Kiros entered the passenger-deck. It was relatively quiet, considering Laguna was present and he usually could yap for hours on end. Usually…yet not this time. In fact only Squall and Commander Gantt were discussing something. Kiros couldn't hear what, as they were sitting at the front of the two rows of seats. It seemed important though; not a smile on either guy's face. Ward and Ellone were seated close to the entrance together with Laguna. Zell and Skye were sort of in between that group, and the two SeeDs discussing certain issues. "Is everyone all right?" Kiros asked since nobody had noticed him standing on the passenger deck entrance yet. Laguna glanced over his shoulder. "Yes, we're fine. Great cannon shot by the way." Ward gave Kiros a thumbs-up, in agreement with Laguna. He nodded and looked at Skye. "How about you?" She smiled reassuringly. "Oh, I'm fine too. A little shaken by all that…but fine." "No problem here." Zell affirmed, grinning. Kiros walked further on the passenger deck. He didn't really mean to eavesdrop, but wondered what the Commander could be talking to Squall about. Last time they talk, it wasn't exactly a friendly conversation... "How can you be sure?" Squall asked calmy, but with a surprised look. -"I've seen lifeless bodies before," Kenan remarked. "And Seifer was definitely dead." "Seifer's dead?" Kiros asked as he walked up. "Who killed him?" He asked it loudly enough for everyone on the passenger deck to hear. They all looked up. -"That's the second time I've heard he was dead…" Zell muttered. Kenan stood up in front of the rows of seats and faced everyone. "Listen, I saw Adel walking up to me, holding his body. She threw it next to her as she was about to kill me as well." "So how do you know Seifer wasn't just unconscious?" Zell wondered. -"It wasn't a pretty sight." Kenan replied. "He had a wound on his head somewhere, and on his back. I could see a large cut there when Adel threw him down. I'm telling you, he's dead." Zell crossed his arms and rested his head against the back of the seat. "Well, can't say I really care. He was a nuisance. I think it suits him just right…and gives us one less thing to worry about…" "The Sorceress's Knight? I think you have a point Zell." Laguna said. He had stood up and was now leaning against a seat next to Zell's. "Although the main problem still has to be taken care of." Squall still couldn't quite believe it. "Seifer was a lot weaker than I recall…but dead? Killed by Adel?" -"Or one of my bullets." Kenan offered, intensively searching for his handgun. It later on hit him that he'd thrown it away. Not the smartest thing to do, yet not of any real concern. Balamb Garden would have another gun just like it for sure. Zell shrugged. "Say Squall, what was that all about back there? What the heck happened?" He showed him his gunblade. "This used to belong to Seifer. I guess he badly wanted it back. We fought briefly. Then came along Sorceress Adel…" Skye listened to Squall's short story, paying much interest to it.. "What happened next? Did she say anything?" Squall nodded. "She said she wouldn't let me beat her this time, then she fired some kind of beam. I managed to escape. I only ran because I wasn't sure if I could take her on by myself." "That isn't all," Kenan said in a taunting tone of voice. "Is it, Leonhart?" Squall eyed Kenan. "What do you mean?" He smirked. "I think you know what I mean. It's a little convenient for you that the Sorceress happened to miss, now isn't it? We were standing a lot further away from her and barely escaped that beam ourselves. It makes you think…" Zell rolled his eyes. "Ah, do you have to keep being like that man? Why can't you trust the guy?" "It's true, I think you are being stubborn Commander." Laguna said with hands in his pockets. -"Yes, I am stubborn." He said, untouched by the fact that some people were starting to dislike him. Laguna would have tried to change Kenan's mind, if it wasn't for the fact that this seemed an impossible mission. Some people are just more stubborn than others, he had gathered. Briefly Squall considered beating the guy into believing his story. But then, that probably wouldn't be such a good idea. So how could he ever make Kenan believe his story? By now everyone had returned to their seats and sat silently staring out the window at the clouds racing by. "I'd best go back to the Bridge." Kiros said, primarily aimed at Laguna. He understood. Skye smiled. "See you later Mr. Kiros." He politely smiled back at her. "Count on it." A short while after he left, Squall got out of his seat. He had a great idea, but just needed to be sure if it would work. Knowing Kenan would be warily watching him, he approached Ellone. "I need your help with something." He said. She gave him a strange look. "What is it Squall?" -"Can you still send someone back into another person's past?" He asked cautiously, not yet revealing what he really wanted to ask. And for all he knew Ellone didn't have this special ability anymore in this mixed up world… Laguna's face lit up. He knew what Squall would suggest. Quite brilliantly thought of. "Yes," Ellone replied. "I think so. It has been a while since I last did that though." -"And can you send someone back into my past?" Squall asked thoughtfully. Kenan jumped up from his seat. "Hey…wait a minute…you're saying--?" Zell laughed. "Yeah! That's it! If you don't trust him, why don't you see if he's saying the truth for yourself Kenan?" "What are you guys talking about?" Skye wondered. Zell quickly explained it to her. She had already heard of Ellone's ability, yet didn't know she could do that to anyone. Well, to anyone she has met, that is. Squall turned to Kenan. "How about it? The past can't be a lie. So either you'll find out I have been lying all this time, or you'll see that I'm telling the truth." "Are you sure you can do it Elly?" Laguna asked, concerned for Ellone's well being. "If it's too hard or takes too much--" She chuckled. "Oh, stop worrying Uncle. I have done this before, it should work." Kenan stared wide-eyed at Ellone and held up his hands. "Hey whoa, I haven't agreed to anything yet." Zell stood up and gave him a pat on the back. "C'mon Kenan. If you do this, we can all trust Squall's telling the truth. Not just you. But hey, since you're the big shot around here, it's your mission." "Oow!" Kenan cringed and reached for his back. That Zell didn't know his own strength… -"How about it?" Laguna asked as he moved away from Ellone a bit so she had some more space to work with. He gritted his teeth. "Oh crap. What the heck. As long as someone keeps an eye on Leonhart." -"Don't worry, I will." Zell told him, knowing he'd do little more than occasionally see what the guy was doing. As long as he wasn't sabotaging the plane or killing people, everything would be fine. Ward got up and offered Kenan to take his seat, as it was right next to Ellone's, only in the other row. "Thanks." He said and plopped down. He strapped the seatbelt…you never knowit could be a bumpy ride… Skye sat backwards on her seat and watched the Commander. He felt very uneasy, even somewhat humiliated he'd have to endure another weird dream trip just to prove he was right. She frowned. It was so clear to her how Kenan felt. It was more than just seeing stuff…she could sense it??? Did I read his mind?! Skye panicked inwardly. How did I do that?! Squall thought for a second. "Ellone, you'll have to try to let him experience yesterday morning in me." -"Yesterday morning," She repeated. "Okay. I'll try Squall." Ellone faced Kenan. "Are you ready?" He took a deep breath. "This won't, uh…hurt, will it?" "No of course not," She grinned. "It's more like sleeping. You'll suddenly get very tired. Don't fight this feeling." He took one last look at Leonhart. "For your sake, I hope you were telling the truth." Squall couldn't care less about hollow threats coming from that guy. Of course, it didn't matter. He was telling the truth! "Here goes." Ellone spoke softly and closed her eyes. She concentrated, pictured Squall in her mind, then Kenan. Kenan's eyelids started sagging. He didn't really fight the tiredness, but didn't want to be defenseless either so he put a mild effort in trying to stay awake for a few more seconds. It didn't matter anyway, for in the blink of an eye, both him and Ellone appeared to be unconscious to the rest. Skye rested her head in her arms. "Aww, he's sleeping?" Zell laughed. "…He's a pretty cool guy when he isn't, you know, doing anything. Hehehe" After brushing a strand of hair from her eyes, Laguna kissed Ellone on her forehead. "Sweet dreams."   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   ?! Where the hell am I? "Hello?" "Hellooo? Is anyone there?" Heck, am I even talking out loud? I can't hear myself talk… "Ellone, can you hear me? It isn't working!" Squall. "Who said that?" …. "Squall." Skye called again, more forcefully this time. Ah, Sorceress Skye. So she's in league with Leonhart then? It took Squall a few seconds to realize where he was as he opened his eyes. He got up and swung his feet over the side of the bed. Still feeling sleepy, he gathered his stuff from under the bed. Whoa, I feel sleepy. Just like Leonhart…this is weird… Skye sat down next to him. "Sorry I had to wake you so soon, but I have a feeling we'd better go now." "Go where? Why? Will someone please tell me what the hell is happening?!" Squall put on his boots, and looked at Skye. "Are the Galbadians here?" Hmm…this room doesn't look familiar. "Dammit Leonhart, look up, I want to get a better view of the room!" She shook her head. "…Balamb Garden…" Ah ha! This must be… He noticed the room's door was wide open. Balamb Garden…here? Docked in FH? Bingo, FH. Putting on his jacket, Squall stood up. "Okay, we'd best hurry." Yeah…you hurry Leonhart. "Right." Skye agreed, moving to the doorway. She had already grabbed her backpack and seemed ready to go. -"Did you even sleep?" Squall asked, quickly grabbing his gunblade and backpack. This seems wrong. This is yesterday, but I think it's in the afternoon…maybe evening… She smiled. "Not really, but it's okay. Someone has gotta stand watch." Oh? Standing watch over Leonhart, eh? She has potential yet… Squall looked around the room, making sure he hadn't forgotten anything. Ah, thank you Leonhart! …Man…what a crappy room…what is this? A cheap hotel? As he walked to the hotel hall, Skye shut the room's door, handing the key to Squall. "The Garden arrived a few minutes ago." She explained. "I haven't seen anyone come out though." Definitely the wrong time for me to be inside Squall's head. Yet…strange, how he hardly has a thought running through his mind…or…can't I sense his thoughts? -"They're probably after us." Squall said as they walked down the hall. She looked thoughtful for a second, then shook her head. "No, after me." Aww. That reminds me…Headmaster Cid is going to have a scare when we come back with her… "Ellone?" "This is not far back enough, do you hear me Ellone? I have to go further back in the past."   <<------------------------------------------>>   They both awoke at about the same time. Zell immediately jumped up. "Did it work?" Kenan rubbed his eyes, then looked up at Zell hovering over him like flies would hover over a pile of crap. The smelly kind. "No, it wasn't far back enough." Laguna got down on his knees next to Ellone. "You okay?" -"Of course." She said. Although truth being she was a bit dazzled. Squall folded his arms over his chest. "You were in FH, weren't you?" Kenan raised an eyebrow. "And how did you know that?" -"I remembering feeling something odd." Laguna nodded. "Like fairies were watching over you…" "Something like that." -"Can I try again?" Ellone interrupted. "Even though it didn't work last time, I did narrow it down a bit." Kenan closed his eyes. "Go ahead." He didn't recall feeling sleepy with this attempt, as he thought back about it one time later.     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   "You frown a lot, don't ya?" A girl said laughingly. Sigh…I wonder where I am? That voice…her again?   It's dark in here…and damp…hmm…sorta smelly too… He turned to her. -"H-ey, w-what?" Skye asked uncomfortably. Skye again! So what does this mean? Nothing much…I suppose… "You're not a student here, right?" Squall asked, unable to recognize her. Nope! -"Nope. I was found washed ashore a few days ago. They gave me these old clothes." She answered, not sounding too happy anymore, her sadness being clearly visible. Go me… I'm guessing Skye's thoughts now? "Washed ashore?" Hey wait a sec! Headmaster Cid never told me this -"Yeah. The doctor believes I was involved in some sorta accident." The girl replied. She seems to be sure of herself. "And they locked you up?" -"No, not right away. It wasn't until I talked to the Headmaster." She said, looking down. …I have to talk to him when I get back to Balamb Garden… A sudden feeling of tiresome came over Squall. Even though it must have hardly been after noon, it felt as though an entire day had passed. He couldn't help but yawn. Is he sensing me now? "Hey Leonhart! Am I the one making you feel tired? Huh?" -"Oh, am I boring you?" She asked with a surprised tone of voice. "Yes." "No, I'm just tired." Squall answered. Guessed that one wrong, I suppose. The girl walked over to the prison door. She carefully knocked on it, the sound of it too faint to be heard on the other side of the door. Judging by the sound, it was quite a sturdy door. -"I don't know how," The girl said with a determined look. "But I'm getting out of here." That…is true. Her fire-like hair seemed to glow for just an instance. Or maybe it was just the sunlight shining on it at just the right angle. "So who are you, where are you from?" Squall asked, and was amazed by his own sudden interest. Yeah…sudden interest, huh? Tch… Frowning, she shook her head. Never seen someone do that before…they usually settle for either one of those things… -"I can't remember. Doctor Kadowaki diagnosed me with amnesia." She said. "Although according to the identity tag I was wearing, my name is Skye." Very touching, but still wrong, this isn't the right time. -"Kenan?" "Yes? Is that you Ellone? I…can't see anything…" -"Technically speaking, we're still sleeping." "I see." "Well, not literally of course." -"Never mind. I'll try to get it right now, without having to wake up first, okay? "Sure." Hmm, I wonder if I'll see Skye again.   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   It felt as though his body weighed at least ten tons as Squall slowly realized he lay in bed in his quarters. Oh shit…does this mean I'm lying in bed with another man?! Damn…better not put this in my report. "Wakey, wakey." Squall heard Rinoa say. R-rinoa? She's here? But, where is here? Birds were chirping outside. A cool breeze passed his face. Balamb Garden always was a nice place to wake up in. Rinoa, in Balamb Garden? But Squall's eyes remained shut and he lay perfectly still. Is this guy teasing me, or what? "Alright then." Rinoa said saucily, hands on her hips. "You asked for it." She pulled his sheets and uncovered Squall's feet. I feel…a draft… Rinoa rolled up her sleeves and stretched her fingers. "Let's see if you can resist my tickle torture." I sort of hope I don't have to endure that, thank you very much. Immediately Squall's left eye popped open. "No, I'm awake, I'm awake." Phew, thanks Leonhart, close one. For a few seconds the unexpected brightness completely blinded him. But surely a figure appeared next to him. It…it IS Rinoa! In Balamb Garden! Holy hotdogs! Leonhart is telling the truth?! "Hey, good morning mister Leonhart, I trust you slept well?" Rinoa joyfully said. Okay, okay…he said it happened out in the fields…well?…this could take a while… Squall crawled up with his back to the wall holding his hand in front of the light. He now opened both his eyes, slowly they began to focus. Rinoa stood directly next to him. Apparently she had opened up the curtains, and thrown open the window. As Squall regained normal vision, he noticed Rinoa's outfit in particular. She was wearing something he'd never seen before. It looked a lot like a female SeeD's formal uniform, but altered, more festive. He couldn't really describe it. But it looked amazing on her. Beautiful as ever. Say, but what IS she doing in his bedroom?! !! Do I wanna know? "Well…actually," Squall said. "I had this weird dream." Uh-oh. He rested his hand on his forehead. "Involved a lot of running…" Looking at Rinoa, he saw a warm smile appear on her face. "Was I in your dream?" Rinoa asked. "I was, wasn't I?" Whoa! Stop, I rea-eally don't wanna hear anymore! He sat up straight, swung his legs over the edge of the bed, and reached for the floor with his feet. "You'd rather I dream about another girl?" Squall replied looking up at her. Ha…good one… Rinoa gave Squall a surprised look. "Hey, careful now," She said. "You're developing a sense of humor. This could be dangerous." Squall shook his head. "Whatever…" Ugh…don't shake your head too much…I'm getting a headache… "There you go again with the 'whatever'-thing," Rinoa chuckled. She extended her arm towards Squall. "Need a hand getting up?" She kindly asked. "No thanks. Just give me a minute." He replied. Rinoa placed her hands on her hips again. "Hurry up already." Yeah, that would be nice. Squall looked across the room at the small clock hanging on the opposite side of the door. She followed his gaze. "Yes, it IS breakfast time. So get up mister." "Ellone? Just a bit further, we're close, but not yet there…"   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   "Halt!" The Garden faculty guarding the Cafeteria yelled as Squall approached. What the…? Squall gave him an annoyed look, and showed his ID Card once more. OoooOOoooo, beware of the annoyed Leonhart! Uh…okay…Kenan, get a grip. Be serious… The guards examined it for a moment, and motioned Squall he could proceed. -"Why is every entrance here being guarded?" Squall asked in an attempt to grasp the situation in the Garden. He is genuinely confused…that's why he asked all those questions… "We are expecting an attack from the Galbadians soon now." He explained. "Commander Gantt tightened the security around here." Yeah, I'm amazing, thank you…I'd take a bow but I'm not in control of my body at the moment Seriously though, this is too far. I have to go just a little bit further back…I'm very close now… Commander Gantt?-Squall thought. The name didn't sound familiar. He considered it was possible he was a Commander at Trabia Garden and was now stationed here. But last Squall checked he was in command of Balamb Garden. Why did Cid demote him? "Ellone, I'd love to see myself through Squall's eyes but…well, just send me back a little further if you can…"   <<------------------------------------------>>   Kenan's eyes popped open. Where am I now? He noticed Zell still hung over him and sighed. Oh, the present I guess. "Did you see it?" He curiously asked. -"Not yet. I did see Rinoa however…" Zell's eyes went wide. "So this means?" Kenan held up his hand. "Whoa, not yet. I have to see what happened to Squall that got him here in the first place." Skye grinned. "You've stopped calling him Leonhart now?" He frowned. "Never mind. Is Ellone ready again?" Laguna moved away from her and Kenan could see her face. It showed exhaustion. She nodded. "I can do it, but only once more." "Roger that." Kenan said and closed his eyes again, ready for the 'dreamworld'. Some seconds later he felt his head getting heavier and heavier. Here I go…for the fourth time…     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   "Yeah. I believe so." Squall said with a worried look. "But he never actually told me this." Whoa, is this the right place? Hmm…a picnic out in the fields near Balamb…damn…this is it… Now what is he talking about? "Just that he wanted to see me after we defeated Ultimecia." Squall continued. "But I'm not sure I want to see him…" …Defeated Ultimecia… With a smile Rinoa assured Squall whatever he thought was best was okay with her. Suddenly a shot of pain ran through Squall. It felt like someone was pounding his head with a hammer. Yeah, hi, it's me again… He cringed and moved his hand against his forehead. "I think I'm coming down with something." He said. "I don't feel so good. Maybe I'd better go." Am I causing pain now? Maybe I shouldn't keep entering the same person's mind. Rinoa put her arm around Squall. "Just a bit longer…" She whispered. "You know once this moment has passed it will never come again…" By Odin! They're lovers! With a nod Squall agreed. His head still aching. Hehe, sorry Squall, shouldn't have yelled huh? "And Seifer…" Squall realized. "What about him?" He died… -"I think he knows he was wrong. I doubt we'll get any trouble from him anymore." Rinoa tried to assure Squall who still wasn't fully convinced. "Last I heard, he was staying in Fisherman's Horizon." The past for Squall must be totally different… "As long as he just stays there." Squall said, taking a few more sips from his soda. -"You worry too much." Rinoa concluded. She pointed at a small cake she had brought with her. Looks delicious… "Be a dear, and hand me a piece of that cake I got from the lunch-lady. It looks delicious." Rinoa said looking at Squall with puppy dog eyes. Squall sighed and bent forward, simply grabbing the whole cake. "There you go." He said. Surprised by a sudden nudge from Rinoa, Squall raised an eyebrow. "What??" He isn't the brightest… Giggling, she shook her head. "You're supposed to feed me pieces goof." She said. "That's what couples do." I think I pretty much envy him at this point. "Yeah…well I forgot to read the manual on this…" Squall explained. He broke off a small piece and fed Rinoa. "Happy now?" He asked. -"Hmm, food's excellent. Lousy service though." Rinoa laughed and turned to Squall. "It wouldn't hurt to smile." She said as she noticed his troubled look. She shrugged and tried to imitate Squall's expression. "Hey, cut that out. I'm just not used to smiling, okay?" He explained. Why? Bad childhood? Rolling up her sleeve, Rinoa turned to Squall. "I'll just have to work on that, now won't I?" "Yeah okay." Squall said slightly grinning. "Just don't expect me to turn out as hyper as Selphie." Rinoa laughed, and snuggled up even closer to Squall. Images suddenly flashed through Squall's mind. Whoa! They were vague and dark like old photographs, yet at the same time so very clear. Clearer than memories or dreams. This is weird! He sees a figure looking at him from a distance. The figure closes with each image until he or she is almost within reach. A laugh. Everything goes dark but the same twisted laughter keeps echoing. "Hey, Squall you don't look so good." Rinoa said waving her hand before his face. ? I'm back here? He shook his head and realized he was still sitting next to Rinoa in the fields near Balamb Garden. Again with the head shaking… As he stood up a blue circle appeared on the ground around him. It flashed brightly and began swirled. Shit, this is it! -What?! My thoughts exactly Leonhart Terrified, Rinoa backed away from Squall and in doing so tripped over a small stone. Squall reached for his head with both hands. The sudden headache had returned, far worse now than before. He had to fight a severe pain to stay focused. Ugh! I feel it too! It isn't being caused by me, is it!? "What's going on!" Squall yelled trying to make sense of everything. He turned to Rinoa. She lay on the ground staring at Squall with wide eyes. Tears appeared . "Squall, what's happening to you?" She demanded to know. The air around Squall's body lit up dark blue. He stretched his arms in front of him, closely examining them. T-this is too much…this can't be real! -"Is Ellone doing this??" Rinoa asked. ! That's why he fled to Esthar. "Ugh…I…don't…know…!" Squall barely managed to say under the excruciating pain he felt. He tried to walk towards Rinoa. She got up from the grass and extended her arm towards him. "Grab my hand Squall!" Rinoa shouted, tears now rolling down her face. "Rinoa!" He could see her mouth move but couldn't hear what she was saying. She won't let you go, that's what she said Squall! A blinding light emanated from where Rinoa stood and in the blink of an eye she disappeared right in front of Squall. !? Then the blue circle widened on the ground around him and became white. Streams of blue light whirled around Squall, like tentacles growing upwards to the sky. It's…beautiful… As he looked down, the ground he stood on faded and Squall fell through the void it left. "Ellone! Get me out now! I can't breathe!" Everything turned black.     <<------------------------------------------>>    "Is he--?" -"No." Laguna observed. "Look, he's snapping out of it." Suddenly Kenan started heaving heavily, as if fighting to get every bit of air he could. He was hyperventilating. Zell hold him down by his shoulders. "Kenan! Relax! You're aboard the Einlanzer again." Kenan opened his eyes and noticed they'd all gathered around him. Even Ellone had gotten up. She must have known she couldn't be harmed by anything that happened in the past. So, she didn't experience it like Kenan did… "Commander?" Laguna called. "Whatever happened, you're okay now." His respiration returned to normal. -"So you saw it?" Squall asked. Kenan replied with a slight nod, still being too shocked to speak up. He'd probably blurt incoherent stuff if he tried to talk at this time. "It was…terrible…" Skye mumbled. Kenan looked up at her questioningly. She smiled nervously. "Uh, it must have been I mean. Judging by the look on your face." Now wasn't the time to tell him she sensed certain things. But then she wasn't sure she could really have any control over this sense, in the way Ellone controlled her ability. With Skye, it was totally random. She'd get a vague sketch of a person's mind, and it would be over too quickly to tell much more than the person's emotional state. Zell let go of Kenan's shoulders, seeing he recovered from the shock. "What did you see Kenan?" He asked. He turned his head aside and coughed a few times. -"Everything." He stated. "I saw it all. Leonha--, I mean, Squall…is telling the truth." Zell gasped. "Everything he said is true?" -"As far is I can tell, yeah." Laguna eyed the Commander. "Do you know what exactly happened to Mr. Leonhart now?" He reached for his forehead. "N-no. I don't know what it was. Just that it aint anything normal. Squall literally fell through the ground. And Rinoa really did just vanish all of a sudden." "Wow," Zell breathed. "That's amazing. Well, amazingly strange, of course." -"I'm glad it's finely settled." Squall said. Skye laughed. "Glad? That's a bit of an understatement, isn't it?" He frowned. "This only conforms what happened to me in the past, in doesn't solve anything in the present." "But it's a start," Laguna pointed out. "To finding out how you got here. And at least you've gained the Commander's trust now, right?" Kenan unbuckled his seatbelt and crawled up from his seat. Grinning, Zell supported the back of his head with his hands. "I don't think he likes admitting he was wrong." "Yeah, okay, I was wrong. I know that now." He said, making his way to the doors. They slid open. "We'll be landing soon," He told them, glancing over his shoulder. "I suggest you all get seated and buckle up." Kenan walked out of the room and the doors closed up behind him. Everyone stared at them momentarily, wondering where he was going, but then did what the Commander suggested. With the exception of Ward, nobody had any trouble with the seatbelt. Skye twiddled with her thumbs. "I don't think Kenan likes to apologize either." But Squall didn't care much for a 'I'm sorry' from that guy. It wouldn't change anything. Something happened to him, and that was a fact. An excited Zell pressed his cheek against the glass and peered down. The Airship was flying over land! Kinda barren and dry type land. The Centra continent! "Zone Two…" Laguna mumbled to himself. "Let's hope Selphie is a good pilot." Whilst everyone stared down from the plane, either to the left or right, Ward stared in front of him, worrying. Dark clouds seem to lie waiting for them up ahead. Only a few rays of sunlight managed to shine through. Zone Two. He thought. A cursed place. A rather sudden announcement over the intercom gave everyone a bit of a fright. "Hello everyone!" Selphie's voice rung through a speaker nearby. "I just wanted to say we'll be landing in about a minute from now, and..uh..you'd better have strapped yourselves in." -"Ugh." Zell uttered. "I just had this sinking feeling in my stomach!"   <<------------------------------------------>>   "Hey, hey, hey!" Irvine called out. "What do you mean 'severe storms'?" Selphie was too busy trying to keep the plane in one piece to be able to answer. Apparently there was a lot of turbulence in the area they were about to land. -"Not to worry." Kiros assured from the other pilot seat. "Miss Tilmitt will guide us through safely." Irvine shifted uncomfortably in his seat, as the white clouds that raced by gradually became darker. "I can see why this makes a good hiding place." Quistis remarked. "Who would go to an area such as this one?" Kiros turned to the ex-Instructor. "Sorceress Ultimecia will find us sooner or later. She won't give up until she knows all threats have been eliminated." Just when Irvine was starting to feel a little bitter…Kiros had to go say something like that… "Einlanzer, reduce speed and slowly start descending." The man aboard the Ragnarok III instructed Selphie. "Try to keep it steady at all times, since the Airship will get a tendency to stall." -"Okie dokie!" She responded cheerfully and did as the man told her. Quistis chuckled. "Okie dokie? I don't think that's the correct reply according to the formal rules of communication." "That's Selphie for ya." Irvine pointed out. "Un-formal." Just then a thunderbolt struck down from the dark clouds, illuminating the entire area for a second. It didn't strike near the Einlanzer, yet gave everyone quite a startle. Suddenly all kinds of dots filled up the radar screen Quistis sat behind. At first each dot was interpreted as by the onboard computer as an armed threat, but she knew that couldn't be right. "There seems to be strange electrical activity in this whole area." She concluded. "It's interfering with our systems." Irvine shrugged. "Haven't we seen this before?" -"Yes." Quistis said after a few moments of thought. "There is an area near Trabia Garden with similar disturbance." Kiros looked down at the small display of the world map on his console. "… … Zone Three." The Airship suddenly banked right and avoided a thunder strike. Irvine had smacked against the glass window with his cheek. "Ow…great flying dear." He sighed, rubbing his -very mild- injury. Quistis glanced at the storms, which now completely surrounded the Einlanzer on all sides. "Mr. Kiros?" She called. "If this is Zone Two, and the area near Trabia Garden Zone Three, where is Zone One?" He crossed his arms. "Somewhere deep in the ocean. I remember scientists from all over the world came to study that area when first discovered thirty or forty years ago. They had some kind of Research Island there. It was called The Deep Sea Research Institute or something along those lines. Perhaps you've heard of it?" Irvine looked up. He remembered hearing Zell rant about some kinda facility in the ocean before. "Uhm, didn't they research in Guardian Forces?" -"Yes." Kiros replied, amazed Mr. Kinneas knew of it. "That and some other things." Before Irvine could ask exactly what, Selphie started the final descent as instructed. She could hardly see anything through the dark clouds, and the guidance system wasn't working, but the man on the Ragnarok III assured her that Balamb Garden was 'parked' nearby. Irvine braced himself. Which is to say he tightly held on to the weapons console in front of him; avoiding any contact with the buttons on it as if they were red-hot. "Okay." He heard the man say to Selphie. "You're almost there now. Ease her in, nice and slow."   <<------------------------------------------>>   Kenan held on to the guardrail until he felt the Airship had landed. There was a brief loud thud, but other than that it appeared a perfect and safe landing. He stood just in front of the stairs in the second large bay. The empty one. From there he could either follow the walkway to the exterior airlock, or head down the stairs towards the normal exit. Yet, without a doubt, Headmaster Cid would be waiting outside. Kenan wasn't sure how he would react to seeing Sorceress Skye without Odine's bangle, and not in captivity either. "Kenan, you're fired!" He grinned inwardly. No, that wasn't very likely. He would be needed in the fight against Ultimecia. However there could be repercussions. Like reduced salary or a demotion. "Your report Commander." He said to himself, mimicking the Headmaster's voice. -"Well Sir, it took us an entire day to accomplish nothing. We didn't complete our mission, and in fact are even somewhere in the minus in terms of accomplishments, since Esthar was lost during our stay there. Without much of a fight, I might add. So, in general, we wasted our damn time!" He glanced around. Good…nobody had heard him. Oh well. Kenan thought and slowly descended on the stairs. Now to report what I just said to the Headmaster and…He sighed. Be sentenced to death or something.


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