. Let's think rationally." Red XIII agreed.
"Look," Cloud gasped, "I know where the Turks are taking Cid." Aeris motioned Umaro to let go of Cecil. After Cecil got his breath, he quickly said. "Platform PSX, Platform PSX! If can get there quickly, we might get Cid back. Everybody then rushed over towards that platform, almost trampling Cait Sith.
"Hey, you guys really don't care for me, do you?" Cait Sith yelled.

The Turks looked at their newfound prize, the famous pilot Cid Highwind, frozen in a huge ice cube.
"Okay, load him up, carefully." Reno instructed the SOLDIERs. The SOLDIERs placed the freezer containing the frozen Cid Highwind into the Gelinka. The Turks then walked into their craft.

Robo has been wandering the area for a while until he came upon a frantic Aeris, Red XIII, and Umaro rushing down the hall with a blond man with a spiky hairdo, and the bartender from the first adventure? He wasn't sure what to make of this until Cait Sith hopped by.
"Robo, get your bucket of bolts here! We're trying to rescue Cid!" Cait Sith shouted to Robo. Robo then joined in the chase. But it was too late. As they arrived at the landing platform, the Gelinka has already started its engines. Cloud unleashed a Meteorain on the craft, but it managed to escape. Suddenly there were under fire from SOLDIERs. Tifa punched them, while Red XIII cut them with his comb. Aeris did the curing, and Umaro did the throwing. Cloud used the Big Guard enemy skill. Now everybody decided to charge through the hallway.

Cecil looked at the area. It looked like some sort of freezing facility. In the midst of the fog, he saw him.
The Dark Knight. The warrior who killed his brother. He went toward his enemy, and ignited his Mana Saber. His opponent did the same.
"The Lifestream does guard you, young Darkheart, but you are not a full fledged Mana Knight." the evil warrior hissed. The two started swinging their sabers at each other, blocking the others blow. While the warrior taunted Cecil, the platform used in the freezing system has lowered. Then the Dark Knight has started forcing him towards the hole.
"Bugenhagen has taught you very well." the dark warrior spoke. Then with a few quick swings, he forced Cecil into the hole. "Maybe you haven't learned much. I wonder what the emperor sees in you." Using his powers he turned the machine on. Mist begins to rise from the hole. A figure jumped from out of the mist. The warrior looked up to see what happened. Cecil was hanging from the hoses connected to the machine. "That's why." Cecil looked down at his enemy. "You have underestimated me, haven't you?" The Dark Warrior then took a swing at Cecil, but he jumped off and the hose was hit instead. The hose bursts out with water, and it blasted the warrior with great pressure. The warrior then quickly retreated into a jump tube. Deciding to pursue him, Cecil also entered the jump tube.

He found himself in some sort of storage room. All it contained was antiquated game machines. He looked around, trying to find his opponent. As soon as he spotted him, he reignited his saber. The evil warrior ignited his. As he got closer, the Dark Knight laughed.
"Foolish boy, always wants to play. How about a game of skeeball?" With that nine skeeballs flew towards Cecil. He enacted a Barrier just in time to reduce damage. "Maybe basketball's your game." the warrior mocked. Two basketballs went through the air. Cecil knocked them down with his saber, and proceeded to swing at the evil warrior. "By the way, Asteroid are coming through." With that an Asteroid arcade machine was hurled at him. He stopped it with Ice magic. "Look out, Mario's going for your head!" Now a Mario Brothers arcade was aimed at Cecil. Cecil ducked it, but more arcade machines were pulled up and aimed at Cecil. Cecil unsuccessfully tried to dodge all the machines, but there were too many. Then one machine hit a window. The sudden vacuum of wind pulled Cecil out the room. The Dark Knight held firm behind a change machine.

Cloud kept leading the group through the hallways of Cloud's City. They kept pushing aside opposing SOLDIERs until they came upon a locked door. As the others held off the SOLDIERs, Cloud plugged in the code.
"Hey, the code's been changed!" Robo looked at the console.
"Don't worry, I think I can access the main computers." A probe extended from Robo's stomach. It was inserted into a socket, but what he received was an electrical shock. "Hey, this is a plug!" Cloud was busy using the intercom.
"Citizens of Cloud's City, this is Cloud Strife. We hope that this day will never come, but it has. The Shinra has discovered us. I urge you to evacuate now!" he announced. Cait Sith looked at the now sizzled Robo.
"Gee, you would think there would be a standardized plug for the entire universe." They hustled down another hallway, going past the many residents that are fleeing. Cait Sith took note at the items they carried. "Ice cream maker. Bread maker. Juice maker."

"Cait, it's not the time to figure out what they are carrying." muttered Tifa. They finally reached the door to the Highwind, and Zack was waiting there. Robo extended his probe again, this time checking for the right port. He accessed all the data in the main computer. He came upon some interesting info.
"Hey, would you like to know about the Highwind's hyperdrive?" Robo asked.
"Never mind that. I saw it fixed. Just open the door! I've been waiting here too long." Zack whined.
"As you wish." Robo finally got the door opened, just as a bunch of SOLDIERs fired on them. "Don't worry! I have a Smoke Bomb." With the Smoke Bomb, they sneaked in the Highwind without problems. The engines powered up and the Highwind quickly left.

Cecil got up. His head started to hurt. He used Cure on it a few times. Then he got a look around his surroundings. It was the Battle Arena. He tried to exit. The adjoining room was empty of people. Except the Dark Knight. The warrior lunged at Cecil, forcing him back to the arena. After igniting his saber, he again challenged the Dark Knight. The warrior looked at the boy.
"You'll only get yourself killed. Don't end up like Bugenhagen did." Despite valiant moves by Cecil, the Dark Knight forced Cecil into the room behind the arena. A large deep shaft was in that other room. With Cecil distracted by the view of the shaft, swung his saber at Cecil's right hand. Cecil then cried in pain as his hand was cut off, falling into the deep shaft. His saber was in that hand. With his right arm in pain, and his saber gone, all he could do was crawl on a thin ledge that surrounded the shaft. The Dark Knight only motioned Cecil to come to him. "There is no escape now. There is none at all. You now have two choices. You can either fall to your doom. Or you can join me, and end the great conflict that we are surrounded with."
Cecil only got angry. "Why should I join you? Especially you, the murderer of by brother."
The warrior remained confident. "You really don't know the powers of darkness, do you? What Bugenhagen has told you is all wrong. I am your older brother."
Cecil stared in disbelief. "No! No! That ain't true. That ain't true. Great SPOONY it ain't true." Cecil knew what he had to do. He fell into the shaft. The Dark Knight looked down, searching for any sign for Cecil. Then he departed the room.

Cecil found himself to be in the middle of the sky. The he finally grasped onto something, the Gondola line. Hanging on with only his legs and left hand, he cried out, "Bugenhagen! Bugenhagen!" Then without reason he also cried out, "Aeris! Aeris!"

Aeris was in the cockpit with Zack, Umaro, and Cloud. She seemed a bit focused on something. She felt a voice in her head, Cecil's voice. Then she saw it. An image of Cecil hanging from the Gondola wire.
"Cecil!" she blurted out.
"Pardon?" Zack inquired.
"Cecil's still out there. We have to save him!" she explained. Robo entered the cockpit.
"Yes, he's out there. I forgot about him." Robo added.
"If that's so, we have to go there. Umaro, turn this thing around." Cloud ordered. With a turn the Highwind redirected its course towards where Aeris felt Cecil was. Then they all saw it. A person hanging on the Gondola wire. Cloud jumped out. "Zack, bring me over him." He approached Red XIII. "Get the harness ready!" he instructed. Soon he was on the outdoor platform. After Red XIII placed the harness on Cloud, he lowered himself to Cecil. After he got a good grasp on Cecil, Red XIII pulled up the harness. With Cecil finally onboard, the Highwind returned to its normal course. Only this time ISFs pursued them.

The ship finally entered space, with enemy craft on its tails and a Mana Fortress ahead of it. The Dark Knight was in that ship. He looked to Rufus Shinra.
"Did you have your men deactivate the hyperdrive and did you prepare the boarding party?" the warrior inquired Rufus.
"Yes. We did all what you asked. The ship will now be in range." Rufus answered, reassuring the menacing figure.
"Good." He motioned Rufus to leave. Then he concentrated on tracking Cecil. "Cecil, you know who I am."

Cecil's was in the ship infirmary, where Aeris and Tifa worked endlessly to make him feel better, despite the cut hand. He felt the Dark Knight's word flooding his mind. "Buge, what is the truth, I must know." he muttered. In the cockpit, Cloud, Zack and Umaro prepared the ship for hyperspace. Robo, realizing what will happen, rushed over to Cait Sith.
"Cait Sith, no time to explain, but we must head to the engine room, fast." Robo darted towards the engine room.
"Hey, what's going on?" Cait Sith followed the robot, just as Cloud tried to make the jump to lightspeed. It failed again.
Cait Sith and Robo entered the engine room. Robo dragged Cait Sith towards the Crystal Chamber. "I read on the Cloud City's computer that the Flight Crystal has been disconnected. We must reconnect it." Robo explained.
"So what? We don't know how they..." Cait Sith tried to say, as he tripped over a wire. Robo inspected the wire. It was really a plug that seemed to be recently unplugged.
"I think you just found it." Robo took the wire and plugged it in. The ship finally went into hyperspace.

Rufus gulped. He was sure that his men deactivated the hyperspace systems. "Please, Dark Knight. Don't kill me." he pleaded.
Dark Knight looked at Rufus square in the eye. "I won't kill you now. You're just not worthy of it. Maybe in another story."

Cecil looked at his hand. It was a product of robotic technology. It almost felt like a real hand. He looks at his doctor.
"Thanks for the new hand." he thanked the doctor.
"Told you I was the best. I did worked on Barret's hand you know." the doctor bragged. Cecil chuckled. Aeris, Tifa, Robo, and Cait Sith were at the room. Cecil took out a PHS, and called up Cloud, who, with Umaro, Red XIII, and Zack, was in the Highwind. The Highwind was currently docked on the medical spaceship that Cecil was in.
"Cloud, remember our plan. If you find the Turks and Jenova, you will contact me." he spoke into the PHS.
"Right. Then we meet at the rendezvous point on your home planet Corel. Guys, don't worry. We'll get Cid back." Cloud responded. With his treatment done, Cecil and the others went to the hanger to wave goodbye. The Highwind appeared into view, then jumped into hyperspace. Outside, Big Whales, Epochs, and FF8 jets surrounded the medical ship, patrolling the area. Despite their losses, they have found a new sense of hope.

Fanfic completed on August 21, 1998
Revised on March 9, 1999


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