Cait Sith breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't see Meteor in the sky, which gave him a hint as to when exactly he and the Maverick Hunters had been transported. Looking arond, Cait noticed the Tiny Bronco in the distance, parked on a riverbank. Obviously Avalanche was in the vicinity. But where? Using his robotic brain, Cait deduced that they must be in either Gongaga or the Gold Saucer. He hoped he was right.
Zero finished the head count. There were nine hunters and one ancient robot. He noticed everyone else engaging in small talk; something he never liked to do. Blazing Lion was with two of his "Justifiers"; Proton and Airblaster. Slash looked like he was giving pointers to Turbine, a rookie. X was standing not too far away, seemingly taking in the atmosphere. The Auroran Flash was talking with the only other huntress in the area; a new recruit by the name of Pulse. Her armor, a collage of red and blue, reminded him of Iris. Lowering his head slightly, Zero remembered holding her as she took her last breath. Shaking off the feeling of sorrow as he usually did, Zero decided to concentrate on the task at hand; getting home.
"Hey cat! Do you know how we got here?" Zero asked Cait Sith.
Cait was startled by hearing that nickname. Barret had called him that.
"Oh...Zero. I don't know. We all fell into the lifestream, so maybe it's the planet's doin'." Cait replied.
Zero half-believed him. There was no rational solution to this problem. Who knows what's beyond science?
"Are you suggesting the planet wanted us to go back through time?" Zero said.
"It's possible. But first, we gotta find my friends. They're either it th' Gold Saucer or in th' town of Gongaga, over that way." Cait said, pointing south.
"Agreed. I'll take four of us and head towards the town. You take the other four to that big, golden thingy." Zero said.
"Allrighty then. We'll meet up again in four days, by the river. And it's the Gold SAUCER."
Zero smirked as he rounded up his "party". Turbine and Pulse were ready to go, but Aurie insisted that X come with them as well. Slash, along with the three Justifiers, went with Cait. Everyone said their goodbyes as the sun began to set.
Sigma awoke with a big headache. It was no matter, though. Pain was nothing to him. Standing up, Sigma immidiately tried to figure out where he was. He was obviously standing in a giant crater of some kind. Swirling around him were greenish winds, constantly changing speed. Sigma wondered if his vision was damaged as well. Everything about the place was unrecognizable to him. Sigma ran a diagnostic on himself, and determined that all of his non-essential systems were down. He was nearly powerless. At least those pesky maverick hunters were nowhere to be seen.
"Sigma to base."
Nothing but static.
"Base, come in."
Still nothing. The telecom must have been knocked out, too. It looked like Sigma was going to have to walk for a change. But then something caught his eye. There was a bright light eminating from the center. He expected to see some lonely scientist's shack, from the likes of which he could steal supplies. Howver, as he got closer he could see no electronic devices of any kind anywhere. Sigma began to get curious. When he finally reached the center, he was overcome with a sense of disappointment. A dead end. The light source was merely a reflection bouncing off some kind of blue-tinted amber. It couldn't be ice; the air was too warm. Investigating further, the leader of the mavericks spotted a man encased in the amber right above him. Sigma usually scoffed at the mere sight of humans, but this one interested him. He could almost feel the power eminating from the crystalized cocoon. Suddenly, a replica of the man materializeed in front of him. It wielded a long, sleek-looking sword. It's silver hair shimmered in the light, which contrasted with the black outfit it wore. It spoke with a chilling tone that intrigued Sigma.
"You have no spirit energy within you." It said.
Sigma raised an eyebrow. Spirit energy? There was something familiar about that word. Where had he heard it before?
"You are a unique one. Tell me, how did you come into being?" the man asked.
"I refuse to answer a question coming from a human." Sigma said smugly.
Instead of the look of disappointment Sigma had come to expect, the man laughed. An evil smile crept up onto the man's face.
"I am not human. I am superior to humans. I am superior to all living things."
"Is that so?" Sigma said.
"Yes. When the time is right, I will summon Meteor and destroy this miserable planet. All the spirit energy will be mine. I will meld with it and become a new life form. A God."
Sigma had always believed that reploids were the perfect race. This fool was telling him otherwise. He didn't know what this buffoon was talking about, and at this point he really didn't give a damn either. Even without his beam sabre, Sigma was confident enough to beieve that he could take down this whelp in minutes.
"Listen to me, you wretched human. Reploids are by far the superior race here. Don't even begin to think otherwise or I'll shove your head so far up your ass you'll be able to see your own heart stop." Sigma said with glee. He enjoyed denouncing humans.
The man laughed again, but this time there was something uneasy about it.
"Stop calling me something I am not. I am as far beyond humans as they are beyond pond scum. My name is Sephiroth. Remember it for as long as you are alive; which won't be very long."
Sigma had enough. He grabbed Sephiroth by the neck and lifted him up several feet in the air. Sephiroth's expression did not waiver one bit. Instead, he retaliated by slashing his Masamune across Sigma's chest quickly and methodically. The sudden surge of pain caused Sigma to lose his grip. Sephiroth landed in a one-legged kneeling position, while Sigma staggered back in shock. each "man" stared at the other, thinking a similar thought.
Sigma was more powerful than he looked. A sword that could cut stone as easily as it could butter had merely scratched the surface of his armor. Indeed, he was unique.
Sigma studied the man once more. The sword must have been made out of Diamandium. But where did he get it? Diamandium was rare. The metals it required were hard to find, and the exact smelting process was tricky. Few humans had even heard of the material.
"So..." Sigma began. "You must hate humans."
"Not so much. They are merely...annoying. Once I eradicate them, I will rule over what's left. I trust you feel the same? Sephiroth asked.
"Yes, I do indeed." Sigma replied. "I have a proposition for you, Sephiroth. Since we have a common goal, I suggest we join forces to rid the planet of it's vilest vermin."
Sephiroth pondered this for a moment. His ultimate goal was to become a god. Nothng else mattered. But he needed the black materia to summon Meteor, and he couldn't get it by himself. This soulless thing offered to help. Why would he turn it down?
"We have ourselves an alliance, strange one." Sephiroth said.
The sky seemed to darken at that moment.