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Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale

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2:02 pm
November 23, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
  The deafening roar of the arctic wind bursting at speed through the cargo bay doors of the Highwind trailed off as the entrance into the airship slowly came to a close. Cloud looked around him blankly, unable to fully take it all in. The Highwind's cargo hold was large, though mostly empty space spare are few unmarked crates. It like the rest of the interior, as Cloud would soon come to see, was mostly raw sheet metal encased the rivets and seems part of the ship's character. Cloud's boots clanked against the metal floor as he started forward towards the young man who had come to their rescue.
   ” What exactly just happened? ” Cloud seemed to think aloud as he neared Levy. Taking another moment to look around the large room they were presently in. His heart was still racing, and somehow he felt that he had left a piece of himself behind with Raiden.
   ” Bri—Bring ” A familiar voice started on the intercom, crackling and breaking up mid-sentence. ” the—ridge ” It continued, a crackle coming between words. Cloud recognized the voice as the same one that had called to them before, the voice of Cid Highwind, the man responsible for their escape from Rocket Town.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

2:42 pm
November 24, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

Post edited 4:13 pm – November 25, 2014 by sanarian


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     Leveche leaned back against the wall, his expression locked in a grimace of pain. An intense pain radiated from his shoulder whenever he tried to move it. If he were to judge by feeling alone he would have to say that it had been dislocated by his previous stunt with the rope ladder. It had been dislocated in the line of duty before, and he knew of a quick fix, but it wasn’t a very pleasant one. Levy plucked one of the materia out of the Diamond Bangle on his dislocated arm, and then held his right hand (and the materia) over his shoulder. A faint light enveloped the orb as a soothing mist enveloped the damaged shoulder. A surge of pain came over him as the magic worked to fix the injury. Only a moment later the pain suddenly vanished and his arm felt fine.
   As the deafening roar of the wind was silenced, the sound of boots clanking upon metal could be heard as Cloud approached him. Leveche wasn’t quite sure how to answer the question, especially since from the way it sounded the query hadn’t even really been directed at him. “You’ve got reliable friends,” Leveche replied as he stretched his arms into the air above him, glad to have full use of his arm back. “You should thank the old man when you see him. If it weren’t for him you’d all be in their custody by now, or worse.”
  
A familiar voice could be heard over the intercom, and despite the heavy crackle he knew well enough who it was. “Perfect timing, the old man wants us on the bridge.” Levy declared with a half-hearted grin. It was difficult to look forward to their next meeting, as he didn’t doubt that Cid would have more than a few choice words to say in regards to his earlier actions. Leveche moved away from the wall, toward the stairway, before pausing for a moment to turn and face the group. “Follow me, I’ll lead the way.”
 
 
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6:57 pm
November 24, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
Tsuna walked the cargo hold using his sword as if it still had the cane sheath, subconsiously aware not to scrap the blade. Hearing Levy's comment on reliable friends caused him to paused for a moment, then nod towards Cloud and up further in the ship. With a smile he looked at Levi, “Yes, yes I do.” No thought of Raiden even crossed his mind as if blocked out. The thought made him remember that not too long enough he knew no one, but scientists and fiends. And now he had a friend coming out of seemingly no where to save him. The message over the intercom seemed to be coded so only some could understand as he didn't know what to bring, but then he relieved it just wasn't working properly and chuckled to himself as he nodded to the bridge.

 
 
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9:36 pm
November 24, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
  Leveche's words wrapped around Cloud's thoughts, but the feeling they summoned was bittersweet. Cloud of course was grateful for those close to him, but at the same time he had always felt cursed to watch the people he loved or cared for the mose snatched away, usually in the most horrid ways. It had happened over and over, something inside Cloud told him it would continue. His eyes showed this pain as he looked into Leveche's own, glancing away when he felt he had revealed to much. Cloud spotted the sign which pointed towards the only door exiting the cargo hold. His boots clicked against the floor as he started towards the door, passing Leveche in silence.
 
The door opened with a woosh of air, it invoked memories of Shinra Headquarters; Cloud shook them. He had entered a central connecting area where the ship's engines were visible and their sound vibrated through the room. He looked up, noticing the height of the room, it clearly stretched upward to the top hull. Stairs led up to a walkway which houses many doors. directly ahead a white arrow was painted on the metallic floor along with the words “Bridge”. Cloud moved though the area again reaching the door which opened with a woosh, he was prepared for it this time.
 
The bridge was a thing of wonder, ahead Cloud looked upon the truly massive front viewing window, it's metal frame symmetrical. All around him lights and screens flashed at the work stations, which were unmanned aside from one. Cloud moved pass metallic grated floors and up a small stairway into the main bridge where he caught a better view of Cid Highwind, alone on the bridge.
   ” This baby is suppose to have a crew of four on this bridge. Ha! ” He boasted in jest.
   ” How…? ” Cloud managed to say, unable to form his thoughts into any sort of concise questions.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

9:12 am
November 25, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

Post edited 4:12 pm – November 25, 2014 by sanarian


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     Leveche was rather surprised when Cloud strode past him and started to lead the group. If he hadn’t seen that deep pain in Cloud’s eyes he might have thought nothing of it, but he had, and somehow he knew that there was a crushing burden which Cloud was trying to shoulder on his own. It would be for the best if he could overcome it, but from personal experience Levy knew how difficult that could be.
   As they approached the metal door it came open with a whoosh of air, which rattled Cloud a bit, though he had no clue as to why. Leveche could hear the sound of the Highwind’s engines, the sound vibrating throughout the next room. When they started their approach to the bridge’s entrance Levy started to break away from the others, and once the door opened he quickly moved past them and into the room; he made for the stairs straight away, and then immediately moved over to the viewing port to look at the expansive view of the world below.
   “If we’re going to continue using the Highwind we’ll need a proper crew, old man.” Leveche declared while staring out the window excitedly, though not for the first time since they had taken the aircraft from Junon. A few moments later he took his leave of the magnificent view and made to rejoin the group. ”It wasn’t easy. Cid and I took this beauty right out from under Palmer’s nose. Just wish I could see the look on his face.” Leveche explained while sporting devious grin and holding his arms up behind his head.
 
 
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3:33 pm
November 26, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
The awe of the ship and engine washed over Tsuna as he walked towards the bridge. Granted, he was here before, but last time he did not have time to admire it. He had seen technology far more advanced, most used on him, but none of it used in this manner. Technology so beautiful that some may call it art.

Walking onto the bridge, Tsuna did not see that Cid was making a joke and bowed low, again acting as if he had a top hat,
“Sir Cid, I would be most honored to be a crew of this beautiful vessel.” Standing tall with his sword tip just enough on the floor to not cause a damage, Tsuna looked to the group with a smile, “Where are we off to next? I'd love to see her in action once more.” Tsuna wondered little about how they got the ship. Ever pragamatic, he only thought that the ship was here now and where they were off to next.

 
 
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4:00 pm
November 26, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     ” I don't need no damn crew you smartass tike! ” Cid shot back quickly, his eyebrows slanting downward at the accusation. ” I could fly this baby with my eyes closed! ” he continued to ramble on as the control panel behind him started in a sequence of flashing red lights and warning messages.
Cloud was mostly left speechless by the entire scene, it was unreal to him. The flash of light and activity snapped him back, drawing his attention to the screens. Cloud watched how quickly Cid reacted, his hands feverishly moving about the main control panel.
   ” They're trying to follow us! Fucking stupid as ever. ” Cid laughed as he worked, his actions slowly but surely causing the sirens and warning lights to depart.
Cloud could feel the slow acceleration of the ship, soon they would be out of Shinra's grasp. Cloud wondered what that even meant, how long did they have until Sephiroth? What could the do to stop he or Genesis, whom they still knew little about. The weight of these realities was a burden and deep down Cloud simply wished he could escape it all.
   ” That should do it. ” Cid mumbled aloud as he moved across the bridge to the large steering station and took hold of the wheel, turning them south. ” We'll be clear shortly, plus we can always listen into their radio chatter. ” Cid continued to speak, pointing across the bridge to the communications station which was alight with lights and movement on screens.
A sense of calm slowly started to overtake the bridge, they would have time to think, to plan, and most importantly to come to terms with the loss of one of their own in Raiden.
   ” We have to find out more about Genesis and the Jenova Project. ” Cloud said abruptly, breaking his silence. He didn't know yet how they could achieve that, but for the first time since leaving Nibelhiem they finally had freedom from Shinra's grasp, not to mention a SOLDIER of the highest class to aide them.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

7:38 pm
November 26, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

Post edited 2:42 am – November 27, 2014 by sanarian


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     Leveche couldn’t help but crack a slight grin at the earnest offer to assist Cid; the old man was far too stubborn to accept anyone’s help, even if it was genuine. “Don’t mind the old man, he’s a little touchy when it concerns the Highwind. It’s his baby.” Leveche informed the others with a wide grin.
   As a series of bright red lights began to flash on the console, clearly warning the old man of something, Leveche moved closer to take a quick, curious look at the console before half-heartedly shrugging his shoulders. Cid could handle the problem well enough, no matter how hard the enemy tried to catch them. It wasn’t long before the old man had the problem resolved, and moved away from the console over to the steering station.
   Leveche casually approached the communications station, pausing for a moment to make sure that the old man wasn’t looking before he began to fiddle with the controls. “I’ve heard a bit about the Jenova Project. It was a series of series of experiments involving an Ancient that ShinRa found way back,” Leveche took a brief pause for breath. “and rumor has it that those experiments were a precursor to the SOLDIER program. Supposedly they’re still doing research concerning Ancients in Junon, but that’s about all I know.” Just after he finished talking he removed his hands from the controls, beckoning the other two closer to listen in upon the enemy chatter.
 
 
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7:52 pm
November 26, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
Toughing the walls of the bridge with a delicate touch, Tsuna was slightly disappointed, “Well, a man must respect another man's prized possession.” His mind lingered to the thought of just helping this magnificient creation. After hearing what Leveche said, Tsuna shot Cloud a quick look as he fiddled with the controls unsure if he should admit they were in that series. He had no qualms with what he was, only wanting to killing those who created him. Telling them would be no issue to him, but he was unsure for Cloud. Experimentation seemed new to him, not a way of life. So keeping quiet out of respect, Tsuna moved towards Levenche to listen to whatever he wanted to short.

 
 
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9:15 pm
November 26, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
  Cloud took a step towards the new comer, a SOLDIER 1st class, someone who had the rank to have hob-knobbed with the kind of people in command of Shinra's experimentation and science divisions. Clearly there was more for them to know, the realization that all of them were tied to Sephiroth and Jenova had only started to uncover how Genesis played into everything. Cloud suddenly realized that perhaps Leveche could enlighten them more on that area.
   ” Have you heard of the name Genesis? ” he asked as he approached Levy at the communications station. ” Because he's involved in this somehow, he was responsible for the ambush on the Shinra escorts that left Junon with our friends, whom he captured and… well changed. ” Cloud choked up, unable to vocalized what Kili and Avelia had become, and what had happened to them because of it.
   ” Shit, I know who Genesis is. He was a pretty famous SOLDIER not to long ago blondie. ” Cid cut into the conversation, traversing the bridge quickly to where Cloud and Levy stood. ” He went missing awhile back, nothing ever came of it as far as I heard. I wouldn't know, I was detached from Shirna's grip by then. Fuck, Sephiroth and Genesis. You guys sure pick the worst damn enemies. ” Cid said as he put his head into his hand for a moment, suddenly noticing Leveche's movement at the communications station. ” What the hell you doing shit for brains? ” He said as he stepped past Cloud to get a closer look at the control readout screen, which was showing several errors in the cargo hold.
Cloud stepped back, turning to Tsuna who was nearby, the crushing look of loss something that bonded them over and over on their journey. No words needed to be exchanged, Cloud knew they both would go to the end to avenge.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

1:38 am
November 29, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

Post edited 8:40 am – November 29, 2014 by sanarian


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
      “Genesis is…” Leveche started to say, the anger clear in his voice, but slowly let the thought trail off until he found the right words. “Just another one of the monsters in SOLDIER that grew too big for the den.” At that he turned away from the console and toward the others, sparing each a cursory glance before offering a proper explanation. “Just like the old man said. Genesis was once a member of SOLDIER, until he defected along with a massive number of Second and Third Class a couple of years ago.”
   As the old man made his way over, clearly upset that Leveche had been fiddling with the console, clearly upset, Leveche put on a wide grin and said something that he knew would set the old man’s blood to boil. “It’s nothing, don’t worry about it. I’d bet it’s just the communications system down in the hold. It wouldn’t turn off, so I hit it. It’s no big deal, right?” Levy maintained a cool, casual tone throughout the entire explanation despite the knowledge that it wouldn’t end without having to ward Cid off. It wasn’t easy to get past the loss of a friend, only time could heal those wounds, but if he could distract them for a time it would have to do. Leveche couldn’t help but feel responsible for their pain, considering his role in their capture. ”You two may want to move out of the way.”
 
 
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11:16 am
November 29, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
Noticing that Cloud spoke nothing about what they had found there, Tsuna knew he would follow suit. Though they had saved them, that didn't mean they should be instantly trusted with the information. He was use to not trusting the hand that fed him. “So, we can safely assume he had an army with him.” Tsuna's right hand went into his pocket and played with his die now with the rent tint. Are all those SOLDIERs now like their own friends? Moving out the way for Cid, Tsuna took a deep breath and began to think about what they had learned. He was use to split second decisions all controlled by someone else. Now that he had time to think it was odd and was too focused on what was next then what had happened.

 
 
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8:43 pm
November 29, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

Post edited 3:45 am – November 30, 2014 by dystopia


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
  Cid crossed the bridge quickly, moving past Tsuna and Cloud with a great fury of haste towards the communications panel and the SOLDIER first class that stood in front of it. There was a moment of hesitation in Cloud as he watched Cid pass, he could see the anger literally boiling over, but he had passively removed himself. His reflexes kicking in Cloud moved swiftly reaching with his right arm and snagging Cid's arm as he passed. The was a great pull but Cloud held firm.
   ” Little shit, You're going to learn how to— ” Cid was speaking in a fury as Cloud grabbed him.
   ” We don't have time for this right now. ” Cloud spoke in a fragile confidence.
Cid had whipped his body around quickly, his free fist naturally coming to a rise. His eyes locked with Cloud and for a moment something between them was shared, a truth in the seriousness of their situation passing the gulf. Cid's arm relaxed and Cloud released it looking past the pilot towards Leveche the same fragile confidence exuding.
   ” If Junon is where we find out more about Genesis and Jenova, then that's where we have to go. ” Cloud said, stepping back towards Tsuna.
   ” God damn figures, spend two weeks escaping Junon just to turn around and go back… ” Cid mumbled in annoyance.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

2:19 pm
November 30, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     Leveche didn’t bother to move as Cid closed in upon him, confident that he could ward off the old man until he had managed to vent his rage. What he didn’t expect was the sudden show of courage from Cloud, seemingly without even truly thinking about it, reached out and took hold of the older man’s arm. In his anger the old man brought his fist to bear upon Cloud, but before Leveche could make a move to interrupt a potential fight the two appeared to have reached some sort of unspoken understanding.
   As the blonde cast his gaze upon Levy he could sense some sort of fragile confidence starting to form, and smiled faintly. At the suggestion they return to Junon he merely shrugged his shoulders as if their destination didn’t matter to him. “I’ve no intention of leaving until I’ve found who I’m looking for, but going back to Junon won’t be easy. They really didn’t like the idea of returning the Highwind to its rightful owner.”
 
 
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12:27 pm
December 1, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
Tsuna began tapping his sword gently on the ground as he began to think of what they could do, “Any chance we could convince them that's what we're doing?” Looking over at Leveche, unsure about how their escape had gone it could be the easiest way in, though out may be a problem. If there were any uniforms onboard or no one saw Leveche, it could get them into Junon at the very least.

 
 
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5:11 pm
December 1, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     ” We can't fly this bird back to Junon airstrip. ” Cid chimed in, having already formed a plan of his own.
   ” However we could land it somewhere remote nearby, I can make sure nobody but myself can fly this baby. ” He finished speaking, shrugging his shoulders before reaching into his jacket pocket to retrieve a pack of cigarettes. Cid removed one of the rolled tobacco sticks from the pack and placed it in between his lips, striking a match with his thumbs and placing the flame against the cigarette. He inhaled deeply, holding the smoke for a moment before releasing with a contented sigh.
   ” So back to Junon it is. ” He said as he moved away from the others, traversing the expansive bridge back to the steering station. ” You all should get some rest, it's going to be a long ride. There are some crew cabins down the hall. ” he said without turning, thumbing towards the doorway behind them.
Cloud could feel that Junon is where they would get the final answers, if that's where Hollander and the Jenova Project had been moved to then it could all be uncovered there, but he sensed that the forces against them would be great.
   ” Cid's right, we could use some rest. ” Cloud said, the fatigue of his body visible. The events of the night had been harsh both physically and mentally and Cloud needed to think.
Stepping away from Leveche and Tsuna he moved towards the door, opening with a now familair hish of air. Cloud stepped through the doorway, the vibrations and hum of the massive engines returning. He looked down the railed off corridor towards several other doors, assuming he would find the crew quarters there.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

4:38 pm
December 3, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
      “Cid’s right, landing in Junon would be suicide.” Leveche declared flatly. If they tried to land in the city proper they would have been better off with the ShinRa army at Icicle Village. “I don’t dislike your plan, old man, but I’d rather you stay here. If we have to leave in a hurry I’d rather know the ship is safe and able to do so.” Leveche let out a sudden sigh when Cid lit up a cigarette, rubbing his right temple in frustration. “I told you those things will be the death of you.”
   After the discussion came to a close Leveche turned away from the group and started down the stairs, making his way over to the door and then off the bridge. Levy felt a tense anticipation, and knew he wouldn’t be able to get any sleep just yet. For now he would head to the deck to get some fresh air and do a few squats.
 
 
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5:44 pm
December 3, 2014

griff
Member

posts 100

  Belly of the Whale  
 

 
Being one not needing too much sleep, Tsuna seemed in fit of health compared to others. His posture perfect, his eyes alert, but as someone mentioned sleep and all seem ready to rest, that all changed. His shoulder slumpled slightly and his eyes dozed. It was not as if being reminded of sleep made him realized how tired he was, but because rest seemed to be what he was suppose to have his body made it so. “Sleep sounds good.” Walking behind the others, Tsuna began to wonder why this was as he headed to the cabin. He had spent nights awake many times while the others rested without feeling a thing. Sure he had to keep watch, but even without that he never felt tired often, not like now. He seemed to be reaching a conclusion when his head his the pillow and he slept.

 
 
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6:01 pm
December 3, 2014

dystopia
Admin

posts 180

Post edited 1:09 am – December 4, 2014 by dystopia


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
     ” Yeah and I'll be the death of you! Little shit. ” Cid shouted after Leveche as he and the others took his advice and left the bridge one after another.
Cloud walked around the railed off corridor that led from the bridge past several other doors. Cloud's mind was fatigued and his body held the weight of disappointing failures. He moved through another set of hissing doors, the air sent in a swirl around him as he passed through the threshold. The crew cabin was sparsely furnished, three sets of bunks were built into the walls themselves, each of them bare of bed dressings. In the center of the room, bolted down was a small round table and four swiveling stools. Cloud passed the table and stools, collapsing into one of the bare bunks. It was uncomfortable and hard but Cloud could look past the draw backs, simply happy to be able to sleep in peace. As his eyes drifted Tsuna entered behind him, jarring Cloud from near sleep. He watched his friend pass, taking respite in one of the other empty bunks. Cloud observed his friend for several moments, sorrowfully. He knew that Tsuna had born much mental grief in the past two days.
   ” We're going make all of this right. ” Cloud reassured himself, though he had spoken loud enough for Tsuna to hear.
As Cloud's eyes began to drift once more his mind wandered about Raiden, the image of the tumbling materia orb settling into the deep snow as his friend walked away. What could have been said to cause such action, had he bartered for their saftey? Cloud would always wonder.
 
 
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Chapter VI!
 
 

6:45 pm
December 3, 2014

sanarian
Member

posts 113

Post edited 1:33 am – December 6, 2014 by sanarian


  Chapter VI: Belly of the Whale
 
      “No… I’m begging you!” Leveche murmured in fear as he turned over in his sleep, seemingly having a bad dream. “Don’t make me do this….” Leveche continued to talk in his sleep while struggling fitfully in his bunk. A few moments later he bolted upright and scrambled to the back of his bed, holding a hand out as if to ward off some invisible force. “I’m sorry, anything but that! You’re the squat champi—what?“ Levy merely sat there for a moment, surveying the cabin with a dumbfounded expression. “I shouldn’t do squats before I go to sleep.” A wave of relief washed over him when he realized that it had just been a nightmare; punishment games at SOLDIER were absolutely terrifying.
   Leveche sat upright for a moment before he stood up and began to put on his equipment. “Hey you two, wake up!” Leveche called out once he was prepared and started for the door out of the cabin. They didn’t have time to sleep in if they wanted to be ready to infiltrate Junon.
 
 
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