Riku: I have finally been hit on the head with the inspiration rock again!

Zack: ZZZ… huh? What? Are we back on?

Riku: Yep!


Genesis: It's about time…

Riku: Disclaimer time!

Cloud: Riku does not own Final Fantasy VII

Chapter 6

The Plate Falls

"Ugh… what happened? And why does my head hurt?" Zack groaned to nobody in particular as he slowly woke up with a splitting headache.

"Your head hurts because you landed on it back when the fatso sprang his trapdoor… you also reek because you landed in a sewer, and you were out cold while I had to fight off and kill an enormous sewer gator by myself because everyone else was unconscious" Genesis explained.

"You also carried us out of that sewer too didn't you?" Cloud asked, already on his feet.

"Unfortunately… I would have preferred if I didn't, but I figured that dragging the two of you through all of that sewer muck would be a good way to get revenge on the two of you for all of those snide comments from earlier" Genesis said while pointing out all of the sewer crap that was on both Cloud and Zack while the two of them looked at their clothes with both horror and disgust.

"Well at least he didn't drag us through all of that sewer crap!" Tifa said while Aerith just nodded her head.

"Yeah… lucky you…" Zack retorted while glaring.

"Ahhh… revenge is sweet…" Genesis said as he started walking off in the direction of Sector 7.

"I'm going to get you for this… after we save Sector 7, and I get my clothes and myself disinfected" Zack hissed.

Genesis however, did not hear him, or just simply ignored him as he continued to walk into the Train Graveyard that led to the Sector 7 slums.

The group finally made it to the Sector 7 slums with the help of Genesis guiding them from above, only to be greeted by the sound of gunfire and scared shouts of horror.

"This is horrible!" Aerith shouted in horror over the scene of pandemonium while the rest of the group, save Zack, went on ahead with Zack staying behind to comfort Aerith.

"You can stay behind if you want, Aerith" Zack said while holding Aerith in an attempt to comfort her.

Aerith then shook her head and said, "N-no… I want to help… I would rather save at least one life while putting myself in danger, then do nothing and stay safe while others die when I could be doing something."

"Alright, Aerith, but you have stay by my side at all times because I don't want you getting shot if I can prevent it, okay?"

Aerith then nodded and said, "Alright."

The two then took off into the pandemonium known as the Sector 7 Slums.

Cloud and Genesis were taking Shinra infantrymen down left and right while Tifa beat the tar out of the ones that the boys missed. The group of three continued to carve their way through Shinra's ranks until they reached the bar 7th Heaven. They were then greeted by the sight of a mortally wounded Wedge.

"Wedge! What happened?!" Cloud asked.

"… Cloud… is that… you?" Wedge croaked out.

"Yes, it's me, Wedge. Now please tell me what happened."

"Shinra happened… there are… too… many… of…" was all Wedge managed to gasp out before he breathed his last breath.

"He's gone…" Tifa bluntly said while being on the edge of tears, sad that she lost one of her comrades.

"We have to keep moving, staying in one place for too long on a battlefield is not a good idea" Genesis said while walking in the direction of the pillar that held Sector 7 above the slums.

"Genesis is right, Tifa. We have to keep moving" Cloud said to Tifa while placing a comforting hand on Tifa's shoulder.

"Yeah…" Tifa said before just remembering something important and shouting out, "Wait! Who's watching Marlene right now?!"

"We'll get her to safety! Go help Genesis find Barret and stop the plate from falling!" Zack yelled out while darting past them at a speed that Aerith could keep up with.

"Well that solves that problem, now let's go and help Genesis and Barret" Cloud said while lightly tugging on Tifa's shoulder. Tifa then responded by nodding and following Cloud to the pillar that held the plate up.

Zack and Aerith cut and smashed their way through a few ranks of infantrymen and managed to reach 7th Heaven in one piece. Zack went in first with Aerith close behind and called out, "Marlene! Where are you?!"

He was answered by Marlene popping out from behind the counter and answering, "That you Spiky-Sword Man?"

"Ah! There you are!" Zack said in relief as he ran over to Marlene.

"Are the bad men gone yet?" Marlene asked innocently.

"No, but we are going to get you to a nice, safe place away from them" Aerith said with a sweet smile on her face to comfort Marlene.

"Okay!" Marlene said with a smile on her face.

Zack and Aerith then lead Marlene through the hell known as the Sector 7 slums to Aerith's house, where hopefully, she'll be safe for the time being.

Things were not going well for Barret at all. He may have Genesis backing him up now, but he can only help with so much now due to the sheer amount of bullets being fired at both of them. Barret is now currently firing a rapid succession of bullets at the helicopters surrounding the pillar while Genesis took to the sky and slashed the propeller blades off of the helicopters, causing them to crash to the ground, killing anyone inside upon impact.

However, whenever a plane is taken down by one of the two, another just replaces it in a few seconds. Annoyed at this, Barret then randomly shouted out, "Oi! Genesis! We're not getting anywhere with this! Whenever we take one down, another one just takes its place!"

"You think I don't know that?! You're the leader here! Come up with a plan or something!" Genesis shouted out while firing a blast of Firaga at another Shinra helicopter.

'Dammit! I need to think of something quick or Shinra's going to plant a bomb on this pillar and cause the plate to fall! I can't let that happen! Marlene's down there!' Barret thought while trying to desperately come up with a plan.

Zack and Aerith managed to get Marlene back to Aerith's house with no trouble at all, and in record time due to Zack's SOLDIER speed. When they did come back, Elmyra noticed them and asked why they were back. They then responded by explaining that Sector 7 is no longer safe due to a portion of what was left of Shinra's army was raiding the place and planning on dropping the plate on it in an attempt to get rid of AVALANCHE, and why they brought Marlene with .

"Those monsters! Is there no limit to what they'll resort to doing to get what they want?!" Elmyra cried out in outrage.

"Probably not, after all, they did throw the majority of their entire army at me just to get rid of me" Zack answered.

"You have a point, but what I want to know now is what you two are planning on doing now. Sector 7 isn't safe anymore, this place won't be much better since Shinra already knows where Aerith lives and where you are most likely to go, Zack. What do you plan on doing now?" Elmyra asked Zack while Aerith showed Marlene the flower garden outside.

"Well… I suppose I'll first get my friends out of the hell now known as Sector 7 before the plate falls" Zack started.

"That's a good start, but you do know that my daughter will probably force you to take her with you" Elmyra pointed out.

"I'll just have to cross that bridge when I get there, but after I save my friends, I suppose we'll just have to go to Kalm to regroup before deciding how to deal with Shinra" Zack finished explaining.

"Well just make sure to take care of Aerith while you're doing that, Zack. I'll never forgive you if she gets hurt mentally or physically because of you" Elmyra said in her 'threatening mother' voice.

"Yes ma'm!" Zack said with a hasty salute before heading to the door.

"Oh, and don't worry, I'll take good care of Marlene while her father is away almost getting killed, and I'll make sure to give him an earful about how he should be taking care of his daughter when he does show up…" Elmyra said while mumbling the last part grimly.

"What was that last part?" Zack asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh, nothing you need to worry about, Zack. Now go save your friends!" Elmyra said hastily.

"On it!" Zack said while darting for the door.

Zack then left through the door and then ran into Aerith and Marlene, who just so happened to be entering the house at the same time that Zack was leaving. Zack then looked at Marlene and noticed that Aerith made a flower tiara for her, he smiled at the scene and then turned to Aerith and helped her usher an innocently happy Marlene inside before saying, "I'm headed back to Sector 7, I have to save the others."

"I'm going with you, and I'm not even going to give you a choice in the matter, Zack!"

"Aerith, please listen. The plate could fall any minute now! I don't want you to get hurt!" Zack pleaded.

"And that's the same reason why I'm going, Zack! I already lost you once! I don't want to go through that ever again!" Aerith retorted passionately.

Zack sighed, realizing that this was an argument that he knew that he wasn't going to win, "Alright… you win, Aerith, but promise me that you won't leave my side."

"Alright! Promise!" Aerith exclaimed, happy that she won the argument and was going with Zack.

"Then lets… goooo…" Zack trailed off before collapsing and falling unconscious on the ground.

"ZACK!" Aerith shouted out in worry, she then turned Zack onto his back and saw a tranquilizer dart sticking out of his shoulder. Aerith gasped before asking, "Who did this?"

"That would be me" Rude claimed while stepping into the front yard with Tseng right behind him.

"What do you want, Rude? Why did you shoot Zack?" Aerith spat while glaring at both of them.

"This is strictly business, Aerith. Please, don't make this any harder than it has to be. Orders are orders, and you know that a Turk can't defy an order when it's given out" Tseng said.

"Then bend the rules, Tseng! I know that Zack is one of your friends, regardless of whatever you'll say to deny it!" Aerith demanded and pointed out while standing in front of Zack protectively.

"Aerith, I know that you're upset with this-"

"Oh, and what gave you that impression!" Aerith interrupted sarcastically.

"-but our orders are only to capture you and Zack… Shinra however, never said that we couldn't secretly orchestrate an escape plan…" Tseng finished.

"So you're just going to capture us and then set us free? Make up your mind already, Tseng! Whose side are you on?!" Aerith asked in a tone of voice that was slowly rising in anger.

"I wish that I could be on your side, but sadly, a Turk's duty is absolute, when I'm given a job I have to complete it to the letter. Please, just come quietly and I'll help you and Zack escape at the first chance I have. Don't make me resort to using physical force, because I will if I have to."

Aerith then looked down in defeat, fully knowing that she wasn't strong enough to beat Tseng and Rude by herself, "Fine… you win…"

Cloud and Tifa were now running as fast as they could up the stairway to the top of the pillar that held up Sector 7. While they were on their way to the top, the reception they had at the pillar was not anything they wanted to see. At the very bottom, they saw Biggs breathe his last breath before dying, trying to say something and halfway up the stairs, they ran into Jessie as well. She was mortally wounded and slowly dying as well, she died telling Cloud and Tifa that she was glad to have met them and the rest of AVALANCHE. Both Cloud and Tifa were shaken up by the sudden loss of their comrades, but continued to press on anyway for the sake of everyone in the Sector 7 Slums. The two then eventually reached the top of the pillar and found Barret firing rapidly at helicopters up above, and Genesis slashing at the helicopters in midair, forcing a good portion of them to retreat.

"'Bout time you showed up!" Barret shouted out above the sound of bullets being fired.

"We haven't made any progress at all, whenever we manage to take one down, another one takes its place" Genesis said calmly as he descended onto the platform.

"That's because Shinra is that serious about getting rid of you guys" a voice said from behind them.

The group then turned around quickly and saw a messy red-haired Turk that was recognized as Reno with an EMR rod in his right hand standing in front of what looks like a time bomb.

"Tch, figures Shinra would send a Turk to do something as dirty as this" Cloud remarked as he drew his Hardedge sword.

"If I were you, I'd be more concerned about trying to find a way out of here instead of little old me. I'd say you guys only have about 7 minutes until this time bomb goes off" Reno drawled while clumsily pointing his EMR rod at the group.

"I guess we'll just have to defeat you and disarm that bomb then won't we?" Genesis said.

"Ha! Good luck with that! The only people that know how to do that would be the higher ups in Shinra! Oh, and by the way, you now have 6 minutes left now!" Reno scoffed.

"Let's just kick this F#*%'n Turk's ass and then take things from there!" Barret cursed while aiming his gun arm at Reno.

"No complaints here" Tifa agreed while cracking her knuckles menacingly while Cloud and Genesis just nodded.

"Whoa, whoa! Wait a second! Four against one? Now how exactly is that fair?" Reno said while trying to buy time.

"Well Shinra doesn't play fair, so why the hell should we?" Barret countered.

"Good point… alright then…" Reno said before darting at Cloud. Reno first tried to knock Cloud unconscious by clocking him with his EMR, which was blocked by Cloud's sword. Reno was then punched in the side by Tifa, causing him to recoil into the pillar wall. Reno then noticed that Barret was about to open fire on him, so he took cover on the other side of the pillar, just barely dodging Barret's lethal barrage of bullets. Reno was then about to attack again when he was then stabbed in the right shoulder. He then looked up and saw Genesis looking down at him in contempt while he removed his sword from Reno's shoulder and said, "I believe that this is the end of the line for you, Turk."

"Oh, but this is just the beginning…" Reno said as he limped toward the railing and fell off. The rest of the group then moved to where Reno fell and saw that Reno was now holding onto a ladder attached to a helicopter that was quickly ascending.

"Better luck next time, oh, and it looks like we have two of your friends with us as well" Reno said while Aerith managed to poke her head out and yelled out, "Cloud! Tifa! Don't worry! Marlene's alright! I got her to my mother's house!"

Before she could say any more however, Tseng pulled her back in and addressed the group by saying, "If you wish to survive this and help your friends, you'd better get out of here first. I'd say you still have a good 2 minutes left before the bomb goes off. You'd better get moving."

The helicopter then took off, leaving the group of 4 by itself.

"Dammit! They got away!" Barret yelled out.

"We'd better take that Turk's advice and get out of here now!" Cloud said from his position right next to the bomb.

"Cloud is right, both of us have tried to disarm this bomb, but it is far too complex for either of us to figure out. We have to leave now" Genesis said.

"And how are we supposed to do that?" Barret asked.

"We can use this!" Tifa said while pointing to a thick electrical line that connected the pillar to the edge of the sector.

"Then we'd better use it and get out now! You can go first, Tifa" Cloud said.

"Alright, but you'd better be right behind me!" Tifa said while grabbing some loose material that she could use to make a makeshift zip-line.

"Don't worry; I'll be right behind you" Cloud assured while Tifa prepared her makeshift zip-line.

"You'd better!" Tifa said sternly right before sliding down the electrical line.

"So who's next?" Genesis asked.

"Me" Cloud said while placing his sword just over the line and then grabbing the other edge of his sword with his left hand while his right hand was on the hilt. "Here goes nothing!" Cloud shouted as he left Barret and Genesis behind.

"Well how am I supposed to use this now?" Barret asked.

"Why don't you use that gun arm of yours the same way Cloud used his sword? Now if you excuse me, I must be going. I'd rather not get caught in the blast that's about to go off in the next 30 seconds…" Genesis advised while unfurling his black wing and then taking off.

Barret then took Genesis's advice and just barely made it out of Sector 7 in once piece seconds before the bomb went off, causing the plate to fall.

Author: Sorry this took so long! This part wasn't exactly the easiest to type. I just kept on typing and then deleting and then typing…

Zack: We get it!

Author: Sorry…

Cloud: Anyway, please review before we get Genesis to start chanting excerpts from LOVELESS to all the non-reviewers out there over and over. It really gets annoying after a few minutes. He'll just keep doing it until you review!

Genesis: 'My soul, corrupted by vengeance...'