Yeah, I know. I love the all-caps thing -_-
Chapter 2: AVALANCHE
“Yo! This your first time in a reactor?” Barret asked Cloud who was behind him.
“No. After all, I did work for Shin Ra, you know?”
“The planet’s full of Mako energy.” Barret continued. “People here use it everyday. It’s the lifeblood of this Planet but Shin Ra keeps suckin’ that blood out with these weird machines.”
So what? Cloud thought. This doesn’t concern me.
Outwardly, Cloud just sighed. “I’m not here for a lecture. Let’s just hurry.”
Barret threw his hands up in frustration. “That’s it! You’re comin’ with me from now on!”
“I don’t care. Just don’t get in the way.”
Behind them, Biggs, Wedge and Jessie wisely kept their mouths shut. They didn’t want to get in between the seemingly inevitable fight in front of them. Better to pretend they didn’t see anything. Inwardly, though, they sighed.
Arrogant! Barret thought, fuming Just because he was in SOLDIER, he thinks he’s all better than us!
In contrast with his thoughts, Barret spoke calmly. “Little by little, the reactor’ll drain out all the life in the planet and that will be that.”
Cloud shrugged. “It’s not my problem.”
Barret’s face turned an ugly shade of purple and seemed to be making an effort to control himself. He failed as he yelled. “The planet’s dyin’ Cloud!”
In contrast, Cloud’s demeanor was like ice, just as his voice was. “The only thing I care about is finishing this before the Roboguards come.”
“Aarrgggghhh!!!” Barret yelled.
The group moved quietly after that. Barret and cloud switched to the rear as Jessie and the others disabled the security doors.
“Halt!” A guard in blue appeared from the corridor they just passed. “Drop your weapons, raise your hands and we’ll not have any trouble.”
“Dammit!” Barret growled. “That’s why I told you guys not to make any noise!”
“Hey! You were the one making the most noise!” Wedge pointed out, raising his hands as more guards came.
“Shut up! Both of you!” The Shin Ra guards in their blue uniforms ordered.
“Barret,” Cloud said in a low voice. “Cover me.”
“Hey, Spikey, stop talking!”
“What?” Barret muttered
“Cover me.” Cloud said in a voice a little louder than the first.
“Stop talking or we’ll be forced to use these!” The Shin Ra guard said, pointing his rifle at Cloud.
Cloud slowly raised his hands in seeming surrender and suddenly drew his sword. “Now!” He shouted at Barret.
Before the guard in front of him could even react, Cloud jumped on top of a stack of crates, using the guard’s body as a platform. He slammed his sword at the guards heading to him at twos and threes. The other guards kept their distance, knowing now that they couldn’t hurt him at close range. They pointed their rifles at him but before they could fire, something exploded where they were. Those who didn’t die were either stunned or unconscious.
“And I call that one Big Shot, baby! Ha!” Barret yelled in triumph, a mad gleam in his eyes.
“Barret.” Wedge warned as he kicked the recovered guard in front of him. The remaining guards were also getting to their feet.
“Damn! I can’t do that move again right away! Run!”
AVALANCHE went deeper into the reactor but as they ran, the guards were coming closer. Jessie and Wedge ran backwards as rear guards, shooting the oncoming guards.
“We can’t keep this up!” Jessie moaned, reloading the gun.
Cloud agreed with her as he looked back and saw red uniforms mixed in with the blue. There were already guard captains and the corridor was too narrow for him to swing his sword. Not good.
Barret stopped and turned around. “I’m gonna finish this!” He aimed at the guards and his gun-arm seemed to be absorbing light. It glowed.
“No!” yelled Cloud. “They’ll just keep coming if you fire at the ones at the front. Fire at the ceiling!”
“Understood.” Barret said, his voice strained. “Here we go! Ahh, BIG SHOT!!!!”
“Everyone over here!” Cloud motioned to the others as an orange ball of pure energy hit the ceiling above them.
“Is everyone alright!?” Biggs asked after a few minutes. “Where’s Barret?”
“I’m right here. M’all right.” Barret said as he shook the dust off his dirty brown vest. He looked at Cloud with a newfound respect. “You’re really good. Good at fighting and smart too.” Barret mused.
“Can’t say the same for you.” Cloud replied in a nonchalant voice. “You’re good at fighting all right, at least, against regular Shin Ra infantry. But you’re way too loud and you have no sense of stealth. Oh, and your temper’s way out of control.”
Biggs, Wedge and Jessie exchanged horrified glances. Uh oh. they thought.
“…” Barret face contorted but he mercifully let it pass as Biggs, Wedge and Jessie sighed in relief.
What’s he getting angry for? It’s true… Cloud wondered. Oh well, they weren’t from SOLDIER so I shouldn’t expect much.
They finally made it to the reactor core and were going to the main part. Jessie and the others stayed on different parts on the way there to guard.
Watch out! There isn’t just that reactor!
Cloud froze. He turned but no one was there apart from them.
“What’s wrong?” Barret asked.
“Nothing…” Cloud said, blaming the voice on the strain of fighting a while ago. “Let’s continue.”
“When we blow this place, this ain’t gonna be nothing more than a hunka’ junk! Cloud, you set the bomb. I gotta watch to make sure you pull nothin’!” Barret said.
Cloud didn’t care. “Fine, be my guest.”
Cloud set the timer on the bomb and strapped it on the reactor. It was weird. The scene looked too familiar. Where had he been in a reactor before? Ugh! Cloud pushed his thoughts away and stood up.
“Done.” Cloud said.
“Good.” Barret seemed to be looking around the area. “Now let’s go before they- Shit! Heads up! Here they come!”
Cloud and Barret jumped away just in time to avoid the quick metallic tail.
“That thing’s huge!” Barret exclaimed, staring at the metallic Robo-Scorpion. “What the heck is that!?”
“A Guard Scorpion!” Cloud shouted as he ran to avoid the laser attacks. “Keep it busy for a few moments- Don’t argue, just do it!”
Barret seemed to understand the gravity of the situation as he didn’t complain and obeyed immediately. He moved around and kept firing, keeping the monstrosity’s attention away from Cloud.
“Done! Barret, keep away from him!” Cloud shouted before he released the channeled energy he held in the materia. “Bolt!”
Electricity from the air and the reactor jumped to a small gleaming orb in Cloud’s sword and was channeled to the Guard Scorpion. The enemy stopped for a moment and a lot of parts scattered. Still, it continued to attack Barret. The tail almost reached him when a streak of blue sliced it in two in the air. The blue streak landed behind Barret. It was Cloud and he looked just a bit exhausted.
“Braver– A sword technique of mine.”Cloud responded as Barret opened his mouth. “It’s weak from all the electricity! Do your stuff now!”
“Hey! Don’t order me around!” Barret yelled. But he aimed at the guard scorpion all the same. At the state it was in, he didn’t need full power and so charged his weapon less. “Big Shot!”
The Guard Scorpion fell down, electricity crackling from its exposed wires.
“There’s nobody inside?” Barret said in surprise.
“Nah, this one is just a programmed robot.” Cloud explained. “Bomb timer’s ticking! Come on, let’s get out of here!”
They ran. Reaching the place where the others were, they explained what happened briefly and ran again. They barely made it in time- Wedge had to go back because he forgot the weapons. Jessie got her foot stuck on the railings and had to be helped by Cloud. All in all, the reactor exploded just as they made it out.
Cloud sighed and looked at the place where the reactor used to be. Barret was right. The place did look like a “hunka junk”.
“That should keep the planet going- at least, for a little while.” Barret said, a strange look on his face.
“Yeah.” Wedge, Biggs and Jessie nodded.
“Okay, everybody, rendezvous at Sector 8 Station!” Barret commanded. “Split up and get on the train. We meet in the cargo cart, ok?”
“H, Hey! Wait!” Cloud said nervously. He hated this part. It was just always uncomfortable asking for the pay.
“If it’s about your money, save it ‘til we’re back at the hideout.” Barret said gruffly. “No more questions? Ok, move out!”