CH 11: The Escape

Darkness.

That was all X was able to see, and it scared him.

Am I dead?

Don't be silly. If I was dead, I wouldn't be able to talk to myself.

I hope.....

A glimmer of crimson armor caught his eye. He tried to run towards it, but his feet failed him.

Zero...

X collapsed to his knees as Zero faded into the darkness.

I looked up to you. I admired you. And now this? What happened, Zero? Was it all a lie?

Was our friendship a lie?

After all these years and all we've been through, I can't believe you turned out to be a Maverick. No, not a maverick. Something worse.

A Wilybot.

But why didn't you just destroy me when you had the chance? Why play out this elaborate charade?

Are you as sick and twisted as Wily was, or are you really sincere?

Just tell me.....

************************

"Ooh...My head..." X said, sitting up.

"You're finally awake." Tifa said.

"Wh...ere...are we?" X said groggily.

"Junon, in a holding cell. After we escaped from the crater we came here, and told Rufus all he needs to know." Tifa answered.

"What...happened to...Sigma...and Sephiroth?"

"I don't know. They're still in the crater, protected by a barrier of some kind as far as we can tell. Ever since then, the weapons have been attacking town after town. Right now, Rufus is fighting them with everything he's got. I'd hate to admit it, but he's no coward." Tifa replied.

"H...hey, what about Meteor?"

Tifa was silent as she walked over to a control pad of some kind. She keyed in a command and the metallic shutters covering the windows began to open.

Meteor hung in the sky like a giant time-bomb, eminating a crimson spectrum of light all around it.

X got up off the table and wearily walked up to the window.

"You've been out for over a week, you know. You took a pretty nasty bump to the head." Tifa said, pointing to the injury.

"Really? I was out that long?.....How......How much time do we have until meteor hits?"

"......A month, maybe less." She replied.

The two of them became silent, and stared out the window once again.

Their silence was broken when Rufus came in.

"Ahh, I see you're up and about, X." Rufus said.

"Didn't know you cared." X said with a sarcastic twist.

"Well then....Miss Lockheart here has informed me of your origins and I must say that they are quite intriguing. Is it true that you are an artificial life-form?" Rufus asked, brushing back his hair in the process.

X slowly nodded his head.

"Such a waste. I almost feel bad about your execution."

"Execution?!?" Tifa sternly said.

"Yes. You are to be executed for failing to prevent this catastrophe. You are from the future, aren't you?" Rufus said.

"What will you get by executing us?" X said.

"The populus is in a state of chaos right now. They need to see someone punished to ease their minds."

X briefly thought of escaping, but he was still severely weakened. Besides, if he did leave, Tifa would be left alone to fend for herself. That wouldn't be good.

"I'll tie your arms now." Said Heidegger gruffly.

The two heroes were led downstairs to the execution chamber, where many television reporters and armed guards waited. Scarlett was there, as well.

"Bring them forward." Scarlet said to one of the guards.

"Yes, ma'am." The guard said.

Tifa instantly recognized the voice, and couldn't help but smile.

"Hmm? Why are you smiling?" Scarlett asked.

"It's because of what that guard said to me." Tifa said, nudging her head in the general direction of the guard.

"Hmm? What did you say to her?"

"Actually, it's not what I said that made her smile, but what I'm going to do." The guard replied.

Before Scarlett could do anything, she found herself being sprayed with a gas of some sort. It made her feel dizzy and light-headed, and because of it she fell to the floor.

Aeris ripped off the shinra helmet and started untying her friends. The real guards were about to converge on to her when the whole room started to shake. The intercom blasted with warnings of a weapon attack, and that any available soldiers were to report to battle stations.

Most of the guards in the room fled to their posts, but a two stayed behind to take care of the potential escapees.

But both were instantly knocked out when Elena came up from behind them and smashed their heads together.

"Hey, don't you work for Shinra?" Aeris asked.

"Let's just say I'm against capital punishment. Now go!" Elena said, pointing to the door.

"Thanks." X said as he, Aeris, and Tifa made their way out.

Elena nodded in satisfication as the room shook violently. More guards burst into the room as Scarlett, still a little bit dizzy, got to her feet.

"Traitorous witch! Sieze her!"

"Dammit." Elena said under her breath.

She sprinted for the gas chamber, her only availible option. As she closed and locked the door behind her, she noticed a large breach in the ceiling.

"This must be weapon's handywork." Elena said to no one in particular.

She made her way up to the opening as the muffled cries of Scarlett were heard. Elena had to move fast. Scarlett and the guards would be able to get through that door in seconds. Luckily for her, Elena was a Turk, trained to be quick and decisive.

She knew that she would eventually reach a dead end, but something told her to keep going...

*************

"Now where?" X asked Aeris.

"Um...that way. To the airport." She replied, pointing east.

The three of them made their way down the main streets of Junon, occasionally fighting a number of guards. X, although still very weak, was still a Reploid. He, like every other reploid, had at least three times the strength of an ordinary man. And since his X-Buster was off-line, he fought with his duranium fists.

"Sir! Can I get a statement?"

A television reporter and her cameraman stood amungst the chaos, filming what they could of the enormous weapon while trying not to get themselves killed.

At least, that's what it looked like.

"Get out of here! It's too dangerous!" X scolded.

"Hey, hey! Relax, blueboy! It's us!" Yuffie said, throwing down the mic.

As if on cue, Cloud dropped the camera he was holding at that same moment, and mumbled something like 'damn thing weighed a ton' and then gave X a questioning glance.

"Don't tell me you couldn't recognize us." Cloud said.

"Ah...heh. Sorry, guys. I didn't expect to see you out here." X apoligized.

"Yeah, yeah. Whatever. We gotta get to the rondevous point quick, or they'll leave us!" Yuffie said.

"Yeah, let's get moving." Aeris said.

The rest of them nodded in agreement. They hurriedly ran through the locker room area and arrived to see a magnificent view.

The Highwind was in standby mode, and Blaze was standing at the edge of the runway signaling them to get aboard.

************

Run.

That's all I have to do, Elena thought.

Run like hell.

The cannon had just blown off the head of the weapon, garaunteeing that it wouldn't be back soon. Elena wondered why the barrel wasn't white-hot. In fact, the soles of her boots should be melting right now.

Well, whatever. It didn't matter.

In fact, nothing mattered at this point. All she wanted to do now was to run.

She remembered her childhood, always being the most popular girl in school. She was always the center of attention, and she relished it.

She remembered what it felt like when she was told her parents died in a car accident. The anguish, the sorrow. She wanted more than ever to rid herself of those feelings, and decided to help people whenever she could.

She remembered taking classes in the field of medicine. But they were too... passive for her tastes. Instead, she became a student of Zangan, determined to learn the skills to protect herself and others.

She remembered joining SOLDIER 3rd class, then being promoted to the Turks only three weeks later. It was an unexpected pleasure, being named the best in the buisness. Although it was because of a shortage of men, come to think of it.

She remembered meeting Tseng for the first time, and falling head over heels for him. When Tseng died, thoughts of her parents' deaths resurfaced, and a renewed sense of justice dwelled within her.

But all of that didn't matter now. She was running for her life, and the end of the cannon's barrel was near.

Elena was trapped.

"Kya ha haaa.... How appropriate for a traitor! This is almost like making you walk the plank! Kya haaaaa!" Scarlett laughed.

Indeed, Scarlett and the guards had followed her.

"I always hated that laugh of yours, Scarlett." Elena said, turning to fight.

But she didn't need to fight.

A low pitched roar suddenly filled the air. At first, Elena thought it was the weapon resurfacing, but dismissed that option. No crashing waves could be heard. Which meant only one thing...

The Highwind rose magificently into view. Cloud was on the deck, motioning for her to to grab onto the rope he had just tossed over the side.

"Consider this my resignation from the Shinra!" Elena yelled, running to the end of the cannon.

Taking a flying leap, She grimaced as she grabbed and held onto the rope. She started to slide down the rope, burning her hands at the same time. She managed to slip the rope around her leg, slowing her decsent in the process. It would suck if she fell off now. After all she'd been through, there was no way she would let herself fall.

But she didn't fall off. Elena hung on until she hit a knot in the rope and abruptly stopped. Cloud started to haul her up, slowly but surely.

"That's the third time you saved my life, you know." Elena said as Cloud helped her up onto the deck.

"We aim to please." Cloud said with a smirk.






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