Storyline - FF7

Many Years Ago:
-The Cetra, a magical race, arrive on the planet after a long and arduous journey. Some Cetra (later known as Ancients) choose to continue their journey, whilst others settle down and eventually become humans. A few true Cetra still survive, however.
-Jenova, a malevolent creature, crash-lands on the planet and causes a huge rift, the Northern Crater. Jenova infects the Cetra with a virus, turning them into monsters. Most of the remaining Cetra are slaughtered as the humans hide out in their new settlements, avoiding the terror. The Planet creates five Weapons to battle Jenova, but they are never used. A small number of surviving Cetra succeed in containing her in the Northern Crater. The Planet begins to heal itself using its life energy. (It never fully recovers.)

Long Afterwards:
-The Shinra Corporation emerges as the leading energy company in the world. They use Mako energy, which is drawn from the bowels of the earth. Mako is also known as Lifestream, a spirit force which is shared by the planet and everyone living on it. Condensed Mako, known as Materia, draws a high market for its magical properties. Eventually Shinra diversifies into military, political, urban development, scientific, astronomical, and communications departments.
-The Turks are formed as an offshoot of Shinra; they carry out less desirable missions like kidnapping and assassinations. They are led by a man named Tseng, and his second- and third-in-commands are Reno and Rude.

15 Years Ago:
-Shinra's military wing proceeds to declare war on Wutai, an Oriental village. They are eventually victorious, and its leader Godo humbled. Eventually Wutai loses its martial status and becomes a tourist attraction. Yuffie, Godo's daughter, leaves the city in anger, searching for Materia. It is her belief that bringing Materia will allow Wutai to protect itself regain its honor.
-The peaceful tribe living in Cosmo Canyon is attacked by the violent Gi tribe. Seto, a wolf-like creature, protects the Canyon by going through a secret passage, and succeeds in holding off the Gi tribe, but in the end is pierced by their petrifying arrows and turns to stone. The Canyon tribe, including Seto's son, Nanaki, believes Seto turned tail and fled. Only Seto's father-in-law, Bugenhagen, knows the truth.
-Cid Highwind, creator of the Tiny Bronco biplane, is given the go-ahead by Shinra to launch a space rocket from his home town. Having looked forward to this time for ages, his excitement is mounting when his assistant, Shera, discovers a malfunction in an energy tank. She refuses to leave the soon-to-be-burning-hot chamber, and Cid forces himself to shut the rocket down before it can ignite. He refuses to forgive Shera for destroying his dream, and Shera lives with him in penance from then on, acting as a servant.
-Professor Gast, Shinra's leading scientist, heads a team including a young man named Hojo, a woman named Lucrecia, and a Turk named Vincent. Gast excavates the body of Jenova, whom he believes to be an Ancient, in the Nibelheim Mountains, and sets up his research lab in the Shinra Mansion in the nearby town. Vincent falls for Lucrecia, but he also sees that she is in love with Hojo, and resigns himself to that fate. However, when he discovers that Hojo intends to inject Lucrecia's yet-unborn baby with Jenova's DNA, Vincent loses it and confronts Hojo. Hojo incapacitates Vincent and conducts an operation on him, turning him into an unstable, mutated form capable of mutating further when angered. In disgrace, Vincent enters a coffin in the Shinra Mansion and falls into a deep sleep.
-Dr. Gast also flees Hojo and runs to Icicle Inn, where he discovers a Cetra named Ifalna. He videotapes his conversations with her, and eventually falls in love with her. They have a child they call Aeris. However, Hojo storms the place and attempts to take Ifalna and Aeris. Dr. Gast is killed trying to protect them, and they are captured by Hojo. Ifalna somehow manages to take Aeris and escape Hojo's grasp. She makes it to the Midgar Sector 7 Train Station, half-dead. She is discovered by a woman named Elmyra, who promises to take care of Aeris. Ifalna gives Aeris the White Materia, a legendary stone which has the power to call the Holy spell if the need should arise. However, since the procedure for doing so is complicated, Aeris thinks the Materia doesn't do anything at all.

15-7 Years Ago:
-Hojo furthers his experiment with cells from the body of Jenova, which he has excavated. He experiments with infusing soldiers with Jenova cells; the resultant person has abilities far beyond normal, easily seen by the glow in the person's eye. Thus is formed SOLDIER, Shinra's elite force.
-Aeris begins to show a strange talent; for instance, she is able to sense the death of Elmyra's husband out at war with Wutai before Elmyra actually gets word of it. Eventually she gathers the interest of the Turks, as commanded by Hojo, who try many times to capture Aeris, but she eludes them. Aeris takes up a job as a flower girl in the Midgar slums.
-A Turk named Vincent is assigned to watch over Hojo's doings with Jenova, and while he has fallen for a female professor named Lucrecia, he also sees that she is in love with Hojo, and resigns himself to that fate. However, when he discovers that Hojo intends to inject Lucrecia's yet-unborn baby with Jenova's DNA, Vincent loses it and confronts Hojo. Hojo incapacitates Vincent and operates on him, turning him into an unstable, mutated form capable of mutating further when angered. In disgrace, Vincent enters a coffin in the Shinra Mansion in Nibelheim and falls into a deep sleep.
-Lucrecia's son is born and given the name Sephiroth. Sephiroth is monitored continuously and shows promise far beyond anyone else's in SOLDIER. He is not told his true origins, however.
-Cloud Strife and Tifa Lockheart grow up next to each other in the city of Nibelheim; they are not particular friends, however much Cloud would like it to be otherwise. After the death of Tifa's mother, she determinedly takes a trip into the Nibel Mountains. Cloud follows her, but a bridge they both stand on breaks, and Cloud is blamed for the injuries suffered by Tifa. They later have a conversation by a well where Cloud tells Tifa of his desire to go to Midgar and join SOLDIER, and promises to come back for Tifa if he should make it big in Midgar.
-Hojo continues his experiments even further in Nibelheim, attempting to actually douse human beings in condensed Mako. Eventually the humans become completely unrecognizable, but they are monitored closely in sealed containers. The suspended-animation device containing Jenova is moved there as well.
-Nanaki of Cosmo Canyon is captured by Hojo and used in an unrelated experiment. Hojo brands him "Red XIII".

7 Years Ago:
-Cloud moves to Midgar and joins Shinra. He attempts to join SOLDIER as well, but fails to make the cut. Instead he is relegated to the normal Shinra grunt force.

5 Years Ago:
-Cloud is assigned to guard Sephiroth on a journey back to Nibelheim to investigate the Nibel Mako Reactor upon hearing of monster attacks. Sephiroth is accompanied by Zack, a member of SOLDIER, 1st class. Zack apparently has gone out with Aeris some time in the past.
-Sephiroth and Cloud take Tifa as a guide to the reactor (Cloud not revealing his true identity). Sephiroth discovers the monsters in the reactor and begins to doubt his origins. He discovers a secret library in Nibelheim where he finds out the truth about himself. Overwhelmed by the new information, he goes on a rampage and burns Nibelheim to the ground. Zack and Cloud follow him to the Nibel Reactor to find that he intends on joining his mother, Jenova, in a quest to take over the world.
-Tifa takes Sephiroth's Masamune sword (which he has carelessly left) and attempts to stab him for the death of her father. Sephiroth gets the better of her and slashes her, leaving her on the ground. He enters the inner chamber and takes Jenova's head from its stasis container. Zack arrives to attack Sephiroth and is also stabbed and lies wounded. Cloud, overcome by emotion, puts Tifa to one side, takes Zack's sword, and attacks Sephiroth. Cloud is deeply injured by Sephiroth's sword, but in a haze of emotion, somehow manages to grasp the sword by the blade and throw Sephiroth into the Lifestream beneath him.
-Sephiroth drifts through the Lifestream and ends up in the Northern Crater, frozen.
-Tifa is rescued by her martial arts instructor, Zangan. She makes her way to Midgar, where she opens a bar in Sector 7 called Seventh Heaven.
-Zack and Cloud, both barely alive (though Zack, having a stronger constitution, is healthier) are captured by Hojo of Shinra, taken to the basement of the Shinra Mansion, and used as part of his new experiment, to attempt to create Sephiroth clones (most of the victims are from the ruins of Nibelheim). All previous clones are failures, resulting in a vegetable-like state. Cloud does not take to the treatment, lacking the willpower. Hojo labels him a failure, but keeps him around.
-When a guard comes to give Zack his food, he knocks out the guard, rescues Cloud (who can barely move) and hitches a truck to Midgar. After debating with himself, he decides that he and Cloud will become mercenaries (the words echo in Cloud's head). However, before they can reach Midgar, they are chased down by Shinra soldiers. Zack is shot dead, but they leave Cloud, the failure. Cloud manages to crawl to Zack's body and take his sword.
-Sephiroth finds that he can control his attempted "clones" with his mind, although he cannot make them do anything of any value due to their state. However, he finds that he can control Cloud more subtly but more effectively due to his "failure" status.
-Cloud's mind, awash in pain and fear, constructs its own version of the facts, in which Cloud takes Zack's position in the occurrences, and becomes a member of SOLDIER, 1st class. He also glosses over his friendship with Tifa as if they were best friends. He somehow manages to make his way to the Midgar train station. Tifa finds him there, and decides to watch over him for a while.
-Shinra orders Nibelheim to be rebuilt and populated with Shinra staff, there to oversee the actions of the Sephiroth clones from Nibelheim. They are ordered to pretend no catastrophe has ever happened there. Hojo takes Jenova from Nibelheim and ships it to Shinra HQ in Midgar, minus the head that Sephiroth took with him.

4 Years Ago:
-Shinra decides to build a Mako Reactor in the coal mining town of Corel. The plan is vehemently opposed by a man named Dyne, but his best friend Barret Wallace convinced him to let it go. However, one day when Barret and Dyne are outside the city, they return to see the city in flames: Shinra's doing. An explosion at the reactor has been blamed on the townspeople. Barret's wife Myrna and Dyne's wife Eleanor are killed in the fire, but Dyne's newborn daughter Marlene survives. The two attempt to return to the city, but are stopped by Scarlet, leader of Shinra's military wing. Dyne loses his grip and hangs over the edge of a chasm; Barret grabs his arm but both arms are shot by Scarlet. Dyne drops, but survives.
-Both Dyne and Barret, overcome with anger, replace their missing arms with guns. Dyne's mind deteriorates, however.
-Eventually the Gold Saucer, a huge entertainment complex, is built over the ruins of Corel, and the old town eventually becomes Corel Prison, where convicted criminals are held. The survivors of Corel move north and start a new town, called North Corel, but they remain a poor town.
-Dyne moves to the Corel Prison and takes it over, becoming known as the Boss. Barret, believing Dyne to be dead, moves to Midgar with Marlene (whom he adopts), and starts a rebel group named AVALANCHE, intent on stopping Shinra wherever they turn.

-Cloud, now recovered, begins to aspire to move out of Midgar. Wanting to keep an eye on him, Tifa approaches Cloud with a proposition. She convinces him to act as a mercenary for AVALANCHE, whose headquarters are in Tifa's bar.
-Their first mission is to the Sector 1 Reactor. Cloud and Barret are aided by Biggs, Wedge, and Jessie, and succeed in planting a bomb disabling the reactor. Cloud meets Aeris on the way out, who offers to sell him a flower for 1 gil. Cloud manages to escape via the Midgar train and head back with Barret to the 7th Heaven Bar, where they are greeted by Tifa and Barret's adopted daughter, Marlene.
-They carry out a second mission on the Sector 5 Reactor. However, they are visited by President Shinra, who leaves them to be destroyed by a new military robot. They disable the robot, but an explosion drops Cloud through the roof of a church in the Sector 5 slums, where he is discovered by Aeris.
-Reno chooses this time to lead a faction of Shinra soldiers into the church in another attempt at capturing Aeris. Cloud helps Aeris escape and they travel to her house, where she introduces him to Elmyra. Cloud asks how he can get back to Sector 7, and is told that Wall Market, in Sector 6, is the only way there. Aeris offers to take him, but both Cloud and Elmyra agree secretly that he should leave without her.
-Don Corneo, a playboy who lives in Wall Market, is ordered by Heidigger (head of Shinra's "Public Safety Maintenance", a euphimism for the Turks) to discover Barret's whereabouts. He does so, but Barret finds out from Corneo's assistant about him, as well. He keeps a harem of women and chooses one each night. Barret agrees to let Tifa infiltrate his mansion and extract whatever he knows from him.
-Cloud makes it through Sector 6 alone, but finds Aeris waiting for him at a nearby playground. Before they can leave to Wall Market, they see a Chocobo-driven coach with none other than Tifa on it; Cloud resolves to find out what's up. They continue to Wall Market.
-Cloud and Aeris find out about Don Corneo. Aeris offers to go in herself, but Cloud refuses to let her. Aeris decides to dress Cloud up as a girl and have him infiltrate the mansion himself! They do so, find Tifa and rescue her from Corneo's henchmen, and corner him in his room. They find out that Shinra is planning on destroying the entire Sector 7 to get at AVALANCHE. Before they can get there, though, Corneo drops them into the sewers and sics his pet monster on them.
-They defeat the monster, make their way through the sewers and the nearby train graveyard. They find the pillar which holds up Sector 7 already under attack, with Barret and the other AVALANCHE members in hot battle. Aeris agrees to stay behind to look after the wounded. She finds Marlene there and sends her to her house in Sector 5. However, she is captured by Tseng. Meanwhile, Reno of the Turks activates the destruct sequence for the pillar, keeping Cloud and party occupied while it runs down. Cloud, Tifa, and Barret make it out alive, but the other AVALANCHE members perish in the explosion.
-Barret finds Marlene at Aeris's house in Elmyra's care, and tells them to move away from Midgar, as it's no longer safe. They listen to him and set off for nearby Kalm Town. The AVALANCHE members travel to Sector 0 via a wire in Wall Market, and enter the Shinra HQ in an effort to rescue Aeris.
-On the 66th floor they overhear a discussion about the destruction of Sector 7 and see Hojo for the first time. They follow him to the next floor up, where they discover Aeris an a container. Hojo tries to get Aeris and a strange red beast in the same chamber for procreation reasons, but Barret blasts the chamber and a reaction occurs. Hojo quickly opens it, but is attacked by the beast, who turns out to be Nanaki/Red XIII. Nearby, Cloud finds the headless remains of Jenova taken to the HQ after Nibelheim.
-The five people split up and agree to meet at the 66th floor elevator, but are captured by the Turks and brought to the top floor. President Shinra gives them a long-winded speech, then locks them in jail. However, a Sephiroth clone arrives during the night and slaughters everyone, including President Shinra. It also takes the remains of Jenova's body during its escape. Rufus, the President's son, takes over as President. Cloud confronts Rufus on the roof while the others escape and Tifa waits for him, but Rufus takes a helicopter out as well.
-Cloud and Tifa rejoin the others on the main floor; they escape using a motorcycle and a stolen truck. They end up outside Midgar, and Cloud tells them that they must search after Sephiroth. They travel to Kalm Town, where he explains the story (as he now remembers it) and vows to destroy Sephiroth.
-They catch a nearby Chocobo and travel through a nearby marsh to the Mythril Mines. They meet Tseng, Rude, and a new member of the Turks named Elena, who's taken over while Reno recuperates from his injuries in the Sector 7 pillar fiasco. She blurts out that Sephiroth has been seen in Junon.
-Cloud and co. travel to Junon, where they rescue a girl named Priscilla and her dolphin friend from a water dragon. They're told that Rufus is arriving soon in the upper levels of Junon. Priscilla lends them Mr. Dolphin to reach the upper levels. Cloud disguises himself as a guard and marches in Rufus's welcoming parade. In the meantime, his other party members disguise themselves as sailors and stow away on a cargo ship, dragging Cloud with them when the parade is over.
-Sephiroth (or rather, a clone controlled by Sephiroth) shows up on the cargo ship as well, and Jenova attacks them. He quickly disappears after the battle.
-Cloud and party end up at Costa del Sol, a vacation village. They meet Hojo, who's on a vacation, but he tells them to go to Mount Corel.
-They do so, and end up in North Corel, where Barret is accused of causing the fire that afflicted the village all those years ago. Barret gets angry and depressed, and Aeris suggests they go to the nearby Gold Saucer, a huge amusement park, to let off steam. They meet a toy cat riding a toy moogle, calling itself Cait Sith; it is controlled by Reeve, the head of urban development in Shinra; it insinuates itself as a spy into the party.
-However, Dyne comes up for a visit as well, and butchers a bunch of people near the Battle Arena. A stunned witness claims it was done by a man with a gun on his arm, and Barret is indicted for the crime by Dio, the Gold Saucer's owner. Barret and his friends (including Cait Sith) are taken to the Corel Prison.
-Barret discovers Dyne in the Prison, and Dyne attacks him. Barret defeats him, and Dyne throws himself off the gorge for the last time. He gives Barret his necklace as collateral for Barret to get back up to the surface. The only way up is to win a Chocobo race, and Cloud volunteers for the job. He wins, of course, and Dio, by way of apology, lends him a Buggy to travel around in.
-They take the Buggy to Gongaga, a town to the south. They meet up with Reno and Rude, who have been alerted to their presence by Cait Sith. They drive them off, though. They come across a deserted reactor and witness Scarlet and Tseng attempt to take materia from it; the materia is apparently not up to par. Scarlet is looking for Huge Materia (an extremely dense isotope) for a new weapon. They also meet Zack's parents, but Cloud doesn't remember Zack at all.
-The Buggy shorts out after trying to get past Cosmo Canyon, so they are forced to take refuge there while a repairman fixes it. They are greeted warmly when the townspeople find out that Nanaki/Red XIII is with them. Red XIII introduces them to his grandfather, Bugenhagen. Bugenhagen wishes Red XIII to go with Cloud to defeat Sephiroth, but first intends to tell him the truth about his father.
-He takes Red XIII and Cloud's party through the sealed corridor (which is now infested with ghosts of the Gi tribe) and to the end, where Red XIII sees the stone visage of his father. Having been told the truth, he resolves to travel with Cloud to defeat Sephiroth.
-Cloud and party reach Nibelheim. No one there recognizes them, however, since it is staffed by Shinra officers and vegetable-like Sephiroth clones. They descend back into the Shinra Mansion where they are met by Sephiroth (another clone) again. He flies away after mentioning the "Reunion".
-Cloud and party travel through the Nibel Mountains to Rocket Town, where they discover President Rufus and Palmer, head of the space division of Shinra, trying to convince Cid to lend them his Tiny Bronco bi-plane. Cid refuses, and he and Cloud escape on the Tiny Bronco. However, Shinra soldiers shoot it down, and it becomes only good enough for a makeshift boat.
-A weapon maker in a secluded hut tells Cloud about the Temple of the Ancients, a legendary place housing the Black Materia. The Black Materia has the power to call Meteor, an ancient destructive magic. However, he tells them that a Keystone is needed to enter the Temple.
-Dio, owner of the Gold Saucer, has a Keystone and is willing to part with it if Cloud fights in the Battle Arena. He does so, and Dio is good to his word. However, the Ropeway connecting to the mainland has been broken, and Cloud and co. are stuck in the Gold Saucer. Cait Sith takes them to the inn in the Ghost Square to meet, talk, and sleep.
-Cloud is awoken in the middle of the night by Aeris (or Tifa, Yuffie, or Barret, depending on how he treated them till now - we'll assume it was Aeris). Aeris and Cloud have a night out in the Gold Saucer, partaking in a comic play in the Event Square and seeing the sights in the Round Square. However, they see Cait Sith with the Keystone; he runs away. They chase him to the Chocobo Square, where he throws the Keystone to Tseng, who escapes in a helicopter. Cloud threatens Cait Sith, but he plays a recording of Marlene, captured by Shinra, which stays his hand.
-Cait Sith pleads to be allowed to follow Cloud to the Temple of Ancients; doubtless Shinra was there first, but they would still need to follow them there to find Sephiroth. Cloud finally agrees.
-They arrive in the Temple of Ancients to find Tseng fatally wounded by another Sephiroth clone. Sephiroth has continued to the bowels of the Temple, and Cloud and Aeris follow him. Aeris discovers the voices of Ancients telling her things inside the Temple; for starters, about the ultimate black magic Meteor which is kept via the Black Materia. The Sephiroth clone visits them and tells them that if he would call Meteor, the planet would unleash a huge amount of energy to intend to heal it; and if he were at the center of the planet, the energy would all channel into him.
-They find the Black Materia itself. It's kept in a strange puzzle; a miniature Temple of the Ancients, which itself contains another model, and so on; the Black Materia is in the bottom. However, by reaching it and canceling the models, the adventurer would cause the entire thing to collapse on him. Cait Sith (inhabiting a toy body) volunteers to do it himself. He does so, and the Temple of the Ancients collapses, leaving the Black Materia at the bottom.
-Cloud finds the Black Materia, but Sephiroth controls him and forces him to give it to another clone, who begins the journey back to the North Crater. Cloud begins deliriously attacking Aeris, but is stopped by Cait Sith #2, who shows up at this point.
-Now that the Black Materia is in the hands of Sephiroth, Aeris decides to travel to a sacred place, the Forgotten Capital. At its bottom is a water altar where an Ancient ca Summon the Holy spell to counteract the Meteor spell. Aeris tells Cloud in a dream she's going to the Sleeping Forest, and leaves.
-Cloud follows her to Bone Village, the entrance to Sleeping Forest. He excavates a Lunar Harp, which allows him to enter the Forest and Coral Valley, which leads to the Forgotten City. They wait until night, when the passage to the water altar opens, and discover Aeris praying there. However, she is given a surprise visit by a Sephiroth clone, who runs her through with his sword, killing her instantly. The White Materia she carries falls into the ocean and begins glowing green, indicating that the Holy spell is on the way. However, the real Sephiroth in the North Crater stops the Holy Spell with his own body.
-Cloud follows the Sephiroth Clone north through the Snow Fields to Icicle Inn, where they find evidence of Dr. Gast and Ifalna. They are also met by Elena and some Shinra officers, who refuse to let them out of the village. Elena blames Cloud for Tseng's death, and they fight. Cloud finds a snowboard and a map to the Great Glacier, and snowboards down the slopes to reach it.
-They find their way to Mount Gaea, a huge, cold mountain. An old man named Holzoff offers shelter and advice before they climb it. At its top they finally see the Northern Crater. They continue down to the Whirlwind Maze, where the Reunion is taking place - all the Sephiroth clones are returning to him, where he cuts them down.
-Rufus, Scarlet, and Hojo arrive in the Highwind, a Shinra airship. They discover the resting place of the Weapons. In the meantime, Cloud, Tifa, and the party find the Sephiroth clone who stole the Black Materia, and fight it out out of him. Cloud, though, is scared that Sephiroth may control him again, so he gives the Materia to one of his party members to hold while he goes ahead. Sephiroth, however, ends up tricking the party member into running after Cloud to the center of the crater.
-Cloud is given an illusion by Sephiroth intended on confusing him; in fact, Sephiroth is only telling him the truth: that he *wasn't* the SOLDIER at Nibelheim. Cloud's mind begins to deteriorate. The party member arrives on the scene and gives the Black Materia to Cloud. Cloud is unable to resist Sephiroth's mind and throws the Black Materia into the Mako pool where Sephiroth's real body resides.
-Sephiroth immediately calls the Meteor spell. The remaining party members and Shinra officials quickly escape on the Highwind. The five Weapons are awakened. Sephiroth erects an energy barrier around the Northern Crater, stopping anyone from coming in.
-Tifa and Barret are arrested and brought to Inner Junon, where Shinra plans on executing them publicly to blame them for the giant meteor on the horizon. Yuffie infiltrates Junon, posing as a reporter, Cait Sith as an official, and Cid and the others attempt to hijack the Highwind. Cait Sith helps Barret escape, but they are too late to save Tifa from the gas room she's been put in. However, before the execution can take place, one of the five Weapons attacks Junon. The giant cannon is put into use and destroys the Weapon before it can do any major damage. It does manage to break the seal of the gas room Tifa is locked in, and she manages to escape.
-Cait Sith rushes Barret to the Highwind. Tifa manages to elude Scarlet and her Shinra cronies until she reaches the very end of the Junon cannon, where she engages in a slapping fight. Before Scarlet can fire on her, though, Cid and Barret execute a daring rescue and they fly away on the Highwind.
-Tifa leads the search for Cloud; they find him in the city of Mideel, suffering from extreme Mako poisoning. Tifa decides to stay with him, and Cid takes over as leader. Cait Sith offers news of Shinra's new plan to create a cannon which utilizes Huge Materia as a weapon. Cid decides to stop the plans at all costs.
-The first of four Huge Materia shipments is at the North Corel reactor. Cid leads a party there; they hijack the train holding it, and manage to stop the train before it crashes into the city.
-The second is at the top of Fort Condor, where the people (who are trying to protect the condors at the top of the fort) have been waging war against the Shinra forces trying to take it over. Cloud assists them and rescues the condors and the Huge Materia. However, the large condor at the top of the fort dies and leaves an egg, which hatches into a baby condor.
-Cid becomes worried about Cloud and returns to Mideel, which is suddenly attacked by the Ultima Weapon! The city breaks up and Cloud and Tifa fall into the Lifestream. Here, Tifa and Cloud strive on getting at the truth, and the true version of the past is realized. Cloud remembers himself and he and Tifa escape the Lifestream.
-Shinra takes the huge cannon from Junon to Midgar, to position it to destroy the barrier around the Northern Crater.
-Cloud takes over as leader and leads the expedition to rescue the third Huge Materia. They travel to the Underwater Reactor in Junon. They are stopped by Reno, but beat the mechanical monstrosity he sics on them. They hijack a submarine and shoot down the one carrying the Huge Materia, later rescuing it from the wreckage. They then get a transmission to return to Junon (Shinra thinking that the sub is manned by their own troops).
-The fourth and last Huge Materia is taken on the Gelnika, a Shinra transport, to Rocket Town. It is intended to be shot into space, along with a Materia bomb, to explode at the Meteor. Cid and Cloud travel there and beat Rude (who is guarding the rocket). They are given no warning before the rocket takes off, however (with Shera as its technician). They manage to unlock the Huge Materia and take it with them. However, the rocket is on a crash course for the Meteor and before they can reach an escape pod, an energy tank blows and crushes Cid. He is saved by Shera helping the other two party members, and apologizes to her. He notes that the tank which blew was the same one Shera was worried about during the first launch attempt. They take the escape pod back to Earth. The bomb damages Meteor, but does not disrupt its path (bits fly off it but are kept near the main bulk by magical forces).
-They return to Bugenhagen in Cosmo Canyon. He tells them that he will watch over the Huge Materia, and reminds them that Aeris is probably the key to defeating Sephiroth. They return to the Forgotten Capital, where Bugenhagen finds reference to a key hidden in the depths. Cloud finds the key by using the Shinra submarine and searching underwater, and brings it back to the Forgotten Capital. It is used to activate a display which teaches them about the White Materia and the fact that Holy is on its way, but stopped by Sephiroth.
-Cait Sith (i.e. Reeve) learns that the Sister Ray, the huge Junon cannon, is ready to fire, but before they can reach Midgar, the Diamond Weapon arises and heads towards Midgar! Cloud staves it off but can't destroy it. The Sister Ray fires on Sephiroth's barrier, destroying it and the Weapon, but not before the Weapon unleashes a counterattack, which destroys the Shinra HQ and kills Rufus.
-Reeve finds out that Hojo is powering up the Sister Ray again, this time to full power, intending on sending the energy to Sephiroth in the Northern Crater. Cloud and party parachute into Midgar, intent on stopping Hojo. They are stopped by Elena, Rude, and Reno, and a fight breaks out, but the Turks run away after it. They are then attacked by a huge monster piloted by Scarlet and Heidigger, which also fails to stop them. They finally find Hojo, who undergoes various mutations (using injections of Jenova cells) before finally yielding to Cloud's attacks.
-Cloud and party finally make their way to the Northern Crater and descend into it, defeating Sephiroth once and for all. Meteor continues falling, but is stopped by the Holy spell. However, the fierce combat of the two spells results in even more destruction. To save the planet, its own Lifestream emerges from itself and covers the conflagration in energy, dissipating it once and for all.

Side Quests:
-Cloud can find Yuffie in forests near Junon, who fights him. After he beats her, she joins him when she realizes he has lots of Materia, and schemes to steal it at her first opportunity.
-When Cloud visits Wutai, Yuffie will steal all his Materia and run away. He chases her throughout Wutai, and finds the three Turks on their break there as well. They are asked by Shinra to search for Don Corneo, but refuse. However, Elena and Yuffie are both captured by Corneo, and the Turks agree to help Cloud save them and drop Corneo off a cliff.
-If Yuffie manages to defeat the bosses in the Tower of the Five Gods, including her father Godo, she and he will have a reunion and she will receive the Leviathan Materia.
-Cloud can find the key to the room housing Vincent in the Shinra Mansion and convince him to help him fight Sephiroth and Hojo.
-Later, Vincent discovers Lucrecia, still alive, in a waterfall cave. He tells her that Sephiroth is dead, being the only thing he can say to her. He later finds his best weapon and Limit Break in the cave.
-Cloud can breed his own chocobo in the chocobo stables and run them in races. He can find hints by talking to a purple Chocobo Sage, who unfortunately suffers from periodic amnesia.
-Cloud can chase after the flying Ultima Weapon in the Highwind, and get the Ultima Weapon sword when he beats it. It also causes a huge chasm in the Cosmo Canyon area, and Cloud can climb to the Ancient Forest, which houses another sword, the Apocalypse, as well as some other goodies like the Typoon summon.
-Cloud can visit the Gelnika, shot down by a Weapon when flying to Rocket Town. Reno and Rude are here as well, and they initiate a fight. Much treasure is inside.
-There are four secret Materia caves found via Chocobo; the Knights of the Round summon is in one of them.
-The Ruby Weapon dwells in the Corel desert. If Cloud manages to defeat him, a trader in Kalm Town will give him his own gold Chocobo.
-The Ghost Ship enemy in the Underwater Reactor will drop a Guide Book if morphed. Giving that to the trader in Kalm Town will give Cloud an Underwater materia, which allows him to breathe underwater. He can then use it to defeat the Emerald Weapon dwelling there. If he manages to do so, the trader will give him one of every Master Materia!

(The last two points are only in the American and International versions, not the original Japanese version. The final scene with Zack is only available in those versions as well; you can see it by returning to the Shinra Mansion basement.)