Plot (FFVII)

(Redirected from Story behind FF7 FFVII: AC)

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Index Characters Equipment Side Quests Locations Bestiary

[edit] Disc One

A flower girl in Midgar
Final Fantasy VII opens with a young woman dressed in pink walking out of an alleyway and into the streets of Midgar. A train speeds through the city and stops in Sector 1.
Barret & Cloud
Barret Wallace and three other members of the rebel group, AVALANCHE, jump off the train to head for the Shinra Mako Reactor to blow it up. Cloud Strife, a mercenary hired to assist them in their challenging task, jumps out behind them. Barret explains to Cloud about how Shinra is draining the life of the Planet, and it's up to them to stop it. Cloud, former SOLDIER 1st Class, claims not to care about the fate of the Planet and is only doing it for the money.
Sector 1 Reactor explodes
When Cloud sets the bomb, however, he hears a voice warning him to be careful. The mission is successful and the party escapes the reactor.

During the escape, Cloud bumps into the young woman selling flowers. He purchases a flower from her, and they part ways amidst the chaos. Cloud is tracked down by the Shinra infantry and quickly surrounded. He makes a daring escape by jumping off the bridge onto a moving train below.
Cloud's daring jump
Inside the train, the rest of the members of AVALANCHE are surprised at Cloud's grand entrance. Barret goes on to explain how Midgar is divided into eight sectors, and the plate above prevents sunlight from reaching the slums. Even though the slums are gloomy and polluted, people are either too poor to move to the upper city, or because they love their land no matter what.

The group eventually reaches their secret hideout in a bar called 7th Heaven. Cloud's childhood friend, Tifa Lockhart, welcomes Cloud back and asks about the mission. When Barret and Cloud bump heads later, Cloud decides to move on from the group.
Cloud & Tifa's childhood promise
Tifa reminds Cloud of an important childhood memory that he seems to have forgotten. With Tifa's prompting, he remembers his decision to join SOLDIER and become a hero. He promised to come to Tifa's aid if she were ever in a bind. And although Cloud didn't become a famous hero, he agrees to stay with the team.

Tifa joins the next mission to blow up another reactor, however when the alarm sounds, Barret, Cloud, and Tifa are forced to jump from the train.
Cloud's flashback
They make their way to the reactor through underground tunnels, and just before they reach the site, Cloud drops to his knees and clutches his head. He has a flashback of Tifa holding her deceased father. She shouts her hatred for all things Shinra, grabs the Masamune sword, and runs into the reactor. Cloud ignores the vision, and continues to set the bomb. However, they are stopped by President Shinra, who unleashes a new mechanical weapon on them. After the battle, the weapon explodes, and Cloud hangs precariously from the edge of the bridge. While Tifa and Barret make their escape, Cloud falls into the slums below.
Aeris, the flower girl
He crashes through the roof of a church and into a flowerbed. He is reunited with the flower girl, Aeris Gainsborough, and agrees to be her bodyguard. Reno of the Turks arrives and chases them through the roof of church. Aeris explains to Cloud that she is wanted by Shinra, joking that they must want to recruit her as a member of SOLDIER. She also recognizes the glow in Cloud's eyes as mako, a mark of SOLDIER.

Cloud escorts Aeris home, where her mother Elmyra requests that Cloud sneak out in the middle of the night without telling her. When he lays down to rest, he dreams back of when he visited his mother, recalling it was the last time he slept in a comfortable bed.
Aeris & Cloud rest in the park
When he wakes up, he sneaks past Aeris's bedroom and into the streets. However, while walking he runs into Aeris who insists on accompanying him to Tifa's bar. They decide to take a break in the park, where Aeris tells Cloud about her former boyfriend who was a member of SOLDIER. She asks Cloud what rank he was, and after a flash on the screen, he informs her that he was 1st Class. Aeris recalls that this was the same rank as her boyfriend, but refuses to embellish.

As they rest, Cloud spots Tifa on the back of a chocobo cart being pulled into Wall Market. Cloud and Aeris quickly follow, and find out that Tifa has been taken to Don Corneo's mansion.
Aeris helps with Cloud's disguise
Cloud isn't permitted in because he is a man, so Aeris convinces him to disguise himself as a woman to gain entrance. Inside, Cloud and Aeris find Tifa, who is particularly surprised to see Cloud dressed as a woman. Tifa explains that she heard Corneo's name come up in a plot against AVALANCHE. When she discovered that Corneo always chooses a woman out of three to be his date for the evening, she allowed herself to be captured. When the trio confronts Corneo, he reveals that Shinra's plan is to drop the Sector 7 plate into the slums and blame it on AVALANCHE. Corneo outsmarts the trio, however, and drops them into the sewers below.

After battling back to Sector 7, they find Wedge on the floor, who tells them that Barret is at the top of the pillar. Tifa asks Aeris to go to the bar and take Marlene to safety, while she and Cloud try to stop the collapse. When they reach the top, they reunite with Barret and battle Reno. They are unable to stop him from setting the bomb, which no one can disarm. Reno escapes onto a Shinra helicopter where Tseng has captured Aeris, the last Ancient. When Aeris shouts to Tifa, Tseng pushes her back into the helicopter and they fly away.
Barret, Tifa, & Cloud escape
The trio then uses a cable to escape the exploding pillar. The plate collapses, turning all of Sector 7 into rubble. The trio lands in the park where Barret expresses his anger over the deaths of Biggs, Wedge, Jessie, and the other residents of Sector 7. When he shouts Marlene's name, Tifa is reminded that Aeris brought her to safety. Cloud wanders off, intent to rescue Aeris.

Tifa and Barret follow Cloud to Aeris's house where they explain to Elmyra that she was kidnapped. When Cloud asks about Aeris being an Ancient, Elmyra explains that she adopted Aeris. During the war, Elmyra would go to the train station and wait for her husband to come home. One day, she found a dying woman and her child.
Ifalna asks Elmyra to take care of her daughter
The woman asked Elmyra to care for her child, and so she took Aeris home. Elmyra goes on to say that Aeris loved to talk, and even told her that her husband had returned to the Planet. While these words were mysterious to Elmyra, a letter arrived in the mail the next day informing her that her husband had died in the war. Soon after, Tseng of the Turks came to her door seeking Aeris. Aeris refused to go with him, denying her heritage, and had been running from Shinra ever since.

The party determines that they will head to Shinra HQ to rescue Aeris. They slowly make their way up the tower. While eavesdropping on a meeting, the party learns that Hojo, a Shinra scientist, has determined that the "specimen" is inferior to her mother, but is sufficient to breed in order to continue his research. The group follows Hojo into his lab where Cloud spots a tank.
What's in there?
Looking inside, he utters the words "JenovaSephiroth…" and falls back, clutching his head. Barret takes a look inside, and mumbles about the creature that has no head. They continue on to the next level, and find Hojo attempting to breed Aeris with an animal. He claims that both specimens are the last of their kind, and breeding them will only help their races. When Barret shoots the container, it opens and the animal jumps out at Hojo. After Hojo flees, the animal apologizes for his aggressive behavior and introduces itself as Red XIII.

The party then starts their escape, but are captured by Rude of the Turks and taken to the President. The President tells them about the Ancient race called the Cetra. The Cetra had the ability to lead the way to the Promised Land. President Shinra is convinced that this land is rich in mako, and he plans to siphon the mako to sell. The party is sent to prison cells, where Aeris explains that she sometimes can hear the voices of the Ancients. They decide to rest for a while, but when Cloud awakens, his cell door is open. When he looks into the hallway, he finds the guards slaughtered and a trail of blood. Cloud wakes up Tifa and frees the others, and they follow the trail of blood to Hojo's lab. There, Cloud sees that the Jenova chamber is empty.
The President is dead
They continue to follow the trail all the way to the President's office where he lay slain at his desk. Tifa recognizes the sword in his back, and Cloud points out that it is Sephiroth's Masamune. Palmer, one of the Shinra executives, comes out from hiding and confirms that Sephiroth did indeed murder the President.

The party soon spots the President's son, Rufus Shinra, making an escape on a helicopter.
Rufus loves making speeches
When they approach him, he declares himself the new president of the company, and explains his plans to use fear to control the citizens. Rufus also declares that he intends to find both Sephiroth and the Promised Land.
A highway escape
While the others make their escape, Cloud battles Rufus, but Rufus manages to escape anyway. In the lobby, Tifa and the others steal one of the trucks and Cloud joins them on a motorcycle. Shinra troops follow after, and Cloud is forced to battle them during their escape. At the end of the unfinished highway, Cloud determines that he must find Sephiroth. The others agree to join him and name him leader to Barret's dismay. They split up and leave Midgar.

The party reunites in Kalm and meets at the Inn. Here, Cloud explains his relationship to Sephiroth while recalling the events of five years past. Cloud begins his tale with his ride to Nibelheim, Cloud's hometown, and how he and Sephiroth were assigned to investigate the reactor. He claims that he and Sephiroth were both members of SOLDIER and friends that had been on several missions together. When the truck was attacked, Sephiroth easily defeated it. When they approached the gates of the town, Sephiroth asked Cloud about how it felt to return home since he didn't have one of his own. His mother, Jenova, had died in childbirth. Barret recognizes the name Jenova as the creature from Shinra HQ, but Tifa scolds him for interrupting. Cloud remembers that he visited his mother, and searched for Tifa in her house. Not finding her, he returned to the Inn where he found Sephiroth uttering that he felt he remembered this place.
The Nibelheim group
Cloud headed off to bed, and in the morning, met with Sephiroth and two MPs to search the reactor. To Cloud's surprise, they are joined by Tifa who served as their guide through the mountains. One of the townspeople anxiously requests a picture of his hero, and Sephiroth obliges, standing with Tifa and Cloud.

While making their way through the mountain, a bridge collapses and they lose one of the MPs. However, Sephiroth insists that they continue on without him. They eventually came across a mako fountain. Sephiroth explains that it is materia in its most natural form. He teaches them that condensed mako become materia, which holds the knowledge of the Ancients, allowing users to wield powerful magic and abilities. At the reactor, Sephiroth ordered the MP to keep Tifa outside against her protests. Inside, Sephiroth found a sealed door labeled "Jenova".
Sephiroth ponders his origins
Looking into the pods, he discovered that Hojo had created monsters by sealing people in condensed mako. He explained to Cloud that normal members of SOLDIER are showered with mako, giving them enhanced abilities that normal people don't have. Sephiroth then lamented over whether he was created the same way as the monsters, and wondered if he was even human. When the group returns to Nibelheim, Cloud found Sephiroth in the Shinra Mansion, researching the reports of Hojo and Gast, who believed that Jenova was an Ancient. Sephiroth deliberated over his origins and insisted that Cloud leave him alone. Sephiroth then locked himself away in the basement of the mansion for seven days.

Cloud returned to the mansion days later. Sephiroth had become maddened, accusing Cloud and all humans of being traitors. He explains that the goal of the Jenova Project was to create humans with the abilities of the Cetra so that they may find the Promised Land. Sephiroth believed that he was a descendent of the Cetra, produced for this purpose. He left the mansion to seek his "mother", and when Cloud followed him, he found Nibelheim in flames.
Sephiroth's madness drives him to burn Nibelheim
When Cloud checked his home, he found his mother slain. Sephiroth quickly killed more townspeople and headed through the flames toward the reactor.

Cloud chased after him, coming across Tifa and her dead father.
Sephiroth easily overpowers Tifa
She grabbed the Masamune and attempted to attack Sephiroth, only to be cut down. Sephiroth forced his way into the Jenova chamber while Cloud gently moved Tifa to the side. Cloud followed Sephiroth into the chamber where Sephiroth was speaking with his mother, Jenova. He promised her that they would reclaim the Planet and go to the Promised Land together.
He ripped off the metal covering to find Jenova in the tank behind it. Cloud shouted at Sephiroth, demanding answers. When Sephiroth refused, he and Cloud entered into battle. Cloud ends his story here, as he can't recall the outcome of the battle. But he understands that Sephiroth was more powerful than he, but yet he was still alive.

While Barret becomes confused by the story and storms out, Tifa remains silent. They decide to continue their journey to find Sephiroth.
Yuffie joins the party
When the group runs into the Turks in Mythril Mine, Elena accidentally tells them that Sephiroth is heading for Junon. After exiting the other side of the mine, this is the earliest point in the game that the player can seek out the optional character, Yuffie Kisaragi. After battling her, she will join the party. Eventually, they reach Junon and find that Shinra is developing the town similar to Midgar, building an upper city with the town becoming a slum. After rescuing a young girl from a monster, the party rests in one of the villager's homes. While sleeping, Cloud hears a voice again, this time questioning why he didn't meet up with Tifa five years ago. When he wakes up, he attempts to ask Tifa. She deliberately avoids answering, claiming that she doesn't remember. Before the conversation can continue, they are interrupted by noises from outside. In the upper city, Shinra rehearses for the inaugural parade for Rufus.

After sneaking onto the Shinra cargo ship, an alarm sounds. The party runs below deck where they find Sephiroth, who has killed the crew members. Sephiroth flies off, leaving the party to battle Jenova BIRTH. After defeating it, only the arm of Jenova remains behind. While the rest of the party prepares to disembark, Cloud wonders if it truly was Sephiroth and if the Promised Land really does exist.

When the boat docks in Costa del Sol, Cloud finds Professor Hojo relaxing on the beach.
Confronting Hojo on the beach
Hojo explains that he, too, is seeking out Sephiroth. When Aeris tells him that her mother died, Hojo is surprised and utters that he is heading west. The party continues on to North Corel, where Barret is scorned by the townspeople. They blame him for the destruction of the town, and Barret, normally hot-headed, quietly accepts their accusations.

Upon reaching the tram, Barret explains the Corel was his hometown.
Barret persuades Dyne
Corel was a quiet coal-mining town when Shinra arrived wanting to build a mako reactor. With the help of Scarlet, Barret convinced his best friend Dyne to allow the reactor to be built. One day when Barret and Dyne were out of town, the reactor exploded. Shinra accused the townspeople of being in league with a terrorist group. They burned Corel to the ground, killing everyone including Barret and Dyne's families.

The party boards the tram and flies to the Gold Saucer, a place of amusement rides and games. They decide to take a break against Barret's angry protests. Barret storms off alone while the others take recreation. Cloud meets the owner of the Gold Saucer, Dio, who informs him that a man in a black cape and a tattoo of the number one came passing through.
Cait Sith joins the party
While this information is unusual to Cloud, he is convinced that it is somehow related to Sephiroth. When Cloud arrives in the Wonder Square, he meets Cait Sith, a fortune telling cat riding an animated stuffed moogle. He agrees to read Cloud's fortune, and after several meaningless ones, he reads, "What you pursue will be yours, but you will lose something dear." Despite Cloud's protest, Cait Sith insists on joining the party to find out whether or not his prediction will come true.

When Cloud arrives at the Battle Arena, all the people have been killed. One of the survivors tells him that a man with a gun-arm was the culprit. Dio accuses Cloud's party of the crime and sends them to Corel Prison, a desert prison beneath the Gold Saucer. They find Barret and ask if he were indeed the one who killed everyone. He runs away asking them to leave him alone. However, they follow him into one of the rundown houses where he continues his story.

When Barret and Dyne returned home, they saw the smoke rising from the town. When they tried to return to Corel, Scarlet intercepted them and ordered the troops to shoot them.
Barret tried to save Dyne
Barret grabbed Dyne's hand as he dangle from the side of the cliff, but Scarlet shot at their arms. Dyne fell into the ravine, and Barret's arm became useless. Barret returned to the town to find his and Dyne's wives dead, but Dyne's infant daughter, Marlene, was still alive. Resolving to get revenge on Shinra, Barret had a gun grafted onto his arm and joined AVALANCHE. During his operation, the doctor informed him that someone else had the same procedure. Now, Barret is convinced that Dyne was the one who had the operation and murdered the people at the Gold Saucer.

Barret eventually finds Dyne, who has since gone mad with anger. Dyne explains that he has lost everything including his wife and daughter. When Barret tries to tell him that Marlene is still alive, Dyne engages him in battle.
Dyne commits suicide
After Barret defeats Dyne, Dyne claims that he wants to destroy everything, including himself. He knows that Marlene wouldn't even recognize him now. He tosses Barret his wife's pendant to give to Marlene, and jumps off the cliff. Barret uses the pendant to convince Mr. Coates, the guard, that they have the Boss's permission to leave. After Cloud wins a chocobo race, the party is released from prison. Dio, who realizes he falsely accused the group, gives them a buggy for their troubles.

When the party arrives in Gongaga, the Turks are already waiting for them. After defeating Reno and Rude, Cloud realizes that someone in their group must be a traitor, but refuses to dwell on it. At the ruined reactor, Cloud learns that Shinra is searching for Huge Materia, but doesn't understand what that means.
Zack's parents
Continuing to the village, the party meets two parents asking about their son. Their son, Zack, joined SOLDIER years ago but never returned home. Aeris instantly recognizes the name, and the parents ask if she was his girlfriend that Zack wrote them about. Unable to answer, Aeris runs out of the house. Aeris tells Cloud that Zack was her first love, but five years ago he went on a mission and didn't return. Cloud finds it odd that he never heard of Zack considering they were both 1st Class SOLDIERs. Tifa, too, seems to have recognized Zack's name, but when Cloud asks her about it, she vehemently denies knowing him.

The party continues on their journey, but the buggy breaks down just outside of Cosmo Canyon. Upon entering the town, they learn that it is Red XIII's hometown, and that his true name is "Nanaki". Red XIII explains that when his home was attacked years ago by the Gi Tribe, his mother fought bravely, and his cowardly father ran away. With no hesitation, Red XIII runs to his grandfather Bugenhagen to let him know he has returned. To everyone's surprise, Bugenhagen was human, but never the less the person who was closest to Red XIII. Bugenhagen informs Cloud that Red XIII is younger than he seems at forty-eight, the equivalent to sixteen in human years.
A view of the universe
He goes on to explain that he can hear the cries of the Planet, and takes the party into a special device that allows them to view the universe first-hand. Bugenhagen explains that when someone dies, both their body and soul return to the planet. The energy of these souls circle the Planet forming the Lifestream. It's this energy that allows the creation of new life, and without the Lifestream, the planet would break apart and die. Everyday, mako reactors suck up the spirit energy, taking away from the life of the Planet.

Outside, Cloud speaks with his party members and again Red XIII reiterates how he despises his father. Bugenhagen, overhearing this, takes Red XIII into the Cave of the Gi. They fight through the cave while Bugenhagen tells them of a great warrior.
At the end of the cave, Bugenhagen shows Red XIII his father, Seto. Seto stands a top a cliff, turned to stone by the poisoned arrows of the Gi. He had risked his life to save Cosmo Canyon, and remained their watching over the village. Realizing that he had been wrong, Red XIII howls to his father, proud to be the son of Seto. Even though he believes that the Planet can not be saved, Bugenhagen convinces Red XIII to continue on his journey with Cloud because he also believes that it is important to try.

When the party arrives in Nibelheim, Cloud and Tifa are shocked to find the town in one piece, as if it were never burned down. However, they do not recognize any of the townsfolk, who claim that Nibelheim was never burned down. A report left behind by a Shinra employee explains that the town was recreated, but the clones never left. Around the town, Cloud finds these strange cloaked characters muttering about "Sephiroth" and "Reunion". Heading into the mansion, the player comes across another optional character, Vincent Valentine.
Vincent Valentine, former Turk
The party finds Vincent asleep in a coffin, having hid himself away as repentance for his "sins". Vincent explains that he is a former Turk, and asks Cloud if he knew of Sephiroth's mother, Lucrecia. He reveals that Lucrecia worked with Professor Gast on the Jenova Project, allowing herself and her unborn son to be experiments. He scolds himself for not stopping her and goes back to sleep, refusing to speak any further with the party.

Cloud heads for the library where he encounters Sephiroth. He asks Cloud if he will be at the Reunion, but Cloud doesn't understand. Sephiroth explains that Jenova, a calamity from the skies, will be at the Reunion. When Cloud realizes that Jenova may not be an Ancient, Sephiroth expresses that Cloud doesn't have the right to participate in the Reunion. Sephiroth throws a materia at Cloud and flies out of the mansion. On their way out of the mansion, Vincent agrees to join the party if it means he will encounter Hojo.

Continuing on, the party reaches Rocket Town, where a huge rocket marks the center of the town. After finding a small plane, the Tiny Bronco, they ask the woman of the house, Shera, if they can borrow it. She refers them to the "Captain" who is currently working on the rocket.
The Captain, Cid Highwind
They head for the rocket and meet the Captain, Cid Highwind, who explains that he is waiting for Rufus to arrive with some news about the Space Program. When Cloud asks to borrow the Tiny Bronco, Cid refuses, and the party returns to Shera. She goes on to tell them that Cid was meant to be the first man in space, but Shera insisted on checking the oxygen tanks for safety. He was forced to abort the launch to save her life and his dream was never realized.

When Rufus arrives, he informs Cid that he has no intention of reopening the Space Program, but only came to use the Tiny Bronco. Meanwhile, Palmer sneaks into the yard attempting to steal the plane, but the party intercepts him.
An escape on Tiny Bronco
Not able to stop the plane, the party hops on. As the plane whizzes past Cid and Rufus, Cid jumps on. The Shinra infantry open fire on the Tiny Bronco, and it crashes into the ocean. Cid decides to join the party, and they use the Tiny Bronco like a boat.

Eventually, the party learns from a weapons seller that he sold a Keystone, an item said to open the Temple of the Ancients, to Dio. The party returns to the Gold Saucer, and Cloud wins the Keystone from Dio. When the tram breaks down, the party is forced to spend the night at the Ghost Hotel where Cloud recounts the events of the game. Later, Cloud will go on a date with one of the party members (Aeris, Tifa, Yuffie, or even Barret, depending upon the player's actions).
Cait Sith betrays the party
At the end of the date, they spot Cait Sith acting suspicious. The follow him and witness him giving the Keystone to Tseng. Cait Sith admits to being the spy, but insists that he admires the group's resolve. When Cloud refuses to let him rejoin the group, Cait Sith plays a tape of Marlene being held hostage.

The next morning, Cait Sith joins the party and tells them the location of the Temple. When they arrive, Aeris presses her ear to the ground, claiming to hear the voices of the Ancients. They proceed inside and find Tseng seriously injured. He turns over the Keystone and tells them that Sephiroth is inside. He reveals that Sephiroth wasn't looking for the Promised Land after all.

Deeper in the temple, Aeris finds a pool, a living consciousness of the Cetra. They show the party a vision of Sephiroth deep in the temple, seeking to become one with the Planet and cutting down Tseng. When the reach the inner room, Sephiroth is still there, and explains to them that when the Planet is wounded, it gathers spirit energy to heal itself.
A proper villain always reveals his plan
With an injury large enough to threaten the very life of the Planet, a massive amount of energy will be gathered, and Sephiroth plans to absorb it and become a "god". Sephiroth reveals that with the Black Materia, he can summon the ultimate destructive magic, Meteor. Sephiroth then vanishes, and Cloud grabs his head and madly repeats Sephiroth's words. He quickly recovers, unaware of his strange behavior.

Upon examining the model of the temple, the party realizes that the temple itself is the Black Materia. In order to obtain it, someone must solve the puzzle and the temple will shrink, killing the person inside. Cait Sith sacrifices himself to obtain the Black Materia, but immediately after, a new Cait Sith is sent to join the party.
Cloud hands over the Black Materia
Cloud picks up the Black Materia, but when Sephiroth returns, Cloud separates from himself and hands over the Black Materia. Sephiroth vanishes, and Cloud loses control of himself. He clutches his head and attacks Aeris, and Barret knocks Cloud unconscious.

While unconscious, Cloud has a dream of a white forest. Aeris appears and tells him to rest.
Cloud's dream
As the last of the Ancients, she tells him that she is the only one who can stop Sephiroth. Aeris runs through the forest, and Sephiroth appears before Cloud. Sephiroth says that they are going to have to stop her if she interferes. When Cloud wakes up, he is in Gongaga. Tifa and Barret tell him that Aeris is gone, but he already knows. Cloud says that he has no intentions of going after her because he may lose control again. Tifa and Barret each try in their own way to convince him to join them. Eventually, Cloud agrees to continue the journey.

The party follows her through the white forest and to the City of the Ancients. At the center of the city, Cloud finds Aeris praying at the alter. He raises his sword to her, and fights the mysterious urge to kill her.
Sephiroth kills Aeris
The shouts of his friends break him from the control, and Aeris looks up and smiles at him. Sephiroth suddenly drops from the ceiling and drives his sword through Aeris's back, killing her instantly. As he pulls his sword out, her body falls toward the ground. A small green materia falls from her ribbon and bounces into the waters below.

Cloud holds Aeris's body, expressing his anger and sorrow. Sephiroth mocks Cloud's feelings, telling him to stop pretending that he's sad.
Cloud lays Aeris to rest
Jenova attacks the party once again, and they are forced to fight. After the battle, Sephiroth's words echo, "Because you…are a puppet." After the battle, the party pays their respects to Aeris. Cloud carries her down to the water, where he releases her and she gently floats down to the bottom of the lake.

Later, Cloud speaks to the party, telling him that there's a part of him he doesn't understand – the party that made him give the Black Materia to Sephiroth. He resolves to track down Sephiroth, and asks his friends to journey with him, to keep him from doing anything terrible. They all agree to continue the journey and stop Sephiroth.

[edit] Disc Two

In the middle of the night, Cloud has a vision of Sephiroth heading north. He gathers the party together and arrive in Icicle Inn, a small snowy village. In one of the houses, Cloud finds old videos belonging to Professor Gast. In the videos, Gast interviews Ifalna, the last Ancient.
Gast & Ifalna
She teaches him that two thousand years prior, a calamity came from the sky, injuring the Planet. While the calamity appeared friendly, it actually infected the Cetra, turning them into monsters. The calamity came to be known as Jenova, whom she explains was misidentified by Gast as a Cetra. When Gast asks about WEAPON, Ifalna describes them as weapons created by the Planet to get rid of any threats to the Planet's life. Later, Gast and Ifalna conceive a child and name her Aeris. But ten days after Aeris's birth, Hojo finds them and kills Gast. He captures Ifalna and Aeris to be used as specimens in his lab where they would remain for approximately ten years.

The party snowboards down the mountain and travels through the Great Glacier to arrive at the Northern Crater. When they arrive, Cloud spots the Highwind in the sky. Inside, Rufus is ecstatic to have found the Promised Land. Hojo is also aboard, curious about the Reunion.
Sephiroth kills his clones
As the party continues, they find Sephiroth killing the black-cloaked figures. He remarks how this body has outlived its usefulness and attacks the party. The party is thrust into battle with another form of Jenova. After the battle, just another piece of Jenova remains, and Cloud realizes that they haven't been following Sephiroth at all, but Jenova. Sephiroth has been controlling Jenova's body, and realizing the danger, Cloud gives up the Black Materia to another party member. The party remains behind while Cloud and Tifa continue further into the crater.

As they walk, they are engulfed in a vision of Nibelheim five years past.
Is it just Sephiroth's illusion?
When Sephiroth arrives at the gate, however, he is not joined by Cloud, but a mysterious black-haired SOLDIER. Cloud realizes that it is all an illusion concocted by Sephiroth, and tells the others not to believe it. Sephiroth arrives and, against Tifa's protests, tells Cloud that what he has shown him is reality, and what he remembers is the illusion. He informs Cloud that Hojo had constructed Cloud five years ago using Jenova cells and mako. However, Cloud was considered a failure, and not even given a number.

Tifa begs Cloud not to listen, prompting Sephiroth to deride her, threatening to reveal what's in her heart. Tifa turns away, and Cloud asks her if Sephiroth speaks the truth. Sephiroth tells him that his Jenova cells have merged with Tifa's memory of the real Cloud, creating this version of him.
The Nibelheim photo
Sephiroth then shows Cloud the photo that was taken that day, and of course, Cloud is not in the photo, but the black-haired SOLDIER is in his place. Cloud still refutes Sephiroth's claims, believing in his own memories. He recalls visiting his mother and looking for Tifa, and remembers that it was his first mission as a 1st Class SOLDIER. Cloud clutches his head, and fails to remember how he even came to join SOLDIER.

Meanwhile, the Shinra executives have dropped from the airship, and marvel at the Promised Land before them. When they see movements inside the mako crystals, Hojo happily remarks that it is WEAPON, and is surprised to see it truly does exist.
While the rest of the team waits at the entrance, the party member with the Black Materia is surrounded by green and cut off from the rest of the party. Tifa runs up to him, crying that Cloud needs help. The party member then runs ahead, and Tifa transforms back into Sephiroth, who reminds him to bring the Black Materia.

Cloud and Tifa suddenly appear next to the Shinra members, and possessed, warns them about Reunion. The party member with the Black Materia arrives, and Cloud takes it from him. Hojo is excited to see that at least one of his experiments made it to the Reunion.
Cloud floats above the others
When he notices that Cloud doesn't have a number, however, he scoffs at the failure. Cloud pleads for a number before floating into the air. Hojo explains that while he is disappointed that only a failure made it, he is elated to see that his Reunion theory was correct. Hojo goes on to clarify that when Jenova is dismembered, all of the parts will come back together again. Sephiroth was able to impose his will into the lifestream, taking control of the clones. Cloud, floating above, realizes that he wasn't pursuing Sephiroth, but being summoned by him.

The real Sephiroth is then revealed, encased in mako. Hojo continues to show excitement, but Tifa reminds him that Cloud has the Black Materia, and should Sephiroth summon Meteor, it would be the end of everything.
Cloud gives Sephiroth the Black Materia
Realizing what Tifa says is true, Rufus gathers everyone on the airship, looking to make an escape. Cloud once again, hands over the Black Materia to Sephiroth. Realizing the danger, the Crater begins to shake as the WEAPONs emerge from hiding. The airship barely escapes the chaos, and Tifa gets knocked unconscious by the force.

Tifa has a dream of when she first encountered Cloud since he had left to join SOLDIER. At the train station in Midgar, she found him on the ground.
Tifa finds Cloud at the train station
She worried about how he was acting, finding it peculiar that he remembered things he shouldn't have and didn't remember things that he should. So she asked Cloud to join AVALANCHE so that she could keep an eye on him.

When Tifa wakes up seven days later, Barret tells her that they are in Junon and Cloud's whereabouts are unknown. He explains that the WEAPONs are causing destruction all over the Planet, and that they are running out of time. When Tifa doesn't understand, Barret brings her to the window and shows her that Meteor has been summoned.

Rufus comes in shortly after, explaining how he plans to use them as scapegoats. He plans to execute them to appease the masses and prevent panic.
Scarlet locks Tifa in the gas chamber
Barret and Tifa are brought to a room filled with people and cameras, Scarlet explaining that their executions are to be televised. Scarlet and a single guard strap Tifa into the gas chamber, and the guard accidentally drops the key. Just as Scarlet prepares to press the button, an alarm sounds causing the crowd to flee. A strange man knocks Scarlet down, revealing himself to be Cait Sith in disguise. He frees Barret, and they begin their escape attempt.

Meanwhile in Junon, Rufus and Heidegger prepare the large mako cannon to use again Sapphire WEAPON. As WEAPON approaches, they fire the cannon, but it isn't enough to stop the creature.
Sapphire WEAPON attacks
While they reload the cannon, Shinra troops open fire, but to no avail.

In the gas chamber, Tifa manages to get a hold of the key and free herself from the chair, but she is still trapped inside the room. Cait Sith comes up with a plan and Barret decides he is trustworthy even if he works for Shinra, and they exit the room. Sapphire WEAPON attacks the harbor, creating a massive hole in the gas chamber. Immediately after, the large cannon retaliates, destroying the WEAPON.

Tifa manages to climb out of the hole, but Scarlet won't let her go so easily.
Tifa & Scarlet's slap match
She chases Tifa all the way to the barrel of the mako cannon where they engage in a slapping match. Barret shouts for Tifa to run to the end of the cannon. With Scarlet and Shinra troops pursuing her, Tifa runs to the end of the cannon where Barret and Cait Sith await with the Highwind. Barret tosses down a rope, and Tifa jumps off the cannon, grabbing the robe just in time.

Without Cloud, the party is unsure what to do next, and Tifa is particularly lost. Barret is surprised to see the normally tough Tifa in such a state, reminding her that they did just fine before Cloud joined AVALANCHE. The party realizes why Cloud had been acting so strange, and resolves to find him. Red XIII suggests they look into an island in the south where the lifestream flows at the surface. With that, the party heads to Mideel.

While in Mideel, Tifa overhears people talking about a spiky-haired young boy that washed up a week prior.
Cloud has mako poisoning
Knowing that it is Cloud, Tifa and the party rush to the clinic. They find Cloud, but he has succumbed to mako poisoning, and is in a vegetable state. The doctor reports that it is a miracle that he is even alive, and there is little hope that he will recover. Tifa announces that she is staying behind to take care of Cloud, and the rest of the party gets back on the Highwind.

Having lost three important party members, Barret is at a loss for direction. Cait Sith interrupts to allow the party to listen in on a Shinra executive meeting.
Shinra executive meeting
They learn that Shinra plans to gather Huge Materia from some of the reactors, and launch it directly at Meteor. Having already collected the Huge Materia from Nibelheim, they plan to gather ones from Fort Condor and North Corel as well. Upon hearing that Shinra is headed for North Corel, Barret decides that it is their next destination. However, realizing that he is not cut out to be the leader, he appoints Cid since he is the pilot of the Highwind.

By the time the party arrives in North Corel, Shinra has already acquired the Huge Materia and taken it on board a train.
Cid tries to stop the train
Cid and the party hijack a second train to chase them down. When they catch up to the train, they hop on board. Cid attempts to stop the train from crashing into North Corel and, depending on the player's action, he may be successful. If he is successful, Barret is no longer scorned by the townspeople and instead considered a hero. Either way, the party gains control of the Huge Materia.

Knowing that their mission isn't complete, the party heads to Fort Condor. After defending the giant condor from the Shinra troops, the egg hatches and a baby condor is born. The leader of Fort Condor hands over the Huge Materia in thanks. After all the hard work, the party decides that it is time to visit Cloud and Tifa back in Mideel.

The nurse informs Cid that Cloud's condition remains unchanged, and she is worried about Tifa who hasn't rested. When they hear a rumbling outside, Cid rushes to join the party and finds Ultimate WEAPON attacking the village. They manage to chase the creature away, but the damage is done and the Lifestream breaks the ground apart.
Tifa tries to escape with Cloud
Cid shouts to Tifa and Cloud to run away, while the party makes its escape. Tifa grabs Cloud's wheelchair and pushes him out of the clinic. As she runs, the ground breaks apart and they fall into the Lifestream below. Tifa finds herself completely surrounded by darkness. She argues against a voice that only she can hear, claiming that she has been unable to confess all the things she has been hiding from Cloud.

As she tries to run away, she finds herself in a strange place, surrounded by different versions of Cloud.
Cloud's subconscious
As she looks up, she finds another Cloud floating above. She recognizes him as the true Cloud, and realizes that she must be in his subconscious. Tifa resolves to help him restore his memories, and heads for the first Cloud.

Entering the first location, Tifa finds that she is back in Nibelheim five years past.
Tifa finally reveals the truth
When Sephiroth arrives, Cloud is behind him, but Tifa finally tells him that this memory is false and Cloud wasn't in Nibelheim that day. Tifa tries to understand why Cloud remembers some things that were true and some that were false.

Moving to the next memory, Tifa and Cloud are at the well where they made their childhood promise.
Cloud remembers the promise
She remembers Sephiroth saying that Cloud was created through Tifa's memories, but believes that these are Cloud's own memories, being able to recall her dress and the bright stars of that evening. Even so, she realizes that these memories aren't enough.

Realizing that if she brings up a memory, the Jenova cells will create it. But if Cloud can remember something on his own, and Tifa remembers it as well, then they will know that it is a true memory.
A sealed up, secret wish
Tifa asks Cloud to show her a deep, meaningful memory – one that can't be confused, one from deep inside his heart. She asks him about why he wanted to join SOLDIER, and Cloud brings her to a memory of years past.

Cloud remembers the first time he saw Tifa's bedroom. Tifa had three friends that always hung around with her, and Cloud was an outsider, not welcome in the group. The one day that Cloud was allowed in her room was the day that Tifa's mother died. Tifa and her friends ran off to Mt. Nibel with Cloud following behind. She wondered if her mother had gone over the mountain, and decided that she would go there to find her. Her friends only followed her part of the way, however, before abandoning her.
Cloud's own memory
Cloud continued to follow her, and when Tifa falls down, Cloud rushes to save her, but they both fall off the bridge. Tifa's father blamed Cloud for Tifa's injury and for bringing her to such a dangerous place. Cloud remembers that he only scarred his knees that day, but Tifa ended up in a coma for seven days. Cloud blamed himself for being weak, not being able to save Tifa. It was then that he heard about the hero Sephiroth, and decided that if he were strong like him, Tifa would have to notice him. Tifa confirms the memory, and concludes that Cloud is real and not something created by Hojo.

They revisit the memory of the Nibelheim incident, and after she is cut down by Sephiroth, it is the black-haired SOLDIER who comes to her side. Cloud remembers that it was Zack who was in Nibelheim that day.
Cloud wouldn't remove his helmet
However, Tifa doesn't understand how Cloud can remember Zack, and asks if he really were there. Cloud remembers a Shinra infantryman came in just after Zack had been cut down by Sephiroth, and wounded Sephiroth. He takes off his helmet and reveals himself to be Cloud. Cloud confirms that he was the Shinra MP that accompanied the group that day, keeping his helmet on because he was embarrassed that he didn't make SOLDIER.

Cloud continues to remember, explaining that after he had moved Tifa to the side, Sephiroth emerged holding Jenova's head.
Sephiroth stabs Cloud
Zack, badly wounded, told Cloud to finish Sephiroth off. When Cloud runs after Sephiroth, Sephiroth impales him with the Masamune and lifts him off the ground. However, Cloud was able to get back to the ground, instead lifting Sephiroth in the air. Cloud threw him over the edge, and Sephiroth fell into the Lifestream below.

Tifa and Cloud float out of the Lifestream

Having all of his memories restored, Cloud's separated personalities combine and Cloud is able to reform. Together with Tifa, he leaves the Lifestream. They wake up in the ruined village of Mideel, surrounded by their concerned friends.

On the Highwind, Cloud explains that Hojo experimented on him after the incident in Nibelheim, and his insecurities made him weak to the mako, forcing him to create the illusion.
Cloud apologizes
He tells them that he took the stories from his friend Zack and incorporated them into his own memory. Because of the experiments with Jenova cells, and Cloud's own weakness, Sephiroth was able to control him. Cloud apologizes to his friends, but they are all just happy to meet the real Cloud. Cloud reassumes leadership, and the party resumes their mission to stop Sephiroth.

[edit] Disc Three

An optional but important scene can be viewed if the player chooses to revisit Nibelheim. Returning to the basement of the Shinra Mansion, Cloud will remember how he escaped Nibelheim after his battle with Sephiroth. After being wounded by Sephiroth, Hojo collected both Cloud and Zack and used them in experimentation. Cloud was injected with Jenova cells and mako, resulting in his glowing blue eyes.

Zack carries Cloud out of Nibelheim

Four years later, Zack managed to escape, freeing Cloud as well who was suffering from mako poisoning. Zack replaced Cloud's mako-soaked clothes with a 1st Class SOLDIER uniform and carried Cloud out of Nibelheim. He eventually found a ride on the back of a truck. Even though Cloud was unable to respond, Zack still decided that they would become mercenaries together.

In the end, however, the Shinra troops caught up with the escapees. Zack was overcome and shot to death on a cliff just outside of Midgar. Seeing Cloud in the mako-poisoned state causes the soldiers to leave him, thinking he would die anyway.
Zack's death
Cloud crawled to Zack and just before his death, Zack told Cloud that he would be his living legacy and gave him the Buster Sword. As Zack died, Cloud shouted into the rainy sky.

The party still has to track down the last Huge Materia located in Junon. When they arrive in Junon, they notice that the Sister Ray is missing, but have little time to dwell on the fact. They head to the underwater reactor, and engage Shinra in a submarine chase. Shinra escapes with the Huge Materia, however, and heads to Rocket Town. Wanting to protect his rocket, Cid and company fight their way onto the ship. Shinra plans to use the rocket to launch the Huge Materia at Meteor, and Palmer launches the rocket with the party on board. The controls are locked, but Cid has an escape pod for emergencies.
Cid's dream is realized
The party grabs the Huge Materia, and on the way to the escape pod, one of the oxygen tanks explodes, trapping Cid. Just as Cid acknowledges that Shera had been right all those years ago, she appears to help the others free Cid. They pile into the escape pod and launch away from the rocket.

Cid's dream is finally realized as he watches Shinra No. 26 head for Meteor. As the escape pod hurdles towards the Planet, the rocket crashes into Meteor. A few pieces of Meteor break off, but it wasn't enough to stop it from its course.
Meteor continues its course
With the rocket launch being a failure, the party seeks help from Bugenhagen. They travel to the Forgotten Capital to determine why Aeris went there alone. Bugenhagen reveals that the party needs to find the ultimate white magic, Holy, to stop Meteor. He goes on to tell them that in order to summon Holy, they need the white materia, which will glow green when the Planet hears the summoner's wishes. While the writing on the altar is unclear, Bugenhagen translates it to mean that they need a key to find the white materia, so the party goes off in search of a key.

After retrieving the key from the bottom of the ocean, the party returns to Bugenhagen at the Forgotten Capital.
The white materia & Holy
Bugenhagen uses the key to activate a recording of the events of Aeris's death. The party witnesses the white materia falling from Aeris's hair as her body fell toward the floor. It bounced off the altar and into the lake below, glowing green. Cloud realizes that Aeris prayed for Holy before she died, but something is preventing it from acting. Cloud knows that it must be Sephiroth.

Cait Sith informs Cloud that the large cannon has been moved to Midgar, and has been named the Sister Ray. Shinra plans to use the cannon to destroy the barrier around the Northern Crater.
Diamond WEAPON is destroyed
Diamond WEAPON begins heading for Midgar, and the party heads for the coastline to intercept it. After the battle, Diamond WEAPON changes direction and Shinra diverts all power in the city to the Sister Ray. The Sister Ray is fired at the WEAPON at the same time the WEAPON shoots fire toward Midgar. The beam of the Sister Ray passes right through Diamond WEAPON, destroying it. The beam of energy continues right into the barrier around the Northern Crater, destroying it as well.

Meanwhile, while the other executives are elsewhere, Rufus watches from Shinra Headquarters as both the barrier and WEAPON are destroyed.
Rufus is caught in the explosion
However, WEAPON's attack managed to clear the beam and continues to head directly for the HQ. The blast hits the building, consuming Rufus in the fiery explosion, presumably killing him.

Realizing the barrier is gone, Cloud's party determines that they may be able to reach Sephiroth. Cait Sith informs them, however, that with the president's death, the executives are in disarray.
Reeve is Cait Sith's controller
Heidegger appoints himself in charge, and Hojo has taken control of the Sister Ray. Scarlet has realized that Reeve Tuesti is the person controlling Cait Sith, and places him under arrest. As he is taken away, Reeve pleads with the party to stop Hojo from using the Sister Ray.

The team parachutes from the Highwind down into Midgar. On their way to Sister Ray, they run into Scarlet and Heidegger who have developed a new weapon, Proud Clod. They attack the party, but are defeated. Proud Clod explodes, killing both Scarlet and Heidegger.

The party makes their way up to the Sister Ray control panel where Hojo is attempting to send the cannon's power to Sephiroth.
Hojo reveals Sephiroth's origins
Hojo reveals that Sephiroth is his son, but that Sephiroth himself is unaware of it. Hojo explains how the woman (Lucrecia) that was carrying his child was offered to Gast's Jenova Project. She was injected with Jenova's cells while pregnant, and the result was Sephiroth. Hojo also reveals that he has just injected himself with Jenova cells, prompting him to turn into a monster and attack the party. The party defeats him and shuts down the Sister Ray. With the majority of Shinra executives dead, the party wonders if it is the end of the Shinra Company.

The party gathers on the Highwind with only a few days before Meteor impacts the Planet. With the final battle ahead of them, Cloud advises his friends to go and find their own reasons for fighting. When they return, if they choose to do so, they will go and fight Sephiroth together.
Under the Highwind
The party goes its separate ways while Cloud and Tifa stay behind. With nowhere else to go, Cloud and Tifa will speak to each other under the Highwind (the conversation depends upon the player's previous actions). When they get back on the Highwind in the morning, they find that it is empty. However, when the ship begins to move, Tifa and Cloud rush into the cockpit where they find all of their party members waiting for them.

The party heads to the Northern Crater and makes their way down to the center of the Planet where Sephiroth is waiting. They find him standing in front of a white light they believe to be Holy. Sephiroth transforms into a monster and attacks the party. After defeating his first form, Sephiroth turns into the one-winged angel, but is defeated again. When they finally defeat Sephiroth, Cloud determines that it is up to Holy to save the Planet.
Sephiroth's final defeat
But Cloud clutches his head and falls to his knees, saying he can still feel Sephiroth's presence. He is then separated from his body and taken into the Lifestream. There, he encounters Sephiroth once again, but defeats him with Omnislash.

As the green swirls of the Lifestream surround Cloud, a woman's hand reaches out toward him.
Cloud reaches toward Aeris's hand
As he reaches up to it, he is returned to his body to find Tifa's reaching down toward him. The ground collapses under her, but as she falls, Cloud jumps up and grabs her. Hanging onto the ledge, Cloud says that he understands about the Promised Land, and believes that he can meet her there.

As Tifa and Cloud climb back onto the ledge, they find that their friends are also safe. As the caves crumble around them, the Highwind crashes in through the ceiling. The party escapes the Northern Crater as Meteor presses down onto Midgar. The city begins to crumble, but Holy shoots from the Northern Crater, forming a barrier between Meteor and Midgar.
The Lifestream stops Meteor
However, Holy is too late, and Meteor breaks through the barrier. Just as the party gives up hope, green swirls begin to form all over the Planet, rushing toward Meteor. The Lifestream clashes with Meteor creating a blinding white light. Aeris's face appears amidst the light to illustrate her guiding the Lifestream and saving the Planet.

In the final FMV of the game, five hundred years later, Red XIII is running through the plains accompanied by two cubs. They jump up onto a cliff overlooking Midgar, now an overgrown ruins.

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