It was far more amusing than the executive could have hoped for. He always found it aggravatingly humorous when people said things such as 'trust me', or 'I got this,' because it usually meant they were far too eager to act rather than consider the possibilities that liked their foolhardiness to their arrogant misconstruction of their abilities as individuals. Rufus raised his hand, knuckles coming to rest against his lips, as he politely held back the chuckles which hid his gross annoyance with the phrase. Value was also another, often miscalculated, view of self-worth.
Rufus lacked any belief that a man, or woman, could hold claim to any level of value without first showing physical proof. It was one of the virtues the executive lived by. A man was only worth as much as he could provide. Perhaps it was old-fashioned of him, even chivalrous, but taking a man on his self proclamations of valor and skill wslas like believing a child who shouted 'I can do it,' in the face of an impossible task. However admirable the gesture was, it was a misplaced assurance.
But perhaps this too was a habit forced by his father's irresponsibility as an adult, as the adult figure in Rufus' life. The late Shinra groomed the boy to become the heir to a rotten empire, nestled in the core of a falling apple. Rufus was trained to be dedicated, vigilant, and with the boy's naturally introverted temperament, this was a recipe for the Molotov cocktail that was the young Shinra. He saw his father as a rival, a liability. The late Shinra was one to be destroyed. He watched as the blind trust his father placed in others became his undoing. Rufus would not meet the same fate.
He saw value in the Turks who were raised in a similar manner as he. Their morals aligned with his own views that the company was above anything else. They did what was necessary and acted. The company was, after all, the reason none of them lived in the slums; the hellhole was a nightmare for all aware of its existence. It was their home, their life. Each one gave their all for it to succeed, and those efforts were nearly for not thanks to a man's blind trust in others. It was why the other executives were without position: they failed to back up their words with action.
The man moved to lean against the desk. It was not his desk, per say. He rifled through the documents with the pride of ownership. Whether Tseng, Elena or even Rude worked on them, it still ended in the fact that Rufus owned them, even if it was a state of mutual symbiosis. Looking toward the bay window back toward the door he would move to rest his hand on his raised, right knee that now rest upon the desk's top. Dark Nation had laid his head down, completely at ease.
It had been the reason the man was so calm in the first place and why the woman had not swallowed a bullet the moment she stepped over her bounds. Rufus was a man of short temper. Though he did not outright murder in cold blood, I'd he felt one a threat to his company, hesitation and empathy were things he naturally lacked with his forward thinking, introverted nature. His gentle demeanor was part enfo and part rigorous lessons in etiquette. Dark Nation held no care of Aerith. The hound saw no threat. Tentacle Hounds were ruthless and driven pack animals. It was not uncommon for the rowdier Turks to be on the wrong end of its temperament. Hierarchy was the ruling state of a Tentacle Hound, and Aerith was not weak, but neither was she a threat.
"Cetra, you?" He questioned.
Now here was where things became complicated. According to Shinra kept documents, classified or unclassified, it was said that Jenova was the only remaining 'living' specimen of Cetra, or Ancient, found capsulized in Planet. Now Rufus knew better than to trust documents written by that egomaniac Hojo, but the reports had originally been written by another scientist by the name of Gast? Gast Faremis he recalled the documents correctly. The excavation was perpetrated by the company and other scientists were sent to assist him in the groundbreaking research. But Fast had left the project.
From the reports it was said he had gone rogue and stole a precious lab sample that had been recollected by the subordinate scientist and some soldiers. It resulted in the man's death. And anything involving a man's death at Shinra hands was always suspect. But he knew little else. He had never physically seen Jenova. The pictures of her in her tank were repulsive and made his skin crawl. Just the thought that this woman had any connection to these Ancient beings was unsettling.
But he showed no signs of being bothered by the knowledge he held. There was, perhaps, more to this than he knew so he gave the 'Cetra' his undivided attention, which was a hard prize to win from the executive.
"You are not what the reports describe you as, these Ancients. Not to complain, I don't think tentacles suit you." He teased, hopefully. "But I have long since held the knowledge that most Shinra documents are dates and unreliable." Due to the toxic, Imperialistic views portrayed by the ruling class at the time, which was quite mad truth be told.
Aerith scowled at the President, it wasn’t intentional and she wasn’t trying to hide anything from him now but she wasn’t sure what he meant when he questioned her being a Cetra. They were worldly of course and supposedly full of wisdom, Aerith had travelled all over Gaia for answers to her questions and had delved into this knowledge too. However she was the last and so was alone, in heritage at least, there were some things others really couldn’t understand or appreciate. It was partly why she liked the idea of AVALANCHE when she first met up with the group. Barret who was so head strong and stubborn was also insanely passionate about saving the Planet and the idea that ShinRa was sucking the life force from it. He wasn’t wrong and it was the closest to them understanding how she felt too.
“That’s right, what did you expect exactly?” Her voice was calm and the scowl had faded but she was no longer smiling gently at him, no longer worried for herself. The idea that something bigger was going on out there stirred her as did the idea that she was needed back on Gaia, at least she felt that way. The Cetra wondered about how much the male knew about the Cetra and about her, he didn’t recognise her name which was understandable but the idea of not knowing much about Ancients…given his father’s obsession was difficult to understand for her. It annoyed her almost, if it weren’t for his father’s obsession with her and her family then she’d almost be insulted. The flower girl didn’t want to have a repeat of her family’s unfortunate past and so she let it go, perhaps it was better to start on a clean slate.
“Tentacles…?” Aerith repeated to herself and looked quizzically at the man, what was he referring to exactly? What had he been reading? She thought to herself briefly before the light bulb sprung to life in her mind, “Are you comparing me to the alien ‘Jenova’?” The brunette shook her head violently, “No-no-no we were born here!” She took notice of his tone, Rufus was curious and wasn’t intending to either play dumb or insult her…he just didn’t understand. It was common for her though to have to explain everything about the Cetra, perhaps she should write a book on the subject herself.
Emerald eyes were hidden for a moment as her lids closed and she took a deep breath. “I wouldn’t trust anything that Hojo wrote, he had some unconventional ideas…and methods.” Her mind drifted to when he thought it was a brilliant idea to mate her and Nanaki together. Aerith understood that she had been giving bits and pieces of information and that she was now revealing more than she had let on that she knew. But still, it was difficult to explain to someone who had believed in one theory for so long. On the other hand to educate him properly on the matter would mean that there would be no more mistakes, none like Sephiroth perhaps.
“I can tell you anything you need to know about the Cetra but first I need to know whether or not you can take me to the Forgotten Capital within the next few days.” Aerith looked towards him, her voice was clear and hopeful. “If you can’t take me then I’ll find another way.” Before, Aerith would have travelled by herself but it was between worlds and she needed the transport to get back there. If she told Cid and everyone then they’d all abandon their posts here and come with her, which she of course did appreciate but it wasn’t needed, this wasn’t dealing with Sephiroth again.
It seemed his comparison did well to annoy her. The way her face twisted in discontent was not lost on the President. The only thing was that it held no regard in his feeling on bringing it up. Neither was he uncaring, flippant, about bringing to light something potentially damaging to the feelings of another, but neither was he remorseful for mentioning such things. Why she very well could have had tentacles and hid them from view. It was always something about humans he found endearing. Even the twisted aspects they claimed Ancients to be: beasts born of the Planet, taking the shape of mankind. Nothing. He had simply brought it up to find reaction, a response to the questions he has held for many years. It was not until he began taking the diluted SOLDIER serum that he started having questionable visions and hearing faint, muted voices. The Geostigma was full of pain and suffering, the SOLDIER serum had minimized the painful spasms and crippling ice-pick headaches that raged through the body during the harsher attacks. It was when he realized he was not so far from Planet as the Scientists had claimed.
Her words only did to solidify his hypothesis on the matters at hand. It had been that one word she spoke: alien.
Ever since he had fell to the fate of Geostigma he began to wonder and question his life. Why had he caught this strange disease? Why was it that others did and others did not, no matter how much contact they came into with another? After the events of Meteor Fall he had to find out. He gathered stories from those who had either witnessed Meteor Fall or had been in Midgar at the time. From the mouth of men, women, and children he listened to their tales. Reports from Turks, Ex-Soldiers, Military Police and WRO who were former victims of the disease. From everything and all, began to raise a pattern of infection. Those like the Turks, who had nothing to lose and were far from the epicenter of Meteor Fall would not suffer. It was a sickness of both the body and soul. What he could not understand, though, was why him? He had nothing to lose, even if he was locked in the epicenter of the destruction. That was what he wished to find out.
What was locked away in his heart?
He chuckled at her wording. ‘We were born here.’ As all creatures were. But Jenova, alien, Hojo!? Curious how she knew of that name. Gast had given the being found in stasis Jenova and Hojo, was only well known in the inner, shadiest circles, of the Company. He was not a liked man in part due to his obsession and in part due to his ruthlessness. The man was said to get rid of others that got in his way. Though Rufus, in a sense, was the same way, he did not always seek to kill his rivals. A rival was often of better use alive than dead, unless they could not be swayed. So she did have more of a connection with Shinra than she had originally put out, hmm? This was good. He was amused by the way she, unknowingly, volunteered all the answers he looked for. He did not believe those reports. He knew, because he had seen his father do it first hand: many of Shinra’s public reports were doctored or completely falsified.
"I see," he mused. "Well we must talk in length on putting the records straight." He moved to take the file she gripped with such despair, from her hands.
After setting it down he looked to the 'Cetra'. He was not a man who quickly believed, but neither did he suddenly dismiss. Impossible was not a word members of the Shinra clan accepted easily. If she held claim, there must stand reason why Sephiroth did too. He did act in the past on information he had availability to as the President, but it seemed a great deal of it was built upon the personal satisfaction if Imperialists. He acted with the knowledge Sephiroth was part Cetra, but instead he is infused with alien DNA? Could this have been the reason for the consequential damages following the reunion and the birth of the Remnants? Well.. questions for later.
"But for now, yes we must consider returning to Planet, but..." There was that but.
Rufus was not going to flee so easily back to Planet without what he stayed here for.
"I have been on this world longer than I wished, because I need the information held by your committee Miss Aerith." He tidied up his files a bit more. "Once I have them, I can return to Planet and continue cleaning up father's mess." Even with all the disgust and hate he had for his father, he never used a foul word upon him.
Perhaps it had been far too late for insults, or Rufus simply saw himself above them, regardless he held fast to his original goal. Looking to Aerith he shook his head.
"You said you were willing to help, being part of the Committee after all. And you are concerned with Planet's well being as well. I would prefer dealing with all matters quickly before ideas are driven home that attempting to change the past is a worthless course of action. I don't like such close minded interpretations." All in all the idea that Makou was the only way was rooted deeply into the minds of many still, thanks to his father.
Humans held the illusion they were free and chose to end Makou use over a few Doomsayers. They believed Makou had not been a choice invented by the corporate madness of the old regime.
"Once I have that, we may be on our way." He offered.
Now, the Ancient was at a cross roads. Did she tell him or get him what he needed or could she find another way? She hated being treated like a damsel in distress and despite what happened she managed to do what everybody else couldn’t. Still, she wasn’t sure that she could ask them for their help…or could she? The Cetra was weighing up her options to this conversation and although she wanted to go it was still Shinra, there was too much to think about and too much that could go wrong. Yet, Aerith did take risks now, she was no longer the teenager that was afraid of the sky nor death, Sephiroth sent fear coursing through her body but not for the same reasons.
“Maybe.” Was her simple and teasing reply, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to tell the President but at the moment she didn’t need to consider it. Although it would aid them to know, to be refreshed on the general history of Gaia, Aerith wasn’t sure how it would change them now. They were once after the Promised Land, their ignorance had gotten them in far too much trouble than was necessary for them just because they didn’t understand what they were looking for. This led them into a dangerous game with Sephiroth and Jenova, although, he did halt Sephiroth and Kadaj’s reunion for a fair amount of time.
He took the files from her hands and she held no reluctance for this, there were only so many things she could read, pictures to observe and nothing compared to actually seeing the phenomenon. Rufus agreed that they must return to the Planet (living of course) but showed hesitation, he wanted something first. He’d come all this way for the information on resources and wasn’t prepared to leave without them. Aerith understood this fully from his point of view and as he explained this to her she wandered around the office observing everybody’s workplaces.
“It is a rather large mess that he had made. Although you cannot say you didn’t have a part in it also.” She of course was referring to their meddling throughout her and her friend’s journey. What happened in Midgar wasn’t his fault entirely but he also needed to take some of the blame, this was a man who wanted the public’s support and in order to do so tried to have some members of AVALANCHE executed. Perhaps he didn’t expect her to know this, perhaps he had changed and didn’t consider it an issue anymore but still, Rufus wanted everybody’s opinions of him to change and he wanted it to happen quickly. This to her was just unrealistic.
“Of course you can change what has been done, that is what we all want. And like I said before, we would all like it to be done the right way.” She paused, “I hope you can be true to your word at least.” Again the Cetra paused, she was thinking, debating in her own mind about what she wanted to do, Cloud wouldn’t want her to be messing around with Shinra…SHE didn’t really want to get too involved here either…
“So the deal is that I give you the papers and you take me to Gaia? Your priority is to provide for the people but I don’t think they need what you think they do.” Aerith shook her head, “As a Cetra I am supposed to cultivate the Planet and protect it. We guide the life stream and in doing so destroyed Meteor, cured Geostigma and sealed away Jenova before your father unearthed it again, I understand that you probably don’t know a lot about us now from what you have told me.” Aerith shrugged and shook her head disappointedly.
“…And that’s pretty sad. But know this, Mr. Shinra, if anyone’s interested in the people and the Planet it is me. I am the Last Ancient so you either take me there now and I can deal with your plans after or you find another way.” Her voice was strong, her eyes stared through him with the determination of all her ancestors before her. She didn’t need him to tell her what to do, Aerith always found a way and perhaps back then she didn’t want him to know about them for their plans to use Jenova or to kidnap her again but she was stronger and wiser than before.
Sat and watched as the woman moved to look around. She seemed little able to idle. Though he understood how terribly boring sitting around could be. Dark Nation raised his head from its laying position, cropped ears twitching as his tail raised slightly. His posture changed with the slip of irritation to roll from Rufus’ aura. The man never liked playing games very long. He was more involved in getting results. At her comment about him having part in the mess he could only chuckle, hand raising to fix his bangs. A soft smirk drew one his features. The man pushed off the desk and moved to stand, his arms settling to cross behind his back. Dark Nation jumped off the bay window and padded toward Rufus, his large head turning up toward the man. Reaching down Rufus patted the hound’s muzzle.
“I attempted to rally a people wholly on the side of my father, who had been born and raised in the grasp of his blatantly idiotic concept of leadership.” He was not without blame, wholly, but not for the judgement in question. “I had two goals as president: to turn them away from my father’s belief that throwing money at everything fixed problems, and that their cozy little lives were not forever. Does she think me a non-believer of the words spread by AVALANCHE?” He funded them after all.
He knew that Makou was finite in what it was capable of and that his father’s path would only lead to SHinra’s Ruin. As a Shinra he could not allow that to happen. The number of attempts he put on his father’s life were without count, or knowledge.
“Since my youth I have sought to change Shinra, but it was met with -- circumstantial resistance. The old man dies, leaving me with power, yet ever more the resistance to change. Shall we count the times of interference from outsiders? Why, if not for Highwind’s stubbornness with our attempt to requisition their vehicle, we perhaps would have gotten to the Temple sooner and retrieved the very weapon Sephiroth used against the Planet.” They had learned of the Black Materia and Sephiroth’s efforts to obtain it.
Though they had no understanding of its abilities, all they knew was that it was an Ancient Materia capable of great power. Leaving that in the hands of a mad man was no good. Sure he tried to execute the current AVALANCHE, but they were not the AVALANCE he had created. He shrugged lightly.
“Could one imagine what we could have achieved against Sephiroth, had we been able to gather all the Huge Materia.” Now Rufus, admittingly, was unaware of what using Materia did to Planet in such large quantities, but defeating Sephiroth was a priority. “Stopping that man was our priority at the time. With my father dead-- so died the company’s drive to find the Promised Land. But it was what Sephiroth was after, because it was the hope and dream my father built into these men.” He settled his other hand on the desk, fingers splaying as his annoyance built.
Even with all the anger building in his chest his face remained the vision of calm and collected. He never held an outward appearance toward his baser emotions, which probably built the case of why people were so afraid of him. He never properly responded to their indiscretions. One did not know they had failed Shinra until they were staring down the barrel of a Turk’s gun. With all of the encounters Cloud’s party had with the Turks it had never been their outright duty to kill them: merely slow them down.
“Unfortunately, we cannot change what has been done. It has already been done. Now, we can only provide the future with something more tangible than the possibility of progress.” He was not a man who lived in the past. “A Shinra always keeps his promises Miss Aerith. You may be a Cetra, one who is close to the Planet and its will,” So she claimed. “But I am a Shinra. I am close to the people and their will. They may not need what we offer, they may be perfectly content to return to their primitive lifestyles and become wandering Monks, but they do not wish this, nor will it, and fight with every fiber of their being to keep their comforts. If we do not find a resource to replace Makou quickly…” Well she needn’t know that.
Dark Nation let out a deep woof, snapping the cold air that was growing. The hound pushed himself against Rufus with his superior body weight, causing the man to look down attentively to his partner. The hound sat and looked up, the majestic beast at the pinnacle of strength and power. Rufus sighed out and reached up to unbutton the first to buttons of his black, collared shirt. Clearing his throat a bit he waved his hand dismissively.
“Regardless of what you may think of me personally, do not misjudge my actions and compare them to my father’s. Unless you enjoy being compared to an Alien covered in tentacles. It is relatively the same process of judgement.” He smiled. “I don’t hold you to the idea of what a Cetra is to popular theory, I would prefer the same amount of respect.” In truth Rufus was not the sort who was very judgmental. “If we all want in on a bit of truth... I had always been on Planet’s side, in a sense.”
He shifted his weight on his heel, crossing his arms behind his back once more. Dark Nation looked to Aerith, as if watching her. It was not an aggressive stance which the beast stood, but one that warded any attempt to approach Rufus. The man was very patient and calm, but when he was annoyed he sometimes behaved as he was expected to and ‘take care’ of the problem. Right now that problem was Aerith, but she could also be a solution. Rufus stood with his back to her.
“Without me, AVALANCHE would not exist.” He stated flatly. “Long ago I came to realize that my father’s dreams were nothing but finite wishes of a man sunk into a fairy tale. AVALANCHE had ideas that perpetuated change. But ideas alone do not invoke progress.” But Aerith needn’t know the events that occurred during those years, she had her own life. “Their ideals were mine.” At least in terms of Makou being inefficient, with obvious reports and dealings that the Lifestream in its pure form was dangerous. “But alas my father was stubborn, too much so to be swayed even by his own son or the threats of anarchy. In the end his own mechanisms shut him down…”
He turned to face her, a smirk on his face. “A Shinra always keeps his promise. Let us hope Cetra do as well, or at least, ladies named Aerith, hmm?” He would not stand for betrayal. Not after all he has poured into this. “Let us return home, miss.” He held out his hand, offering to let her make first leave.
Maybe, just maybe the Ancient will keep her word, but if she did not… that was what Turks are for. They would get him what he wanted, in any case.
He was obviously sensitive to some things she had said and this wasn’t necessarily new to Aerith, she tended to rub people the wrong way with her outspoken honesty and she’d touched a nerve. Given the conversation turning from the humorous meet to this now serious discussion on the Planet’s status there seemed to be quite a turn around. However it was clear to her that he still didn’t understand anything on the events of the Meteor’s summoning, he truly believed that he could have stopped Sephiroth had he have gotten to the Temple without their interference. Aerith’s memories travelled back to when she saw Tseng injured at the entrance, they were old friends and surprisingly to her, seeing him there hurt had upset her despite how awful he had treated her that recently.
“But Tseng…he told me you were searching for the Promised Land.”
Of course, Aerith hadn’t mentioned that she was there or travelled with the group, she also didn’t outright tell the man in white when Tseng had told her this. Yet she had perhaps dropped the long haired man in trouble with his boss for seemingly telling them their plans. It annoyed her that the President thoughts were so narrow into his own power and the greater good, he seemed to think he could have done a better job than they did in stopping the man. He just didn’t know enough about him, about what he wanted, he acted before learning anything about Sephiroth, the materia or the ancients it seemed.
“It wouldn’t have helped you.” She said in reply to the huge materia, “You should just be grateful to those that did what you couldn’t in the end, I mean…considering your state in the end also, I’m glad to see you recovered well from Weapon’s attack.” Here the Cetra referred to the building collapsing on the President when the Weapons were released from their slumber. The male before her needed to stop persisting that his way was better than others, it was grating to someone who had sacrificed herself to counter an attack that would devastate the world.
“Well, that will be something to discuss later but you’re right, it is all in the past!” Finally Aerith let out a smile, she was unsure on their discussions in the future and knew that it would bother Cloud and the others but she’d now made a deal. And she were no liar after all, it was perhaps something to mention to Cloud to get an opinion, although she could already see the glare in his eyes when she’d mentioned helping THE most influential member of Shinra.
“If we all want in on a bit of truth... I had always been on Planet’s side, in a sense.”
“Oh?” Aerith tilted her head whilst listening to the man before her, Dark Nation seemed slightly bothered by his master’s actions and she could feel the tension from both of them. She would need to ease up on him to relief some of the tension, if she were to travel with the man then she wouldn’t want a frosty companion. That and she didn’t actually like to annoy others, it just came naturally.
Now the man had confessed his involvement with AVALANCHE, she wondered how this was kept a secret for so long and how many people even knew about it. She was so sure that Barrett would have told them or was he ashamed? It was so hard to tell.
“Wait…this…doesn’t make sense.” She pondered, “We have a lot to talk about then…Mr. President. And well…aha~ you’ll see.” Aerith was eager to prove to the male that she wasn’t lying about her heritage and what better way to show him than to be surrounded by the Lifestream which she could now control. “Why thank you, though I think I may need to pay a mutual friend a visit before we leave, that should give you enough time to get ready.” She wanted to see Cloud before she went but where would she look? Would she be able to find him before she left?
Her feet carried her outside into the light again and she turned to the male, “Don’t worry, I’ll be back very soon. You know where I work now after all so there’s no escaping!” And with her final words the Ancient giggled and walked away from the building and him hoping he’d believe her because she had every intention of travelling back to Gaia now.
Last Edit: Nov 22, 2014 17:32:23 GMT -5 by Deleted
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After years of fighting, a calm eventually washed over the worlds with the death of the previous threats. However, those walls of peace were all crashing down with the warning of a future threat. Though, the warning comes with much skepticism.
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