The door at the top of the stairs was locked.
Andrew wouldn’t take that as a means of stopping him, from leading the others out to the upper levels of B Garden
however. Looking at the hinges of the door he nodded and walked a pace away from the door, making sure the others stood well
back from the door.
Raising his hand up and closing his eyes he called upon the Force of Ifrit. The fiery demon from the depths of hell itself.
With a rumbling force Ifrit arrived and looked at the surrounding situation, seeing that his target was a locked door he cocked
his head to the side, and regarded his companion. With a shrug he lifted his huge paw like hands and penetrated the door,
with his large talon like claws like a knife in butter. With a thrust forward the Force tossed the door out the opening and
faded from view, giving Andrew a disgusted look.
"Looks like he wasn’t too pleased to be used like that." Crystal chirped as she breezed out the door and into what
she recognized as the main lobby on the first floor.
Andrew shrugged and stepped out after her. "Bah! I’ll set him up on a date with the Ice Queen Shiva herself." he
Crystal shrugged and sighed, and scanned the area looking for something.
Like a child on Christmas, Crystal’s face beamed as she saw what she was looking for. With a mad dash, almost a skip
in the short girls walk the girl pounced on the black Garden issued head set she saw on the ground and placed it on her head,
twisting the dial on the receiver calling out to whoever would be listening.
"Hello! Is there anybody there?"
"Oh thank Shiva!" Devins voice all but yelled into her ear, causing the young brunette to wince. "We thought you might
be dead, you haven’t responded for a good four or five hours."
"Ye, of little faith." Crystal sighed as she motioned to the others. "Look, we got ourselves out of the lower tunnels,
and we’re all fine. We also have with us, a student Jr Class. Says his name is Jay."
"Right, you’re on main speaker, Xu can hear everything you’re saying. She’s got some instructions, so
listen up. Patching her over to the intercom now." Devin said calmly, with a hint of relief. "Good to hear from you guys."
he added as an after thought.
The chimes of the main intercom sounded, and everywhere, the remaining SEEDs looked up from near states of exhaustion,
as Xu’s voice sounded.
"Everybody, you’ve all fought good. We’re all proud of you. However, the Headmaster has issued a mandatory
evacuation of all persons onboard. You are advised to meet up at the front gate location, by the lobby. From there you will
split off into teams. Even numbered SEEDS are to evacuate via the last remaining escape pods with any injured people. Odd
numbered SEEDs are to assist those to the hatches and then make their way to the hanger where you will board the two Ragnarok
"Nida has set course, on auto pilot, to crash into an ice burg in the hopes of eradicating the last of the monsters. Good
luck to you all, and stay safe."
Irvine, already on his way to an escape hatch frowned even more. It was bound to be his duty to tell her what had happened
Edea sighed as she heard the message as her hand glided across the last magic panel. With fond memory, she looked upon
Squalls face before the bed changed shape around his prone form, forming a cylinder like pod and was jettisoned out into the
sea, following those that had gone before it.
With a sigh, Edea sat down and looked at Dr. Kadawoki. "Go now, you will be of more use at the main gates." She said wearily.
"Aren’t you coming Edea?" Kadawoki asked as she closed her black Dr’s bag and headed towards the door.
"I am afraid I shall not. I have one last thing to do here, to ensure that things go according to plan."
"What- what do you mean?" Kadawoki asked looking at the raven haired sorceress confused.
"After you leave the one who attacked us, will try to follow one of the life bed pods. I’m here to make sure that
doesn’t happen." Edea said gravely.
"Good lord! You’re not going to kill the poor child are you?"
"No. In fact, she will kill me. I merely plan to get her into the last life pod over there, it will take the last of my
strength to do so. Hurry, before you’re left behind."
Laguna, Kiros and Ward had just finished off a Grat when Xu’s message had chimed over the intercom.
"Laguna." Kiros said in his soft whispery voice. "We should go to the Hanger Bay. This way Ward can have our Ragnarok ships
ready to help in the evacuation."
"Sounds reasonable enough." Laguna said to Kiros with a nod, and then looked at Ward who simply looked back his face set
in grim determination. "Right lets go."
With that the three ran down the hallways dodging monsters and fighting till they reached their destination.
Quistis leaned against a wall, near the gate way where she had gathered the SEEDS under her command and pulled off her
head set, and looked at the survivors. Several were injured, and hurt. While a small handful of them looked worn yet determined
to fight to the last. With a heavy sigh she turned her head and looked at the nearest Squad Leader under her command. It was
none other then Andrew Bird. With a crooked smile she pushed away from the wall and started to walk towards the team, she
had thought lost for good.
When she neared them she cleared her throat and waved her hand when Andrew turned and saluted. "No, no. It’s okay.
At ease." She said as she crossed her arms across her chest and looked at her four students.
First Andrew the tall, and stubborn young man, with brown hair and a penetrating gaze. The kind of youth that looked like
the type who wouldn’t give up in a fight. The kind that would do whatever it took. Pleased with her decision in making
him this teams Squad leader she smiled slightly. Knowing that he would be one of the few four to graduate after this was over.
In silence Quistis continued to look at the other students. Crystal Gail, the perky, and bubbly young woman, with the eyes
that could read a persons very soul. A strong determined girl. This girl, Quistis mused, may be short, but she made up for
that by trying her hardest, and standing tall in the face of troubles. With a nod Quistis was proud to say that even this
young student had a good chance at graduating after this.
Next was Amalia. A bright young woman with a flair for the written word, and also an amazing skill at magics. She may not
have been the best at fighting with weapons, but the woman had tact, and a wit so sharp that Quistis knew that this woman,
if she did graduate would make a very fine headmaster one day.
With a smile for her students she nodded her head again and finally took a deep breath.
"Cadet Andrew Bird, make your report."
Andrew nodded, quickly and saluted and then quickly told Quistis what had happened, and of their ordeals in the lower tunnels.
Upon hearing of the rather, unorthodox use of Ifrit, Quistis chuckled.
"While I wouldn’t recommend doing that again, I can understand the need to use the Force in such a way, Cadet." Quistis
said with a small chuckle. "Though, may I suggest you apologize by providing the big brute a few days of rest."
Andrew nodded, as Quistis looked at Crystal.
"And you, Cadet Crystal. I’m quite glad you remembered about monsters in the tunnels being weak against fire magic.
But I am also more pleased with how quickly you were able to understand the old maps from when Garden was a ground base facility.
"Thank you Ma’am!" Crystal squeaked, in a high voice nearly bursting with excitement at her teacher being pleased
with her. With a grin she turned to her friend Amalia and waited to see what good words Quistis would have for her. "It’s
simply the truth." Quistis said smiling and moving onto Amalia.
"As for you..." Quistis said with a serious smile. "You weren’t very helpful..."
"Oh.." Amalia said as Crystal and Andrew gave each other scandalized looks.
"However..." Quistis continued raising her hand and shaping her hand into a fist leaving her pointer finger straight. "You
have a very strong wit, and a flare for words. You are also very knowledgeable in what goes on in the Garden." Quistis said
as she lowered her arm and pointed at Amalia. "Perhaps fighting isn’t your area in this line of work, perhaps the position
of Headmaster would suit you more."
"Oh." Amalia said again as she stood tall and firm, and looked directly at Quistis. "I see."
"Now, where’s Seifers charge, Jay? I was thinking of taking him along with me." Quistis asked as she looked around
for the ten year old boy.
"He’s over there." Andrew said pointing to the now broken and busted door.
"Right then." Quistis said turning, to look where Andrew pointed, only to look back at Andrew as his jaw fell open and
he let out a loud yell of frustration.
"He was right there! I swear!" Andrew said pointing aimlessly at the spot. "Oh never mind, I’ll go find him myself."
Andrew said as he stalked off.
"Hey! Wait!" Crystal shouted as she looked at Quistis apologetically, and then trotted off after Andrew. Quistis raised
an eyebrow, and then looked at Amalia who hesitated before she too took off.
"Well I’ll be." Quistis said to herself, and then cupped her hands over her mouth. "Remember! The order to withdraw
takes precedence!" She shouted after her three Cadets, who were very hopeful and hardworking students.
"Quisty?" Xu’s voice rang in her ears over the headset, after she put it back on. "Did I hear that right? Your cadets
are now going on a search and rescue mission?"
"It would seem so Xu." Quistis said as she turned from the sight of the three students, and looked at the SEEDs under her
command. "Xu, make sure their friend stays in contact with them at all times. Be sure they evacuate to the nearest hatch when
they find Jay."
"Affirmative." Xu answered.
You know Andrew." Crystal said as she caught up to her long time friend. "Normally you don’t make sudden decisions
Andrew scowled and looked at his friend and shrugged as they picked their way through the damaged hallways, and dead monsters.
"I mean come on, normally it would take either Amalia or myself, to coax you to do anything like this. Normally you’d
just shrug and say "Let him fend for himself." or something like that." Crystal said as she kicked aside a long green tentacle
from a Grat.
"Crystal," Andrew grunted as he turned and looked at his friend. "what are you getting at?"
Crystal smiled sweetly and nodded knowingly at Andrew, and reached forward to pluck the small thin plastic picture card
with his name on it, from the pockets of his slacks. "You’re trying to impress Quistis Trepe." She teased as she looked
at the very club card she had issued to him. "You have a crush on her."
"I do not!" Andrew spat as he made to grab for his friends wrist holding the club card, while she danced out of his way
with a grin. "Give the card back, before I fireball your ass Crystal."
"Oh, oh! Andrew’s mad!" Crystal sang as she jogged forward and held the card in her hand looking back at him and
Amalia who only covered her mouth with a giggle. "Andrew likes Quistis.." Crystal said as she leaned against a wall and smiled
"Stop teasing me." Andrew said gruffly as he stalked forward and snatched the card out of Crystal’s hand. "There’s
no time to play around here. We have to find that kid, and then we have to evacuate! They’re going to crash B Garden
and sink it."
"I know!" Crystal snapped and scowled, before turning on her heel and stalking off ahead.
"Damn it!" Andrew sighed as he shoved the card back in his pocket. "Crystal, don’t be like this now. We don’t
have the time for this!"
"Perhaps." Amalia said placing a hand on Andrew’s shoulder, "this is her coping mechanism for losing the only home
she’s ever known. In fact it’s the only home we’ve ever known."
"Damn Amalia, why’d you to bring that up now?" Andrew asked as he watched Crystal’s retreating back.
"I could ask you why you had to remind her that Balamb will be no more when this is all done, however I won’t, and
will continue on looking for the young child named Jay." Amalia said as she let her hand drop and walked past him silently
lost in her own thoughts.
Andrew blinked at what she had said and sighed. He had to admit, Amalia had a point.
Cid had previously called ahead to Esthar, to warn of the impending crash and of the Six life pods that had been activated
by his wife, in order so that the life pod beds could be picked up.
However, that was as far as his plan had gone. With the orders to crash Balamb Garden given, he sat at his desk and cradling
a mug of rich black coffee in his hands staring deep into its depths.
By now it was late morning and plans for the evacuation were in effect. He was sure President Loire and his friends had
evacuated, and that Edea was now in confrontation with Rinoa in a battle of wills and magic. Even though things were an ordered
chaotic situation his office seemed quiet and peaceful. Clucking his tongue he pulled open the drawer and looked down at the
photograph from several years ago.
In it were himself, Edea, and several wonderful children he had gotten to know, over the years. Squall, Selphie, Irvine,
Zell, Quistis, and Seifer. All of them bright and capable children.. No, adults. Yes, they were adults now, who had been through
a whole lot while growing up. Taking the photo out, and placing it on his desk, he shoved his hand to the very back where
a special package wrapped in brown paper and string waited.
This package he had was addressed to Xu.
With a heavy sigh, he pulled out the package and put it on his desk. Then he turned on the PA system, and summoned Xu to
his office once again.