Chapter 4 – At Seventh Heaven

Chapter 4 – At Seventh Heaven

by December 28, 2014

Chapter 4 - At Seventh Heaven

Translated by Hitoshura

The quickest route from Doyle Village to Seventh Heaven, our meeting place, was to cross the central plaza. Nearly two years ago, an officer from the Shinra Army who was said to have returned from the fortified city Junon declared that this spot would be the centre of the city. Because of that work began on making it into a plaza. The officer’s men and volunteers took part. Shortly after the officer disappeared, and later on there were rumours going around that he’d been killed. Guess it was some infighting between the remnants of Shinra. The project itself was taken over by volunteers, and the plaza was basically finished. But even now you still see about fifty volunteers working there every day. Some days there’s more than a hundred. They were building a memorial in the plaza. Something in honour of the souls of the victims of the Meteor disaster, they said. You can’t say anything against the sentiment. But there was just something about those guys that didn’t sit well with me. I hated the atmosphere they created. It seemed like they were trying too hard to show everyone what positive and upstanding lives they were leading, for the world, for the people, for the future.

“Hey, matey.”

The red-haired Turk was leaning against the framework of the memorial in the centre of the plaza and looking at me. And beckoning me with his hand. Smooth move, Evan. Of course they would be here. It was the Turks who were managing the construction. What did the Shinra Company think they were doing in this day and age? All those volunteers were a pack of little animals who couldn’t live without Shinra looking over them. That was one of the reasons why I didn’t like them.

“You fancy joining in, Fabio?”

Things would probably get awkward if I refused them. But I didn’t want to be part of their little crew. When I was walking along while trying to find the best answer, someone seems to have called the redhead and he went back to his work. I kept on walking, praying that the steel bars of the frame would collapse and Redhead would die.

I circled around another third of the parameter of the plaza, and entered one of the roads that radiated out from it. This street, one of the the first built in this town’s still short history, was my favourite. It had the nicest paving job of any of the other streets, and a lot of the houses that lined each side were so fancy, so refined that you’d have no idea they were made with scrap materials. You could walk the entire street in a matter of minutes, but for those few minutes it felt like you were back in the old Midgar. It felt like Sector 7. Hatred for Shinra aside, Midgar was our home.

Seventh Heaven, a diner we often used for work meetings, was located on this pleasant little street. Its beautiful proprietress was a woman in her mid-twenties called Tifa, who had a fine ‘endowment’. Helping her out around the shop was a little girl called Marlene, who despite her moments of sass had a face that guaranteed she would grow up to be another beauty.


Tifa greeted me with a soft smile. Lots of guys would probably have their eyes drawn a little further down, but for me it was her gentle smiling face that gave me comfort. She moved her gaze, pointing me towards the table where my friends were. I gave a silent bow in return. A little ritual we had repeated many times. Neither was looking for or expecting anything more. This was part of being a regular customer.

My friends were sat around the table. The one in black-rimmed glasses with his round face pointed in my direction was Fabio Brown. Vits’ older brother. You’d usually find him wearing green clothes. Today he was in a light green shirt. It’d probably love to wear a pair of green glasses frames if he could get his hands on some. Fabio hadn’t noticed me, and was staring at the coffee cup in front of him. He must have been worrying about his brother. Or maybe he was regretting stealing the medicine from Shinra. The guy with the short grey hair sitting on Fabio’s right was Lesley Kyle. His dark, rough skin went well with his hair colour. His deep-set eyes and tightly closed mouth gave the impression of a man of few words, but the reality was a different matter. He was a font of knowledge and surprisingly outgoing, and as a result he was the guy you went to if you wanted information. He was propping up his chin with his hands and had his eyes closed. For some reason he always looked sleepy lately. And with her back turned towards me was Kyrie Canaan. The same racing jacket as always. He had cut off the sleeves and made it into a sleeveless top. The ends of her shoulder-length hair were curled inwards today. She had her elbows on the table, and her hands together in front of her face. Probably looking at her nails. Her wiggling her slender shoulders was, ten to one, evidence that she was singing something in her head. The song was no doubt the song from the Costa del Sol commercials.


I approached the three of them, who would never have noticed I was there, and called out to them. Lesley looked at me and frowned. He probably noticed the change to my face. Fabio mumbled a reply with his eyes fixed on his coffee. Fabio, dude. Look at me. Pay attention to the tragedy that is my face.

“See, that hat does look good on you!”

Kyrie was in high spirits.

“Yeah, it’s not bad.”

Moving the shoulder bag I had on my back in front of me, I sat down in an empty seat.

“What happened here, Evan?” Kyrie said, bluntly point to my face. Her big eyes grew even wider.

“Well, actually…” I started to open my mouth, then noticed that Fabio still hadn’t lifted his head up. That’s not on, Fabio. “More importantly, Fabio, how about telling me when you’re going out?”

“Oh, sorry.” Fabio slowly lifted his face and finally looked at mine. “What happened to you?”

“Two Turks came by,” I said as if issuing a challenge.

“Does that mean—“ Fabio said anxiously.

“Vits is fine.”

Fabio was visibly relieved to hear that his brother was safe.

“Don’t just have your own private conversation here. You mean the Turks-Turks? What do you mean, Vits is fine?”

Here we go. There is one reality, and as many truths as there are people. I think it’s time to tell them my truth. I started from the point where the Turks showed up at my house. I took care to make sure what I said and did didn’t sound pathetic. Plus I played up the brutality of the redhead and the skinhead, and to finish off ordered a black tea from Marlene as she passed by.

“I’m sorry, Evan. It was all my fault, I’m real sorry.”

“It’s fine. At least nothing bad happened to Vits. They don’t go easy even if they are dealing with kids, you know.”

“Fabio, what did you do?” Lesley asked. I wanted to be the focus of conversation a bit longer, but what can you do?

“I heard that some of the surviving Shinra people made a painkiller for Geostigma. That they had it stored in a rest home called Healin. I took a bit of it.”

“Dumb.” Kyrie pouted her lips. “Real dumb. And I’m disappointed in you.”

“A bunch of things just seemed to fall into place. I heard that a friend of Keough, the guy who’s been freeloading off the mayor, was working security where they’re storing the medicine—“

Keough must be the the rat-faced explosives guy who told Redhead and his bald friend where I lived.

“Keough’s friend owed him a favour, and he owed me one. We promised to make everything square if he did this. So I went there when Keough’s friend—some guy named Throp—was on guard duty and got some medicine. That’s all, basically.”

That made me angry. That’s all? Tell that to my right eye.

“Did the medicine work? How’s Vits?”

“He’s doing pretty good. But I don’t know what’ll happen when it wears off. He’s fine for a short time, but that might make it more painful the next time.”

“Guess it’s only temporary in the end.”

“It’s better than having nothing at all.”

It didn’t sit well with me that the conversation was just going to end if it carried on like this. Time to drag up a few things.

“But everything isn’t square, is it. The Turks showed up. And they were looking for you specifically. How’d they find out your name and where you live? It is really all over?”

“Oh. Throp must have talked. Maybe they tortured him—“ Fabio put his head in his hands and grabbed at his hair.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Kyrie said softly. “Sure, this Throp might have had to pay a price for this. But see, Evan is here, isn’t he? Punched up, but he’s still breathing. So that means they had their fill of punishment with a couple of punches, right?” Kyrie offer Fabio a lifeboat to rescue him from his guilt.

“But the Turks are a cold-hearted band of killers,” I said to sink Kyrie’s boat.

“Listen to me, Fabio,” Kyrie continued paying no attention to me. “Don’t be thinking about going to save Throp or anything. Shinra aren’t people you want to mess with, but besides that Healin is a long way away, right?”

“I managed to hire a small truck through one of Keough’s contacts. They took all my savings, though.”

“There’s monsters along the way too.”

“I didn’t see any. I guess being a nice person pays off.”

Fabio, no. Now’s not the time for your little catchphrase. Kyrie seemed to be thinking the same thing, furrowing her brow.

“I think this matter’s over and done with too,” Lesley chimed in after having listened in silence. “From what I’ve heard, they’re getting a system together to mass produce that medicine. If they’re going to be distributing it all over, there’s no point in them fixating on the amount Fabio stole. They’ve dealt out their punishment, even if it was to the wrong guy.”

“They just planning on trying to make a profit from this, right?” Fabio raised his voice. “First it was energy, now it’s medicine. They’re scum, Shinra.”

A Shinra hater through and through. There were apparently rumours that the collapse of Sector 7 was done by the Shinra Company themselves, which Fabio firmly believed.

“But Fabio, it’s kind of surprised.” Lesley stuck out his left hand in its black glove and calmed Fabio down. “The WRO are making the medicine, and to top it off they’re going to be handing it out for free.”

“No way!”

“You don’t get something for nothing.” I couldn’t keep quiet. “And the leader of the WRO used to be some Shinra big shot, you know? In the end they’re both connected. They might be camouflaging it well, but they’ve got one goal. Welcome back to the world brought to you by Shinra!”

Maybe my voice got too loud. I could feel the customers around me staring.

“I don’t think the WRO are bad? They’re goal is public security, right?” Kyrie shot me down. I couldn’t back off now.

“And soon that’s going to turn into maintaining order. Those guns they have pointed towards monsters now are going to start pointing at the cities.”

I didn’t have a shred of evidence. Even I thought I had gone too far.

“What’s with you, Evan? Giving me a hard time.”

“My eye hurts.”

“I don’t care if it’s Shinra or the WRO. It doesn’t matter what turns up is one of those groups worried about tomorrow’s world that spring up everywhere then disappear. It’s a good thing to have lots of options. We’re in a time where we can build a life with our own hands. Let anyone who wants to do it have their way. If I think it’s good then I’ll support it, and if I don’t like it I’ll turn my back on it.”

Lesley’s personal mantra on full show now.

“My eye hurts.”

I knew I was pushing the matter. I thought Lesley had a point. But I couldn’t stop myself any more. Someone please help me out.

“And speaking of Shinra,” Lesley looked at me for a second then carried on. “Kyrie said before that they’ve had their fill. That’s true, but I think they’ve got a more serious problem on their hands. The reason they didn’t kill Evan was because if they start getting a bad reputation it’s going to mess things up for them. That’s the major reason. Why? The guys using the Shinra name don’t have the power to refute and quell that bad reputation.”

“That sounds good and all if that’s the case—but that’s just you guessing, isn’t it?” Fabio said, sounding worried.

“Think about it. They’re using a guy who’d help out a thief just to repay a debt to a friend to guard their precious medicine supply. What does that they you? They’d let a chocobo watch their greens nowadays.”

“When you put it like that, that’s true.”

Fabio was satisfied with the answer, and Kyrie looked at Lesley like he was the most dependable man in the room.

“You sometimes see others using Shinra’s name besides the Turks at the plaza. But they don’t have a great influence. Have you ever thought about the reason why?”

Kyrie and Fabio shook their heads. I nodded. I’ve done it now. But Lesley began talking—

“When you say Shinra, you think of that big massive company, so you just don’t know any more. But remember, Shinra is someone’s name. The first and second generation. These two were at the heart of the world. Now they’re treated like total monsters, but that father and son essentially pulled the strings in the world. Setting aside the lower level employees, the higher up you go the more they feared and adored the president. People call Rufus the ‘stupid president’, but I think he had to have been really smart. Wish I could have met him once.”

“He was pretty handsome. Come to think of it, doesn’t Even look a bit like him?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Just joking. So, what’s the reason Shinra can’t grow any bigger?”

“Their stupid president—“ I had no option but to take what Lesley had said and take a shot in the dark. “Rufus Shinra is dead and they don’t have anyone with his charisma to take centre stage, so there’s no appeal to their organization. They can’t gather people to them.”

I was revealed when I saw Lesley nod.

“Wait up. Then who made the Geostigma medicine?” Kyrie asked Fabio.

“That was apparently some former Shinra scientists, and the Turks who had arranged a lot of it. They haven’t even seen the president.,” said Fabio. I guess he heard that from the now captive Throp.

“Hmmm. So basically, there’s nothing to fear from Shinra. That about right?”

“It wouldn’t hurt to be cautious, but it’d probably fine,” Lesley looked at me after he said that. “Even so, I’m pretty impressed, Evan. You took all that without even saying they had the wrong guy. Knew you had it in you.”

How about saying that stuff first next time.

“I’m really sorry I got you wrapped up in this. I promise I’ll pay you back somehow. I swear my life on it.”

Fabio lowered his head.

“Don’t go swearing stuff like that away.”

I pressed on the lens of Fabio’s glasses with my finger and smudged them.

“Cut it off! You know I hate that the most!” Fabio protested as he laughed. Now we’re square.

“Then I call today’s meeting to a close!” declared Kyrie. The men stopped laughing and focused on her.

“What about work? The strategy meeting?” Lesley asked the natural question. Everyone had gathered for that.”

“About that.” Kyrie dropped her gaze. “The client is coming by today, after this. I mixed the dates up, thought it was yesterday.”

“So then there’s nothing for today?”

“I suppose that’s the case.” Even though it wasn’t even cold, Kyrie rubbed her bare shoulders. “Well, let’s get off. Evan, you come with me and hear what the client has to say. It’s a man, so you know.”

“Alright, I guess.”

“If only we had a phone. Could just get in touch like that.”

Kyrie sighed. Phones were a difficult matter. Used to be that we all took them for granted and everyone had one, but with no one making them now they were in very short supply. The people who still had them from before the Meteor disaster would never get rid of theirs. When they do happen to show up on the market, it’s usually accompanied with a ridiculous price tag. But even so they soon disappeared from the shelves. Then at other times shops will be flooded with ones found in a warehouse somewhere that are practically been given away. If you’re in the right place, you’re in luck. If you can tell just how lucky or unlucky someone is by whether or not they have a phone, then we’d be a pack of unlucky ones.

“Let’s go, then.”

Kyrie got out of her seat, and headed for the counter. Lesley laughed about today being the boss’s treat, and Fabio was giving a little clap.

After parting with Fabio who was going back to Doyle Village, Kyrie, Lesley, and myself made our way towards the slums. The office we used for business was located in the slums. We could have our meetings there as well, but we all like to meet up and talk in Seventh Heaven. Of course we liked the shop itself, but there might also have been a slight sense of superiority from going out of our way and paying money to eat and drink or talk about work. I don’t know about others, but there was one for me at least. My little secret.

“You think we’ll make money on this next job?” Lesley made the effort to sound nonchalant.

“The Mrs Rich from before introduced him, so maybe we can get our hopes up.”

All female clients who look like they have money are a Mrs Rich.

“I hope so. I want to save up a bit of money. I started living with a woman.”

“Wow,” Kyrie made an exaggerated spin and showed her surprise. “Since when?”

“About two months ago. The truth is, she’s pregnant. Going to give birth in seven months.”

“No kidding—“

I lost the words to say at this unexpected confession.

“That’s great, Lesley. Really great.”

When Kyrie broke the silence after walking for a while, her voice was cracking. Lesley teased her, asking what she was crying for. There’s just been so much that’s happened, and remembering all that—

“What is she like?”

I cut in. Kyrie and Lesley had known each other for a lot longer than I had known them. I had not once enjoyed their talks about the past.

“Her name is Marle. I’ll introduce you all sometime. Ah, sorry, but I’m going to stop by somewhere then head home.”

Lesley cut off the conversation and hurried off. Kyrie and I followed the back of him with our eyes from where we’d been left. The grey haired man was heading towards an old woman selling fruit from a small wagon. Probably a rip-off merchant. Since two years ago fruit hasn’t ever been cheap. Even stuff that has almost no flavour which wouldn’t get looked at twice in the past would fetch a high price.

“If he keeps that up, no amount of money is going to be enough.”

“Yeah, maybe we ought to find more work.”

We stood side by side, watching our friend bartering with the old woman. It was a sight to see Lesley gesturing to get across the situation with his pregnant lover. They seemed to reach an agreement at last. He received two red fruits and paid his money, and started to leave. Just then the woman called him back, and handed Lesley three small yellow fruits.

“I wonder if he’ll still stick with us in the future.”

“We’ll deal with that when the time comes. I’ll work twice as hard as I do now.”

Kyrie didn’t answer me, and started walking. With a feeling of discomfort I followed her.

Next Chapter