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Title: Project S : Pray for the Wicked, Pray for the Pure.
Rating: PG
Warnings: Laboratory experimentation
Disclaimer: Final Fantasy is property of Square. This work is a fan work meant to be a commentary on the original. No copyright infringement is intended or implied.
Word Count: ~1000
Completed or In Progress: Complete/Part of a Series
Summary: The President tires of Hojo's excuses. It's time to see what Project S can do.
Author's Notes: First installment of an ongoing series.

"He is a superior specimen indeed." Hojo adjusts his glasses across his thin nose when the glare against the observation window obscures his view of the tanks below. Next to him President ShinRa stands in his pristine white suit. A red rose provides one of two bright points of color in the sterile laboratory. The other rests below them.

The central tank stands tall in the center of the room. A bright, green glow comes from it and the heavy conduits linking it to the smaller tanks around it. The Mako circulates through them, some conduits pumping it away to be reheated as freshly heated Mako streams in to the central tank. Heated Mako is more reactive and this is the first test to see if the process allows for better absorption as well.

Of course that can't be tested without a test subject. He floats in the semi-viscous fluid. Long white hair streaming out behind him like a crown or wings - caught in the different currents caused by the many pumps regulating his environment. Naked except for the monitoring patches covering his heart, wrists, and three more along his spine, Project S looks completely serene in what to most people would be a deadly poison.

But he isn't exactly human is he? President ShinRa wonders quietly as he looks on, ignoring his companion for now.

"Are you sure it's safe to use an untried method on him?" The President raises a brow, waiting for Hojo's explanation. He has a lot invested in Project S and with the Wutai War at a stalemate at best, he can't risk losing a weapon that's taken over a decade to develop and won't be easily replicated.

"You speak of him as if he's some human weakling or pathetic castoff from that side-show, Project G. This is the most superior specimen ever created in ShinRa's research." The President doesn't point out that most of Hojo's research is based on Gast's findings. He doesn't say it, but he can't keep the frown of his face. Hojo is reckless where Gast wasn't. Of course Gast would never have done any of this; it's why he left. The chill from the window sinks into President ShinRa's hand as he leans forward as if it would give him a better look.

"I understand perfectly. I also understand that I have a war that needs winning and you promised me the perfect soldier." Hojo adjusts his glasses again.

"Sephiroth's proficiency ratings are far beyond that of any soldier in the program. His ability to use materia is unparalleled as are his strength, reflexes, and fighting ability. None of the enhanced humans come close to matching Project S in any area. To them a Mako treatment of this concentration and method would be toxic. For him it is a soothing bath."

It doesn't look soothing. At least Hojo had the decency to give the boy a sedative before putting him in the tank.

"Yes, I know, Professor, I know, but when can he take the field?" He's tired of Hojo's excuses and need to perform just one more test or one more experiment. It's time that the company recouped its significant investment in Project S. Hojo's exasperated sigh cuts through the silence.

"One week." The President nods, but doesn't take his eyes away from the tank. In his mind he calculates the time it will take to get Sephiroth ready and transport him to the encampment. He realizes distantly and perhaps with a touch of guilt that he should arrive on his sixteenth birthday. He watches and from one moment to the next he finds him quite suddenly staring into cat bright, Mako tinted eyes.

"You didn't sedate him?" The President cuts a sharp look across Hojo. Mako burns even though on someone like Sephiroth it left no mark. The pain is twisted, excruciating and drives even strong men mad. All of the SOLDIERs are sedated for anything but the mildest of injections.

"You said you wanted the perfect soldier, Mr. President. The perfect soldier is immune to pain."

ShinRa looks back and those eerie eyes still focus on him. The intelligence shining in those eyes nearly backs him up a step.

"Can he hear us?" Hojo scoffs.

"Don't be foolish, even his hearing isn't that good." ShinRa, still caught in that gaze isn't so sure. A shiver runs down his spine not because of any aggression he senses in those eyes, but the utter lack of it. He's just calm, calculating even as more and Mako sinks into his skin and turns his veins into brightly lit trails from within.

"One week, Professor Hojo and not a single day more. I want him delivered to the Director and he'll be moved into the SOLDIER wing if he performs admirably." Hojo's lips press into a thin line at that declaration. To remove his precious specimen from his direct care angers him. Well he'll just have to be angry. He can't very well leave the boy in that madman's total control; he'll end up killing him.

Calmly, Sephiroth blinks. President ShinRa tears himself away from the window and walks for the door with two black suited Turks behind him. Hojo glares again before returning to the lab proper.

"His vitals?" One assistant hands him the most recent print out.

"They're holding stable. Well within acceptable parameters, Professor."

"Good, good, and the absorption rate?"

"Increased by twenty percent with the new procedure; better than we expected." The assistant doesn't look at the tank. Very few of them can look at Sephiroth directly when they don't have to do so. Hojo assumes it's because they fancy that they still have a conscience left. Fools.

"That will be all." He hands the clipboard back and dismisses the woman with a wave. Her name isn't important. They never are. His shoes clack against tile and he comes to stand in front of the tank, looking up at the figure within who looks back. Sephiroth blinks again, entirely at ease and completely focused.

"You'll show them. None of them can understand perfection now. You'll show them." Hojo raps his pen against the glass before he walks away.

Sephiroth closes his eyes again.
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