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Unexpected Side-Effects II Sneak Peek
If it wasn’t for his stubbornness about keeping up with the Soldiers, Cloud would veto his reading of every document featuring this tiny print and make the Soldiers with their super eyes do it. Instead, he sat at his desk, pretending his room wasn’t too small and too empty, and worked on glaring the document into submission.

Hojo’s writing was atrocious. His codes were atrocious. Everything about these documents were atrocious.

Cloud groaned and let his head thump onto the desk. Without looking, he could feel Vincent’s judgmental stare from his window. Outside, of course. To guard against any current Turks from spying on him. Cloud thought Reno viewed Vincent’s catch and release like some kind of game. For all Cloud knew, it was. All the more reason for Vincent to not judge Cloud.

At most, in the last hour, he had decoded two paragraphs. Two. Out of a six page report. One report out of the dozens found in the hidden lab. Even then, he didn’t think he fully decoded it. Subject N, Subject N. What by Hel was Subject N?

Vincent tapped the glass. Cloud sighed and looked at the clock. Almost midnight. With one hand, he rubbed his eyes, waving at Vincent with the other. Message received. Wrap up and go to sleep..

He had time, Cloud thought bitterly. Zack and Sephiroth wouldn’t be back for two more weeks, and they wanted him in a known location surrounded by allies until they figured out what ShinRa was up to. Because he couldn’t take care of himself.

That wasn’t fair. Cloud gave in and rubbed his face. Groaning, he looked back at the paper. He knew that wasn’t fair, but --

Cloud frowned and stared at the paper. He knew that codeword. After so many documents, he recognized that.

He skimmed the report with his finger, counting. Over a dozen references to Nibelheim. He tapped the report with his fingers. Then, on a hunch, he skimmed the report for another familiar code word.

Over a dozen references to Jenova. A mysterious Subject N, in Nibelheim, connected to Jenova.

The date on the report was right before the final Nibelheim mission.

“We missed something,” Cloud whispered.

Sleep be damned. Heart thrumming like a live wire in his chest, Cloud huddled over the report and got to work. 

What had they missed in Nibelheim?

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