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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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An old fanmix I made for Reno for an RP group over a year ago. Tweaking is needed, but it's pretty good, and I wanted to repost it here.

Also, I cropped and edited the picture myself, so please don't steal or credit it to me here!

After much deliberation, I have decided to exclude the specific events of Sector 7 from this fanmix.  Why? you may cry. It's so important! It's so emotional! It's so haunting!

Well that's exactly why it's demanded its own bonus album, to be completed at a later date.  Yes, the events of Sector 7 have that much of an impact on our fluffy redhead. It shall be glorious... in a horrible, bloody, betraying way that only mass homicide can achieve.

1. Slum Child  -- "Momma Was an Opium Smoker" - Rasputina
She had the money and the drugs in the mattress
I wonder how long she's been at this
And I say, "Mom, bang the gong,
can't you see it's gone all wrong?"
My momma was an opium smoker

I don't mean for this song, these lyrics, to be taken strictly literally. I'm not going to fanon assume that much about Reno. But, as one of the few Turks with absolutely no backstory, and considering his unique accent/dialect in the Japanese, I play him from the Slums.  And the Midgar Slums are a rough place to be born and try to make it.  He was probably into some pretty dirty deeds even before Shinra picked him up.

2. Turf King -- "Stray Cat Strut" - Stray Cats
Stray cat strut, I'm a ladies' cat,
A feline Casanova, hey man, thats where its at
Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man
Get my dinner from a garbage can

Yeah don't cross my path!

This is just prior to Reno's discovery by Shinra, having made it as king of his little dirt pile. C'mon, it's Reno - you can't expect anything less of him than to be toward the top of some kind of hierarchy, even where the sunlight's blocked out.  He's wild, he's rowdy - and still a ladies' man.

3. Captivated by Mako Power -- "Amaranth" - Nightwish
War between him and the day.
Need someone to blame.
In the end, little he can do alone.
Reaching, searching, for something untouched.
Hearing voices of the Never-Fading calling...

This is really just about Reno's disillusionment with the slums. No matter how "great" he is there, he's nothing - and that's got to be someone else's fault (certainly none of his problems could be his fault. He's too proud).  He wants more, and then he finds a way out through Shinra. Reno parts from the "wandering pack" and dares to reach for them, and is well rewarded.  As a whole, though, the song really captures the paradox in him - how his rough exterior protects a very damaged interior.

4. Blue Suit  -- "Turks' Theme" - Nobuo Uematsu

A very straightforward instrumental piece. :3  This is, of course, the Turks' theme song for Reno's initiation into the blue suits.  Went with the classic original for his past... but expect remixes to pop up in the future, probably.

5. Evolution of a "New Age" -- "Handlebars" - Flobots  Lyrics in description
Me and my friends understand the future
I see the strings that control the systems
I can do anything with no assistance
Look at me
Look at me
Driving and I won't stop
And it feels so good to be
Alive and on top

This is one of the anchors of this fanmix, the evolution of what Shinra (and, by proxy, Reno) is involved in. It starts out simple enough and gets more and more tangled as the power grows, culminating in the rise to power of Rufus Shinra - the "New Age" of Shinra, and ruling by fear.

6. Expansion Through Fear -- "Giants" - Five Iron Frenzy  (*sp. correction: "...jingles stealing, Steel and concrete lies...")
Advances in efficiency,
Increasing productivity
Are narrowing the margin for liberty
To rule the world, the desire of every man.
The earth is shaking; there are giants in the land.

Shinra literally runs the world with its monopoly on all life-sustaining resources, and Reno thrives riding on the wave of that success. And, of course, pride and sadism have grown as well and hardened his heart.

7. Cries of the Planet -- "Endangered Species" - Deep Forest (ambience; didn't want the Galleon Remix.  lyrics here: )
The butterfly, the tiger
Nothing but a shadow in the stone
Flamingo future dinosaur underneath the urban sun
Victims of the truth behind the messages of the Stoic saints of profit
Victims of the truth behind the messages of the Stoic saints of profit
Smiling as the wonders of all nature go crumbling in their pockets

Mako power and materia, however, have a price. They are harnessed and processed from the Lifestream itself - that's right, Shinra runs the world by profiting off souls.  And the Planet is naturally suffering.

8. Avalanche's Ultimatum -- "No More Sorrow" - Linkin Park
Your crusade's a disguise
Replaced freedom with fear
You trade money for lives

I'm aware of what you've done

Despite the fact that the AVALANCHE of the original Final Fantasy 7 is not the first AVALANCHE to rebel against Shinra, I find the most appropriate speakers for this song are Cloud and Tifa, maybe even Barret.  They are the people who once believed Shinra development was a good thing, supported the building of reactors, even willingly joined SOLDIER in Cloud's case. And now they know the truth of Shinra's dark side, and are fighting back.  Every line is so appropriate, but I purposely included "replaced freedom with fear" for Rufus' methods of rule. :)

8. A View From the Other Side of the Plate -- "Lunch for the Sky" - Socratic
I can't tell you what I want to say.
The city digested yesterday.
Death is not the end it is the cure.

A sarcastic account of the going's-on in Midgar from Reno's new view above the Plate roof covering the slums, from the sheeople paying him to beat them down to the eventual destruction of the Shinra Building and all order governing Gaia.  The pun of the titles was unintentional, but very exciting.

9. What's Become of Me? -- "Black Flame" - Renaissance  (too old, not enough fans for lyric vid. :(  lyrics: )
I am words, I am speaking
I never heard my conclusion
Lost in my confusion, in illusion
Lost inside the picture frame

Coming to terms with the truth of his direct involvement in the current chaotic situation. However, unlike in Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville," what's all Reno's fault is the end of the world.

10. Sephiroth's Wake / Remnant Fury -- "Our Solemn Hour" - Within Temptation  (lyrics in descrip.)
Are they themselves to blame
The misery, the pain?
Didn't we let go?
Allowed it, let it grow
If we can't restrain
The beast which dwells inside
It will find it's way somehow, somewhere in time

This song really captures the destruction and desperation of Sephiroth's, and later again Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz's rampage against mankind. I chose these lines because, as Reno may consider, Shinra created them and allowed them to become monsters (the same with Vincent, Dirge of Cerberus, to an extent).  Shinra's crazy science experiments are coming back to haunt, and the destruction is as much the creator's fault as the creations'.  (As if that wasn't enough, add in the hopelessness of the apparently continuing punishment from the Planet, the Geostigma epidemic).

11. Rebuild -- "The River" - Good Charlotte
The footsteps that were next to me
have gone their separate ways

I've seen enough now
to know that beautiful things
don't always stay that way
I've done enough now
to know this beautiful place
isn't everything they say

After the first go-round of death and despair, Reno feels pretty bad - even asking his partner, Rude, how they could possibly ever atone for what they've done. After the second round, he's feeling shitty - but also all the more determined to right things, having managed to work alongside Cloud & Co. in a common interest (again): survival.  Rufus being cured of Geostigma might also boost morale a bit... The "footsteps" that have gone their separate ways are a little tip of the hat to the other Turks who, for whatever reasons, have left Shinra - perhaps less willing than Reno to stoop into the darkness.

And that takes us through FF7, handwaves through Before Crisis, etc., and Advent Children

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