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Convolutions of an Evil Mind
madamhydra
madamhydra
Feral-verse - Contagion 2/? (FF7 AU, Feral-verse)
56 hisses or Hiss in my ear....
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madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 26th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC) (Link)
(continued from above)

[the normal humans are going to panick and get the bright idea that resurrecting Sephiroth is the only way to fend off the feral threat to humanity.]

Oh, the irony!


Indeed. Some normal human extremists become convinced that between Jenova and the ferals, Jenova is the lesser evil of the two evils. So they decide to resurrect Sephiroth, expecting him to still be Jenova's puppet. Of course the extremist humans have some half-assed scheme to keep Sephiroth in line and destroy him once his usefulness is over.

Unfortunately, when Sephiroth's spirit pulled out of the Lifestream and dumped back into a physical body full of Jenova Cells, there are complications (i.e., he still vulnerable to Jenova's influence). He's not nearly as insane as he was before, but he's not quite his lovable sane OT4 self, either.

Now, Aeris and the other ferals would have known that they needed to deal with the Jenova cells in Sephiroth's body -first- before bringing Sephiroth's spirit back, but humans can be such idiots....

Since the way Sephiroth is brought back will more or less label him as 'enemy' in Cloud's mind, at least at first?

Nope, not at all. Sephiroth is their -mate-, he's in trouble, and they just want to rescue him and be together once more. Which isn't going to be that easy, between Jenova's nasty influence and Sephiroth's own wariness about this feral virus thing. Given the circumstances of Zack, Cloud, and Aeris's transformation, Sephiroth has a perfectly understandable concern that they might be under the influence of something sinister and you can bet that Jenova will be playing on those fears.

So the feral trio only wants what they perceive as the best for Sephiroth, Sephiroth only wants what he perceives as the best for the trio, and neither side wants to hurt the other, and everyone simply just wants to be together again.

Oh, and everyone agrees that humans are a pain in the ass.

And it's STILL going to be a horrible complicated mess! Fortunately, Sephiroth is outnumbered three-to-one, and high level Cetra ferals are nearly as powerful as he is. Yay! Go ferals!
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: May 27th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Exactly. I mean, how's this for a nightmare? He 'wakes up' only to find out that everything after Aeris's death was just a nice dream, and Zack's still dead, Aeris is still dead, he's still Sephiroth's prisoner, and Sephiroth is still stark raving mad.

You're a lot more inventive than I would be. And it sounds like a good approximation of hell.

Cloud's PTSD episodes are quite rare -- they almost never happen when Zack and/or Aeris is with Sephiroth and Cloud. I haven't quite decided on specific triggers, but I suspect a contributing factor is when Cloud and Sephiroth are alone and Cloud is feeling particularly happy and/or aroused.

How long would it take before things got to the point where Sephiroth would never do anything sexual with Cloud unless Aeris and/or Zack were there? Or do Cloud's PTSD episodes happen often enough with non-sexual happiness that Sephiroth doesn't make that particular connection?

However, Zack and Aeris is not about to let that happen, even if they have to tackle Sephiroth and haul him back by his tail. ^_-

Oh, I definitely want to see that. Plus possibly some face-licking on Sephiroth's behalf?

Zack's use of the Lifestream is mostly of a support nature, so he can assist Aeris and Sephiroth in whatever their doing, but he really can't do much himself.

And that would fit in with Advent Children, since Zack almost always appeared with Aeris in the Lifestream, which might partly be where I got the idea he could use it better than Sephiroth could. Oh, and can Cloud use the Lifestream at all, and how does he compare?

Indeed. Some normal human extremists become convinced that between Jenova and the ferals, Jenova is the lesser evil of the two evils. So they decide to resurrect Sephiroth, expecting him to still be Jenova's puppet. Of course the extremist humans have some half-assed scheme to keep Sephiroth in line and destroy him once his usefulness is over.

Let's see, ferals who basically see humans as livestock, but who want to keep the Planet alive and healthy, versus Jenova whose only desire is to destroy the Planet to use its energy to travel the stars. They're not thinking at all are they? And of course a lot of people have been stupid enough to think they could control Sephiroth.

Now, Aeris and the other ferals would have known that they needed to deal with the Jenova cells in Sephiroth's body -first- before bringing Sephiroth's spirit back, but humans can be such idiots....

Darwin award time I think.

Nope, not at all. Sephiroth is their -mate-, he's in trouble, and they just want to rescue him and be together once more.

Ah, I was thinking that at first Cloud would still be resistant to accepting Sephiroth as a mate because of the whole mental issues from when Sephiroth was insane.

And it's STILL going to be a horrible complicated mess! Fortunately, Sephiroth is outnumbered three-to-one, and high level Cetra ferals are nearly as powerful as he is. Yay! Go ferals!

Only nearly as powerful? I mean Cloud's defeated Sephiroth on his own at least twice now, and that was before the Cetra virus woke up in him. And depending on what it takes for Aeris to cleanse the Jenova cells from someone...I mean if she can do a partial cleanse with some sort of distance weapon as opposed to actually being right beside them and focusing exclusively on that person. Perhaps it would disorientate Sephiroth to feel Aeris removing a fair proportion of his Jenova cells with this theoretical distance weapon, giving Cloud and Zack the chance to overpower him physcally for long enough that Aeris can get rid of the rest of Jenova's influence? But yes. Go ferals!
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 27th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're a lot more inventive than I would be. And it sounds like a good approximation of hell.

Thank you, thank you! ::flamboyant bow::

How long would it take before things got to the point where Sephiroth would never do anything sexual with Cloud unless Aeris and/or Zack were there? Or do Cloud's PTSD episodes happen often enough with non-sexual happiness that Sephiroth doesn't make that particular connection?

Well, I think after the first few episodes, Sephiroth would be somewhat cautious about being alone with Cloud, period, much less engaging in anything remotely sexual. However, not only will Zack and Aeris try to persuade Sephiroth that avoidance isn't the best way to handle things, I don't think Cloud himself will accept Sephiroth's avoidance, either.

Cloud's PTSD are actually quite rare. But unlike a phobia which occurs nearly every time a particular trigger is present, Cloud's episodes are highly unpredictable. For example, they don't always happen even when Cloud and Sephiroth are alone AND sexually engaged. There are certain situations that increase the probability of an episode, but his PTSD episode might occur in only 1 out of 20, or even 1 out of 50 occasions. That's what makes it so hard to deal with, because on those other 19 (or 49) occasions, things will be just fine.

Cloud really and truly loves Sephiroth. Cloud wants to be able to hug and be hugged, kiss or be kissed, etc. by Sephiroth, even if Aeris and Zack aren't there. Unfortunately, there's a unruly part of Cloud's mind that reacts on its own, regardless of what Cloud himself wants. Just as Sephiroth is much harder on himself for causing Cloud's trauma, Cloud is also much harder on himself for not being able to overcome his PTSD by sheer common sense and willpower, and viewing that failure as a sign of weakness. And we know how the thought of being weak tends to tie Cloud up in emotional knots. ^_-

So Sephiroth doesn't want to avoid being alone with Cloud, but almost feels obligated to do so for Cloud's own good. Cloud doesn't want Sephiroth to avoid being alone with him, but he also hates the idea of hurting Sephiroth if something does happen.

Oh, I definitely want to see that. Plus possibly some face-licking on Sephiroth's behalf?

feline!Sephiroth: (claws digging into the floor) YOWL!!!
Aeris: (pulling on Seph's tail) Get back in that bedroom and love Cloud, damn it!

Seriously, though, I can see Sephiroth going decidedly more feline (fur, ears, tail, etc.) in appearance when he's alone with Cloud, just to help heighten the contrast between the past and the present. And naturally, Zack, Aeris, and Cloud will notice him doing it.

Oh, and can Cloud use the Lifestream at all, and how does he compare?

Hmmm. I would say that after he goes fully feral, Cloud will be somewhere between Zack and Sephiroth. He probably do the defensive things Zack can (e.g., concealment, barriers, etc.) and some of the offensive things that Sephiroth can do with the Lifestream.

So as for ability to use the Lifestream:

Aeris ->->->->-> Sephiroth -> Cloud -> Zack

(continued below)
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 27th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
(continued from above)

And of course a lot of people have been stupid enough to think they could control Sephiroth.

Well, the human extremists are going to try to control Sephiroth, and naturally only make things much worse. Sephiroth is going to have enough trouble trying to stay semi-sane and fend off Jenova's influence. He doesn't need the added stress of damn human idiots playing around with implanted bombs, shock collars, drugs, and whatever stupid control devices the morons might think up.

Reeve, Yuffie, and Nanaki (having a more moderate pro-human stance) are definitely not in favor of this approach, having much better knowledge of all the parties involved. On the other hand, Tifa and Barret, while not exactly liking the situation, have more of a 'the end justifies the means' sort of view.

As you can imagine, Aeris, Zack, and Cloud are going to be very VERY unhappy when they find out what's the humans are doing to their Sephiroth. ^_-

Only nearly as powerful? I mean Cloud's defeated Sephiroth on his own at least twice now, and that was before the Cetra virus woke up in him.

Oops, you're right! Although the first defeat of Sephiroth in the game was more of a team effort, and in the case of Advent Children, it could be argued that the AC-Sephiroth wasn't at full strength because only Kadaj (and not all three Clones) were used as the host body. And Cloud is in a class of his own.

So how about this? People like Cid or Yuffie, who are clearly superb fighters, can't tackle insane!Sephiroth one-on-one under normal conditions. However, when they go feral, they will definitely be able to fight individually on pretty much an equal basis with insane!Sephiroth.

So here's a VERY rough preliminary power scale (combat-wise):
(1) feral-Sephiroth; feral-Cloud
(2) feral-Zack; feral-Vincent
(3) feral-Aeris; other high-level ferals (Cid, Yuffie, Rufus, etc.)
(4) AC-Cloud; insane!Sephiroth
(5) pre-Nibelheim Sephiroth; high-level Jenova spawn
(6) mid-level ferals (Reno, Tseng, etc.);
(7) immature high-level ferals (Marlene)
(7) mid-level Jenova spawn
(8) normal Zack; SOLDIERs

And depending on what it takes for Aeris to cleanse the Jenova cells from someone...I mean if she can do a partial cleanse with some sort of distance weapon as opposed to actually being right beside them and focusing exclusively on that person. Perhaps it would disorientate Sephiroth to feel Aeris removing a fair proportion of his Jenova cells with this theoretical distance weapon, giving Cloud and Zack the chance to overpower him physcally for long enough that Aeris can get rid of the rest of Jenova's influence?

Aeris's ability to cleanse Jenova cells depends a lot on how tightly integrated those cells are with the person's cellular structure. For normal humans with Geostigma, the Jenova cells are basically just floating around and can be purged long distance with the Lifestream-infused water.

Unfortunately, with SOLDIERs, Cloud, and Sephiroth, the Jenova cells are much more tightly integrated into their bodies, and actually can't be removed without irreparable damage. However, there are things Aeris CAN do to suppress the Jenova cells and therefore provide protection and/or immunity from Jenova's influence. Unfortunately, this has to be done at close range, over time, and on an individual basis to be really effective. Jenova cells are nasty stuff.

As for physically overpowering Sephiroth and stealing him away from the humans (and Jenova)... I think I've give Aeris that honor. She might look like a dainty slip of a young woman, but as a full Cetra feral, she'll be able to pick up and throw a large truck with no problem, not to mention all those nifty plant-based powers she now has. So even if Jenova manages to force Sephiroth into attacking Aeris, he's really going to have to work for it.

Which is lucky for everyone involved. ^_-
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: May 29th, 2007 08:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, I think after the first few episodes, Sephiroth would be somewhat cautious about being alone with Cloud, period, much less engaging in anything remotely sexual.

Sort of overprotective, but really sweet.

However, not only will Zack and Aeris try to persuade Sephiroth that avoidance isn't the best way to handle things, I don't think Cloud himself will accept Sephiroth's avoidance, either.

No, I guess he wouldn't.

But unlike a phobia which occurs nearly every time a particular trigger is present, Cloud's episodes are highly unpredictable. For example, they don't always happen even when Cloud and Sephiroth are alone AND sexually engaged.

I'm not sure to be grateful for that, or to wish that they were that predictable. And I guess that sometimes the PTSD epsodes happen with triggers that seem almost random?

Just as Sephiroth is much harder on himself for causing Cloud's trauma, Cloud is also much harder on himself for not being able to overcome his PTSD by sheer common sense and willpower, and viewing that failure as a sign of weakness. And we know how the thought of being weak tends to tie Cloud up in emotional knots. ^_-

Oh yes. Two out of three of the best people on the Planet at blaming themselves for everything that goes wrong around them are part of the same pack. I'll bet Aeris and Zack have their hands full keeping those two from dwelling on their sense of guilt.

Seriously, though, I can see Sephiroth going decidedly more feline (fur, ears, tail, etc.) in appearance when he's alone with Cloud, just to help heighten the contrast between the past and the present. And naturally, Zack, Aeris, and Cloud will notice him doing it.

The only question is what do they think his reasons are? Does Cloud feel guilty about Sephiroth obviously 'having' to 'indulge' his weakness? Do Aeris and Zack find it sweet and caring?

So as for ability to use the Lifestream:

Aeris ->->->->-> Sephiroth -> Cloud -> Zack


Cool.

Sephiroth is going to have enough trouble trying to stay semi-sane and fend off Jenova's influence. He doesn't need the added stress of damn human idiots playing around with implanted bombs, shock collars, drugs, and whatever stupid control devices the morons might think up.

No, no he really doesn't.

As you can imagine, Aeris, Zack, and Cloud are going to be very VERY unhappy when they find out what's the humans are doing to their Sephiroth. ^_-

Changing the core of the most powerful pack on the Planet from possibly treating humans as potential, albeit lesser, allies to considering the majority of them dangerous wild animals? Real smart move on the extremists' part.

(7) immature high-level ferals (Marlene)

I hadn't quite realised Marlene would be a high-level feral.

(8) normal Zack; SOLDIERs

Probably my own prejudices influencing me, but I thought Zack was a bit better than the general run of SOLDIERs, even SOLDIERs 1st class, even before he got infected with the Cetra virus? And...you don't seem to have low-level ferals on that list. Also, is Shera a mid-level or a low-level feral?

She might look like a dainty slip of a young woman, but as a full Cetra feral, she'll be able to pick up and throw a large truck with no problem, not to mention all those nifty plant-based powers she now has. So even if Jenova manages to force Sephiroth into attacking Aeris, he's really going to have to work for it.

Great. And that's a delicious visual, as well as a good way to shock Jenova and for the OT4 pack to get their hands on Sephiroth.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 29th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not sure to be grateful for that, or to wish that they were that predictable. And I guess that sometimes the PTSD epsodes happen with triggers that seem almost random?

Yes, occasionally the PTSD episodes are the result of cumulative triggers -- the wrong smell combined with the wrong words combined with the wrong sights, etc. -- and yes, the unpredictability does make things difficult.

Two out of three of the best people on the Planet at blaming themselves for everything that goes wrong around them are part of the same pack.

Well, Sephiroth's guilt is very focused on his lovers, so while he doesn't feel much (if any guilt) with respect to what he did to humanity in general while insane, he definitely feels the guilt when it comes to Aeris, Zack, and Cloud (especially Cloud, of course).

I'll bet Aeris and Zack have their hands full keeping those two from dwelling on their sense of guilt.

Yup. Cloud and Sephiroth are definitely high-maintenence in the emotional sense. Not because they want to be, but they're the products of their environment (Sephiroth) and their experiences (Cloud). Sephiroth can't escape his sense of being somehow tainted, and Cloud is constantly dealing with issues of insecurity and failure.

Fortunately, I think Aeris and Zack are up for the job. That's why I think this OT4 works so well, because dealing with Sephiroth and Cloud would be rather hard for Aeris or Zack alone. With both of them there, Aeris and Zack can support each other when things get tough.

The only question is what do they think his reasons [for going feline] are? Does Cloud feel guilty about Sephiroth obviously 'having' to 'indulge' his weakness? Do Aeris and Zack find it sweet and caring?

Aeris and Zack definitely would find it endearing. And they probably would have hard time keeping their hands off semi-feline!Sephiroth. If Aeris likes playing with Sephiroth's hair, can you imagine what she could do with furry ears and tail? ^_- But yes, Cloud probably would feel guilty about it. But that's Cloud. ::eye-roll::

[(7) immature high-level ferals (Marlene)]

I hadn't quite realised Marlene would be a high-level feral.


I'm thinking abou making her a mid-level feral. I haven't decided yet.

[(8) normal Zack; SOLDIERs]

Probably my own prejudices influencing me, but I thought Zack was a bit better than the general run of SOLDIERs, even SOLDIERs 1st class, even before he got infected with the Cetra virus?


There's a fair bit of variability within the various rankings, as well as some overlap between rankings, depending on circumstances. But yes, Zack is definitely among the best of the SOLDIERs so he probably should move up a bit.

And...you don't seem to have low-level ferals on that list. Also, is Shera a mid-level or a low-level feral?

Shera probably is a mid-level feral, especially if she's going to mate with Cid and Vincent. Large differences in power levels can make breeding difficult and dangerous.

Here's a slightly revised power scale (combat-wise):
(1) feral-Sephiroth; feral-Cloud
(2) feral-Zack; feral-Vincent
(3) feral-Aeris; other high-level ferals (Cid, Yuffie, Rufus, etc.)
(4) AC-Cloud; insane!Sephiroth
(5) pre-Nibelheim Sephiroth; high-level Jenova spawn
(6) mid-level ferals (Reno, Tseng, Shera, etc.); normal-Vincent
(7) normal-Zack; mid-level Jenova spawn
(8) immature mid-level ferals (Marlene)
(9) First Class SOLDIERs
(10) normal-Yuffie, normal-Nanaki, Tifa, Barret
(11) Second and Third Class SOLDIERS; low-level ferals; low-level Jenova spawn
(12) sub-ferals
(13) normal humans

Sub-ferals refers to individuals who survive the physical Change, but do not successfully make the mental Change -- they have moderately enhanced physical abilities, but lose most of their higher cognitive abilities.
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: May 30th, 2007 10:51 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, Sephiroth's guilt is very focused on his lovers, so while he doesn't feel much (if any guilt) with respect to what he did to humanity in general while insane, he definitely feels the guilt when it comes to Aeris, Zack, and Cloud (especially Cloud, of course).

Yes, but it's those three he's around most. And I wonder if he might feel a bit mroe guilt about SOLDIERs than about bog-standard humanity?

Fortunately, I think Aeris and Zack are up for the job. That's why I think this OT4 works so well, because dealing with Sephiroth and Cloud would be rather hard for Aeris or Zack alone. With both of them there, Aeris and Zack can support each other when things get tough.

Yes, they do work really well together, although I suspect two close pairings with a high-maintainence/low-maintenence set-up and a strong friendship would have similar benefits. But the OT4's a lot more fun to read about.

But yes, Cloud probably would feel guilty about it. But that's Cloud. ::eye-roll::

And it's one of the things Zack and Aeris love about him, right?

Sub-ferals refers to individuals who survive the physical Change, but do not successfully make the mental Change -- they have moderately enhanced physical abilities, but lose most of their higher cognitive abilities.

Cool. I'd half wondered if those were going to end up as low-level ferals, but this works much better.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 30th, 2007 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
And I wonder if he might feel a bit mroe guilt about SOLDIERs than about bog-standard humanity?

Probably, although it's probably a bit more on the lines of mild regret than outright guilt. And even that will be alleviated a fair bit when he offers them sanctuary when human start persecuting them for being Jenova-contaminated. It's a type of restitution for Sephiroth.

And it's one of the things Zack and Aeris love about him, right?

Indeed. Cloud's the type who wants to help/protect those he cares about, not be a burden (as he perceives it) to them.

[Sub-ferals refers to individuals who survive the physical Change, but do not successfully make the mental Change -- they have moderately enhanced physical abilities, but lose most of their higher cognitive abilities.]

Cool. I'd half wondered if those were going to end up as low-level ferals, but this works much better.


Low-level ferals have succesfully transitioned both physically and mentally, but are fairly restricted in physical enhancements. They have only a moderate level of physical and sensory boosts, and are typically limited to a single highly specific alter-form. In comparison, the high-level ferals have a very wide range of shape-shifting (along with numerous other abilities), not only in variation of alter-forms, degree of shifting, but size as well (e.g., Cid can be human-sized, dragon-sized, and anything in-between, etc.)

Sub-ferals are definitely sub-human in mental ability, but they can vary considerably in physical ability. So there can be sub-ferals who have Behemoth-like size/strength. Sub-ferals have basically degenerated into something between the usual wild beasts/monsters and extremely primitive pre-humans. Some sub-ferals do retain enough intelligence to form vicious marauding bands who prey on anything vulnerable.

So you can see that sub-ferals can be quite dangerous, especially in packs. They aren't so much a threat to ferals, but definitely to normal humans, especially if the communities do not have significant military capability.

That's why various human communities are willing to submit to feral authority, in return for protection from a variety of threats (sub-ferals, Jenova-spawn, normal monsters, human marauders, etc.). Sub-ferals avoid the core territories of powerful ferals, but they roam in the open or 'free' areas between these core territories.
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: May 30th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
Probably, although it's probably a bit more on the lines of mild regret than outright guilt.

But it's still more than the humans get; I just figured Sephiroth might feel he had a bit more in common with SOLDIERs than with regular humans.

It's a type of restitution for Sephiroth.

The way trying to rescue his mates from whatever's 'controlling' them from his point of view probably started out as? And it's a pity Cloud's sense of guilt can't be alleviated that easily, even if it only works with those outside the pack for Sephiroth.

So you can see that sub-ferals can be quite dangerous, especially in packs. They aren't so much a threat to ferals, but definitely to normal humans, especially if the communities do not have significant military capability.

That's why various human communities are willing to submit to feral authority, in return for protection from a variety of threats (sub-ferals, Jenova-spawn, normal monsters, human marauders, etc.). Sub-ferals avoid the core territories of powerful ferals, but they roam in the open or 'free' areas between these core territories.


Yeah, I can see how they'd be a threat to normal humans, and I guess it would be the same principle as how most of humanity obeyed the ShinRa corporation during its heyday.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: May 30th, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
But it's still more than the humans get; I just figured Sephiroth might feel he had a bit more in common with SOLDIERs than with regular humans.

That's definitely true. As I mentioned in discussions about COI, my personal theory is that Sephiroth and the SOLDIERs really do experience the world differently from normal humans due to their enhancements (especially sensory). So yes, it's very likely that Sephiroth has more empathy for SOLDIERs than he would for normal humans.

And it's a pity Cloud's sense of guilt can't be alleviated that easily, even if it only works with those outside the pack for Sephiroth.

Probably because Cloud's sense of guilt is so innerly-focused -- his failures, his flaws, etc.

That's why Zack and Aeris are so important to making OT4 work -- they have the empathy to understand the severity of Cloud's and Sephiroth's issues, but they're also not over-protective, which is almost more important. They won't coddle them excessively or let them wallow over things that can't be changed. And if that means giving Cloud or Sephiroth a sharp smack (verbally or literally), Zack and Aeris are prepared to do that for their own good. ^_^
56 hisses or Hiss in my ear....