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Convolutions of an Evil Mind
madamhydra
madamhydra
Feral-verse - Contagion 4/? (FF7 AU) (very VERY rough draft)
56 hisses or Hiss in my ear....
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madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: September 18th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
[Continued due to comment length limitations]

Oh yeah. A familiar problem. -_-;

You're using some of the Crisis core material here aren't you? Well, it's certainly fun, and I can't blame you for incorporating it since you've got access to it.

Yes, Crisis Core makes for good plot fodder (as well as yummy eyecandy), but I'm ignoring most of the stuff with the new characters (e.g., Genesis, Angeal, Lazard, etc.). ::snort::

So, is the ability to think that way, to place the needs of a certain few above everything else, including the world, one of the signs of the potential to become a feral, high-level Cetra? It's not really a 'normal' human line of thought, and I like the way you're showing that Cloud was a little alien even before Hojo.

Actually, I think it's a very normal aspect of human nature to be more concerned with the welfare of a specific group over the welfare of others. If it comes down to a choice of feeding/protecting one's family and feeding/protecting others, even if it requires harming the others, what would you think most humans (or animals, for that matter) would choose to do?

True, Cloud's view may come off a bit extreme, but remember that except for Zack, Aeris, and Sephiroth, he really doesn't have emotional ties to anyone else.

This caught me a bit by surprise. I'd kind of assumed that Cid and Vincent would go feral first, then they'd decide to take Shera into their pack if she made a successful transition, but you're implying that she was already involved with the two of them to some extent even before Cid started his transition.

You're right in your assumption. ^_^ Cid isn't sexually involved with Shera at the moment, but they are close in a platonic sense (colleagues, then friends). He mentions both Vincent and Shera because of the way the two of them went overboard with the guilt-wallowing (in Cid's opinion).

Imagine Cid coming back to Rocket Town after the Meteor incident and bawling out Shera for allowing Cid to walk all over her and make her life generally miserable, all because she felt guilty about making Cid abort the first Rocket launch. But unlike Vincent, who continued to mope and brood for some time, Shera grasped Cid's point right away and then probably took a shot at him with something heavy (probably a coffee mug). ::snicker::

[ Tifa had smelt somehow... off. Not in an obviously offensive sort of way, but her scent had seemed almost annoyingly... shallow? ]

Sign that they're two different species: Tifa can't physically send off the right 'courtship' signals for Cloud to be interested in her. Although it does beg the question of how the feral strain got into the human race and go dormant like it did.


Not really. While feral Cetra are strongly influenced by body chemistry (e.g., scents, pheromones, etc.), they aren't dominated and controlled by it. Ferals can become sexually attracted and/or emotionally attached to humans just fine, although an attractive scent certainly doesn't hurt.

So a lack of feral-potential (i.e., dormant feral-Cetra genes) is no excuse for Tifa's inability to attract or interest Cloud. ^_-

As for Cloud's feeling of annoyance, that comes from the way Cloud senses Tifa's negative feelings toward his mate, which subconsciously triggers his own protective instincts. The sensation of shallowness is because Cloud is very sensitized to Zack's scent at the moment, so practically everyone else (except other high level ferals like Cid and Vincent) would be smelling pretty inadequate in comparison. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that they were sitting so close on Fenrir for an extended period of time.

If I was to reuse and modify my earlier beverage analogue regarding their scents and their complexity, it would be something like this:

Feral!Zack (superb red wine) >>> normal Zack (fresh grape juice) >>>>>>>>> Tifa (artificially flavored, artifically sweetened grape kool-aid)

Wondered when we'd see Rufus and the Turks again, although I must say that giving us a cliffhanger like this one's just cruel.

Cruel? Moi? ::happy evil grin::
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: September 19th, 2007 09:51 am (UTC) (Link)
True, Cloud's view may come off a bit extreme, but remember that except for Zack, Aeris, and Sephiroth, he really doesn't have emotional ties to anyone else.

It’s the extreme nature of Cloud’s view that I was referring to, really.

But unlike Vincent, who continued to mope and brood for some time, Shera grasped Cid's point right away and then probably took a shot at him with something heavy (probably a coffee mug).

Sounds like that would be a funny scene.

Not really. While feral Cetra are strongly influenced by body chemistry (e.g., scents, pheromones, etc.), they aren't dominated and controlled by it. Ferals can become sexually attracted and/or emotionally attached to humans just fine, although an attractive scent certainly doesn't hurt.

So a lack of feral-potential (i.e., dormant feral-Cetra genes) is no excuse for Tifa's inability to attract or interest Cloud.


Yeah, ferals, like humans, are smart enough that they can find ways to screw around if they want to, except for sub-ferals perhaps. Still, if it would be hard (possible fatal) for a low-level feral female to carry the child of a high level feral how much worse would it be for a human woman?

As for Cloud's feeling of annoyance, that comes from the way Cloud senses Tifa's negative feelings toward his mate, which subconsciously triggers his own protective instincts.

Makes sense. Question: how does he detect Tifa’s negative feelings towards Zack? Is he at all empathic, or is it in body language cues and tones of voice? I don’t think she was that obvious in what she actually said.

If I was to reuse and modify my earlier beverage analogue regarding their scents and their complexity, it would be something like this:

Feral!Zack (superb red wine) >>> normal Zack (fresh grape juice) >>>>>>>>> Tifa (artificially flavored, artifically sweetened grape kool-aid)


Nice comparison.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: September 19th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, ferals, like humans, are smart enough that they can find ways to screw around if they want to, except for sub-ferals perhaps. Still, if it would be hard (possible fatal) for a low-level feral female to carry the child of a high level feral how much worse would it be for a human woman?

It's tricky and potentially dangerous, of course, but definitely possible, especially if you have the help of a high-level healer like Aeris. As a nuturing healer-type Cetra, she has the ability to manipulate biological functions of all sorts (e.g., smooth out biochemical imbalances, adjust immune responses, etc.). That's why Zack wants Aeris back so urgently -- he instinctively knows that she can 'buffer' the effect of Jenova cells, even if she can't remove them completely, and thereby protect SOLDIER-types from Jenova's malign influence.

SOLDIER-types who go feral are extremely powerful and dangerous because they essentially carry a double load of predatory genes/instincts -- one from Jenova and one from the Cetra virus. In some ways (e.g., emotionally), the two sets of genes clash, but in other ways (e.g., physical attributes), they can combine synergistically. Uncontrolled, this can result in a mentally-conflicted uber-predatory killing machine. Nasty, very nasty.

But a healer-type like Aeris can minimize or prevent this by balancing the effect of those two sets of genes and making them work together much better. Zack's particularly worried about Cloud and Sephiroth, because they were signficantly more modified (and hence, vulnerable) than others (including himself).

Makes sense. Question: how does he detect Tifa's negative feelings towards Zack? Is he at all empathic, or is it in body language cues and tones of voice? I don't think she was that obvious in what she actually said.

It isn't empathic in the actual mind-reading sort of way, but more an acute sensitivity to subtle physical clues (e.g., changes in smell, body language, voice, etc.). So it's not really a matter of what she says, but how she acts while saying it. He can sense her aggressive feelings toward Zack (even if Tifa herself is pretty much unaware of them) and it bothers him, although it's all subconscious at this point.

However, ferals (especially high-level ones) generally do develop a formidable array of psionic abilities after the Change, so actual empathy is certainly a possibility later on for Cloud.
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: September 20th, 2007 01:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's tricky and potentially dangerous, of course, but definitely possible, especially if you have the help of a high-level healer like Aeris.

Hadn't thought of that. How much time would a high-level healer have to devote to making sure a human/low-leverl feral pregnant with a high-level feral's child stayed healthy though?

In some ways (e.g., emotionally), the two sets of genes clash, but in other ways (e.g., physical attributes), they can combine synergistically. Uncontrolled, this can result in a mentally-conflicted uber-predatory killing machine. Nasty, very nasty.

So, could the emotional clash be part of the reason Sephiroth was such easy prey for Jenova's mind-fucking, with the balance tilted the other way for Cloud? Even though their Cetra genes were pretty much dormant back then.

Zack's particularly worried about Cloud and Sephiroth, because they were signficantly more modified (and hence, vulnerable) than others (including himself).

Makes sense, but it also explains why Sephiroth and Cloud are both so much stronger than other high-level ferals.

So it's not really a matter of what she says, but how she acts while saying it. He can sense her aggressive feelings toward Zack (even if Tifa herself is pretty much unaware of them) and it bothers him, although it's all subconscious at this point.

I didn't think he was consciously aware of Tifa's problems with Zack, no. But she is being a lot more suspicious about Zack than she would be if she liked him.

However, ferals (especially high-level ones) generally do develop a formidable array of psionic abilities after the Change, so actual empathy is certainly a possibility later on for Cloud.

Cool. Although...I don't think empathy really fits Cloud's background and character. Unless perhaps it's limited to negative emotions for some reason...
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: September 20th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you don't mind my long responses. Your comments really help me in working the details of the Feral-verse. ^_^;

Hadn't thought of that. How much time would a high-level healer have to devote to making sure a human/low-leverl feral pregnant with a high-level feral's child stayed healthy though?

Your question could be read two ways, so I'll go ahead and answer it both ways.

If you're asking how much time/energy a high-level healer would be required to expend in order to provide a decent level of health and safety for both mother and child, it can vary widely depending on how compatible the human (or low-level) is with the father and resulting baby. Yes, humans can have some degree of compatibility with ferals even if they don't have the Cetra genes. To use an analogy in real life, a human mother and a baby with compatible blood types are likely to have fewer problems than a mother and a baby with incompatible blood types (e.g., O positive vs. O negative). So on one extreme, a pregnant human (or low-level feral) may only require constant bedrest and weekly checkups by the healer. On the other extreme, the mother may require around-the-clock monitoring for months.

But if you're asking how much time a high-level healer would have available to perform the necessary treatments, the simple answer is "As much time as he/she wants to make available, basically." High-level healers are pretty much laws onto themselves. Most ferals would not presume to question a healer's judgement on what project is deemed worthy of his/her time. Even for other healers, it would be considered presumptious and rude to interfere or criticize another healer unless some sort of gross incompetence or negligence is going on. And when I say 'gross incompetence or negligence', it has to be pretty darn blatant and egregious. I'm basically talking on the level of obvious negligence with respect to the welfare of one's bonded mate(s) and that type of stuff.

As time passes and more ferals Change, there will undoubtedly be some healers among them. But certainly none remotely close to Aeris's ability, considering that she's as close to a pure-lineage Cetra as there is. So basically, Aeris looks like she'll be the new Cetra queen of the Planet. ^_^
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: September 20th, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
[ continued from above ]

So, could the emotional clash be part of the reason Sephiroth was such easy prey for Jenova's mind-fucking, with the balance tilted the other way for Cloud? Even though their Cetra genes were pretty much dormant back then.

Probably not. As you said, when Sephiroth went crazy at Nibelheim, his (and Cloud's) Cetra genes were essentially inactive. The effect of their Cetra genes won't really kick in until they're switched 'on' by the feral cetra virus. However, certain things (e.g., Jenova cells, other illness, etc.) can interfere with the activation of the Cetra genes. But once the Cetra genes are fully activated, they're permenantly on.

After Nibelheim (or more specifically, the fight in the Nibel Reactor), the feral-Cetra virus was released with Sephiroth, Cloud, and Zack were basically at Ground Zero. However, while released, the virus remained pretty much dormant until being jolted back to activity by the Lifestream during the Meteor incident. But then its effects was partially suppressed by the whole Geostigma plague and the physical stresses it caused. Only after Aeris's purifying rain did the feral-Cetra virus become fully active once again.

In Zack, Sephiroth, and Cloud, the virus was semi-active prior to the Meteor and Lifestream incident -- probably because of all the extra mako exposure (i.e., Hojo's experiments for Cloud and Zack, the dip in the Lifestream for Sephrioth) -- but the virus's effects were suppressed by the presence of the more active Jenova cells. That's why Cloud and Zack show obvious signs of going feral after escaping from Nibelheim.

Makes sense, but it also explains why Sephiroth and Cloud are both so much stronger than other high-level ferals.

That's right, but it's bad news for their mental stability.

At the moment, Zack's the most worried about Cloud -- Sephiroth being safely tucked away in the Lifestream under Aeris's protection. While curing the Geostigma, Aeris's rain had the unfortunate side-effect of alerting Jenova to Aeris as a serious threat, thereby inducing Jenova to exert itself in various ways in an attempt to counter the threat posed by Aeris. Cloud, due to his whopping dose of Jenova cells and mental issues, is still acutely vulnerable to Jenova's influence. And with Sephiroth out of her grasp, Cloud would make a pretty darn good substitute puppet.

The only way to protect Cloud from Jenova is the Change into a feral, which will give Cloud a lot more resistence to Jenova's influence. But it isn't a perfect solution and Zack instinctively knows it. He needs Aeris's help to stabilize Cloud before he gets torn apart by the conflict between his activated feral genes and the Jenova cells inside him.

I didn't think he was consciously aware of Tifa's problems with Zack, no. But she is being a lot more suspicious about Zack than she would be if she liked him.

Cloud's not. And while he's aware that she's very suspicious, he'd be the first to admit that she has some pretty legitimate reasons. I mean, coming back from the dead and shapeshifting? As several people have already noted, it's damn suspicious. ::chuckle::

Cool. Although...I don't think empathy really fits Cloud's background and character. Unless perhaps it's limited to negative emotions for some reason...

That part's still up in the air. But it's almost certain that he will have an empathic (although perhaps not telepathic) connection with his mates. Unfortunately, that empathic bond doens't necessarily makes dealing with a PTSD episode any easier, and might even makes things worse, considering how upset Sephiroth is likely to get. ^_-

jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: September 21st, 2007 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
I hope you don't mind my long responses. Your comments really help me in working the details of the Feral-verse.

I love your long responses, and I'm glad I can help this way.

Your question could be read two ways, so I'll go ahead and answer it both ways.

I was more interested in the first way. I kind of assumed that a healer who had motivation to help a human or low-level feral like that would make however much time (s)he needed.

So basically, Aeris looks like she'll be the new Cetra queen of the Planet.

Cool.

That's right, but it's bad news for their mental stability.

Especially since neither of them were really that stable to start off with, certainly not compared to Zack or Aeris.

But it's almost certain that he will have an empathic (although perhaps not telepathic) connection with his mates. Unfortunately, that empathic bond doens't necessarily makes dealing with a PTSD episode any easier, and might even makes things worse, considering how upset Sephiroth is likely to get.

An empathic bond being part of what makes them bonded mates, as opposed to just breeding stock? And I suppose there'd be an almost synergistic effect, Sephiroth being upset by Cloud's distress, and his distress feeding into and increasing Cloud's own pain.
madamhydra From: madamhydra Date: September 22nd, 2007 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I was more interested in the first way. I kind of assumed that a healer who had motivation to help a human or low-level feral like that would make however much time (s)he needed.

Gotcha. Although I should have clarified that my earlier statement really applied to a Feral-Cetra-dominated society, which tends to be a combination of pack hierarchy and tribal structure, with a definite 'might makes right' and 'survival of the fittest' sort of flavor. While in constrast, a more nurturer-Cetra-dominated society tends to be more highly structured with a much heavier emphasis on social duties/obligations and 'the greater good'.

Especially since neither of them were really that stable to start off with, certainly not compared to Zack or Aeris.

True enough, especially with Jenova's insidious influence, deliberate or not.

An empathic bond being part of what makes them bonded mates, as opposed to just breeding stock?

That's sort of a 'the chicken or the egg' problem. Does the presence of an empathic bond make them bonded (i.e., true soul) mates, or do they develop the empathic bond because they're bonded mates. It's hard to say. But basically the two almost always go hand in hand, at least for high-level ferals. But high-level ferals are much more prone to manifest psionic abilities anyway.

And I suppose there'd be an almost synergistic effect, Sephiroth being upset by Cloud's distress, and his distress feeding into and increasing Cloud's own pain.

Yup, and in his disoriented state, Cloud basically can't distinguish his own distress from Sephiroth's distress, so he's liable to think that it's all his. It makes for a vicious cycle, especially if because of his earlier trauma, Cloud is more sensitized (i.e., more receptive) to Sephiroht's negative emotions -- similar to how a bone or joint, once damaged, might have a tendency to ache when the weather changes.
jessara40k From: jessara40k Date: September 22nd, 2007 09:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Although I should have clarified that my earlier statement really applied to a Feral-Cetra-dominated society, which tends to be a combination of pack hierarchy and tribal structure, with a definite 'might makes right' and 'survival of the fittest' sort of flavor.

That makes sense considering their attitudes so far.

While in constrast, a more nurturer-Cetra-dominated society tends to be more highly structured with a much heavier emphasis on social duties/obligations and 'the greater good'.

With some pretty hefty childhood conditioning/brainwashing to 'encourage' the stronger Cetra to go along with this attitude I'd bet.

Yup, and in his disoriented state, Cloud basically can't distinguish his own distress from Sephiroth's distress, so he's liable to think that it's all his. It makes for a vicious cycle, especially if because of his earlier trauma, Cloud is more sensitized (i.e., more receptive) to Sephiroht's negative emotions -- similar to how a bone or joint, once damaged, might have a tendency to ache when the weather changes.

Ouch! But probably that's all too likely.
56 hisses or Hiss in my ear....