"Damn it, sis."
"You better stop calling me that, Snow. She is getting on that train, no explanations."
I stared at her. My sister, telling me that I'm getting on the Purge train. I don't want to think about it. I cannot fathom this, I cannot fathom that Lightning is saying she approves of this. "Light, look at me." All I received was a glance, she didn't want to look at me. The open kitchen window was currently getting her attention instead as a breeze came in. I sighed, "sis, I'm just in shock. You're a soldier, you know that I do not have to get on that train, I can go with you!"
Lightning's shoulders raised and fell, I couldn't tell what she was thinking other than probably "shut up". She's not happy.
Snow stood next to her, leaning against the kitchen counter and taking a peek at the news that played on the TV. More things about the Purge. They were listing off times that certain districts of Bodhum had to be at the train station by, to load up and get ready to be shipped out of Cocoon. Lightning had to be listening too when they announced what time our area had to be there by she shifted around. If it makes you uncomfortable, then don't make me. I just… she knows what getting on the train means, why is she wishing it on me? I thought maybe if Snow left the room, she would open up a bit more. I gave him a pat on the shoulder and a nod to the door. Once he left, I faced her once more. "Lightning, please—"
"Enough!" She slammed her balled-up fists into the counter as she turned towards me. Her face was as flushed pink as her hair, "I said, I am not explaining this to you. You're scared, I get that, but you know very well why you are getting on that train." Lightning's hands relaxed flat on the counter. "I know soldiers don't have to be on the train, their families do not either. You just… just do it. Okay?"
With a gulp, I nodded reluctantly. Raising your voice doesn't make it any easier to hear, sis. "... When do I need to be there?"
Maker, I must be crazy.
This train, I have been on this train before of course. But not be sent to Gran Fucking Pulse. I have had trips to many places, in many trains that look exactly like this. Stepping on here was…
It's surreal. Any correlation of happiness I had to these trains are gone, wiped away the moment I put on the travel cloak a soldier gave me. I wonder what he thought when he saw me, if he was curious as to why a Farron was getting on the train. Maybe he was amused, or not, because soldiers are trained to block out emotion. At least, that's how Lightning seems to be. The soldier wore a mask, his full armor like the other soldiers. For all I know, it could have been my own sister handing me my travel cloak.
It sucks even more because these stupid travel cloaks have been designed to basically handcuff us. Not that I necessarily think we have to be handcuffed, considering we have armed soldiers watching our every move.
They want to purge us out. The l'Cie are a threat, I understand, but if the enemies are as scary as they sound, why would the soldiers risk both their lives and the innocents by possibly have l'Cie on board? I don't know. Maybe they're crazy as well.
I wouldn't doubt it.
My hands started shaking after a few minutes, the train was freezing and my anxiety started to set in- the whole concept of what was happening was setting in. I went from thinking this whole thing was absurd, to freaky. I've only heard what Pulse was like in class, what soldiers said about it, all the tales Lightning tells me… yet she's never gone either. Just heard about it the same way I did, and she still thought it was all dandy that I got on here. I wish I could just tell the driver, "Hey, make a u-turn to the Farron residence!" Sadly, I don't think that's how train tracks, or deportation, work.
A soldier walked by. He stopped, faced me with the barrel in my face and his head tilted to the side. "You know, I walked by you about, hmm, three times-"
"-and yet I just could not figure out who you were. Pink hair, blue eyes, that chilling look and I realized, you're a Farron. Bodhum Regiment's Lightning Farron, well, not her but her little sister. Which one are you, Serah or Faith?"
Lightning is such an amazing soldier, but god I cannot see why (or how) she works around dull-brains like this one. "Faith. I'm Faith."
He nodded. "Figured, I'm pretty sure the guys say Serah's the pretty one anyways." And with a shrug, he kept walking to monitor the other riders. "Serah's the pretty one anyways". Asshole, we all look alike. If I could, I'd—
A force threw me, and a few others, out of our seats and into the walkway. The railcar must have been hit, and it felt like the train had come off of its tracks.
"Get back in your seats, now!"
Get back in my seat? Nah man. It seemed the pressure of catching my fall with my arms made my cuffs break loose. This is what's gonna go down. And I wasn't alone. A civilian tackled the soldier, with help from some others. This was my chance. I could get the hell out of here, and I was not going to waste another second doing so.
"The car's been derailed! I repeat: the car has been derailed! Everyone remain in your seats and listen to instruction-"
I blocked out the driver's announcement at that point, the only thing I was going to listen to was my gut. It told me to run. I knew these trains too well, and there was a storage room in this car, as long as I made it to there, I had a perfect plan out.
So, that is where I went. No soldiers in my way to it, I ran in. "Where are they, where are they…?" If I could just get my weapons back, this would be easy. Sure, I'm a civilian, but I'm also a Farron. Lightning taught both Serah and I how to defend ourselves if need be, and I got an allowance.
I then spotted a reflection, a glimmer of silver, and bolted for it. "Found you!" There they were, my gauntlets, with steel blades shaped like dragon talons. I spent hard time to earn these, and for my birthday my sisters pitched in to help me get these crafted. Good times.
More importantly, though, I can fight back, and I planned on doing so.
Going back to the seating area made me feel sick. The soldiers, they started shooting civilians, even ones who weren't fighting and weren't even armed! "Stop it!" I tackled one, knocking his gun out of arms reach, and proceeded to attack.
"Bitch, get off of me!" It was the asshole from earlier, which fueled my fire more, and I slashed his helmet off to get a look.
"Huh, and you said I wasn't pretty." With no intention to perform the acts he did here, I just backhanded him, knocking him out cold. A couple other soldiers were distracted by what passengers were left, some soldiers were on the ground like this one. I started to run towards one of the armored men, have him end up like Mr. Cocky over there, till suddenly I was shot up into the ceiling of the railcar. Then into a window, a seat, and back on the ground. I heard a soldier yell, "the train is falling," and it was lights out for me.
I'm sure I broke a couple fingers, I realized, as I started to come to again. Bright lights and the sound of bombs were overwhelming as I woke up, hanging out of the window of the railcar. Definitely not on the tracks, in fact, it was probably hundreds of feet below it, in the middle of all out war between Cocoon's civilians and army. Maker, I hope Lightning is okay… And Serah- Wait! I popped my head up to get a clear view of my surroundings. "Where is it, where's the Vestige?" Lights shining from air tanks and spotlights were hard to see by, but I needed to find that Vestige. If I could find that, I had a chance of finding my sisters.
But I currently had a very low chance of finding a safe way there, if it wasn't already thrown into Pulse. I needed a doctor, I wasn't in good condition, and I had no clue where I could go. I studied Lady Luck in school, in my history class, and I just hoped maybe if she existed that she would be on my side. And maybe she was.
"Faaaaaith!" Somebody yelled for me, as I started to crawl out of the window. My sight wasn't exactly ready to make out fine details, but the blue hair was pretty recognizable. Yuj… He might know where Snow is. Yuj, and who I assumed was some of NORA ran my way. "Damn Faith, you survived that far of a fall?" He and Lebreau helped pull me up.
"Ouch, barely… Thank you." Lebreau handed me my gauntlets after I accomplished staying on my feet. "Have you seen Lightning or Snow?"
Yuj nodded. "Snow made off in a PSICOM-cycle not too long ago, told us to round up any civilians and keep them safe. Nothing on Lightning or Serah."
Damnit. I needed a ride myself. "And you wouldn't happen to have another aircycle, would you?" I figured the answer was no, and I was correct. My head dropped. "I have somewhere I need to be, is there any way you could get me another ride?"
Lebreau and Yuj looked at each other. "Some kids took Gadot's cycle… But nothing a little scavenging couldn't help."
"I'll gladly look." We grouped up and started walking opposite of the train. I had high hopes, there were army units everywhere, there had to be something I could use, a way to make sure everyone was safe. But most things we came across were wrecked, and I should've seen it coming. It's all-out-war, and I'm surprised the team even found something to drive in the first place. "I'm lucky to be alive, but it's useless if I can't even get where I need to be."
Lebreau patted my back. "Maybe your sisters will come across us, if we get back to the group. I mean, Lightning is a soldier anyways, not that that's really a good thing right now." She paused, taking a glance at Yuj. "What I'm trying to say- she's probably wanting to find you just as much as you want to find her. Her instincts will lead her to you. For the time being, be like the rest of NORA and help out who you can. Alright?"
And she was right. Lightning's part of all of this, and she would make use of her rank to get where she needed to go. If she's okay, then she would make sure I and Serah were too.
Patience. I just needed patience.
But, if being the youngest child taught me anything, it was patience has no meaning. Screw patience. "I'll go this way, if I find anyone I'll give a yell. Good?"
Yuj seemed all for it, Lebreau probably saw through it but shrugged on it anyway. I smiled at them, and with hopes I really would see them again, I left to find a vehicle. I'm sorry. Stay safe, NORA. I plan on walking in my sister's wedding, and seeing you few sitting with us. Every war has a happy day once it's over, I just have to aim to see it.
That happy day seemed to start coming closer than I thought, once I spotted a lone aircycle in the distance. There weren't any PSICOM standing around, no rebels wanting to steal it, so I quickly got to it. "Oh, please don't be busted, I need my sisters, please please please…" And I started to see why the people of Pulse had come to believe in a luck deity, I was able to switch on the aircycle. "Yes!"
"Hey, you, get away from that!" Uh, oh.
A PSICOM soldier started to head my way, at a fast pace. Must've been his cycle. Too bad I was already in it! The soldier shot at me as I got the vehicle in gear, and gained air. "You snooze, you lose, big boy!"
I circled parts of the Vestige once I was near, looking for a possible entrance. Although, I doubt the fal'Cie wanted easy passage into its shell. For me, anything opening could work as an entrance, honestly. But I had to be hasty, if the army saw me, I was done for.
I found a spot. It wasn't a clean entry, seemed like something already crashed through, but it led in. I drove through it, my heart racing. I was scared. I mean, I'm driving into the Vestige, where lies a Pulse fal'Cie. The very reason I got put on the Purge route to begin with. I just kept hope, all the hope I could muster in order to find my sisters. Knowing Lightning, she was already inside. Serah has been here for days now. I remember when Snow told us how she got here...
"Snow?" The blonde, practically out of breath and shaking, looked at us with fear in his eyes. He was covered in sand, something like soot dirtied his face, his trench coat was burned at the bottom edges. My breath hitched in my throat when I noticed he was alone. He wasn't supposed to be alone.
"The Vestige, the fal'Cie- I'm so sorry, I tried to-"
I could feel the negative energy radiate off of my eldest sister, standing behind me. She obviously was having none of this and turned away before Snow could say any more. We had been watching about the Vestige right before Snow came barrelling through the front door, how nobody should have been near it due to safety concerns. My eyes started to burn."Where is she?"
Snow gulped. "The fal'Cie took her." I'm certain my knees gave out before he even finished that last syllable.
"No, there's no way. You weren't at the Vestige, just viewing it from the city." He knelt down next to me, shrugging his ruined coat off. "Snow, how did this happen? What- I- why?" I could see him trying to figure out what to say, and he kept glancing past me. I figured Lightning was somewhere back there but I was keeping my focus on Snow. "Just say it. We have to know."
His eyes darted back to me, clouded with hesitation. "We were going to get arrested for viewing it- I didn't want her to get in trouble! We- I took an aircycle and just went up to it, to get us away. One of the motors had been shot. We wanted to get onto the ledge of the Vestige, in case the cycle blew out or something. I was going to call you, Light, I swear, I was going to get you to get her home! I would've taken the arrest and the blame and everything-"
I shook the memory away. "Don't worry Serah, we will find you." Once inside the Vestige, I parked the aircycle and immediately started examining my surroundings. Serah came here once, for historical research (under guidance and with other people), and even told me how this whole place was in ruins. How it's a big maze, with buttons and triggers to navigate through it. I may not know exactly where to go, but thankfully I have a clue how to get through here.
After taking some time to take note of what was around me, what my sister meant by mazes, I did happen to find many stairwells and walkways that would have been a bit difficult to work out... had somebody not apparently activated them. The floors were neon-orange, and some switches looked to be moved. Who was in here with me? Soldiers? Lightning? Maybe Serah activated them herself? I was debating on calling out and asking. If it were soldiers, I could just fight back, as long as it wasn't an entire unit. "Shoot, I'll just go for it," deep breath in, and-
"Don't worry, baby, your hero is on his way!"
"Who-" A voice other than my own startled me. But I knew that voice. "Snow?" I ran ahead a bit. "Snow!" He's where I need to head to. If Snow's here, good chance Lightning is here now too.