Reno's past haunts him, the next clue in their problems proves to be worrying.
“That would be for Rufus or Tseng to decide.” Rude said picking up the glasses; at least Hojo’s seemed to stay in one piece.
Reno was always finding a way to trash his in fights or by sitting on them drunk at the bars. In fact when Rude went over the times he’d replaced his shades he had to wonder if Reno was doing it deliberately. It was the kind of mindless thing the second-to-Tseng would do, if only for his own amusement. Reno was a selfish son of a bitch but he was good at what he did.
“Can you find out?” Leon urged and watched as Elena got on to her agent and started to type out the information to their boss. It took all of five minutes to get the response, a simple ‘yes’. Leon looked at the screen as she turned it around and smirked. “Well finally something I know I can do.”
Cloud mumbled under his breath, he couldn’t escape that bastard and Leon looked over just in time to catch the twitch in the ex-SOLDIER’s lip. There was a moment or two of silence and then Cloud leant down on the floor, he spotted something glint in the light found a small earring, it was Zack’s. He left his mark even now and Elena watched as he opened his palm and stared at it, he wished he could prove to Zack he’d got it right, that he’d been the hero but even now all these years later he still wondered if he was even close.
“Hojo has to be stopped, the virus could be used on thousands at a minimum and he’s a crazy scientist. Look what they did to us in the name of science.” He closed his hand around the earring. “Rude, Elena what clues can you give us about him from here?”
Rude looked around the area and over to some of the papers, he got Luis’ notes back out and sat down to compare them all. This was going to take some thinking and he didn’t spot the shuffling figure walking in to the room. Luckily Leon did and just as Cloud went to the sword he levelled and fired the shotgun, the blast made Elena jump a little but at least the thing collapsed and she continued her search.
“The notes seem to have been based on using this as a quick stop for testing. There’s going to be another city used.” Rude threw the open notes towards Cloud.
“Then we need to find out which one and get there.” He nodded.
“I think I have the answer gentlemen.” Elena looked up over her shoulder from a draw and turned around; she flipped out an old box of matches with the hotel name on the front.
“Where is it?” Leon reloaded his shotgun.
“I think it’s going to be a mess if I am right.” Elena whispered. “It’s Kalm.”
“Holy…” Cloud’s face paled. “I sincerely hope you are wrong.” He looked to Rude. “Get us transport, fast.”
Rude nodded and patched through to Reno who had barely got out of the airspace in the time they had before being called back around. Reno landed an hour later and the group got on-board without another word. The redhead slid out of the chopper for a moment and lit up looking around. What a shithole… he yawned, he needed sleep and he was about to fly out to Kalm. Wonderful.
“Hey partner you ready?” Rude leant over.
“Sure,” he flicked his smoke away, “what’s with the rush? Surely it takes time to set up labs and crap anyway. I need to fucking sleep soon at least you lot can crash on my bird.” He yawned and stretched.
“Just do your usual.” Rude grumbled. “Shoot up and deal with it.” With that he got into the bird and settled with the others.
Reno sighed and slid into the seat, he pulled off and Leon noted none of the jests and jibes were apparent. Rude had hit a sore spot, Reno was in and out of rehab like a basketball through hoops. His partner had already kicked the living daylights out of him once and it had been enough to keep him straight for the last year or so. He didn’t want to bring up old troubles so he just yawned, grabbed an energy drink and headed out to Kalm.
Rude felt bad for snapping at him, Reno had been through enough already. Four years prior to this he’d been the one that had sat on watch when the President had been blown up in a bomb, the situation had spiralled into madness with Reeve and Vincent Valentine fronting the worst of it whilst the redhead watched Rufus on a breathing bypass machine. Effectively Rufus should have died but had somehow come back and Rude wondered if it was what had set Reno off down that track originally.
In the end Cloud took the plunge and slid into the co-pilots seat, he looked over the scores of old pictures from long lost friends and allies. He looked at the picture Reno had of Zack with Sephiroth.
“A bit nostalgic for you Reno.” He looked over at him.
“Pays to remember you survived yo.” Reno shrugged as they came over towards Kalm, the lights were bright in the night sky.