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  -Part 1 :: [02.13.02]
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"Once Marvy is cut away, Katarina murmurs to herself, 'I never imagined that we would lose you like this...' I think there's some sort of reverse psychology going on here. Marvy was perfectly trustworthy, had a good relationship with Scruffy and was loved by everyone. Slowe got punched around by Scruffy, had no one's trust and was a wimpy, moaning, bitching brat. Was everyone so quick to believe that Marvy did it simply because he was so undeserving of suspicion? The sweet kid who just snaps one day? I feel like I'm stuck in a Law & Order rerun."
     -Sam, Suikoden IV Part 2

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Final Fantasy VIII : Part 2
By Jeanne
Posted 02.13.02
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
When we left off last time, Squally had just completed the prerequisite to the SeeD exam, also known as the [Fire Cavern], with the help of Quistis. The next hour of the game proves my theory that Squally and Seifer secretly (or not-so-secretly) want each other. There is no way you can argue with me after reading this. Well, you could, but I'm still right.

Squally and Quistis head back to Garden. Once there, Quistis gives him another quick tutorial. This one is about taking care of your GF. GFs kind of creep me out. I mean, they are powerful summon beasts and stuff, but you treat them like pets (telling them what 'tricks' to learn, buying items for them at the Pet Shop (that comes later), making sure they don't get jealous when you use other GFs). This I can buy for the particularly beast-like GFs. However, Shiva in particular looks very humanoid. Thus, the whole idea disturbs me a bit. Not that I nitpick this stuff. Oh wait, that's my job.

After the mini-lecture, Quistis tells Squally to change into his uniform and meet in the [1F Lobby]. Yeah, come to think of it, Squally is one of the only people not to be wearing a uniform around the place - the others are Seifer and the rest of the disciplinary committee. I guess if you are an important character, you get a "better" wardrobe than everyone else.

Of course I use the time to wander aimlessly around Garden and listen to the inane conversations between students (who are all wearing uniforms, by the way). The only useful information I discover is that the SeeD exam is difficult and some people take it many times without passing. It sounds kind of like my Music History II course in college. I'd rather take the SeeD exam anyday.

Oh, there is one more interesting tidbit of information. There is an elite card club at Garden called....the CC Group. Once Squally becomes a Triple Triad playing freak, he is going to kick all their sorry asses. They only challege good players, so Squally has a ways to go...considering I've only played an hour thus far. Don't pressure me.

Ah, college flashbacks.

Squally goes to his dorm room (which, sadly, is smaller than any of my rooms in college - even the single). What may potentially have been the best scene in the game is completely destroyed by the fact that the screen goes black while Squally is changing. Did I say that? The lights come back up two seconds later, and Squally is wearing his uniform. Of course he's a "rebel", so he's wearing it with the jacket open to reveal his manly v-neck t-shirt and necklace. I bet Seifer will be all over that. I know I would....if he were not a video game character eight years younger than myself.


Back in the [1F Lobby], Quistis is waiting, once again wearing her SeeD uniform. If I went to Garden, I'd want to become a SeeD just to wear the longer skirt. She calls Squally over and tells him that a young man named Zell Dincht will be in Squally's squad for the SeeD exam. "Quite a lively fellow," she says. Squall puts his hand on his hip and replies, in his usual assholic manner, "Lively? He's just loud. Can't I switch members?" He's really hoping to be on Seifer's squad. Oh, just wait, little Squally. Quistis tells him that the squad assignments can't be changed.

What kind of 17-year-old guy goes 'Hey, I know! I'll go tattoo my FACE!'?

We are then treated to Zell's intro FMV. Zell is hotdog boy from the cafeteria. No wonder Squally doesn't like him - Seifer chased after him earlier and Squally got all jealous. It all makes sense. Zell has blond hair that he wears just like the girls in my sixth grade class - bangs up to the ceiling. He must go through an entire can of hairspray every morning. Zell jumps around and punches the air in a spastic manner, ending his little performance with a backflip. I realize that the game's creators wanted to have something "flashy" to animate for their little movies, but this was just dorky. Some guy flipping and flopping around the front hallway? Whatever.

Zell is thrilled to be with Squally. I guess Squally has a rep around Garden or something...maybe for having the biggest gunblade? Zell holds out his hand for Squally to shake. Squally doesn't, because remember: He's A Badass Loner Guy Who Doesn't Need Friends.

We are randomly treated to a tutorial on Zell's Limit Break, Duel. Wow, that wasn't a jarring transition at all. Blah, blah, Duel-Auto, blah, blah. I know that I will totally suck at Zell's Limit Break because it requires quick button combos. I always messed up with Sabin in FFVI, and I'm sure I haven't gotten any better. Okay, I lied. I was good at Sabin's Blitz attack, except for that @#$%ing Fire Dance. But isn't it funnier when I say I suck at stuff?

Oh, how well Squally knows....

The scene continues. "You don't get along with Seifer, do you?" Zell asks Squally. Oh, if you only knew, young one. If you only knew. Squally says nothing, just stands there poutily with his arms crossed. "Heard he whooped you pretty bad this morning," Zell presses. The innuendos are too much for me to handle. I get all giggly. "We weren't fighting. We were training," Squall replies, "Followed by our usual romp in the group showers, which you are not welcome to join." I made up the last sentence, damn it. "I bet you he doesn't think so," Zell responds (to Squall's actual line, although I could keep going with my little fantasy conversation). You are right, Zell. Seifer prefers to think of it as "foreplay". Zell continues, "Look, Seifer's just being a pain in the ass." LITERALLY!! Damn it, FFVIII writers, why do you make it so easy? "All you have to do is ignore him." But Squally doesn't want to ignore Seifer, of course. Duh. "That's none of your business," Squall says, with Quistis finishing the sentence with him in her cute little way.

"Ahem... Excuse me, but...," Quistis interjects, "That Seifer you're talking about...He's your squad leader." Squally gets all giddy and tingly at this announcement, but manages to hide it behind his usual cool fašade. Immediately, he starts planning ways to get Seifer alone, without that annoying Zell trying to get in on the action.

Zell is visibly pissed at Seifer being their squad leader. Squally relaxes a little bit, seeing Zell as less of a competition. Once again, Quistis says the squad assignment can't be changed. I can't think of a better setup for a yaoi fanfiction....except for the part at the beginning of Disc 2. But you'll just have to be patient.

Seifer shows up at that moment with Fujin and Raijin. Seifer is so cool, he doesn't even have to wear the uniform. No, he's not naked, he's still wearing his regular outfit. Quistis tells Seifer he is the squad leader and wishes him luck. "...Instructor," Seifer says cockily, "I hate it when people wish me luck. Save those words for a bad student that needs them, eh?" Seifer is Canadian, apparently. "Ok then," Quistis replies, "Good luck, Seifer." HAHAHA! Burn! Girl Power! ::ahem:: Quistis obviously senses the competition for Squally's affections, and is understandably jealous. Seifer is pissed. "Add Instructor Trepe to the list," he tells his two bitches (Raijin and Fujin, not Squally and Zell). Squall thinks to himself, "The list...? What is it?" He wants to be on Seifer's "list".

Quistis is the instructor in charge of Squad B. She says some crap about teamwork being important, and I am suddenly reminded of the teambuilding retreat I almost had to go on for work, where we would have had to stay in dorms and go on "Rivers and Trees" type trust exercises. You know, where you have to fall and your co-workers catch you, and that type of shit. It suddenly becomes about a hundred times more attractive when I picture Squally and Seifer engaged in those same touchy-feely activities. Wow, that was quite a tangent.

"Listen up! Teamwork means staying out of my way," Seifer announces. "It also means that Squally is my bitch for the day and must do whatever I tell him." Squally perks up, secretly wishing that it wasn't just for the day. Zell starts getting angry and spazzing.

At that moment, Headmaster Cid shows up. He looks like Robin Williams in a red sweater vest and tie. He gives a boring-ass speech about who's going to be on the exam, which I suppose I should recap. There are twelve students taking the exam. Nine of them must be invisible, since only Squally, Zell, and Seifer are in the front lobby to hear this speech. The test will take place on a real battlefield, and the SeeD candidates will be accompanied by nine SeeD members who will finish the job if the candidates fail. Of course this information is accompanied by a bunch of superfluous crap about victory and defeat, life and death, and all that good stuff. Headmaster Cid throws his arms wide, straining the buttons on his manly sweater vest. "The pride of Balamb Garden! The elite mercenary force, SeeD!" Headmaster Cid proclaims so that we finally know what the hell SeeD is. He finishes his speech and wishes them luck. Seifer doesn't get all snippy with him like he did with Quistis.

He likes the guys who know how to handle their weapons.

Seifer, Raijin, Fujin, and Zell walk off, and I make Squally talk to Headmaster Cid. "We've yet to have a gunblade specialist in SeeD," Headmaster Cid says. "That is why I am hoping you and Seifer will join us in SeeD." Squally is secretly hoping that Seifer will join him in BeD, but wisely does not tell this to Headmaster Cid. I wonder if Garden has a Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy?

The next scene shows the boys piling into one of the Garden vehicles. Unfortunately, my visions of Squally and Seifer crammed together in the backseat are shattered because, like most buildings and vehicles in Final Fantasy games, the inside is much bigger than the outside.

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