THE CRAVE GAMING CHANNEL
V'lanna
 

Tales of the Turks

By: Adam L.

LordDemise@aol.com



Author's Note--This is a five-part series on how Reno, Rude, Elena, Tseng, and

Vincent became Turks, and what their lives led to after the events that

occurred in Final Fantasy 7.



Chapter One: It's A Victim's Life--The Tale of Vincent

"Tsk, tsk, Heidegger. Only four men survived the training, you know," began

President Shinra.

"Gyaa haa haa!" bellowed Heidegger. "Good! Now we won't have to spend any

more money narrowing them down!" The incredibly obese man hovered forward and

clenched his fist. "My new organization will make sure that Shinra gets what

it wants! They'll keep Midgar in peace! They'll crush any rebellion!"

"But for now," interrupted Shinra, "they will have to do all that. At least

until we find some more worthy candidates."

"Right," nodded Heidegger. "So, who are they?"

"Well, we really only had four volunteers for the job, and ironically, they

were the ones that survived the training. Quite ironic."

"Can the sarcasm--I mean, I know, sir, but who are they?" Shinra glared

coolly at Heidegger for a period before continuing.

"One Vincent Valentine, ace marksman. Passed every single one of the tests,

especially Marksmanship. Shows the greatest promise of the four. One Tseng

Tyrell, strategist. Like Valentine, he passed all the tests, showing greatest

skill in combat strategy."

"Good, good!" laughed Heidegger. Shinra ignored him.

"One Quareno Dell, better known as 'Reno'. Passed everything. Most

impressive records on bombs and fighting prowess. And finally, Rudiger

Kissinger, better known as 'Rude'. Quite possibly the physically strongest in

the group."

"Gyaa haa haa!!" bellowed Heidegger. "Perfection! With a force like that,

Shinra could be unstoppable! Sign them all on at once!!" he ordered. He

began to leave the room, but turned around suddenly to add another comment.

"My Tempestuous Underground Resistance KnightS! I think my 'Turks' will blow

us all away, sir!"



A few hours later, Vincent Valentine was standing before the desk of

President Shinra himself.

"Come here, my boy," beckoned Shinra. Vincent did so, approaching the man.

Shinra smiled fondly.

"Heidegger tells me that you're the best of all the other men and women that

signed up for the job. He also says that you're the oldest, and most

experienced."

"Yes, sir, President Shinra," said Vincent with laser-sharp precision.

"Most of the trainees were barely out of their teens, with the exception of

you and Tseng," noted Shinra. Vincent nodded silently. Shinra turned around

in his chair, bringing a rectangular box from beneath his desk.

"This is the suit of a Turk--what you have been nominated to," he began.

Vincent solemnly took the box. "Inside is a special insignia--that of the

Turk leader." Vincent opened the box a little. Sure enough, a small badge

was laying on top of the dark-blue suit.

"You want me to . . ." he began.

"Yes," nodded Shinra. Vincent, a young man in his early twenties with short

raven hair and casual dress attire on, was speechless with honor.

"Thank you, sir," he managed after a while. "I shan't disappoint you."

"See that you don't," warned Shinra. "I wouldn't want my most prominent Turk

to fail me on his first mission." They both paused for a while, Vincent

catching onto the idea.

"Which is what?" he asked.

"Patience," said Shinra, waving his hand. "I'll inform you when you're

ready. For now, just change your clothes and get acquainted with the staff

here at Shinra. I'll send for you when I'm ready." Vincent smiled and

nodded, then eagerly left to change clothes.

In the gym's locker room, Vincent must've struck a thousand poses of himself

in his new suit. Finally . . . no more having to be just another face in the

crowd. Finally, people would notice and respect him. Hey, I'm such a hot

item, maybe I'll find a nice woman in this line of work! Who knows? he

thought. Finally, Vincent stopped posing and put his old clothes in a trash

can. Won't be needing these anymore . . . he thought.

Strutting, Vincent left the gym. He introduced himself first to Mayor

Domino, then to Reeve and his prototype animatronic robotic toy known simply

as "CS model 0". He climbed up the flights of stairs for exercise, greeting

his fellow Turks Quareno and Rudiger (who preferred "Reno" and "Rude",

separately) on the way. Finally, he reached the lab, his last stop in his

tour of the building. He was only slightly tired from his climb when Vincent

met an odd little man named Professor Sadiken Hojo. The man had short black

hair like Vincent, and wore a spotless white lab coat. Annoying teal glasses

hung on Hojo's pointed nose.

"Well, well, leader of the famed Turks!" cackled Hojo lightly, studying

Vincent meticulously.

"And the equally famous Professor Hojo!" countered Vincent. "I've seen your

work. Incredible stuff."

"Hmph," sniffed Hojo. "I wouldn't address my work as 'stuff', but thank you

for the compliment anyway." The strange man ambled away, muttering about

experiments. Vincent shrugged to himself and went forward to meet the

president. Suddenly . . .

"Oof!"

"Ouch!"

"Oh, I'm so sorry! Sorry I bumped into you!"

"No really, it's my fault . . ." Who is that? wondered Vincent, slowly

standing up. He gazed at the person he had bumped into . . . and kept gazing.

She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life . . . Such

smooth, light brown hair . . . that silky skin . . . those kind, brown eyes .

. .

"Uh . . ." muttered Vincent. "I'm Vincent. Leader of the Turks," he began,

extending a hand. She didn't respond. "You know? The Turks? Special

forces?"

"I know," she finally said. "I've just never actually seen one." She

noticed his extended hand. "Oh! Hi . . . I'm Lucrecia!" she said happily,

pumping his hand. Lucrecia . . .



Thirty-three years passed. I know now that Lucrecia died from exposure to

the Lifestream that rushed out to destroy Meteor, and the Mako Reactors in

Midgar. And Hojo . . . that evil, maniacal man-beast who seemed strange even

when I met him . . . he is dead too. I saw to it, personally. One shot.

Many lives. One avenger. For me. For Lucrecia. For the Victims.

But for Sephiroth? Perhaps. He was a Victim. Hojo had no love, and

Lucrecia could barely get her hands on the boy. None of the destruction he

caused was his fault. But Jenova. Jenova, who augmented Hojo, who killed

Lucrecia, who controlled Sephiroth . . . Jenova was the true evil here.

I don't know what happened to any of the Turks after the Sister Ray incident.

Maybe they died in the Meteor attack. Maybe they escaped and are still out

there. Maybe even Tseng escaped and received the medical help that he needed

to live. They were not the Criminals in this war. Even the Turks were

Victims. Only Shinra, Hojo, and Jenova were the Criminals. That only left

the Victims and the Heroes.

But lately, I have found it nearly impossible to discern the three from each

other.



Chapter 2: Don't Step On The Flowers--The Tale of Reno

"Oh, and don't step on the flowers."

Reno grinned in a surly way at himself. He did whatever he wanted to,

whenever he wanted to. Sure. He stepped on those holy flowers. But was he

inflicted with eternal condemnation yet? No. Any why? Because he was a

Turk. And being a Turk gave him certain abilities that a normal man or woman

would ever have.

But Reno was not always this way. He was not always such a surly soul, bent

on doing his job right or else. In fact, he was not always even Reno. The

redhead hunter was born Quareno Dell, in the town of Junon . . .

"But that's another story, doc," concluded Reno. "One not worth telling."

"Why is that?" asked the psychiatrist.

"Well . . . I'd rather not get into that, doc. Let's move to another topic,

please."

"Another topic?" asked the psychiatrist. Reno fondled his Electro Turk Staff

gently.

"Yeah. I wanna get how I got out of Migdar off of my chest."

"How you got out of Midgar?"

"Yeah, that."

"Me, Rude, and Elena had been beaten by the boy with the Mako eyes and his

friends--I told you about him already. Anyway, we had beaten a hasty retreat

out of the subways and were planning a new strategy when we heard screaming

above us. The people in the slums above us were yelling about

'Meteor'-something. Got us thinking."

"About what?" asked the psychiatrist.

"Escape," said Reno in a scratchy voice, puffing on a cigarette. "So we got

out through one of the Sector Gates. Just in time, too, cuz' in a few hours,

Midgar was toast, and so was that Meteor thing."

"And where were you when all this happened?" asked the psychiatrist, writing

down everything Reno said.

"Mobile. We moved everywhere. The Gold Saucer, Mideel, Junon, Icicle

Inn...places like that."

"Ah-huh," nodded the psychiatrist.

"The Turks soon parted ways after that. I hear that Elena found Tseng in a

jungle and took him to the Mideel hospital. I know Rude kept himself pretty

occupied in the two months that we've been apart, but I don't know with what."

"And as for you?" asked the psychiatrist.

"This and that. Mercenary, bounty hunter, bodyguard. Whatever suited me."

"Oh. Were you satisfied with your work?" asked the psychiatrist.

"A little. But I still had to get some things off my back. So I came to

you."

"I see. Is that all?"

"Huh? Oh. Yeah. Thanks. I needed to get some of that off of my back."

Reno put away his cigarette and got out of his chair.

"Not a problem, Reno. Shall we schedule another talk? Next week, maybe?"

"Yeah," replied Reno, turnig towards the psychiatrist. "Thursday. Eight

p.m."

"All right. See you then, Reno."

"Right." Reno waved good-bye at the man, and left the office building. He

spotted a flower store to his left, and casually walked over to it. Rows of

Aeris' famous flowers were on sale for 10 gil each. In one of his rare good

deeds, Reno handed 100 Gil to the florist, and walked home with ten beautiful

holy flowers in hand.

He never stepped on one for the rest of his life.





Chapter 3: Bald Is Beautiful--The Tale of Rude



Rude.

Rudiger Kissinger.

Mister Rudiger Kissinger.

Sir Rudiger.

Secret Agent Kissinger.

Mayor Kissinger.

President Kissinger.

Pope Rudiger I.

Emperor Rudiger Kissinger.

"Rude? Hey, Rude--ya there?"

"Whuh . . .?" Rude looked up from his daydream and saw his oldest friend

Reno before him. He jerked to attention, scuffling away his papers.

"Yeah?"

"I got some news for you, man. Somethin' that you'll appreciate."

"What is it?" asked Rude. Reno reached into his blue jacket and pulled out

the morning paper.

"Check the want ads," replied Reno, tossing the paper at Rude. Rude caught

it and unfolded the paper like Reno said. Slowly, he scanned through the want

ads.

"'Wanted: special service agents between ages 18-50. Must have physical and

intellectual attributes. Apply at Shinra, Inc. for details.' So?"

"This's our big break, man! Just look at it, man!" said Reno. Rude scanned

the want ads again. Same words.

"You think we'd make good Shinra workers, or whatever those things are?"

"Not Shinra workers, stupid! Shinra special secret service agents! Just

like in our boyhood dreams!" Suddenly, as if Rude had realized what he was

holding in his hands, the chrome-dome gasped intensely.

"Oh, man!! Do you realize what this means, Reno!?" he shrieked. Reno sighed

in defeat.

"Yes. I'm pretty lucky I found that ad in the paper, ya know." Rude did not

respond. "Well, if we're going to apply, we'd better get into shape. The

deadline's next week." Rude rubbed his head in a surly manner.

"No problem, Reno. I'm already twice as strong as you."

"Yeah, but look at our clothes, Rude. You look like some gym jock, and I

look like some freak out of a bad band--not to mention your hairless peak."

Rude scowled.

"Hey man, bald is beautiful where I come from! You watch your mouth,

Quareno!" This time, it was Reno's turn to scowl.

"I told you before: never address me by my name! It's Reno, okay?"

"Fine, fine. But you're right--we need to get into shape." Reno nodded his

head.

"I thought so. To the gym."



By the time the deadline was up, Reno and Rude had really buffed themselves

up. Rude could now lift a large couch and Reno could easily bench-press 200

pounds. Now, all they had to do was apply. No problem; Rude knew a few

people in the Shinra building that owed him a favor or two.

Before being called in with the other applicants, Rude checked himself in the

mirror. He was wearing a windbreaker over his white long-sleeve shirt, and he

had loose jeans to maneuver around in better.

"So how do I look?" he asked Reno.

"Like a moron," he replied. Rude scowled. Getting an idea, he pulled out a

black box, opened it . . .

"Whoa!" jumped Reno. Now, with his Ultra-Black Sunguards (all rights

reserved) on, Rude definitely looked dressed to kill.

"Next in line: Quareno Dell and Rudiger Kissinger!" announced one of the

staff. Rude would later know him as Heidegger, his future boss.

"We're up, Reno. Come on," beckoned Rude. He and Reno strolled confidently

into the room, sure of themselves that they alone would get the job.



"WHOA!! Check it out, man!!" pointed Rude. Reno and Elena turned their

heads towards the television.

"Whoa, man! There's some fireworks show goin' on in Midgar!" whistled Reno.

"So much for Heidegger and Scarlet," added Elena.

"And Hojo," added Reno.

"And all of them," said Reno. "But I wonder whatever happened to those

creeps who beat us?

"Who cares!" shrugged Rude. "We're out of a job now!"

"You're right, as much as I'd hate to admit," sighed Elena. "We are out of a

job. Unless I can find Tseng."

"If he's still alive," mumbled Rude.

"DON'T say that, Rudiger! Tseng's still alive! He's gotta be!" shouted

Elena.

"If you insist. But you gotta admit, he sounded pretty hurt in the papers."

"Well, I'm going after him," said Elena, standing up from her seat in the

Junon cafe. Paying her bill, she retreated hastily without even a good-bye.

"So long," said Reno, looking over his shoulder. He turned to his longtime

friend.

"What about us?" asked Rude. Reno shrugged. "Mercenary work, maybe. Don't

worry. With a coupla talented, good-looking guys like us, the world's an

oyster."

"Yeah." Rude rubbed his beautiful bald head again, musing over his limitless

victories over the loss of hair. Poor Reno.

"I wish you'd get a wig, man. You creep me out whenever you do that.

Reminds me of Rufus the Doofus." Rude grinned evilly.

"I'd rather beat myself up. Like I said before, man, bald is beautiful!"





Chapter 4: The Date That Never Was--The Tale of Elena

"Oooh, he's so cute, Esmerelda! Who is he?"

"Ssh! He'll notice us!" Elena and Esmerelda silenced as the man walked past

their apartment.

"*sigh* And only nine floors down . . . " gushed Elena.

"Boy, Lane, you've got it bad, don't you? His name's Tseng. He's supposed

to be some sort of business operative," said Esmerelda. Elena, the medium-

sized blonde woman, nearly swooned.

"Tseng . . . That's so wild!" she giggled.

"I know. Killer name, killer bod, killer hair." Elena sighed, hearts

bulging out of her eyes.

"I wonder where he works?" she mused.

"Bad news, Lane: I haven't the foggiest. You'd stand a better chance of

asking him," said Esmerelda. Elena bolted upright, gasping crazily.

"No WAY, Ezzie! I would die if he even looked at me!"

"Lane, calm down!" shouted Esmerelda. "He's just a man! It's not like

Tseng's God or the President or anything!" Slowly, Elena calmed down.

"That's better," smiled Esmerelda. Exhausted from worry, Elena slumped down

on the nearest chair, wiping a strand of hair away from her brow.

"You're really bent up over this guy, aren't you?" asked Esmerelda. Elena

nodded wearily. Esmerelda paused in thought.

"Well," she began slowly, "I might be able to find out where he works . . ."

"Really?!" squealed Elena. "I mean, you'd do that for me?" Esmerelda

blinked at her desperate friend.

"Elena, I never said that." A pause. Elena was gasping like before.

"You're not still stressed out over that 'Vinny Incident', areya? I mean--"

"SHUT UP!!" shouted Elena, crying tears of rage. "I wasn't the one who made

him run off like that!!"

"Okay, I'll drop it," shrugged Esmerelda. "I'll see what I can do about our

friend Tseng."

"Good," pouted Elena. "I'm off to work. I recommend that you remain equally

busy."



That afternoon, the two roommates got together again to talk about Elena's

pathetic lovelife.

"Well?" Elena asked, bursting into the room without even knocking. They both

knew what she was talking about.

"Bad news, Lane," began Esmerelda.

"Don't give me that, Ezzie," interrupted Elena, holding her palm out. "I

only want the good stuff."

"Fine. Tseng works at Shinra, Inc."

"So?" shrugged Elena. "I've been there before."

"Yeah, but get this: Tseng's a Turk."

"Wow," said Elena truthfully. "Not bad."

"That's not the worst of it, though. Brace yourself, Lane, cuz' Tseng leads

the Turks!"

"YEOW!" jumped Elena, almost hitting her head on the ceiling. "Their

leader?! How'd you find this out?!" Elena's volume was almost unbearable, it

was so high. Esmerelda kept her cool, even with this hotheaded blonde around.

"I asked one of the secretaries in the lobby. She was pretty nice, and

pretty bright for someone in the lobby. Not a common trait you find very

often . . ."

"Whoa! Tseng's their leader!" repeated Elena, as if she had never heard her

friend. Esmerelda sighed.

"Yes, Elena. And the only way he'll ever even notice you is if you buff

yourself up and become a Turk yourself."

"WHAT!!!" shouted Elena, even louder than before.

"Don't argue with me, Lane," began Esmerelda. "If you ever want to know this

Tseng guy, you need to be a Turk yourself." For a while, Elena just stood

there, her mouth wide open in shock.

"A Turk?" she said finally.

"Yeah. But you gotta work out some. They won't accept anybody in there. I

should know." Elena growled fiercely.

"No problem!" she stated, hoisting her fist up. "Elena Vendetti has never

failed at anything! To the gym!!" Without waiting for her friend, Elena

rushed off down the apartment to her car, and drove off madly.

"Well, easy come, easy go, I guess . . . "shrugged Esmerelda.



Before her audition as the newest member of the elite Turk squad (which was

so elite, it only consisted of three), Elena had to be dressed for the job.

So a quick stop at the nearest Square Clothes Ltd. (all rights reserved) found

Elena a knockout: black hose, skirt, and minidress, with a slick new do' and

even new shoes to match. She was certain to get the job. Even if Esmerelda

was not there to support her. Oh, well. Can't pick your battles, thought

Elena.

In four hours, the training and tests were over. Surprisingly, Elena's

indomitable spirit to gain Tseng's love had bested everyone else who had came

to try out for the fourth Turk spot. Even the men had been beaten. But,

thought Elena as she stared at herself in the Shinra ladies' dressing room,

the bad thing is that I have to get rid of these expensive clothes I paid for!

And I have to wear a suit! Me! Elena, a female, wear a suit! That Shinra's

a pig!! Oh, well. As long as I get to go out on a date with Tseng!

Needless to say, when Elena first met her boss Tseng, there was chemistry.

Of course, Tseng liked Aeris the Ancient (Ancient hag more like it, thought

Elena), but that bothered Elena little (just enough, though, to get her riled

in most battles). Elena was sent on lesser missions than her coworkers Reno

and Rude, but in many cases she did the job well enough. But the job got to

her. In most crucial cases, valuable items would be "junky" to her, and

"junky" items would be even more worthless.

"This is the Temple of the Ancients," pointed Tseng. "There's something

called 'Black Materia' in here, and we were assigned to retrieve it and bring

it back to Heidegger."

"Why?" asked Reno, scratching his head. Idiot, thought Elena.

"I don't ask the questions," shrugged Tseng, "I just carry out the orders."

"Fine," sneered Reno, hoisting his Electro Prod Staff onto his shoulder. He,

Rude, Tseng, and Elena marched into the Temple, intent on fulfilling their

mission.



"And that's where it all went wrong," finished Elena. Her old friend

Esmerelda gave an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

"And you never found Tseng?"

"No," sighed Elena. "I mean, I worked my butt off for one date, and that

Mako guy had to ruin everything! It's a shame that my punch didn't connect."

And it's a shame we had to retreat so often, she thought. I'm sorry, Tseng .

. .

"Well, I'm sorry for your bad streak of luck, Lane," said Esmerelda

empathetically. "I really am. But you need to move on. Find some other

guy."

"I guess you're right, Ezzie," sighed Elena. She thanked her friend and left

the room. She left the building, got into her car, and drove off into the

distance. She would find a boat in Junon, hire it, and go to the Ancient

Temple ruins. Maybe . . . maybe there, she would find Tseng, and go about

things as they were meant to be. Maybe there she would find Tseng.

Or whatever was left of him.



Chapter 5: The Natural Selector--The Tale of Tseng

Tseng Tyrell. Born June 6 to Abner and Farrah Tyrell. No brothers, no

sisters. No uncles, aunts, or cousins. No wife, no child. No girlfriend.

Not even one single friend in the world. Not surprisingly, Tseng grew up to

be tough. By age twelve, Tseng was faster, smarter, and stronger than most

people twice his age. By fifteen, Tseng had shed his past as an unattractive

outcast. By sixteen, Tseng was a red-hot heartthrob, making ladies swoon to

the left and right of him. He was friends with every guy on the block, and

nearly every girl would sever their limb for a single day with him.

When Tseng turned 21, he was too hot to handle. His current job at a

business company was failing--Tseng just wasn't the entrepreneur his parents

had hoped. So he was fired. For six months, Tseng was unemployed. Sure, he

had money--businesses aren't miserly companies, mind you. But by the sixth

month, Tseng was almost broke. Friends still supported him. Women still

fainted at the sight of him. But Tseng needed work. Something he was good

at. But what?

One day, an acquaintance of Tseng's bumped into him. It was Vincent

Valentine, from high school.

"Vincent! It's you!" exclaimed Tseng.

"Yeah. Nice to see you after all these years, Tseng."

"Same to you. So how's it going?"

"Same old, same old," shrugged Vincent. "You?"

"Not good. I got canned a few months ago and now I need a job."

"Hm," thought Vincent. "Well, that is a problem. Tell you what--I'm going

over to Shinra Inc. right now to apply for that new secret service agent job."

"You?" asked Tseng, puzzled. "I never thought you as the secret service

type."

"Me neither, but it's a job, right?"

"Yeah . . ."

"Besides, I've been training. I'll do just fine." Tseng pursed his lips.

"Think I could make Shinra's cut?" he asked.

"I dunno. I heard that they're awfully harsh and unforgiving."

"So?" shrugged Tseng. "You know my past. I grew up in harsh conditions."

"Yeah. I can't remember when the slums of Migdar were ever a peaceful

place."

"But your hometown has always been a nice place, Vince. So why the

ambition?" asked Tseng.

"I dunno," he replied. "I guess ever since my parents died, I just needed to

prove my individuality. When I saw that Shinra ad in the paper, the light in

my head clicked."

"Ahuh. So do you think I could make the cut?" asked Tseng again.

"If you're really intent on it," replied Vincent. "Come on. We'll go

together." Tseng turned around, not really knowing what he had gotten himself

into.

Tseng was dirty, bloody, and breathing hard, but he was a Turk. The fat

green man--Heidegger, was it--had announced it so.

"I hope I know what I'm doing," whispered Tseng to Vincent during the

celebration banquet that night. Vincent, the newly crowned leader of the

Turks, smiled back.

"Me too," he chuckled. Tseng laughed back, gulping down his food. Next to

Tseng sat Reno, the technical side of the Turks, and after him sat Rude, the

muscle of the group. Next to Vincent sat Heidegger, the Turks' boss, and

after him was the President and his son, Rufus. Obviously, even the dining

table had ranks.



One day, Vincent did not come into work. Tseng, Vincent's right-hand-man,

asked where his friend was. Nobody knew. Except Hojo, maybe. That had yet

to be proven.

"Hojo! Have you seen Vincent?" asked Tseng.

"Yes. Why?" scowled Hojo.

"He never checked in, and he's always the first one here. So what's up?"

"Oh, that," mused Hojo nonchalantly. "I found the poor man dead in the

secret Shinra library in Nibelheim."

"You WHAT!!" shouted Tseng, frozen with terror.

"That's right. Dead. Shot through the chest. I didn't get there in time to

save him . . ."

"Hojo, no . . .!" cried Tseng. "He--he was my friend!"

"And now he's dead; and there's nothing I can do about it," he sneered,

pacing away to his room.

"But, wouldn't his death make me the new leader of the Turks?" asked Tseng.

Hojo turned around.

"Why, yes," he said. "I suppose you're right. Congratulations." Hojo paced

away, leaving Tseng to scowl. He would never know the truth.

When professor Hojo stepped into the room with the baby, Tseng's heart broke.

"Hojo . . . I can't believe it . . ." he muttered. "You actually . . ."

"Yes, yes!" shouted Hojo quickly. "I did away with them."

"Even Gast? Even Ifalna?"

"Are you deaf, Tseng? I said yes! Yes! Now out of my way!" he ushered.

Tseng frowned as Hojo went away to his laboratory.

"What's her name? Tell me that at least!" cried Tseng.

"Aeris. Don't get too attached to her, Tseng. I know I won't." Hojo left

Tseng to glower. Someday, he would sever that annoying head off . . .

Tseng opened his eyes. Standing before him was Elena, one of the Turks he

had the honor to command.

"Where am I?" he asked groggily.

"In Mideel. You're lucky to be alive," she replied.

"Mideel? How . . .?"

"Ssh, quiet. Don't get up; you're still pretty hurt." Elena added another

cold compress to Tseng's wound and continued.

"I found you in the jungle around the Temple of the Ancients. You were

completely unconscious when I found you, so I took you to the nearest

hospital."

"Kind of a wreck, isn't it?" noted Tseng. Elena looked up. Sure enough,

Mideel looked worse than Midgar's slums.

"Oh, that's okay," said the doctor. "That Lifestream didn't take any lives,

only our possessions. We'll be all right." Tseng smiled weakly.

"Thanks, Elena. But what about Sephiroth?"

"Gone I think," she replied.

"Good." Tseng closed his eyes, exhausted. "So much for that dinner, eh?"

Elena chuckled with him, happy that Tseng would make it. Suddenly, without

any warning at all, she kissed the poor man, long and lovingly.

"I thought so," he replied after she broke off.

"What?"

"Don't deny it, Elena. I know you've had a crush on me for ever. You've

wanted to do that for ages."

"You're right, Tseng," she replied quietly. "I don't know how you knew, but

you were right." Tseng smiled, and closed his eyes again.

"Marry me, Tseng," she said simply.

"All right," he replied, not even opening his eyes. Elena laughed, and

kissed him on the forehead.

"What's so funny?" Everyone turned to the new voice.

"Vincent!!" gasped Tseng. He almost got up, but was still too injured to

move.

"Yeah, it's me. Man, Sephiroth really skewered you, didn't he?"

"But Hojo said that you had died!" exclaimed Tseng. Slowly, Vincent growled,

clenching his claw into a fist.

"I did," he said simply. Somehow, Tseng understood.

"Listen, I'll tell you my story later, but I have a favor to ask you."

"What?"

"Well, I'm getting married to Elena soon, and I need a best man.

Interested?" Elena gasped in pleasure while Vincent simply smiled in his cool

way.

"I dunno. Maybe I'm not qualified." They both laughed, the first time for

Vincent in too long a time. "I'm just kidding. Of course I'll be your best

man."

"Thanks, Vince."

"No, Tseng. I'm not the one to thank. You should thank yourself. After

all, you could have had any woman in the world, but you chose Elena. That

says something about you."

"What?" asked Tseng. Inwardly, Elena growled. If this is offensive . . .

"That you're just a natural selector. I guess you had it in you all the

time."

"Yeah. I guess so." Elena frowned with contempt. That's better!

And for the first time in a year, for the marriage of Tseng to Elena, all of

the original Turks were reunited. Reno had brought holy flowers. Rude had

bought a wig just for that occasion. Elena was benevolent. Vincent was

regarded as a hero. Tseng was selected as the leader of the Turks

indefinitely. As for everyone else,

well . . . That's a whole other story entirely.





THE END



















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