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Mr. Sith Goes To Washingtonby Fritz Fraundorf
Mayor Tortellini Domino of Midgar stood atop a termite mound in North Corel, addressing his new subjects. "People of Corel!" he shouted through a megaphone. "This town is now the rightful property of the People's Republic of Corel! You have two choices... follow us or die!"
"Could you give us a moment?" a citizen asked. "That's a tough question."
"We stand at the threshold of a new age!" Domino said. "The reign of the capitalist pigs of Shinra is over! Workers, throw off your chains and join the revolution!"
Butch, the former owner of the Costa Del Sol Materia shop, nudged Domino's assistant Hart. "I still don't get this communism bit," he whispered.
"Fundamentalism is passe," Hart replied. "All the cool rebels go for the retro feel."
"The history you know is a lie!" Domino continued. "We are the true heroes of the Meteor incident! AVALANCHE covered up the true story! Me... my assistant Hart... Mukki... Butch... Fred Coates, the director of Corel Prison... Johnny... we are the real heroes! We can only trust ourselves! From each according to his capacity, to each according to his need..."
* * *
"Gelnika One, Act 1, Scene 12, Take 3. LIGHTS!" Cait Sith bellowed through his megaphone.
"The lights are already on," Sephiroth said.
"It's already on too."
Cait Sith gave his screenplay writer a frosty stare. "Will you shut up?" he snapped.
"I'm just tellin' you the lights are already on," Sephiroth said. "No sense in turning them off and then on again."
"Can we get on with this?" Rufus asked impatiently. He and AVALANCHE were all frozen in position, waiting for their cue.
"All right," Cait Sith said. "CAMERA!" Neko turned the camera on, and the film began rolling for Cute Animal Pictures' new thriller Gelnika One.
Rufus stared down the AVALANCHE members who had hijacked his plane. "I'm the president of the Shinra Corporation," he said. "Get off my plane."
"Shut yo' hole, foo'!" Barret replied. "You damn Shinra be suckin' the life energy out of the Planet!"
"Hey, where did my wallet go?" Vincent said, deviating without warning from the screenplay. He patted the pockets of his cloak. "YUFFIE!"
Yuffie's face fell. "Aw, come on." Guiltily, she handed Vincent his wallet back.
"Cut! Cut!" Cait Sith yelled. Neko stopped the camera. Enraged, the cat Esper ran over to Yuffie and drew himself to a full three feet. "What do you think you're doing?" he demanded. "Now we're going to film that scene over again! We don't have an unlimited budget here!"
"Gawd, what is wrong with you?" Yuffie said. "I just, like, took his wallet. It's no big deal. Whatever."
"Maybe not to you," Vincent said.
Cait Sith checked his watch. "We'll break for lunch," he said. "Then we'll finish up Scene 12."
Satisfied, the actors -- Rufus and AVALANCHE -- headed off to the seats of Gelnika One, the plane on which the movie was being filmed. Yuffie, however, who as usual was feeling airsick, remained in the cabin with Cait Sith's film crew.
"That wallet thing was actually pretty funny," Neko said. "Maybe we should leave it in."
"It's not in the screenplay," Sephiroth said, defensive of the screenplay he had written.
"Speaking of the screenplay, have you given any thought to producing a more acceptable ending?" Cait said.
Sephiroth reacted angrily. "Look, I still don't see what's wrong with the space station," he said. "We don't want to renew old hostilities, you know. Don't you think it's better that AVALANCHE and Rufus end up teaming up to stop the space station?"
"Space station?" Yuffie mumbled through the hands clenched over her mouth.
"This idiot wants to have AVALANCHE and Rufus team up to stop an old abandoned space station loaded with nuclear weapons that's going to crash into the Planet," Cait Sith explained.
"What's the problem with that?" Sephiroth asked.
"The problem with that is every single one of your screenplays is about various things from space crashing into the planet," Cait Sith said icily.
"Hey, you know what they say," Seph replied. "'Write what you know.' And I might add that it was a different thing in every movie." He ticked off his works on his fingers. "In FF7, I summoned a meteor. Then I wrote Deep Impact, where it was a comet. Next I did Armageddon, it was an asteroid. And in Armadillo, it was a giant space armadillo. And now in Gelnika One, it's a space station. See? Different things every time!"
"I think I'm going to be, like, sick," Yuffie blurted, and ran off. She returned a few minutes later to find Cait Sith and Sephiroth still arguing about the ending. "Why do we have to film this movie on a flying plane?" she asked queasily.
"It's for added realism," Cait Sith explained. "Besides, I love to fly."
"It shows," Yuffie said bitterly.
* * *
Domino and his band -- Hart, Butch, Mukki, Fred Coates, and Johnny -- sat in a bunker in North Corel, newly renamed Domingrad. "All right, here's the plan," Johnny said. "Rufus, Sephiroth, and AVALANCHE are all on one plane, filming a movie. All we have to do is hijack that plane and we'll have them all captive. Then nobody can stop us!"
"All in favor of the plan, say 'Aye'," Domino said.
"Aye," everyone said.
"All opposed, say 'Nay.'"
Nobody said anything. "Hey, Tortellini, everybody said 'aye', so you didn't even need to ask if they were opposed," Coates pointed out.
Domino gave him a dirty look, but said nothing. "Hart and I will go onto the plane. The rest of you will guide the operation from the ground."
"Aw, Tortellini, come on, I never get to do anything," Butch complained.
"Butch, someone has to stay down here," Domino said reasonably. "I'll let you go next time. In the mean time, you take command of everything down here."
* * *
The cast of Gelnika One reassembled for the afternoon shooting. "Gelnika One, Act 1, Scene 12, Take 3. Lights!"
"The lights are -" Sephiroth started, and then closed his mouth.
The eight AVALANCHE members stepped towards Rufus. "I'm the president of the Shinra Corporation," Rufus said. "Get off my plane."
"Shut yo' hole, foo'!" Barret replied. "You damn Shinra be suckin' the life energy out of the Planet!"
"Yeah, and your hair's ugly too!" Cloud said. None too surprisingly, Cait had added numerous lines about Rufus's hair to Sephiroth's original script.
"Look who's talking!" Rufus said, valiantly plodding on through the terribly-written script. "Popeye arms!"
"Same to you!"
"Yo' mama's so fat I tried to drive around and I ran out of gas!"
"Oh yeah? Yo' mama's so old her Social Security number is 1!"
* * *
Domino eyed the cannon suspiciously. "You're sure this will work?" he asked the bespectacled caveman standing next to it.
"Oh yeah," the caveman said. "Cannon travel's real popular where I come from. We're just trying to branch out into other worlds."
"Okay," Domino said dubiously. He and Hart climbed inside the barrel of the Cannon Travel cannon. The caveman lit the fuse.
I can't believe I'm doing this, Domino thought. All further thoughts were blocked off when the cannon went off and he was shot into the air. He sommersaulted around and landed sprawled on something. He gradually opened his eyes and looked around. He was lying on the wing of Gelnika One.
"Hey, we made it," he said to Hart, who was standing a few feet away. "You've got the saw?"
"I thought you were bringing it," Hart said. "No, just kidding. It's right here." Hart pulled a chainsaw out of his white jacket and crouched down by the window. He peered through it furtively, and, seeing nobody inside, turned on the chainsaw. Hart carefully sawed through the frame of the window and removed it.
Domino poked his head through and looking around for its occupants. "They must be in the cabin," he guessed. He wriggled through the small space, followed by Hart. Domino checked the AK-47 he was carrying to make sure it was loaded, then they crept up to the closed cabin door.
Domino put his head to the door to listen in on the conversation inside. "Nobody hijacks Gelnika One and gets away with it," Rufus was saying.
"Shoot," Domino whispered to Hart. "They know we're here. We'll have to go for Plan B."
"What's Plan B?" Hart asked as Domino threw open the door and rushed inside, waving his gun.
"Cut! Cut!" Cait Sith yelled from his vantage point on the instrument panel. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Cait, I think this is serious," Aerith whispered.
Rufus rolled his eyes. "Not Domino again," he sighed. "Just go away, okay?"
Domino pointed his AK-47 at Rufus. "I'm serious this time, chumphead!" he said. "Come out with your hands up!"
"Tortellini, what's Plan B?" Hart whispered urgently from outside the cabin.
Domino ignored him. "Get down on the floor!" he continued.
"Hey, wait a second," Cloud said. "How can we come out with our hands up if we're down on the floor?"
Domino turned to point his gun at Cloud. "Don't play games with me, bucko!" he shouted. "I'm sick of you covering up the truth! You all know I was the one who stopped Meteor! But you reduced me to just handing out a keycard! To one paragraph of dialogue! All because of your egos! You go to hell! YOU GO TO HELL AND YOU DIE!"
"Geez, don't have a hernia," Cait Sith quipped. "Just put the gun down... calm yourself... violence is not the answer..."
"Tortellini, I'm begging you, what the heck is Plan B?" Hart hissed.
Rufus turned to Domino. "I'm the president of the Shinra Corporation," he said. "Get off my plane."
"Life imitates art," Red XIII murmured.
"Let's rush that foo'!" Barret suggested.
Hart raced into the cabin, holding a fish with a stick of dynamite its mouth. "Get back or I blow up the carp!" he shouted, having finally recalled Plan B.
The AVALANCHE members looked at each, unsure of what to do now. Domino gestured towards the pilot's chair. "All right, Rufus, go sit down in that chair," he commanded.
"Do it or else," Hart added.
"Or else what?" Rufus asked.
"Or else I blow up the carp!"
"Oh, okay." Rufus sat down in the pilot's chair. Domino tied him to the chair and pointed the AK-47 at his head. Hart continued to wave the carp around in what he thought was a threatening manner.
"You're now officialy hostages of the People's Republic of Corel," Domino said.
"Oooh! Oooh! Do we get official badges?" Neko interrupted.
Domino ignored him. "You cannot fight the tide of revolution," he said. "History is on our side. We will bury you."
"Actually, history isn't on your side," Red XIII pointed out.
"WHAT ABOUT MARLENE?" Barret demanded.
"You all shut up!" Domino shouted suddenly. "I have Rufus hostage, so you'd better not try anything funny!"
Cait Sith's face fell. "You mean we can't tell knock-knock jokes?"
"Okay, that's it," Hart said. With his free hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a matchbook. Raising one leg and balancing the dynamite-laden carp on his knee, he tried to retrieve a match and strike it in order to light the dynamite.
While Hart was hobbling around, Cait made his move. He suddenly hopped down from the instrument panel and darted across the cabin. "Get him!" Domino shouted. Hart dropped the carp and ran after Cait Sith, clutching the matchbook in his left hand.
"Hey!" Rufus shouted at Cait. "Where do you think you're going? You're under indictment!"
Cait Sith grabbed a parachute off the wall and wriggled out through the window Hart had sawed open. While Hart struggled to climb through after him, Cait Sith strapped on his parachute and dived off the plane.
"Let's see... how does this work?" Cait Sith muttered to himself, trying to recall his sole experience with parachutes -- playing Pilotwings several years ago. After some trial and error, he found the ripcord and pulled it. The parachute unfolded, and he fell gracefully to the ground in Costa Del Sol.
Cait Sith took off the parachute and looked around for a way to dispose it. He ended up tossing it into a nearby trash can. After brushing the sand off himself, he considered his next move. The rest of the gang was still trapped up on the plane. He had to get them down somehow, and he needed help. AVALANCHE was out -- they were up on the plane. The same went for Sephiroth. That left Shinra as his only ally.
Cait Sith sauntered across town to where the Super-Stretched Airship 900 was parked. Originally the Highwind, it had been tuned up by Cid and was now capable of space flight. As he was climbing up onto the deck, Sephiroth suddenly appeared on board. "Where do you think you're going?" he asked.
"How did you get here?" Cait Sith asked him.
"I teleported out," Sephiroth said. "AVALANCHE and Rufus are still up in the cabin. Now where are you going?"
"Midgar," Cait replied. "I'm gonna get Shinra's help and we're going to storm the plane."
"No can do," Sephiroth said. "Domino's threatening to kill Rufus if Shinra makes any move, and he's probably crazy enough to do it. Besides, you're still under indictment."
"Look, everybody's probably driven through a K-Mart at some point in their life," Cait Sith said. "It's not like it is some huge big deal or something. Besides, if I save Rufus, he'll probably let me off the hook."
"Why don't you just leave this to me?" Sephiroth said reasonably.
"No way, buster," Cait countered. "In fact, I've got a great plan, but I'm not gonna tell you what it is unless you agree to let me come."
Sephiroth thought for a moment. He had to admit that he was clueless as to what to do. "It's a really good plan," Cait Sith said in a sing-song voice.
"Oh, all right," Seph conceded. "You can come along. Now what's this big fancy plan of yours?"
"Okay, you know that one planet Earth?" Cait Sith asked.
"Yeah, what about it?"
"Well, see they have this country, the United States, and they don't like communism and stuff. So let's go to Earth and get their help. Because Domino has this communist rebellion and all."
"Cait, the last time we went to Earth, the Republic of Texas ended up trying to kill you," Sephiroth said.
"Don't worry," Cait Sith said. "From what I hear of the place, it's mostly harmless."
"It's still an idiotic plan."
"Do you have a better one, Mr. Flying-Objects-From-Space?" Cait Sith retorted.
"Just because I don't have a plan doesn't mean that your plan is a good plan," Sephiroth said.
"It does in my book."
Sephiroth sighed and gave up. Arguing the point would be futile. Cait Sith always got his way sooner or later. "All right," he said. "We're going to Earth."
* * *
The Super-Stretched Airship 900 touched down in an inconspicous part of Dulles Airport tarmac. Cait Sith and Sephiroth climed out and headed for the terminal. A helpful sign just inside the door provided them directions:
U.S. Citizens ^ International Passengers > Aliens <
"Guess that's us," Cait Sith, looking at the bottom option. He and Sephiroth took the left hallway until they came to an unmarked white door. C.S. opened the door a crack and poked his head through. Inside the sparsely-decorated room, a suit-clad man in dark sunglasses sat a desk, seemingly engaged in no activity under than waiting. The pair of travellers stepped into the room. "Aliens?" the man said.
"That's us," Cait Sith replied.
The man reached into his desk and took out two pairs of handcuffs. He slapped them over Cait Sith's wrists and was turning to do the same to Sephiroth when Cait Sith demanded, "What are you doing?"
"Got to cover you no-good aliens up," the man said. "Can't have you infiltrating the public."
"But we need foreign aid!" Cait protested. "We're on important political business!"
"Oh, you're here for politics," the man said. "You should have said so." The man took off Cait's handcuffs and went back to his desk. He checked a white card on his desk. "The next Democractic Party coffee fundraiser is tomorrow at 3:00. Your donations are appreciated and will blamed on a bureaucratic snafu. Have a nice day."
"Ummm... could we have a map?" Cait asked. "We're new around here."
The man wordlessly handed them a map of Washington. He seemed to waiting for them to leave, so Cait and Seph hurried out through a door in the back and found themselves outside the airport. "What do you suppose all that was about?" Sephiroth asked.
"I don't have a clue," C.S. admitted. He checked the map he had just been given. "C'mon, let's get a move on. Call me a cab."
"Cait Sith, you're a cab."
Cait Sith gave Sephiroth a frosty glare. "Why don't you stop acting like an idiot and leave the humor to me?"
"Sorry," Seph apologized. He waved to a passing taxi and it stopped. The cab driver opened the door. To Cait Sith's surprise, the driver was a Moogle, identified by his nametag as "Kupek". "Hey, you're a Moogle. I didn't know there were Moogles on this planet," Sephiroth said in surprise.
"I'm an immigrant, kupo," Kupek explained. "I fled from the extinction of the Moogles on the other worlds. We're rapidly dying out, you know."
Sephiroth was unmoved. "Take us to the White House."
WEST OF HOUSE You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a mailbox here. >
"No, not that White House," Sephiroth said.
"Sorry, kupo," Kupek said. He drove to the correct White House and stopped to allow Cait and Sephiroth to get out. Sitting near them on the White House lawn was a forlorn-looking man, carrying a sign reading "WILL FIGHT COMMUNISM FOR FOOD".
"Excuse me, sir," Sephiroth greeted the man.
"Yo," Cait added.
"Mikhail Gorbachev," the man introduced himself.
"Er... will you help us fight communism?" Cait Sith pointed at Gorbachev's sign. "We're trying to put down a communist rebellion on our homeworld. We're from another planet."
"Do you have any food?" Gorbachev asked hopefully.
Cait Sith peered under his shoulder into his cloak. "Um... I have a couple of smashed Twinkies," he said. "How about I tell your fortune instead?" Lacking his trusty Mog, Cait Sith produced the second-best thing... his magic 8-ball. "Ask me a question."
"Does this really work?" Gorbachev asked skeptically.
Interpreting that as Gorbachev's question, Cait Sith shook the 8-ball and peered inside. "NO WAY, JOSE," he read. "Hey, that's not funny, you stupid ball." Disgusted, Cait Sith hurled the ball across the lawn and accidentally hit a Secret Service agent.
The agents ran across the lawn towards Cait. "Quick, tell me what to do," Cait Sith said desperately.
"Go to the State Department, get officialy recognized as a country, get an embassy, and then schedule an appointment with the Secretary of State," Gorbachev explained succinctly.
"Okay, thanks," Cait Sith said. He and Sephiroth jumped back in the waiting taxi and drove off just as the Secret Service agents arrived.
* * *
Cait Sith and Sephiroth stepped into the State Department. "Excuse me, we're here to apply to have our country officialy recognized," Sephiroth told the receptionist.
"The form's right there on the desk." The receptionist pointed to a basket on the front of her desk with a stack of papers in it. "Get five people to sign it and bring it back."
Cait Sith grabbed one of the single-sheet forms and looked at it. It called only for the official name of the country, a picture of the country's flag, the name of the ambassador, and the signatures of five people verifying that the country did indeed exist.
"Shoot," Sephiroth said. "Where are we going to get five signatures?"
Cait Sith stared at him. "You're really clueless, aren't you? Come on." Cait grabbed a pen from the desk, ran outside the building, and sat down on a bench outside. Sephiroth joined him a moment later. Cait Sith scribbled down the "signatures" of Napoleon Bonaparte, Frank Sinatra, Marv Albert, Orville Wright, and Rin Tin Tin. He then went onto the next step -- the flag. "Shoot," Cait said. "I can't draw the Shinra logo in this little space. Oh wll, I guess I'll just have to rough it."
Cait rummaged around in his cape for a box of Crayola crayons -- and not just any box, one of the big 64-crayon ones. He opened it up and surveyed his color choices. "Hmmm... we got brick, we got burnt sienna, we got wood, we got red-brown, and we got brown-red. What do you think's best?"
"I don't know! What's the difference between red-brown and brown-red anyway?"
"Brown-red is more brown that red. Red-brown is more red than brown," Cait Sith explained as if this were a simple concept to understand. "I think I'll go with the red-brown."
Cait Sith used his crayon of choice to color in a diamond in the flag box, roughly simulating the Shinra logo. He carefully sharpened the crayon to a perfect point again, returned it to the box, and shoved the box into his cape. He then filled his own name -- Cait, Cat Lord of the Sith, Esquire -- in as the ambassador, ran back inside, and handed the form to the receptionist.
"Your application will be processed within 5 hours," the receptionist said. "Thanks for becoming diplomatically recognized by the United States."
"Wow, we've been officially recognized," Cait said to Sephiroth. "Now all we gotta do is get us an embassy."
* * *
Domino carefully handed his AK-47 over to Hart, keeping it pointed at Rufus's head the whole time. The two were taking turns on "gun duty", while the rest of AVALANCHE lounged about in the cabin, suffering from, well, cabin fever, a problem accentuated by the fact that Yuffie kept singing the same song over and over. "Everybody shake your body... backstreet's back! All right!" she sang.
"Will you knock that off?" Neko demanded.
"Can't we go somewhere else?" Aerith pleaded. "It's too crowded in here."
Domino and Hart exchanged glances. Neither of them appeared too much in disfavor of the idea. "Oh, all right," Domino conceded. "But I'm warning you, if you or Shinra try anything funny, Rufus gets it."
"You damn commies!" Barret said. "WHAT ABOUT MARLENE?"
Tifa grabbed Barret by his arm and pulled him out of the cabin. "Don't mind him," she said, hoping that the comment would not proke Domino.
The eight AVALANCHE members and Neko walked out into the main passenger section of the plane and stretched out. "So, what do you think we ought to do?" Tifa whispered.
"We could parachute out," Neko suggested.
Vincent shook his head. "There's only one parachute, and Cait took it."
"There only be one parachu'?" Barret said. "Wha' kinda safety is dat? Those damn Shinra!"
"Backstreet's back!" Yuffie continued to sing.
"Taking the plane over is out of the question," Red XIII said wisely. "I'll guess we'll have to hope Cait Sith and Sephiroth can come up with something."
Cloud shrugged. "We might as well find something to do in the mean time. A game, perhaps?"
"@#^*$%, you're doing it again!"
"Hold on, let me see if I've got something in my bag," Neko said. He reached into his bag and tossed out a live salamander, a jug of milk, some saltwater taffy, a Korean-Swahili dictionary, and a diamond-studded teakettle before he came up with what he was looking for. "Aha! Monopoly!"
"Oooh! Oooh! I get to be the boot!" Aerith exclaimed.
* * *
Cait Sith strolled the streets of Washington, carrying a Super Soaker. This was no ordinary Super Soaker -- it was loaded with the red dye used in money bags to mark thieves who tried to steal the money. Cait slid into an alley, ducked behind a trash can, and waited for somebody to come by. It wasn't long before he heard footsteps. Cait pointed his Super Soaker over the trash can and fired, coating the passerby with red dye.
"Hey! What did you do that for?" the victim exclaimed. It was Sephiroth.
Oh, man, why did it have to be him? Cait thought. He walked out from behind the trash can, leaving the Super Soaker behind. "Sephiroth!" he exclaimed, aghsat. "Did you rob a bank?"
"Don't be stupid," Sephiroth retorted. "I saw you carrying that squirt gun."
"Me?" Cait Sith adopted an innocent expression. "I didn't do nothings!"
Sephiroth walked around behind the trash can and picked up the Super Soaker, ignoring Cait's attempts to discourage him from doing so. "Then what's this?"
"My, my, how did that get there?"
Sephiroth chucked the Super Soaker into the trash. "Come on, let's go," he said to his shorter companion. "I got us an embassy. I rented a room in Burkina Faso's embassy. They're poor and they needed the money. I'll show it to you."
Cait Sith followed Sephiroth out of the alley and down the street. They had walked less than a block when a police car pulled up and two police officers hopped out. "Excuse me, sir," one of them said to Sephiroth. "We're going to have to detain you as a suspect in the Ninth Street bank robbery."
"What?" Sephiroth said. "Why would -" Then he looked down at his clothes, which were covered in red dye, and remembered. Cait, you idiot, he thought. Now look what you've got us into.
"Hey," the officer said, staring at Cait Sith. "Aren't you the one who was throwing stuff at the Secret Service?"
Cait Sith stared back. "You can't arrest me, I've got diplomatic immunity," he said firmly.
"Ha! Right!" the policeman laughed.
"I'm the Shinra ambassador!" Cait Sith said. "I've got an embassy and everything! So back off, pal!"
"Yeah, and I'm Mobi-Dick Kenobi, the Jedi whale," the policeman said sarcastically. "Let's see some ID, bucko."
Cait panicked. "Uh... my dog ate it," he said hastily. "Okay?"
"Uh-huh, I believe you." The policeman was just about to slap some handcuffs on Cait when...
Cait Sith instantly took off running, with the police and Sephiroth charging along after him. They approached a sofa lying in the street, which they hurdled. One of the policeman was rapidly catching up on Cait and pulled ahead of him just as they reached a second sofa. Cait leaped over the sofa, and as he did, noticed something on the leading policeman's arm. "Shoot! He's got one of those Snapple patches!"
Sephiroth stumbled as he leaped over the stuff, but kept running. He raised his hand and the leading policeman fell to the ground, clutching his head. "Give me a number!" the policeman howled. "GIVE ME A NUMBER!"
Cait, Sephiroth, and the other policeman breezed by the fallen policeman; Cait back in the lead. They leaped over anothe sofa and charged into a Christmas tree lot. Cait tried to jump over one of the short trees, but, with his small size, collided with the top of it and fell back dazed.
Sephiroth and the policeman cleared the Christmas trees and dashed out of the lot, onto the sidewalk. They raced towards the garbage can on which the bottle of Surge was sitting. However, it was on the opposite of an intersection, on the other side of a parked taxi.
Rather than run around the taxi, Sephiroth simply threw open the back door and scrambled across the back street. The policeman followed his lead and crawled in after him. "Take us to Dulles Airport, and hurry!" Sephiroth said to the taxi driver. He leaped out the door of the taxi as it sped off, carrying the policeman away.
"Heh, heh, heh." Sephiroth walked to the Surge and claimed his prize. As he was drinking the citrus-flavored beverage, Cait Sith came around the corner, covered in dirt and pine needles.
"I don't want to talk about it," Cait Sith said before Sephiroth could speak.
"C'mon, let's get you over to our embassy," Sephiroth said as he finished off the Surge. "You're filthy."
"I said I don't want to talk about it."
* * *
The following day...
Having returned from a shopping trip, Cait Sith and Sephiroth strode into their embassy, a room on the second floor of Burkina Faso's embassy. None too surprisingly, the place was decorated with a African decor, using lots of greens and yellows... until now. Cait Sith set down his other purchase on the table, then looked down at the floor. "Let's get this butt-ugly carpet out of here," he said. Cait rolled up the antique green carpet that had come with the room, allowing Sephiroth to lay down the red-and-black checkerboard one the pair had purchased.
"Looks a lot better," Cait Sith approvingly, apparently blind to the horribly-clashing colors. He then turned to the toy printing press he had bought. "All right, let's get this baby going." He plugged the press in, then set about arranging the cheap plastic letters into the form he wanted: a business card. After a couple minutes of less-than-furious work, he was done. His business card merely declared him as "Cait Sith, Esquire, Shinra Ambassador" and gave the address of the embassy. Cait pressed the power button on the toy printing press and it started printing out the cards.
"What's next?" Cait Sith asked Sephiroth while the machine ran.
Sephiroth ticked off their goals on his fingers. "We've been recognized, we've got an embassy, we've got business cards, now all we need to do is talk to the State Department."
"Gotcha," Cait said. "Okay, Sephy, you go call 'em."
"Me? Why me? Why can't you do it?"
"Because I'm the ambassador, and you're the flunkie," Cait explained. "Besides, I have to listen to my tapes."
Cait Sith held up a box labeled Think Yourself Worthless. "It's part of my parole," he explained. "I have to take therapy to lower my self-esteem. Rufus thinks I have too big of an ego."
"Cait, those kind of tapes don't work," Sephiroth said. "They're just a scam. You should know that."
Cait Sith shrugged and popped one of the tapes in his stereo. He pressed Play, and a soothing voice began to speak. "You are retarded," it said. "You are so retarded for listening to this tape. These kind of tapes never work. Only a complete idiot like you would buy these tapes. You are retarded. You are so retarded for listening to this tape..."
* * *
"I'll, like, put another hotel on Park Place," Yuffie said, handing some money over to Red XIII, the banker.
"How did you get so much damn money?" Cid demanded.
"She's probably been stealing money out of the bank," Aerith said. "I could be winning if I have the boot, though."
Cid clutched the boot to himself defensively. "This boot's @*$%in' mine!"
Yuffie took the dice and rolled them. She advanced her cannon the correct number of spaces, singing all the way. "Backstreet's back! All right!"
"Will you cut that *&$%@^ Backstreet Boys crap out?" Cid demanded.
"Backstreet's back..." Yuffie looked at the board to see where she landed. "Corel Railroad. 2,000 gil? I'll buy it." She handed the money to Red XIII, who gave her back the deed.
"I'll give you 5,000 gil for the boot," Aerith said desperately.
"Real money or Monopoly money?"
Red XIII happened to glance over at Aerith. Yuffie immediately reached over and grabbed several 500-gil bills out of the bank. "Hey!" Cid said. "I saw that! Put that money back, you little @*$%*!"
"Gawd, why does everybody, like, pick on me?" Yuffie said. She reluctantly returned the money to the bank. "Everybody, shake your body..."
* * *
Cait Sith and Sephiroth stepped into the office of Secretary of State Don King. "Psst, Seph, look at his hair," Cait whispered. "He looks just like Rufus."
"You must be Mr. Sith," Don King said to Sephiroth.
"No, he's Mr. Sith," Sephiroth said, gesturing towards Cait.
"Yeah, I'm the ambassador, he's just my flunky," Cait agreed.
"You're aliens, aren't you?" Don King asked as Cait and Sephiroth sat down.
"Yo," Cait agreed.
"We fled from a communist rebellion on our homeworld," Sephiroth said. "They took our president hostage. We need foreign aid to put down the rebellion."
Don King leapt to his feet. "You should go back there and duke it out!" he said enthusiastically. "We could put it on pay-per-view!"
"Mr. King, sir, we really need foreign aid," Sephiroth said. "If our government makes any move, they'll kill our president."
"Yeah, pay up," Cait Sith chimed in.
"No can do," Don King said. "The State Department's already allocated our whole budget for the year. By the way, the State Department is the #1 department! Nothing else comes close! The Defense Department... Housing and Urban Development... they're just weenies."
"You can't help us?" Cait said, disappointed by the failure of his great plan.
"We've already used up all our money," King repeated. "The only for you to do anything now would be to get an appropriations bill passed in Congress. That, or go back home and fight it out on pay-per-view."
"An appropriations bill?"
"You know, to get more money," Don King explained. "To up the budget of the World's Best State Department! Just go talk to somebody of the House of Representatives and get them to a sponsor a bill for you in Congress. If it's popular, I can put the hearing before a subcommittee on pay-per-view."
Cait Sith and Sephiroth exchanged glances. "Well, I guess that's what we'll have to do," Sephiroth said. "Get a Representative to start a bill."
* * *
Cait and Sephiroth strode out of the State Department. Cait gestured towards a nearby phone booth. "You go ahead. I'm never setting foot in one of those again. Last time I did I was almost killed by my bazooka-wielding ex-girlfriend."
Sephiroth stepped inside the phone booth and grabbed the phonebook. He flipped to the list of represantives, arranged by state, and picked the top name in the list, a congressman from Alabama under the name of Bob Bobson. He dialed the number and waited.
"Hello, Representative Bobson's office, may we help you?"
"Hi, I'm from another planet, and I'd like to schedule an appointment to talk with Representative Bobson," Sephiroth said. "We'd like to get a bill sponsored to provide aid to put down a communist rebellion."
While Sephiroth was talking on the phone, Cait Sith stood on the sidewalk and played with a paddleball set. Hearing many voices behind him, he turned. A tour group of people had just come out of the State Department and was heading back to its tour bus. Cait leaned into the phone booth. "Hey! Sephiroth!" he whispered. "I found us a ride!"
Sephiroth seemed to ignore him. "All right, thank you," Sephiroth said. "Goodbye." He hung up the phone and turned to Cait. "I got us an appointment for tomorrow."
"Quick!" Cait urged him. "Follow me!" He ran up to the tour bus and fell in with the tour group. Sephiroth incospicously mingled in with him. The group boarded the bus, and Cait and Sephiroth took a seat near the back.
"Everybody here?" the driver asked, looking back. She did a quick head count and came up with the right number. "Next stop, the Washington Monument." The bus drove off just as two stragglers, Wedge and Vicks, walked out of the State Department.
Wedge saw the bus driving off away. "Hey! Wait for us!" They charged out into the street and ran after the bus, waving their hands. They did not notice the truck coming around the corner until it was too late.
* * *
The tour bus stopped at the Washington Monument and the tourists got out, Cait Sith and Sephiroth in the midst of them. "This is it?" a disappointed Sephiroth said, gazing at the tall orange pillar. "It's just some big thing that sticks up."
Cait tapped one of the tourists on the shoulder. "Excuse me, ma'am," he said. "Would you like my business card?" Before the woman could reply, Cait shoved one of his business cards into her hand and walked away. He tapped another tourist on the shoulder and repeated the process.
Meanwhile, the tour guide was droning on about the Monument, and Cait's ears happened to pick up a sentence or two. "The monument is 555 feet high. Inside, there are 898 steps, which visitors can climb up to the top."
The wheels started to spin in Cait's head. He turned to Sephiroth. "I bet there aren't," he said quietly. "I bet there's not really 898 steps in there. Hey, Sephiroth, why don't you go in there and see if she's right."
"Why do I have to?"
"You've got longer legs than I do. Besides, I'm the ambassador and you're my flunky."
Sephiroth sighed and jogged inside the monument. Cait then busied himself with the task of making sure every member of the tour group had his business card. "Excuse me, sir, would you like my business card?"
"You already gave it to me."
"Oh, sorry," Cait turned to another person and tapped him on the shoulder. "Excuse me, sir, would you like my business card?"
Two people came power-walking by on the street. Cait ran over to them. "Excuse me, would you like my business card?" He forced business cards into their hands and looked around for another target.
Just as the tour group was about to leave, an exhausted Sephiroth jogged out of the monument, wiping sweat off his forehead. "898," he reported.
Cait shrugged. "Okay, I guess she was right," he said. "C'mon, the bus's about to leave." Cait Sith and Sephiroth scrambled back on the bus and sat down in their seat. The bus driver checked again to see if there were all there, and then they were off to the White House.
* * *
The tour group crossed the White House lawn. Cait Sith tried to hide in the middle of the crowd, but, despite his attempts, was spotted by a pair of Secret Service agents. They rushed to apprehend him for his earlier hijinks. "Hey, you can't get me," Cait Sith said defiantly. "I've got diplomatic immunity." He shoved his business card in one of the agent's face. The agent took it and read it.
"Hmmm... guess you're off the hook," he said. "But don't go chucking any more of those balls around, okay?"
"Yeah, okay," Cait agreed. "You can keep that stupid 8-ball if you want. I don't want it anyway. Oh, and here's a business card for you." He handed a business card to the other Secret Service agent and then proceeded inside the White House with the rest of the tour.
When the tour was out of sight, the Secret Service agent took the 8-ball out of his pocket and looked at it. Somewhat dubiously, he asked it a question. "Oh, 8-ball, what is the meaning of life?" The agent shook the ball and peered inside. DRINK COKE, PLAY AGAIN, the ball read.
* * *
The tour bus cruised to its next stop, the Treasury building. Cait Sith checked his supply of business cards. It was running somewhat thin, having relinquished cards for every person Cait had met in the White House, but would last for another stop or two. He readied the stack as the tour group passed by the reception desk. "Excuse me, sir, would you like my business card?" Cait asked the receptionist, dropping a business card on the desk.
Like a predator stalking prey, Cait Sith watched the area around him, tensed and ready for action should any unsuspecting worker near him. He was rewarded when the tour group passed by the ladies' room just as a woman was coming out. With practiced skill, Cait Sith slid over to her, uttered the obligatory "Excuse me, ma'am, would you like my business card?", and forced one of the small cards into her unsuspecting hands. "I'm getting good at this," Cait said to nobody in particular as he rejoined the group.
"Pretty soon everybody in the city's going to have one of those," Sephiroth murmured.
"All the better to campaign with, my dear," Cait giggled.
The tour group proceeded into the printing room of the Treasury, where several printing presses were churning out fresh new dollar bills. Cait Sith tried to force his way to the front of the group in order to speak with the press operator -- and give him his business card -- but the room was too crowded for him to make a move.
One of the tourists raised his hand. "Can we touch the money?" he asked urgently.
"No, you can't catch touch the money!" the press operator said.
"Why not?" the tourist said. "I want to touch the money." Before anyone could stop him, he reached over and put his hand on the money coming out of the press. Unfortunately, the ink on the money was still wet, and the green came off, leaving George Washington with no face.
"Hey, it's one of those Granstream Saga guys," Cait said, staring at the defaced bill.
As the security officers ran to catch the tourist, he tried to wipe his fingers off.... on the money. This succeeded only giving another picture of George a new goatee and a third a really nifty clown nose.
The security officers grabbed the offending tourist and hauled him away. "I'm sorry," one of the officers said. "We're going to have to ask you to leave
* * *
"Man, this sucks," Cait Sith said as he and Sephiroth strolled the streets of Washington. "We're completely lost." After the tour group had been kicked out of the Treasury, Cait Sith and Sephiroth had wandered off, as they weren't technically part of the group, having merely stolen Wedge and Vicks' place.
Sephiroth checked their map, but still couldn't figure out where they were. "I'm clueless," he admitted. "We'll have to call a taxi."
"Hey, an EB," Cait Sith, staring at an Electronics Boutique store. "They'll probably know us in there. C'mon, let's go." Cait grabbed Sephiroth's hand and dragged him towards the store. The small cat had no success in dragging the reluctant Sephy along and let him go as he sprinted into the store.
Cait waved to the few people in the store. "Hey, everybody, it's me, the one and only Cait Sith, Esquire," he greeted them. "Anybody have any copies of FF7 they want me to sign?"
The clerk gestured towards the door. "Get out of here. Musashi's coming here in five minutes."
"Oh, come on," Cait said. "Who would you rather have around? Cute, lovable, marketable me, or some weird guy with more hair than a sheepdog?"
"Do I have to tell you again? Get out of our store."
"Hey, wait a second, I haven't given you my business card," Cait said. He fumbled in his cloak for his stack of cards, giving the clerk time to pick up the small cat. "Hey! Let go of me!" Cait shouted as the clerk lifted him up. "The ASPCA will hear about thiiiiiiiss!" The clerk hurled Cait through the door of the EB. He flew by Sephiroth, who was just walking up to the store, and landed uncomfortably on the sidewalk.
Cait Sith picked himself up just as a car with Square's logo on it pulled out. Musashi hopped out of the car, carrying both his swords in his pencil-thin arms. "Well, well, if it isn't Anorexic Fencer Musashi himself," Cait taunted. "How do you even carry those swords?"
"It's not my fault," Musashi said defensively.
"Have you considered taking out a loan and buying a nose?" Cait continued.
"Chill out, okay?" Musashi said. "What have I done to you?"
"I was supposed to get a cameo appearance in your game, you know," Cait Sith said. "But did I? Noooooo..."
"Well, you're not the most popular character around," Musashi said reasonably.
"Get with it! The only reason you're popular is because you come with an FF8 demo!"
"At least I can see myself on my backgrounds!" Musashi retorted.
"Yeah, that's because your backgrounds suck."
"So's your ending!"
"Wanna make something of it?" Cait raised his fists.
"Ok." Musashi raised his two swords. Cait Sith rushed towards him, swung his fist wildly, and missed. He stumbled, lost his balance, and fell to the ground. Musashi laughed and walked by him towards the Electronics Boutique. The swordsman pushed open the door and stepped inside the store. His jaw dropped.
The store was filled wall-to-wall with hundreds of Sephiroth worshippers. Sephiroth himself stood in the middle of the chaos, signing autographs. Musashi waved to the barely-visible clerk. "Oh, we don't need you," the clerk said. "Sephiroth showed up instead."
Musashi gave the smugly-grinning Cait Sith a dark look, then strode back to his car, trying to avoid looking back at Cait. He needn't have bothered, because Cait Sith was in the Electronics Boutique, handing out business cards.
* * *
Vincent carefully slid a block out of the Jenga game and set it on the floor. "Your turn," he said to Barret. Barret grabbed a block at random and yanked it out. The whole tower came tumbling down into a pile of pieces.
Barret tossed the block he had pulled out into the heap. "I don't want to play this damn game anymo'," he said. "It be just as hard as PaRappa. You got any other games in that bag o' yours, cat?"
Neko peered into his bag. "I think I got Candyland in here somewhere." Neko reached into his bag and started tossing out stuff, including some empty medicine bottles, a beach umbrella, three emerald goat figurines, a telephone with no buttons except "2", a 3-inch long fuse, some striped suspenders, and a can of WD-40.
Yuffie passed by, singing. "Backstreet's back! All right!"
"STOP SINGING THAT INFERNAL SONG!" Vincent roared.
"Why does everybody hate me?" Yuffie whined. "You're so mean."
"We don't all hate you, Yuffie," Cloud said mildly.
"Oh, thank you," Yuffie said. "You're, like, totally cool. Whatever." Yuffie wandered off, singing to herself.
"Aha! Here it is!" Triumphant, Neko held up a Candyland box.
"These goat figurines are pretty cool," Vincent said. "Can I have them?"
* * *
Cait Sith and Sephiroth sat in the back of Kupek's taxi as it cruised through Washington towards the restaurant where Cait and Seph were to meet Bob Bobson. Sephiroth had dressed for the occasion; Cait was just wearing his usual red cape and crown.
"Hey, Sephy, you know what would be cool?" Cait said. "They should make a game called Yellow, where everything in the entire game is yellow."
Sephiroth declined to dignify the comment with a response.
Having obtained no immediate response, Cait repeated the statement. "See, they should make this game called Yellow where everything in the game is yellow."
"I heard you the first time."
"Then how come you didn't say anything?"
"How can I compete with your stupidity?"
"You're lowering my self-esteem," Cait said with a phony sniffle.
"Good. You said you to had to take therapy to lower it."
Kupek tried to ignore the banter in the back seat and focus on driving. The taxi was running low on gas, not to mention the fact that he had to go to the bathroom. "Uh... guys?" he said. "The car's tank is empty but mine is full. I mean, I'm full of gas and not the car. I mean, the car needs gas, but I don't."
"We need to find a gas station right now!" Kupek did a U-turn, dodged between two moving cars, and cruised down the sidewalk, causing pedestrians to flee in terror.
"Do you have any idea where you're going?" Sephiroth asked.
The taxi swerved around a corner and came face-to-face with some construction workers who were working in a manhole. They fled as the taxi shot by. "There's a gas station somewhere around here," Kupek replied.
"Somewheeeeeere over the rainbow...." Cait sang.
Kupek found the gas station, screeched to a stop in the parking lot, and leaped out. The moogle ran off to the bathroom back around the back. Cait Sith and Sephiroth waited for him to return, until an idea blossomed in the fertile, yet radioactive, grounds on Cait's mind. "C'mon, we got to get to that meeting," he said. "Let's swipe the car."
"That's wrong," Sephiroth protested.
"This coming from a guy who tried to destroy the Planet? Besides, we have diplomatic immunity. Do you wanna drive, or should I?"
"I will," Sephiroth said. "You probably can't see over the steering wheel." He climbed up into the front seat and took over the steering wheel.
"That was unnecessary," Cait protested Sephiroth's comment.
Sephiroth hit the gas and the taxi took off out of the gas station parking lot. "What was the name of that place again?" Sephiroth asked.
"La Vessie du Singe, I think."
The taxi suddenly stopped dead. "Hey, what happened?" Cait Sith asked.
Sephiroth looked at the . "We're out of gas," he reported. "Looks like we're gonna have to walk." He threw open the door and hopped out.
Cait Sith paused briefly to tuck one of his business cards on the dashboard for whoever retrieved the vehicle, then climbed out of the taxi. "Hold on a sec," he said to Sephiroth. He rummaged around in his cloak and produced two flat wooden scooterboards. "Here's our wheels."
Cait set the scooterboards down on the sidewalk and sat down on one. He started pedalling on the ground with his feet and rolled down the sidewalk. Sephiroth looked around to make sure nobody was looking, then sat down on the scooterboards. After another moment's pause to consider how he had been forced to do something this embarassing, he started pedalling after his companion.
The two rolled along the sidewalk on their scooterboards. Sitting down, Cait was no more than two feet high and zipped by pedestrians unnoticed. Sephiroth, however, was impossible to miss. The ex-villain was acutely aware of the numerous stares at him, and then the cameras started to click. Sephiroth shut his eyes and tried to block it all out, then realized he couldn't see where he was going and reluctantly opened them.
Cait Sith watched the buildings carefully as they breezed by -- Joe's Discount Turbans... Frank's Dry Cleaning and Ink Factory... La Vessie du Singe... The Unhappy Cooker... Suddenly, the restaurant he had just seen registered in Cait's mind. "Whoa, that was it," he said, leaping off his scooterboard. The scooterboard went flying down the rest of the block and knocked over a garbage can, causing the lid to go spinning into the air. The reports of UFOs went on for weeks.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth hurried inside the restaurant. They were directed to the table where Bob Bobson was waiting. Bobson was an eldery, white-haired, man, who evidently walked with the aid of the cane sitting next to the table. Cait Sith and Sephiroth sat down at the table. "Sorry we're late," Sephiroth said. "Our taxi ran out of gas."
"You must be Mr. Sith," Bobson said.
"No, I'm Mr. Sith," Cait Sith said, visibly peeved. "He's just my lackey."
"I'm Representative Bobson," Bobson said. Cait Sith and Bobson shook hands. "So, I understand you two are aliens?"
"That's right," Sephiroth said. "Legal aliens, mind you."
"Yeah, we even have a business card," Cait Sith said. He whipped out one of his business cards and handed it Bobson. While Bobson was examining it, the waiter came to the table. The three ordered their meals, then resumed speaking.
"Our president was taken captive on his personal plane by some communist rebels," Sephiroth explained. "They're threatening to kill him if the military makes any move. So we came to Earth for help."
The waiter delivered their meals as Sephiroth continued to talk. "We've been told that we need to get a bill started in Congress in order to receive assistance in rescuing our president, Congressman Bobson."
Bobson nodded. "We've already allocated our foreign aid for the year," he said. "You'd have to get an appropriations bill passed."
"I guess that would be appropriate thing to do, huh?" Cait said with a giggle.
Sephiroth gave Cait Sith a glare, hoping the cat Esper would get the message and shut up. "Would you be at all interested in sponsoring a bill, Congressman?" he asked Representative Bobson.
"Well, y'all have to understand that we've got plenty of problems on this planet that have to come before yours," Bobson said. "On the other hand, those godless commies are bad news wherever they are."
"Oooh, somebody mentioned religion!" Cait said through a mouthful of food. "Now we have Mature Content!"
"One planet goes, the rest'll go with them," Bobson continued, seeming to talk to himself. "Then we'll have commie aliens sittin' on our doorstep."
Sephiroth seized the opportunity. "So, it would be a good idea to sponsor a bill, then, wouldn't it?"
"You got ants in your pants, sonny," Bobson said. "Y'all can't just dash off a bill and except it to pass. You need the general public on your side."
"Hey, guys, wanna see if I can stick this grape up my nose?" Cait interrupted. Before anyone could stop him, he shoved the green grape into his left nostril. With some wiggling and pushing, he managed to wedge the entire thing inside. "Hey, I did it!"
"We can manage that," Sephiroth said. "Will you start a bill?"
"I will," Bobson agreed. "But y'all'd better do your part in pushing it through."
Cait tapped Sephiroth on the shoulder. "Uh, Sephiroth?" he said. "I think this grape's stuck in my nose."
Sephiroth ignored him. "Thank you, Congressman Bobson," he said. "We'll be sure to take care of it." He shook hands with Bobson.
"I'm serious, this things's stuck in my nose," Cait said. "I can't get it out!" His voice was growing panicky. "Help me!"
Sephiroth stared at him. "You're not joking, are you?"
"Of course not! Help!" Cait had gotten up and was walking around nervously.
"Here, let me see if I can squish it with the Masamune," Sephiroth offered, picking up his seven-foot-long blade from the floor.
Cait backed away. "Get that thing away from me," he commanded. "You'll put my eye out with that."
"I know!" Sephiroth said. "We'll try the Heimlich maneuever." He ran behind Cait Sith, looked down at the small cat, and then knelt behind him. Sephiroth reached his hands around the front of Cait and jerked them backwards, pressing against Cait's chest. Of course, nothing happened because there wasn't anything in Cait's throat. Hoping to somehow achieve results, Sephiroth squeezed tighter.
"Gosh, Sephiroth, I never knew you cared," Cait gasped.
Sephiroth relaxed his grip and glared at him. "Do you want to get that grape out of your nose or not? Try sneezing at the same time." Sephiroth jerked his hands again, and Cait sneezed at the same time. The grape didn't budge, but Cait sneezed on Bob Bobson's hand.
"Sorry about that, Congressman," Sephiroth said. He let go of Cait and stood up. "This isn't going to work. How about you try drinking a glass of water upside down?"
"Okay," Cait agreed, desperate enough to try anything to dislodge the grape. He hopped up on his chair and grabbed his glass of water off the table. Carefully clutching it rin both hands, he tucked his head between his knees and tried to bring the glass up to his lips. Inevitably, he tilted it too far downwards, and all the water spilled out, drenching Cait's face, the chair, and the floor around it.
It took Cait Sith a moment to recover, but when he did, he righted himself and whirled on Sephiroth. "You did that on purpose, didn't you?" he snapped. "You just wanted to see me pour water all over myself, didn't you?"
"Y'all better call a hospital," Bobson suggested sensibly.
"Good idea," Sephiroth said. "Is there a phone around here?"
"Got one right here." Bobson took a cell phone out of his coat and dialed 911. While they waited for the ambulance to arrive, Cait Sith grabbed a napkin and tried to mop up the water he had spilled.
A waiter passed by their table and stared at the mess. Cait stared back. "It's your stupid grapes!" he said accusingly. "Look at me! I've got a grape stuck in my nose!" Cait pointed to the offending piece of fruit. "I tried to see if I could stick it up my nose and it got stuck here!"
"Please, don't kick us out, we're waiting for an ambulance," Sephiroth pleaded. Apparently satisfied, the waiter nodded and walked away.
"You'd better put warning labels on every one of these grapes or I'm going to sue your pants off!" Cait Sith hollered at the waiter.
Ten minutes later, at 1:15, the ambulance had yet to arrive. Cait Sith glanced up at the clock on the wall. "If they don't get here within thirty minutes, do we get free medical care?" he asked hopefully.
"Don't get your hopes up."
Cait nervously paced around the table and watched the seconds, then minutes, tick by. 1:20... 1:25... 1:30... finlly, at 1:34, two paramedics came running into the restaurant. Cait looked at them, then at the clock. "You'll never catch me!" he declared. "One more minute and the free pizza will be mine!"
The paramedics just stared as Cait Sith scrambled under the table and sat tensed and ready to move. "This job gets weirder every day," one of them muttered. He moved to grab Cait, and Cait bolted from under the table, ran across the restaurant, and hid behind the salad bar.
"Can't catch me, I'm the Gingerbread Man!" Cait taunted.
The two paramedics put down their stretcher and ran to catch Cait Sith. Cait vaulted over the salad bar and hid at the feet of an elderly woman. He stuck his tongue out at the two paramedics, prompting one of them to lunge for him. Cait dived and rolled away, got up, and was about to run when he noticed the time -- 1:35. Casually, he threw himself onto the stretcher, leaned back with his arms folded under his head, and kicked up his feet. "You're payin' for this," he announced.
Wearily, the parademics picked up the stretcher and carried Cait Sith out to the waiting ambulance. Cait Sith rummaged in his cloak and came up with his stack of business cards. "Here's my business card," he said, handing one card to each paramedic and the ambulance driver.
Cait Sith was taken to the waiting room of the hospital. He immediately began handing out business cards to every person in the room, at least until one woman said, "I already have your business card."
"You do?" Cait said, shocked.
"You gave it to me when I was coming out of the Treasury bathroom," the woman said.
"Oh," Cait said. "Well, take another. They could be collector's items someday." He was trying to get the woman to take the proferred business card when the nurse stepped into the room and called his name. Cait followed the nurse to the doctor's office. "Here's my business card," Cait said, handing the nurse his business card. He then sat down on the bed and waited.
The doctor arrived and examined Cait Sith. "I've got a grape stuck in my nose, Doctor," Cait Sith explained helpfully.
Ignoring him, the doctor examined his feet. "This is a pretty bad ingrown toenail, all right," he said.
"I don't care about the toenail; I've got a grape stuck in my nose," Cait said. The doctor put his stethoscope up to Cait's chest and checked his heartbeat. "What the hell are you doing?" Cait asked. "All I want is for you to get the grape out of my nose."
The doctor pointed at Cait's short red cape. "Lift up your cape, I want to test the reaction in your tail."
"No way," Cait said adamantly. "I don't show My Yahoo! to just anyone, you know."
The doctor ignored him again, lifted up his cape, and grabbed the end of Cait's tail. He gave it a few yanks, then scribbled something on the clipboard I was carrying. "Listen to me," Cait said. "I have a grape in my nose. Please remove it. That's all I want. Thank you."
The doctor stared at him. "You say you have a grape in your nose?"
"YES!" Cait yelled. "That's what I've been trying to tell you!"
"How long have you had this grape in your nose?"
"About an hour."
"Have you or anyone in your family had a history of having grapes in your noses?"
"JUST TAKE THE DAMN GRAPE OUT OF MY NOSE!" Cait yelled, leaping to his feet. "TAKE IT OUT! NOW!!"
"I think we'll have to remove the grape," the doctor said calmly. "Sit still." He took a pair of foreceps out of his coat and used them to yank out the grape. It took less than a second.
Cait Sith breathed a full breath. "Thank you," he said icily. "Oh, and here's my business card."
* * *
"Got any threes?" Cid asked Barret.
"Go fish, foo'!" Barret replied.
Cid took a card, then it was Red XIII's turn. "Do you have any fours?" he asked Neko.
"Yo," Neko replied, handing Red XIII a four.
Cid threw his cards down on the ground. "I hate this @*&$^ game," he complained.
"We could play War," Neko suggested. "Or Slapjack! Let's play Slapjack!"
"Never mind," Cid said. "Your turn, Neko."
On the other side of the plane, Yuffie and Vincent were engaged in a heated game of Hangman. "I?" Vincent asked.
"Yeah," Yuffie said, filling in an I in one of the blanks, and giving Vincent M _ T _ _ I _.
"Materia?" Vincent guessed.
"Gawd, you're, like, too good," Yuffie conceded defeat.
"That's the third game so far you've used that," Vincent said. "Can't you think of any other words? Go ask Nanaki; I'm sure he can think of a bunch."
"Isn't there, like, an in-flight movie on this plane?" Yuffie asked.
"I'll go ask," Vincent said. He got up and headed for the cabin. As he entered, Hart was exchanging his gun duty to Mayor Domino. Rufus was still bound to the chair.
"You know, we can't stay in the air forever," Hart said to Domino.
"Butch is trying to find us a landing spot," Domino said. "One away from any Shinra forces. We'll land as soon as he clears us."
"Excuse me," Vincent said. "Is there an in-flight movie on here?"
"Yeah," Rufus answered. "Hey, Dumbino, turn on the in-flight movie for them. It's that button over there."
Domino looked at Hart, who shrugged his lukewarm support. After all, if AVALANCHE was busy watching the movie, they wouldn't try to storm the cabin. Domino pressed the button Rufus had indicated.
"Thanks," Vincent said. He ran back into the cabin. "Hey, guys, there's an in-flight movie!" he announced.
"Backstreet's back! All right!" Yuffie was singing.
"I want to hear a new song tomorrow!" Cid snapped. "A NEW one!"
"What movie is it?" Tifa asked.
"It's Sephiroth's movie," Vincent replied. "Armadillo."
* * *
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
Burkina Faso's ambassador sat up in bed. "I can't take it anymore!" he exclaimed. The constant, regular, thump of Cait Sith's printing press had been going for the whole night, not to mention the rest of the day as well, slowly robbing the ambassador of his sanity. He ran upstairs and knocked quietly on the door of Cait Sith's office.
"Come in," Cait Sith said.
The ambassador stepped into the de facto Shinra Embassy, and his jaw dropped. The antique African rug had vanished and been replaced with a garish checkerboard one, on which Cait Sith was playing checkers against himself, using his business cards as pieces. Sephiroth sat in a chair in the corner, thumbing through a phone book, while a tape player on a table near him continually repeated "You are stupid... you are worthless... you are scum beneath the toes of the world..." And over it all, the printing press kept its continual din, churning out more business cards.
"Goooood evening," Cait Sith greeted him.
"Can't you print those some other time?" the ambassador asked Cait Sith with a gesture towards the printing press. "Why do you have to print so many, anyways?"
Cait Sith looked up from the checkers "game". "I'm printing collectible ones in varying colors," Cait Sith said. "Some people already had one of the plain ones, so I had to make a whole range of colors. There's blue, there's green, there's yellow, there's lavender, there's off-white, there's fuschia, there's cyan... heck, there's even some ultra-rare foil-stamped ones. Be the first on your block to own all thirty colors!"
"Hey, Cait, who did Congressman Bobson say we were supposed to get on our side again?" Sephiroth asked.
"The general public," Cait Sith said, hopping one of his business cards over one of the opposing team and removing it from the board.
"General Public," Sephiroth repeated. He thumbed through the phone book. "General... Public... ah, here we go. General Robert Public. Office #409, The Pentagon." Sephiroth slammed the phone book shut, having found what he was looking for.
"Please, just turn off the printing press," the ambassador said. "We can't sleep with it on."
Cait Sith's mouth contorted as he considered how to deal with the situation. "Tell you what," he said. "You beat me at checkers, I'll turn off the press."
"All right, fine," the ambassador said desperately.
Cait held up two business cards. "You want the chartreuse or the aqua blue?"
"Chartreuse," the ambassador said, taking the green cards.
"You are a mindless, pathetic fool... everyone hates you... you are a complete and utter failure..."
Cait Sith set up the game on the rug. "You move first," he told the ambassador. The ambassador moved one of his cards forward. Cait Sith did the same.
The game progressed for a few more turns until Cait Sith moved one of his pieces onto a certain red square towards the side of the board. "I just landed on the Royalty Square," he announced. "All my pieces are now kings." He casually placed an additional business card on top of all his pieces.
The ambassador stared at him, but was too polite to say anything. Perhaps checkers rules were different where Cait Sith came from. He moved one of his cards forward.
One of Cait's many kings leaped over the chartreuse card that had just moved. The ambassador retaliated by leaping Cait's card. "I call in an air strike," Cait Sith said. He blew on the ambassador's closest card, sending it flying clear off the board.
Again, the ambassador declined to comment. Instead, he just studied the board position, and eventually found a good move. He slid one of his pieces onto the square that Cait had earlier proclaimed the Royalty Square. "This is the Royalty Square, right?"
"Yeah, but it can only be used once per game," Cait said. "My turn." He hopped over one of the ambassador's pieces, reaching the end of the board. "Let's see, all my pieces are already kings, so that means my guy is now an emperor. He can teleport." Cait Sith added a third business card on top of his new "emperor".
Sephiroth wandered over to watch as the ambassador hopped over one of Cait's many kings and reached the end of the board. "King me."
Cait Sith "teleported" his emperor across the board and jumped the ambassador's new king. "I jumped a king, so I get an extra move," he said. He teleported his emperor again and captured another one of the ambassador's pieces.
"You get an extra move if you jump a king?" the ambassador repeated. "Okay, then.... jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump. I win."
Cait Sith stared at the board. In one series of turns, the ambassador had wiped out of all his pieces. "Hey," he said, disappointed. "I lost."
"Good game, Mr. Sith," the ambassador said. "Will you hold up your part of the bargain and turn off the printing press?"
"Yeah, sure, okay," Cait Sith said. Still shocked by his loss, he got up and turned the printing press off.
"Thank you. Good night, Mr. Sith." The Burkina Faso ambassador left the room, closing the door behind him.
"I'm hitting the sack too," Sephiroth said. "We've got a busy day tomorrow. We're going to have to speak with General Public."
* * *
The following day, Cait Sith and Sephiroth arrived at the Pentagon, home of $200 toilet seats, $70 screws, and the Department of Defense. Cait Sith handed the receptionist one of his business cards -- it was a light magenta one -- and then they entered the huge complex.
"Where are we going?" Cait asked.
Sephiroth checked the address he had written down on a scrap of paper. "Office #409," he read. "General Robert Public."
Cait Sith stared down the long halls, all lined with many doors leading to offices and more halls, and merely shrugged. "We'll just count the offices until we get close. You know, sort of a hot-and-cold thing." He ran off into a random hall and checked the numbers on the door. They were in the low 200s, increasing further down into the hall. "See, we're already halfway there," Cait said to the dubious Sephiroth.
Cait ran down the hall, counting the doors, while Sephiroth lagged behind. Cait suddenly stumbled to a halt. "Hey, there's a door here with no number," he reported.
"It probably leads to another hall," Sephiroth said.
Cait Sith pushed the door open and ran through. Sure enough, there was another hall, this one with doors in the mid 500s. As the pair proceeded down it, the numbers got smaller. "541... we'll be at 409 in no time."
An hour later, they still weren't.
"Um... I think we're lost," Sephiroth said.
"Shut up," Cait Sith. "We're not lost; I just don't know exactly where we are."
"Maybe we should ask for directions."
"Maybe you should quit complaining." Cait Sith thumbed through his stack of business cards. "I still got plenty of cards to hand out; we're in great shape."
Sephiroth snapped his fingers. "That's it! Let's use the business cards to make a trail! You know, like Hansel and Gretel."
"No way! Somebody could come by and take the whole string of cards," Cait Sith said. "These are collector's items; I'm not giving out the entire stack at once."
"Get your own damn cards," Cait Sith said firmly.
"You know, personally, I'd like to see daylight again, sometime in my life."
"Oh, all right," Cait compromised. "But only on one condition." He darted inside a nearby office, grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen off a desk within -- prompting a shocked stare from the desk's occupant -- and darted back outside. Cait knelt down on the floor and wrote "ONLY ONE PER CUSTOMER. NO EXCEPTIONS!" on the paper, and set it on the ground. "All right, we can go now," he said.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth set off down the halls again, leaving a business card every couple feet. Eventually, they found their way to an office #904. "Here it is," Cait Sith said. "Office 904." He knocked on the door, then opened it without waiting for a reply.
General Public was not in the room. On the other hand, Professor Daravon was.
The bearded instructor from the Gariland Magic Academy turned upon hearing them enter. "Good comings!" he greeted.
"Hey, it's Professor Daravon," Cait Sith said. "What are you doing here, Tutorial Boy?"
"Move with comes studying I tactic from militaries this planet for improvement course," Daravon explained. "This's the way!"
Cait Sith and Sephiroth exchanged glances. "Do you have any idea what he just said?" Seph asked.
"And that with are you?" Daravon said. "For come how in the Pentagon?"
"Welcome to America!" Cait Sith exclaimed. "We speak the language English here!"
"I think he wants to know what we're doing in the Pentagon," Sephiroth whispered to Cait. He turned to Daravon. "We're looking for the General Public. Do you know him?"
"Off course!" Daravon answered. "General Pubric is on office 409, no 904! I show we are you to get there!"
Cait Sith and Sephiroth took a moment to digest and decode this. "Look! Up in the sky!" Cait Sith said suddenly. "It's English! It's Japanese! No, it's Daravonese!"
Daravon got up and strode out of his office, leaving Cait and Sephiroth with no alternative but to follow the illiterate professor. Cait Sith continued to lay down business cards in the likely event that Daravon had no idea where he was going. Fortunately for Cait, Daravon did know where he was going, and in short order the trio arrived at Office #409.
Daravon knocked on the door. "Are is I," he said. "Professor Daravon!"
"Come on in," a friendly voice said.
"I had a good feeling!" Daravon exclaimed. He opened the door, and the three entered General Public's office.
General Robert Public was a tall, slightly fat, man with a good-natured smile and brown hair with a tinge of grey. He sat in a large overstuffed chair behind a wooden desk. An American flag hung behind him. "What can I do for you?" he asked.
"I'm Cait Sith, the Ambassador of Shinra," Cait introduced himself. "Here's my business card." Hoping to make a favorable impression on General Public, he handed him one of the ultra-rare foil-stamped business cards. "And this is my flunky Sephiroth."
"I love you too," Sephiroth said dryly.
"Items being used are Items used in battle," Daravon said randomly.
"We're trying to stop a communist rebellion on our homeworld," Cait explained to General Public. "We came to this planet to get help, and we talked to some congressman dude -"
"Bob Bobson," Sephiroth interupted.
"Yea, him. He said he'd start a bill for us to get money to put down the rebellion, but we had to get the general public on our side."
General Public resisted the urge to laugh. "Mr. Sith?" he said, the corners of his mouth quivering. "I think you've been mislead. Mr. Bobson didn't..." Then the whole thing proved too much for him, and he started to chuckle. He quickly coughed to mask his laughing.
"This man are sick," Daravon observed.
General Public took a deep breath and began again. "Mr. Bobson didn't mean for you to get me, General Public, on your side. He meant that you needed the general public -- the people, the average citizenry -- on your side." He took another deep breath to avoid bursting in out laughter.
"Oh." Cait sounded disappointed. "So how should we do that?"
"I know!" Sephiroth exclaimed. "We gotta believe!"
"I'm sure the public will be supportive when they hear your story," General Public said. "You just need to get your story out to them, through the media."
"The media," Cait repeated. "Like, uh, 60 Minutes?"
"I was thinking more along the lines of the Washington Post," Public said.
"The Washington Post?" Cait repeated. "Okay, gotcha."
"Thanks for your help, General," Sephiroth said.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth turned and the left the office, accompanied by their guide. General Public took another futile deep breath, then leaned forward his desk and laughed until tears came out of his eyes.
* * *
The eight members of AVALANCE and Neko sat back in their seats as the in-flight movie began. The Shinra Pictures logo came on, then the title: ARMADILLO.
Then, without warning, the screen cut to a doctor's office, where a bearded man was walking up to a counter. "Johnson Conrad," he told the receptionist.
"Wha' kinda name be Johnson Conrad?" Barret said.
"Is Conrad is first name or his last name?" Cid said.
"Backstreet's back! All right!"
"Mr. Conrad, the doctor is not here," the receptionist said.
"Thank you, Mario, but the doctor is in another castle," Neko quipped.
"If isn't he, where is he?" Conrad said.
"He sailed off the edge of the world," Vincent said.
"He's fallen in the well!" Neko exclaimed. "Run, Lassie, run! Save the doctor!"
"He went fishing," the receptionist said.
"...for some actual dialogue," Neko concluded.
"Isn't he supposed to be on call?" Cid asked.
The camera zoomed in a huge shot of Conrad's nose as Conrad rubbed it. "Doesn't that just beat all?" Conrad said.
"Gosh gee wilickers, Ryu, I never knew Teepo was a dragon," Vincent said.
"And the results are in!" Neko said. "Rei said 'Doesn't that just beat all?' three more times than Barret said 'You damn Shinra!', earning Rei the title of Character Who Uses His Catchphrase The Most."
"Shu'up, foo'!" Barret shouted at Neko.
The movie suddenly cut to a boat floating out in the ocean. Sephiroth sat on the boat, peering through a telescope.
"Let's hear it for editing!" Vincent said.
"Oh no! It's a $&*^!% self-insertion movie!" Cid shouted. "Quick, Vincent, go turn it off! I can't take any more of this crap!"
"I went in there and begged Domino to show us the in-flight movie," Vincent said. "I can't go back in there and ask him to turn it off."
Johnson Conrad emerged from the water, wearing scuba gear.
"Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" Neko said.
"Are you the doctor?" Conrad asked.
"He's wearing a scuba mask," Vincent said. "How can Sephiroth hear him?"
"Because... I wrote this screenplay!" Neko said, mimicking Sephiroth's voice. "I know all! I see all! But I don't take American Express."
"I thought the receptionist said he was @$%^ fishing," Cid said. "Why's he got a telescope."
"That's me," Sephiroth said. "What can I do for you?"
"Join me, Sephiroth," Neko said. "We can rule the galaxy together!"
"I want you to shoot me," Vincent said. "I don't want to be in this awful movie."
Conrad climbed up into the boat, still wearing his scuba gear. "I'm not feeling well, doctor."
"You mean I was supposed to put air in these tanks?" Neko gasped. "Not carbon monoxide?"
"I think you have a case of acute bronchitis."
"Writing the screenplay sure is helpful," Neko said. "He's psychic."
"Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?" Vincent asked.
"Well, I don't want to be acute, so I'll just say I'm cute," Conrad said. "Thanks, doc."
"Logic!" Neko cried. "What is it good for?"
"Look at this!" Sephiroth exclaimed. "This is impossible!"
"Nothing is impossible," Cid said.
"It's the disembodied arm of Rasputin!" Neko cried. "Run for your lives!"
"I wouldn't put it past him," Vincent muttered.
There was a brief shot through the telescope of a rather cardboard-looking armadillo floating in the air.
"And they just now noticed this?" Vincent said.
"This movie is the most absolute #!*$% piece of garbage I've ever seen," Cid said.
"Will you guys quiet down?" Tifa demanded. "Some of us are trying to watch the movie."
They all stared at her, and burst out laughing.
* * *
Cait Sith was surprised by the reaction he had gotten at the Washington Post. They didn't have to ask; they had been immediately taken to the lounge for an interview. On the other hand, he was a cute and lovable -- and marketable -- cat Esper, so who wouldn't want to interview him?
Cait Sith took a seat in the lounge, and Sephiroth did as well. Daravon was not with them; he had gone back to resume his "studied" at the Pentagon. "So, Mr. Sith, where did you get the idea for your business cards?" the reporter asked.
"He's Mr. Sith," Sephiroth said, pointing at Cait.
"Yeah, that's just my lackey," Cait explained. "I'm the real McCoy."
"Sorry," the reporter apologized. She turned to Cait. "So, Mr. Sith, where did you get the idea for your business cards?"
Cait tapped his head. "Scienteeefic," he answered.
"Uh, okay," the reporter said, scribbling something down. "Why did you decide to distribute your business cards?"
"I needed to get support for my cause," Cait explained. "See, I'm an alien, and there's this communist rebellion on my homeworld. I came to Earth to get -"
"That's nice," the reporter interrupted. "What are your future plans for your line of business cards? Any new colors?"
"Yeah, I'll probably have some new colors or something," Cait said, still surprised by the fame that his business cards had earned him. Then a sudden idea struck him. "I'm retiring the mint green cards," he told the reporter.
"You're retiring the mint green cards?" the reporter blurted. She scribbled something down, then ran to the door. "MINT GREEN'S BEING RETIRED!" she shouted. The office immediately burst into life, with people scrambling around everywhere and an alarm sounding. A sign over Sephiroth's head started flashing "Red Alert".
Cait stood up and bowed. "No autographs, no autographs, they'd be worth too much," he said.
After the entire office had been duly alerted, the reporter stepped back inside the lounge. "How about the magazines?" she asked. "How supportive are you of those?"
"Magazines?" Cait said. "What magazines?"
"Didn't you know?" the reporter said. She reached under her chair and held up two magazines. One was called Cait Card Collector, and the other Cait Sith Weekly.
"Wow, a magazine with my name on it," Cait Sith said, awed. "Steve Forbes, here I come!"
"About the communist rebellion," Sephiroth began. "We came to Earth to get help -"
The reporter ignored Sephiroth. "How many business cards do you give out a day?" she asked Cait.
"Um, about 200," Cait replied.
"We have a bill that we're trying to push through Congress -"
"And how many of those are the ultra-rare foil-stamped kind?"
"Maybe 1 or 2," Cait said. "They're pretty rare."
Sephiroth was steaming about the lack of attention to the real issue -- their bill -- but Cait Sith was having the time of his life. "Hey, I've got a new color I haven't unveiled yet," Cait Sith said. "Shell pink." He pulled his stack of cards out and thumbed to the shell pink ones. "You're the first to see it. Say, could we like include these in the paper or something?"
"You'll have to speak with management. I'm just a reporter."
"We'd just like to say one other thing," Sephiroth said, and was once again soundly ignored. He sighed and followed Cait Sith and the reporter out of the room, through the main offices, and to the office of the head of marketing.
"Mr. Sith here would like to include his business cards in the Washington Post," the reporter said.
"It's a special color," Cait added. "Shell pink. Never before seen!" He turned to Sephiroth. "It'll be good publicity for our bill," he whispered.
"A new color? Only in the Washington Post?" the marketing head said. "All right, we'll do it."
"How many do you need?" Cait Sith said.
"About 800,000 should do."
"800,000," Cait repeated. "I'd better get printing some more. I'll be back this evening, okay?"
Cait Sith and Sephiroth left the Washington Post, only to be confronted by more waiting media people. "Excuse me, Mr. Sith," one of the people said. "We're from Oprah. We happened to be in town and heard about your business card phenomenom, and we were wondering if you'd like to appear on the Business Cards and the Cats Who Print Them episode of our show."
"Sure," Cait Sith agreed. "No problem. Look, can we talk later? I've got to get back to my embassy and print some more business cards for the Washington Post." He produced the two scooterboards that had served the pair well in the last couple of days.
"Please, Cait, not with all those people here," Sephiroth said with a pained expression on his face.
"You wanna walk, bonzo?" Cait Sith retorted. "No? Then you're scooterboarding." He tossed his scooterboard down on the ground, sat down on it, and pedalled off down the street. With a sheepish grin on his face, Sephiroth set down his board and followed Cait. As he did, he noticed the electronic reader board outside a bank. It was displaying the time, temperature, and a message that read simply "MINT GREEN RETIRED".
* * *
"Hand me the hammer," Cid said to Barret. Barret tossed him one, and Cid used it to pound in a few more nails to secure the board. Left with the alternatives of watching Armadillo and not watching it, the gang wisely with the latter option. Since Vincent refused to go back into the cabin, they decided to simply board up the movie screen, using supplies provided from Neko's bag.
The movie had started out terrible, but things had changed. It became even worse. When Sephiroth captured a live armadillo and used its DNA to create a Magic X-Ray Potion that a team of veterinarians would inject into the armadillo to make it change course, then killed Cloud when Cloud doubted the authenticity of the potion, the gang decided enough was enough.
Cloud handed Cid another board. "I still don't see what was so bad about that movie," Cloud said, apparently unconcerned with Sephiroth's gratuitous killing of him.
"That's because you couldn't have a #*@$&%in' opinion to save your grandmother," Cid said.
"My grandmother's dead," Cloud said.
"My point exactly."
* * *
A Republic of Texas member carried the latest issue of the Washington Post into the group's compound. The Texas separationist group occasionally picked up the paper to see what "those fascists in Washington" were up to.
Jake, the Republic of Texas guy, trooped through the compound and up the stairs to their leader's office. The leader went by the peculiar moniker of Name Withheld, which, amazingly, was his actual given name. When Jake stepped into his office, Name Withheld was watching the end of Unsolved Mysteries -- the only show the Republic of Texas ever watched -- on TV. "Strange grammatical things!" the announcer boomed. "Next Unsolved Mysteries!"
"Got the new issue of the Washington Post," Jake reported to Withheld.
"What's going on in the Bundestag?" Name Withheld asked. "Have they banned shoes yet?"
"Let's see," Jake said. He opened the paper, and, as he did, a small pink piece of paper fluttered out.
"What's this?" Name Withheld asked. He grabbed the paper and examined it. "Cait Sith, Esquire, Shinra Ambassador," he read.
"Cait Sith... wasn't that the name of that alien cat?" Jake said. "The one who sicced the CIA on us when we were in South Dakota?"
Jake and Name Withheld looked at each other. "Let's get him," Withheld said.
* * *
"What the hell are they doing out there?" Domino wondered, hearing the incessant pounding from outside the cabin. "I'll take gun duty, you go look."
"Why me?" Hart asked.
"You have the carp," Domino said. "You can blow it up if things get rough."
"Oh, all right." Hart handed the gun over to Domino, pulled the carp out of his pants pocket, and ran into the passenger area of the plane. Neko and AVALANCHE were putting the finishing touches on their boarding-up of the movie screen. He stared at them. "What in Lenin's name is all this?" he demanded.
"We didn't like the in-flight movie," Vincent explained simply.
"I want my money back," Yuffie added.
"You'd better quit all this monkey business right now," Hart said. "Or I'll blow up the carp."
Neko pulled a small spider monkey out of his bag and looked at it regretfully. "Man, I thought I could sell this at the flea market," he said regretfully. "But I guess I can't do any more monkey business." He tossed it back in the bag, accompanied by a rim shot.
"And no more stupid puns either," Hart said.
"I'm sorry," Neko apologized. "And I thought I'd gibbon up bad puns, too."
"Okay, that's it," Hart said. "I'm not budging from this room until the plane lands. And if any of you say anything stupid, I'll blow up the carp."
"Speaking of the plane, how come we never go anywhere?" Tifa asked.
"'Cause we don't have any feet," Hart replied.
"No feet?" everyone exclaimed. "Aaaaaaaaah!"
* * *
Cait Sith sniffled as he addressed the Oprah audience. "We need your help!" he said with a fake sob. "The government of our planet's being taken over by communist rebels. They've kidnapped our president. We came to Earth to get help, but unless our bill passes in Congress, we won't get any help at all." He sniffled again, and blew his nose.
"Show us some of your business cards," somebody in the front row of the audience said. It was Wedge.
Sephiroth could stand it no more and jumped to his feet. "Is that all you care about?" he raged. "Business cards?" Everybody turned to look at him. An embarassed expression crept across his normally stern face. "Um, never mind." He sat back down.
Sephiroth was saved from further embarassment when the back wall of the studio exploded. Bricks rolled across the stage and a thick cloud of smoke billowed out. Out of the smoke stepped three people, all carrying semi-automatic weapons.
"Come back for more, cat?" Name Withheld said.
"Oh no!" Cait Sith exclaimed, recognizing them. "It's the Republic of Texas! Sephiroth! Do something!"
"Do you know long we spent in the U.N. Building looking for you?" Withheld ranted. "And you weren't even on on the planet! You made me set foot in the United Nations Building! You spoony bard!"
"Hey, leave Cait Sith alone!" someone in the audience shouted.
"Yeah, we earned all our business cards one by one, why can't you?"
Like a herd of gazelle rushing a herd of Texas separationist gazelle, the crowd rushed the stage, wielding chairs, small children, and anything else they could lay their hands on. The three Republic of Texas guys fired into the crowd, hitting two of the frontrunners.
"Oh my God, they killed Vicks and Wedge!" Sephiroth exclaimed. "You bastards!"
The Republic of Texas backed away from the angry crowd. "We should have known better to than to trust this show," Name Withheld muttered. "Spreading all those lies about beef..."
"Beef," Cait Sith in the deepest voice he could manage. "It's what for dinner."
"You like beef?" Jake, one of the Republic of Texas guys, asked Cait.
"Yeah," Cait Sith replied.
"Hey, boss, he likes beef," Jake reported.
"I guess you aren't such a bad guy after all," Name Withheld said. "Never mind; sorry we bothered you." He and his two buddies fled through the hole they had created, leaving Cait Sith, Sephiroth, and Oprah to face the crowd-turned-mob. Driven on by something resembling a hive mentality, they were swarming the stage, completely ignoring the fact that their targets had departed.
Two security guards quickly spirited Oprah to safety, but Cait and Sephiroth were left to fend for their own. "Geronimo!" Cait cried, leaping into the crowd. The crowd hoisted him into the air and started passing him along. Sephiroth did the same.
"Wow, I've never been crowd-surfing before," Cait shouted to Sephiroth.
"I have," Sephiroth said.
Cait narrowed his eyes. "Just how did you get so popular, anyways?"
"It's the sword," Sephiroth explained. "Chicks dig the sword."
The pair was passed to the back of the crowd, where they hopped off and sprinted out the door. Cait hesitated from a moment, then ran back inside and shouted through his megaphone, "Cait Sith has left the building." The crowd paid him little attention, because a huge brawl had broken out for no reason other than inertia.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth strolled out into the streets of Chicago, where Oprah was taped. "I'll call to see when our flight leaves," Sephiroth said, ducking into a phone booth.
Cait Sith wandered into a nearby 7th Heaven franchised bar. Man, these things are everywhere thse days, Cait Sith thought. He whipped out his business cards and was handing them out to everybody in the bar when Sephiroth walked in. "It's leaving in an hour," Seph reported. "We'd better get to the airport."
"All right," Cait Sith said. He handed a wad of business cards to the bartender. "Hey, give one of these out to everyone who comes in here, okay?"
* * *
Back in Washington, Cait Sith and Sephiroth paid a visit to Bob Bobson's office. "I'm Mr. Sith," Cait told the receptionist. "I'm working with What's-His-Face on a bill. Oh, and here's my business card." Cait handed the receptionist one of his cards.
The receptionist looked at the card. "I already have this color."
"Tough toasties. Can we talk to Mr. Bobson now?"
"Go on in," the receptionist said, tucking the business card away for safekeeping.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth walked into Congressman Bobson's office. Bobson was currently playing his treasured carnival Wak-A-Commie game, where little Stalins popped out of holes and you had to hit them with a mallet. "Yo, big guy," Cait Sith greeted him. "We're back."
"You wanna whack some commies?" Bobson asked, offering Cait the mallet.
"We'll pass," Sephiroth said. "We just dropped in to see how our bill was doing. We've been out gathering public support."
Cait Sith examined his stack of business cards. "I wonder how much money I could make if I starting selling these," he mused.
"How's our bill doing?" Sephiroth asked. "What do you think its chance of passing is?"
"Let's see," Bobson said. He reached over to his desk and picked up a small box that was sitting under the world map on the wall. The box, labeled "SUPPORT-O-METER", had a small glass covering with a meter inside. Resting in the middle of the meter was a needle, and below it was a button.
Bobson pressed the button. The meter hummed and a few lights blink. The needle suddenly dropped to the left, broke through the grass, and fell completely off the device.
"Wow, we're off the chart!" Cait Sith explained excitedly.
"Wrong way, Cait," Sephiroth said.
Bobson looked at the broken Support-o-Meter. "Sorry, y'all," he said. "If this is how popular your bill is, I can't afford to spend my time supporting it. Y'all'll have to find a new representative to sponsor it."
"Please? One more chance?" Sephiroth begged.
"Well, if you don't want to help us, I'm defecting!" Cait Sith declared. "I'm going to go to..." Cait reached into his cloak and pulled out a Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey tail. He closed his eyes tightly, spun around a couple times -- knocking over the coatrack as he did -- then slammed it onto the world map on Bobson's wall. He opened his eyes and looked to see where the piece had been tacked. "...Iraq."
"You can't -" Bobson began.
"Please, Mr. Congressman, give us one more chance," Sephiroth interrupted.
"C'mon, Seph," Cait Sith said to his companion on his way out of the room. "Forget this place. We're going to Iraq instead."
* * *
Night fell on the city of Midgar. On the tenth floor of the Shinra Building, three lone people were still at work. "We got any more leads in the Iwonowski case?" Reno asked.
"There's one talking gerbil who says he heard on the Psychic Friends Hotline that the weed-eater didn't belong to Iwonowski," Elena reported. "Other than that, no."
Rude stood at the window, staring out on the dark skyline of Sector 8. Suddenly, a bright light shone up into the night, creating an image of the country of Turkey in the air. "The Turk Signal!" Rude exclaimed.
"Quick, to the Turk Cave!" Elena said. The three Turks rushed to the elevator and descended to the fifth basement of the Shinra Basement. Reno ran to a nearby door and punched in a code. It slid open, and the Turks rushed through and to another door. This one slid open as they approached, and the Turks continued into a tunnel until they reached another door. This door slid open as well, and the Turks continued onwards to another door. The fourth door slid open when the Turks neared, and they kept running to a door. Reno punched in a code, and the door slid open, allowing them entrance to the secret base of the Turks, the Turk Cave.
The Turk Cave was a large, domed-top, secret cave, occupied by mostly by the Turks' secret communciations equipment; their secret equipment stores; their secret vehicle, the Turkmobile; and some not-so-secret rocks.
"I never did know why they have so many doors," Rude commented.
Elena noticed a toothbrush sitting on the ground and picked it up. A small LED display had been embedded in its handle. When Elena touched it, words started to appear. "Your mission, whether you choose to accept it or not, is to infiltrate North Corel and take over Mayor Domino's command center. From there, you are to radio Gelnika One in the guise of Domino's assistants and clear them for landing. When the plane lands, you are to rescue President Rufus and any other hostages on the plane. Should you fail, the Shinra Corporation will disavow any knowledge of your mission. This message will self-destruct in approximately eight hours."
Elena shoved the toothbrush in her pocket for later disposal, then the three Turks climbed into the Turkmobile. Originally a nitro-burning funny car, the Turkmobile had been refurbished and painted with the flag of Turkey. It now functioned as the main transport vehicle for the Turks force, and had served them well through attacks by AVALANCHE, natural disasters, Shinra's short-lived acquisition by the Umbrella Corporation, and even its ill-fated apperance in Chocobo Racing. Now it just had to carry them through their latest mission. Saving President Rufus.
* * *
Cait Sith and Sephiroth entered dictator-turned-rapper Saddam Hussein's office in one of his many presidential palaces. They had been quickly taken to speak with Saddam Hussein after it was learned they had defected from the United States.
Saddam was waiting for them. "Yo! Waz up G fang?" he greeted them as they sat down.
"Huh?" Cait said.
"Um, hi," Sephiroth said.
"So, you used to be from da wes' side, but you ain't be hangin' wi' da Americans no more?" Saddam asked.
"He's almost as bad as Daravon," Cait Sith whispered.
"We're from another planet," Sephiroth explained. "Our President was taken hostage by communist rebels, and we came to Earth to get help to rescue him."
"Word up!" Saddam said. "So, yo' G's wanna wack those communists? Yo'd better get your swerve on. I guess my peeps kin help yo' out, yo' seem like playa's. I kin one up da pigs in America and get some props."
There was a long silence from the two visitors. "I'm sorry, Mr. Hussein, could you repeat that?" Sephiroth asked.
"We need Yuffie here to translate," Cait Sith muttered. Then he spoke up, addressing Saddam. "Hey, do you know Yuffie Kisaragi? She has a rap group called the Wu-Tai Clan."
"Don't know 'em," Saddam said. "Is her music def?"
"Uh... yeah," Cait Sith said, not knowing whether this was good or bad. "Hey, what's your favorite band?"
"Chemical Brothers," Saddam Hussein replied. "Anythin' 'bout chemicalz is da bomb! Hey, yo' homeys wanna read my new song? It's about chemicalz." Saddam handed Cait a piece of paper from his desk.
Cait Sith examined the lyrics.
How much mustard gas I used this morning I don't even wanna say to you
I used enough to turn all of Kuwait orange
And now I...
The lyrics just ended at the point. "I can't think o' nothin' to rhyme wit' orange," Saddam explained. "Got any ideas?"
"Nothing rhymes with orange," Sephiroth said. "There isn't anything."
"Don't you be givin' none of that crap!" Saddam said. "C'mon, what kin I write?"
"You can't," Sephiroth said simply.
"Who are you tellin' me what I can and can't write?" Saddam said. "You be jest like dose arms inspectorz." A sudden thought struck him. "You be American spies, ain't you? Come in here tryin' to wreck my songz! Guardz!" Saddam presed a button on his desk and an alarm start ringing.
Two guards rushed into the room, prompting Cait to whip out one of his business cards. "I wield the +3 Elven Business Card of Might!" he proclaimed. "Get back or I shall deal you a mighty paper cut!" As neither of the guards spoke English, they ignored him and aimed their guns on the small cat.
Sensing a losing battle, Sephiroth grabbed Cait's arm and teleported them both of the palace. "We'd better get out of this country pronto," he told Cait. "He's probably going to have troops out looking for us all over."
"So what are we gonna do?" Cait Sith asked.
"I think we should go back to America," Sephiroth suggested. "We can find another representative to sponsor our bill. Of course, if you'd listened to me in the first place..."
Meanwhile, back in Saddam's palace, the rapping dictator was furious over the loss of his lyrics. "Those playa-haters took my lyrics!" Saddam raged to some his assistants. "I'm gonna 86 those foo's! Mobilize the army!"
* * *
Costa Del Sol
The Turkmobile cruised through the sandy streets of Costa Del Sol, en route to North Corel. Rude, who was driving, pulled over outside a bar. "How about we get some booze... I mean, information?" he suggested.
"Okay with me," Reno agreed.
The three Turks hopped out of their vehicle and entered the bar, one of the few remaining ones in the world that hadn't been bought out by 7th Heaven. The place was dimly lit, except for the neon signs that illuminated the bar's fake palm trees. Rude, being a respected customer at just about any bar, sat down at his usual place and was immediately greeted by the bartender. "Hey, Rude," he said. "Good to see you, especially with business the way it is lately."
Rude did not reply. "Bad?" Reno guessed.
"Yeah," the bartender said. "A lot of the regulars like Mukki and Butch have gone off to join Mayor What's-His-Face in North Corel, or whatever they're callin' it now. Domingrad, or something like that."
"Give me some booze," Rude said bluntly.
"Yeah, me too," Reno added.
"I'll just have some Bugenhagen-Dazs ice cream," Elena said.
"So, Mukki and Butch say anything about this rebellion of theirs before they left?" Reno asked as the bartender fetched their drinks and Elena's ice cream.
"Yeah, we're trying to save President Rufus, he's being held hostage on the plane and we need to sneak into North Corel to take over their controls and -"
"Cut it, Elena," Rude interrupted. The bartender handed him his drink, and he took a big gulp.
"They were going on about how they were the real heroes and AVALANCHE's story is all a lie," the bartender answered Reno's question. "And how their revolution was going to sweep the world. Nothing important, really?"
"Hey, wasn't Butch's Materia shop here?" Elena babbled. "There might be clues in there or something. Like he might have left something behind -- a map or a password or something."
"We're not going anywhere 'til I get some more booze," Rude said. He turned to the bartender. "Gimme another glass."
* * *
The Super-Stretched Airship 900 circled Dulles Airport, waiting to be cleared for landing on its return trip to Washington. While Sephiroth piloted the vehicle, Cait Sith was staring at the crowd gathered on the tarmac. "Hey, Sephiroth, do you think all those people are there for us?"
"Don't get your hopes up."
Sephiroth, however, proved wrong. As soon as the airship touched down, the crowd all ran to its door and a red carpet was unrolled for them. Somebody quickly pushed a microphone-equipped podium into place, and film crews stood nearby, cameras rolling.
Cait Sith stepped off the plane, raising his hands in the "V" victory sign. "Yo," he greeted the crowd.
Representative Bobson fought his way through the crowd. "Good news, y'all," he said to Cait and Sephiroth. "Your bill's passed. Turns out defecting to Iraq did the trick. The Senate got worried about Iraq gaining the edge and rushed your bill through."
"Wow, that's great," Sephiroth said.
Cait Sith stepped to the podium. Nobody saw him do this, because he wasn't tall enough to see over the podium. "Is there a booster chair?" Cait asked.
"Here," Sephiroth shoved the Masamune into the ground, leaving a foot or so of blade sticking out. Cait Sith stood up on the hilt of the sword and precariously leaned over to the podium.
"This is great," Cait addressed the crowd. "I never expected so much support. First, I'd like to thank all the little people, who didn't help me a bit. I'd also like to thank Representative Bobson of Alabama, for supporting my bill, and the country of Burkina Faso for -"
"What are you talking about?" someone in the crowd shouted. "Aren't you going to unveil your new color of business cards?"
Cait Sith cringed. This wasn't he was expecting, and, worst of all, he had no new color of business card. "Uh... okay, I'll show it to you, but first you've all got to make monkey sounds for twenty minutes."
To Cait's glee, the crowd complied, all hooting and screeching wildly. Some even leaped around in monkeylike fashion. "This is great!" Cait Sith whispered to Sephiroth. "These people will do whatever I tell them! I can make them make complete fools of themselves!"
"Yeah, but what are we going to do now?" Sephiroth replied.
Cait spoke into the microphone again. "Oh yeah, I forgot," he added. "You all need to do the Crash Dance while still hooting." Obediently, the business card groupies did the Crash Bandicoot dance will keeping up the hooting.
"C'mon, let's get in the plane," Sephiroth said, dragging Cait Sith back in the Super-Stretched Airship 900. Congressman Bobson hobbled in too. "How are we going to get out of here?" Sephy said when they were inside. "They're not going to leave until they get our business card."
"Okay, then, we'll leave," Cait Sith said. "We've got an airship, let's hit the road. The bill's passed, we're done here."
"When will you have the military support ready?" Sephiroth asked Bob Bobson.
"They're ready to deploy at any time," Bobson said. "General Public's appointed some guy called Daravon to head the operation."
"Daravon?" Cait and Seph exclaimed simultaneously. "Oh noooo..."
"Y'all know him?" Bobson asked.
"It's a long story," Cait Sith said. He looked out the window. "Hee hee, they're still doing the Crash Dance."
"We'll head to the Pentagon, and then move out to Corel," Sephiroth said decisively.
Outside, the sound of the airship taking off was barely even audible over the cacophony of hooting, and thus none of the Crash-dancing groupies even noticed the airship was leaving until it started to rise into the air.
"Hey! He's leaving!" somebody shouted. "But what about the business cards?"
"He doesn't care about the fans!" another groupie said. "That bastard! I'm quitting!" He threw his business cards down on the ground and stomped on them.
"Yeah!" a third groupie agreed. "Me too!"
In a few minutes, the entire crowd had given up collecting business cards, and were burning the cards in a makeshift bonfire while they chanted "Down with Cait Sith! Cait Sith must die!"
They were so caught up in the anger that they did not notice the Iraqi jets flying by.
* * *
A drunken Rude stumbled out of the Costa Del Sol bar, followed by a slightly-less-drunk-but-certainly-not-sober Reno and a completely sober Elena. "All right," Rude slurred. "Let'sh go to N.. North Corel."
"Hey, how about if we do some highway surfin'?" Reno suggested.
"Shoundsh good... to... me," Rude said. He climbed into the front seat of the Turkmobile, while Reno climbed up on top. Elena, knowing better than to argue -- not only was she outnumbered, she also had the least seniority -- just took her position in the passenger seat.
Rude cranked up the radio, then they drove off. Reno balanced himself on top of the car, dodging around signs and doing handstands and other tricks. His acrobatic efforts were made no easier by the fact that the Turkmobile was swerving around wildly as a result of Rude's drunken state, but, amazingly, Reno managed to stay on the roof.
It was not long before somebody spotted their antics and called the police. A police car tore out of a nearby street and chased after the Turkmobile.
Rude somehow had the good sense to stop the car. Unfortunately, he did so just as Reno was leaping over a street sign, expecting the car to be moving along underneath him. The car stopped in place, and Reno went tumbling into a ditch.
"Sir, you were driving at were approximately 80 miles an hour," the policeman said. "The speed limit here is 25. In addition, you were creating an extreme safety hazard by having someone riding on top of your car."
"But we're the Turks!" Elena protested. "You can't arrest us!"
"You're going to have a take a sobriety test, sir," the policeman continued, speaking to Rude. "Please step on the line over here."
Rude was paying him no attention. He had picked up a nearby traffic cone and put it over his head, and was now stumbling around blindly. Elena dragged him onto the line.
"Just walk straight across the line, then do a handstand. Put your right foot in, put your right foot out, and do the Hokey Pokey," the policeman explained. "Then rub your head while patting your stomach at the same time."
Rude continued to meander around.
"If you refuse to take the test, I'm afraid I'm going to have to revoke your license."
* * *
Saddam Hussein faced Butch, Fred Coates, and Mukki in the command center of the People's Republic of Corel. "Look, I got some nukes, you can either buy 'em or not, make up yo' mind," Saddam said, growing desperately.
"We don't want to buy them," Butch repeated.
"Come on, everyone's doing it," Saddam Hussein coaxed. "Don't let India and Pakistan have all da fun, yo' homeys gotta buy 'em too if you wanna be a playa! It's an expression of yo' individuality."
"If everyone's doing it, how is it an expression of our individuality?" Butch asked.
"We don't want the nukes," Coates said again.
"I come all the way ova' here on the Mir, all loaded up with nukes, and now yo' don't want them," Saddam said.
"You already brought them here?" Butch demanded incredulously.
"I thought fo' sure you'd want 'em," Saddam said.
"Well, we don't," Butch said. "Now get out of here."
"Yo' gonna regret this," Saddam Hussein said as he left to return to the Mir.
* * *
"I don't believe this," Elena said as three Turks raced through the Corel Mountains in their new transporation.
"You think have it bad?" Reno grumbled, his right arm in a sling. "I got thrown into a ditch and broke my arm, then I got my license revoked, and now I have the mother of all hangovers."
Rude said nothing.
"What if somebody sees us?" Elena asked.
Reno shrugged. "Hey, everybody's ridden a tricycle at sometime in their life."
Elena looked down at the clunky red tricycle she was riding. "I still can't believe they wouldn't let us have those Power Wheels cars. Since when are those considered vehicles of transportation? Now we have to ride all the way to North Corel on these and -"
"Shut up, Elena," Reno said. "I have enough of a headache as it is."
They rode mostly in silence, punctuated only occasionally by Elena's babbling upon seeing some nice scenery. As they reached the bend around which lay North Corel, the Turks disembarked and shoved their tricycles into a nearby ditch. "There's going to be troops from here on," Reno said. "We'll have to move quietly."
They crept around the bend, keeping in the shadows, and entered North Corel, now Domingrad. The town looked much the same as before, except for the statue of Mayor Domino in the center of town and the red flags flying everywhere. Johnny was leading a squad of rookie Corellian troops in a series of drill exercises. "Shoot," Reno said under his breath. "We can't get by those guys."
Elena checked her watch. 7:05 pm. They had been on the mission for almost eight hours now. The toothbrush! she thought suddenly. When the troops were facing the other way, Elena hurled the toothbrush that their mission had come recorded on onto a hill across the street. A few minutes later, it exploded.
"What was that?" Johnny asked, turning in the direction of the explosion. He ran up the hill to look, and the Turks raced down the side of the street. However, Johnny quickly dismissed the explosion and turned around just in time to catch a glimpse of the Turks sprinting by behind some rocks.
The Turks dived into a nearby Port-a-Potty and crouched inside the cramped bathroom. "I saw the Turks just a moment ago," Johnny said to the troops. "Find them!"
The troops spread out to search the area. "Now what are we gonna do?" Elena asked.
"I don't know, but would you stop standing on my foot?" Reno replied.
"I know they were around here someone," Johnny's voice came from outside. "Hey! The Port-a-Potties! They probably went in there."
The troops ran to check the rows of Port-a-Potties lined up on both sides of the drill grounds. Just as the Turks were getting ready to make a break for it, they heard a rumbling sound. Johnny heard it too, and turned to the north to look. Two tanks were rumbling around the bend.
"Shinra!" he exclaimed as a soldier handed him a pair of binoculars. Johnny peered through them at the tanks. "Wait a second... that's not Shinra. Who is it?"
Cait Sith's head popped out of the top of one of the tanks. "Your mother wears combat boots!" he bellowed through his megaphone. The tank fired, blowing the unfortunate soldiers in its path to pieces and prompting Johnny to duck behind a rock for cover.
Johnny scrambled to his feet and ran to the People's Republic command center, where Butch, Coates, and Mukki were still scanning the desert to find a remote location for Domino to land Gelnika One. "Shinra's got into the town!" he reported. "The Turks showed up, and now there're these tanks, but they're not Shinra's tanks."
Three Corellian soldiers burst into the room. "We've got to do something about those tanks!" one of them shouted.
"Did you find the Turks?" Johnny asked. "Were they in the Port-a-Potties?"
"Couldn't find 'em," one of the soldiers said.
"Did you check the toilets on the right?"
"Did you check the toilets on the left?"
"Then where could they be?" Johnny demanded.
"Right here!" Reno said, lifting up his helmet visor. The other two "soldiers" did the same, revealing themselves as Rude and Elena.
Some U.S. troops forced their way into the building, accompanied by Professor Daravon. "All on around troops the building with," Daravon proclaimed. "Ability is a skill you learn with Job training."
"I think he's saying that we've got the place surrounded," Reno translated. "Drop your weapons."
"We don't have any weapons," Butch said.
Cait Sith and Sephiroth strode into the building. Sephiroth was carrying some rope with which to tie up the three communists. He quickly did so.
"Looks like we're all wrapped up here," Cait Sith observed.
"Now we have to radio Gelnika One and get them to land so we can rescue President Rufus," Elena said. "Butch, what's the code?"
Butch remained silent. Rude drew his gun and pointed it at the Materia seller's head. "She asked what the code was, Butch."
"'Chocobo flotilla,'" Butch gulped.
"Chocobo flotilla," Reno repeated, punching the code into the computer. He sent a brief message to Gelnika One consisting only of a latitude and longitude that referred to a point out in the Corel Desert. Said position was carefully calculated by the U.S. military to put the plane in the most strategic spot for the upcoming rescue operation. If all went well, Rufus would be free within an hour.
* * *
Saddam Hussein stormed onto the stolen Mir, where two Iraqi technicians were waiting. "The foo's didn't want no nuclea' weapons," he reported. "Guess we headin' back to Earth."
The technicians nodded and went to the Mir controls. One of them pushed a button. There was a sizzling sound and a spray of sparks shot out from inside the control panel. "What was that?" Saddam asked.
"Controls are out, Mr. Ruthless Dictator, sir," the technician said, scrambling pushing some buttons. "We're headed right towards the planet."
"This is loc," Saddam said. "What're we gonna do?"
"We're going to have to evacuate, Mr. Ruthless Dictator, sir," the technician said. "Fortunately, there's an escape pod in the back."
"Wha'bout the Mir?" Saddam asked.
"We'll just have to leave it. Hopefully, it won't cause too much damage when it crashes."
* * *
On board Gelnika One, Domino addressed AVALANCHE, while Hart, now on gun duty, kept the gun pointed to Rufus's head. "All right, AVALANCHE scum," Domino said. "We've finally been cleared for landing out in the Corel Desert. When we land, we're going to take you to our headquarters, and you're going to be our prisoners. Rufus has still got a gun to his head, so you'd better not try anything funny."
"Backstreet's back! All right!" Yuffie sang.
"And quit singing that song," Domino amended.
With the exception of Yuffie, AVALANCHE waited in silence as the two communist leaders guided the plane in for a landing. Yuffie, of course, kept singing Backstreet Boys songs. "Least it keeps her from pukin' all over the place," Barret shrugged.
Inside the cabin, Domino was irate over the landing site that had been chosen. "The sun's right in our eyes!" he complained, staring out the door side of the window. The three figures -- two skinny, one fat -- of Mukki, Butch, and Hart were barely visible as silhouettes against the desert sky.
Hart shrugged with his free arm -- the one not pointing a gun at Rufus's head. "Hey, look on the bright side. At least we can get off this plane," Hart said. "That carp is starting to smell."
Domino brought the plane in for a landing, and he and Hart -- Hart dragging Rufus along -- strode back out into passenger section, where AVALANCHE was waiting. "I'll take Rufus," Domino said to Hart. Hart carefully handed him the gun, keeping it pointed at Rufus the whole time. "I'm going first, and then you AVALANCHE chumpheads will come after me. Hart, you guard the door until I get Rufus out."
With his free hand, Domino opened the plane door. The silhouttes of Mukki, Butch, and Hart waved as Domino stepped off the plane, pushing Rufus alongside him. Domino stepped up to his buddies...
...only to discover that it was really Rude, Reno, and a chubby U.S. Army soldier. "Surprise!" Reno said.
Before Domino could react, Rude put him in a headlock and forced the gun out of his hand. Elena and a team of SWAT troopers burst out from the other side of the plane and surrounded the entrance. Seeing Rufus safe, AVALANCHE bowled past Hart, trampling him.
"It's morphin' time!" Vincent exclaimed, transforming into Death Gigas.
"There's no one to fight here!" Daravon corrected. "This was the darkened items won't appear."
"Oops," Vincent said, and turned back to normal.
"Everybody, shake your body... Backstreet's back! All right!"
"Actually, you can fight Yuffie if you want," Cid said.
Rufus looked around. Hart was unarmed and half-conscious, and Domino was being restrained by the Turks. He was free. "Good works, Turks," he said. "That was a pretty clever trick."
"So that's how you fool them," Daravon said appreciatevly.
"Don't thank us, thank Cait Sith," Reno said coolly. "He was the one who brought the United States military here."
Rufus stared at him, his jaw hanging open. "That stupid cat is behind this?"
Cait Sith, Sephiroth, and Daravon hopped out from behind a rock where they had been waiting during the rescue operation. "Hi, Rufus," Cait said sweetly. "Good to see you again. I went to Earth! It was really cool! They have this guy that looks like you except his name is Don King and then we stole this taxi and I got a grape stuck up my nose and we went on Oprah and the Republic of Texas tried to kill me but I like beef so they didn't and we went to Iraq and we stole Saddam Hussein's lyrics on accident. Oh, and here's my business card." Cait handed Rufus one of his fuschia business cards, then took a deep breath. Rufus just stared back at him.
"This job required a lot of skill," Daravon rambled. "But, we tried our best. As a result, we were able to save him! So, this job's a success!"
"Hey, guys," Cait Sith greeted Neko and AVALANCHE. "You should have seen me out there." He turned to Yuffie and looked at her thoughtfully. "Yuffie, is there a lot of in-breeding out in Wutai?"
"Gawd, no!" Yuffie exclaimed. "Of course not! Grossness!"
Cait shrugged. "I was just thinking that might be how you got so ugly," he said. "I guess not."
"Why is everybody so, like, mean to me?" Yuffie whined. "Like, what have I done?"
Meanwhile, Reno prodded Domino with his nightstick. "All right, Domino, what have you got up in space?"
Domino's brow furrowed. "Up in space?"
"Don't play games with us," Reno said. "You know what I'm talking about."
"Maybe it's Butch's doing," Domino said.
Rude nodded towards Daravon. "Bring him out."
The SWAT troopers fetched the captive Butch, Mukki, and Mr. Coates from behind a ridge, where the rest of the American forces had been hiding. Butch frowned on seeing Domino and Hart captive.
"When we went to radio the plane we saw this thing on the radar that was up in space," Elena addressed Butch. "It was sort of coming down to the Planet. You guys have some sort of rocket or something?"
"No," Butch said. "We don't have anything li - oh no! The nuclear weapons!"
Everyone turned to look at him. "The what?" Rufus demanded.
"Oh, man," Butch groaned. "We're in for it now. This guy, Saddam Hussein, he tried to sell us some nuclear weapons that he'd brought over on this space station of his, but we didn't want 'em. So he went back to the space station, and..."
"...and now it's about to crash into the Planet," Tifa finished. "With all the nuclear weapons on board."
"What about Marlene?" Barret gasped.
Cloud shrugged calmly. "Don't worry, the situation's all under control."
"@#$!*%, you're doing it again!" Cid snapped. "Damn right it's not under control! If we don't do something in a few hours, we're going to all get blown to kingdom come!"
Domino and his gang emerged from a brief huddle. "We've got a plan," Domino said. "But you guys have to agree to let us go."
"Let you go?" Rufus demanded. "After you hijacked my plane, held my hostage, and tried to kill me?"
Mukki stared up in the sky. "That space station's trying to kill a lot more than just you."
Red XIII bounded up next to Rufus. "We'd better let them go," he advised. "Their plan may be the only chance we have."
"Well, if you say so..." Rufus said, not one to doubt Red's judgment. "Daravon, let 'em go."
Daravon and his troops released the six members of Domino's posse. "Thank you," Hart said. "Now here's the plan. One or two of us board the Mir in the air and disarm the nukes before it can hit the ground. Then they parachute out to safety."
There was a brief silence while they considered this plan. "Leave this to me," Sephiroth said. "Deadly objects from space are my forte."
Cait Sith hopped up and down. "Oooh! Oooh! I wanna go too!"
"Not a chance," Rufus said firmly. "Besides, you're still under indictment."
Cait stared at him. "I went all the Earth and campaigned to get military help to save you, and I'm still under indictment? Just who do you think you are?"
"Yo' damn Shinra!" Barret shouted.
"Actually, Cait Sith would be useful on the mission," Red XIII said to Rufus. "His small volume would enable him to fit into places that Sephiroth could not."
"But he's under indictment by a grand jury!"
Cait Sith mimed dialing a phone. "Hello? National Enquirer? I'd like to sell my tragic story of how I saved the Shinra President's life but I'm still under indictment just because I drove my car through a K-Mart and demolished it. And could I get a made-for-TV movie too?"
Rufus looked to the Turks, hoping to find someone on his side. He didn't. "Hey, Boss, let the cat go," Reno said.
Rufus threw up his hands in disgust. "Fine! Go ahead! Who cares what I think? You all go do you want! Forget about me! I'm the president of Shinra, but I'm just a nobody! Don't listen to me!"
"Sound advice," Cait Sith agreed.
"How are we going to get to the Mir?" Sephiroth asked Domino's group.
Hart nodded knowingly. "Follow me."
* * *
Sephiroth stared at the cannon, not trusting it. "You're sure this will work?" he asked Domino.
"That's exactly what I said," Domino replied. "And I lived to tell about it, didn't I? Now get in the cannon."
"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can," Cait Sith repeated as he climbed nimbly into the cannon. Sephiroth twisted and squeezed to fit himself, his cape, and the Masamune inside the cannon.
"Careful with that thing," Cait said nervously. "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
"Will you stop saying that?" Sephiroth said. He was nervous, and Cait Sith's blathering was just making him even more edgy.
"Hey, it worked for the Little Engine That Could. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."
Mukki lit the fuse. The short piece of string burned down quickly, and then the cannon fired. Cait Sith and Sephiroth went spinning into the air. Cait, crouched into a ball, repeated over and over, "I think I can, I think I can..."
The pair hurtled through the airlock of the Mir, landing on the floor. Sephiroth skidded painfully for several feet on his face. Cait Sith, of course, landed upright. Cats always land on their feet.
"I think I can... hey, we made it!" Cait Sith said. "And you didn't believe me. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking."
"Uggh." Sephiroth got up, shook his head a couple times, and rubbed his brused nose.
"Well, we're on the Mir," Cait Sith said in a statement worthy of Cloud. "Now all we gotta do is find them nukes and disarm 'em."
"But we don't know a thing about nuclear weapons."
C.S. stared at him. "Why didn't you think of that before we left? And didn't you do any research for your screenplay?"
"We're talking about a major motion picture here, Cait," Sephiroth defended his screenplay. "I don't need research."
"How much time we got before this thing hits the Planet?" Cait asked.
Sephiroth checked his watch. "About twenty minutes. Of course, we'll need time to get out of here too. We'd better hurry, then."
The two split up to explore the Mir. Cait Sith checked the storage areas and eventually found the nuclear weapons. He knelt down for a closer look. The trigger device had two wires attached to it, one green and one orange. If he cut the right wire...
"That's been done before," Sephiroth's voice said. Cait Sith looked up. Sephy was standing behind him, looking down. "C'mon, I found something." Cait followed Sephiroth up to the control panel, which had had its cover removed by the Masamune. Inside, a bunch of wires were visible. One of the wires was frayed into two sparking pieces.
"That's obviously the problem," Sephiroth explained to Cait. "If we can fix that, the Mir'll go back on its normal course."
"So how do we do that?"
"We've got to bridge the gap," Sephiroth explained. "With something that conducts electricity."
Cait Sith pointed at Sephiroth's sword. "Your Masamune?"
"No way! I'm not giving this up!" Seph replied defensively. "Besides, it's probably too big in there."
"Okay, let me think," Cait said. He paced the room, tapping himself on the head and repeating "Think, think, think."
Sephiroth checked the time on his watch. Ten minutes before the Mir hit.
"Think, think, think."
"Hurry up!" Sephiroth shouted. Eight minutes.
"I'm trying!" Cait Sith shot back. "Think, think, think."
Seven minutes... six minutes... five minutes... four minutes...
"I've got it!" Cait Sith exclaimed. He ran to the open control panel, reached inside, and carefully wedged his tool of choice between the two wires. It was one of his foil-plated business cards.
Electricity surged across the card. All around the Mir, lights came back on, and systems restarted. The rapid descent of the space station started to slow, and then gradually reverse itself. Cait Sith gave a thumbs-up. "Don't mess with the master," he said.
"Don't let it go to your head, Cait," Sephiroth said. "C'mon, let's hit the road."
The pair put on their parachutes and leaped out of the repaired Mir. They floated gracefully down to North Corel, where a huge welcoming party awaited them.
Sephiroth waved as he landed. Cait Sith merely rapped "H to the E to the R to the O, here comes you hero-urrgh." His singing trailed off as he landed and the parachute draped down around him.
"Don't test me," Hart muttered.
C.S. fought his way out of the parachute and waved. "Hi, everybody," Cait said. "You're looking at the man with the masta' plan. Free business cards for everyone!" Cait Sith started hurling out his business cards. Nobody made a move for them.
"All right, Cait, we're real glad you saved the world and all, but you don't have to rub it in, okay?" Rufus said.
Cait Sith ignored him and approached Yuffie. "Yuffie, I'm real sorry I said you were inbred," he said. "Here's a gift to make up for it." Startled but grateful, Yuffie greedily snatched Cait Sith's gift out his hands and looked at it. It was a box of casette tapes titled Think Yourself Worthless.
"Um, like, thanks," Yuffie said. "Whatever."
Neko wandered up to Cait. "Well, that wasn't bad for a week's work," he said. "You started a cultural phenomenom, took a trip to Earth, saved the world, and got your charges dropped."
Cait Sith looked up at the Mir, which was gradually disappearing into the sky. "Yeah, but what about the movie?" he asked his fellow filmmaker. "We can't make it now or everybody would say we copied this."
"Um... we could say it was Based On A True Story," Neko suggested.
"How about just starting over?" Hart said. "Flying objects from space are out anyway. The new hip disaster is floods."
"I didn't know disasters were ever considered 'hip'," Red XIII commented.
Hart stared at him. "What decade are you livin' in?"
Sephiroth tapped Cait on the shoulder. "I've got a better idea," he said. "You can make a movie out of my new screenplay."
Cait Sith turned to look at him. "Let's do lunch," he said. "Here's my business card."
Planned, Written, and Produced By: Fritz Fraundorf
Special Thanks To:
Highway Surfin' was shamelessly stolen from Sam and Max Hit the Road
A Cosmo Canyon Production
Cait Sith and Sephiroth sat in a restaurant in Costa Del Sol, discussing their business plans and awaiting their food. "So what's this new screenplay of yours?" Cait Sith asked.
"It's called Beowulf II: Grendel Strikes Back," Sephiroth explained. "See, Grendel, he comes back from the dead and -"
"Let me guess," Cait interrupted. "Somehow, some object ends up flying at the Planet from space."
Sephiroth stared at him. "How did you guess?" he said incredulously.
"Sephiroth, there's some things you just don't do, and making a sequel to Beowulf is one of them."
Any further argument was forestalled when the waiter arrived with their food. Cait Sith took his meal and noticed something strange about the grapes. He held them up for a closer examination.
Every one of the grapes had a tiny sticker on it reading "CAUTION: DO NOT INSERT IN NOSE".