Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Chapter 4 - will & choice: Part 1


After a tongue-bitingly powerful bout of turbulence, the shots came. Snow, who hunched himself into a defense position and whispered at the bag around his leg. “It’s gonna be alright, don’t worry,” he said.

The yells and screams that filled the inside of the craft quieted for just an instant. Perhaps they had been silenced by sheer horror. However, the fact that everything was in a state of panic had not changed. The situation had become no better.

He had boarded an airship headed for Palumpolum to meet with Rygdea for the first time in a long while. A new year had come around and it was now AF3. He thought it would be a good time to exchange information. Who would have thought he would encounter such an accident on the way there.

It had only been one or two minutes prior that an announcement was broadcasted, “we will be making an emergency landing due to turbulence.” Outside the window was a dense fog. Just as he had thought it was ominously noisy within the aircraft, they had lost balance. Everyone aboard had experienced the fall of Cocoon three years prior. There was no doubt this was a vivid reminder of that as even the cabin crew had lost themselves and started screaming.

Fortunately, their fall had not lasted for long. Although, ‘fortunate’ may not have been an accurate expression to use. The fact that the time between their fall and impact had been short meant the airship had deviated from its original course and was flying at a lower altitude.

He knew the Palumpolum bound route inside out. After all, when the development of New Bodhum began, he had frequently visited Rygdea. The memories of his experiences told him it was impossible for them to be cruising at such low altitudes, regardless of how thick the fog was and how much visibility would have been reduced. It was likely that the instruments had gone haywire even before the pilot had noticed the turbulence.

After the weather-controlling fal’Cie went into hibernation, abnormal weather patterns and turbulence would often be observed within Cocoon. It wasn’t simply just rain or wind, but also among those were reports of magnetic fields forming and gravitational disturbances. It was said that those phenomena would interfere with instruments and communications.devices.

It was just as he considered that perhaps this was the case, again. He heard someone shriek, “it’s a monster!” As he quickly turned his eyes to the aircraft’s window, he saw that a herd of monsters had surrounded the airship. He had seen them before. They were the same as the ones that had appeared in Eden. 

He couldn’t get an estimate on how many they were surrounded by because of the dense fog covering the area. But, there were already this many in sight, so there had to be quite a number.

The larger beasts were likely charging, as the airship shook each time a crash could be heard. Screams once again filled the airship. There were also passengers who urged the cabin crew yelling, “start flying, quick!” Even they themselves should have known that they were asking for the impossible. Being surrounded by such numbers, taking off wouldn’t even be possible, and even if they were lucky enough to do so, there was no guarantee they would be able to secure a flight path.

“Hey! Get a hold of yourselves!”

Snow tried yelling at the top of his lungs but his voice was all too quickly drowned out. They were met with quite a dangerous variety of monsters. Having continuously encountered so many events associated with “that day”, if was likewise impossible to ask for people not to fall into a state of panic.


“What now.”

At this rate, they would be in trouble. There were too many monsters for them to outrun or avoid. If he had his l’Cie powers, then he might have been able to act as a distraction while the airship escaped, he thought.

“Wait a minute...”

He didn’t have his l’Cie powers, but he did have his companion. Once again, Snow spoke to the bag strapped to his leg. Inside hid the cactuar. Unlike on Gran Pulse, he couldn’t be walking around with a cactuar inside Cocoon, so he now resided in the bag. At the baggage check, he fooled them by saying he was a toy. He was small for a wild cactuar, so while the inspector looked suspicious he pressed no further.

Although, this cactuar was no ordinary monster. He was a fal’Cie. Though he had lost the ability to turn humans into l’Cie, he possessed enough strength to carve up a landscape. Of course, like other wild cactuars, he could also shoot needles, or use attacks such as headbutts and kicks.

“We’ll act as decoys and draw them away. In the meantime, we’ll let the airship escape.”

While it was a civilian airship, they were equipped with smaller emergency crafts or aribikes.

“You can do that, right?”

As if to offer reply to his words, Snow’s eyes were filled with a vision. Snow was flying into the herd of monsters on an airbike, and the cactuar was shooting needles in all directions.

“Yeah. Let’s go with that.”

Although there were no colors, it was altogether more vivid than the vision they were shown by fal’Cie Anima and easily comprehended.

Until then, he had thought the visions that fal’Cie showed were just for providing clues to one’s Focus, but that wasn’t all. On their journey, the cactuar had shown Snow visions a countless number of times. It wasn’t long before he realized that he was trying to communicate.

On top of that, the visions became more vivid each time. Perhaps it was because Snow himself also desperately tried to read the cactuar’s thoughts. It was as if their degree of mutual understanding and the clarity of the image were operating in tandem. As a result, it came about that Snow would use words and the cactuar would use visions so they could convey their thoughts to each other.

Snow stood up and rushed towards a flight attendant. It was likely because she couldn’t calm the panicked passengers but could do nothing else that she was standing stock-still in the hallway with all color drained from her face.

“Tell the captain for me. I’ll act as a decoy and lure the monsters away. Use that time to escape.”

“But sir, that’s…”

“It’ll be fine. Lend me an emergency airbike. You have them, right?”

“What! That’s impossible!”


The aircraft shook wildly again. Screaming, the attendant anchored herself to Snow and then sank to the ground.

“Be sure to let the captain know, you hear!”

He ran through the shaking corridor and headed toward the hangar. He had become quite familiar with the layout of this kind of airship. This was because when he rode on the flights Sazh captained, “co-pilot” Dajh would show him around.

“If the old man was the captain then I wouldn’t have to ask for her to pass the message on. He’d just go along with things.”

I guess I shouldn’t say that, muttered Snow as he started up the airbike.

There was a ridiculous number of them. From beyond the solid white fog the monsters appeared one after another. They were all the same types as the ones that attacked Eden on that day.

“So this is where Bodhum was…”

Despite the fact his vision was obscured, he knew this because what had been Eden, the Seat of the Sanctum, had fallen on Bodhum. It was not only Cocoon that lost its ability to float after the fal’Cie went into hibernation. Eden, which was kept afloat by fal’Cie also fell. Right on top of a Bodhum which was deserted after the Purge.

Although there were zero human casualties, the seaside city which was known for its beautiful scenery was destroyed beyond recognition. It was impacted directly by a mass the size of an entire city, after all.

That wasn’t the only problem. Not only did Eden contain legislative and administrative bodies, but it also housed an extremely important facility. The Pulsian armory, Ark.

While the Ark was an armory, it was said to have also served as a training grounds for l’Cie. As a result, it was an extremely dangerous place which not only contained weaponry, but was also crawling with a countless number of monsters. Despite being called an “armory”, having housed that many monsters, it had to have been a gigantic facility. In its normal form, there would be no way that it could be placed within Eden. In other words, it must have been housed irregularly. 

“They created a dimensional distortion and threw it inside, would be the best way to put it. Don’t ask me about the principles behind it. ‘Cause I don’t have the slightest clue either.”

Rygdea said this and shrugged his shoulders in an exaggerated manner. This was when he asked about why a region of Old Bodhum was under lockdown.

“Though if they would all stay inside the dimensional distortion there wouldn’t be any problems. It seems that a rift was formed from the impact of the fall. On top of that, the fal’Cie in charge of the Ark is in hibernation.”

He didn’t even have to ask what the outcome of that was. The Ark that was originally housed inside was protruding into ‘this side’ from the rift. Yet, if the Ark had been properly managed, then they could still have done something about it. The gate of the Ark was sealed tightly by the fal’Cie, making it quite difficult to get into.

However, as that fal’Cie was now in hibernation, it had been unsealed. The monsters inside the Ark could come outside, or in other words ‘this side’ at any time. As such, the government had decided to barricade a large section of Old Bodhum.


He had heard that the exposed Ark had been surrounded by secondary and tertiary fencing, as well as an aerial barrier, but it would appear as if the airship’s smashed through it in its emergency landing. He thought that the impact had come too quickly after they began their descent, but it would appear that the first impact had been from crashing through the barrier.

Though, thanks to the cushioning provided by the barrier, the actual impact of the crash had been softened. He thought it was a miracle that there were almost no injuries from their predicament, but in reality it was due to a bit of luck. Although, this directly exposed them to the worst danger of all, landing in the middle of the herd of monsters that had emerged from the Ark.

In any case, he knew the reason behind the massive eruption of monsters. He had to get the airship away from the spawning point by even just a little.

“This means the Ark is in the direction the monsters are spawning, huh”

The two of them would fly toward the Ark and lure the monsters. This meant they would be flying directly into the monsters emerging from the rift, but there was no other way to secure a route for the airship.

Presently, the only thing that could be done was to let the airship get as far away as possible, at any cost. So they could report the situation to the government and have them dispatch troops throughout Bodhum as soon as possible.

“Cactuar! Give me a hand!”

He didn’t even have to specify a monster. The instant the cactuar came flying out of the bag, he fired his needles at the greater behemoth. It was the monster charging the airship. The greater behemoth roared and lifted its head. More needles poured down in its direction. The pulsework knights and tyrants that were gathered in the area rushed madly towards the airbike.

Snow rode the airbike at full speed as he dodged them left and right.

“Go for the front now!”

Needles flew in the direction the airbike was headed. All of the circuitrons that were blocking the way simultaneously self-destructed. While making a sharp turn to avoid the blast, he accelerated even faster. He could hear the airship lifting off. He couldn’t see the aircraft because of the dense fog, but there could be no mistaking it.

Just a little more. If they herded the monsters around for just a little longer, they too would be able to withdraw from the area.

The cactuar repelled the pursuing monsters with needles as Snow weaved the airbike through the approaching ones. They were perfectly in sync. Except….

Unexpectedly, the fog ended and the Ark came into view. Now that he was no longer a l’Cie, if he were to go inside the Ark, there would be no way for him to get by unscathed. A gap opened in the crowd.


A blow came from their side. By the time he realized they had been rammed straight on, they had already been knocked into the air along with the airbike. Shit, he thought. At this rate, they would crash into the ground or the ocean. In his head, he know he had to do get back in control, but there was nothing he could do. He could barely keep a hold on the airbike.

It was just then. He felt his body floating lightly in the air. It was a feeling similar to when he had activated an anti-gravitational device.

Did airbikes come with those?

The instant after he thought that, he suddenly began falling. It was a long and abrupt fall that seemed as though it was swallowing him into the depths of the earth.

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