Stripes is a piece of Final Fantasy 7 fanfiction that takes place five years after the original game. If you read it, it will only really make sense to you if you've played and beaten the entire game. This fic...hell, even this introduction, is a walking spoiler for FF7 in general.

In particularly, it also assumes that you know everything about Vincent Valentine's past with Lucrecia and Professor Hojo from the original game, not Dirge of Cerberus. Stripes was concieved and written mostly before Advent Children or Dirge of Cerberus, so it doesn't take in the events outlined in the extended canon.

In Dirge of Cerberus, Vincent, Hojo and Lucrecia's pasts were outlined more clearly, but deviate heavily from what I had already written in the fic. So, if you've only ever been exposed to (or fully accept everything in) Dirge of Cerberus, this fic might seem backwards or wrong to you. Why? Because Stripes centers around a guilt-stricken Hojo who wants to redeem himself, which is completely counter to Hojo from Dirge of Cerberus.

This thing is old-school, grungy, dramatic and sometimes really horrible things happen in it that would never happen in canon. It is rated R. It's also depressing and dystopic, and for all intents and purposes, takes place in an alternate universe from the point after the game ended.

Even a little ways into it, you'll note that the setting of Stripes is a little funky. In Final Fantasy 7, the planet has its own history and culture. In Stripes, instead of making an in-depth attempt at making up more of FF7's culture, I transposed in our own (that is, 20th century American). For example, it would have taken a very long time to make up an original musical that the characters in the game would relate to, and it wouldn't have had the same effect as just saying "Les Miserables." The same with the time and date system - it was easier just to say Sunday instead of taking time and making up a system that used summon gods for days.

Days of the week, months and years are earth-standard; several celebrities and bands like Christopher Walken, Fatboy Slim and The Smashing Pumpkins are mentioned, TV shows like Mystery Science Theatre 3000 are mentioned, and the common religion is most definately Christianity on top of the lifestream stuff. FF7's history itself remains unchanged because the story hinges on the events that happened in the game. Putting World War II in at the last second would have been silly. Geographical locations on the planet have been given the real world's localizations. German is said to be the native tongue in Nibelheim, and Wutai is basically made out to be Japan.

K. Trotta Feb 9, 2007