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If they come back, they'll come home stronger.

And if they don't, you'll know.

October 2016

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Name: Reno
Canon: Final Fantasy VII

Canon Point/Location: Wherever Rude is, Reno will be. After Geostigma, Reno is not about to leave Rufus' side for longer than necessary.


Age: About 27


Personality: Reno’s appearance really represents his personality well; disheveled, yet in uniform, he is a clusterfuck of contradictions. Normally he has a very laid-back attitude, highly maintained by arrogance, so when he is sufficiently challenged he loses his temper. His cold, cruel exterior in the presence of enemies or carrying out orders (or, similarly, his cocky, lackadaisical attitude on the job) was likely developed as a self-protecting mechanism to simply "get through.” If he pretended it didn't matter, he wouldn't have to face what he'd done, or what he'd allowed others to do to him. He drinks himself to oblivion when it gets to be too much. He can be extremely loyal, but to a degree of self-imposed boundaries: when he is on, he is 100% on; when he is off, he is 100% off. He allows Cloud and the other “terrorists” to go about their business, despite complaints from Elena, because he is on vacation. And when he coldly drops Don Corneo off the highest mountain in the area, the only reason behind it is, “Because it’s our job.” He has spent enough time in Shinra doing dirty work that little by little he has adapted to be able to heartlessly commit atrocities (such as the destruction of Sector 7). When once he would've had moral qualms about his orders and would even consider rebelling, the gradual exposure to more and more questionable missions has worn him down to the point where massacring hundreds of innocent civilians is simply another job. It's the small, petty evils that have led him so far astray and it's not until the entire planet is almost destroyed that his eyes are opened to the full nature of the atrocities that Shinra has committed. Now shameful of his sins and tired of fighting his old "enemies," he and his comrades seek to atone for what they've done - though Reno questions if he'll ever be able to fully atone for such evils.

After what he has been ordered to do, Reno has been emotionally affected. He breaks down and cries when he believes Veld has been shot, he is frequently drinking, and his behavior can sometimes be excessively violent to the situation (dropping Don Corneo off a cliff versus apprehending him in any other way). It is likely that no one in Shinra administration really cared – Shinra, Sr. was more concerned with money and how he could use his people as tools, and by the time Rufus ascends there is simply no time for a psych evaluation, whether Rufus wanted to or not. On the other hand, after his experience with Drs. Hojo and Hollander (among others), Reno isn’t a fan of medical professionals and probably wouldn’t have gone on his own accord anyway. Instead, Reno has a tendency to drink away his troubles as his go-to solution, and whenever he is off duty he's usually at a bar (as can be seen in Wutai at Turtle’s Paradise, and even during Rufus’ own Inauguration).

He often holds himself above the rules, such as (again) the uniform, immediately disobeying orders he’s just given to subordinates (“don’t step on the flowers”), or disobeying direct orders to engage Cloud because he didn’t feel like it. His confidence in his competence is not without merit, however. He is second in command after Tseng, a position that was both earned through hard work and prowess in battle, and probably the absence of the other Turks immediately prior to Final Fantasy 7. While Cloud and company defeat him several times throughout Final Fantasy VII, Reno has actually participated in, and led, quite a few successful missions during the events of Before Crisis/Crisis Core. Even though he had to leave Tseng and Elena behind, the mission to recover Jenova’s Head in Advent Children can be considered a success. Lastly, while his professional limits tend to lean toward the selfish, he does have some sensible motivations and his pride does not keep him from retreating when necessary. In his words, “A pro isn’t someone who sacrifices himself for his job. That’s just a fool.” He would do anything for Shinra, but he wouldn’t do that. So when he runs into Cloud and Gang again in the tunnels during the Meteor evacuation, he decides he’d rather disobey orders than get his ass handed to him again when there were more important issues to deal with, such as getting more people out of the city.

Reno is not completely heartless, though, as he does risk his life to go back and save a few brainwashed orphans from Bahamut-SIN in Advent Children (even though most of them are, in fact, orphaned because of him). He and Rude also save Tifa after her defeat by Loz (although, admittedly, they had an investment in Cloud & Tifa’s survival). As for saving the children, without anything in it for him, a few conjectures can be made. It could be part of his attempts for “redemption,” although it happens as almost an afterthought more than a conscious decision. It is entirely possible that Reno will only attack “adults” (with wiggle room for Yuffie), and company-identified “enemies,” (when he’s not on vacation) leaving unarmed children as non-targets. Dropping the Plate over Sector 7 is easily overlooked/justified as a faceless, nameless massacre where Reno did not have to see any person in particular to be faced with concrete effects. However, Advent Children and the Sector 7 massacre are the only instances where children are ever involved, directly or indirectly, so there is no canon evidence as to his change of heart.

Overall, though, Reno would be an interesting drinking buddy, a fun gossip-monger, a good (if not difficult) friend, and probably a good lay. Even if some of those qualities could be from poor coping mechanisms for continued exposure to cognitive dissonance and trauma.

After working with them for so long, the Turks have become more of a family to Reno than simply an extension of Shinra. Tseng and Reno are polar opposites when it comes to personality and decorum, but Reno respects the other man, especially for making some of the harder decisions that Reno couldn’t (or wouldn’t), such as earning their way back into Shinra (Before Crisis) with the order to assassinate the previous “treasonous” leader of the Turks. Elena may always be treated like a “rookie,” but she’s still earned her way into the organization through hard work and dedication, so she also has some respect – at least more than the average person. Somewhat like a little sister to Reno (since he worked with her older sister before), there exists that attitude of “nobody can treat her like crap except me.” Rude, of course, is Reno’s best friend and working partner. The redhead is actually pretty protective of the larger man, even though he can get pretty careless when it comes to respecting personal property (ex: sunglasses in AC). When Rude starts acting a little different, Reno is the first to order a tail on him, then follow him and discover a secret relationship with a woman who turns out to be a spy and confronts her. It can be assumed that when Rude confessed he was also attracted to Tifa that alarm bells went off in Reno’s head for the same protective streak. However, it is also reasonable that Reno is somewhat jealous of his partner’s attention and perhaps has a personal interest (since Reno’s sexuality is not explicitly explained in canon) in asking the other man “who do you like?” In either scenario, Reno is loyal and dedicated to those he considers friends.

Rufus is a bit of a special case. Things did not start out well with him, to avoid spoilers, and eventually ended up in a physical altercation where Reno, Rude, and Tseng captured the younger Shinra and used him as leverage. Rufus earns Reno’s respect by staying his father’s order to have the three Turks executed, as well as just plain being a more effective president later on.

What it really comes down to is a strong set of relationships built upon the professional obligation to live or die with these people. After a while, the obligation turns into a genuine connection and willingness to die for any of them. Technically, when Shinra still existed, Turks were not able to freely leave the company because of their level of security clearance and information. Reno stayed because he had an idea of what he was getting into when he joined, and he would be killed if he defected (canon proven, “the only way you leave the Turks is in a body bag,” the assassination order for Veld). Now, though, it’s become more of an emotional bond than simply for his physical safety (not that that wouldn’t be threatened if he left); when the world has gone to shit, and these are the people that were once your entire life, you stay with them for stability. Shinra is what Reno knows. He also feels obligated to actively work to set things right and atone for what the Shinra Corporation had done in the past, as do Rufus and the other Turks (at least so they say). Atoning for past sins under familiar leadership with an elite “family” of coworkers is stable and safe.

As for previous members of AVALANCHE, Reno holds no malice for them. He seeks out Cloud through Tifa (with a friendly phone call, no less) when Rufus needs assistance (Advent Children) – and while he does attack Cloud, it’s more out of an obligation as bodyguard. After he’s easily defeated, he completely lets it go and is a lot friendlier. From an airsick rookie to becoming an all-around badass, Cloud would probably get super props from Reno if it didn’t mean Reno had to admit being less than the best.

Hands down, though, Reno can’t stand incompetent people – biggest example, the now-deceased Heidegger. He’ll probably follow orders from them because he “has” to, but he will hate it and let them know. On the flip side, if you seem to have your shit together and know how to properly handle the human weapon at your disposal, he’ll behave.

Anything else: n/a
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