Episode Zero -Treasure- Chapter 6

This is the sixth chapter of Part Three: Treasure of Episode Zero -Promise- written by Jun Eishima.
The translation below is by Lissar. Because official romanizations of the names have not yet been released, they might be off.

The “decision” Lieutenant Rosch had been talking about was a lock down on all of Bowdam and its residents. They came the day after the fireworks festival. PSICOM works fast. But what was really fast was how quick they set up the blockades around the Bowdam Ruins. Though I only heard about it later.
It seems that the investigation team that was sent in to the ruins never came back. Not a single one of them. After the team had sent a wireless transmission that told them of the fal’Cie, they lost their position. Instead of sending in a rescue team, PSICOM blocked off the ruins. Even though they could still be alive in there, somewhere.
Well, the soldiers might be able to except it all. But civilians are couldn’t. Do you think they’d just accept it? No, of course not. I was the same. No explanations, just being told we couldn’t leave the city. Who would just sit down and take it?
Especially on that day, when it wasn’t only the residents of Bowdam. Tourists from all over Cocoon were there. On that day, after the fireworks festival, it was madness…

After the festival was over, we stayed the night in the security force garrison. Originally they were going to return to the medical center in Eden during the night, but when Dajh said “Are we going already?”, they changed plans. They thought that perhaps he was feeling something from Pulse and wanted to stay.
The investigation staff that was testing Dajh had come with them to the festival, but they wouldn’t be able to continue their tests at the garrison. Separating them into different rooms would have looked strange as well, so they were finally given permission to spend time together.
Nabaat had already asked that they continue monitoring Dajh. She said that any small thing that he might said could be an important clue. Sazh couldn’t refuse. Well, even if he had refused, they would have still set up a hidden camera or put up voice recorders. They were going to be watched no matter what. Sazh knew that quite well enough. In any case, Dajh was happy. He jumped on the bed with the baby chocobo beside him, and ran around the room until night fell.
Sazh thought Dajh would oversleep the next day, but he woke up at the same time he always did, looking sleepy. He ate his breakfast quickly, and when he saw the baby chocobo playing around, all he wanted to do was play too, his weariness forgotten.
Dajh probably wanted to come to Bowdam to get away from all those tests. Right now had didn’t seem to have any connection with Pulse, or things from Pulse. He wasn’t at all like he was when he had first said he wanted to come here to see the fireworks.
“Daddy, I wanna watch TV!”
“What? Oh right, it’s that time.”
It was only a fifteen minute children’s program, but Dajh always watched it before going to daycare. Dajh would watch it while Sazh was getting dressed, and once it was finished Dajh would turn off the TV and they’d head out the door together.
Sazh had thought that until Dajh grew too old to be watching children’s shows they would continue this everyday ritual. Once he finished work he’d go to the daycare center to pick up Dajh, and on the way home they’d talk about what to have for dinner, stopping to pick up things at the store… What had been an everyday thing now seemed like a miracle. But that miracle was gone, its light grown cold.
“Daddy, the TV is weird!” Dajh said unhappily. Sazh looked up, remembering where he was.
“All the channels are the same.”
“That’s… Bowdam Station.”
It showed soldiers at Bowdam Station, and the station blocked off. The voice of a female newscaster came on over the video.
“Last night a fal’Cie from Pulse was found in the ruins around Bowdam Bay. The Sanctum has made the decision to close off the city of Bowdam and it’s surrounding areas.”
The picture changed to a video of the airship force above the station. Sazh ran over to the window. He could see the military’s high speed ships take off, and soldiers running around on the grounds. The sky in the direction of the station was filled with military ships. The video narration continued.
“The Sanctum has revealed that the accident that occurred at the Ewleede Canyon energy plant was in fact destruction caused by Pulse l’Cie.”
He turned back at the word “Pulse”. There were people who were rushing the station, and the soldiers were pushing them back. They were probably tourists. We don’t even live here, they were probably saying, we just happened to be here. Why is this happening to us?
Sazh could understand their confusion. He felt it himself seven days ago.
“With the recent chain of events, the anxiety of the people in this city is rising. Some voices are saying that measures stronger than quarantine must be taken.”
He didn’t want to hear anymore. He didn’t want to see people who wore his own expression of despair. Sazh turned off the TV.
“No TV today. You’ll have to watch it tomorrow. Look, he wants to play with you.”
The baby chocobo flew out from his hair. Dajh laughed and the ran around the room together. Now he had probably forgotten all about that children’s program he had wanted to watch.
There was a knock at the door, as if someone was waiting just for that moment. They probably had been waiting. After all, this room was being monitored. When he opened the door, Nabaat was on the other side.
“Mr. Katzroy, we will be leaving here as soon as possible. Please get ready.”
“Are you sure? What about sensing things from Pulse or whatever it was…”
She glanced over Sazh's shoulder into the room beyond. When she saw that Dajh was absorbed in playing with the baby chocobo, she said in a low voice:
“The Sanctum has decided to force all the citizens of Bowdam to leave the city.”
Which meant that they had decided to force all those who had the possibility of being from Pulse to leave the city, to be sent to Pulse. She spoke of it as though it were just the next thing to do after putting a city into quarantine.
“After it is announced we expect there to be quite an uproar.”
That was an understatement. Given how the people already felt about being blocked from leaving the city. If they were forced to go down to Pulse, to hell, it would end with civilians attacking the soldiers. It would be just a matter of time.
“Of course we must hurry to find the Pulse l’Cie, but keeping Dajh safe is important above all. Once the airship is ready to set out we’ll leave.”
Nabaat turned and walked out of the room, leaving only her words behind her.

It was only a short time later that they left the garrison. They didn’t tell them whether or not they would be returning to the medical center, they were only told to get on the airship. Dajh left their room without resisting or making a fuss.
Sazh though that he’d play around with the baby chocobo like he did before, on their trip to Bowdam, but instead he kept quiet. He sat, staring at Bowdam through the window.
“Daddy, something is flying.” Dajh whispered.
“The skies in Bowdam have been locked down by PSICOM’s air fleet, so that’s no surprising. I’m sure there’s lots of… huh?”
Looking out from the side, he saw the “something” that Dajh was pointing at. It looked like your average military high-speed ship, but it’s movements were strange.
“What are they doing?”
Then he knew why it was so strange. They were being chased by others military ships. Even being attacked by them. The other ship was trying to avoid the attacks, weaving in and out, making their flight path look strange. The ship was headed for the ruins, going straight for them.
“They’re falling!” Dajh screamed. The ship had been hit, with black smoke billowing out behind it, but still they were growing closer to the top of the ruins. Then someone jumped from the ship.
“A civilian?”
From here it looked like a young girl. She held out her hand to the ship, and yelled something. Of course, that’s why they were being chased. Some civilians had stolen the ship. Then the girl was sucked into the ruins. The ship she had been riding on disappeared from sight. What just happened?
“Dajh, did you see someone jump from that ship onto the ruins?”
Nabaat was standing behind them. Dajh nodded.
“And did you see them disappear?”
“They didn’t disappear. They’re inside.”
It seems that it wasn’t just his eyes tricking him, she really did get sucked into the ruins. But that would mean that there were people who were in the ruins, trapped by the Pulse fal’Cie.
“Good job, Dajh.” Nabaat said, and patted him on the head. What was she talking about? Sazh thought. Shouldn’t they be trying to rescue that girl?
“You… you have to rescue her!”
“No, we do not. Those ruins will be taken to Pulse, closed off as they are now. It’s going the same place as the rest of the citizens of Bowdam, so there is no problem.”
Sazh couldn’t believe what he was hearing. They were just going to send it to Pulse? Is that really what she said?
“Besides, it is highly probable that she was a Pulse l’Cie. Don’t you think so?”
Your son’s enemy, was what she was really saying. She looked a Dajh. He had already lost interest in what was outside the window and was running around with the baby chocobo. Dajh had sensed something else from Pulse, but his Focus was still not complete. Even though he had seen a girl who might be a Pulse l’Cie, he was still hadn’t turned into a crystal. Which meant that Dajh’s Focus was to find Pulse fal’Cie, or l’Cie, and defeat them.
“Dajh showed interest in the ship that was carrying the girl. So it is probably best that we send the ruins to Pulse without tampering with them.”
Sazh felt something inside him snap.
“Oh, you think it’s for the best? What the hell is wrong with you? If we send that to Pulse…”
If it was sent to Pulse then no one on Cocoon would be able to reach it. Then Dajh would never be able to complete his Focus.
“If we send it to Pulse? Then the citizens of Cocoon will be freed from the menace of Pulse.”
“You may be okay with that, but what about Dajh? You’ll just let him turn into a Cie Corpse? Then what have you been doing all these stupid tests on him for?”
Nabaat didn’t even bat an eyelash.
“Of course, we are doing this for the people of Cocoon. Are you saying anything is more important than that?”
He had never been so angry, the words caught in his throat. He clenched his fists, but they shook uncontrollably.
“Do not misunderstand, Mr. Katzroy. It is my job to protect the citizens of Cocoon from the threat that Pulse represents.”
Her words were cold, like ice. A terrible smile hovered at her lips.
“It wouldn’t be good to yell too much, would it? Do think of how your son is feeling right now.”
Sazh looked around for Dajh. This wasn’t a conversation a child should be listening to. Fortunately he was absorbed in climbing over the seats, and hadn’t even noticed them. Relieved, he felt all the energy seep out of his legs. He fell into the seat behind him, and held his head in his hands. He heard her retreating footsteps, but couldn’t muster the energy to do anything about it.
There is nothing I can do, he thought. He knew it from the start. To PSICOM and the Sanctum Dajh was nothing but a tool to be used as they wished. So long as Cocoon was safe, one single child was nothing to them. Not just Nabaat, but all of PSICOM—no, all of Cocoon felt the same way.
Of course Sazh felt that so long as Dajh was safe, the rest of Cocoon could go to hell. Which meant that he was the only one who could do anything for his son. He would just have to complete Dajh’s Focus for him, with his own hands. It wouldn’t matter if it was completed or not, they still wouldn’t be able to return to the life they knew. The only thing that was waiting for him was death or something equal to it. Still, a crystal was far better than a monster.
He would have to destroy the Pulse fal’Cie. But could he do it? He was a normal man. Could a normal man destroy something as powerful as a fal’Cie? No, that wasn’t the problem. He remembered the girl screaming something, standing on the top of the ruins. It was impossible that she should have been there, she shouldn’t have been able to avoid all of those soldiers, and get to the ruins. But she did. Just as Nabaat had said, they were probably Dajh’s enemies. But they had given him hope. Even if it was something that should be impossible, he had every reason to try.
“Dajh…” He had only meant to say it in his heart, but the name escaped his lips.
“What is it Daddy?”
Dajh was on the seats behind him. He jumped on his back and looked at Sazh’s face.
“No… no it’s nothing.” His vision became blurred. He looked out the window. “Dad’s going to take a little nap, okay?”
“Okay.” Dajh said, running off. Sazh laid there, with his eyes closed, listening to the chirping of the baby chocobo, and Dajh’s happy screams.

When they returned to the medical center they were put in separate rooms. Sazh had at least wanted the baby chocobo to go with Dajh, but was denied.
“No! I want to stay with Daddy!”
Dajh held on to the hem of Sazh’s coat and wouldn’t let go. Maybe Dajh knew what he was planning. That he was going to destroy the fal’Cie in the ruins before they got a chance to send it to Pulse.
“I’m sorry Dajh, but we have tests we need to do. You’ll just have to wait a little longer. Tomorrow we’ll even let you play with your father a little while. Would that be alright?” Nabaat smiled.
Dajh looked lost. He held on tight to Sazh.
“Once you’re finished with the tests, I’ll buy you whatever you want. What would you like? A picture book? A huge chocobo toy?”
“Yeah, really. Whatever you want, just ask.”
“I want to go to Nautilus Park! I want to see all the chocobos!”
Again with Nautilus Park. He said that during the fireworks festival too. He must really want to go there and see all those chocobos. He had planned to have Dajh ask him for something, so he could have an excuse to leave and head towards the ruins. But Dajh wasn’t asking for things. He wanted a place, he wanted to spend time with his father. So he made a promise. What else could he do?
“Okay, after you’re finished with your tests, we’ll go to Nautilus Park together.”
The baby chocobo chirped as if telling them not to forget him.
“Of course we’ll bring the little one too.”
“Okay! You promise, right Daddy?”
“I promise.”
A promise he would never be able to keep. If Sazh defeated the fal’Cie, Dajh would become a crystal before the testing was even over. If he couldn’t defeat it… he would be a Cie Corpse.
“Just do a good job on your tests, okay?”
Dajh nodded as Sazh set him on the floor and let go of him. He looked so happy that he would get to go to Nautilus Park. He was smiling. That smile had always lifted Sazh, held him up. It was his treasure. I won’t let you become a monster, he vowed. Even if you become a crystal, I want you to keep smiling to the end…
He burned Dajh’s face into his memory, and tried to smile himself. He wondered if he was able to. He couldn’t let Dajh or Jihl know that right now he was saying goodbye.
“Alright then Dajh, will you go back to your room now? I’ll be there soon.”
“Okay. Daddy, you promise, right?” He said, and ran through the door. Just as he had been there, suddenly he was gone. Sazh clenched his teeth. This was for the best…
“Thank you for cooperating, Mr. Katzroy.”
“Uh, no that’s…”
It was as if she had already forgotten what had been said on the airship. She bowed to him slightly. She was good, he didn’t know if he would be able to go against her. But he had to find a way to outwit her. He tried his best to calm himself before he spoke.
“There is just one thing I’d like to ask of you.”
He knew he was being watched, just as Dajh was. If was going to get to Bowdam, first he would have to make an excuse to leave.
“I’d like to go to Palumpolum and buy a picture book or a toy or something, you know, for Dajh.”
There was a huge shop in Palumpolum that had nothing but books and toys for children. When he was a long distance route pilot he would often stop at that store and buy all sorts of presents for Dajh. At the time he didn’t really know what Dajh would like, so he’d just buy the first thing he’d see. It would make his wife laugh.
“Well, you know… it must be hard for a child that young to go through all those tests. I’d like to buy him something to entertain him, to make him stop thinking about it. You know, just that.”
“Yes, I’m sure that would make Dajh very happy.”
“If I left now and hurried, I could be back by late tomorrow afternoon. But if Dajh asks anything about me, you’ll not tell him where I went? I don’t want him to worry.”
“Of course, I understand.” she said, smiling. Then she said:
“Well then, why don’t we take you in one of our military airships? If you’re going to Palumpolum it would be far quicker than going by any civilian flights.”
Just as I figured, Sazh thought. They were going to keep watching him no matter what. He was glad he chose Palumpolum. If it had been a small town he wouldn’t be able to shake them, but in a big crowded city like Palumpolum it would be easy to disappear.
“That would be a big help, thanks.”
This had to work. It had to. He forced himself to smiled.

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