|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2008-04-17 12:27:00
Steele, Part 5 of ?
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII (approx 10 years pre-game)
Title: Steele (part 5 of ?)
Warnings: Shinra's biological research section is mentioned. This may trigger flashbacks for some people, or for their head-casts.
Summary:Steele is being cautious, and Reno is being precocious.
I phone the client, and as expected, she says she wants not only the box, but the contents. I can just about hear her blushing on the other end of the connection, and I wonder just a little about the type of old lady her great-grandmother was. Then I start wondering about the type of young lady her great-grandmother might have been, and decide to end that line of speculation. It can wait until after I've retrieved the client's item.
Instead, I start pulling together what I'll need for the raid on Corneo's place. About the only advantage of being below the plate is day or night doesn't make much of a difference in lighting levels in most areas. Of course, sectors six and seven are exceptions to the rule there – neither of them have been fully roofed over yet. This means I'll have to be doing a night raid, rather than heading straight over. Gives me time to really be certain.
I collect the extra ammunition for the guns, change out of the suit into the stuff I use to move around the shadows, and start digging out the kit and checking it over. When the phone rings, I stop long enough to swear before picking it up.
Caller ID says the call's coming from a payphone in sector three below. “Steele,” I say.
“Hey boss, I gotta lead on that noodle girl you was lookin' for last night!” It's Reno. I hadn't even been aware he knew who or what I was looking for, so I'm just a little surprised he managed to find out information about Mimi when I couldn't.
“Don't think you're gonna like it though,” he says. He sounds a lot older than his fourteen years when he says it, like he's seen something nasty. “She got took by Shinra. Some of the troopers took her. Learned it from her neighbours – they just watched her bein' took.”
He's right. I don't like it. I've heard rumours about people below-plate just “disappearing” and other rumours tying Shinra troops into the disappearances. Now it looks like I have some confirmation of the two of them.
“D'you want to be getting' her out?” Reno asks me.
I shake my head. I know from past experience, if she's been taken by Shinra for undisclosed reasons, she'll be winding up in the bioscience section as an experimental subject. It's a fate I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, much less a fairly harmless joy addict like Mimi. “Don't bother,” I tell him. “She's part of their experiments now. Only thing to help her is a bullet. Their security's got tight there – couple of subjects got away about five years back, and never been found since.”
“But I know where they're keepin' her,” he says to me. “I went up to th' tower an' scouted it out.”
“Did you get spotted?” I ask, and keeping my voice steady when I do is the hardest thing I've done in years. Part of my head is busy running through my list of swearwords again, while the other part is working top speed to try and figure out what to be doing about this. Please, gods, don't let him have been spotted by the security cams.
“Don't think so,” he says. “There wasn't nobody in th' corridors, yeah?”
Damn. He's been spotted by the cams for sure. “Reno, I'm in the middle of a job for a client. Can't spare any time for this. Meet me tomorrow night, ten minutes after sunset on the corner of Fifth and North, sector one Topside. If I'm not there inside ten minutes, go to Shinra, and insist on speaking to Veld.”
“Shut up and listen, and I'll tell you.” I think fast. “Veld is the guy who runs the Turks. You'll know him by the suit and the wrinkles. But if you're even slightly doubtful, ask him whether Turks are allowed to drink on the job. If he says no, get out of there, and lose yourself; they'll have set you up with a fake. Tell him I sent you and I've taken up tithing. He'll know what I meant.”
“Just do it, Reno,” I snap. “I'm paying you to follow orders, remember?”
“Yeah, yeah, okay boss, I'll do it. Gods, you on the rag or somethin'?” He hung up the phone, and left me to my work.
One casual comment, and I'm stunned. I keep my biological gender as well hidden as possible. It's easier to be taken seriously if you're male in Midgar, and it's well-known there are no women in SOLDIER. Between the glowing eyes and my rather androgynous build, I'm lucky enough to be able to pass as a fairly slim young man. It's what's been useful in hiding me from those bastards in Shinra's biological research division for the past twenty years in the first place, despite me being hidden right under their noses, so to speak. But Reno's precocious. Kid is entirely too good at weaseling out information, and it wouldn't surprise me if he had managed to figure it out. Then again, one of his favourite tricks is to throw out bait and see what bites. He's definitely Turk material.
I make another phone call. Given the time of day, it'll probably go straight to voicemail, and given what I'm going to be doing, Reno's going to hate me like poison, but I'd rather have the kid safely in the hands of the Turks than smeared an inch thick over the landscape. He's too good to be wasted belowplate, and too smart to be reduced to being one of Corneo's goons.
“Veld, you know who this is, and you probably know what I'm doing. Meet me tomorrow, ten minutes after sunset on the corner of Fifth and North, sector one above Plate. If I'm not there, there's going to be a red-headed kid lurking in the area. He's Turk material, and you won't regret taking him on.” Okay, contingency plans in place, I think as I hang up. Now to make sure I don't need them.
The safe I hide these things in is concealled extremely well – well enough I sometimes lose the silly thing myself. It'd take a SOLDIER's eyesight to spot it. Inside, there's a slotted bracer, a couple of sets of clip-on materia slots for firearms (a little Turk dodge I've kept hold of), as well as the items of my paraphenalia which would be illegal, if there were any laws to be broken by keeping them.
I slot the Time, Seal, Mystify and Steal into the guns. The bracer takes the Restore, the Heal and the Counter-Attack. Then I pull out all the little bits and pieces I've gathered which can knock people out, confuse them, slow them down, or just entangle them, and put those into various pockets. Then it's back to my kit.
There's no way I can just walk over to sector six looking as I do at present. Fortunately, I have another way open to me. There's a reason why part of my break-and-enter pack comprises a climber's kit, and about a hundred metres of very sturdy rope.
All feedback is good feedback. What worked, what didn't, are there points which need clarification, and if so which ones?