Though Sephiroth grated a bit at leaving his Pet at home, he needed Strife to focus. For whatever reason the other Blondy despite his penchant for *gratuitously* female Pets, had a fascination with Zack that bordered on rude obsession.
Strife was JENOVA's key breeding program specialist for the betterment of non-Blondy races. While that meant he was shunned in the higher circles for his daily involvement in the slum reproduction center Guardian, he had more knowledge about the workings and runnings of the mongrel populace than nearly any other Blondy. He was the final decider for which males down there were left fertile, and which were sterilized before reproductive age. Many attempts had been made on his life and property, in order to ascertain the lists and criteria filters he used, and to prevent JENOVA's steely grip on the future of the Cere's population.
Under Strife's guidance, the mongrels of Ceres were steadily loosing their more tedious and unflattering qualities, and the lighter shades of brunette and carmine had flourished to nearly a forty percent mark. It was impossible even for JENOVA to completely prevent unwanted male specimens from making their way in to Guardian, but fewer undesirable products were coming *out* of it.
Bright blue eyes regarded Sephiroth curiously from beneath nearly golden blond spikes. "General. What brings you down to the labs?"
"A threat to the security of Midas." he replied, ignoring the scantily clad mongrel Pet Strife currently favored. "A terrorist cell known as 'Garden'."
"Garden?" Strife blinked and stood up from his desk. Though not of Sephiroth's height or build, he was still the best of his generation, intelligent enough for a direct wetware interface and strong enough to bend titanosteel. "You're sure that's the name?"
"It was the name given to me by Rufus, who seemed certain enough."
Strife snorted, idly stroking the long black strands of his Pet. "Well, he would know, wouldn't he? I haven't heard of a *cell* by that name, and I hear all *sorts* of things from the Clans..."
"But you have heard of it." Sephiroth pressed.
"You know of Ceres's 'wealth' don't you?" Strife asked, arching a pale brow.
Tanagura. The reason Ceres was allowed to exist at all, its only true value in the eyes of JENOVA. Sephiroth tilted his head in acknowledgement of the grotesque lab beneath the city. While he'd never been there himself, he'd read the reports from the likes of Muraki to get a good idea what 'experiments' went on.
"There's a little song going around the Clans, about Guardian and its Garden. Tifa, why don't you sing it for us?" Strife murmured with a smile that failed to reach the ice in his eyes.
The female's voice was low and husky, any emotional inflection long beaten or brainwashed out. "Guardian spreads its seeds and roots to make a garden. From the tears and blood shall grow, all the colors of a rainbow. Guardian spreads and conquers with life and death. From the shit and piss shall the blossoms unfurl. Guardian beats and breathes and dies so the Garden will rise."
"It's very popular. Makes one wonder if the wealth of Ceres's Guardian isn't being spent inappropriately. None of the Clan's have come forward though, and the Kugars, well they're almost bred right *out*." Strife sighed, pacing a bit. "There's just so *few* breeding females down there."
So, not just mongrels, mongrels that had been 'improved' by the science of the lab. Mongrels that could, perhaps, be so improved as to pass for Blondies? Or, if not that far, to effectively disguise themselves as citizens of Midas. But without PAM's how would they get access into Midas?
Could a PAM be faked?
"Thank you for the enlightening discussion Strife."
"Of course, anything to help JENOVA's favorite." Strife's smile still didn't reach his eyes. "Next time bring that pretty Pet of yours, I wouldn't mind checking him for compatibility with my Tifa here."
"Perhaps." If ever he needed to *replace* Strife, he'd have to burn everything the Blondy touched.