Final Fantasy: Heritage


“In the Beginning”




Hiroshima, Japan, 1945


            It was a cool Autumn day in Japan. Underneath the city of Hiroshima sat a secret laboratory dedicated to furthering the glory of the Japanese Empire. In charge of the lab, surprisingly enough, was a German scientist. His name was Gestahl, and he was a striking man with grey hair and a long beard. He had a lean, powerful form for a man in his seventies and a tendency to stare in an extremely intimidating way. Despite his nationality, his devotion to the cause was second to none and no one dared question his motives in serving the Emperor instead of the Fuehrer. Of course, considering that he had been working on the project since its inception in the early days of the First World War, this was not too surprising. Gestahl was often heard disparaging the fact that Germany had already surrendered. He often praised the determination of the Japanese people to see the war through to the bitter end and commented how proud he was to be serving the Emperor.


            As he stalked through the laboratory, Gestahl once again contemplated the data sheets that sat on the clipboard in his hands. It had taken over thirty years to get this far on the Super Dimensional Soldier project and it looked like it was going to take another thirty years to get any further. He stormed past a couple of frightened guards, ignoring their snapped salutes as he made his way into the deepest, most restricted part of the laboratory. Passing through several layers of security, Gestahl finally reached the one bright point in the project’s dubious history: The Gate.


            At the center of a large room ringed with instruments and sensory apparatus was a small, marble-sized hole in the fabric of reality. He knew from the readings that the portal led to a place of unheard of power, untapped and unknown by any other Earthly agency. If they could find some way of manipulating that energy then the SDS project could reach its final purpose, to provide the Emperor with an unbeatable army. Years had been spent trying to do just that, but so far all attempts to harness or enlarge the portal had failed.


            Gestahl turned away from the anomaly and was walking towards the main lab when he was suddenly thrown from his feet. An intense shockwave blasted through the area and klaxons sounded from all over the laboratory. The floor heaved and buckled in places as debris rained down from the ceiling and Gestahl scrambled back to his feet. “What’s going on?!” The German demanded from a running soldier.


            “It’s Hiroshima, sir!”


            “What about it?” Gestahl demanded angrily.


            The soldier was obviously shaken and took a moment to respond. “It’s gone! The Americans destroyed it utterly!”

            Gestahl was stunned. “Impossible!” He grabbed the soldier by the collar and hoisted him off of the floor, shaking him in anger. “The Americans were just bluffing about having that kind of power!“ Gestahl stopped as a strange noise began building up behind him. Turning around slowly he could only stare in shock as his dreams came true before his eyes. In the test chamber the gate began to swing wide open. In seconds the portal had grown from marble-sized to nearly taking up the entire room. Forgetting about the disaster outside, Gestahl threw the soldier to the ground. “At last! Get the others under control and bring in the equipment!”


            Shaking badly the soldier tried to stand. “But sir, what about Hiroshima?”


            “Forget that blasted city! This is what we’ve been working for this whole time! This will give us even more power than those damn Americans could ever conceive! Japan will at last be recognized as the one, true power on Earth!”


            “Y-yes sir.” The soldier ran, both to carry out his orders and to get away from the wild-eyed scientist.




A few days later


            Gestahl smirked as he stared into the portal. “Send in the capture teams. Tell them I want any living thing that’s larger than a carp.”


            The officer that Gestahl was speaking to nodded and saluted before turning around and barking orders to his men. Around them, scientists ran everywhere, collecting samples, taking readings, and generally being happy little researchers. Gestahl himself was interested in the creature that was lying bound on the ground before him. It had taken dozens of soldiers, almost all of whom had died in the attempt, to subdue the creature. It was over twelve feet tall when standing and strongly resembled a European demon. The German examined the flesh of the monster closely, noting the purple and black tints to its skin and its smooth texture. Before his eyes he could see several of the bullet and grenade wounds beginning to close. “Incredible,” he whispered to no one in particular. “I wonder, what shall we call you, hmmm?”


            Diablos…” The creature’s voice was husky and wracked with pain.


            Gestahl’s eyes widened. “It can talk! Oh, that will make things so much… more interesting.” Turning to some of the nearby scientists and soldiers, Gestahl snapped, “Take this *thing* to one of the converted cells. I want a full analysis performed on it.”


            “Yes, sir!”


            Gestahl keyed on his radio to listen to some of the reports coming in.  


            “There’s another one!”


            “Whoa, that’s a big one!”


            “Get it!”


            “Got it!”


            “Base, this is Capture Team Six, returning with three. I repeat, returning with three.”


            Gestahl smile widened.




A few years later


            “Sir, we believe we’ve come up with a way of fusing these creatures with a human, thus finally fulfilling our project guidelines!”


            “Excellent. Show me.”


            The scientist felt his exuberance drain away some. “But isn’t it a bit pointless now? The Emperor…”


            Gestahl cut the scientist off with a sharp look. “The Emperor… yes. The Emperor assigned us this project and we will continue to work for the Emperor until the Emperor tells us otherwise. AM I CLEAR?” Gestahl watched the scientist scurry away in fear. “Yes, the Emperor is all that matters.” The unearthly chuckle that escaped Gestahl would have unnerved anyone who heard it, but he was alone in the hall.




After the operation


            “How do you feel, sir?” The speaker gulped nervously. The process had been completed successfully, but there had been unexpected complications. The scientists prayed silently that Gestahl’s anger would not destroy them all. Several researchers had disappeared mysteriously after vocalizing their concerns about the project.


            Gestahl could only grin wickedly as his eyes gave off an eerie black glow. “Powerful.”


            The scientist relaxed a little. “A-about the c-complications, sir…”


            Gestahl looked down at his body and shrugged. “It matters not. The process was successful. All of my years of research have been justified! This is a day for celebration!”


            The scientist relaxed completely. “Yes, sir!”


            Examining the changes caused in his form, Gestahl let a smirk cross his lips. The sight was quite unsettling to the others present. “And begin preparations for more of these fusions. I believe that I can find suitable… volunteers.”




Time passes


            “Beginning fusing process between volunteer seven and the creature referred to as ‘Odin’.”


            Gestahl watched impassively. The changes in his body had become more and more pronounced, but he paid them little heed. The power he was gaining, as well as the knowledge he could leech from the creature that called itself Diablos, more than made up for it.


            “Process reaching fifty percent fusion… scans are going off the scale! Something’s wrong! Abort! Ab-”




            One of the scientists froze with his finger over the abort trigger as he turned to stare at Gestahl. “Sir? He could be killed!”


            Gestahl just smirked. “Or he could be changed into something greater. I’m willing to take that risk.”




Further experimentation


            “Beginning fusing process between volunteer eleven and the creature referred to as ‘Zone Seek’.”


            “Process reaching maximum fusion… brain-scans are going off the charts! Should we abort?”


            “Why do you even bother asking? Has that bastard ever aborted one of these projects?”


            “No. But it’s a kid this time! A girl!”


            “Do you honestly think he gives a rat’s ass?”




More tests and experiments


            “Beginning fusing process between volunteer thirteen and the creatures referred to as ‘Brothers’.”


            “Why are we doing this with two of those things? We have a hard enough time with just one!”


            “Gestahl wants to see what would happen. I’m telling you, he’s lost it. I heard from one of the soldiers that he’s calling himself ‘Emperor Gestahl.’”


            “By the kami…”


            “Process reaching maximum fusion… Successful!”


            “What? No shit?! That little kid?”




A short time later


            Klaxons blared. “Alert! Alert! Laboratory animals are escaping! Unknown entities are attacking the lab! Alert! Alert!”


            A scientist running down a hallway spotted a fellow researcher. “What’s going on?!”


            “I don’t know! Some kind of attaaaaagh!”


            The other scientist could only stare at burning corpse that had been a colleague. Looking up, shaking in abject terror, he stared straight into the face of a monster. The researcher’s mind locked up as the face correlated with a name extracted from one of the abominations in the holding cell. “Ifrit…”


            The infernal monster growled in a gruesome smile. “It is good to know the name of your destroyer.”




After the attack


            Gestahl scowled darkly at the spot where the gate used to be. “What are the results?”


            A scientist, his arm wrapped in bandages, read from a report. “All three of the fused beings, not counting yourself, are still under our control. Three of the creatures we held or their remains are still in our possession. Of the three, only one, identified as ‘Jenova’, is still alive, but we do not see it surviving much longer. Of those that escaped, three were injured and were prevented from going back through the hole. Their location is unknown. One successfully fled through the gate. Five new creatures were part of the attack. Of those, two were killed and their remains collected. One was badly injured and prevented from returning through the gate, but it succeeded in escaping the lab. Two others successfully retreated through the portal. Shortly after that, the gate closed and we have been unable to open it again.”


            Gestahl continued to scowl. “Very well.”


            “What shall we do with Jenova? Attempt a fusion or simply let it die?”


            Gestahl laughed hauntingly as an idea occurred to him. “Neither. With the exception of myself, none of our test subjects have managed to keep their sanity after activating their new-found powers… but what if they were borne with it?”




            “I’ve always wanted a son…”




A.N.: This nice and vague opening will be explained in true Final Fantasy fashion, which is to say way late in the story and in as confusing a way as possible. 8)