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CHAPTER 3
History is Written by…


Cloud pulled uncomfortably at the new uniform he was wearing, as soon as the proceedings had been finished Colonel Roberts had stormed into the gymnasium and demanded to know why they had dared to alter the uniforms they had been given. Suffice to say that Zack’s explanation of individuality didn’t sit well with him, they had both been forced to strip down to their underwear-luckily both of them had their own none Shinra issue-and brought before the entire squadron of cadets to have their ‘individual’ clothes burnt. They had then been taken to the head of the whole of the Cadets training regime-a Colonel called Vang- and he had explained that they would be getting their new uniforms on credit, that their first pay checks would go straight to Shinra and pay for their training uniforms.

The whole ordeal had been a mess, he and Zack had been taken-purposely, by Clouds thoughts-through two training regimes of the female Turks, which had gained several pinches on Clouds backside for his fortune.

But looking at himself in a high necked olive green uniform made everything seem so much different. Back in Nibelheim, he had never had to wear a uniform in going to school, most of the kids had not bothered to wear them for several years before Cloud had been sent to school and they had given in to the process. Looking at himself now, he felt like kicking his own ass for how stupid he looked. Turning and hoisting his backpack-blissfully black, whoever had chosen olive green for the uniforms was an idiot-and walked out of the barracks to join his ‘class’.

Within the training regime of SOLDIER, the cadets were broken into barracks to help disseminate the large amount of hopefuls. This ingenerated a form of camaraderie with them, which usually helped with the entry into the army after the training process was finished. But the class system that was operating in SOLDIER made for a mixed system, they were all named after ancient letters and Clouds class was named ‘Epsilon’. The symbol was a violent shade of green in front of the SOLDIER symbol and-from the information given to Cloud-it was the hardest of all the classes in the training program, Cloud had figured he would be put here, being in the top ten of the western continent, but looking around him, he saw none of his fellow Barracks 5 cadets, all of them seemed to be spread across the whole of the training program.

An MP appeared in front of all the lined students and escorted them to their classrooms, all held within a particularly bleak looking school building. As they passed each classroom, they all had the same look to them, drab and lifeless.

When they had all made their way to the class and had seated themselves, the MP left.

“So, what numbers you all from?” A beefy looking boy sat by the far window asked. “I’m in 10.”

“Seven.” A pair called from the back. “Six” Three said from right behind Cloud. “Five.” Cloud said and when none echoed his call, they continued. As it transpired, several of the students were from similar barracks, but a few like Cloud were alone in the class.

“We all must’ve got high scores in the nationals to get in Epsilon, Yo Strife.” A young looking boy spoke.

Cloud turned his head from the book he had just picked up. “Huh?”

“What’s your test scores?”

“I’m from the west so I don’t know whether it’s relevant?” Cloud shrugged.

“Course it is, we’ll all be eval’d by Shinra and shown to be worthy of being here, what about you?” Another boy asked.

“Well…I’m in the top ten outside of Cosmo.” Cloud muttered.

“You…you shittin’ me?” “Seriously?” “DAMN!” Were all echoed from around the room. “What the hell you doin’ in SOLDIER, you could be a lead science guy.”

Cloud shrugged. “Never thought of science as something interesting to be honest…I do it because I have to…I liked math for a while but it all got too boring.” He shrugged. “I don’t try and sound smart assed here but when you’re the town pariah and it’s a small town you kinda have one of two choices…I went for the studying.”

They all seemed to understand this and it appeared that Cloud was among others who were of like mind, most had faced some form of harassment in their childhood and had been approached to join SOLDIER and had snapped it up. But their musing was over after a moment when a young woman in a white lab coat walked in, she had long red hair and dark eyes, Cloud thought they must be black. She sat down at the desk and looked forwards. “Hello class I’m your tutor here, you can call me Professor Jeaezelle.”

They all intoned her name and  readied themselves for  the lessons.

“Alright, the first thing I’ve been asked to teach you is a comprehensive history of the world, this does include information on the known history and the mythology of the Ancients or the Cetra as they are lesser known.” She said “What you each have to do is to go to the library in this building and book out ‘the comprehensive history of the Cetra’, but for the moment I’ll hand out the books we have.”

She pointed to Dean from Barracks 3 and Samuel from Barracks 10 and told them to hand out the books.
Once the books had been handed out and the boys had sat back down, Professor Jeaezelle cleared her throat and opened her book.

“Alright, I want you all to open to page seventy five.” She said. “This chapter is based on the mythological beginnings of the Cetra on this planet.”

She coughed again-Cloud had come to understand that this was a common thing among most people, the ‘significant clearing of the throat’ when about to read, he didn’t get it and it annoyed him a little.

“The Darkness of the void was cold and loveless to the chosen.’ Scholars have stated that the Cetra began using the term ‘chosen’ for themselves several decades before their disappearance from the world. And of course we can assume that the void is either a time when they were separate from the land or that the Cetra were originally from another world. Ahem ‘When the chosen arrived on the New Mother’ All facts point to the Cetra calling the planet ‘Mother’. ‘they were greeted viciously by the inhabitants of the New Mother. Though the chosen did try to explain that they needed the connection to the New Mother, the violent people who were named Gela responded with violence.’ Any evidence of the existence of these people named the Gela is either still waiting to be discovered or it never actually existed at all. Most of the archaeological community believe that the Gela to be a by-product of the Cetra’s belief of their lives and standard of living as being the highest of all peoples.” She looked to Cloud. “Mr. Strife, please continue.”

Cloud looked down at the book and began to talk. “The war between the Chosen and the Gela lasted a full year, the Gela being constantly beaten back by the Chosen’s power and greatness. When they eventually gave in and the Gela surrendered the last parts of the New Mother’s land. A tribunal was convened to discuss the wrongs the Gela had performed during the war and before, the decision was to send the Gela across the world, scattering them to the four winds, never to return.”

Every eye refocused of Professor Jeaezelle and she nodded. “The statements made here show the fanciful nature of what the Cetra wanted people to think of them-we know that they in the creation of Materia-that they had the ability to use nature to their advantage. As to whether they have the ability to ‘scatter a person to the four winds’, I very well doubt it.”

She leaned forwards. “Well, the first thing I want you all to do is to book out a copy of this book and write a five thousand word essay on chapter five, ‘Serenity of the Heart’. Try to point out the factual inconsistencies with what is known of the Cetra’s power.”

She sat back up and nodded, which everyone took as a dismissal. As Cloud walked along towards the elevator, several of his classmates called they were going to do some training and others called they were heading for a drink at a local bar. Cloud knew they’d all get the work done eventually, but for him he needed to get it done. Once done, he’d be able to work at his leisure, train as hard as he wanted.

When the elevator door opened, Cloud boarded and started up, stepping out onto the library floor when the doors opened.

As he walked through the halls, eventually coming up to the library doors, he could see several people in the room, looking for books and he sighed as he entered.

Figuring that part of this assignment was to test their adaptability, Cloud grabbed the required book and also a set of factual statistics on the Ancients. As he turned, he saw Zack enter and looking rather annoyed.

“What’s up?” Cloud asked as he pushed the books into his bag.

“It’s the assignment, its bull.” Zack said as he walked over to the shelves. “I’ve got to write a five hundred word essay on military history pre-Shinra.”

“And.” Cloud shrugged. “I’ve got a five thousand word essay on the Ancients.”

Cloud waited for Zack to find his book and take it before they walked out.

“Mythology…the Gela and the Cetra, shit mate and here I thought I had it bad.” Zack said as he patted Clouds shoulder.

Cloud shrugged and continued on, “I like mythology, Zack…there’s always some sort of fact behind the myth.”

Zack gave burst of laughter and gripped him around the shoulder. “You keep thinkin’ that buddy…just keep thinkin’ it.”
                                                             **
After waking at least two hours before anyone else, Cloud grabbed the folder with his essay in it and started for the classroom, he knew that he’d written it far too early and would probably be asked how he did it, but he really just couldn’t have gotten a better subject for his first assignment.

He pushed open the door and walked over to the tutors desk and placed it down before leaving quickly.

By Mid-Morning he was running around the track-one of the few who were here training, most were still inside working on their schoolwork. He’d discovered a set of heavier clothes which were labelled ‘weighted lv1’ and working out with them made for a far more intense experience.

When he was just about to start some push-ups, Cloud heard a voice calling his name, looking over at the MP, he got up and took the weighted clothes off. “Yeah, I’m Strife.”

“You’re wanted by Professor Jeaezelle.” The MP said. “Something about your schoolwork.”

And by the time Cloud had reached the classroom, he was feeling nervous about what he’d written. Had the fact that it was supposed to be five thousand words set in stone? Was he too preachy in the analysis of the writers idea that the Cetra existed with the land meant nothing more than they cultivated the land perfectly?

Cloud knocked and entered, sat there was Professor Jeaezelle, she seemed to have been rereading his essay and only looked up when he stepped closer.

“Ah…Strife, isn’t it?” She said, nodding. “This essay…my dear boy, it is a masterpiece. I’ve read essays that have been far longer that have delved less into this subject. Tell me, when did you take such a rich interest into Mythology?”

“Around ten years ago sir.” Cloud said, nodding. “I read some of the stories on the heroes of the Cosmo Myths and became hooked.”

“Good, good…well, as I’ve seen you have a rather extensive talent for this.” She said. “though it is wrong of me, I think you are able to the work.”

She reached into her bag and pulled out two old looking books, one bound in red leather and one that looked like a simple pocketbook. Placing them on the table in front of her. “I was going to begin this assignment after the next test period, but you seem able to it.” Tapping the pocketbook, “This is something of a Rosetta stone, with it, you’ll be able to translate the language this book here was written in.” She lifted the leather book. “Take as long as you need Strife, but translate everything in it. When done, I’d like to hear your opinion on the subject matter.”

“Just to hear?”

“Yes, this isn’t an official assignment ‘per say’, but it’s something that I think you can handle.” She looked at him. “Just remember that not everything is as clear cut as the world seems Strife, dismissed.”
                                                            **
“So she just plonked this thing on you?” Zack asked as he flicked through the oddly written book, “Seems to be a lot of gobbledegook to me.”

“Well whoever wrote it made the language up.” Cloud said as he continued performing sit ups. “I’ve checked out three volumes of foreign languages, including the Cetra language and none of it matches up, but this.” He raised the pocketbook. “It gives you the translations, but man is it difficult.”

“I’ll freakin’ bet.” Zack said as he closed the book. “So, what’s it about?”

“To be honest, I’m not that sure yet.” Cloud replied, as he threw the pocketbook over to the bunk. “It seems to be a little bit of a history of one or more people in the world. I think it’s set before the town system started up, you know, in the Long Calm.”

He looked at Zack, he didn’t seem to understand what Cloud was talking about. He sighed and sat up “Okay, you know that around two and a half thousand years ago the Cetra set a decree about humans right, well when they disappeared from history and humans started to expand across he globe, it was known as ’the long calm’.”

Zack seemed to be shocked and shrugged. “Whatever you say man, I was never a fan of history. Hated it…could always sum it up in one sentence, ‘a lot of people died’.”

Cloud gave a sigh and fell back, before continuing his training.

Later that night, as most of the cadets were either resting or off somewhere, Cloud was sitting at his bunk, hastily scribbling down a mishmash translation of the book, it was a really interesting read to be honest. It looked like a collection of historical records from before he had been born.

“September 6420. The Manufacturer has been increasing it’s own stockpiles of weapons as of three months ago, we as the United People have tried to explain that we have no desire to try and overthrow the current town system that is building outside the Rising Lilly.”

Cloud scratched his head, whoever these people were, it was well over a century ago and by the sounds of it, whoever they were, they were afraid that the towns were gearing up to war.

He finished two more paragraphs before closing the books and shutting his light off.
                                                              **
“Okay class, as I’ve graded your essays and am grateful that you all have passed this, I think it time to do a little bit of history of our great company, the Shinra.” Professor Jeaezelle said, sitting down. “Now, I know everyone here knows that the first job of our company is to deliver Mako Energy to the whole world, but does anyone know what the Shinra originally were?”

Daniel Jacksons lifted his hand tentatively. “Well, from what me granny say’s, they were a building and contracting company when they started out, they were the ones who helped build most of the cities around the globe.”

Jeaezelle nodded. “That’s completely true Jacksons, as they were known back then the Ra Building and Development Company did help build a lot of the towns acorss the main continents, but of course, that did change didn’t it. Do you know what happened after that?”
“Well, weren’t they a weapons company too?” Harold Artiscon asked “Don’t they all own the ground rights to the weapons shops in the towns?”

“Yes they do.” She replied, “At the 6350’s, the creator of Ra Development died of a heart attack, leaving his son Madara in charge, from what little records state from back then, he changed the family name from Oradinth to Shin-Ra which translates into modern language as God of the Light, he used the wealth they had built to add the weapons development department to the Ra and he added the Shin to the name.”

And for a single moment, Cloud felt like Professor Jeaezelle had glanced at him, it had just made sense, whoever the United People were, the people stirring up trouble had been the Shinra.

After the class had finished Cloud walked out to the track to immediately finish the whole book.

And as he did, the whole thing seemed to begin taking a better shape. The book looked to be a story of the history of the Shinra, but as soon as he’d finished it, he booked out an official Shin-Ra history book and tried to find a correlation between the two books. But as he did, he eventually started to see that one was heavily pushing down the other.

Though he knew that it was somewhat against the rules for a cadet to leave the training grounds, he had looked up Professor Jeaezelle’s home address and found it in Sector Four on the Upper Plate. Now he was staring at the high rise flats, she was said to be at 5 D, so after pressing the buzzer for it, he heard her voice on the speaker.

“Hello?”

“Um, yeah…Professor, it’s Cloud Strife…I’ve finished the translation and I’d like to talk about it.”

“I’ll buzz you in.” She said, and after a moment the door opened, Cloud started up the elevator to the fifth floor and headed directly for D. After a second, she opened the door to let him in and Cloud did a double-take, she was in what looked like and overlarge nightshirt.

“Come in Strife…you want a drink?”

“Um, I’ve not really-.”

“With what we’re going to talk about, I think you’ll need this.” She said as she pulled out two small glasses and a light brown bottle. After pouring two glasses, she sat down and proffered the glass to Cloud. “From reading your character evaluation, I take it that you will have tried to validate what was in the Journal of the Five Gods?”

“Yeah.” Cloud said, sniffing the glass. “Yeah, I did and every volume that the Shinra have given out has had a similar account of what had happened. But everything seems to point to ‘the United People’ as being the agressors…by the way, how long have you been a double-agent for the Wutai?”

She looked left and right, as if worried that Cloud would have told the people at Shinra what had happened. But Cloud needed to know the truth here, whether or not this war they were in was a legal one. Or whether he was going to work for a bunch of corrupt assholes.

“I just want the facts Professor. I haven’t told the Shinra anything about this…yet.”

She nodded and downed the drink. “Okay, yeah I’ve been a double-agent since the war started. Tell me, what do you believe?”

“I don’t know what to believe, from what I’ve been taught in history class, the Wutai had been aggressors since they formed themselves as a united nation, but that book tells me that the Shinra stirred up trouble by making people think there was a problem.”

“Cloud, if there is anything that I can teach you right now, it’s that not everything you are told is the truth…the fact of the War itself starting is over the Shinra double crossing the Daimio of Wutai and wanting to build a Mako Reactor on the top of the Da Chao.”

Cloud drank down the drink and winced, it was very bitter and thought a moment before continuing. “So…you’re saying that from the moment Ra became Shin-Ra, the family have been aiming for world domination?”

“Yes.” Jeaezelle replied, nodding vigerously. “And everything is so simple, it’s almost impossible to see the links, but I’ve given you them.”

She leaned forwards and took hold of Cloud’s hand. “I know you are an intelligent person Cloud, don’t let yourself be suckered into the lies that the Shinra are telling.”

She looked directly into his eyes now, her eyes seemed to very sincere. “I know this is a lot to ask you, but…do you think that you’ll be able to join us?”

“The Wutai?” Cloud said, “No…no matter what, if I find out that the Shinra are wrong, I’ll do my best to fight them, but the Wutai are as wrong now, even if they were tricked into this war.”

“That’s…just what I thought you might say.” She said, leaning back. “I’m sorry Strife, but I-.”

And it happened almost immediately, he reacted instinctively, toppling the chair back he rolled away as Jeaezelle fired a handgun at him three times, the final bullet slamming into his shoulder.

“You would have been a great member of SOLDIER Strife, you had the brains to build a better world than the one we have.” She said, looking down at him. “But…”

And she pointed the gun at his head.

Without thinking, Cloud rolled up on his shoulder and kicked out, the flip to his feet sent Jeaezelle’s gun flying in the air, Clour gripped the gun in the air and pointed it at her. Before he had time to think, the ricochet had sounded and Cloud saw the back of her head explode outwards, the tiny bullet hole appearing on her forehead, a trickle of blood seeping out.
                                                               **
“So Strife had been approached by an effective double-agent and shown the history of the world.” The President said, nodding. “He phoned it in immediately and hasn’t run…can we trust he isn’t a double agent…he comes from Nibelheim, right…that’s not far from Wutai or the front.”

“No sir.” Roberts said, lifting the boys folder. “He may care more for his comrades than I’d prefer but he’s not got a single trait for pro-Wutain leanings.”

“But I suggest that we keep a closer eye on him and the rest of the year than we usually do…there could be some other agents in the program.” Colonel Verderosa stated. “It would only take two Turks at all training sessions to have them watch, one to heal and one for security.”

The President nodded. “Very well, what can we do about damage control with Strife?”

“He has been convinced that the information was fraudulent sir.” Roberts stated. “The bullet wound seemed to help matters with that.”

The President nodded, he didn’t like taking gambles with anything, but then perhaps with this years group, he could finally gain a full control over the world.

“Very well, you are dismissed, but put a commendation in Strife’s jacket for his service to the Shinra.”
                                                         **
“-so your classes will be suspended for the timebeing, until a new tutor can be assigned to you.” The MP was telling the class. Cloud, his arm in a sling didn’t feel much like talking, he’d killed a woman, someone who had been doing her duty and what she believed in. It just all felt wrong.

He sighed as he returned to the barracks, but his depression worsened as he picked up a letter left there.

Dude, I am ‘so’ sorry about not being here to talk to you about what’s happened, but the higher ups have decided that I need some personal training from the SOLDIERs, I’ll be in Junon for a while, but I swear I’ll be back soon, keep it together.

Zack.


With yet another sigh, Cloud crushed the letter in his free hand and lay back on his bunk.
Well, after...um about nine months....Children of the West is back in some action. I've got Chapter 3 finished and will be uploading 4-8 (which will Finish Clouds Story) either today or tomorrow.
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