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Disclaimers and Notes: Same as before. Yup yup. Ah... yes...filler chapter. Well, sorta. Sorry if this one is boring. ^^;

When You're Evil and Dead
By: Sforzie

Chapter 22: Family Obligations

"I swear, if this demon tries to hit on me, there's going to be some heads getting busted," Kuja growled as she and Kefka headed toward an office building somewhere in hell. Kuja had been sent another one of those squirmy nervous little messenger people. It, like the last one, had run away screaming after delivering its message. Of course, Kefka poking it with a little fork (which he'd probably found while at work) probably didn't have anything to do with the messenger's hasty departure.

"Uwee hee, that's why I came along!" Kefka giggled. She glanced at him.

"Why, so you could help?"

He shook his head. "No, so I could watch!" Kuja laughed and shook her head.

"You could be a little carnage cheerleader..."

Kefka grinned. "I think you'd look better in the skirt."

"Suit yourself..."

They reached the appropriate office building and went inside.

"So what's the HDPM anyways?" Kuja wondered as they went to the desk.

"I'm not really sure..."

"It stands for Hell's Department of Preventative Measures," the demonesse behind the front desk explained. She looked fairly human, except for the horns and little bat wings.

"Preventative Measures?" they echoed curiously.

"What do you guys want with me?" Kuja asked.

"Do you have an appointment?" the demonesse asked.

"You sent one of those little wimpy messenger guys to me," she said. The demonesse typed something into a computer.

"Name?"

"Kuja Tribal."

After a moment the demonesse nodded. "Yes. Dr. Lerownzz wanted you summoned."

"What for?"

"You'll find out soon enough," the demonesse said, typing again. She paused, looking at Kefka. "And who's your companion?"

"This is Kefka," Kuja said, pointing idly at the mage. He grinned.

"Kefka Palazzo," he added. The demonesse nodded and turned back to the computer.

"So you'll have an escort?"

"Uh..." Kuja looked at Kefka and then back to the demonesse. "I guess so. But an escort for what?"

"For whatever Dr. Lerownzz wants you to do," the demonesse said. After a ding from the computer she tapped the screen. "He's in room 219. Go to the second floor."

"Right, thanks...I think." Kuja blinked at Kefka, who shrugged cluelessly.

"Hell has many mysteries," he said, wiggling his fingers as he followed her up a short flight of stairs.

 

Dr. Lerownzz was another demon. He wasn't as odd looking as Kurshplat had been, but he still had a weird presence to him. His head and upper body looked human, but his lower half tapered off into a long snakey tail.

"Ah, Miss Tribal, so good of you to come," Lerownzz gestured toward the chair in front of his desk. She sat. Kefka looked around, but there wen't any more places to sit in the sparely decorated office. He ended up standing behind Kuja.

"I'm starting to feel like I've been doomed to have to do community service for all eternity," Kuja said. "First that mess with the lizard--"

"Demidragon," Kefka added with a giggle.

"--whatever. And now this."

"Well, that's not really the case, because what I'm going to ask you and your frilly friend to do requires a bit of out of town work," Lerownzz looked at a few papers on his desk.

"Frilly?" Kefka blinked, looking down.

"Out of town work? Where's that?"

"Well, Miss Tribal... are you aware of what the HDPM does?"

"Like so much else in the afterlife, I hadn't heard of it until just now."

"Well... the Preventative Measures offices; with departments based in heaven, hell, and purgatory; sets about to make sure that certain bad things don't happen on the different planets in each of the parallel dimensions that comprise the universe."

Kuja blinked. "Come again?"

"So you go about changing events to affect the historical outcome of a planet?" Kefka piped up behind her.

Lerownzz nodded. "In so many words, yes."

She tilted her head, looking doubtful. "You guys must not be very effective, or me and Kefka here would've been stopped."

The demon shook his head. "Perhaps, but sometimes bad things are supposed to happen, to help better the structure of the survivors."

"....oh."

"But sometimes there are errant currents that have to be tidyed up..." Lerownzz looked down at the papers in his hands again and nodded. "...in order to keep things from going bad when they shouldn't."

"Preventative measures..."

"Mm-hmm." Lerownzz tapped a finger on his desk. "It's be about five or six millenia since you died, hasn't it?"

"I've lost track."

"Well, that's what the records say at least. There's a bit of a time flux between the dead dimension and the living ones, but we still keep track best as we can. Either way, about five and a half thousand years have passed on Gaia since your death."

"And?"

"Things have changed in the political climate, to say the least," Lerownzz said with a smile. "We need you to go to Gaia to stop something from happening."

"Why me? If it's on Gaia, why not get someone more dependable, like Zidane? Or even that psycho Azera chick..." She trailed off as Lerownzz shook his head.

"Azera didn't die on Gaia, so it's none of her business," he said. "Besides, she got locked up for a few hundred years because of errant behavior... And Zidane would be a natural choice, but unfortunately this problem is partially his fault."

"His fault?"

"Well, the problem stems around some of his and your fellow Genome's descendents," Lerownzz explained. "And since you never...ah...breeded... you can't be directly blamed. So you became our next choice."

"I feel so honored," she said dryly. "What the heck am I supposed to do?"

"Just stop a group of Genomes from killing the current regent of Lindblum, an event which would start a very large and pointless war."

"What's wrong with a large and pointless war?" Kefka wondered. "They happen all the time." Kuja nodded in argeement.

"A war may seem pointless, but we don't let them happen if they're truly pointless. Or if they feature undesired results."

"Which is it in this case?"

"Undesired results," Lerownzz said. "This war would wipe out most of the remaining human population on Gaia, resulting in the Terran descendants--the Genomes as they're still called on Gaia--pretty much taking things over." The demon pointed a finger at Kuja with a smirk. "And we worked very hard to prevent that from happening before."

Kuja tilted her head thoughtfully but didn't say anything.

"How is she supposed to stop this from happening? After all, we are dead."

"Very dead," Lerownzz chuckled. "You'll be travelling back to Gaia in the spirit form... as ghosts, I guess you could say. You'll be able to make yourselves visible and audible, and Kuja will have the added benefit of being able to be physically tangible for a short while."

"Why not me?" Kefka pouted.

"You're...uh...just going along as backup," the demon said. "You didn't even come from the same dimension as her, let alone the same planet. So you won't be able to fully manifest your self."

"Rats."

Lerownzz smiled wryly. "Besides, it'll reduce the amount of...accidental... damage done while on Gaia."

"They don't want you breaking stuff, Kefka," Kuja laughed.

"The same goes for you, Kuja. This is just very temporary access to your living dimension. You're to do your job, and then get your butt back to hell."

"Yeah, yeah..." she sighed. "I suppose a change of scenery would be nice."

"Good." Dr. Lerownzz passed a few papers to Kuja. "This will tell you what you need to know. Go to the Tri-Head transport station as soon as you can."

"Right..." Kuja glanced at the papers as she took them. "I'm starting to feel like I'm in some weird role-playing game."

Lerownzz chuckled and shook his head. "Good luck."

 

"I'm glad you're letting me come along," Kefka giggled as he hopped next to Kuja. They were at the transport station, waiting for their clearance to come through. "I think it'll be neat to see where you came from!"

Kuja shook her head. "I blew up where I came from."

"Oooh, that's right!"

"Besides, it's been five millenia since I saw Gaia. I'm sure it's changed from the way it used to be."

"Yeah, you're probably right..."

"Miss Tribal, Mr. Palazzo?" a demon behind the counter called to them. "The HDPM has confirmed that you have permission to go to Gaia for...business purposes."

"Yes, that's right," Kuja nodded.

"Okay, come with me please..."

They followed the demon to a row of tables.

"Just pick one and lay down, please," the demon said, looking at a clipboard. "Based on the information we received from HDPM, you'll be arriving at the place of Ms. Tribal's death.. the, uh, Iifa Tree?"

"Sounds about right," Kuja said as she hopped up onto a table.

"Alright... just close your eyes, and you'll be arriving shortly..."

 

It was night on Gaia when they arrived.

"Dammit, couldn't they at least send us in during the day? I can't read what these papers say in the dark!" Kuja sighed as she squinted at the papers in the pale double-moonlight.

"We'll just have to wait until morning!" Kefka said cheerfully, hopping around the vine covered surface of the tree. Kuja sighed in agreement, looking around as she tucked the papers away.

"The tree looks the same, but that's not a huge surprise," she said, jumping up to the closest branch. Kefka giggled and floated after her. They walked out along the branch until Kuja stopped. "Oh...wow..."

The tiny little village that she had seen while visiting with Zidane had grown a great deal larger, spreading to cover most of the unforgiving terrain surrounding the grand Iifa Tree.

"Looks like they've been busy," Kuja said, looking at the town.

"Uwee hee, speaking of busy..." Kefka was looking down the side of the tree. "Looks like the Iifa Tree has become a make-out spot."

"What?!" Kuja looked to where he pointed.

Kefka grinned. "Does it give you any ideas?"

She sweatdropped. "Don't even suggest it, or I'm going to push them off the tree."

"Uwee! How'd you know that that's what I wanted to do?"

Kuja palmed her forehead. "Why don't we go see if we can find a lighted spot down in the town so I can read these stupid mission papers?"

Kefka giggled. "We could go do that too."

They made their way down out of the tree and into the town.

Kefka whined as they entered the town. "Can you smell that?"

"Smell what?"

His stomach growled. "Food..."

"Don't be silly, Kefka, we can't eat," Kuja smiled consolingly at him.

"I knoooow," Kefka huffed a sigh and peered in a window. "Eeew, horrible decorating sense."

She laughed. "We didn't come here to critique the Gaian homelife, Kefka."

"I know, but still!" He stuck his tongue out, shaking his head vigorously.

They passed a dark little cafe that was still open.

"Everyone in there has a tail, Kuja," Kefka noted as he peered in the window.

"Must all be Genomes," she said, leaning over his shoulder to look. "They're probably all over Gaia by now, but this continent is where they first colonized."

Kefka turned away from the cafe, looking around again. "New North Alexandria... geez, these people even suck at naming towns!"

"Where'd you see that?"

He pointed to a newspaper stand. Kuja sweatdropped.

"At least someone here is observant."

"Come on, Kuja-doll, let's go find a place for you to read!" Kefka giggled and hopped off toward the town square. Kuja shook her head as she followed him.

"It's a good thing he can't break stuff...."

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end chapter 22