Chapter 3: Somewhat Damaged

The Turks office was quiet at this time of night. Everyone had their places to be. Drake and Marcus were home for the night, Samantha and Becca should be coming back within the next two hours for the shift change with Cissnei and Shion, and Tseng was on a coffee errand. In fact, only Veld was present in the office. He was going over a few papers, and then typing little bits of information into his laptop. The door handle jiggled slightly and he expected Tseng to enter with the requested coffee. But instead the door opened to reveal Rufus. He held a slim tan file in his hand.

"Ah, good evening Rufus. What brings you down here at this hour?", Veld questioned in a friendly manner.

Rufus entered the room and shut the door. He flicked a few pieces of his blonde hair away from his eyes and moved to Veld's desk. "I've got a present for the Turks.", he said nonchalantly.

He stopped before the edge of the desk and handed the file folder to Veld. With a curious look, Veld took the file and opened it up to reveal the same woman Rufus had discovered only moments before heading down here. "Her name is Kess Reignheart. But don't let her appearance fool you. It's the very same woman that you are all looking for.", Rufus explained with a cool smile.

Veld furrowed his brow and then glanced back up to Rufus. "How did you come across this information?"

"I have my ways, just as the Turks have theirs. The resemblance is uncanny, is it not?", Rufus said as he turned to leave.

Veld nodded as he glanced over the documents, his eyes scrutinizing the woman's face. It was definitely her. "So, we have an ex-Soldier on our hands, First Class at that. And if my assumptions are correct, she's not the only one working with the rebels.", Veld spoke loudly to Rufus as he exited the room.

Rufus stopped at the door. "Let me know when you capture her. I would like to meet this Kess Reignheart for myself."

He opened the door, almost bumping into Tseng as he came rushing back to the room. He pushed his way passed Rufus as if the young man wasn't even there and stopped at Veld's desk. "Sir, I've got urgent news. The-"

Veld glanced up and interrupted him suddenly, "Ah Tseng, good timing. Rufus just dropped off some documents that will assist in the capture of that woman. Her name is Ke-"

"Sir, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I've just received word that the rebels are planning an assault on the building tonight!", Tseng suddenly blurted out.

Rufus stopped at the door and walked back over to the desk. "What was that? Tonight?", Veld questioned. "How can you be sure?"

Tseng calmed down a bit and recanted his story. "When I went down to the cafeteria for the coffee, I got a call from one of our insiders. He said he had over heard this while drinking at the Lucky Lady, a known hang out for the rebels."

Veld nodded and Rufus grew more interested by the minute. "Apparently, they are planning to go to the upper floors, but their purpose is unknown. I think we should call everyone back here immediately to prepare for this."

Veld nodded and stood suddenly. "I've got to inform the President. Tseng, issue a call to arms for the Turks. Call Becca and Samantha back early, get Reno, Rude, Jale, Drake and Marcus here. Cissnei and Shion should be here soon. See if you can get Max and Tonya to come back early from their assignment in Gongaga. We will not let them escape this time."

Tseng bowed his head and removed his cell phone from his inner pocket. Veld walked passed him and out of the room. He made his way towards the elevator and pushed the button for the 69th floor. "I wonder if Hojo has anything to do with that woman.", he thought on the way. "He has a knack for creating problems that resurface later just to bite ShinRa in the ass."

The hour for the rebels had arrived. Kess and Ashe had joined the rest of the group and were awaiting their orders when Ashe spotted Diego by the door to the conference room. He waved a bit and when Kess noticed who it was, she rolled her eyes. "Him again..? He's like a lost puppy.."

Fuhito entered the room and took a seat, followed by the group. He began to address the 'what ifs' and the delegation of tasks.

"Dias will keep a look out since she is the best with a rifle. The team will enter the floor, secure the cameras and then move to the next. Kess will secure the camera while sitting on Ashe's shoulders, and Higashi will do the same as Kess from Rekrab's shoulders. The job should only take about five minutes per floor, with one minute of travel time to the next floor."

They all nodded and Fuhito looked around that table. "You are all equipped with night vision goggles if the lights go out and a heavy pistol each with two clips. But try not to use them; we want to be as quiet as possible. You are all dismissed, head to the Sector Five exit now. There are two vehicles waiting to take you to your drop points. Good luck to you all.", he smiled and bowed his head.

The group stood and moved for the door, Kess and Ashe caught sight of Diego out in the hallway. He waved them over with a smile. "So heading out now, are you?"

They both nodded and he looked disappointed. "I was hoping to catch a bite to eat with the two of you before you left. But I guess duty calls.", he chuckled and they walked away from the room at towards the designated exit.

As they walked, Diego struck up a conversation with Kess. "So, how did such a beautiful woman like you come to work with a bunch of dirty rebels?"

"Hey, we're not all dirty!", Ashe quickly retorted.

Kess glanced up and raised a brow. "Beautiful? Please save your pick up lines for the bar maids." She shook her head and continued walking. "I needed somewhere to go and they welcomed me with open arms."

"But why did you feel the need to run around with a bunch of bomb happy terrorists?", he scoffed as they neared the exit.

"I'm an ex-Soldier. I needed to go where I felt comfortable!", she suddenly snapped back.

"An ex-Soldier, haha. I see, that explains everything now.", Diego snickered.

"What's it to you anyway?", she muttered. "Not like you had some bigger, better job before this anyway."

He stopped and turned to her taking a bow. "Junon Navy; formerly, of course."

Kess rolled her eyes. That explained everything. The navy was technically a division of Soldier, but they had tried to break off a while back, thinking that the tie to Soldier was holding them back. Cocky bastards had a thing against Soldier ever since. Kess wrinkled her nose and moved around him. "If you don't mind, Ashe and I have somewhere to be. And I don't want to be part of your little dick waving contest."

She walked around him and continued on down the hall. "And I bet it is little. ", she tossed back as they turned a corner.

Diego's cutting glance followed her until they disappeared around the corner. "Oh my dear Kess, that tears it."

Night fell over the city like an eerie black sheet. With it came a sea of endless stars, stretching far across the heavens. Each one twinkled with a silvery effervesce that seemed to hold the dreams and wishes for all those who gazed up to them. Perhaps they held the dreams that ShinRa had: of making the company a monopoly in itself, to suck up all the mako it could, and to be prosperous. Or maybe they held the wishes of Avalanche: to stop the ShinRa conglomerate from eating up the planet's resources, put an end to the planet's suffering, and bringing peace and happiness to everyone.

People where everywhere on the streets, it was easy for the group of five to split off and take different routes to the meeting point. Ashe and Kess stuck to the back streets and dark alleyways as a means of travel. Rekrab and Dias took the train, heavy coats covering their abnormal gear. Higashi, the odd ball that he was, took the train in his own way, but he decided that it would be best to hide in the cargo hold. Kess and Ashe arrived to their destination quickly and they began to scope out the area while waiting for the others. Soon enough, Dias, Rekrab, and Higashi were present and they approached one of the train system tunnels. Together, the five traveled a short distance to a small grate. From the outside, it looked like a sewer grate, but they knew that it was truly a maintenance tunnel for the ShinRa building.

In short time, Higashi had pulled out and assembled a small blow torch. Being an ex-ShinRa SWAT member, he knew exactly how to get through. He set to burning a large square around the grate while the others kept an eye out for trouble in every direction. Ashe started to whistle out of habit and quickly caught himself as everyone suddenly looked his direction in surprise. "Eh hehe… sorry.", he smirked.

Suddenly Higashi leaned back and extended his boot, kicking the grate. It fell inward with a loud thud and everyone waited for a few seconds before filtering into the hole. Once inside, they made tracks for the ladder that would take them up to the street right next to the outer stairwell.

The ShinRa building loomed overhead, casting its ominous shadow onto the small group of infiltrators. They waited cautiously in the darkness, making sure that they would not be spotted on their short run to the stairwell. Slowly, one by one, they raced from the dark alley and towards the left side of the building. Not a word was said the entire time, the team communicated through hand gestures. Soon enough they had all reached the outer stairwell, and were taking the 59 floor trek to the upper floors. So far, so good.

Their boots make little sound on the concrete floor. Kess and Ashe took the lead, holding their pistols at the ready. Floor after agonizing floor they traveled; all the while, each one thinking their own thoughts. At last they reach the top and Kess gently pressed herself against the door listening for voices. Several moments passed and she could hear nothing. She gripped the door handle and turned it slowly. As she pushed the door inward, the lights suddenly cut out. Without a word, they each flipped down their night vision goggles and entered the desolate room. Strange enough, the guards that were supposed to be here were nowhere to be seen. The group made their way across the large room towards the elevators. Almost instantly, Dias grabbed a hold of Ashe's shoulder. He stopped and glanced back, wondering what was wrong. Then he heard it too.. voices.

Quickly, he grabbed Rekrab's and Higashi's shoulder and pushed them towards the elevator. Footsteps were quickly approaching and Kess heard them with everyone else. She quickly grabbed a camera from her pack and with Ashe's help, managed to secure the device to the downed security camera just above the elevator. They quickly dodged into the elevator and Rekrab pushes the button for the next floor.

Kess glanced to Ashe in surprise and they knew they were thinking the same thing. Why were the elevators working? "Must be on their own power grid.", Ashe said out loud.

The ride was quick and soon enough the doors opened to reveal a darkened hallway. Kess moved out into the room quickly, but on a quick glance around, she didn't recognize the area. She quickly turned to look at the floor plate near the elevator. The metallic numbers telling her immediately that something is wrong. They read 58 not 60. She suddenly grabbed Ashe's collar and whispered, "The elevator when down a floor, but I saw Rekrab hit the 60th floor button."

Ashe's eyes widened and suddenly the lights flickered on with an instant blindness. Kess grabbed the side of her goggles and ripped them off, her hazy gaze falling instantly to a not so wonderful sight at the end of the hallway: The Turks.

A single shot rang out in the hallway, Dias suddenly collapsing against the cold white wall. Blood splattered everywhere, the blonde Turk that shot her taking aim at another unfortunate rebel.

"Scramble!!", Kess suddenly shouted, the other three rebels moving instantly.

Kess rolled into an open room on the right, Ashe and Rekrab dodging to the left. Higashi didn't move fast enough obviously because in another two seconds, he became the victim of twin pistols. The bullets ripped through him like nothing, hitting the steal elevator doors behind him. Kess shielded herself from the blood splatters and glanced across the hall to Ashe. She could hear Rekrab yelling, "Shit!! How'd they know?!"

Ashe suddenly snapped back, "They're Turks!! How could they not?! Goddamn Turks!"

He gritted his teeth, pulling the safety switch down on the gun he carried. Over on Kess' side, she was ready to move. She managed to get a hold of Higashi's gun. She now made good use of it, pulling both guns up close to her face as she pressed her back to the wall. Across the hall, Ashe took notice of the stairwell door on Kess' side.

"Yo Kess! You've got stairs over there!", he shouted across the hallway.

Kess glanced back over her shoulder to the darker end of the hall, and indeed there were the stairs. "They must lead to the outer stairwell! C'mon!", she shouted back to her remaining comrades.

Ashe and Rekrab made ready to run to the other side of the hallway. Pulling both guns down, Kess steadied them before her, the Turks shouting at them all the while.

"Come on out, chicken shits! I've got a gun full of buckshot for your sorry assess!", one of the more vulgar girls shouted.

Kess closed her eyes, and almost instantly when Ashe and Rekrab dove into the hallway, she lunged out and fired her gun to shield them. The loud mouth didn't even know what hit her when one of the shots ripped through her arm, causing her to drop the shotgun she carried. "Ahh! You bitch!", she screamed.

The blonde girl took aim at Ashe as he raced across the slick floor. He leaned back just in time to avoid a shot in the face. He continued to slide and hit the floor, skidding across to the other side. The third Turk, a man with slick, black hair raced ahead, his katana drawn. As Rekrab moved across to the other side, he threw down a smoke bomb, filling the crammed hallway with a thick, choking cloud.

Kess leaned back around the corner and shouted, "MOVE!"

The three made for the stairs, taking them with intense speed. Rekrab first, then Ashe, then Kess last. They never ran so fast in their life; and where it would allow, they jumped down to the next set of stairs rather than run them. They had covered about five floors in less than a minute, Rekrab pointed with a shout, "There, the door! It should lead to one of the lobbies!"

A sudden shot echoed throughout the hollow stairwell, the bullet tearing through Rekrab's left knee. He flew to the floor from the speed he had been running, blood streaked across the grey concrete walls and he cried out in pain. Ashe dove to pick him up and dragged him for the door. Kess took a glance back to find the sniper, and saw him. The red haired Turk she had seen on many occasions was nestled high up above the staircase they had used to get into the hallway. She raced forward and shoved Ashe forward as he readied another shot.

"Hey! What the--!", Ashe protested as he dragged the injured Rekrab.

The shot rang out, ricocheting off the wall, taking a few chunks of concrete with it. They neared the door; Kess grabbed the handle to open it for Ashe; her memory flashing back to the encounter in the hallway. It was when the lights suddenly came on and she tore off her goggles; she thought she saw someone familiar in the crowd of Turks at the end of the hall. Short dark brown, cocky smile. No it couldn't have been.

No sooner had she gripped the handle, the door shot open with a powerful force. Kess reeled back, moving to draw her guns, but the person on the other side was faster and all too familiar. The last thing Kess saw was Diego; and his fist careening straight for her head. She went down before Ashe realized what was going on.

Diego's bulky figure stepped into the hallway and he lunged for Ashe. Grabbing him by the collar, he took full hold of him and slammed his body against the hard wall. One hit and he was out cold. Diego tossed him to the ground, letting him topple over Kess. Diego wiped his hands together as voices from above were suddenly heard. "They went in here!", someone shouted.

"There they are on floor 52!", came a woman's voice.

Fast footsteps echoed throughout the concrete stairwell. Diego shouted out, "They've been detained!" He chuckled looking down to Kess and Ashe who were out cold and then to Rekrab who was writhing in pain and a pool of blood.

The footsteps stopped as two Turks halted before the pile of rebels. "You call this detained, Jale?", the woman asked.

"Yo Bec, I don't think they're going anywhere.", Jale smirked, placing his arms behind his back.

The sniper joined them, hopping down the stairs much like the rebels had. "Man, I didn't think I nailed the fucker.", he mused. "But I suppose I'm not too much of a bad shot."

He turned to the katana wielding man and asked, "Shion, where's Sam?"

The man turned and motioned upward. "She's being taken to the medic, red here shot her in the arm.", he motioned to Kess with his foot.

Kess was beginning to wake up as Rekrab's moans grew louder. Ashe was coming around as well. The sniper whipped out a slender metal rod and jabbed Rekrab in the neck. "Dude, shut up." A jolt of electricity silenced him and he slumped against the floor.

Jale smirked at Kess and knelt down next to her. "Don't ever mock the Junon Navy..", he sneered with a smile.

Kess growled slightly, still recovering from the blow to her face, "Diego, why..?"

"Hehehehe, first off, it's Jale. Jale Gerrick. Second, because I hate you assholes." He stood and suddenly kicked Ashe in the side of the head, sending him back to the floor.

"Reno, let's clean up this mess.", Becca said matter-of-factly.

Each of the men lifted the captured rebels and took them to the holding cells.

When Jale kicked Ashe's head, the final damage was done to his communicator. The base lost contact, and with that they lost hope. Fuhito had been listening to the live feed from Ashe's headset. Though there was no visual, the audio alone was enough to tell him the mission did not go well.

He signaled to Raven who came over from another tech's desk. "So that's it? They've been caught.", she said quietly.

"Or killed.", Fuhito spat out suddenly.

He threw down the device he had been using to monitor Ashe's signal. "Tell Elfe. We have little time to move the base.", he turned and left the room to sound the evacuation.

Raven turned to watch him go and then glanced back to the communication receiver. She pulled out her PHS and phoned Elfe's code. "Elfe, they've been captured. Fuhito has left to begin the evacuation."

Silence on the other end, then finally, "Alright. Let's move."

They hung up; Raven began to grab what she could and stuff the items into nearby boxes that were there for this very purpose. She knew that Ashe and Kess had to be alive, they were the best. But how did the ShinRa anticipate the infiltration. And how were they able to reroute the power so quickly?

These questions flooded her mind as she finished her task. She looked about the empty room and then to the boxes she had just filled. There had to be a way around this. Constantly moving when a mission went wrong was getting to be all too common. At this rate, they'd run out of places to hide.

Out in the main part of the base, people were loading boxes and duffle bags onto a small train that was parked on the tracks outside. Everyone was moving very quickly to load the car with the equipment and belongings of the rebels. Another car was filling up with passengers. The move would be quick; another place was already being set up to house Avalanche. Within moments, the car was full. Some of the belongings would have to remain behind.

Everyone piled onto the train, the engine began to lunge forward before everyone was on. People shouted, trying to shove others into an already crowed train car. But finally everyone was crammed inside and the train lurched forward down the tracks. Everyone bid farewell to the little alcove that had been their home. The cozy bar now sat empty, the rooms that had housed nearly fifty members. It would all be uncovered now, like a rat den being sniffed out by the exterminators.

Ashe had fallen into a deep sleep after being knocked unconscious by Jale's boot. He moved about his dream world with ease, oblivious to the world around him. He saw Kess some distance away with her back to him. He knew it was her because of the way her hair was. He approached her, laughing as he spoke, "Hey there cutie."

She turned to him, a side smirk upon her lips and shook her head. "Ashe, when will you ever learn?"

He looked puzzled and then asked, "What do you mean?"

She laughed and hugged his shoulder slightly, "I'd only be like this in one of your dreams."

Ashe hugged her back, "Oh yea? I don't think so. I think we could be like this for real."

Kess only smiled and rested her head on his shoulder. "Only if you ever get up the nerve to ask.."

She began to fade from sight and Ashe started to become aware of his surroundings..

"Doctor, this one is waking up."

Ashe could hear sounds all around him as if surrounded in a thick haze. Footsteps, metal against metal, and so many voices. He felt the presence of someone above him, but when he opened his eyes, the light was blinding.

He could barely make out the large shadow that hovered above him. The man fiddled with something nearby and Ashe began to relax once more. His eyes closed and he faded into his dream again. He heard the voice again before drifting off.

"Alright, let's begin the operation. He's the last one."

"Last one?", Ashe pondered on the words as he felt his body turning over in place.

The turning continued, he thought he would spin out of control. He felt sick and alone, but then he saw Kess, waiting for him to come back. He smiled and took her hand, the two walking off together. The dream melted into oblivion and he remembered nothing.

Ashe began to come around, his senses focusing first on the cold floor he lay upon. Slowly, his eyes creased open and Ashe saw that his dream had misled him. He was sprawled on his side in the corner of a small, grey room. Silence enveloped the area, only the sound of his groaning was heard as he pushed himself into a sitting stance. "Errg… fuck.", he complained, slowly moving to put his left hand to his head.

He was cut short as the detain cuffs kept his hands together. "Well shit..", he growled.

He noticed that he was alone. The room contained a toilet and a bed folded against the wall. The light above the steel security door was bright red, reminding him that escape was impossible. He stood, his hands aching in the tight cuffs. Glancing down to the folded bed, he frowned and muttered, "Bastards could have at least put me there."

He stopped on noticing his feet made no sound on the slick concrete floor. Glancing down, he noticed that his shoes had been removed along with his belt and head band. "Dirty assholes. Now what!", he cried aloud.

"Ashe, you awake?"

He spun towards the right wall where the voice came from. "Kess, is that you!", he replied.

Silence for a moment, he heard some shuffling. "No shit, who else would it be.", she chuckled. "Are you alright?"

He rolled his head around, feeling a tight pain in his neck. He winced, glancing up to the ceiling. "Well except for the throbbing head pain that I can't rub, good.", he answered with an unnatural cheerfulness.

He heard Kess laugh, but then her voice took on a serious tone. ""Well, I think it's safe to say we've been double crossed.", her words cutting through the air.

Ashe's right eye twitched in anger and he turned, kicking the folded bed with the bottom of his foot. "Diego, the rat bastard! I only hope the others were able to get the base moved before the Turks tracked them down."

"He said his name was Jale, Ashe.. He's been misleading Avalanche for sometime.", Kess responded.

"So now what?", came Rekrab's voice from the left cell.

"Ah, you've decided to join the conversation.", mused Ashe.

"Hey man, at least you didn't get shot. And those jerks did a shitty job of bandaging my leg.", he snorted.

Without warning, the door to Rekrab's cell opened. Drake and Marcus sauntered in and moved over to the injured rebel. They grabbed him by the arms and dragged him out into the hallway. He cursed them all the way. "ShinRa dogs! I'll never tell you anything! Arrogant Turks!", he spout off loudly.

Kess' door opened next, Jale himself casually leaning against the door frame. "Well, looks like sleeping beauty is awake. Miss me?"

He made a kissy motion as he pushed himself up from the frame. "Ah the shit-bag returns.", she sneered.

Jale entered her cell and grabbed her roughly by the shoulder. He pulled her out into the hallway as Reno and Rude exited Ashe's cell with him in tow. "Hey, watch that arm, damnit!", Ashe shouted, still feeling the pain of his previous injury.

Reno glanced over to the very loud Rekrab and whipped out his electromag rod once more. "I already told you to shut up once.", he reached out and jolted Rekrab in the neck.

The Turks pushed the detained rebels forward; in Rekrab's case, they pulled. They moved down the hallway and straight forward towards the elevator. Once everyone was crammed inside, Rude pressed the button to go up a floor. As the elevator lurched upward, Ashe took a glance out of the small, glass room. He released a sigh, hoping that the others made it to the new base. The doors opened and everyone moved down the hall towards the end.

On the way there, the black haired Turk with the katana appeared and walked with them. He said nothing, merely followed behind while everyone filtered into the room.

There were a few wooden stools in the center of the room where the Turks sat Kess and Ashe. Jale did his best to toss Kess into the stool and Ashe glared him down. Jale's face twisted into a shit eating grin. "Oh, sorry Ashe. Don't mean to piss you off."

Marcus laughed, but Drake remained silent. They were busy trying to get the semi conscious Rebrab to sit on his stool. They managed somehow, and soon left the room, leaving the rebels alone. Ashe glanced around, the room was of good size and probably for interrogation due to the large mirror on one side.

He glanced back and forth among his comrades, noticing that they were all missing their shoes and anything else that could be used as a weapon.

The sound of a door shutting caused Ashe to glance forward as the room beyond the mirror lit up. Within the room, Vice President Rufus, Veld and Tseng had taken seats and were sizing up the opposite room's occupants. Both Ashe and Kess recognized all of them. Rekrab was still in a bit of a daze, but that ended when Veld spoke. "Good evening.", he said seriously. "Looks like you've failed in your mission. Game over as the kids say these days."

Ashe's expression hardened while Kess took notice of something in Rufus' hand. It looked like black, rectangle shaped device. Tseng leaned over, tossing down the small devices the rebels had been attaching to the ShinRa cameras. "You know, maybe next time you should just ask us your questions instead of spying, hmm?"

Veld turned the camera towards himself and waved to the device as if the rebels were watching him. He set the camera down and clasped his hands together. "Unfortunately, your other two comrades didn't make it. But you did, and that's what is important."

The three rebels remained silent. Kess was looking at Veld, but had turned her attention back to Rufus, who was now twirling the black device in his hands. Veld noticed her gaze shift and glanced as well. He smirked slightly and spoke, "Ah yes, your punishment."

He glanced back to the group and took on a serious tone. "I will only ask you this once, where is your base of operations?", Veld's voice echoed throughout the room.

No one breathed a word. Kess remained ridged on her stool, Ashe acted the same way. Rekrab looked over to them and then back to the mirror. "Don't make me ask a second time, or things could get.. well.. rather mess.", Veld instructed.

He motioned over to Rufus who was now tossing the device in the air and catching it. "The device you see Rufus handing is a remote. The remote is set to detonate any of the three microchip bombs that have been implanted in your necks. All he has to do is punch in the frequency code, and well.. the rest is just too gory to describe."

Kess winced slightly and Ashe released a long whistle. Kess narrowed her eyes and hissed, "Impressed?"

"Oh quite.", he smiled coolly. "I designed the device."

A sudden hush fell over the room beyond the mirror. Tseng glanced to Veld, looking slightly alarmed. They turned off the microphone momentarily and used a nearby computer to pull up Ashe's background.

Name: Ashely Terrance Kincaid
Code: Weapons and Demolitions Specialist
Status: Missing

xx/xx/xx: After completion of the Sister Ray, Mr. Kincaid disappeared along with several thousands of dollars in demolitions knowledge. The lab in which he worked was also destroyed the night of his disappearance.

"Well, looks like he's more useful alive.", Veld sighed.

Tseng snatched the remote from mid air as Rufus tossed it up once more. "What's the frequency for that other guy on the end?", he questioned.

"39562", Rufus rattled off, looking a little upset that Tseng took his toy but after a moment, he handed it back.

Veld flicked the microphone button back on and smiled callously, "Mr. Kincaid, I'm glad that you could be apart of your device's experiment."

Ashe nodded his head upward and smiled, "What can I say; I have a need to learn."

Veld glared and leaned closer to the microphone. "So I have to ask a second time? Where is your base of operations?"

Rekrab had taken about as much as he could. He glanced worriedly across Kess to Ashe and then back to the mirror in disbelief. He looked back once more, seeing that the men in the room were serious and shouted, "Hey, fuck you both! I'm not going to be a grease spot!"

He caved, "The entrance is in Sector Six! The entire base tunnels through the area!"

He looked down, breathing deeply, thinking that his skin was saved. "Thank you.", Veld smiled.

Rufus' finger moved to the detonation button, sending the signal to the device in Rekrab's neck. Kess and Ashe glanced over suddenly, noticing a faint but visible blinking red light in his neck. "Oh shit.", muttered Ashe.

A few seconds passed, Rekrab suddenly glanced up, having felt a slight warming sensation in his neck. "No!", was all he could say.

In the next second, the bomb detonated. Rekrab's neck ripped apart, blood spraying everywhere. It splattered across the room, sliding across the large mirror and anything that was at Rekrab's neck level. Kess' entire left side was covered in sticky blood. She had closed her eyes seconds before the explosion. On opening them, she was looking down her lap and saw that a few pieces of Rekrab had fallen there, including an ear.

Ashe fared better having been sitting on Kess' right side. He grimaced, looking upward to the room where the men sat. Rekrab's body slid off the stool, the smell of his blood already filling the room. "He should've answered me the first time.", Veld's voice came from beyond the blood smeared mirror.

The door behind Kess and Ashe opened, the voice of Reno shouting out, "Holy shit! I'm glad we got to leave the room."

He and Rude both entered and stood behind the two on their stools. Reno had a tougher time standing still, his shoes sliding a bit in the blood. "Oh man, this is gross.", he muttered.

"Go clean yourselves up. And if you give Reno or Rude here any trouble.. well I don't think you will.", Veld chuckled.

They stood up from the stools and moved in silence with the Turks. As they exited, some men in blue jump suits entered to clean the room. Veld, Tseng and Rufus moved to the door of their room to retreat to their offices for the time being.

Kess and Ashe were taken to the locker rooms to clean up. After which, they were given some clothes and then escorted back to their cells. There they remained for what seemed like hours. They chatted about idle things. About the devices in their necks, what time it might be, and how hungry they were. Food arrived some time later, and they ate it quickly. After which, they both folded down the beds with some effort seeing as they were still cuffed. It wasn't long until they fell asleep.

* * *

In President ShinRa's office, the mood was a little less than cheerful. President ShinRa paced back and forth in anger, his executives around him along with all of the Turks. "I want them dead! DEAD!! Do you hear me! Public execution, the whole nine yards!", President ShinRa's voice boomed throughout the room.

He continued. "They must be an example to all those who attack ShinRa. That woman knows the layout of the building, not to mention she is one of Hojo's failed experiments. The other, a demolitions expert!? He's the one who probably blew that hole in my goddamn building! I want them both executed, no questions!"

"Sir.", Tseng began. "They are far more valuable alive. With the additions to Ms. Reignheart's body and her combative skills, she makes an excellent candidate for the Turks. As for Mr. Kincaid, he is an expert in his field. We stand only to gain from his vast knowledge on explosives. He even worked on the Sister Ray."

Scarlet suddenly squealed in delight. "Oh, I remember him!", she giggled.

"But it still remains, they attacked my company.", the President growled.

"They did so because they were instructed to. I believe given the right guidance, they could become equally as destructive to the rebels.", Tseng argued back. "Think about it, sir. They know how the rebels work. They know who its key leaders are. We checked the location the deceased rebel gave us, and found it already cleaned out. They obviously saw this coming. Perhaps using the other two, we could locate them easier.. and with less mess."

He gave Rufus a side glance, noticing that he is still playing with the detonator. ShinRa nodded, taking in the news, and casually lit a cigar. "Very well. But if they screw up, I will have no problem lighting them up like you did that other fellow."

Tseng nodded, "Of course, sir."

Veld glanced over to Rufus who was in the process of twirling the device once more. "I wonder if I could.. take that back.", he suddenly snatched the device from Rufus' hand. "I think I would rather have this in the hands of someone more calm."

He turned to Drake and tossed him the device. "The codes for their detonators are in the system. Just look them up after leaving this meeting."

"Yes sir.", Drake replied, pocketing the device.

Rufus grimaced, but perked up when Tseng's PHS rang. He listened for a moment then said, "Yes, bring the items in."

He hung up and announced, "The soldiers at the base found a few items that were left behind. Unfortunately nothing technical; only the personal items of some of the members. But it may give us some insight as to who is with them. Perhaps there are other ex-ShinRa employees."

ShinRa only waved his hand, basically saying he was done. "Everyone, return to your work.", Veld spoke.

The room emptied, the executives heading back to their offices. The Turks dispersed and Veld with Tseng made their way to the cell block. On the way down the stairs, idle chatter resumed.

"So what do you make of them?", Becca asked aloud.

"Feh, they're rebels. I doubt they'll last one day in the Turks.", Marcus laughed.

Samantha cradled her injured arm in its sling and growled, "I hope I get to teach that red haired bitch a thing or two."

Drake gave her a side glance and then looked away. "Maybe if you weren't so cocky, you would've gotten shot."

"What?!", she shouted suddenly. "How dare you!"

Rude remained silent, but Reno laughed loudly, "Ooo, someone's pissed off."

Samantha stuck her tongue out and turned away. "Max is still out on assignment. What is he going to think of this mess when he gets back?", Shion spoke softly.

"What, you don't think they've already heard about all this? I'm sure they know.", another younger woman said. "I've been gone for a week, but I knew something was up."

Marcus turned to the honey haired woman and smiled, "So, how was Costa del Sol, Cissnei?"

Cissnei smirked, "Great. Like my tan?"

"Weren't you supposed to be with Max in Gongaga?", Reno inquired.

Cissnei smirked and flicked back her curly hair, "Yea, but Max said he'd finish up. So I decided to take a few paid days to Costa, but then this crap happened and I got called back here after only three days."

She pouted a bit. Jale was quiet for the entire trip to the Turks office. His face only held a smug grin.

They were nearly to the elevator when Drake's PHS rang. Answering it, he discovered Max on the other end. "Ah Max, are you back in the city yet. Landing now? Good. We're all here. Come to the office once you've landed, we're having a meeting. Right, goodbye."

He clicked the device shut and placed it back in his pocket. "Speak of the devil, we'll start the meeting once Max arrives.", he stated to everyone. "You have enough time to get something to eat and be back at the office in fifteen minutes."

They all nodded and made their way to the cafeteria. Drake went straight to the office to await everyone else. He was sure he'd find Veld and Tseng already there. In actuality he found Rufus and Reeve talking in Veld's office. When they noticed Drake enter, their conversation ended with Reeve nodding and moving out to the main area. "Ah, Drake. How goes it?", Reeve asked kindly, shaking the young man's hand.

"Could be better.", he sighed.

"Well I'm sorry to hear that..", Reeve frowned. "I must be off. Give my regards to your boss."

Drake only nodded. Rufus came out of Veld's now empty office and took a seat on a nearby desk. "So I hear that Tseng is going to try to get those two to work for the Turks. Is this true?", he asked.

"Seems so.", Drake said quietly. "Although I don't think it's a good idea in the least, I must follow my orders."

Rufus nodded and kicked one leg onto the other. "Mind if I hang out and watch the drama when you tell this to the others?", he chuckled.

"Not at all. Make yourself comfortable.", Drake took a seat at the desk.

Moments later, Reno and Rude entered the office and glanced around. "Man, I hate being first! Being efficient and whatnot.", he joked, poking fun at the lateness of the others.

"Reno, not everyone can live up to your greatness.", Rude said quietly, a hint of humor hidden in his words.

Reno only laughed and flicked his sunglasses onto the top of his head. "I know, right?!"

They moved over to the desk where Drake sat and stood by as the other Turks entered. Becca and Samantha were next, Becca sipping at a diet cola while Sam continued to complain about her arm. Marcus, Jale, and Max were next to join the meeting. Max looking as if jet lag was still affecting him. His appearance was still neat, but his eyes betrayed how very tired he was.

The three men stood near Reno and Rude as Cissnei, Tonya and Shion came in, laughing about something. Well Tonya and Cissnei were laughing. Shion seemed to be in deep thought. They moved to the side of the desk where Rufus sat. Lastly, Veld and Tseng entered.

"Good, everyone is here. We can get this over with quickly.", Veld spoke directly to them.

He moved to the side where Rufus sat, Tseng moved over to Rude's side. "Well then Drake. Let's tell everyone why they're here.", Veld motioned for the young man to stand and address everyone.

Drake stood from behind the desk and walked around. "Everyone, Tseng has convinced President ShinRa to allow the rebels Kess Reignheart and Ashe Kincaid to join our ranks."

The reaction in Samantha's eyes was immediate. "What?! She shot me!!!", she argued.

"Miss Baines, let Drake finish.", Tseng instructed.

She fell silent, but her dismay was obvious. "They have vast knowledge on the rebels and are experts in the jobs they once held for the ShinRa company. It would be a waste to kill them. Instead, they are going to join the Turks so that they may be put to good use and monitored while doing so.", Drake explained as he looked over his fellow Turks.

Tseng spoke up, "Drake has been put in charge of the detonator. If they act out of line or attempt an escape, they can be easily dealt with. But I think once they see what we have to offer them, they may choose to turn from the rebels and help us."

Veld moved forward and added, "You are not to provoke any fights with them. If hit in a certain fashion, the bombs in their necks could very well detonate and I'd hate to lose any of you. Likewise, they will be instructed to mind their manners if they don't want to go to bed black and blue every night. With that in mind, I ask that you show them what it means to be a Turk. Be proud, be strong and do your jobs."

He waved his hand a bit to show he was finished and asked, "Anything else Tseng?"

"Yes actually.", he stepped forward. "Each of you at some point will be assigned to baby sit, so to speak. If I hear any whining or dissention, you will have to answer to myself and Veld. I'd hate to demote or terminate you on such a low offense. Understood?"

A resounding "Yes sir" filled the room. "Good then. You are all dismissed, except for those who are on duty for the night. Jale, might you stick around a bit longer? I'll need your assistance in bringing them in."

Jale nodded with a smile, "Of course sir. I live to serve."

Tseng nodded as everyone left the office. He was sure this was a good idea. He just hoped that Kess and Ashe would go with it. He really didn't want to have to resort to using the detonator.

--End Chapter 3..