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StarCross 2 - Open Beta

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[EMPIRE CITY, 10:30 PM]

Above the hustle and bustle of Empire City, there are many high-rising buildings, many of which had their lights turned out, with their denizens out for the night. Above even those, however, a being of darkness floats, looking down upon the city. Breathing in, she waits a bit before exhaling.

MOTHER BRAIN

... It's... not time, yet, no... However...

She clenches her fist

MOTHER BRAIN

The plan is coming along nicely. I can feel it.

A portal opens around her, and she slowly fades back into it.

MOTHER BRAIN

Nicely, but not fast enough. I suppose it's time for plan b.

[WEEKS LATER, EMPIRE CITY MUNICIPAL BANK]

Inside of the bank, bank things were happening. Yep. I really do not care to describe the interactions within a hecking bank. You’ve probably been in one, and you know what happens in them. Anyway, at that point, a suspicious man walked inside, smiled to himself, and then lifted a gloved hand in the air, emitting a blast of fire, whereupon they shouted

PERSON

Okay, everybody, you know the drill! I shouldn't have to explain what a bank robbery is!

OTHER PERSON

What?! You can't do this!!

The black mage (I've decided it's a black mage, because apparently Final Fantasy is my go-to for when I don't want something to be an OC) blasts that noisy little idjyit with fire, and they go down quickly.

PERSON

Now, everybody else, shut up!

They pull out a large sack and go directly up to the teller.

PERSON

I suggest you fill this up very quickly, if you know what's good for you.

DELSIN

I suggest you stop all this very quickly, if you know what's good for you.

The mage turns around, to see Delsin Rowe standing behind him, and he says

PERSON

Do you know what you're getting into? Did you see what I did to that other noisy little idiot?

DELSIN

I confess, I didn't. I just got in here when you got up to the counter.

PERSON

What? But--

DELSIN

Ventilation systems, my man, they're a wonderful thing. I'll give you one more chance: Stop this now, and you'll be arrested without injury.

PERSON

Arrested? What are you supposed to be, a cop?

DELSIN

You say that word like it's poison, and I really don't appreciate that. Hey, bank teller? You might want to cover up your breathing holes, and-- actually, just run.

The teller does as instructed.

PERSON

What the--?!

Delsin drops a sulfur bomb on the floor, and the mage starts coughing. Rowe then slams the mage on the ground, and binds him up with his smoke, finishing off by absorbing all of the smoke from the bomb.

DELSIN

To answer your question, no, I am not a cop. Still, though, it is the duty of every citizen to step up when they see a crime in progress, so... you can see how my hands were kinda tied. Sorta like yours are, actually.

Delsin takes out his phone, and calls Fetch

DELSIN

Yo, Fetch. Just caught that guy we heard about on the news.

[ELSEWHERE]

Fetch sits on top of three people, all tied up with neon

FETCH

Nice. I finished up here about a minute ago. Waitin' for the cops to get here.

DELSIN

Few steps up from killin' drug dealers, eh?

FETCH

Don't start that again. You seen Eugene around?

DELSIN

Yeah, he found himself a place to stay, so you know what that means.

FETCH

He's not comin' out any time soon. Not that I blame him. What happened to this place, D? We help save everybody, and then this.

DELSIN

Yeah. This is the third superpowered bank robbery I've heard of all day.

[DARK ALLEYWAY]

A man is seen holding someone in the air with telekinesis, and their money begins flowing over from their pockets to the guy, who snaps their neck, and drops them on the floor.

FETCH

I don't know what happened, but whatever it was...

Police are shown surrounding the area. Kneeling, and looking directly at the body is Ema Skye

EMA

... This place has officially gone to shit.

OFFICER

M-Ms. Skye--!

EMA

Oh, don't act like it hasn't.

She slides her sunglasses down, and continues to look at the body

EMA

It was inevitable. People went crazy back home, when all they had were guns. Of course, once superpowers come into the equation, they'd lose all sight of morality. Once people get the chance to get away with it, they show you who they really are.

She stands up

EMA

And this is why we can't have nice things.

OFFICER

S-so you're saying this was the work of one of those freaks?

EMA

... I'm saying this was the work of an immature twit who happened to have powers, yes, but I'm not calling anybody a "freak". Victim's windpipe was crushed, but the perpetrator never touched them once.

OFFICER

You can tell all of that?

EMA

These thin-rimmed glasses of mine aren't just for show. Now, you can call this in, but I have some other people to talk to about this. The sooner they can get down here, the better.

OFFICER

People?

EMA

I have friends in high places, officer. Really high, actually, they're in space right now. 'Course, I suppose relatively speaking they could be really low instead of high, but you get the point.

She walks off

OFFICER

Wh-... what?

[WEEKS LATER, DANCE CLUB]

At a table in a bustling club for the night scene in Empire City, a very sour girl sits and waits for her companion. As she looks up, she sees her moving toward her, carefully not dropping their drinks. When she makes it over, she puts the drinks down and sits next to the sour girl.

PASCAL

And there we go!

RITA

... I still don't understand how you managed to get me in here. I'm freaking 16!

PASCAL

And as long as you don't tell anyone, that will stay between us!

RITA

...

PASCAL

What? Are you that distraught about breaking the rules? These are nonalcoholic drinks!

RITA

Okay, Pascal, when you said you were into science, that was what I figured most of our time would be spent doing!

PASCAL

We've spent plenty of time doing science!

RITA

You spent the entirety of Wednesday playing Vocaloid games!

PASCAL

I had to hype myself up for the concert they're about to-- wait, really? The entirety? Huh... Anyway, I can't spend all of my time doing science stuff! My brain would, like, explelt!

RITA

Explelt?

PASCAL

Yeah, it's a mix between exploding and melting!

RITA

Right. I guess my major thing here is that I'm not really a club kind of person...

PASCAL

Oh, you just need to socialize more! Look, promise me you'll talk to at least one new person tonight!

RITA

... All right, fine.

PASCAL

Cool, now onto the next subject: I know you said we couldn't get a dog because it would get hyper and knock over your chemicals, but--

Suddenly, the wall in front of the on the far side of the club bursts, and a tall woman with a spear bursts through, pinning a much shorter boy to the ground, causing most of the other club goers to run in fright.

FANG

Who the hell are you?!

From Final Fantasy XIII

VANITAS

...

FANG

Answer me right now!

VANITAS

Oh, this is good. This is really good.

FANG

You think you're funny, don't you?

Fang raises her spear, threatening to take the boy's life.

VANITAS

You won't kill me.

FANG

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

VANITAS

I would be. For the first time in quite a long time, you actually got to live around some of your own people, and I come in with my cronies and ruin everything! You wanna know who I am! You wanna know why I did it, and if there'll be any more like me.

FANG

...

VANITAS

That'll be enough for today, though. But because you've been such a good girl, I'll leave you with some of my good friends. You'll have to excuse them, of course, they are a bit... Unversed.

Vanitas disappears into a portal of darkness, as a group of Unversed appear all around Fang.

FANG

Well, that's just bloody brilliant...

Blinking, Pascal comes back to reality.

PASCAL

That was crazy! Well, let’s get crackalackin’

She stands up, as does Rita

RITA

I don't care who's in the right or who's in the wrong. All I know is that someone ruined my night, and THEY'RE GONNA PAY!

PASCAL

Your night had something left to ruin?

RITA

Well, you're still... Oh, forget it, let's go!

The two Tales of characters jump over the table, and yes I just broke the fourth wall, whatcha gonna do about it? They land on the dance floor beside Fang.

PASCAL

I'm gonna side with you, okay? In my experience, the bad guys are always the ones playing the numbers game. The shady monsters don't help too much, either. So, what's your name?

Suddenly, a 3 foot tall cat bursts through the hole in the wall

BLAZE

Fang! I'm sorry I'm late! I had to deal with a few of those-- Seriously? There are more?

FANG

Now's not the time, Blaze!

BLAZE

Right! Now is the time to fight!

Everyone jumps out to fight the Unversed, when we just go to this other scene over here that isn't a fight scene.

[NERO'S HOUSE]

Nero sits on his couch and watches a television show that he frankly thought very little of.

NERO

Man... This may be some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen. I mean, the script is crappy, too, but the crappy acting kinda... It kinda makes it funny. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been canceled yet...

A knock on his door. He gets up and answers it to see Lady standing there. (One panel of that, one panel of the two looking at each other in silence)

NERO

Okay, so... I guess the real question here is: Why?

LADY

Do you know what’s where the people in the Devil May Cry agency used to be?

NERO

In about 3 seconds, I’m gonna close this door and pretend this never happened.

LADY

You owe Dante a favor, he saved your life.

NERO

... Ugh... If I don’t pay it back now--

LADY

--He’s going to come and get you when it suits him, yes.

NERO

Great, just fu--... All right, so what do you want from me?

LADY

I want you to help me find out what happened to Dante and Trish.

NERO

... This is my life, now... Okay, so... What’s our first move?

LADY

Well, our first move is to figure out exactly why it is that I’ve seen things floating for no discernible reason, and why it is that on a day as humid as this one, I managed to feel a breeze go by.

NERO

... Fine. Fine, but this waits until morning, okay? I’m barely awake as it is, and I don’t need this right now.

LADY

Okay, but if that’s the case, I’m gonna need you to make that couch of yours as comfortable as possible, because that’s where I’m gonna be sleeping tonight.

NERO

No, it’s not.

LADY

Yes, it is.

NERO

See, I disagree.

LADY

I ever tell you about the time I fought Dante?

NERO

I get the feeling that that’s some sort of thinly veiled threat.

LADY

It is.

NERO

Did you win?

LADY

Nope. Neither did you, from what I hear.

NERO

Okay, why do you need to sleep on my couch?

LADY

Well, I can’t exactly sleep in your bed without making your girl feel weird.

NERO

Funny.

[CITY STREETS]

A blue-haired woman with elven ears walks the Empire City streets with bags in her hands.

[FIELD]

The same woman walks up to the giant whale looking thing that is Ba’ul. She tosses him some food from two of the bags and then takes her remaining bag to her three companions sleeping on the other side of Ba’ul. She smiles and says

JUDITH

Now, where’s the fourth one?

MILLA

I'm up here.

Judith looks up to see Milla lying on Ba’ul, meticulously petting him on the head.

JUDITH

Are you enjoying the view from up there?

MILLA

Yes, quite, actually.

Putting the bag down, Judith Jumps on top of her pet and sits next to the Lord of Spirits.

JUDITH

So, anything interesting spinning around in that head of yours?

MILLA

Interesting is a bit relative, really. For instance, I’ve been told that my stories about the Four make them sound very interesting. To me, it’s just the norm.

JUDITH

Okay, let me rephrase that. What are you thinking?

Milla’s hand stops petting. She raises it up and looks directly at it. She makes a grabbing motion at the moon, and then sits up.

MILLA

For as long as I can remember, I have had a mission. I completed the first one, then I had another, and then another. Now that’s over, and I have this one. I have always had something-- some sort of imaginary goal ring that I had to grab. There is one goal that’s a bit like the moon. I’d like to try just living for a while. I'm curious what it would be like with no world-staking task to finish; just living like all of the humans do.

JUDITH

I see what you mean. It’s out of reach, just like the moon. But, in the event you can’t find peace... maybe you can make due with just having a group of companions to keep you company through the storm?

MILLA

Heh. I suppose so. By the way, Judith... Do we have our next move planned out?

JUDITH

Well, I’d like to try looking for a few familiar faces, firstly. Failing that--

A big flash is seen coming from the direction of the club, and Judith stops speaking.

JUDITH

Oh dear.

MILLA

Indeed. Should we wake up the others?

JUDITH

Hm... Do you have your phone on you?

MILLA

Hm...

JUDITH

You remember what a phone is, correct?

MILLA

... Oh, yes! That thing you use to talk to people who are far away from you! Humans are very resourceful!

JUDITH

Right, well, we can call them if we need help. They could use the rest.

[BACK ON THE MOVE IN THE CITY]

Judith and Milla quickly make their way to the scene of the explosion, when a loud boom suddenly erupts from their left

JUDITH

Well, the city's getting pretty lively tonight!

MILLA

Indeed. Shall we investigate the second disturbance?

JUDITH

Don't mind if I do. You can take the first one.

MILLA

Are you sure?

JUDITH

Do I seem like the indecisive type to you?

MILLA

Very well. Call me if you need help.

JUDITH

Gotcha!

Taking a turn, Judith investigates the scene

[DANCE CLUB]

Milla breaks into the hole in the side of the dance club and sees the four others battling what seems like an endless horde of the Unversed.

MILLA

What's going on?!

FANG

Looks like everybody wants to join the party! You gonna talk or you gonna fight?

Bimbam bibldie boo, looks like the Unversed are gonna fight you!

MILLA

What are these things?!

FANG

These things are called Unversed! They were created by a pompous little snot in black armor; had a sword shaped like a key; that much I know! The rest is all fuzzy!

MILLA

A sword shaped like a what? I have an idea!

Milla jumps to the side and pulls her hand to the side, summons Sylph, and has him give her... her phone.

SYLPH

I can't even begin to explain how demeaning this is.

MILLA

What's our policy on back-talk?

SYLPH

None of it.

MILLA

I'm glad you remember.

Milla dials a phone number and waits for an answer.

ROCK

... Huh? Milla? Where are you? Where's Judith?

MILLA

Not now, Rock! Now, I need you to trace the position of this call, and bring Xion!

ROCK

W-wait, what about Pit?

MILLA

Someone has to watch Ba'ul!

ROCK

How quickly do we need to get there?

MILLA

Quickly!

ROCK

Okay! I know how to do this! I'll see you in... a little over a minute.

Rock hangs up. Looking at her phone in confusion, Milla asks

MILLA

A little over a minute?

[FIELD]

Rock stands up and regrets having to wake up his friends.

ROCK

Guys, wake up, Milla needs our help!

XION

Unh... What? That's not true...

PIT

Yeah, Milla doesn't need help with anything. Well, except maybe understanding humans and how they work, but--

ROCK

I know, I know, but she told me she needed Xion right now, and I figure this is the best way to go about this!

[RANDOM DANCE CLUB]

Fang and the rest continue their battle

FANG

How much longer is this gonna last?

MILLA

There's help on the way, we just have to last a bit longer!

RITA

Is nobody gonna point out how the blonde lady showed up out of freaking nowhere? Why are we trusting her?

FANG

Because she's helping us do the "not die" thing! Now if we can just hold out--

MILLA’S CELL PHONE

“Bokura ga tada jiyuu de i rareta ano koro wa tooku te--”

Suddenly, Milla's cell phone starts playing and she answers

MILLA

Rock?

ROCK

Um, are you in the middle of the club?

MILLA

Yes.

ROCK

Probably be anywhere but the middle.

MILLA

... What did you do?

ROCK

Technically nothing yet. But it’s about to go down.

MILLA

Everyone! Get away from the center, now!

RITA

Why?

MILLA

Because something big is “about to go down”!

RITA

What?

MILLA

I don't know!

RITA

Rgh! Fine!

Everyone moves away from the center of the room. Over the phone, and strangely enough, over her head, Milla hears

ROCK

POWER SHOT!

The roof crumbles in, crushing many of the unversed at once.

MILLA

Oh, my...

PASCAL

I know... The repair bill is gonna be enormous!

Rock drops in with Xion, and Pit.

[NERO'S HOUSE]

Nero hacks and slashes at the dark, Unversed intruders in his home, while Lady takes the long distance approach to getting rid of them.

NERO

Why. Does. Nobody. Want. Me. To go to SLEEP?!

LADY

Maybe nobody likes you?

NERO

Not after the reboot!

He sees one heading up the stairs and panics

NERO

Oh, no you don't! Kyrie's up there, and the last thing I need is you guys putting her in danger!

Jumping toward it, he slashes at the Unversed. One of the bigger ones charges at Nero, and just before it makes contact, Judith spears it through and causes it to burst. Turning around, Nero says

NERO

And who might you be?

JUDITH

Your savior.

NERO

Great, another "savior".

JUDITH

So, you said something about someone named Kyrie?

NERO

Yeah, she's my girlfriend, and right now, she's in more danger than I'd like, which is any at all, quite frankly.

JUDITH

I could get her to safety?

Nero slashes an Unversed that makes its way toward them, and they both ready themselves for battle again, standing back to back.

NERO

Yeah, how about no? I just met you, for cryin' out loud!

JUDITH

I did just save your life!

NERO

How about this: Lady!

LADY

Freaking what?!

NERO

Get Kryie somewhere safe! We just got reinforcements, and I'm gonna need her somewhere else before my mind is completely clear!

LADY

And what about you? Can you trust this new girl?

NERO

Figure that if I can't, it's better that Kyrie's not here, so she won't be in any danger!

LADY

All right, but you'd better know what you're talking about!

Lady rushes up the stairs, and Nero says

NERO

Now, it's time for you to earn your keep.

JUDITH

Right, but I warn you...

Judith stabs an Unversed

JUDITH

I won't tolerate much more of that kind of talk.

[UPSTAIRS WITH LADY]

Lady bursts into Nero and Kyrie's room upstairs and stops after running over to her, cradled in the corner of the bed next to a window.

LADY

I forget; have we met?

KYRIE

I-I saw you after the incident with the savior...

LADY

Hm. Call me Lady. Now,

She grabs Kyrie by the forearm.

LADY

Time to go to work.

KYRIE

W-wait, what about Nero?

Hoisting Kyrie up on her shoulder, Lady asks

LADY

Do you always complain like this?

Lifting open the window as some of the Unversed come after her, she jumps out and lands

LADY

I just took a few months off these knees for you; you'd better be grateful.

Looking around, she sees the Unversed crawling all around, and she then sees her bike.

LADY

That's our ticket out of here!

Running over to the motorcycle, she puts Kyrie on the back and says

LADY

And Nero's gonna be just fine, okay?

KYRIE

B-but--

LADY

But nothing.

Getting on the front, she revs up her engine and says

LADY

You're gonna wanna hold on real tight.

Doing as instructed, it wasn't long before Lady took off.

[FREAK OUT! AT THE DANCE CLUB]

ROCK

Sorry, that was a bit excessive. It's just that we looked at the hole in the side, and saw all those enemies.

PIT

That was when I came up with the idea to get rid of a whole bunch of them at once!

MILLA

Well... It certainly worked...

FANG

Blaze, how we doin' on enemy numbers?

BLAZE

Hm...

Shooting a pyro blast to her left, and scorching one last Unversed, she says

BLAZE

They're gone.

XION

So, what did you need me for?

MILLA

Have you heard of a Keyblade wielding boy in black armor?

XION

Hm... I'm not sure if I know exactly which one you're talking about... Could you see his face?

FANG

No. The little bastard was wearing a mask the entire time.

XION

Oh, I know about him! His name was... What was it again?... Oh, it was Vanitas! I learned about this from Master Aqua, before things got all strange!

PASCAL

Which time? 'Cause things have gotten strange a few times now.

ROCK

Well, there was the initial incident in which our worlds came together,

PIT

We call that the Inception Incident.

ROCK

Then there was the restructuring of that world.

PIT

We refer to that as the New Order Incident.

ROCK

And then here we are now; at the part where we've lost contact with most of the people we know.

PIT

That's called the Separation Incident.

XION

Right. So, it was before the Separation Incident. She told me about this guy who sounds like what you've described. His name was Vanitas, and he works for someone named Xehanort. He spreads darkness-covered creatures called the Unversed for little reason other than to spread darkness among other beings.

FANG

Wait, so you mean to tell me that an entire village of Pulsians was attacked because of random happenstance?!

XION

Um... well... basically.

FANG

I'm gonna kill him!

PIT

Hm... There are some others we need to tell about this.

ROCK

Yeah, like Judith, for example. Where is she, anyway?

MILLA

Taking care of a disturbance in town. She's fine.

RITA

Wait, wait, wait, who's Judith?

PIT

Judith's a really nice and sometimes strange lady that doesn't dress up in a lot of clothes.

Everyone silently looks over to Milla.

PASCAL

Um... Could ya be a little more specific?

RITA

Does she have blue hair?

PIT

Yeah! You know Judith?

RITA

Unfortunately. Name's Rita Mordio.

PIT

Oh, I know you! You're Tsunderita!

RITA

Gnk!

Cue chibi Rita being held back by Chibi Pascal as Xion calls Judith

XION

Hey, Judith?

JUDITH

Oh, hey, Xixi!

Judith says, sitting on the stairs to Nero's house, resting after the ass beating laid down upon the Unversed.

XION

I have some information that you might want to hear. There are these black creatures that you're probably going to run into.

JUDITH

Oh, I'd just take that "probably" part out.

XION

Oh! I see... Well, here's the thing

Explanation scene.

JUDITH

I see... And you figure these things are going to be popping up more often?

XION

Well, they've made their first moves, so they're probably not going to be relenting any time soon.

JUDITH

I see. In that case, I have to make a call. Thank you for the information, Xion.

XION

Wait, Judith, no--... She hung up...

ROCK

Oh no...

PIT

You know what that means...

BLAZE

What's going on?

ROCK

Somebody's gonna have to tell the scary lady about this...

FANG

Scary lady?

XION

Yeah! I was hoping I could get Judith to do it, but...

Xion, Pit, and Rock all turn to look at Milla

XION

Um...

MILLA

Oh, come on; Lightning is not scary, she’s just very terse, with a short temper.

ROCK

That's scary!

FANG

Wait, Lightning? Lightning Farron?

PIT

You know her?

FANG

Oh yeah, I know her pretty well, actually. Used to travel with her back in the day.

The youngest three all light up

PIT

You can talk to her!

Pit takes the phone from Xion, dials Lightning's number, and holds it out to Fang, who chuckles slightly before taking the phone.

CLAIRE

What is it?

FANG

To the point as ever.

CLAIRE

Fang?

FANG

The one and only. Nice to hear from you, Claire.

CLAIRE

Since when did you start calling me that?

FANG

Since I decided that calling you "Lightning" made you sound like a jerk. By the way, what are you doing scaring kids?

CLAIRE

What are you talking about?

FANG

There are three kids here scared to talk to you. Guess hangin' out with Hope didn't help too much, did it?

CLAIRE

Fang, if you called me just to chastise my social skills--

FANG

Fine, fine, whatever. So, where ya holdin' up?

CLAIRE

Didn't you take this phone from a group of kids? They know where I am.

FANG

I feel like they'd crap their pants if they had to talk to you, though.

CLAIRE

That's their problem.

Lightning hangs up.

FANG

Claire? Light? ... Lightning? ... Okay, then.

Passing the phone back to Pit, Fang says

FANG

Guess we're goin' on a road trip.

ROCK

Huh?

FANG

Light wants to talk in person.

ROCK

... Oh... I guess I'll go get Ba'ul...

[AT LIGHTNING'S COMPOUND, AN ABANDONED SHOPPING MALL]

As the group lowered Ba'ul and got off, Rita turned back to Ba'ul and said

RITA

Don't go anywhere, okay? We're gonna need you. Besides, Judith would kill me if I lost you.

[INSIDE]

As the group entered the building, they looked around and saw a large amount of open space and broken escalators that led to shops.

FANG

Light held up in a mall?

ROCK

Right. Well, her room is a little ways away, she spends most of her time in the theater projector room, so she can lay out strategies on the projector.

FANG

Sounds like she's just having fun with this.

[PROJECTOR ROOM]

Rock stands in front of the door and does nothing, standing nervously rooted to the spot.

FANG

She's got you that scared, eh?

Fang reaches over him and knocks on the door.

CLAIRE

It's open.

Taking that as an invitation to come in, Fang opens the door, and Lightning looks over at the group.

CLAIRE

Okay, I'll be honest. This is a few more people than I was expecting.

FANG

I'm a barrel of surprises; you should know that by now.

CLAIRE

Right, well save what you came to talk to me about for tomorrow.

FANG

Why the sudden change of heart?

CLAIRE

We're having some issues with water pipes right now. I'll need you to go and get some for us. Aside from that, Tidus ate a good amount of the sweet stuff by himself, and he's gone on record as not being sorry for it, so I've got him down below fixing the beams.

BLAZE

What's wrong with the beams?

CLAIRE

This place was the sight of a big fight between the powered and non-powered people. Turns out that good enough technology allows them to put up a pretty tough fight.

BLAZE

That's right... Ever since our worlds merged, certain people without supernatural abilities haven't particularly taken to their new neighbors.

FANG

It's absolutely ridiculous. You see something you don't understand and all of a sudden, it's evil.

MILLA

That may be so, but we must try to understand things from their perspective: They're not used to people like us. To them, we seem like monsters. If a stranger walked up to you and had a gun in their hands, promising you they'll never use it on you, would you trust them, even if you're not sure of their moral character?

CLAIRE

I suppose not.

MILLA

Exactly. Now, in their situation, the gun is unseen, so they don't know if you are even pointing it at them. It is enough to make certain people paranoid. I am not saying that their actions are acceptable, I am just saying that given the circumstances, I can understand how they feel.

CLAIRE

Well, don't we have ourselves a little blonde Jesus?

MILLA

Jesus?

BLAZE

A deity from a religion you apparently don't have.

CLAIRE

Right, well, getting back on topic, after the battle, this place was wrecked so badly they just decided to abandon it. And you can imagine that we've got some structural damage, and that it also messed up of some of the food that got trampled on in the battle, not that that stopped Tidus from eating some of it anyway. If you see him, you have my permission to make food poisoning jokes.

PASCAL

So remembering that!

CLAIRE

So, since there are eight of you, I figure that some can get water, and those among you that haven't been spotted with superpowered people can go get some food from the market. There are some markets that sell equally, but they've slowly been turning against us, and we don't really need to risk it.

BLAZE

Well, since I don't look like the rest of you, I think I'll elect to help with the maintenance with those pipes you mentioned. I'd just be begging to start a scene if I went outside.

CLAIRE

Your choice, but the biggest problem area is the basement on the east wing, and it's hot as hell down there.

BLAZE

That shouldn't be a problem for me.

Blaze says, whipping out her arm and producing a flame from her hand.

[BASEMENT]

As Blaze walked into the basement, she heard a shout

TIDUS

Holy crap!!

Feeling distressed about what she heard, she rushes inward until she runs into someone with blond hair and shorts

BLAZE

What's going on?

TIDUS

The freaking beams just broke again!

He looks over to Blaze and says

TIDUS

I just--... Uh... pardon my asking, but... are you a cat?

BLAZE

Why yes I am, actually.

TIDUS

Right. Well, I'm guessing you got stuck with pipe duty by Lightning, huh?

BLAZE

I elected for it. I thought it proper to put myself to good use, as long as I stay here. My name is Blaze the Cat, by the way.

TIDUS

Right. I'm Tidus.

BLAZE

Ah, you're the food poisoning person.

TIDUS

Oh great, she told you about that... Anyway, if you're so eager, let's get to work.

Blaze climbed on a broken beam and took another part that dangled near it. She then melted them together.

TIDUS

Oh, well that's definitely handy; you ever consider becoming a blacksmith?

BLAZE

Only recently, but yes. So, tell me about Fang's friend, Lightning.

TIDUS

Um... I don't know where to start.

BLAZE

Well, what kind of person is she?

TIDUS

Oh, well, she's... a bit of a hardass. But she definitely cares about us, even if she won't admit it. You might notice that people know we hold up here, but they don't attack us.

BLAZE

That was a bit strange.

TIDUS

Well, that was because of an incident that pretty much everybody around these parts knows about. See, one time, an angry protester showed up at our door with a bunch of followers. Lightning came out without her sword and said she'd fight any and all of them without using her powers and win. She punked out the guy in the front and they all ran off real fast, and ever since then, they haven't really shown up.

BLAZE

Hm... She sounds like a good person.

TIDUS

Yeah... So, I hope I'm not getting too nosy, but I noticed you sounded pretty concerned about Fang just now?

BLAZE

Well... I've come to know Fang rather well over our time together, and she recently had a bit of a tragedy happen to her. Her village was attacked; I wanted to make sure that Lightning wasn't going to do more emotional damage to her -- she seems a bit cold, to be honest.

TIDUS

Oh, is that it? You know, I always did wanna know what cats thought about their owners.

BLAZE

I am not her pet, I am an equal!

TIDUS

Yikes! All right, so that might have been a hot button topic...

A walkie-talkie on Tidus's waist goes off

JILL

Okay, Tidus, I'm done with the "monster beam" as you called it. I think I'm gonna call it a night, how about you?

TIDUS

Nah, I got 20 more minutes down here before Lightning says I can stop.

JILL

You just had to have that last box of oatmeal cookies, didn't you?

TIDUS

It was worth every second of this.

JILL

Right, well, see you tomorrow morning.

TIDUS

All right, see ya. Oh, wait, Jill, could you show one of the newcomers to one of the good spots?

JILL

Sure, send 'em up to the pillar.

The walkie-talkie clicks.

TIDUS

Right, so, the pillar she was talking about is pretty close by. Just leave the basement, take the stairs, and it's the first big one you see.

BLAZE

Are you sure?

TIDUS

Oh yeah. You don't need to be down here helping me with my punishment. Besides, I didn't tell Lightning that Jill was helping me, so it'll just look like I've been extra productive.

BLAZE

Right.

Blaze hops down and makes her way out of the room, pausing to say

BLAZE

Oh, and Tidus? Thanks.

TIDUS

No problem, just promise me you'll take it easy on the food poisoning jokes. That was not a good time...

[THE PILLAR]

Blaze walks over to the pillar to see a woman with brown hair leaning up against it, wearing a t-shirt and cargo pants, tucked into a pair of combat boots.

BLAZE

Hello, are you Jill?

JILL

Yes I am. Jill Valentine, to be more precise. And what would be your name?

BLAZE

Blaze the Cat.

JILL

Well, Blaze, I'd ask you some things, but frankly, you look tired, so I'll cut the questions short.

BLAZE

Is it that apparent?

JILL

Ah, don't get bent out of shape about it, it's just exhaustion. Come on, I'll show you the good spot Tidus was talking about.

The two begin walking, when Blaze thinks of something

BLAZE

So, Jill, what exactly is it that you do here?

JILL

We're basically a shelter for people who have been run out of their towns for being different. You ever read comics, Blaze?

BLAZE

I never had that luxury.

JILL

Right, well there's a comic about basically this exact premise, and Tidus has a bunch of them stockpiled.

JILL

Anyway, recently, finding people's been slow goings, since a lot of people with powers don't use them. They don't see the reason to, or they want to fit in, whatever it is, it's caused us to not grow so fast.

BLAZE

So, out of curiosity, what exactly is your power?

JILL

I don't have any.

BLAZE

Really? Then why do you choose to live here?

JILL

The neighborhood I lived in was really intolerant, so I figured I'd move to somewhere more friendly, with a better atmosphere. I checked this place out, and it seemed just right.

At this, Blaze smiled

[THE GOOD SPOT]

Jill and Blaze stop in front of a jewelry store

JILL

Well, here's the good spot.

BLAZE

... I don't understand.

JILL

Oh, you will.

The two head inside and directly to the back of the store. Opening a door, they see a stock room with a bed inside.

BLAZE

Why is there a bed in a jewelry store stock room?

JILL

Because I put it there a while back. It's just the kind of place that nobody who lives here would look inside of, and the stock room has surprisingly good insulation, so I can't really hear much when people are acting like morons outside. Don't tell them I called them morons, okay?

BLAZE

Of course, but I notice only one bed.

JILL

I figured we could both sleep in it. I always did that with my old cat, and she seemed pretty happy about it.

BLAZE

I'm not a pet!

JILL

Okay, but I have a heater.

BLAZE

... I suppose this arrangement will work.

JILL

There ya go!

Jill says, scratching the underside of Blaze's chin, which causes her tail to raise and her ears to lie back slightly.