|Trophy: No Appointment Needed|
|Complete "The Belly of the Beast".|
Cloud, Tifa, and Barret stand before the Shinra Building–the heard of Midgar. Somewhere in this towering structure, Aerith is being held captive. Refusing to balk, they cross behind enemy lines to save their friend.Description
The Belly of the Beast is the sixteenth chapter in Final Fantasy VII Remake that comprises the events when Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, and Barret Wallace infiltrate the Shinra Building to rescue Aerith Gainsborough.
Completing the chapter unlocks the bronze trophy No Appointment Needed.
Cloud, Barret and Tifa arrive at the Shinra Building at nighttime where Shinra soldiers guard the entrance. Barret suggests a frontal assault with Cloud deeming it a bad idea, saying they should take the rear entrance by jumping on a van. The security seems tight, Cloud thinking it is not just for them, and that Shinra is guarding against Wutai. Barret scoffs that Shinra Electric Power Company has a ceasefire with Wutai right now. The group gets to the bridge above the highway and jumps on top of a passing Shinra truck that pulls into the underground parking garage.
Shinra security checks on the truck before letting it through. Cloud, Barret and Tifa stay quiet, Barret giddy the plan is so far going well, until he falls off when the truck starts moving again. As Tifa tries to grab onto him, they both fall. Cloud jumps down and the group fights their way through the garage to the empty entrance lobby of the Shinra Building.
Cloud surmises Aerith is being held captive in a research facility somewhere in the upper floors. Tifa wants to use the console at the receptionist's desk to find out, but it is sealed by barriers. On the third floor she marvels at the building's grandiosity. Barret wants to destroy it, but Cloud tells him it is not the time for that. Both the elevator and the stairs require a keycard, and they recall seeing one inside the receptionist's desk.
Tifa uses the lights above to get across and drop in from above to grab the keycard. Barret praises her as she thinks she can disable security from the console, but the barriers disappear before she got the chance to touch anything. Barret asks her to check the computer on the receptionist's desk to find the research facility, Tifa confirming that Professor Hojo's lab is in the 65th floor, but both the elevator and the stairs only reach the 59th floor. To get higher, they will need to check in at the Skyview Hall Reception.
Cloud opens either the elevator or the stairs with the keycard. If Cloud chooses the elevator, the group rides up with Barret asking Cloud what they can expect. Cloud thinks there will be more security and restrictions, and that it is not going to get any easier. The elevator stops at the 10th floor, where two Elite Shinra officers find them. The group defeats them and continues going up. Barret and Tifa worry they got caught, but Cloud thinks they took them down quickly enough.
The elevator stops at the 20th floor where three Elite Shinra officers try to get on, but the group defeats them and continues to ride the elevator. Barret wants it to speed up, with Cloud telling him to take the stairs then. The elevator stops at the 30th floor and the group prepares for an attack, but it is only a scared office worker, Tifa realizing regular people work here too. Barret grumbles that she probably alerted security. A Shinra employee enters the elevator at the 40th floor, talking to his mom on the phone about the plate collapse, not paying attention to Cloud and the others. He gets off at the 45th floor and the elevator continues to go up as Tifa muses that the people who work for Shinra are just trying to support their families and loved ones. Barret posits these "good people" who serve Shinra are not without sin and must accept their complicity and open their eyes to the truth of Shinra bleeding the planet dry. Cloud tells them to focus on saving Aerith, Tifa agreeing as the elevator stops at the 59th floor.
If the group takes the stairs, Barret can't believe how far they need to climb, but Cloud says they won't get caught this way. Barret thinks they will die of boredom, as Cloud dismisses him, saying they only need to climb 59 floors. Barret reminds himself that it is not a race as the further the group climbs the slower they go, Barret further complaining they should've taken the elevator. Once in the 59th floor, the group is exhausted as Cloud reminds that the real challenge starts now.
Meanwhile, in the Materia Research Facility on Basement 13, researchers are testing a materia. The director of Shinra's weapon development, Scarlet, watches them work and rests her legs on a soldier forced to act as a footstool. A subordinate enters and reminds Scarlet that she has a meeting shortly, but she complains his timing is atrocious. A Shinra officer looks away from the security camera footage, as Cloud, Barret and Tifa exit the elevator or the stairs, but disappear from the footage before the officer looks back. Scarlet asks the researchers to show her something exquisite, as the materia turns red and grows. Scarlet kicks the Shinra officer who was her "footstool" and leaves. The researchers panic as Scarlet asks the subordinate to clean up the mess. The door to the room closes as the materia in the pod explodes.
Meanwhile, Cloud, Barret, and Tifa arrive at the 59th floor, the Skyview Hall with an amazing view across the nocturnal Midgar, Barret thinking it is simultaneously terrible and beautiful since the sea of lights is only made possible by the mako that Shinra is bleeding from the planet. Cloud upgrades their keycard to to a visitor pass at the reception, allowing access to floors 60–63, and a virtual receptionist welcomes them to enjoy the grand tour. Barret exasperates why everything has to be so difficult, Tifa and Cloud suspecting it may be a trap. Barret asks why every floor requires a keycard, Cloud explaining it is the procedure at the Shinra HQ. The group takes the escalator to the 60th floor.
Meanwhile, Reeve Tuesti, the director of urban development, is talking on the phone in his office on the 63rd floor, asking someone to check every reactor and pillar and report him of any damages. His administrative assistant gives him the Sector 7 damage assessment that he requested, telling Reeve to get some sleep, but he insists he needs to prepare his draft of the reconstruction plan before tonight's meeting. Reeve can't understand why Shinra had to destroy Sector 7 as the assistant tells him to not say such things outside his office. Reeve is unaware they are being watched via the security cameras.
Cloud, Barret and Tifa arrive at the Memorial Museum on the 60th floor. By a golden statue of President Shinra a virtual guide welcomes them to the Shinra Building, and explains they will be learning about the president, the divisions that make up the company, the city of Midgar, and the miracle of mako energy. As they go through the exhibits, Tifa is disgusted while Barret calls Shinra's presentations a bunch of lies. Cloud counters that mako has improved people's lives, but Barret says they have been blinded by it, remembering back in the old days how he, too, used to believe in mako and Shinra.
Cloud scans the keycard at the end of the tour, the virtual guide congratulating the group and calling them "Shinra scholars". Next, the group will be learning about Shinra's progress in advanced science and technology at the Visual Entertainment Hall on the 61st floor. A projector scans the VR theater as the presentation begins.
The guide explains that long ago, the people living on the planet were called the Ancients who learned of mako as a great energy reservoir below the planet's crust and would harness it to create materia. Their scriptures have endured, "We who are born of the planet, with her we speak, her flesh we shape. Unto her promised land shall we one day return. By her loving grace and providence may we take our place in paradise." Two thousand years ago, an asteroid impact brought an end to the Ancients' civilization, the virtual guide musing whether they had found their promised land before that happened. With the Shinra Electric Power Company now harnessing mako energy, the guide wonders if the Ancients up on the sky are watching them, waiting for everyone to join them in some blessed corner of the world of a green and verdant land where boundless mako energy will provide for every need. Shinra is fulfilling the hopes of the Ancients and leading the people to the promised land, and will not stop until their goal is realized.
The presentation ends, with the group contemplating what they witnessed. The group finds themselves in Midgar during a sunset with a black-robed man above a building in front of a falling asteroid. People flee as the asteroid destroys Midgar. Cloud sees a vision of the Meteorfall and Aerith praying, and sees the black-robed man teleport next to Tifa, turn into Sephiroth, and kill her. Cloud runs toward the dead Tifa, but she disappears as Cloud realizes that Sephiroth also killed Barret. Sephiroth appears behind Cloud, who mutters his name as the asteroid destroys the Shinra Building.
Meanwhile, Palmer is enjoying his tea at the Executive Suite on the 69th floor, but drops the cup when Sephiroth walks by. Back at the 61st floor, Barret comments on the bizarre presentation, saying it is not for kids. Cloud claims the presentation wasn't just a movie, as Tifa wonders what the meteorite was about. Cloud scans the keycard one more time, the guide calling the group "a Shinra expert", and tells them to spread the wonders of Shinra to all their friends.
The guide is cut off and an older man appears at the entrance. He knows the group is Avalanche, and introduces himself as Hart, promising to escort them to Domino, the mayor of Midgar. Barret knows Domino is but a mouthpiece for Shinra. Hart agrees, and explains that the Visual Entertainment Hall has experienced technical difficulties recently, and that the mayor fears it will impend Avalanche's progress. Cloud asks what the mayor wants with them, but Hart tells the group to find out from the mayor himself. He leads them to the Corporate Archives on the 62nd floor where Barret asks if the mayor is some kind of bookworm. Hart leads them to a hidden room, Barret saying Hart is a dead man if this is a trap.
Inside, the group finds security camera footage and Mayor Domino who tells the group they haven't been discreet but that he has been cleaning up their mess as he is actually Avalanche's inside man within Shinra, begrudging that the company always puts him in this "closet" in the archives. Barret is surprised by the revelation, Barret's cell not having been in good terms with Avalanche HQ for a while. Tifa says they need to break into Professor Hojo's lab, catching Domino off guard who had thought they were here to assassinate President Shinra. Cloud explains they are here to save a friend, though Barret agrees with Domino's line of thinking.
Domino doesn't care what Avalanche is doing as long as they hurt Shinra, and offers to get them to the 64th floor. Barret and Cloud complain, but Domino says he is but a glorified librarian with no real power, and that Shinra doesn't even invite him to their meetings. Barret apologizes and says they will make things right for him. Domino updates Cloud's keycard, telling him to access the Recreational Facility on the 63rd floor and look for a fellow Avalanche collaborator by identifying themselves by saying "the mayor" to the person who will reply with "is the best". If the group pays Hart 10000 gil, they also get Barret's EKG Cannon weapon.
Meanwhile at Professor Hojo's lab on the 66th floor, Hojo talks with Aerith, who is held inside a containment pod. He asks about the promised land, but Aerith refuses to answer. Hojo marvels how Aerith is a splitting image of her mother and regrets she ever got away and died. He asks if Aerith would like to see her mom, whose body and organs Shinra had salvaged. An alarm sounds, Hojo realizing that it is time for his meeting, and tells Aerith he will be back. As he leaves, Aerith shudders over what she just heard.
Cloud, Barret and Tifa make it to the Recreational Facility on the 63rd floor through bustling offices, Cloud pointing out that the plate did just fall. The group finds the collaborator upstairs who offers them a keycard to the 64th floor after they prove to him their battle skills in the Shinra Combat Simulator. Afterward, the collaborator says that Professor Hojo's lab is restricted to authorized personnel, but a board meeting is about to begin in the main conference room where Hojo will be in attendance with President Shinra and the other directors. Barret wants to bust the meeting and take the president hostage, but the collaborator says security will catch them. The collaborator suggests the group head to the men's restroom on the 64th floor and climb the air ducts to spy on the meeting.
As the group is about to leave the Recreational Facility, two Shinra infantrymen recognize Cloud, recalling they went through training together. The soldiers heard Cloud "got smoked" but never believed it. The soldier tells Cloud he is going to get Kunsel and leaves with the others while Cloud experiences a headache. Barret asks if they were Cloud's old buddies back when he was a SOLDIER, Cloud denying. Tifa asks if Cloud is okay, but Cloud brushes it off and tells the group to get moving.
They see Heidegger and President Shinra heading toward the elevator with Shinra security guards. The president asks Heidegger if narrative is intact, with Heidegger replying it is rock solid, as people now believe that Avalanche and Wutai are allies. Barret is angry but the others remind him that saving Aerith is their priority and that they only have one chance to do it as Hojo is currently at the board meeting. On the 64th floor the group sees Heidegger and President Shinra enter the conference room. They find the men's restroom, Tifa being glad that no one is inside as Cloud takes down the air duct cover and tells Barret to be on guard duty. Tifa wants to come with Cloud the two crawl inside the duct.
Inside the conference room, Palmer is trying to tell President Shinra that he saw Sephiroth, but Heidegger derides that they don't have time for this nonsense. The president turns down Reeve's reconstruction plan for Sector 7 as they now have the Ancient in their custody and can soon build Neo Midgar in the promised land. Reeve argues that they don't know if that will happen, but the president doesn't want to hear it.
Hojo reports that the test results were within expectation, Aerith being a lackluster specimen compared to her mother, but should suffice. The president asks if the Ancient will guide Shinra to the promised land, Hojo saying it remains to be seen. The president tells Hojo to secure her cooperation through forceful yet gentle means, Scarlet not having any problems with torture, as Heidegger offers Hojo his men if needed. Hojo has something more psychological in mind, the president telling him to not repeat the same mistake twice. Hojo plans to have the Ancient reproduce to mitigate the risk, saying he will need a second specimen and suggests candidates from SOLDIER in S and G types. There is no telling what kind of properties the crossbred specimen might possess. Cloud and Tifa begin to leave as President Shinra ends the meeting. The rest of the directors leave while Reeve continues to try to talk to the president about his plan.
Cloud and Tifa return to the men's restroom where Cloud reports to Barret that Hojo is wearing a lab coat and they should shadow him. Barret wants to kill him, but Cloud tells him not to until Hojo leads them to Aerith. They find Hojo near the escalators talking about how he would approach the offspring of his specimen and uses a keycard to open a secret door. The group follows before the door closes, locking them inside.
The group reaches Hojo on the 65th floor just as he is about to enter his lab. Barret holds Hojo at gunpoint and forces him to open the door. Hojo asks what is going on, but opens the door anyway, surmising the group are the eco-terrorist group that has been stirring up trouble lately. He directs them to the president upstairs, but Barret says they are here to rescue their friend Aerith. Hojo activates a remote as a bunch of H0512-OPT scare off the other scientists. He activates a console, telling the group they will regret this as he rides an elevator to the 66th floor. A Specimen H0512 emerges out of a large test pod and attacks alongside the H0512-OPTs, but Cloud, Barret and Tifa defeat them. They ride the elevator to the 66th floor while a red canine awakens inside a test pod.
The group is cornered by Shinra security officers. Cloud spots Aerith in a test pod as Hojo announces above them that he has gathered their combat data from when they fought his specimen and so the Shinra security officers will beat them easily. Cloud tells Hojo they will take Aerith back, but Hojo claims she has come to him of her free will. Cloud, Barret and Tifa defeat the soldiers, as Barret mocks Hojo's model. Hojo doesn't mind, as reinforcements will soon arrive, and asks if Cloud is a SOLDIER. When Cloud confirms, Hojo bursts out laughing, decrying that Cloud was never a SOLDIER. Cloud experiences a headache when specters show up and drag Hojo away. Barret tells Aerith to stand back as he fires at the door, breaking the lock, also breaking the lock of the red canine. The reinforcements arrive, with Barret thanking Aerith for helping Marlene. Cloud tells Barret to save it for later as they defeat the troopers.
Aerith thanks the group one more time for rescuing her. The red canine appears in front of them, and jumps through the window of Hojo's control room to pursue the professor. Aerith goes after the beast, and the group finds the canine on the hunt for Hojo, who makes it to the elevator in time as the beast is locked outside.
The canine faces the group who get ready to battle him. Aerith asks them to stand down since the canine is a friend. She pats him, calming the beast down by what appears to be a supernatural power, as Barret wonders what just happened. The canine says that is a fascinating question as Tifa is shocked he can talk. As Tifa spots the Roman numeral XIII tattooed on his body, the canine introduces himself as Red XIII, the designation Hojo gave him. Tifa asks if he has another name, but Red XIII does not answer. Cloud's vision goes blurry and he begins stumble toward the elevator amid visions of a certain someone inside a test pod. He mutters "mother", and passes out.
In the General Affairs Auditing room in the 3rd basement floor, Tseng is doing paperwork while Reno and Rude relax. Tseng says Reno is due for some R and R since he was injured during the fight against Cloud and the others at the Sector 7 pillar. Reno brushes it off as Rude asks Tseng what to do about Sector 7. Tseng says the Turks will do nothing as Rude continues to ponder if destroying the sector was necessary. Tseng says that had the Turks refused, Shinra would have asked someone else and that they have spared that someone the burden of guilty conscience. Tseng says it was a sacrifice to balance the scales after everything they have taken from the planet, they were due to give something back. Rude asks if Tseng really believes that, but Tseng says that it does not matter. He receives a phone call from somebody and tells Reno and Rude that the VP needs the Turks.