On the Way to a Smile – Episode:Shin-Ra

“Tseng, Reno, Rude, Elena,” Rufus began talking to the four Turks that remained the next morning after the Lifestream had burst out of the Planet. “What do you all plan to do from here?”

“I don’t remember being fired.”

Tseng and the others agreed with Reno.

Rufus went on to give the Turks two orders. One was to return to Midgar and find out the situation there and the second was to gather friends.

“Just because people may be our staff doesn’t mean they’re friends. Understood?”

“I know that. But what use will it be gathering friends now? What are you going to do?”

“I want information for now no matter how little or how much.”

Rufus already knew he had fractured ribs and a broken right heel and the pain they were causing him meant he needed the assistance of a wheelchair but, he still hadn’t lost his dignity.


“Yes, sir.”

“I’m sure you’ve been reprimanded—”

“There are still many things that only Shinra can accomplish.”

Rufus nodded satisfied at his response.

“I’m sure this will be fun.”

The Turks split up into two groups as they made their way to Midgar practically without resting. Tseng and Elena were responsible for gathering intelligence while Reno and Rude were responsible in finding friends. All the friends they had managed to gather yesterday night were already spread out gathering information and sending it all back to Kalm.

“Avalanche once said Shinra was the Planet’s enemy,” Reno suddenly said as if it suddenly came to mind.


“Looks like they were right.”

“Why’s that?”


The Lifestream had saved the Planet but it had also punished Midgar. The town wasn’t completely destroyed but rebuilding it was going to be very difficult. It was as if it they were sentenced to suffer between life and death – and it wasn’t going to end. On top of that, those who found out it wasn’t Shinra who saved the Planet from Meteor were already hostile towards them. Many people mentioned Shinra’s name as if they had to lay the blame for these difficult times on someone.

The two of them arrived near the Shinra Building in Sector Zero. A large crowd of people were gathering there even though there weren’t many wounded around. It seems they were all wanting to know something or were here to seek help.

“How ironic,” Reno grunted as he listened to the conversations amongst the evacuees. They had all considered the Shinra Company to be the root of all evil yet, they all hoped Shinra will also be the ones that will change the dire situation they’re currently in.

“I want to gag their mouths with my socks.”

“Do it. I won’t stop you.”

“I don’t have any spares.”

* * *

Meanwhile, Tseng and Elena were in the lower sectors of Midgar, the Wall Markets in the Sector Six Slums. It wasn’t a very sophisticated place but long ago, the Turks would occasionally go there because it was easy to gather information. It was now a mess, covered with the fallen rubble from the Plates and pillars. If someone was told that’s what the place was already like, they might believe it. That was the impression people had of the Slums. There were few remaining that could say how it’s changed – a result of people spreading rumours that Midgar will soon be destroyed and evacuated themselves from the umbrella Plate.

On their way here, Tseng and Elena too had heard people criticising the Shinra Company. There were even people who threw stones at them the moment they saw their Turks uniform.

“It’s kind of hard to go about our job. Why don’t we change our clothes?”

They found a store and chose some more appropriate clothing— Tseng wore a flashy t-shirt resembling those from Costa Del Sol and Elena wore a petite one piece dress. The two of them entered a bar where they presumed most people would gather at. Most of the tables were already taken. Finding empty seats, the two of them sat down and immediately began observing the crowd. Tseng’s eyes were trained on a man wearing a black shirt who took up an entire table that should have had room for four.

“He’s sleeping, isn’t he?”

“He could be—”

“Mr. Tseng?”

“What is it?”

“I decided to stay with the team partly because of my pride as a Turk but, the most important reason was because of—”

Elena had never tried to hide her own attraction towards her superior but when faced with the man right before her, even she couldn’t put her feelings into words.



“It’s unnatural for you to be silent. I don’t care if you’re just going to talk nonsense. Just talk.”

“Nonsense…?” Elena said sighing slightly, looking up at Tseng’s face. Tseng seemed to be concerned about the sleeping man ever since he entered the bar.


Tseng got up and went over to the man, calling out to him.

“Are you alright?”

But there was no answer. Tseng put a hand on his shoulder and shook him a bit but, almost immediately withdrew his hand when he felt some stickiness in his palm. Turning his hand round he found a black sticky substance. Tseng started inspecting the man again. He wore a black shirt which made it difficult for them to realise the entire top half of his body was covered in the substance.

“What’s the matter?” Elena asked walking over next to Tseng.

“He’s dead.”

* * *

Rude and Reno were in the lobby of the Shinra Building. Reno was writing a message on a large advertising space that was roughly the size of a man.

“Anyone who wishes to escape follow the railway at the station upwards and get down from there. No trains are in operation. Date of resuming services undetermined. There are no provisions here. Shinra Company is temporarily closed down.”

* * *

The house in Kalm had two floors – On the first floor there was a living room, a dining room, a small kitchen, bathroom and a toilet. The second floor had three bedrooms and Rufus was in one of them. His heel was in a cast and his neck, chest and waist were bandaged heavily so it was still difficult for him to move around without his wheel chair.

Rufus gazed over the town from the window. The closed curtains had a small gap he could peep through and people can be seen hurrying about in the streets. Kalm was also damaged by the Lifestream but there weren’t any houses damaged to the point that they were uninhabitable. For that very reason, there were so many refugees from Midgar who were all here seeking for such a home that it surprised Rufus. However, he had to be discrete and with no bodyguards present he couldn’t risk getting into contact with any of these people. He felt very uneasy when he realised that only a single wall partitioned him from the anxious and irritated crowds outside. And it was just the average wall too, not the thick reinforced walls that the Shinra Building had. Tseng had insisted someone stayed to guard him but Rufus declined. He smiled bitterly at the sense of uselessness he felt and thought over things again. The Shinra Building was a fortress his father built. It could be said that it was a symbol of his father. A son must leave his father’s house one day and work his own way up starting from scratch. It was normal. Now that time has come for him. It was no time to fear the public. He had to dive in and accomplish whatever that he must— And that could only be the reconstruction of the world.

The door bell suddenly rang. It rang once then paused. Another ring. Just as Rufus was going to ignore it, it rang again. It was rang the wrong way. It wasn’t someone he knew. Soon afterwards, he could hear someone trying to break their way in through the door. Rufus wheeled himself towards the bed, taking out a pistol from underneath the pillow and hoped nothing dangerous was about to happen. He hid it away inside the sleeve of his opposite arm and struggled to drag a chair over to the door from the window.

Rude did a good job in reinforcing the door and it seemed to force the visitors to give up. But almost immediately afterwards, glass could be heard being broken and a number of intruders had broken their way inside.

“My my,” Rufus said to himself as he removed the safety lock on his pistol.

* * *

It was evening. Elena and Tseng were walking back to Kalm. They were talking about the disease they came across in the Slums. It seems there were many people who had the same symptoms as the man that died in the bar.

“Did you learn anything about it while I was resting?”

“No. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it Mr. Tseng.”

In other words, those symptoms have only started to become widespread today and we don’t know much about the disease, Tseng thought to himself. Is there anything different about today and yesterday? I see — The Lifestream. So the Lifestream didn’t just destroy the city. It must be punishing the people of this Planet too.

“I hope everyone can remain calm.”

“Who knows.”

Elena remembered how all the customers panicked at the bar when they found out the man was dead. Everyone had looked at the man out of curiosity at first but after someone said, “It’s contagious!” panic broke out and everyone was pushing and shoving, trying to get out first.

* * *

Rude and Reno were already walking back to Kalm ahead of Elena and Tseng. They had wanted to use the helicopter or a car but they didn’t know what the current situation with fuel was so it probably wouldn’t be easy getting them to run.

“We going to Sector Five tomorrow?”

“And what are we going to do at the company residential area? Ah wait, you think there might be some of our staff there.”

“There is a warehouse there. I’d like to secure some vehicles— and weapons.”

“Weapons huh. Yeah, we’ll need some.”

Reno sighed as he thought about the exhausted people of Midgar and the people who couldn’t conceal their discontent from them.

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