The Deconstruction of Falling Stars
"What do you mean, what," Shera blinked, "you've been standing on the doormat for a minute and a half! What's wrong? Is it about Sephiroth?"
"Sephiroth is dead," he answered deadly serious.
"I know that, you said that when you came in. It was all you said. Did he... kill one of you?"
"No," Cid shook his head. She just noticed he'd also been staring at the floor. And at that time, he muttered something under his breath, something she couldn't make out.
"What'd you say?"
To her shock, Cid muttered 'ah, hell with it' and dropped himself to one knee. He grabbed a glittering object from his pocket, a ring, topped off with a beautiful red Materia.
"Shera... I dunno where the %#@... I dunno where this is comin' from, and maybe it shoulda came out awhile ago, but... will you marry me?"
Shera *bzzzzt* ha-*blipblip* ...uttered... 'ye*bzzzzzzt* ----------------*
A computer. It talks.>
"Continuity error caused by high energy. Do you wish to continue?"
"Confirmed. Reloading sequence - AVALANCHE. Record, one year through one thousand years of target time period 1997. Please select a record to view or select 'AutoPlay' for chronological playback."
"AutoPlay feature engaged. Loading next sequence. Date; one year from target time period. Stand by."
"Ah, good, I'm glad you could all make it."
The conference table was full. The building itself was full, as was the city of Midgar. The old ShinRa tower was long gone, irreparable after Meteor trashed it. But a normal sized corporate headquarters was plenty.
"Ah, okay then. Now, the purpose of this meeting is for the television media to record the new ShinRa board of executives in action and reassure the general public that this company has, indeed, changed. Now that that's said... could you just back up a bit and get everyone in the shot? Ah, thank you. Now that that's said I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the board members. From, ah, from that end going around..."
Reeve pointed, moving his finger as he spoke each name.
"Head of security, Vincent Valentine. Head of Urban Development and anti-Mako enforcement, Tifa Lockhart. Head of SOLDIER, Cloud Strife. Head of the space program and SAF commander, Cid Highwind. Head of air/spacecraft research and development, Shera Stargazer. Head of finances, Barret Wallace. Our head of science could not, unfortunately, be here today, as he had a previous commitment at Cosmo Canyon. My name is Reeve, I function as CEO under a checks and balances system with the board."
Finally remembering to take a breath, Reeve sat down and tried to force himself to make the meeting go. He wasn't good at being... public.
"Okay then. Ahhh... Barret, perhaps you should start? You told me you had a new budget planned?"
"Well, yeah," the big man leaned forward, not caring about the camera himself. "Basically, I got it plotted out so we got plenty ta keep the company goin, but there's a large chunk o'the fortune set to keep repairin Midgar and findin' cleaner methods of power. Nanaki... ahhh, the head o'science had a good grip on everythin' and the last time we spoke, he said his research crews were close ta findin' the kind o'power we want."
"Good, that's better progress then I expected," Reeve acknowledged. "Cloud, how about you? What changes will you be making to SOLDIER?"
"Well," Cloud started, nervous like Reeve, "first of all, the Mako treatments are going by- are being eliminated. There won't be any more messing with people like that. I'm also in the process of converting SOLDIER into a less violent group. I'm trying to eliminate the 'shoot first, ask questions later' train of thought."
"Good," Reeve answered. "Cid, perhaps you'd..."
Reeve didn't finish his sentence as the gunshots that sounded in the hallway stopped him. Vincent immediately bounded to his feet and raised his gun, more then quick enough to blast down the armed man that burst through the door. Reeve was the only one in the room who really didn't know how to fight, and as such, whatever attack was going on had little chance of succeeding.
But Reeve was unfortunate enough to catch a bullet in his back as he tried to dive away, while Tifa had been so far away from the door that she couldn't defend herself as firearms struck her down.
As it caught the image of a man in the uniform of a pro-Mako organization, a stray bullet hit the camera...
"Record ends. AutoPlay feature engaged, loading next sequence. Date; one hundred years from target time period. Stand by."
"Welcome back to our broadcast special on the one hundredth anniversary of the Wutaien piece. Today we celebrate Yuffie Kisaragi and her courage as she destroyed the ShinRa conglomerate a century ago, liberating the world from its evil grip. We go now to Adam Von Orbrod, leading history scholar at the university of Midgar."
Orbrod was an old man, but very intelligent. Very well liked and trusted.
"Ahem, thank you. Well, as you know, today marks the one hundredth anniversary of Sephiroth's defeat and the following defeat of his killers by Yuffie Kisaragi. Today I'm hoping to broaden the public's knowledge on this important event in history. As sad as the great Sephiroth's death is for us to think about, our history is very important."
He moved to a statue of Yuffie in all her glory, wielding her huge shuriken.
"Mrs. Kisaragi, of course, was trained in martial arts by her father Godo, the lord of Wutai at the time. Back then, Wutai was very small, you see. The war with ShinRa was over and Wutai had lost, but it had allowed us to be in position to put the world back together when ShinRa self-destructed. It all began with Yuffie decided she wanted to meet the great Sephiroth and setting off on a trek across countries."
He moved, this time to a statue of a kind looking, yet powerful cloaked man.
"Sephiroth was a legendary soldier that once fought for ShinRa, but eventually left to fight for freedom for the population. However, a group of ShinRa agents, calling themselves AVALANCHE, were sent to destroy him. Using the imminent impact of an asteroid from the ring of debris farther away from the sun from our planet, AVALANCHE discredited Sephiroth as they attacked. Although their propaganda went largely unnoticed, they did manage to kill Sephiroth."
Once again, he moved, this time to a painting on the wall, depicting Midgar at the height of ShinRa's reign.
"Around this point in time, ShinRa ended up being the definition of irony as their space technology led to the destruction of the deadly asteroid plummeting to the Planet, saving us all. And soon after Sephiroth fell, our esteemed Kisaragi heard of his death and hunted down each and every member of AVALANCHE. With that done, she carried on Sephiroth's legacy and assassinated the president of ShinRa, allowing Wutai to step to its current position. It's rumored that one Nanaki; a four legged yet intelligent being that lived during the time of Sephiroth is alive today. Certainly if he were, the insight he could give us..."
An alarm in the building chose that time to let out its abrasive ring.
"What's going on," he half-panicked, "Fred..."
The host's voice was overlapped onto the video feed; "I've been told we have a security breach. Adam, you might want to..."
But Adam wasn't paying attention anymore, not with the heavy footsteps echoing in the hall. He turned; his jaw hit the floor, the cameraman dashed backward to get a full view, including the tall, limping man and the red quadruped that had just answered.
The man remained silent.
"Sephiroth," the quadruped intoned, despite the shock his talking produced, "was pure evil."
They turned to walk away.
"W-wait a minute... what... are you Nanaki? Wait! Please, I..."
"You what," the man answered as he stopped. "We've said what we wanted to. You believe Sephiroth a fallen angel. He had his fall long before he died. I loved his mother, a long time ago... but she loved someone else, a someone that did things to him before he was even born, who tortured him, made him into a monster that nearly killed the entire planet. That is your hero, Mr. Orbrod. The monsters you speak of were our friends, and without them we wouldn't be here today."
With that, Vincent pulled his gun and blew the head off of Sephiroth's statue in pure rage.
They turned again, and Nanaki said, "Make of that what you will."
Static as the producers cut off the feed.
"Record ends. AutoPlay feature engaged, loading next sequence. Date; five hundred years from target time period. Stand by."
"Please, just Nanaki."
"Very well, Nanaki. Thank you for taking this time to speak with us. I understand you've isolated yourself from us, humans, that is, to care for your children?"
"Well then, I'll try to get this over with quickly. Ahem. What is your opinion of the abandonment of Midgar after all these years?"
"I have no opinion. It isn't my city. A great many things happened to me in that city, and I met a lot of people there, but I have better things to worry about."
"What about Mr. Vincent Valentine? Is he still around?"
"Vincent is alive and well, actually. We parted ways many years ago, but we keep in touch. The kids love him."
"Considering the portrait you've painted of this supposed hero, it seems odd that he'd be very loveable."
"He's had centauries to think. You try living that long and not changing."
"Point taken. Does it bother you that after all this time, all your effort, Sephiroth is still seen as a great hero? Historians deconstruct these people over and over and continue to arrive at the conclusion you disagree with, it must be frustrating."
"The deconstruction is the problem, historians take the word far to literally. But I did everything I could. I'm grateful Cid Highwind's legacy wasn't associated with AVALANCHE; at least he got the respect they all deserved. His space program still continues?"
"It does. We're going into space more and more, and the first space station is complete. It wouldn't have been possible without his work."
"He'd be pleased. He wouldn't be pleased with the space-to-ground nuclear weapons that you've been threatening to launch, however."
"How did you know about that?"
"I have my sources. In fact, I think even more people won't like it in a few minutes..."
"How do you know?"
"Because I can see one heading for the ground just above the horizon behind you."
"What? Oh my god..."
"I'm sorry. You'll excuse me, I have the survival of a family and an old friend to attend to."
"What? It's getting closer... my god... Nanaki? Nanaki?! Where... where did..."
Light. Sound. Then silence.
And a man watching the computer screen. His blue eyes blink once before re-fixing.
"Record ends. AutoPlay feature engaged, loading next archive. Date; one thousand years from target time period. Stand by."
"There it is, working now," Professor Valentine commented. "Well, just so you know, I'm recording the lecture for the records division's yearly archiving, nothing special. It's only a ten-minute lecture today and the tape's almost out anyway. All right, we left off on the history of the Planet. Your generation is lucky, as there is a very good chance that out resettlement will happen in the near future."
A student raised her hand. "Professor, I don't get it. Not everyone on the Planet died, why haven't we gone back before now?"
"That's the point, Lyla. The nuclear strike, launched from this very space station 500 years ago, obliterated civilization, even if some people survived. This entire place is a legend to them, and we've waited all this time for the Planet to advance back out of the Stone Age so we can go back without any bumps in the road."
"But then how do we know what's going on down on the Planet?"
"We have people spying on them, for lack of a better term. In a lot of cases we've helped civilization climb back up the advancement ladder, speeding things along. Since the very idea of this place and our technology was like magic to them for a long time, it means we shouldn't be just blindly landing and shouting 'we're back.'"
He stood and began writing on the board.
"Now, I think over the years we've pretty much learned of the true stories concerning Sephiroth and almost all of AVALANCHE. Now..."
But the PA interrupted him. "Would all students please assemble in the auditorium? All students to the auditorium."
"I hate that," Vincent complained, motioning his students to comply. They filed out.
"You can come out now... that was certainly shorter then I thought it would be."
"Indeed," Nanaki answered, "It's close. Thank you for bringing us up here, by the way. Ironically, it's much safer for everyone."
"Life is irony personified, Nanaki," Vincent answered. "We're proof of that."
"I know. I noticed when I was looking through the computers... did you know they all have descendents on the planet? Sometimes... sometimes I think they watch over us. What about you?"
"You're asking me?"
"Of course I'm asking you. I certainly don't know, and you're the only other one left."
Sitting back in his chair and letting his posture sag, Vincent answered, "Sometimes... yes, I do. The Lifestream never changed, after all. Anti-Mako was the one thing that every generation embraced, even when other planets proves to have their own Lifestreams... I suppose I always guessed it was a universal thing."
"Strange, isn't it? Barret started AVALANCHE to save the Planet from Mako reactors, and it grew into something far more then a terrorist group. And here we are, only recently have we, well, you, started convincing people of what really happened, but Barret's original goal was attained the moment we beat Sephiroth."
"Like I said," Vincent smiled, "Life is irony personified."
A warning from the camera flashes in the recording.
The tape runs out.
The computer responds.
"Record ends; AutoPlay feature complete. Instructions?"
"Stand by," says the man.
Tactile instructions are given on a keypad. Coordinates in space. The machine reports.
"System has finished playback and record of archives dated one year through one million years of target time period."
The man smiles.
"Our job is finished," he says, "Convey records to Neo-Midgar."
"Use enhanced Tachyon sequence to ensure arrival in time for the celebrations."
A wall with a mural. The man looks, his eyes fixed on the painting of a man in a pilot's clothes and a lab technician next to him. He resembles the pilot, as if he is looking in a mirror, only not.
The computer again.
"Note; Meteor has breached the Planet's atmosphere. Estimate five minutes until impact. Recommend immediate evacuation."
He smiles. "Tell the others not to worry."
A small black orb lies between his fingers, one he places in a pocket of his robe.
"I wouldn't miss this... for anything. Now go."
The huge image has dominated a sphere-like room where the man has watched.
It folds on itself, becoming a small sphere of energy before flying off.
He turns back to the mural.
"This is how the world ends... swallowed in fire, not in darkness. We will live on. The culmination of your efforts, the reason for your battles, your reason to win. Without you we wouldn't have made it here. We've created a world we think you'd have wished for us, and now we leave the cradle for the last time."
A ship cruises though space far from the planet, and getting farther. Its design is almost alien.
A single word is inscribed on the side.
Meteor hangs over the Planet and hits. They explode, a massive blast second only to a sun going supernova. So bright, yet at the right distance it could be no larger then a light bulb. Or a street lamp.
...candle burning brightly on the nightstand.
"First thing I'm doing tomorrow is buying some more light bulbs."
He chuckled. Shera was trying not to laugh out loud at how amusing he was, sleeping over the covers and in his clothes. Oh well, they'd walk down the aisle soon enough.
"Ya' know, I hafta wonder... does it matter that we won? I mean, people are still people, it's not like aversion from Armageddon'll stop everything bad in the world."
"I know," Shera answered. "But at least it'll go on for that much longer. I mean, if we didn't have faults, what's the point of living?"
"True, true... ah well. Few hundred years and no one'll remember anyway."
"You're probably right. But people'll be alive long enough to forget, that's what's important. Go figure, you save the world so it can forget. Life is the personification of irony sometimes..."
Just a couple of quick notes... The concept of this is a blatant rip-off of a Babylon 5 episode by the same name. I'd use the word "adapted," in that I adapted it to FF7. If you've seen the episode, you can see the parallels.
Cid's descendent is viewing these records from a million years in the future, not just a thousand. Note the computer's lines. And it's CID'S descendent because, if you read between the lines, the whole thing begins and ends with Cid. You'll have to figure out the rest on your own ;)
If you didn't get it, Humanity has left the Planet and destroyed it because, with the knowledge that Lifestream is common to all worlds, they want those worlds to grow and flourish unhindered by them, as they've been around so long they've basically done everything. Neo-Midgar is wherever they've chosen to live. This whole concept is yet again adapted from Babylon 5, but I think it works well.