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"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons
attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will
be shot."
     -- Mark Twain
    PROLOGUE
Sephiroth nervously took his place at the witness stand. It wasn't the first time he'd been
on trial -- he'd been convicted once before of operating an illegal theme park and
conspiring to steal a city -- but this time, more was at stake. Eidos was accusing him of
stealing their secret recipe for success -- special effects, sex, and mindless violence -- and
if he lost this trial, it could mean the end of his screenwriting career.

"Man, it's hot in here," the judge suddenly said. Then, suddenly, his hand burst into flames.
He fell backwards, screaming, as his entire body spontaneously combusting. The
phenomenom swept across the courtroom, and soon everybody in the room, Sephiroth
excepted, had been set ablaze. They fled the room screaming, some dropping to the floor,
dead, before they had a chance to escape.

Sephiroth waited calmly at the witness stand. After the chaos had ended, in stepped his
girlfriend Eve, accompanied by another unknown human man.

"Their mitochondria are weak," Eve said. "They must evolve or die."

"I am the one chosen to become ruler of this Planet."

"I'm the king of the world!"

Sephiroth turned to stare at the man who had just spoken. "Who the hell are you?"

"I'm James Cameron," the man introduced himself. "I have a movie proposal for you."
                  PART ONE: Wag the Moogle
Cait Sith, garbage collector extraordinaire, pulled up outside Shiva's cave in the Esper
Dimension. He parked his truck, hopped out, and ran to pick up Shiva's trash. Only two
weeks on the job and he had this down pat. It must be natural talent, he supposed.

Cait Sith quickly pulled off the cans' lids and glanced inside, performing his routine check
for anything he might be able to blackmail the owner with. To his surprise, he found an
envelope sitting right on the top of the trash; its contents intact.

Cait quickly snatched up the envelope and pulled out its contents. It was just a simple
one-page letter:
 

You've been caught in the chain!  U must send this letter to as many people  as you know
within 5 minutes or u will have bad luck for 12 years.
If u send to:
0  - 10 people: Ur crush will be hurt or killed
10 - 19 people: Ur crush will ask you out
20 - 24 people: U will date ur crush 4 a long long time!
25 - 29 people: U and ur crush will make out a party
30+    people: You and your crush will get married

Aerith Gainsborough of Sector 5, Midgar, got this letter and didn't send it  to anybody.
The next day, she received word that her boyfriend Zack had been killed.  Then Aerith
sent the letter to everyone she knew + 2 weeks  later she met Cloud.  This Is A True
Story!!!

Cait stared at the letter, unable to resist grinning at his good fortune. "30 people," he
repeated.
                                    * * *
Rufus cleared his throat and bent down to the microphones. The gathered press stared
back. "Mr. President, what is your comment on the door situation?" a reporter asked.

"I do not recall having that door in my office," Rufus said firmly.

"Sir, we've all seen the photographs of you with the door," another reporter said. "How do
you respond to those?"

"I did not have sexual relations with that door," Rufus insisted.

"Well, I guess the question on everybody's mind is, is it true that you're a furnisexual?"

Rufus hesistated. "That depends on what your definition of the word 'is' is," he said
eventually.

"Ha! Semantic nonsense!"

"Who said that?"

"That guy," a fellow reporter said, pointing at Arvis.

Rufus gave Arvis a steely glare. "I could have you arrested for that," he said.

"If you do, I'll get a bunch of Colombian drug smugglers to steal all the clocks from the
Shinra Building and throw them in the ocean, I swear I will," Arvis said.

"Fine, see if I care," Rufus shot back. "I'll show you!" He turned and stormed back into his
office, slamming the door behind him. Ever since the scandal started, he'd had to replace
the ornate door he'd bought in Castlevania with a generic one. Not only that, but he was
still being forced to wear a turban after Vincent had shot a furrow through his hair.

Damn press, Rufus thought. They're after me. Why won't they believe me? I'm not a
furnisexual... it's just a nice door!

Rufus stormed to his desk and sat down in his large swivel chair. He glanced at the pile of
paperwork on his desk, hoping to find something to take his mind off the scandal. Instead,
he saw a furniture catalog.

"Okay, that's it," Rufus said to himself. "No more furniture. From now on, just think about
human women. Human women, Rufus." He grabbed the catalog, got up, and stuffed it into
the trash.

The door opened and Elena stepped in, carrying a manilla folder stuffed with legal
documents. "Mr. President?" she said. "You still haven't scheduled when you're going to
testify."

"Oh, right," Rufus said. "Testify. Uh... what's on my schedule for Thursday?"

Elena checked Rufus's schedule. "Nothing," she said. "Nothing at all."

"Nothing?" Rufus said, then hesitated. No! a voice in his head said. You've got to ask her
now. "Er.. Elena... would you... oh, I can't do it, never mind." It's so much easier with
furniture, Rufus thought. No, Rufus! Don't think about that! Just ask her out!

"Elena, er, would you like to, uh, go see a, a, movie?" Rufus said hesitantly.

"Sure," Elena said. "Paradise Lost II: The Next Generation? I hear it's pretty good.
Sephiroth wrote the screenplay... it probably has something crashing into the Planet again.
He keeps writing the same screenplay over and over. Not very original, is he?"

"Um... sure."
                                    * * *
Cait Sith took a deep breath and stretched his hands. He was in the zone. He could feel it.
If he was going to break the record, now was the time. In an almost-trance like state, he
picked up his ball-and-paddle and bounced the ball into the air. One. Two. Three.

His concentration was shattered when someone knocked on the door. Cursing in
frusteration, Cait threw the paddle down and ran to get the door. "Good morning, sir,
would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?" he asked as he opened the door.

"What?" Bahamut said. "I -"

"Oh, you don't want any?" C.S. said. "That's okay. I'll try the next house." He shut the
door and ran back inside.

Bahamut threw the door back open. "Cait, get back here!" he bellowed.

Guiltily, Cait Sith shuffled back to the door. He knew he was in trouble now. "Yes?"

Bahamut shoved a copy of the chain letter in Cait Sith's face. "Every single one of us got
this bloody letter," he said.

"Yeah, me too," Cait said.

"Shiva got this too and she'd just gotten it two days ago and thrown it away," Bahamut
said. "Some chap had dug it out of her trash."

"Oops," Cait Sith said, mentally kicking himself for sending the letter back to Shiva.

"Cor blimey, Cait, can't you do anything without getting into trouble?" Bahamut said. "I'm
putting you on kitchen patrol now."

"Hey, that's not fair," Cait protested.

"Tough toasties, old chap," Bahamut said. "You'll report to the dining hall in 20 minutes."
                                    * * *
Shera poured herself a cup of tea and sat down at the kitchen table to drink it. Without
Cid around, things were a lot calmer; in a way, it was relaxing, but on the other hand, it
just wasn't the same without the foul-mouthed pilot.

The phone rang. Shera put down the tea cup and hopped up to get it. Suddenly, the door
flew open and Aerith charged inside. "No, wait!" she shouted. "It's for me!" Aerith
charged past the surprised Shera and pushed her out of the way -- directly into the kitchen
table. The table tipped over, and the tea was thrown onto the kitchen floor. As Aerith
charged towards the counter with the phone on it, she put her foot down in the spilled tea
and lost her balance. Aerith grabbed for the phone and just caught the receiver as she
hurtled through the new sliding door, shattering to pieces.

Aerith fell into the backyard, still clutching the phone. "Cloud?" she said. "It's me, Aerith.
How did you know I was here?" There was a brief pause, and then Aerith offered the
phone up to Shera. "It's for you."

"Hello?" Shera said, taking the phone. "Oh, hi, Number Six. No, no, I never heard
anything about Cid VIII being kidnapped. Cid VII? Well, he's in a coma right now, I'm
afraid.... no, he wasn't hurt or anything, the doctor told him he had too much pent-up
frusteration and gave him some relaxation tapes. Well, they worked a little too well.... no,
I don't know when he's going to wake up. Well, if it's so urgent, then why don't you just
come out here and wake him up yourself?"
                                    * * *
The lights in the theater dimmed and the previews began. The now-familiar trailer of Billy
Lee: Man of Action played, then the usual public-service announcement from the Society
for a Drive-Free Solaris ("This is your brain. This is your brain on Drive."), followed by a
brand new trailer. It began with a long shot panning by a spaceship, then cut to the
interior, where Eve was standing.

"Wow, this new Eldredge ship is really something," Eve said. "I'm glad I was able to buy a
ticket for its maiden voyage."

"I didn't buy my tickets," Sephiroth said, entering. "I won mine in a slapjack game."

"Well, hello there," Eve said. "Let's fall madly in love and make a major motion picture."

"OK," Sephiroth said... but just then, the trailer cut to the bridge, where the captain was
standing over a control panel.

"Gosh, I hope nobody throws a spear at us," the captain said. Suddenly, a spear came
crashing through the window and hit the captain in the side. "Oh, mayday! Mayday!
Everyone, evacuate. Let's evacuate the ship. We must evacuate. Everyone, evacuate.
Evacuate now. Evacuate."

The trailer then cut to a logo: "James Cameron's ELDREDGE. Coming soon to a theater
near you."

"Wow, that looks like a great movie," Elena said. "And Sephiroth's in it. Sephiroth sure
makes a lot of movies, doesn't he? Of course, he's making this one with James Cameron."

Meanwhile, three-fourths of the audience was making their way out of the theater, having
apparently just come for the trailer. "This many people just came to see that?" Elena said.
"That's a lot of people. I don't think I've ever seen this happen before. There's so many
people leaving."

"Elena, shhh," Rufus whispered. "The movie's starting."

"Wow, that's a really nice logo," Elena babbled as the Jenova Pictures logo appeared on
the screen. "I like the colors."

A theater employee approached the couple. "Excuse me," he whispered. "Could you try to
quiet down?"

"Sorry," Elena said. "I didn't mean to; I was just commenting on the movie, it looks really
nice..."

Rufus gave Elena a dark look as the employee walked away. This was why he didn't date
more... he never had experiences like this with furniture. No! he scolded himself. You're
not supposed to think about that!

"Rufus, look at the opening credits!" Elena urged. "Look, Sephiroth's name is there!
Look, look, I'm an extra in the background there... I'm right there!"

Someone ahead of them turned and gave them an angry glare. "Sssh!"

"Sorry, I got a little carried away," Elena said. "I didn't mean any harm; I just saw myself
there and -"

The theater employee returned. "I warned you the last time," he whispered. "I'm going to
have to ask you to leave the theater."

"You can't do this to me!" Rufus said. "I'm the Shinra President!"

The employee pointed at the door, and the expression on his face indicated that he wasn't
about to carry on a protracted argument. Rufus sighed and got up to leave, with Elena
following him. "Sorry," Elena apologized, genuinely sorry. "I just carried away I suppose."

"I know, I know," Rufus sighed as they emerged in to the lobby. "You didn't do it on
purpose... whoa, hey, that's a nice door over there."
                                    * * *
"Here he is," Shera said, opening the bedroom door to allow the other Cids in. "I've
already tried everything to wake him up, but..."

Cid IV Peeped the unconscious #7. "He's out cold, all right," he reported. "That must have
been a mighty strong tape."

"Back when I was young 'un, we didn't have any of these new-fangled relaxation tapes,"
Cid II mumbled. "If we needed peace 'n quiet we'd go out and sit in the stables and hope
the rabid horses didn't trample us."

"Wheep wheep!" Peco exclaimed, leaping up onto Cid VII's chest and licking the pilot in
the face. "Puddy!"

Cid VII sat bolt upright and let off a string of profanity that would embarass Howard
Stern. "What the @#$*in' hell?" he said. "Get this damn thing off me!"

Cid III held out his arms and Peco hopped up into them, squeaking to himself. "Good
going, little guy," Cid III whispered to his sidekick.

"What are you all doing here?" Cid VII snapped. "And who let that @^?$ onion in here?"

"He's my sidekick, remember?" Cid III said. "And you'd still be in a coma right now if it
wasn't

Cid VII's memory started to come back. "Damn tapes," he said, shaking his head. "Knew I
shouldn't have trusted that quack. All I need is a smoke to calm my nerves."

"You've forgotten, haven't you?" Cid IV said angrily.

Cid VII stood up and paced around the room, looking for his cigarettes. "How the hell can
I know if I've forgotten if you don't tell me what we're talking about?" he retorted.

"Number Eight!" Cid IV said. "Remember when T.G. called like a year ago? We've been
trying to rescue Eight ever since, and you've been here the whole time asleep on the
couch! You spoony bard! You... you licentious howler!"

"Yeah!" Cid VI agreed. "Preach it, Number Four!"

"You come waltzin' in here wearing some @*&$% raincoat and you expect me to listen to
you?" Cid VII retorted.

Cid II snorted. "You're pathetic, the lot of you. Back in my day, the heroes never argued...
we never even said a word to each other. Heck, we didn't say a word to anybody. That
was 'cuz we had actual gameplay and challenge back then, and none of this character
development rubbish..."

"Puddy?"

"Hey, hey, guys, settle down," Five said. "We won't be able to rescue Eight unless we
work as a team."

"Who the @#$! are we rescuing him from anyway?" Cid VII said.

"You really have forgotten, haven't you?" Cid VI said. "T.G. Cid called from Japan.
Square's trying to kill off Cid VIII -- they said we Cids aren't needed anymore. We may
already be too late."

"You want me to fly all the way out to @$%(*in' Japan just to rescue some guy I don't
know who might already be dead?" Cid VII said.

"That would be the idea, yes."

Cid VII shrugged. "Aw, hell, I'll do it. Got nothin' better to do, anyways. When do we
leave?"
                                    * * *
"I've been working on the railroaadddd.... aaalll the livelong daaayyyy." Cait Sith sang to
himself as he shuffled through the kitchen of the Branford Memorial Dining Hall, busy in
appearance but not in fact. He hadn't been given any sort of his training for his brand-new
job, a decision the Espers would be sure to regret later.

With the aid of the Cheap Cheap the Cooking Chicken Show, he'd been able to cook what
passed for Beast Meat Supreme and a salad. Now all he had to do was throw together
sometime to drink, and how hard could that be?

Just then, the phone rang. Cait instinctively hit the ground and glanced nervously about for
Aerith. When she failed to arrive, he carefully picked himself up and walked to the phone.
"Hello?" Cait asked.

"Hi, I'm from PepsiCo, and I'm calling to inform of you are latest product, Pepsi Oat," a
snivelly voice said. "Ever wanted the feel of Pepsi with the taste of cereal? Now you can
have it all, with a taste bigger than the wild blue yonder! As a special deal to you, one of
our most loyal customers, you can be the first on your block to have Pepsi Oat and order
it directly from us at bargain basement prices."

Cait Sith considered this briefly. Then, in what would later become a legend among
telemarketers, he replied, "Sure, I'll take 1,000 cases."

There was dead silence. After a few shocked minutes, the telemarketer finally spoke.
"Y-yes, 1000 cases. We'll have it specially shipped over to you right away."

Pleased, Cait hung up. That took care of the beverage end of things; now all he had to do
was wait for the Pepsi Oat to show up. He pulled his ball-and-paddle out of his cloak and
went back to paddling.

Five minutes later, there was a knock on the back door of the kitchen. Cait ran to answer
it and found himself staring at a truck loaded with hundreds of cases of Pepsi Oat.

"Sign here," the driver said, thrusting a clipboard towards Cait.

Cait Sith signed his name as Bahamut, then handed the clipboard back to the driver. The
driver hopped on a bicycle and rode off. "Hey, Mister, you left your truck here!" Cait
shouted after him.

"Aw, keep the truck," the driver called over his shoulder.

Cait giggled and scampered up the side of the truck. He grabbed the first crate of Pepsi
Oat and hauled it back inside -- not an easy task for his size. He arrived just in time,
because the Espers were already starting to file into the dining hall for dinner.

"Hold on, hold on," Cait Sith called. He dished up some Beast Meat Supreme and handed
Bahamut a can of Pepsi Oat.

"Pepsi Oat?" Bahamut read, staring at the can in his hand. "What happened to my bloody
tea?"

"Oh, try it, you'll like it," Cait said hastily. He struggled to remember the telemarketer's
words. "It, uh, it has a taste bigger than the wild blue yonder. Yeah, that's it. A taste that
is bold, yet reticent."

Bahamut dubiously popped open the can and took a sip. His eyes bulged and he quickly
dropped the can, a repulsed expression on his face. "What is this stuff?" he demanded.

"Er... Pepsi Oat?"

"Can I have some more?"

A bit confused, Cait Sith handed Bahamut another can of Pepsi Oat, then turned to the
next in line, Ifrit. "Here ya go," he said, handing Ifrit a can of Pepsi Oat and his food.

"Hey, Cait, can I have some more of this Pepsi Oat?" Bahamut asked.

Ifrit spit out his first sip of Pepsi Oat. "What did you put in here?" he demanded.

Carbunkle gave his can a sniff. "Um, do you expect us to drink this?" he asked.

"You'd better; we've got 1,000 cases of it," Cait Sith said.

"I think we can manage. Can I have a refill?" Ifrit asked, waving his empty can at Cait.

"I thought you just said you hated it," Carbunkle pointed out, holding his can at arm's
length. He didn't want to touch this stuff yet.

"What was I thinking?" Ifrit said, downing a whole can in a few gulps.

Meanwhile, further down the line, two guys in lab coats were pushing and shoving there
past the Espers. "Excuse me," one of them said as he approached the counter. "I'm Wedge
Antilles, and this is Biggs Darklighter, and we're from the FDA. We've heard received
reports of Pepsi Oat being distributed at this point. That stuff has just been classified as a
Schedule I drug."

Cait looked down at one of the cans he was about to distribute. "What's wrong with it?"

"We don't know," Biggs said. "It tastes awful, but it's horribly addictive. It's even caused
mutations in rats in lab tests."

"I like it," Bahamut protested.

"Looks like we're already too late," Wedge said. "Did you bring the antidote?"

"Right here," Biggs said, producing a small vial of a brownish liquid. He poured some out
into a spoon and shoved it up to Bahamut's face. "Drink up."

Bahamut reluctantly drank the antidote. Its effects occured a few seconds later, and
Bahamut quickly shuddered and set his Pepsi Oat can to the side. Biggs then administred
the antidote to Ifrit as well. "Anyone else?"

"Nope," Cait said. "They were the only two."

"Yeah, but what are we going to do with 1,000 frickin' cases of this stuff?" Carbunkle
asked.

"1,000 cases?" Wedge blurted. "Oh, dear. We're going to have to dispose of it right away.
Is there any sort of chemical disposal facility around here?"

Shiva raised her hand. "I run Shiva Pharmaceuticals," she said. "We have waste disposal
facilities there, eh?"

"Great," Biggs said. "Where's all the Pepsi Oat?"
                                    * * *
The Cids and Peco stood in line at Midgar Interplanetary Spaceport, holding their
luggage. The Super-Stretched Airship 900 was in the shop for repairs, so they had to take
the plane.

After a seemingly-endless wait, they finally reached the check-in desk. "I'll need to see
some photo ID," the employee manning the desk said.

"I don't got any," Cid II grumbled. "I don't believe in character artwork. We wept with joy
if we had a picture on the cover of our manual, let alone character artwork. And do you
think we had last names? No sirree..."

Cid III tapped the employee on the shoulder. "I think you'd just better accept that he
doesn't ID or you'll never get him up to shut up."

"Has anyone given you any packages to carry on board without your knowledge?"

"If they gave the package to us without our knowledge, how would we know we had it?"
Cid V asked reasonably.

"That's why we ask."

"Dammit, we don't have time for this crap," Cid VII said. "C'mon, guys, let's go." Leaving
their tickets with the receptionist, they grabbed their suitcases again and proceed to the
terminal to check in there as well.

"Excuse me, sir, you'll need to get a pet carrier for that onion there," someone told Cid III.

"Uh... where can I get that?"

"Oh, over at the counter," the man said, pointing over to a counter on the other side of the
spaceport.

Cid III stared over at the distant counter in dismay. "C'mon, Peco," he sighed. "We'll have
to go get you a pet carrier." Leaving the other Cids at the terminal, he ran across the
spaceport, ducking and weaving through the crowds. Peco hopped along behind him,
chirping happily.

As he approached the counter, he saw some familiar faces heading away from it -- Neko,
Spekkio, Mog, and an unknown bipedal camel-like entity clad in green clothing. Hanpan
was present as well, tucked inside a blue pet carrying cage, which Neko was carrying.
Needless to say, the wind rat was not taking his captivity well. "What are they blind?"
Hanpan seethed. "I'm not a damn pet! I oughtta open up a can of whoop-ass on them."

"Hey, there," Cid III said. "The Cute Animal Characters, right?"

"That's us," Neko said. "And you must be the Cute Vegetable Character."

"Waaaaaah."

"You guys still in the movie business?" Cid III asked.

"Yeah," Hanpan said. "We're flying out to Japan to wrap up our shooting for When
Chocobos Attack!."

"Really?" Cid III said. "We're going out there, too. We have to rescue Cid VIII from
Square." Then a thought occured to him. "Wait... what are you guys doing in Japan?
There aren't any chocobos in Japan."

"Haven't you heard, bro?" the camel said. "Square's building a theme park there with
genetically-engineered chocobos... they've got mad skillz! We figure there might be
some accidents or something that we can tape. Make sense, bro?"

"Er... yeah," Cid III said. "And, uh, pardon me asking, but who are you?"

"I'm Hammer, bro," the camel said. "I'm the new producer, and to think that I'm working
for the best film crew in the history of movies! They're just so good, bro."

"Hammer, shut up," Hanpan snapped, then turned to Cid. "It was either him or Chu-Chu,"
he said apologetically. "We had to hire somebody to replace Cait Sith, you know."

"Oh, right," Cid III said. "After he got banished. Well, we've got a plane to catch, and I
still have to pick up a carrying cage for Peco here. Maybe we'll see you guys in Tokyo."

"Pukyusyu?"
                                    * * *
Palmer stumbled into the meeting room on the 66th floor of the Shinra Building.
"Hey-hey, sorry I'm late," he apologized.

"Sit down," Rufus commanded.

Palmer took his seat between Reeve and Clyde, Rufus's head attorney. "Something has to
be done," Rufus said. "I'm the laughingstock of the Planet."

"What about your date?" Clyde asked.

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Hey-hey, we need a catchy slogan!" Palmer suggested. "You know, something like 'If the
glove doesn't fit, we must acquit.'"

"If he's not a furnisexual, he..." Clyde began, then stopped. "Uh, what rhymes with
furnisexual?"

"How about 'If doesn't he love the door, then don't bug him anymore'?" Reeve suggested.

"Hey, that's good," Clyde said, genuinely impressed.

"Shut up, all of you!" Rufus snapped. The other Shinra members quickly hushed. "We
don't want any campaign slogans," he said. "That's just going to bring us more attention. I
just want to sweep this whole thing under the floor." The Shinra President got up and start
pacing around the table.

"Hey-hey-hey, how can you sweep something under the floor?" Palmer said.

"It's a figure of speech."

"Oh."

Reeve raised his hand. "Mr. President?" he said. "May I suggest distractin' the populace?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"Well, I reckon y'all need to do sumpin' that will get the people's attention and get yer
name off the front page," Reeve said. "Like, uh, starting a war or sumpin'."

"But against whom?" Rufus said. "We already control 80% of the world anyway."

"How 'bout them Espers?" Reeve said. "I reckon we can git away with blamin' lots of stuff
on them."

A slow smile crept across Rufus's face.
                                    * * *
Somewhere over China

"We'll be experiencing some slight turbulence. Please note that the captain has turned on
the no-smoking sign."

"Aw, dammit," Cid VII said, yanking the cigarette out of his mouth and extinguishing it in
the ashtray.

Cid II squinted at the crossword puzzle he was working on, trying to fill in the remaining
spots. He nudged Seven, the only other Cid who was not watching the in-flight movie,
Sephiroth's I Know What Faust Did Last Summer. "Eh, sonny, what's an eight-letter word
for 'Loud-mouthed egotist', starts with a C?"

"Try 'Cait Sith'," Cid VII suggested.

Cid II scribbled the answer in just as a stewardess came by, pushing a cart of drinks.
"Would you like something to drink?"

"Sel-Ray."

"They haven't made Sel-Ray in twenty years," the stewardess said. "Would you like
something else?"

"No Sel-Ray?" Cid II said. "What's the world coming to? And how come we don't get
peanuts anymore?"

"We can't give out peanuts because some people are allergic to them and the fumes might
be harmful."

"@#!^&@!$%, that's the biggest load of horse crap I've ever heard in my life," Cid VII
declared. "Why can't you just give us the #^@!% peanuts? We're turning into a !#^* police
state!"

"It's all a conspiracy!" a hoarse voice shouted.

All the Cids, even the ones watching the movie, turned to look where the voice had come
from. "Oh no, not him," Cid IV groaned.

"It's all part of the government conspiracy to ban food!" the thin man ranted. "They're
going to take away all our food and turn us into slaves for the aliens! We're going to have
work repairing their spaceships and making crop circles, just like cattle!"

"Can't we make him go away?" Cid VI asked in a pained voice.

"I thought you hated flying," Cid IV said to the thin man.

"I do," the thin man said. "The CIA's probably waiting to blow up this plane with a cruise
missile as part of their secret testing. Only Pierre Salinger will know about it and nobody
will believe him. But I read all about on the Internet! It must be true!"

Cid III abruptly stood up and opened up the overhead bin. "You okay up there, little
buddy?"

"Wheeep!" Peco squeaked back.

"The aliens have a new headquarters in Japan," the thin man said. "They've sent an evil
demonic voodoo mask to take over people's minds! I've tried to warn the Republic of
Texas but they wouldn't believe me! I've got to stop them and save the world! Trust no
one!"

Cid IV sighed. "I suppose you're going to insist on coming with us."

"Of course not," the thin man said. "You're probably in cahoots with the aliens."

"@#$^*, man -" Cid VII began.

"Don't worry about it, Seven," Cid V said. "Nothing he says makes any sense."

"So h
                                    * * *
Cait Sith sighed as he looked over the explicit cooking instructions he'd been given. After
the disaster of his last meal, they weren't taking any chances with him this time -- and the
phone had been removed from the room as well. Why wouldn't Bahamut ever let him have
any fun?

As Cait went about locating the necessary ingredients, he thought he heard some noise
coming from outside. He considering investigating, but knew that Bahamut would be
steamed and decided not to push his luck.

Suddenly, the door to the dining hall flew open and Odin stuck his head through. "Cait,
what are you doing?" he shouted. "Someone blew up Shiva Pharmaceuticals!"

Cait Sith dropped the plate he was holding, causing it to shatter on the ground, and
sprinted out the door. He hurried after Odin -- at an obvious distance, since he was a
3-foot tall cat, and Odin was riding on a flying horse -- towards the cloud of smoke on the
horizon.

By the time Cait arrived at the former site of Shiva Pharmaceuticals, almost all of the
other Espers had gathered there, all staring at the heap of smoking girders and walls
that was once Shiva's pharamaceutical plant.

"What happened?" Cait asked. "Did Titan sit on it?"

"Shut up, Cait," Titan said. "I'm not fat, I'm big-boned."

"Someone fired a bloody missile at it," Bahamut said. "What an awful thing."

"At least nobody was in there," Alexander said.

"Well, just those two guys were, eh?" Shiva said. "The ones from the FDA?"

"Biggs and Wedge," Cait Sith said. "Figures."

Bahamut surveyed the destruction. "Who could have done this?" he said.

"I'll give you three clues, and they're all Shinra," Carbunkle said.

"Yeah, but why would Shinra do this?" Ifrit said. "I mean, besides the fact that they're big
and evil?"

Carbunkle appeared surprised. "Haven't you heard? Rufus supposedly had an affair
with his office door and now the press is after him. I wouldn't be surprised if he bombed
us just to throw the attention off him."

"Well, bloody hell," Bahamut said. "He's a right bastard. Cait, what does your magic
8-ball say?"

Cait Sith gave his 8-ball a shake and peered into it. "Same as always," Cait said.
"DRINK COKE, PLAY AGAIN."

"Here, let me try." Bahamut took the 8-ball from Cait, shook it again, and then looked at
it. "FREE 15 MINUTE PHONE CARD," he read.

"Yeah, right," Cait said. He stood up on his tip-toes and stared at the 8-ball, only to
discover that Bahamut had been telling the truth. "Dammit, that's not funny. I've never
won anything."

"Let's call a meeting of all the Espers," Ramuh suggested. "We won't let this go
unpunished."

The Espers all hurried off towards Bahamut's cave. Behind them, the contents of 1,000
cases of Pepsi Oat were slowly infiltrating the local water supply...

                                    * * *

A slightly-beat-up taxi cruised to a stop in front of Square's corporate headquarters in
Tokyo. The six Cids hopped out, accompanied by Peco and the thin man. "Sorry, little
buddy," Cid III said to Peco. "You're a Capcom character. You can't come in here."

"Pukyupusyu," Peco nodded, and sat down on the street corner to wait.

The Cids and the thin man marched inside the building. "We're the Cids," Cid V told the
receptionist. "We've come to talk to Mr. Sakaguchi about Number 8."

"Oh, the Cids," the receptionist said in surprise. "Mr. Sakaguchi is away attending the
opening of the new ChocoWorld amusement park. He's asked the Chrono Trigger guy
to meet you."

"How did he know we were coming?" Cid V wondered.

"He must be one of Them," the thin man muttered, without any indication as to who
"They" might be.

The Cids sat down to wait. A few minutes later, the elevator dinged, and Yasunori
Mitsuda stepped off. "Hey, it's, uh, the Chrono Trigger guy," Cid V said.

"Yasunori Mitsuda," the "Chrono Trigger guy" hastily. "My name is Yasunori Mitsuda."

"Yeah, that's it," Cid V said, finally recalling Mitsuda's name.

"So what are you guys here for?" Mitsuda asked.

Cid III shrugged. "Well, we didn't have anything important going on, so we just thought
we'd drop by for a visit," he lied.

"Oh, well, I guess I can show you around the place," Mitsuda volunteered. "Would you
like to see our FMV rendering studio?"

"Sure," Cid VII said.

"You won't catch me dead looking at any of that FMV rubbish," Cid II snapped. "Waste
of space, if you ask me. Back in my day, we had to fit an entire game into 1 megabyte
of space. You guys got 650 and you can't even make a decent game to save your
grandmother."

"Cool it, Number Two," Cid IV said. "Let's not infringe on their hospitality."

"Eh, you're just saying that 'cause they remade your game with a fancy-pants intro."

"This way," Mitsuda said, leading the group to the elevator. They all squeezed in and
Mitsuda pressed the down button. The elevator descended down to the basement.

"The studio's in the basement?" Cid VI surprised.

"Yeah," Mitsuda said. "You'll see when we get there."

The elevator continued to descend for several floors while some music played. "That's
the theme from The Rock, right?" Cid V guessed.

"No, it's from FF8," Mitsuda corrected.

"Oh, okay," Cid V said, scratching his head. "Whatever you say. I like your music better
anyway."

"Really?" Mitsuda said. "Thanks. You know, I did the music for Xenogears too, what did
you think of it?"

"I'm not touching that one with a 20-foot pole," Cid V said.

The elevator dinged and the doors slid open. The Cids stepped out into a
blue-carpeted basement surrounded by white walls. Yasunori Mitsuda unlocked the
door in front of them and they stepped through into the FMV studio, a large square
(what else?) room filled with Silicon Graphics workstations. Sephiroth sat at one of the
nearby terminals, clicking away at something.

"Hey, it's Sephiroth," Cid VII said in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"Hello, Cids, and Chrono Trigger guy. I'm working on one of my computer-rendered
insect films," Sephiroth said.

"What's up with this computer-rendered rubbish? Back when I was a young 'un, we wept
with joy if we saw a cartoon that had more than one frame per second," Cid II muttered.

"Let me guess," Cid VII said. "Somehow, something's flying in from space and about to
hit the planet."

Sephiroth appeared surprised. "Of course not," he said. "That's totally passe.
Computer-rendered insect films are all the rage this month. We've got 8 of them in
production."

"Eight?" Cid V said in shock.

Sephiroth shrugged. "Gotta keep pace with the times. First, there's Spiderz, about a
young spider who fights to maintain his individuality."

"Spiders aren't insects!" Cid III protested.

"Really?" Sephiroth was momentarily shocked, then quickly regained his composure.
"Well, it's not like the audience is going to care," he shrugged. "Anyway, first there's
Spiderz, and then next we have A Bug's Half-Life, based on the popular 3-D shooter of
the same name, about a bug scientist who actually summons a bunch of cockroaches.
Then next month, we've got..."

"Okay, I think we get the picture," Cid VI hastily interrupted.

Meanwhile, the other Cids had been examining the rendering hardware. "Man, this
must wreck @$&* on the local power grid," Cid VII muttered.

"Nah, we generate our own power," Mitsuda said. "Look." He moved to a door labelled
"AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY" and kicked it down. The Cids stared through.
Inside were rows of steel cages, each with a moogle inside, running on a wheel to
generate power.

"So that's where all the moogles went," Cid VI said.

"Of course!" the thin man suddenly cut in. "It's a conspiracy! I could have told you that!"

"Say, when you remake FF6, could you get rid of his raincoat?" Cid VII asked
Sephiroth. "It gives me the willies."

"Well, this was nice," Cid V said. "So what's next?"

Mitsuda nodded and headed for the door. The Cids and the thin man followed him into
the elevator, and they descended some more, all the way down to the furnace room.

"Uh, are you sure you know where you going, Mr. Chrono Trigger Guy?" Cid IV asked.

"Yasunori Mitsuda," Mitsuda quickly said, but never answered Four's question. Instead,
he simply lead them down a series of catwalks until they arrived at a steel panel
resembling a door. Over the panel was a shimmering image of a dungeon.

"What's this?" Cid V asked.

"Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon," Mitsuda explained. He pulled a lever on the wall and
the platform the Cids were standing on flipping up, throwing them through the image
and into the dungeon. "In you go!" he laughed.

                                    * * *

Clyde, Rufus's attorney, hurried up the steps to the top floor of the Shinra Building. "Mr.
President, Mr. President!" he shouted, throwing open the door -- he knew Rufus didn't
care about that door -- and running into Rufus's office with a newspaper raised aloft.
"Mr. President, have a look at the paper."

Rufus took the paper from Clyde and looked at the front page. "MISSILES STRIKE
ESPER DIMENSION," the headline declared. "Shinra attacks an Esper
pharmaceuticals plant accused of producing Tofurkey."

Rufus smiled a darkly satisfied grin, but said nothing.

"Looks like we were successful, Mr. President," Clyde said.

"Perfect," Rufus grinned. "And now that we 'know' they were producing Tofurkey, we
can launch more attacks whenever we want, and the public will behind us every minute!"

There was another brief silence. "You know, it's moments like this that make me wish I
had a good evil laugh," Rufus commented.

"You could use Heidegger's," Clyde suggested. "He won't be needing it where he is."

Rufus glared at him. "That stupid horse laugh? Don't be ridiculous."

The office door swung open with a bang, causing Rufus and Clyde to both jump. Two
people ran inside -- one in a black jacket and pants with a blue shirt underneath, and
the other in a blue police uniform. "Freeze!" the first one shouted, pointing his sword at
Rufus.

"Hey, it's that one guy," Rufus said, snapping his fingers and trying to recall the
intruder's name.

"Squall," Squall said. "Squall Leonhart. And this is Laguna Loire."

"Man, Laguna sure is one hot chick," Clyde observed.

"What the...?!" Laguna exclaimed. "I'm a GUY!"

Rufus squinted at the androgynous cop, trying to tell where Laguna was drawing the
conclusion that he/she was a guy. "Er... are you sure?" he asked. "You look awfully
effeminate to me."

"Male... female... what's the difference?" Laguna said. "Power is beautiful, and I've got
the power!" He reached into his uniform pocket and produced a small black device
resembling a garage door opener.

Rufus kept his eyes on Squall and Laguna while his hands frantically searched around
behind him for his shotgun. "What do you guys want?" he demanded.

"Don't you understand, Rufus?" Squall said. "You're yesterday's news. You're obsolete.
You're not the hero anymore... we are. It's time for progress!"

Acting on Squall's cue, Laguna pointed his device at Rufus and pushed the button. The
device fired a yellow ray of light at Rufus's head. As soon as it touched Rufus, the
Shinra President's head began to shrink... and shrink... and shrink, until was no bigger
than the size of a baseball.

"My head!" Rufus exclaimed in a squeaky voice. "MY FRICKIN' HEAD!"

"Face it, chump boy," Laguna sneered, "big heads are stupid. We need small heads,
and small eyes too."

"What the hell have you done to me?" Rufus squeaked. His tiny head looked completely
out of place on his regular-sized body, as if Dr. Frankenstein had run over his budget
and had to use a cheaper head. "Clyde, stop them!" Then Squall clobbered him with his
Gunblade and everything went black.

                                    * * *

"We can't let an attack like this go unanswered," Bahamut addressed the thirty-some
Espers packed into an emergency meeting in his cave.

"But, sir, starting another war with the humans would be costly," Alexander said.

Hades nodded his agreement and muttered something unintelligible.

"We don't have to start a war," Bahamut said. "We just need to capture Rufus and take
him back here to put him on trial. That will take care of him, and send a message to the
others. Of course, it won't be that easy... he has dozens of bodyguards, I'm sure."

"Oooh! Oooh! Me! Me!" Cait Sith exclaimed, hopping up and down and waving his
hand.

"You're one of his bodyguards?"

"No, let me go!" Cait explained. "Pleeeease? Pretty please?"

"Cait, I don't think -"

"I know the human worlds better than any of you guys!" Cait said. "I've even been in the
Shinra Building a bunch of times and everything."

"This is ridiculous!" Ramuh cut in. "I'll have none of this... uh... uh... my heart..." Ramuh
stumbled backwards, clutching at his chest. The frightened crowd backed away from
him as Ramuh fell to the ground. "F... f... fox..."

Bahamut ran to his comrade and shook him desperately. "No! Say something, guv!"

"He's dead, Jim," Shiva said clinically. "Looks like he had a heart attack... not a whole
lot we can do aboot that, eh?"

"He was getting old," Ifrit admitted. "Been around since FF3."

"So have you."

"Hey, hey, let's get back on topic," Cait Sith said. "Am I going to lead the anti-Rufus
expedition or not?"

Nobody paid him attention, as they were all absorbed in Ramuh's death. Cait Sith took
the silence as a yes and ambled out of the cave, his mission officially begun in his
mind. "Wow, this is going to be great," he said. "I get to be like Kenneth Starr."

There was a sudden puff of smoke and someone appeared in front of Cait. "Did
someone say my name?"

"Whoa, it's Kenneth Starr," Cait Sith said. "How did you get here?"

"Wherever there are world leaders to be investigated, I am ready to serve," Kenneth
Starr explained.

"I'm not going to investigate him," Cait said. "I'm going to arrest the freaky-haired
chump." To prove his point, he pulled a pair of toy handcuffs out of his cape and waved
them in the air.

"I never miss my special target," Kenneth Starr said, ignoring Cait. "Once he becomes
my special target, I'll always get him... sooner or later..."

"Uh, sure, whatever," Cait Sith said. "Look, I'm in a hurry, so just buzz off, okay?"

"I thought we were going together," Starr said. "He is my special target, after all.
There's no escaping my wrath."

"But -" Starr seemed relatively harmless, though, so Cait decided to let the matter drop.
"Oh, all right. You can come along. But we're arresting Rufus, not investigating him,
okay?"

Starr nodded. "Where to first?" he asked.

"We've got to get supplies," Cait Sith, setting off in the direction of his cabin. "I'll need a
towel, of course, and my portable TV... I can't miss any of Sailor Moon."

"But what about this Rufus's guy book-buying habits?" Starr said. "And is there any
suspicious dress we can examine? What about his land deals? Any aides that
allegedly committed suicide?"

Cait started to wonder if he had made the right decision. "Dude, we'll get to that in a
minute, so just leave me alone, okay? And I said we were arresting him, not
investigating him."

                                    * * *

The Cids tumbled out of the portal and into the checkered blue floors of Chocobo's
Mysterious Dungeon. "Oh, great," Cid VII muttered. "We're stuck in this @#^*! game."

Cid V looked up. The portal they had come in through was nowhere to be seen. "Looks
we're going to be here for a while."

"Maybe there's an exit at the bottom," Cid III said hopefully.

"No, you don't understand," Cid VI said. "There is no bottom. This goes on forever."

"You can't be serious."

"Oh yes I am."

A brown tank rolled up and a short chubby figure poked his head out. He had a long red
moustache and red hair to go with it, and was wearing a brown flight jacket. "Hey,
there," he said. "'Bout time you guys showed up."

"Who are you?" Cid IV asked, but he thought he already knew the answer.

"I'm Cid VIII," the man said, confirming Four's suspicions. "Well, I used to be here, until
they threw me in this awful place. Now I guess I'm Cid CMD2."

"Oh no, they got you too?" Cid VI said, horrified.

"Seven, if you hadn't been so spooning lazy, we wouldn't all be in here right now," Cid IV
said.

"Yeah, whatever."

Cid III scratched his head. "So what do we do now?"

"We can go through lots and lots of identical levels," Cid VIII said bitterly. "It's great
fun."

"Hey, they used to make games like this," Cid II said. "And they were good games, let
me tell you..."

                                    * * *

A blue portal opened on the roof of the Shinra Building and Cait Sith and Kenneth Starr
stepped out. "This is the place," Cait Sith said. "Let's rock."

Kenneth Starr held up a briefcase. "I've got a load of subpoenas ready."

"Dammit, didn't I tell you we're arresting him, not impeaching him?" Cait Sith said. "Just
shut up and follow me."

Cait Sith hurried down the stairs into Rufus's office, with Starr trailing along behind him.
He whipped out his handcuffs, ready to ambush Rufus, but after a quick glance around
the room, he saw that Rufus was not there. He didn't look to be coming back either, as
there appeared to have been some kind struggle -- Rufus's chair was knocked over, the
monitor on his desk was smashed, and Crack Door magazines were scattered all
about.

"What happened?" Cait wondered.

A nervous Clyde crawled out from under the desk and looked to see who had just come
in. "Oh, it's you," he said. "Thank goodness. We need your help."

This came as a bit of surprise to Cait -- this was the first time Shinra had ever asked
him for help. "Huh?" he said.

"The President has been kidnapped by Squall. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue
the President?"
 
 

            PART TWO: When Chocobos Attack!

Beowulf Kadmus was not a happy man. Not only was the church making him star in
those inane "Kadmus Bunny" ads every Easter, he'd been subpoenaed in the Trial of
the Nanosecond, Ramza and Kenneth Starr's investigation into Delita's alleged killing
of Ovelia. Now he was cooped up in the castle while some idiot was going around
making unlicensed movies about him.

Beowulf checked the clock. 7:30. He still had another half-hour before he had to show
up for the trial. The former Temple Knight turned back to the poem he was writing for
Reis. Despite several rewrites and the consultation of "Proffesor" Daravon's English
As She Is Spoke, he just couldn't get his poem to sound right.

"How do I like the thee?" Beowulf read over his poem again. "Let count the ways to me.
Nah, still don't sound right." He erased everything he had and started all over. "My love
is a like a red, red, went up. No, that doesn't make any sense. Oh, I give up." Beowulf
crumpled up the paper he was writing on and tossed it into the trash. It was time to get
to the trial anyway.

Beowulf packed up his things, put on his cloak, and left his room in the castle. He
carefully shut and locked the door behind him, crossed the courtyard, and headed
across the drawbridge.

Suddenly, a large mechanical device sped towards him -- it was a car, but Beowulf
didn't know that. Ross Perot leaned out the window. "Hi, there," he said. "I'm not in this
fanfic but I thought I'd put in a cameo appearance. Bye now." Perot then drove off.

Shaking his head, Beowulf proceeded on to the courthouse, where a large crowd was
waiting. As he approached, he could tell it was the other people invovled in the trail --
Ramza, Delita, Orlandu, Agrias, Mustadio, and many others.

"What's going on?" Beowulf asked.

"Starr's gone," Agrias replied. "He's totally vanished."

Beowulf saw a sudden ray of hope. "He's gone? Does that mean we have to call off the
trial?"

"We haven't looked everywhere yet," Ramza quickly interjected. "He could be sick or
something."

"If he was sick, he'd be in his room, or in the hospital, or in the castle infirmary, and we
already checked all those places," Delita quickly pointed out.

"Forget it, I'm leaving," Mustadio said, storming off.

"Yeah, me too, I've got some business to attend to in Japan," T.G. Cid said with dark
undertones. He also walked away from the courthouse.

"We're free! We're free!" Beowulf exulted. Then he paused. "But do I do now?" He'd
been subpoenaed so long he'd given up all hope of ever being free, and he hadn't given
any thought to what he'd do after the trial. He could finish his poem, he supposed, at
least in the short term. And there were Sephiroth's movies to deal with...

                                    * * *

Peco thumped his head against the door of Capcom HQ over and over. "Puddy!
Puddy!" he squeaked.

He was eventually rewarded when Rei opened the door and looked out. "Hey, Peco,"
he said. "What's up?"

"Puddy pukyu pusyu puddy!"

"What? The Cids have fallen in Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon?"

"Pukyukyu pusyu!"

"Square threw them in there? It's endless and they'll never get out? Well, doesn't that
just beat all?" Rei exclaimed. "Peco, we've got to save them! You go get Jill and
Megaman, I'll warm up the car."

                                    * * *

Hanpan, Neko, and Spekkio marched into their hotel room in Tokyo. "Man, I'm beat,"
Neko said.

"Um, guys?" Hanpan said. "Are you sure this is our room?"

Neko looked around. The entire room had been decorated with a Hello Kitty decor --
the walls were covered in Hello Kitty wallpaper, the carpet had a Hello Kitty pattern,
Hello Kitty sheets adorned the bed, and there was even Hello Kitty soap in the
bathroom.

"Ugh," Spekkio said. "Hello Kitty."

"Hey, shut up, Hello Kitty is cool," Neko said.

Hanpan and Spekkio stared at him. "Are you feeling all right?" Hanpan asked.

"Never felt better," Neko grinned. He checked his watch. "Hey, I wonder if they get
EMW here."

"Don't get your hopes up," Hanpan said as they entered the room.

Spekkio stared down at the garish pink carpet that his feet were shuffling across. "I'm
not sure I want to stand on this," he said. "I feel unclean."

Neko grabbed the remote and flipped on the TV. It had been left on -- what else? -- the
24-hour-a-day Hello Kitty channel.

"Aaaah!" Spekkio screamed. "Take it away! Take it away!"

"Aw, come on, Hello Kitty's not that bad," Neko said as a commercial for the Hello Kitty
car came on.

"Change the channel, now!" Hanpan roared. "Because Hanpan said so!"

Grumbling, Neko flipped the channel to some public-access channel repeatedly
flashing the message "CALL BEFORE YOU DIG". That proved boring after a few
seconds, so he started channel-surfing until he came across a familiar game show.
"Midgar Squares!" Neko exclaimed. "Sweet!"

"Welcome back to round two of Midgar Squares," Reno was saying. "I'm your host,
Reno. But first, let's have a moment of silence for Ramuh, who recently died of a heart
attack in the Esper Dimension." There was silence for about half a second. "Well, that's
a moment. If you'd like to attend Ramuh's funeral, it will be broadcast live over the
Internet in the first ever e-funeral, at
http://www.geocities.com/Transylvania/Morgue/8060."

"Whoa, Ramuh's dead?" Spekkio said, shocked. "That old psycho?"

"Man, he's been around forever," Hanpan added.

"And now, back to the game," Reno said. "Aeris, you'll go first this round."

"Aerith," Aerith corrected. A laugh track rippled through the studio.

"Yeah, whatever." Reno's comment was followed by more laughter.

"CALL ME AERITH OR I'LL RIP YOUR LUNGS OUT!" There was still more laughter.

Reno grimaced. "Geez, okay, Aerith. Who are you going to choose?"

Aerith considered each of the nine celebrities on the show before arriving at a decision.
"Pikachu! I choose you!!"

"Pika pika!" Pikachu squeaked. A fresh wave of canned laughter sounded from the
show, with Neko joining in.

Hanpan stared at him. "What are you laughing at?" he asked. "This isn't funny at all. It's
totally idiotic."

"And the question is, 'Which Final Fantasy Tactics character cannot equip weapons?'"

"Pika pika," Pikachu squeaked.

"He says 'the Rock of Gibraltar'," Reno said to Aerith. "Are you going to agree with
that?" Neko, Spekkio, and the studio audience all laughed, but Hanpan remainded
unmoved.

"Pika pika pikachu!!"

"Oh, I'm sorry, you meant to say 'Reis'?" Reno repeated. There was more laughter.

"I'll agree with that," Aerith said.

"That's correct!" Reno exclaimed.

"What the hell?" Hanpan said. "Reis can equip bags! They're totally wrong!"

"Barret, your turn," Reno said.

Barret decided to go for a corner spot. "I be pickin' Crono, foo'!" he exclaimed, and
was promptly followed by a laugh track.

"The question is, 'What is the name of George Jetson's dog?'" Reno read to Crono.

There was silence. After a few seconds, Neko and Spekkio laughed along with the
laugh track.

"This is so stupid," Hanpan complained. "Can we watch something more intelligent, like
maybe Sesame Street?"

Hanpan was spared any further agony when the phone rang. Neko scrambled to get it,
giving Hanpan the opportunity to change the channel over to Boring Crap From
Namibia on the Discovery Channel.

Neko grabbed the receiver. "Neko speaking," he said. "I have some new inflatable
Beath of Flams dolls in stock; are you interested?"

"Hey, you're the Cute Animal Characters, right?" a gruff voice said.

"Yeah, that's us," Neko said.

"This is Saddam Hussein, and -"

"Whoa, the Saddam Hussein?" Neko blurted.

"Yeah, the Saddam Hussein," Saddam said. "Look, G, I'm here in Tokyo for my benefit
concert, Tibet Sucks; all the proceedz go to support the Chinese government. It's
tomorrow, but I'm short one act -- Pinochet had to pull out at the last minute 'cause he
was extradited. I heard you were in town... kin you homeys come play?"

"Wait, let me get this straight," Neko said. "You're holding a benefit concert to help
China oppress Tibet?"

"Damn straight," Saddam said. "We've got quite a lineup -- Fidel Castro is opening,
and -"

Neko held the phone away from his mouth for a second to talk to his fellow band
members. "Hey, guys," he said. "You wanna go play at Saddam Hussein's Tibet Sucks
benefit concert tomorrow?"

"Sure, why not?" Spekkio shrugged. "It's for a worthy cause. No, wait, actually it isn't."

"Only if all of us can go," Hanpan said.

"Only if we can all go," Neko relayed into the phone.

"Of course, of course!" Saddam Hussein said. "I'll see you at the concert, then. 3:00
sharp tomorrow!"

Neko hung up the phone and jogged across the hall to Mog and Hammer's room.
"Whoa, you have a normal room," he said after poking his head inside. "We have a
Hello Kitty room."

"That's awful, bro," Hammer said.

"Um, I just told Saddam Hussein we're going to play at his Tibet Sucks benefit concert
tomorrow afternoon," Neko said. "I hope you don't mind."

"Okaykupo with me," Mog squeaked.

"Sure thing, bro," Hammer said. "I trust your wise and mighty judgment... you're never
wrong, bro."

"Okay," Neko said dubiously, heading back to his own room. He still had a nagging
doubt though... and then he realized what it was. Hammer. Playing music. Trouble was
brewing.

                                    * * *

Rei gritted his teeth for dramatic effect as he dodged through traffic towards Square
HQ. "Am I headed in the right direction?" he asked.

Jill Valentine checked the road map. "Yeah," she said. "Are you sure we shouldn't have
brought more reinforcements?"

"Don't worry," Megaman squeaked in his girlish voice. "I brought the Sequel Buster."

"Pukyu."

"Um, what's that?" Rei asked of the Sequel Buster.

"It makes sequels," Megaman chirped. "Watch." Megaman rolled down the window and
fired his Sequel Buster at a passing car. It changed color, grew slightly, and become
the Passing Car EX plus Alpha Championship Edition Director's Cut: Dual Shock
Edition.

"Doesn't that just beat all?" Rei said.

"Um, we've been in this car for ten minutes and nobody has made a PaRappa
reference yet," Jill said.

"Look here we are, sitting in the car," Megaman obliged. "I want you to show me if you
can get far. Step on the gas!"

"Step on the gas!" Rei repeated, slamming the gas. He tore by an intersection,
swerved down the next turn, and screeched to a halt in front of Square HQ.

The four Capcom characters hopped out. "Here, take this lockpick," Megaman
squeaked, handing a lockpick to Jill. "You, the Master of Unlocking, should be able to
use it."

"No way, I'm the real Master of Unlocking!" Rei said.

"No, you're not," Jill said, trying to unlock the door with the lockpick.

"I am too!" Rei said. "You seem to be having a bit of trouble there, can I help?"

"Maybe I'll be able to open it if you stop bugging me."

"Pukyiii!" Peco cried, pounding the door in with one club of his head.

"Well, doesn't that just beat all?" Rei said.

                                    * * *

The Cute Animal Characters -- Neko, Spekkio, Hanpan, Mog, and Hammer -- sat
backstage at Saddam Hussein's Tibet Sucks concert. A decent crowd had gathered at
the outdoor stage, constructed in a park somewhere in Tokyo -- they weren't exactly
sure; they'd just followed Saddam Hussein there.

"Hey, everybody, and welcome to Tibet Sucks," Saddam Hussein greeted the cheering
crowd. "Where washed-up dictators come and sing lousy songs! ...no, wait, I didn't
mean that that anyway. Anyway, here's our first act, the Marxist Brothers, Fidel Castro
and Kim Il Sung!"

"Who's Kim Il Sung?" Spekkio whispered.

"He's the former dictator of North Korea," Hanpan replied. "But he's dead."

Kim Il Sung's ghost overhead them talking as he passed by on his way to the stage. "I'm
not dead," he insisted. "I'm just 'sick'."

"Um... ok," Hanpan said.

Fidel Castro and Kim Il Sung took the stage and quickly launched into a cover of
Losing My Religion. Backstage, the Cute Animal Characters sat and waited for their
turn to play.

                                    * * *

Rei, Jill, Megaman, and Peco raced through Square headquarters, fighting off security
guards. "Pusyukyu!" Peco squeaked, waving his head towards an elevator. The four
dashed inside and Peco hit the "down" button with his head. The elevator descended
down to the furnace room.

"Where are we going?" Megaman chirped.

"Pukyu puuu..."

"The gate to Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon is in the furnace room?" Rei interpreted.
"Well, doesn't that beat all?"

The elevator dinged and the doors opened. The four Capcom characters stepped out
into the furnace room. To their surprise, it was a totally normal-looking furnace room,
except for one small blood-stained catwalk that led off to the left side of the room.

"Pukii!" Peco exclaimed, hopping up and down.

"Hope this is not Cid's blood," Jill said, staring at the blood.

Rei, Jill, and Megaman followed Peco down the catwalk until it dead-ended at a flat
gray panel in the wall about the size of a person. A shimmering image of a dungeon
was imprinted on the panel, looking as if one could pass through it. "Pusiii!"

"Don't tell me we have to climb in there," Jill said.

"Pukyu," Peco said adamantly. He started banging his head against the bottom of the
panel.

"Doesn't that hurt him?" Jill asked Rei.

"Hey, Peco, what are you doing?" Rei asked.

"Puddy pukyu!"

"Oh, you're trying to destroy the portal so the Cids will be teleported out? Well, doesn't
that just beat all?"

                                    * * *

Bahamut eyed the long line of creatures in front of him, all seeking to become the next
lightning Esper. "Good morning, lads," he said to the group ahead of him. "Who's up
first?"

The first in line stepped forward. It was Strom Thurmond. "Oh, no, we can't hire you,"
Bahamut said. "You're older than Ramuh was. Next!"

A nebulous blue monster stepped up. It handed Bahamut a resumé, which the Esper
king took. "Hmm... Pandemonium, eh?" he said. "Looks like you've got some potential,
but you look like more of a water elemental chap to me. We'll call you back, okay?"

Pandemonium appeared satisfied with that result. It walked off, allowing a small purple
dragon-like critter to waddle up. It was constructed of rather blocky shapes, looking like
first-generation 3D graphics. Bahamut took the creature's resumé and looked it over.
"Porigon," he read its name.

"DEATH TO SQUARE!" the creature suddenly shouted, brandishing a knife and lunging
towards Bahamut. Bahamut quickly kicked it away, knocking the knife out of its grasp.

"Bloody hell," Bahamut said as Porigon scurried off. "What was that about?"

The next potential Esper came forward -- it was some sort of serpent with a crest.
Bahamut took its resumé and skimmed over it. "Quetzalcoatl," he read. "You say you're
the Aztec god of thunder?"

The serpent nodded.

"Well, now, I think you might be able to do a pretty good job..."

                                    * * *

"Man, this is getting boring," Cid V griped as the Cids fought their way through the
umpteenth battle in Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon. Luckily, Cid VIII rolled through
pretty much everything with his tank, but it was still exceedingly tedious.

There was a loud crash and a sudden flash of light. The floor and ceiling began
crumbling away. "Whoa, the floor's collapsing!" Cid III exclaimed.

"Really?" Cid IV shot back. "What tipped you off?"

"Somebody must be destroying the dungeon!" Cid VIII said.

"Oh, @#%$!," Cid VII said. "This is all we need."

"No, don't worry," Cid VIII said. "When the dungeon disappears, those banished into it
will be freed... but one of us will have to remain behind."

"I vote for Number Six," Cid VII said.

Before anybody else could argue any more, they all found themselves standing back in
the furnace room, facing Peco, Rei, Jill Valentine, and Megaman. They quickly looked
at each other to see who was there. The thin man was still there, much to their
disappointment, as were all of them... but Cid VIII was missing.

"Crud," Cid VII said. "Cid VIII's gone."

"Hey, little buddy," Cid III said, kneeling down to pat his sidekick on the head. "Did you
bring these folks here?"

"Puddy!"

"Good work, Peco," Cid III said, giving him another pat and standing back up.

"Great, we come here to rescue him, and he ends up sacrificing himself," Cid V said.
"Well, that was real productive."

"We're all going to wind up dead if we don't get out of here," Jill said. "Security's liable
to show up any minute now."

The Cids and the Capcom gang made their way back through the furnace room to the
elevator. Just as Rei was about to press the button to open the elevator doors, they slid
open of their own accord and Squall and Laguna stepped out, carrying Rufus -- an
unconscious Rufus with a shrunken head, that is.

Cid VII "@#$*^!" Cid VII exclaimed. "You're that guy from the Nu planet!"

"Hey, who are you guys?" Squall said. "Get out of our way."

Rei drew his knives. "Oh, I'm sure we have time to stop and play," he said. "Now it's
payback time for stealing our 'evil religion' idea."

"Ha ha ha!" Squall laughed. "All your plots are belong to us."

"What you say!!" Rei retorted.

"RAMUH!" Squall shouted, raising his Gunblade.

There was silence. Nothing happened.

"Uh, Ramuh, you there?" Squall said.

"We killed Ramuh, remember?" Laguna said.

"D'oh."

The Cids used this brief window of opportunity to shove by the two kidnappers and
jump in the elevator. Cid VII had the presence of mind to grab Rufus's arm and yank him
into the elevator along with the orders. "What are you doing here, Rufus?" he asked as
the elevator rose.

"What does it look like, you idiot?" Rufus said in a high-pitched voice. "I was kidnapped
by those two guys."

"Sorry, stupid question. My bad." Cid VII hesitated a moment and wondered whether he
should ask about Rufus's shrunken head, but decided it was probably better not to.

To their surprise, they managed to make it back outside without any further incident.
"So, you lost your buddy Cid VIII?" Megaman asked once they had arrived back
outside.

"Yeah," Cid VI said. "He seemed like a pretty nice guy, while we knew him."

"I can make a sequel to Cid VII and that'll be Cid VIII," Megaman voluntereed.

"Huh?"

Megaman tapped his arm cannon. "The Sequel Buster," he said. "It makes sequels."

"Sure, little dude," Cid V agreed. "Whatever you say."

Megaman fired his Sequel Buster at Cid VII. However, Seven was still dragging the
half-unconscious Rufus along, and Megaman's aim was a wee bit off. The Sequel
Buster blast hit Rufus instead, causing another Rufus -- also with orange hair and a
white jacket -- to appear nearby.

"Whoa, where am I?" the new Rufus said.

"Uh, let's pretend this didn't happen," Megaman said. He kicked the Mega Ball at the
cloned Rufus's head and knocked him out. Megaman then fired a much more careful
shot at Cid VII, creating a sequeled Cid.

"Hi," the new Cid VIII said. He looked vastly different from the now-deceased Cid
CMD2, dressed in red clothing and with brown hair. He had a distinct double chin, and
wore glasses.

"Hey," Cid VII said. "This new Cid's a pansy."

Megaman looked down at his Sequel Buster. It really wasn't working as well as it used
to. "Uh, I think we'll be going now," he squeaked. He, Jill, and Rei moved towards their
car.

"Take good care of Peco," Rei called as he and his companions climbed in their
vehicle and drove off.

"Bye! Thanks for the help!" Cid IV waved.

"Pukyukyu!"

"Well, I guess that wraps this up," Cid VII said, dusting off his hands. "We can go home
now. Welcome aboard, Pansy Man."

"Uh, thanks, I guess," Cid VIII said. "Glad to be on board."

Cid II stared at Cid VII said. "You're not just thinking of going home, are you, you little
whippernsapper?"

"Damn straight I am."

"We still haven't gotten to the bottom of this, sonny," Cid II said. "There's something
fishy going on. How come the Chrono Trigger guy threw us into the dungeon? And how
did they know we were coming?"

"I told you, it's all because of the black helicopters!" the thin man said. "It's aliens at
work! They're wiping out everyone who knows about them! It's all a conspiracy... why
doesn't anyone believe me?"

"I hate to say this, but your friend might be on to something," Cid V admitted to Number
Four.

"Black helicopters?" Cid IV raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"No, I mean about the conspiracy," Cid V said. "Something's not right here, and I think
the only one who knows the truth is the Boss."

"You mean Mr. Sakaguchi?" Cid VIII said.

"Exactamundo."

"Puddy!"

Cid VII scratched his head and puffed on his cigarette. "Didn't they say he was at some
ChocoWorld place? I bet we can find it in the phonebook."

The Cids walked off in search of a phone booth, leaving the grounds of Square
Headquarters vacant, except for the still-unconscious Rufus clone... Megaman's Mega
Ball had really hit him hard. The clone did not awake for another few minutes, and when
he did, discovered Squall and Laguna standing over him.

"There you are," Squall sneered. "Thought you could get away, did you? Where's the
Cids?"

"Huh?" the clone said. "No, I'm not them, I'm, uh... uh..."

"I don't think it's Rufus, Squall," Laguna said. "He just looks like Rufus."

"Uh... gosh, I don't seem to have a name," the clone said, wracking his brain for one.

"He's a dead ringer for Rufus," Squall observed. "He could come in useful."

Laguna nodded. "Okay, clone guy, we're going to call you Kain."

Squall shook his head. "Not original enough."

"Garr?"

"C'mon, can't you think of anything original?"

"Okay, how about Seifer?"

Squall snapped his fingers. "Bingo. Okay, Seifer, come inside and we'll brief you on
your mission."

                                    * * *

"Hey, look out for that car," Kenneth Starr said, pulling Cait Sith back out of the street.

"Sorry," Cait apologized, his eyes never leaving his portable TV.

Starr watched the car disappear down the streets of Tokyo. "Maybe we should
investigate the driver," he said thoughtfully.

"Forget it, Kenny-boy," Cait said. "We've got to find Rufus or there'll be hell to pay."

"There will?" Starr scratched his head.

"No, but I always wanted to say that. Oooh, commerical break. C'mon, let's go."

Starr and Cait hurried across the street. "You have any idea where we are?" Cait
asked his companion once they reached the other side.

"Oh, so we're lost, huh?"

"I didn't say that," C.S. said. "I was just asking if you know where we were."

Kenneth Starr turned angrily on Cait. "Don't you try to evade my questions!" he said. "I
could get a grand jury after you for that!"

"Um, yeah, whatever," Cait said. "Never mind, I'm practically a celebrity here, I'll go ask
someone else." He ran down the street and stopped the first group of people he
encountered.

Cait bowed extravagantly. "Cait, Cat Lord of the Sith," he introduced himself. "Could
you perhaps direct me to Square's offices?"

"Oh, wow, it's Cait Sith," one of the Japanese kids said.

"So, who cares?" another kid said. "FF7 is old news now. Don't you like Xenogears?"

"I'm not touching that one with a 40-foot pole," the first kid said.

"Uh, could you give me some directions here?"

The first kid pointed down the street. "Whoa, check it out, it's Sephiroth."

"Sephiroth!"

The three kids trampled over Cait and dashed off down the street. Cait stumbled back
to his feet and looked the way they were headed. Sephiroth and Eve were standing on
a street corner a few blocks down, mobbed by fans. "Damn you, Sephiroth, I'll get you
for this," Cait muttered. "What's he doing here, anyway?"

Kenneth Starr walked up. "Maybe we should go steal a car, it'd be faster than walking."

"S-steal a car?" Cait stammered. He'd pulled lots of stunts before, but this was going
too far. "Um, I think that's against the law.

Starr stared at him. "I AM ABOVE THE LAW!" he thundered.

"Oh, uh, right."

                                    * * *

Hironobu Sakaguchi stood addressing the assembled crowd of 9 at the gates of
Square's new ChocoWorld amusement park. Behind him floated a strange black
voodoo mask. "This amusement park you see here today is the result of thousands of
hours of research and development," Sakaguchi said. "In order to create the
genetically-engineered Chocobos you see here today, an entire river of magical water
had to be imported from the Esper Dimension, using complicated..." Sakaguchi's voice
trailed off as he realized that his audience now consisted solely of the Cids, Rufus, the
thin man, and an onion.

"Hey, big guy, we got some questions for you," Cid VII said.

Sakaguchi blatantly ignored them and turned to the steel gates behind him. Beyond the
gates lay a heavily-forested landscape in which Chocobos of all varieties presumably
dwelled. Little did Sakaguchi know that the once-peaceful birds had recently come
under the influence of 1,000 cases of Pepsi Oat. "Behold the opening of...
ChocoWorld!" Sakaguchi said, throwing open the gates.

"Boss, can we talk to you now?" Cid V asked impatiently.

A bunch of people driven off by Sakaguchi's lengthy speech wandered back towards
the gates. "Mommy, where's the Chocobos?" one kid asked.

"Pukyusyu," Peco squeaked.

It finally dawned on Sakaguchi that Rufus was among the viewers. "How did you get
here?" he demanded. "Where are Squall and Laguna? Security!"

"Turn my head back to normal!" Rufus squeaked.

"WARK!"

Startled by the sound, Sakaguchi looked over his shoulder. A three-headed Chocobo
looked back. Just behind it was a black Chocobo with a unicorn-like horn.

"Um, those are pretty @#$!&ed up chocobos," Cid VII said.

"Something's gone wrong!" Sakaguchi screamed. "Run for your lives!"

                                    * * *

Biggs sat down on the red couch provided for him. "I've got a problem, doc," he told the
psychiatrist. "It's a problem with death."

"You're afraid of dying?" the psychiatrist said, scribbling furiously in his notepad.

"No, no, it's not that at all," Biggs said. "It's just that wherever I go or whatever I do, I
always end up dying."

"You... keep dying?" the psychiatrist said.

"Yeah," Biggs said sadly. "There's no way I can avoid, it just -"

Biggs was interrupted when the office wall suddenly collapsed and a horde of
chocobos crashed through. Biggs's eyes widened, and he leaped to his feet to flee --
but just as he started to run, the Chocobos swarmed by him, trampling him and crushing
his body.

"Oh my God, they killed Biggs!" the psychiatrist exclaimed. "You bastards!" He threw
open the window and leapt out onto the street, narrowly avoided the swarm of mutated
birds -- or so he thought. A blue chocobo with a camel hump plowed into him a few
seconds later and snapped his neck.

                                    * * *

A Chinese group named They Might Be Dissidents left the stage of Tibet Sucks to
thunderous applause. "Finally, it's our turn," Mog said.

Neko and Hammer hauled the Cute Animal Characters' instruments out onto the Tibet
Sucks stage. "Our next act was supposed to be Pinochet, but he's been extradited and
wasn't able to attend," Saddam Hussein explained to the crowd. "Instead, the Cute
Animal Characters will be playing for us, with their hit song 'Chocobo Insanity', from
Warking Without Moving."

Mog gave the microphone a tap to make it sure worked, then the band started to play.
As usual, Mog played guitar, Spekkio was on keyboard, and Neko played the drums.
Hammer stood off to the side, playing a rousing rendition of the song on air guitar.

     Who knows where they're living at
     It's a wonder man can eat at all
     Chocobos fill dining halls
     They just take up lots of space--they get into your face
     And I don't see what's so great about them
     Only to be told
     "They can eat
     They can breed
     Ain't that super ne-at?"
     And everyone thinks that chocobos
     Are really great because of their big nose
     And around ev'ry corner pops another
     See, what a crazy world we live in
     And if I see one more I'll go insane cause
     It's all I have to give these -

     Futures made of chocobo insanity now
     Always seem to be govern'd by this love for them
     And new kinds, breeding, has gone just way too far
     Oh, WARK's the only sound - It's making my eardrums pound

The band switched over to a brief instrumental, during which loud "WARK!"s could be
heard. A herd of chocobos came running around the street corner, aimed right for the
stage.

Fidel Castro crept out from backstage to get a better view of the Chocobos. "Wow,
they certainly get an A for presentation," he said, impressed. It was only when the band
started looking nervously at each other that he realized that perhaps this wasn't planned
after all.

Hammer slid over to where Saddam Hussein was standing and gave the
dictator-turned-rapper a nudge. "Bro, did you bring all these Chocobos here?" he
whispered.

"Uh, no," Saddam said.

The Chocobos charged right through the stands, crushing listeners under their heavy
feet and tipping over entire rows of seats. Those that manage to react fast enough fled,
screaming in terror. Standing near the back, Fidel Castro was not one of the fortunate,
as he was squashed underneath a black Chocobo's spiked tail. To everyone's surpise,
he stumbled back to his feet a few seconds later. Fidel Castro never died.

"Run for it!" Spekkio screamed.

"Are you kidding?" Hanpan shot back. "This is will give us all the footage we need to
finish the movie! Quick, someone grab the camera!"

"It's right here!" Neko said, frantically tossing a

The Chocobos started demolishing the stage, smashing holes through the stage and
biting holes out of seats. One of the pillars supporting the stage roof tipped over and hit
Fidel Castro on the head, but he walked away unharmed.

"I got it!" Neko said, triumphantly holding up his movie camera.

"Lookupo out!" Mog cried, pulling Neko off the stage just as the floor caved in and the
roof collapsed. The Chocobos swarmed out in all directions, looking for fresh blood.

Neko quickly turned on the camera and pointed it at the Chocobos. "Man, this is
awesome," he said. "We're right up close!" His point was emphasized when a
Chocobo rushed right at him. Mog quickly hit it with his guitar, sending it warking off in
another direction.

"A little too close, kupo," Mog said.

Mog and Spekkio moved forward to fend off the Chocobos, while Neko kept the film
rolling. As a group, they all started to back away from the rampaging Chocobos, still
filming the angry birds. "Somebody get help!" Saddam Hussein cried.

"Nyah, nyah, can't hurt me," Kim Il Sung's ghost taunted as a Chocobo tried to bite him.

"All right, we'll go look for help!" Neko called. "And do some more filming," he added
under his breath.

                                    * * *

Cait Sith strode out of a mall in a suburb of Tokyo, carrying two shopping bags full of
Sailor Moon merchandise in each arm. "Well, this has certainly been a profitable trip,
even if we haven't found Rufus yet," he said to Kenneth Starr.

"We have to find him," Starr said adamantly. "I always catch my special target."

Cait Sith paused in mid-step and cocked his head to one side. There was an odd
stomping noise getting louder and louder. "What's that noise?" he asked, puzzled.

                                    * * *

Hironobu Sakaguchi crawled out from behind a trash can. "Are they gone?" he asked.

Cid VII was wiping chocobo blood off his spear. "Relatively speaking. The #*$&% birds
are all over the city now."

"You shrunk my head!" Rufus squeaked.

"Yeah, if it wasn't for you meddling Cids and your onion, I would have gotten away with
it, too!" Sakaguchi said.

"It's all a conspiracy," the thin man asserted. "He meant to do this in the first place! It's
all to cover up the Roswell incident! It -"

Sakaguchi looked out across the skyline of Tokyo. Mutated Chocobos were smashing
buildings left and right, and thousands of screaming people packed the streets in a
futile attempt to escape. "Man, oh, man," Sakaguchi said, shaking his head.

"Um, one of those chocobos just peed on a whole block and swept it away," Cid V
observed.

"Oh, spoony," Cid IV muttered.

"I think we should send Number 6 to go clean up that place," Cid VII suggested. "His
raincoat should protect him."

"It's not a raincoat," Cid VI said defensively, pulling his hood tighter around his face.

"We'd better take care of this," Sakaguchi declared.

"Great thinking," Cid III said. "Where'd you get the idea?"

"I've got a great plan," Sakaguchi said. "C'mon, you guys follow me."

                                    * * *

The Cute Animal Characters raced down the streets of Tokyo, just a small part of the
wave of fleeing pedestrians. Neko was filming over his shoulder, trying to get as much
Chocobo footage as he could. "This is going to make an awesome movie," he grinned.

"Yeah, if we can get out of here alive, kupo," Mog muttered.

"Don't worry, I'm the Master of War!" Spekkio declared.

"Aren't we supposed to be looking for help for Saddam?" Hanpan asked.

"Well, technically speaking, yes," Neko said. The camera buzzed, and then the sound of
film turning stopped. "Oh, crud, I'm out of film," Neko said.

"You have any more in your bag?" Hanpan asked.

"Yeah, but it takes a while to load the camera," Neko replied.

Spekkio pointed at the nearby Tokyo Museum of Modern Art. "Let's hide in there," he
suggested. "Not even the chocobos would be stupid enough to go in a modern art
museum."

The Cute Animal Characters hurried inside the museum. Apparently unaware of the
chaos outside, a number of art critics were intensely examining a broken piece of PVC
tubing. "Look at the way the jagged edges of the cylinder expresses the artist's
frusteration towards cyclical motion," one of the critics mused.

"Are you sure it was a good idea to come in here?" Mog asked Spekkio.

"Trust me," Spekkio replied.

"I hate it when people say that."

Neko set down his camera and bag, then started rooting through his bag for some film.
In the process, he chucked out a Binney & Smith & Weston .38 Burnt Sienna crayon
gun, a keyboard with no letters on the keys, a cat figurine made of cheese, some of Big
Joe's Previously-Used Dental Floss, and a stuffed Chansey doll, before finally locating
some film.

Just as he was loading the camera, the glass front walls shattered as several chocobos
charged inside. "Oh no, they're in here too!" Mog exclaimed.

"Quick, let's thin out their numbers!" Spekkioo said, casting Luminaire and frying
several Chocobos.

Hammer grabbed the crayon gun that Neko had tossed aside and started spraying
crayon fire at the chocobos. Warking in surprise, the Chocobos turned tail and fled out
of the museum. "Oh, yes, did you see that?" Hammer exclaimed triumphantly. "Did you
see my MAD SKILLZ?"

"That was, uh, nice, Hammer," Spekkio replied.

"Hanpan 3:16 says we just whooped their ass," Hanpan said smugly.

The art critics had been paying little attention to the fight, but one of them now
wandered over to see what all the commotion had been about. His attention was soon
caught by the spent casings on the floor. The critic picked up one of the casings.

"Wow," he said. "This is great. The casing's metallic coating screams with anger at the
conflict between man and nature. Is the artist consumed with or consumed by a need for
violence? It evokes both rage and serenity coupled with an intrinsic beauty."

"Really?" Hammer said. "Hey, bro, I'll sell it to you."

"25,000 yen," the critic offered.

"Deal," Hammer said. The critic quickly took out his wallet and handed Hammer the
money. He walked off, overjoyed with his latest art acquisition.

"That's disgusting," Spekkio said. "Even Neko couldn't scam somebody like that."

Hammer just grinned in response.

Neko finished loading the film into his camera. "All right, I got the camera working," he
said. "Let's scram."

                                    * * *

Cait Sith and Kenneth Starr cruised into Tokyo in their stolen jeep, trying to figure out
what was going on. "Maybe we should launch an independent investigation," Starr
mused as he waited at a stoplight.

Cait shot him a frosty glare. "Look, we're not going to start any investigations, so stop
asking, okay?" he snapped.

Starr turned the corner and the duo came upon what appeared to be the
heavily-damaged ruins of an outdoor stage. Saddam Hussein and a bunch of other
dictators -- including Rufus and Fidel Castro, the latter of whom was walking around
without his head -- were trying to salvage some supplies from the rubble.

Kenneth Starr hopped out of the jeep. "Saddam Hussein!" he greeted the Iraqi dictator.
"It's me, Kenneth Starr."

"Hey, long time no see, homey," Saddam greeted him. "Prosecuted any mo' world
leaderz lately?"

"I'm looking for some Shinra character," Starr said. "Rufus Shinra. He blew up a
chemicals plant in the Esper Dimension."

"Dude, he's right over there!" Cait suddenly exclaimed, pointing at Rufus.

Everyone turned to look at Rufus. Rufus drew a long steel sword out of his coat and
pointed it at Cait Sith. The sword was equipped with a strange pistol-like attachment on
top of the main blade. "Don't move," he threatened.

Cait scratched his small head. "Hey, wait a second," he said. "Didn't Clyde say that
they shrunk Rufus's head?"

Saddam's eyes narrowed. "Aren't you the playa-hater who copped my lyrics?" he
accused Cait.

"Uh, it was an accident," Cait said pleadingly. "I didn't mean to, honest!"

"Don't you pigs from da wes' side try to inspect my 'hood no mo'!" Saddam drew a gun
from his pocket and pointed it at Cait. Cait Sith ducked just in time and the shot hit
Rufus in the arm instead. "Oops," Saddam said.

"You fool!" Rufus said, clutching his bleeding arm.

"Quick, let's impeach him!" Starr said. "I've got the court documents all ready."

"No, wait, I don't think this is the real Rufus," Cait said. "Rufus has a shotgun. Hey,
Rufus, is your head one giant Chia Pet or is that just your hair?"

"Shut up," Rufus said.

Cait shook his head. "It's not Rufus," he said. "He doesn't even care that I'm making fun
of his hair."

"Let's launch an independent investigation!" Kenneth Starr said. "I'll volunteer to
prosecute him."

"Hey, homey, let me take care of this," Saddam Hussein said to Starr. He quickly
moved forward and grabbed the fake Rufus by his wounded arm before the impostor
could escape. The clone's face twisted in obvious pain, and Saddam quickly added
insult to injury by pointing his gun in his face. "All right, foo', answer up or I'll 86 ya.
Where's da real Rufus?"

"In... ChocoWorld..." Seifer gasped.

"Wha' da dilly yo?" Saddam said. "Wha'z ChocoWorld?"

"Amusement park..." Seifer said, continuing to struggle. "West... Tokyo..." He suddenly
broke free of Saddam's grasp and fled.

"ChocoWorld," Kenneth Starr repeated. "I wonder if there's a suspicious land deal
involved here. I think it's time to do some investigating." He shook Saddam's hand.
"We'll be back to help later. Nice seeing you."

Saddam nodded. "Good luck, homey. Props to ya."

Cait Sith and Starr climbed back in their jeep. Cait Sith dug a city map out of the
glovebox to guide the pair, while Starr drove off down the street.

"Oh, there it is," Fidel Castro said, finally locating his head in the rubble. He lifted it up
out of the wreckage and screwed it back on his neck.

                                    * * *

"So what's this big fancy plan of yours?" Cid II snapped at Sakaguchi as he led the
Cids down the streets of Toyko. "Are we going to use one of your new-fangled
pol-ee-gon contraptions or what?"

"Well, I guess I can tell you," Sakaguchi said. "You guys all know about the Pied Piper?"
The Cids and the thin man all nodded. "Good. What we're gonna do is lure all the
Chocobos back into ChocoWorld with music."

"What kinda dumbass plan is that?" Cid VII said. "That's the most ridiculous @#$* I've
ever heard in my life... it's so ridiculous, it, uh, just might work."

"Wheeeep!"

Sakaguchi looked down at Peco, who was hopping alongside Cid III with his usual
happy grin. "Remind me again... why are we taking him along?"

"He's my sidekick," Cid III said defensively.

"But he's a Capcom character."

Cid V quickly cut in to stop the argument. "So where are we going?" he asked.

"They're holding a benefit concert for the Chinese government," Sakaguchi explained. "I
figure we can find someone there to play for the Chocobos. Oh, and I brought along
some backup." He pulled a tightly-folded scroll out of his pocket and held it up for the
Cids to see. "This is the Summon Hero spell."

"Okay, who do we summon?" Cid V asked.

Sakaguchi shrugged. "I was looking for suggestions."

"How about Gilgamesh?" Cid V said. "He's a legendary hero and stuff."

"Oh yeah!" Cid IV agreed. "He could probably beat Superman!"

Sakaguchi unfolded the scroll and chanted something. An image of a black voodoo
mask flickered briefly in the air, and then a disoriented Gilgamesh appeared -- or at
least, the Gilgamesh that Cid V knew. "Whoa," Gilgamesh said. "This doesn't look like
the Mu anymore, Toto."

"You're in Tokyo, Japan," Cid V said helpfully. "We're the Cids, and that's the Boss over
there. We're trying to stop some Chocobos run amok. Just go along with everything,
okay?"

Gilgamesh tried to take all this in. "Sure," he said, but he didn't really mean it.

Cid VII shook his head, still not believing the scheme had any chance at success, but
said nothing. The Cids and Gilgamesh plodded on down the streets, following
Sakaguchi to the concert.

A herd of screaming people rushed around a corner, pursued by a mob of warking
Chocobos. Cid III thought he saw Neko and Hammer in the crowd, before the Cids
were forced to turn and flee to avoid being trampled.

"Hey, it's the Cids!" Mog shouted over the screaming. "It's us, the Cute Animal
Characters!"

"Shhh!" Neko hissed. "You're getting on the tape!" The purple cat continued filming over
his shoulder at the rampaging chocobos, who were smashing everything in sight.

Sirens sounded as the military rushed to attack. Two tanks rolled down the street and
waited until the fleeing people past, then started firing on the chocobos -- at least until
the angry birds kicked huge holes in the tanks' sides and devoured the pilots.

"Are you getting all this?" Hanpan shouted as the crowd fled under an overpass.

"Of course!" Neko said. "This is great!"

A squadron of helicopters soared overhead, not more than 200 feet off the ground, and
promptly collided with the overpass in a huge explosion. "How @#$!*in' stupid can you
get?" Cid VII swore. "Are they on drugs?"

More intelligent helicopter pilots began to circle the chocobos overhead, firing machine
guns on them. Wedge cruised in in a landspeeder and wrapped a tow cable around a
chocobo's legs, shortly before the chocobo stepped on him and abruptly ended his life.

Neko forced his forward through the crowd to get farther away from the action -- with the
helicopters overhead, he needed a more distant shot to take in the whole scene.
Someone tapped him on the shoulder.

"Hey, you guys," Cid VI said. "Do you have your instruments along?"

"Um, Mog does," Neko said, gesturing towards the guitar-carrying moogle.

"Hey, Mog, we have a plan," Cid VI said. "We're going to lure the chocobos back into
ChocoWorld with music. Can you play your guitar?"

"Okaykupo, how about Blue and Green?" Mog started playing the familiar -- and awful
-- tune on his guitar, and even sang along.

The Chocobos instantly veered away from their assault on the military and ran towards
Mog instead. The moogle hurried forward as fast as he could on his tiny legs, still
playing Blue and Green. More Chocobos poured in from other parts of the city to join in
on the chase.

"Wow, it's actually working," Cid VII said. "I don't believe it."

"I think they're just trying to catch up with him so they can make him stop playing that
garbage," Cid II whispered. "Whatever happened to classical music? All we got now is
all this noise that you young 'uns listen to."

By the time the gang reached the gates of ChocoWorld, all the escaped Chocobos had
merged into one group chasing Mog. The moogle scurried out of the way and let the
chocobos rush into the open gates. Sakaguchi slammed them shut and locked them.
The Cids and Gilgamesh quickly pushed in some extra trash lying around -- garbage
cans, benches, and the like -- to help keep the gates blocked.

"Done," Sakaguchi said, dusting off his hands.

"Hey, wait a second," Cid V said. "Didn't we leave Rufus in ChocoWorld?"

                                    * * *

Rufus stumbled through the empty forests of ChocoWorld, carrying the map that
Sakaguchi had given him. He'd been assigned to hide back in the park and pick off any
Chocobos that returned.

Rufus stopped upon reaching the canyon he'd been told to hide in. The narrow ravine
appeared to be some sort of feeding ground, as there was a huge pile of Chocobo
greens stacked up in the back. "This is a dumb place to hide," Rufus thought aloud. "If
any Chocobos wander in here, this is... right... where... they'll... come..." Rufus's voice
trailed off as he realized he had just been tricked.

Just then, something warked behind him.

                                    * * *

Cait Sith and Kenneth Starr had just entered ChocoWorld when they heard a loud clang
behind them. "What was that?" Cait said, worried. "I hope that wasn't the gates..."

Starr looked back. The gates had been shut, and a huge crowd of Chocobos was
rushing towards them. "Crud," Starr said, slamming the gas. The jeep crashed forward
through the underbrush, bounced around by the rough terrain.

"How are we gonna get out of here?" Cait muttered. "Even if we find Rufus, the gate's
are closed."

"We'll have to lose these things first," Starr said. "Maybe we can impeach them."

"Will you shut up about impeaching people already?" Cait Sith snapped. "Gimme the
wheel." He reached over and grabbed the wheel of the jeep, and instantly caused it to
swerve right through a tree.

Starr covered his hands with his eyes. "I can't look," he said. "Let me know if you see
any compelling evidence in favor of impeachment."

Barely able to see over the dashboard, Cait craned his neck for a better view of the
terrain ahead. There appeared to be some sort of ravine directly ahead. In a rare
moment of intelligence, Cait drove the jeep up the side of the ravine. The chocobos
continued to run straight away and charged into the ravine, putting the jeep out of
harm's way.

Hearing the thundering footsteps quieting, Starr opened his eyes again and pushed
Cait Sith's paws off the steering wheel. "Hey, isn't that our special target down there?"
he said, peering into the ravine.

Cait followed Starr's gaze into the ravine. Rufus -- and this Rufus did have a shrunken
head -- was desperately clinging to a tree branch in the ravine as the solid mass of
chocobos raced by inches under his feet. "Help!" he squeaked.

"We've got to save him!" Starr said, scrambling out of the jeep.

"Huh?"

"If we don't save him, we'll never be able to prosecute him!" Starr said. "Do we have a
rope or something?"

Suddenly, a cloaked brown figure raced out from the trees at the opposite side of the
ravine and bounded down into the ravine. He grabbed Rufus's arm and sprung up to the
side of the ravine, carrying Rufus away from danger.

"Look, it's Orlandu!" Cait said, pointing. Starr gave him a puzzled look.

Holding onto the cliff with one hand and Rufus with the other, T.G. Cid struggled to pull
himself up. His feet scraped against the side of the cliff as he tried to get some
leverage to climb over the top. That was when somebody stepped on his hands.

"Hey, let him go," Cait said, swinging his ball-and-paddle at the person who had just
appeared. It bounced off Squall's cheek, and distracted him just long enough that T.G.
Cid was able to push Squall away and scramble up onto the cliff. Squall took one look
at the near-invulnerable warrior, then turned and fled.

Rufus's eyes locked with that of his archenemy. "I don't even want to know what you're
doing this time," he squeaked, shaking his tiny head.

"Um, your lawyer dude sent me here to find you," Cait said.

"You!" T.G. Cid bellowed, pointing his sword at Kenneth Starr. "What are you doing
here?"

Starr stared at Orlandu, trying to place him. "You were one of the witnesses in the Hyral
trial, aren't you?"

Orlandu nodded. "How did you end up here? Why weren't you at the trial? You keep us
locked up there for six months and then you just run off!"

"I have a new special target," Starr explained. "Mr. Shinra over there."

"Oh, lovely," Rufus said. "What else could possibly go wrong?"

                                    * * *

The Cids pounded down the trail of chocobo tracks in ChocoWorld, rushing to save
Rufus. It was probably a futile attempt -- there was no way they could stop hundreds of
angry chocobos -- but they had to at least try.

The seven Cids were thus greatly relieved to see a jeep approaching them with Rufus
on board, along with Cait Sith, Kenneth Starr, and their long-lost companion T.G. Cid.
"Oh, you're okay," Cid III said, visibly relieved.

"Waaaaaaah," Peco yawned.

"Sorry about getting in trouble again," Rufus said, nodding apologetically to the Cids. "I
fell for that one, all right."

"Well, at least you're safe now," Cid IV said.

"Not exactly," Rufus squeaked. "I've been court-martialed." He jerked a thumb towards
Kenneth Starr.

"Oh."

"Hey, you can't do that," Cid VI cut in. "You can't court-martial somebody who's not in
the military."

Starr stared at him. "I AM ABOVE THE LAW!" he roared.

"Um... right."

"Where have you been?" Cid VII demanded of T.G. Cid. "We could have used back in
Chocobo's Mysterious Dungeon.

"I got subpoenaed by Mr. Starr over there," Orlandu explained. "I was stuck in Ivalice
Castle for six months."

"Oh, say, I haven't introduced Number Eight here," Cid VII said with a nod towards Cid
VIII. "Orlandu, this is Cid Kramer, Cid VIII. Cid VIII, this is 'T.G. Cid' Orlandu from FF
Tactics."

"Nice to meet you."

"Charmed," Cid VIII said, shaking Orlandu's hand.

Cid VII suddenly remembered something and turned to Cait Sith. "By the way, Cait,
your furry friends are out there filming a movie," he said. "You might want to pay them a
visit."

"Neko and the gang?" Cait said. "They're here in Tokyo? Cool!"
 
 

    PART THREE: There's Something About Sephy

One week later...

Squall, Laguna, and Seifer shuffled into Hironobu Sakaguchi's office. Sakaguchi
himself sat in a tall-backed black chair, facing the far wall. To Squall, only his hands
were visible, typing away on a computer.

"You've failed me again, Squall," Hironobu Sakaguchi said without turning.

"I'm sorry, sir," Squall said.

"Twice now you've failed to eliminate Rufus," Sakaguchi continued. "You incompetent
fools! I'm assigning you all to office mail duty."

"But, sir -"

"Now get out of my office," Sakaguchi commanded.

The trio hurried out of Sakaguchi's office. As soon as they were gone, a black mask
detached itself from the wall and floated out into the air. "I think we should use the
monkey," it said.

"You mean Mumba?" Sakaguchi said. "But he's not ready yet; we haven't decided his
special ability."

"Oh, right," Uka Uka said. "What about the guy you summoned?"

"Gilgamesh!" Sakaguchi snapped his fingers. "That's right!" He grabbed the phone on
his desk and called the receptionist. "Is Gilgamesh still around?"

"No, he hasn't shown up at all," the receptionist said.

"All right, thank you."

Sakaguchi hung up and turned to Uka Uka. "Where could he be?" he wondered. "It's
not like an ancient Mesopotamian hero is going to find a lot of employment
possibilities."

                                    * * *

Beowulf, Gilgamesh, and Siegfried knelt in bottom of a swimming pool, running over
their plans of attack. Luckily for them, the pool had been drained for the winter.

Beowulf looked up at the luxury hotel where Sephiroth was staying. "Doesn't look
there's any other escape routes besides the fire escape," he observed, satisfied.

"Now that little worm's finally going to get what's coming to him," Gilgamesh said.
"Gilgamesh Meets Gumby, what kind of garbage is this?"

"Yeah, I know, I still haven't cleared my name," Siegfried said.

"Psst," a voice whispered from above. "Hey, you guys."

The trio looked up. Musashi, or at least a blue-haired child version of him, was peering
down into the pool. "You guys are after Sephiroth, right?"

"Maybe we are, maybe we aren't," Beowulf said cautiously.

"I'm after that little turd too," Musashi said. "He used me without permission in his movie
Brave Space Marine Musashi."

Beowulf nodded. "You'll go up the fire escape with me."

"Oh no, I don't need to use the fire escape," Musashi said. "Watch!" Musashi ran to the
side of the hotel, drew two swords -- Fusion and Lumina, the Sword of Luminescence --
and jammed them into the brick wall. He then started to scale the wall by alternatingly
sticking one of the swords in the wall above the other.

"Um, can you really do that?" Gilgamesh said aloud.

                                    * * *

The now re-unified Cute Animal Characters -- and Kenneth Starr, who had sort of
leeched onto Cait and now followed him everywhere -- had gathered in Mog's hotel
room, since it was the only room without a Hello Kitty decor. Most of the gang was
discussing plans for the release plans for When Chocobos Attack!. Of course, Cait Sith
was watching Sailor Moon on the TV, and Starr was sorting through court documents.

"So, we're looking next weekend for the premiere, then?" Spekkio said.

"Well, we've got the weekend to ourselves," Hanpan said. "Nothing else worth watching
is being released... there's only one other movie coming out; I don't remember what it
is."

"I think it's the The Land Before Time XXVI: The Last One, Really, We Promise, bro,"
Hammer said.

"Yeah, that's it," Hanpan said. "I don't even think anybody watches those movies
anymore, so it's nothing to worry about." He glanced over his shoulder at Cait, who was
singing along with the Sailor Moon theme song. "Cait, knock it off."

"But, Stone Cold, just think about how happy Luna will be when she finds out I know the
whole song."

Hanpan sighed. "Cait, how many times have I told you that Luna doesn't even know you
exist?"

"No, it's different now," Cait explained quickly. "I sent a chain letter to 30 people and it
said if I did then my crush and I would get married. It's only a matter of time now."

Hanpan opened his mouth to say something, then shut again. There was no point in
arguing. Cait was Cait.

"By the way, Cait, what happened to Rufus?" Spekkio asked Cait. "I thought you were
prosecuting him or something."

Cait froze. In all the excitement of meeting up with his friends at ChocoWorld, he'd
totally forgotten his mission. "Uh-oh," he said eventually. "I think I, uh, lost him."

The other Cute Animal Characters were hardly surprised -- this was hardly a change of
behavior for Cait. "Maybe he's with the Cids," Neko said.

"But they're going back to Midgar," Cait Sith said. He sat bolt upright. "Oh no, we've got
to get to the airport right now!"

Neko shrugged. "They're just going back to Midgar. You can prosecute them later, after
the movie opens. This is our big break."

"Yeah, first things first, kupo," Mog said.

"Yeah... I guess," Cait said dubiously.

"Don't worry," Kenneth Starr said. "I always catch my special target."

                                    * * *

"Oh my, another fan letter," Sephiroth said. "Well, that's nice." He threw the letter aside
and picked up the next letter from the vast stack.

"Sephy, dear, there's some guy's heading sticking through the wall," Eve said.

Sephiroth looked up. Part of Musashi's head was seen floating through the wall,
although the rest of him was apparently still on the other side. This was highly peculiar.
He ran to the door and opened it. The rest of Musashi was walking through the motel
hallway, a little too nonchalantly.

"Uh, pardon my polygon glitching," Musashi apologized.

Sephiroth gave him a steely glare. "You do realize that I'm conducting an important
survey of my mail and must maintain my steady regimen of sitting around and having
people worship me?"

"That's what I'm here to talk to you about!" Musashi exclaimed extravangtly. "You used
my likeness in your movies without permission! I was so upset that I turned to drinking
soda until I finally turned my life around!"

"Soda?"

"I'm E-rated."

Sephiroth had the distinct impression that Musashi was stalling for time. Thus, he was
not particularly surprised when Gilgamesh and Siegfried hopped off the elevator. They
quickly located their target and rushed to confront him.

"Sephiroth!" Siegfried shouted. "Now it's payback time for Siegfried Goes To Camp!"

"Hey now, that was highly profitable," Sephiroth protested. "It set a new record for
opening-weekend ticket sales, until Macbeth vs. Godzilla came out."

"But it had three different versions of me all with their names misspelled and they were
all played by Adam Sandler," Siegfried said.

Sephiroth shrugged. "I'm a busy man," he said. "I don't have time for this. If you want to
argue with me, talk to my agent."

"We don't want to argue with you," Gilgamesh cut in. "We're here to take you hostage."

                                    * * *

"Can't this @#$! line move any faster?" Cid VII snapped. With everything seeming to
be under control in Japan, the Cids were back at the airport, ready to fly home. They'd
brought Rufus along as well -- Cait had been too busy chatting with his buddies to even
notice that they'd smuggled him to safety.

"They're trying to keep us from leaving!" the thin man blurted. "It's a government
conspiracy! We know too much! They're going to detain us and take us away in the
black helicopters!"

Cid VIII peered around the heads of the people in front of them at the vacant ticket
counters. "Looks like the lines have stopped moving," he said. "I'm going to see what's
going on." He jogged off to find an airport employee.

"Cait's probably stolen all the planes or something," Rufus muttered.

"You know, we still haven't figured out what was going on back at Square HQ," Cid IV
pointed out.

"Look, I'm tired, I have a pounding headache, we chased people and chocobos around
the city for two days straight, and I don't want to set foot in this city again as long as I
live," Cid VII said. "I don't give a %#@! about your conspiracy theories. I just want to get
home." The other Cids and Rufus nodded their agreement.

"Sure, whatever," Cid IV shrugged. "I was just mentioning it."

Cid VIII jogged back to rejoin the group. "There's some sort of hostage crisis going on
in a hotel," he explained. "Some guys have taken Sephiroth hostage."

"Oh, this is all I need," Rufus said, rolling his eyes.

"Puddy pukii!" Peco squeaked.

"Great," Cid VII muttered. "We'd better go save him before they declare a state of
national emergency."

Cid VIII adjusted his glasses. "'Fraid I missed something there," he said.

"It's Sephiroth," Cid VII said as if that explained everything. When it still failed to click
with Eight, he elaborated. "He's got millions of fans. If anything happens to him, they'd
probably all commit ritual suicide. All hell'll break loose if we don't save him."

Rufus sighed and shuffled along after the Cids as they rushed off on their latest mission.
He really shouldn't have gotten out of bed this year.

                                    * * *

Neko and Hanpan strode back into Mog's hotel room, where the other Cute Animal
Characters (and independent prosecutor) were watching TV. "Well, we've got the
premiere all set up," Neko reported. "

"Get in here, you guys," Mog said. "They're taking Sephiroth hostage."

Neko shook his head, startled by this sudden development. "Who? What? Where?
When? Why? How?"

Mog pointed at the TV, and Neko ran to look at it. It was a live broadcast from some
luxury hotel, where a reporter was standing a few feet away from the hostage situation.
"We bring you back live to the hostage crisis in Tokyo," a news anchor's voice intoned.
"There's been no new developments, but this sure is good for our ratings."

"That's right, Kenichi," the reporter agreed. "Since we don't have anything to say, here's
some pointless statistics... did you know that 50% of all hostage victims score above
average on IQ tests? Or that 83.25% of all crazed terrorists reportedly paid great
attention to statistics?"

"We're not crazed terrorists," Siegfried insisted. "We're after this loser for making
cruddy movies about us."

The reporter thrust a microphone towards Sephiroth. "Any comment on this, Mr.
Hostage?"

"They're highly profitable cruddy movies," Sephiroth said hastily.

"Oh, that's okay, then."

Kenneth Starr stared at the screen thoughtfully. "So, this Sephiroth character makes a
lot of bad movies, then?"

"Oh hell yeah," Hanpan replied. "First he started with a bunch of disasters-from-space
movies, and now he's moved on to reworking literary classics."

"Hmm, maybe we should set up an independent counsel to investigate him," Starr
suggested.

Meanwhile, on TV, Sephiroth was giving an extended speech about his movies. "...and
our latest production, Eldredge, will be opening this weekend."

The words took a moment to sink in among the viewers. "Did he just say this
weekend?" Spekkio asked.

"Oh no!" Cait exclaimed. "We're dead!"

"I thought you said his movies were really bad," Starr pointed out.

"They are, but everyone goes to see them because Sephiroth made them!" Hanpan
exclaimed. "We're sunk! We'll be lucky to get one person to come!"

"I'll go call the theater and see if they'll let us postpone our premiere until next week,"
Neko said, running out of the room.

"Better make that next month," Hanpan called after him. "This could go on for a while."

Meanwhile, the TV had cut back to the news studio. "This just in," the anchor said.
"We've obtained a copy of the police's plan of attack, and against our better judgment
we're going to show it to you. Gosh, we sure hope the terrorists aren't watching this on a
portable TV."

A sketch of some plans appeared briefly on the screen, only to quickly disappear
again. "This just in," the anchor said. "We've received reports that an unknown vigilante
force has entered the building."

                                    * * *

Beowulf pressed his face to the glass, watching the action inside the hotel. Gilgamesh
and Siegfried were arguing with Sephiroth, Musashi was sleeping on the floor, and the
reporter was quoting more statistics. Beowulf was tempted to charge in and help out
his friends, but he knew he had to guard the fire escape in case Sephiroth tried to
escape.

Nothing seemed to be really happening, though, so he spread out his cape as a blanket
and sat down on the platform at the top of the stairs. He kept his eyes fixed on the door,
both watching for Sephiroth and avoiding looking at the pavement several stories below
-- he hated heights, and even the short drop . Had he looked down, however, he would
have seen thousands of Sephiroth fans all swarming towards the building.

                                    * * *

Neko ran back towards the hotel room, his arms up in the air. He was startled to see his
buddies all running towards him, out of the room. "No good," he said anyway. "We're
stuck with this weekened."

"Forget that," Cait Sith said. "We're going to the hotel ourselves."

Neko scratched his head. "Uh, why?"

"To help out those guys!" Cait said. "The ones holding Sephiroth hostage!"

"If we get Sephiroth out of the picture, then our movie's got it made," Hanpan explained.
"Nobody's going to see that Land Before Time stuff."

Neko shrugged. "Well, okay," he said, hurrying after his friends.

                                    * * *

"Aw, @#$*!&," Cid VII swore as the Cids hopped out of their taxi. "We're too late!"

A constant stream of Sephiroth fans were pouring into the building, and more could be
seen through the window, all rushing to defend their beloved. A couple of police cars
were also parked outside the building.

"Let's just let the police take of this," Rufus squeaked.

"No way, man," T.G. Cid said. "We've got to get Sephiroth out of there before they
declare a national emergency, or we'll never get home."

"Arr, back in my day, we didn't care jack diddley about the characters or all that
rubbish," Cid II muttered. "All we cared about was gameplay, y'hear? We created our
own characters at the start of the game! Made 'em up!

None of the Cids paid him attention, as they are all trying to decide what to do. Cid V
suddenly pointed at the fire escape. "The fire escape!" he shouted. "We can beat them
to the top!"

The Cids rushed to the fire escape and scrambled up the metal steps, trying to beat the
tide of Sephiroth fans to the top. "'Scuse me, pardon me," Cid VII said, leaping over
Beowulf's head and kicking the

Beowulf cowered in a corner as the Cids rushed by and into the hotel. "All right, you
punks, come out with your hands up," Cid III said.

"Still more developments in the hostage crisis here... it looks like a second vigilante
force has entered the building," the TV reporter spoke into his microphone. "Things
could get interesting here, but I'm afraid it's time for a commercial break. Stay tuned for
more urgent breaking news after this word from our sponsors."

"Pusyu?"

                                    * * *

The Cute Animal Characters tore through the streets of Tokyo in their jeep, with
Kenneth Starr at the wheel. "We've got plenty of evidence on that Sephiroth character,"
Starr said. "We shouldn't have any problem convicting him."

"Do you ever listen to what I say?" Cait said, not even bothering to look up from his
portable TV. "We're going to hold Sephiroth hostage, not impeach him."

"Cait, you know you shouldn't watch TV while we're in the car," Hanpan said.

Hanpan's comment triggered a thought in Neko's head. "That reminds me," he said.
"We're going to need that TV."

"No way." Cait defensively turned away from Neko. "Get your own damn TV. I'm
watching Sailor Moon."

"But, Cait, you heard the man on TV," Neko said. "We can watch the police's plans. We
need to warn those guys."

Cait gave him a brief glare before turning his attention back to the TV. "We'll see when
we get there," he said. "Maybe during a commercial break."

                                    * * *

Hironobu Sakaguchi shuffled through the hotel, dressed in the black robe of a Sephiroth
cultist. According to Uka Uka, the Cids and Rufus were all here, apparently coming to
save Sephiroth. They'd never be expecting him now -- it was the perfect time to strike.

"Can't you walk any faster?" Uka Uka snapped from inside the hood of Sakaguchi's
disguise.

"There's too many people in here," Sakaguchi explained. The hallways of the hotel had
become a sea of people, consisting mostly of Sephiroth fans in search of Sephy, with
the occasional police officer, hotel staff, or news reporter mixed in.

"You fool," Uka Uka said. "Can't you find a faster way through here?"

"You don't understand," Sakaguchi said.

"Insolent mortal!" Uka Uka said. "Of course I understand! I don't need you to do my
bidding! I'll take care of this myself." The evil voodoo mask flew out of Sakaguchi's
hood and flew off down the halls.

                                    * * *

Musashi woke up to find Cid VII poking his spear at Musashi's stomach. "Hey, you, you
little punk kid," Cid VII said. "Rise and shine."

"Get back!" Musashi said. "I wield Lumina, the Sword of Luminescence!"

"Kid, don't make me do something you'll later regret," Seven snapped. "And how much
@#$! money do you spend on hair gel each month?"

"I'm Brave Fencer Musashi!"

"There's probably a lot of third world countries out there that could use the money, you
know?" Cid VII said. "Like build a @&*$% hospital or something."

Meanwhile, Cid VI was pelting Siegfried with rotten fish, until Cid IV bopped Seigfried
with his hammer and knocked him out. Gilgamesh started to transform, but Peco
changed into a bigger Peco and punched him out with a cry of "Wheeeeep!"

"And it looks like we've got quite a fight going on here," the reporter said. "We're going
to run a little contest here... if you can guess the number of people that will be killed in
this incident, you could win a trip to Hawaii! To enter, just call 1-900-933-7669 and
leave your name, guess, and phone number."

"That all of 'em?" Cid VIII asked, looking around.

"The reporter," Cid III pointed out.

"Oh, good idea," T.G. Cid said, stabbing the reporter with his sword.

"What a bunch of pansies," Cid II muttered. "Back in my day, we had real bosses that
took an hour to beat! Bet you whipper-snappers never did beat Chaos, eh?"

"All right, Sephiroth, let's hit the road," Cid VII said. "Time to go home."

Seph shook his head. "There's still the premiere of Eldredge," he said. "It's this
weekend. It's my biggest production yet; James Cameron directed it."

"Aw, forget the @#$! movie," Cid VII said.

"He's not coming; can we go?" Rufus squeaked.

Any further argument was forestalled when a black voodoo mask flew down the hall and
stopped in front of Sephiroth. "Sephiroth," it said. "Look into my eyes..."

"What the @#$!?" Cid VII swore. "What's going on here?"

"Pukii puddy?"

Sephiroth glanced up at the mask to bat it away. As soon as he did, the mask fired two
orange rays out of its eyes and into Sephiroth's. "Master," Sephiroth said. "What is your
command?"

"Um, this doesn't look good," Five said.

"Oh no, it's that mask!" the thin man said.

"Destroy the Cids," Uka Uka said in an echoing voice. "And Rufus."

"Er, I think we should be leaving now," Cid VIII said, moving rapidly towards the door.

Sephiroth quickly teleported across the hall to block the door. Uka Uka floated along
behind him. Cid VII quickly used a Boost Jump to attack, leaping into the air with his
spear pointed at Sephiroth. Sephiroth dodged out of the way and started casting Super
Nova.

"@%!$#*," Cid VII said. "We're going to be here for a while."

While the massive call spell was going on, Cid VI wandered off in search of a pop
machine. He found one down the hallway, popped some money in, grabbed a can of
Pepsi, and went back to rejoin his fellow Cids. "Did I miss anything?" he asked.

"Nah," Cid VII said. "We still got another couple hours to go. And we're indoors, take off
that damn raincoat."

Cid V lay down on the floor and rested his head against the wall. "Wake me up when
it's about ready to hit," he said.

                                    * * *

The Cute Animal Characters arrived at the hotel to find the parking lot parked with
Sephiroth fans. As almost all space available inside the hotel had been filled up with
people, the fans arriving now were just sort of milling around the parking lot and making
a lot of noise while waving pitchforks and torches.

"Leave this to me," Hanpan said. He flew up several stories and darted inside a
partially open window into a hotel room. The wind rat quickly grabbed the sheets of the
beds and knotted them together. He tied the rope to one of the legs of the table and
tossed it out the window for his friends to use. He was about to fly back down, but then
a better idea struck him. Since nobody was around to see him, he changed into Mighty
Mouse and flew into the hall.

By the time the other Cute Animal Characters -- Kenneth Starr having wandered off on
his own -- arrived in the room, Hanpan was nowhere to be seen. "Uh, where's
Hanpan?" Mog said.

"Hanpan?" Spekkio called. "Where are ya?"

"Maybe Sephiroth got him, bro," Hammer said.

Neko grimaced. "We don't have any time to waste," he said. "Cait, we're gonna need
your TV right now. We have to find out what the police are up to."

"There's a TV right here in this room," Cait Sith pointed out.

"Oh yeah." Neko quickly flipped the TV on. It was set to Univision. He tried changing the
channel, but nothing happened. Neko grabbed the remote and tried changing the
channel with it, but the remote didn't work either. "Uh, guys, this isn't working," he said.
"Cait, I'm sorry to interrupt your show, but we really need that TV to see what's going
on."

"I said no," Cait said.

"Please?" Neko begged. "If we don't help those guys before the police come, our
movie's going to flop."

"Hey," Cait snapped. "That's peer pressure and I don't have to take it!"

"All right, then," Neko said, growing angry, "I guess I'll just have to take that!" He lunged
forward and yanked Cait Sith's portable TV out of his hands.

"Hey, give it back!" Cait said, grabbing at the TV. He tried to yank the TV out of Neko's
grasp, but Neko's grasp remained tight. Cait's feet dragged on the floor as he pulled
and pulled on the TV, trying to wrest it free.

"Dude, Cait, let go," Mog said.

"This is almost as bad as his French phase," Spekkio muttered.

The TV suddenly slipped out of Neko's hands. Thrown off balance, Cait fell on his back.
The TV crashed to the floor, and the screen shattered into pieces.

A hushed silence fell over the group Cait quickly got to his feet and looked around for
the TV. He soon spotted it lying broken on the ground, and stood staring at it in
disbelief. "You... broke... my... TV..." he said, seething.

"Well, you shouldn't have been trying to grab it away like that," Neko shot back.

Cait stared at him, rage flashing his eyes. "You jerk!" he yelled. "I hate you!"

A shadow suddenly fell over the room as the sky outside grew dark. A black-cloaked,
black-armored, figure stepped into the room from the window. "I am Grahf, the seeker
of power," he said in a booming voice. "Dost thou desire the power?"

"Oh, no, it's Grahf!" Hammer exclaimed. "Don't do it, bro!"

"Uh, yeah," Cait Sith said, turning to face him. "Bring it on!"

"Very well," Grahf said, raising his hand. A dark sphere expanded around Cait Sith,
and black armor and a cape like Grahf's formed around him.

"This isn't good, kupo," Mog squeaked.

"Rraaaah!" Cait Sith roared, smashing a huge hole through the wall with his fist. He
stormed off through it, seething with rage.

"Hell hath no fury like a Sailor Moon fan scorned," Spekkio observed.

"Aw, that's nothing, bro," Hammer cut in. "Just find a bunch of people who don't like my
game and wait 'til you see what happens then."

"I'm not touching that one with a 60-foot pole," Neko said.

                                    * * *

Cid V turned up his next card. "Five," he said.

Cid VIII looked at his card. "Eight," he said, taking both of the cards.

The next round of the thrilling game of War began. "Six," Cid V said as he turned up
another card. Meanwhile, Sephiroth was still charging up his Super Nova spell.

"Get on with the @#$% spell already," Cid VII muttered as he puffed on a cigarette.

Cid V yawned and stretched. "Is it over yet?" he asked sleepily.

"Nope," T.G. Cid said.

Cid V climbed groggily to his feet. "Man, this is going on forever," he said. He moved
just in time, because seconds later a fist smashed through the wall he had been leaning
on, knocking it into a pile of rubble. Cait Sith stepped through, clad entirely in black
armor and with a black cape flowing behind him.

"kssshh.... I am Cait, Cat Lord of the Sith... kssshh..." Cait hissed through his helmet.
"Prepare to die... kssshh..." He drew a lightsaber and flicked it on, then rushed forward.
The Cids dodged out of his way, leaving Cait headed directly at Sephiroth.

Sephiroth abandoned his spell and drew his sword to defend himself. He parried Cait's
first lightsaber slash, but, driven on by rage, Cait kept up his onslaught. Sephiroth
parried them all as best he could, but he was obviously undermatched.

Cait Sith raised his lightsaber for a final blow. Sephiroth ducked and rolled out of the
way just as Cait's lightsaber came crashing down. The blade missed Sephiroth and
instead smashed the Uka Uka mask, which was floating along behind Sephy.

Sephiroth scrambled to his feet. "Huh? Where am I?" He took one look at the angry
Cait standing in front of him, then quickly turned and fled out the fire escape. He
dodged around Beowulf and clattered down the steps, not even stopping to look back.

"Stop right there," a voice commanded.

Sephiroth skidded to a stop as he rounded a corner. A man in a suit was standing in
front of him, staring back.

"You are now officialy under prosecution," Kenneth Starr said. "I'll see you in court."

                                    * * *

Lt. Biggs jogged up the stairs, staying alert for any sign of danger. His partner, Corporal
Wedge, stood a few paces behind him, watching the rear. Something was going on
ahead, but they had to stay on patrol down here until their backup arrived. Biggs
checked his Timex watch. They should have been here by now... where were they?

"He's on the fire escape!" someone shouted.

Before Biggs even had time to react, a huge crowd of Sephiroth fans thundered down
the hallway. Biggs wished he had some tear gas, a thought cut short when the herd of
fans trampled over him and Wedge, killing them. Without even stopping to notice, the
crowd stormed on up the stairs... except for one person, who jogged back to the
crushed bodies and picked up Biggs's watch.

"It's still ticking!"

                                    * * *

Pandemonium had erupted on the top floor of the hall. Cait Sith had been running
around, smashing holes in the wall, until the Cute Animal Characters arrived and
knocked him out with Neko's bag. Eve had surrendered, and Neko and Spekkio were
now trying to keep the horde of Sephiroth fans at bay, using Cait's plundered
megaphone.

"All right, girls, you can go home now," Neko shouted through the megaphone.
"Sephiroth has left the building."

The crowd charged on, oblivious to Neko. Suddenly, a blue blur flashed by. "Heeeere
he is to save the day, Mighty Mouse is on his waaaaay!" Hanpan raised both his tiny
paws. "Han-Barrier!" he cried. A wall of energy appeared, blocking off the herd of fans.

"Wow, it's Mighty Mouse!" Neko said.

"Let's get out of here," Hanpan said. "We've got to save your friend."

                                    * * *

Several hours later

Cait Sith's eyes opened. "Huh... where am I?" he said. He looked around and
discovered that he lying in bed, was back in his hotel room in Tokyo. The rest of the
Cute Animal Characters were watching Midgar Squares on TV, but Kenneth Starr was
nowhere to be seen.

Cait Sith sat up. "What happened?" he asked. "The last thing I remembered was going
to the hotel..."

"Grahf gave you the power of evil, bro," Hammer said. "We had to knock you out and
then take you to the arcade so Luna could give you mouth-to-mouth to save you. We
weren't sure if you were going to make it, bro."

"Kenneth Starr's investigating Sephiroth's movie-making practices," Hanpan added. "I
think we've seen the last of him for a while."

"Oh... okay," Cait Sith said, bewildered. Then something clicked. "Wait a second... you
said... Luna... gave... me... mouth... to... mouth..."

"She had to use her magic powers, bro," Hammer said. "To dispel Grahf's curse or
something."

"Luna... gave... me..." Cait repeated. Then he jumped out of bed, tore out the door, and
ran down the hall.

"Cait Sith, wait!" Hanpan said, flying after him. "Where do you think you're going?"

"I'm going to go propose to Luna!" Cait called. "She kissed me!"

"She didn't kiss you, Cait, she gave you mouth-to-mouth," Hanpan said. "There's a
difference. And we didn't even tell her your name; she doesn't know who you are. Cait,
waiiiittttt..."

Cait Sith paid Hanpan no attention as he charged out of the building. Hanpan sighed,
shook his head, and flew back inside. Cait was going to make a fool of himself, but
there was nothing he could do about. Some things never changed.
 
 

                              EPILOGUE

Rufus and Elena took their seats inside the theater for the premiere of When
Chocobos Attack!. Once Uka Uka had been destroyed, Sakaguchi had returned to
normal, and had even been so kind as to provide Rufus with some helium to suck on to
return his head to normal. Sure, there was still the door scandal to deal with, but after he
had been kidnapped, nearly trampled by chocobos, and had his head shrunk, it didn't
seem so bad.

"Wow, this movie sure sounds exciting," Elena said.

"Please, Elena, I'd really like to stay in the theater this time," Rufus whispered.

The lights dimmed and the previews began. "Cute Animal Pictures presents.... from the
creators of When Chocobos Attack!... World's Most Dangerous Call Spells!." The
screen cycled through a rapid series of scenes of Bahamut blasting some soldiers,
Leviathan creating a tidal wave, and even the newbie Quetzalcoatl shooting waves of
lightning. "Coming soon to a theater near you!"

"That really looks like something!" Elena babbled. "World's Most Dangerous Call
Spells... sounds pretty scary! Maybe we should go see that when it comes out. What do
you think, Rufus? Uh, Rufus?"

Rufus looked at her with a pained expression. "Please," he said.

"Rufus? Rufus, why are you staring at the chair in front of us like that?"
 
 

                               CREDITS

              Planned, Produced, and Written By: Fritz Fraundorf
                     Original Concept By: Fritz Fraundorf
                "Chocobo Insanity" Lyrics By: James Gowdey
                 Grahf's Wardrobe By: Black Knight Design Co.
                       Chocobo Wrangler: Ben McKee
                      Assistant to Mr. Starr: Linda Tripp

          A big thanks to Clyde Hudman for allowing us to make fun of him.
 

                             Special Thanks To:
                              Martha Fraundorf
                                 Neil Hughes
                                Ken Fraundorf
                                  Babelfish
                                Andrew Vestal
                                Corporal Dan
                         Patient Cosmo Canyon fans

                            Brought To You By:
                                 The letter J

          Frighteningly enough, the Hello Kitty car actually exists. And they
                 really can't serve peanuts on airplanes anymore.
 

         This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to or appearance of
           actual people, places, or events is intended only for purposes of
            political and social satire. The events in this story are entirely
          fictional. Based on the games by Square, Contrail, and Capcom.
 

                        A Cosmo Canyon Production

                     Coming soon to your PlayStation...