- “I was short a few souls, and came to collect.”
Nero the Sable (漆黒の闇ネロ, Shikkoku no Yami Nero?, lit. Nero the Pitch-Black Darkness) is an antagonist in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-. He rarely leaves Weiss's side in the ruins of Shinra Electric Power Company and is not seen to have a friendly relationship with anyone but Weiss. Nero is his assistant and leads the Tsviets while his brother is incapacitated. He acts only for Weiss and Deepground's cause, except for occasionally tormenting Vincent or Shelke. He is voiced by Ryotaro Okiayu in Japanese and Mike Rock in English.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Nero is a thin man with long unkempt black hair. His eyes are magenta with cat-like irises. A mechanical pair of wings spread from his back. Nero has full movement and makes regular use of his metal apparatus, but while they resemble wings, he cannot use them for flying.
Nero wears a gray Mako suit with straight-jacket arms that are at first secured, but later broken at the elbow revealing tattoos extending to Nero's wrists, and gray, plain mid-calf boots with blue soles. Strips of metal cover Nero's face. He fights with stylized handguns and sparks of darkness rotate around him forming an X in front of him. Nero speaks with a dry English accent.
Nero's wields guns (from their appearance, possibly handguns based on the real life IMI Desert Eagle), two of which are carried by him and used by his mechanical hands, and later two identical ones drawn from darkness which he uses with his real hands. Nero can use the arm or blade sections of his 'wings' as melee weapons.
Nero is a mysterious young man whose dark powers match his rather dark personality. Very much an introvert, he is the exact opposite of his brother, Weiss, tending to be quiet and pensive, and apparently impassive and unemotional about the majority of things. That's not to say he's emotionless — far from it. In fact, he has an almost obsessive and utterly blind love for his older brother, who is the only family he has ever had, and the only one who has ever treated him as anything more than a monster, and is prone to surprisingly potent explosions of anger and aggression should anyone or anything threaten Weiss’s plans, or Weiss himself. Whether Nero has any personal ambitions or beliefs remains to be seen, as he has a tendency to agree with Weiss’s view on anything and everything, and dedicates himself entirely to protecting and achieving whatever his brother's goals are.
Many aspects of Nero's personality seem strangely conflicting, and indeed, Weiss is at the center the most contradictory aspect to his nature. His older brother’s strength of mind and body balances out Nero's own weaknesses and instabilities, but simultaneously inspires in him the extreme weakness of utter dependency, and a certain lack of emotional control. This bizarre, almost paradoxical temperament can make Nero extremely unpredictable, and all the more dangerous for it.
The restraints he wears certainly give him the appearance of insanity, and although it is true that he is as mentally unstable as anyone could be expected to be after being created as part of what is, in the end, amoral bioengineering and human experimentation, he is without a doubt (and once again rather contradictorily) one of the more level-headed of the Tsviets.
He bears the same loathing and deep-rooted mistrust of humanity as many of the Tsviets — in his eyes, it is humans who are the monsters; those who created him to satisfy their own selfish whim; who treated him as little more than a beast, looking upon him with distrust, and abhorrence; who seemed unable to understand why their creations eventually turned on them, burning with indignation and driven to madness by the injustices suffered, and who acted as though they were the victims when such a thing happened — yet, he is not as prone to mindless slaughter as one such as, for example, Rosso the Crimson. Naturally, he's perfectly happy to kill as long as it benefits his brother’s plans, and does seem to gain some pleasure from it, but he is far more controlled in his manner.
Born in 1987, making him 23 in Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Nero is the biological younger brother of Weiss the Immaculate, and the only successful test subject of the stagnant Mako experiments. The experiment was based on the Omega Reports left by Grimoire Valentine and upon Nero's birth a vortex absorbed his mother into another dimension. The scientists of Deepground discover Nero has power over darkness and confine him in a suit of Mako to contain his power.
Nero, Weiss, and Rosso continue their training and grow stronger over the years to the point they are feared to be too powerful to control and Nero's arms are bound to prevent him from using his hands to manifest his dark powers. Nero was then chained inside Mako Reactor 0.
Nero and Weiss are released and sent to retrieve Genesis Rhapsodos after he is defeated by Zack Fair. He and Weiss take Genesis's body away in a helicopter under secret orders from President Shinra. Weiss and Nero inform Genesis of the Deepground situation and ask him to join them in an upcoming rebellion against the Restrictors, but Genesis refuses.
- “No one will take my brother away from me again!”
Just before the events of Dirge of Cerberus -Final Fantasy VII-, Weiss is taken over by the digitized mind of Professor Hojo. Hojo (as Weiss) teaches to Nero "the secrets of rebirth" and Nero learns of Lucrecia Crescent's theorem of the Planet's ultimate and final weapon, Omega, and its herald, Chaos.
Nero orders the Tsviets and Deepground under his brother's name to make a pure stream of Mako (in Hojo's words; Lifestream untainted by either Jenova or G-Substance) and to search for the Protomateria to bring about and control Chaos. Shelke's findings of Lucrecia's data lead to information about the ex-Turk, Vincent Valentine, whom the soldiers are ordered to pursue.
Although not seen in Edge, it is likely Nero was there, as a small group of World Regenesis Organization (WRO) troops was sucked into darkness. Nero's first in-game appearance is not until the middle of the game while Vincent is searching in the abandoned Shinra Mansion. One of the Cait Siths encounters Nero in the heart of the Deepground complex beneath Midgar, Mako Reactor 0. Nero summons darkness to engulf Cait Sith as he did to the soldiers in Edge.
During the WRO assault of Midgar Nero does not engage in the fighting with the ground assault, but he discusses tactics with the Tsviet commanders. He teleports onto Cid Highwind's ship, the Shera, and wreaks havoc in the engine room by absorbing the engine room crew into darkness. Shelke enters the room and, after a conversation, they fight. He dodges Shelke's attacks and tries to destroy her with the darkness.
Nero watches over Vincent as he progresses his way down through the Shinra Building. He sees Chaos emerge from Vincent and slaughter Azul, causing him to decide to "live out his destiny of destruction." As Nero teleports away, however, he accidentally drops Shelke's cellphone, which allows Vincent to regain control of Chaos.
Vincent later encounters Nero deep within the Deepground complex, where they duel. Upon being defeated, Nero taunts Vincent about Shelke's fate and tries to absorb Vincent into the darkness. As he turns to go, Vincent and Shelke unexpectedly appear from the darkness. He realizes Vincent is immune to the effects, as he has Chaos, "a soul wrought of terra corrupt" inside him. The "terra corrupt" is tainted Lifestream, from which Chaos is fully born of and whose darkness is even greater than his own. Yuffie intervenes and, slightly confused, Nero vanishes into a portal, insisting his brother has called him.
Nero is encountered in Weiss's chamber, where, after Vincent and Yuffie find Weiss's seemingly lifeless body, he informs them of Weiss's rebirth and the start of Omega's awakening. The reactor activates and Vincent and Yuffie draw their weapons and attempt to attack Weiss, but Nero kidnaps Yuffie temporarily by sucking her into his darkness and Vincent goes to save her.
Upon exiting the darkness and finding Yuffie and Vincent still alive, Nero comments to Vincent that "there are some things that cannot be absorbed by my darkness." Nero transports Vincent into a hellish world with mysterious floating platforms and crystals above a pool of lava where Nero appears in a spider-like machine known as Arachnero, eventually transforming into Gorgonero.
After the gunfight, Nero and Vincent return to Mako Reactor 0 where a fatigued Nero limps off to Weiss. Back in Weiss's chamber, Weiss has become "reborn." An excited Nero rushes over to Weiss to embrace him, but Weiss sneers and tells Nero he has no further use of him and plunges his hand into Nero's chest throwing him across the room. After it is revealed to Vincent that Hojo is in control of Weiss, Weiss and Vincent battle.
After losing the battle to Vincent, a shocked and confused Hojo wonders why Omega's power has begun to wane. Nero, in a spectral form, appears, and begs for his brother and him to become one so they will never be parted again. When Hojo orders him to leave and stop polluting Omega, Nero ignores him. Weiss, now nearly free of Hojo's influence, hugs Nero and Nero fuses into Weiss, freeing him of Hojo's control. Weiss walks towards the center of the Mako chamber, with the compulsion he needs to bring about Omega, and vanishes in a ball of light.
Nero's fate is speculative. He either exists within Weiss, or he may have been destroyed along with Hojo when Weiss entered Omega, being a tainted being. It is quite possible he survived as tendrils of darkness are seen within Omega and the anguish of tortured souls can be heard, implying it may have been corrupted by Nero's darkness as well. Nero explains to Vincent that Weiss was the only one to have ever loved him, and Nero would only ever love Weiss.
Nero is fought at the end of Chapter 10. Two other forms, Arachnero and Gorgonero, are fought in Chapter 11, with no pause between forms.
Nero is able to manipulate and manifest darkness. This ability was gained from the Mako associated with the dark being Chaos, which he can use to move people and objects or absorb them into darkness within or without him. He can create objects and possibly people from the darkness, as seen when he makes copies of his guns. The Mako gives him enhanced versions of the abilities usually associated with a SOLDIER member. Nero's abilities require him to wear a suit which constantly supplies him with Mako. It is also implied that Nero's abilities over darkness, when they absorb people, kill them as a result.
Shinra became scared of Nero's abilities, deciding to place the straitjacket-like restraints on him to suppress his abilities and chaining him in Mako Reactor 0. Nero was unable to free himself alone, but the restraints failed to suppress his abilities. They make him constantly surrounded by sparks and wisps of darkness. Nero is capable of free flight, much like Sephiroth, but much slower.
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Nero is the Italian word for "Black", which is derived from the Roman Emperor Nero, a man who persecuted various Christians, as well as neglected his empire. Coincidentally, similar to his indirect namesake, he also was responsible for his mother's death, although in Nero the Sable's case, it was accidental. "Sable" is an adjective commonly used to describe the black fur of animals. It is also used in heraldry to denote "black." Therefore, his name is essentially "Black the Black".
- Nero shares his Japanese voice actor with Quon Yobatz from Final Fantasy Type-0 and Setzer Gabbiani and Terra from the Kingdom Hearts series.
- Nero is the only Tsviet whose power Weiss does not possess.
- Nero appears in Crisis Core -Final Fantasy VII- with Weiss in one scene, but their faces are not shown. They wear 1st Class SOLDIER uniforms, and Weiss's model is based on Angeal and Nero's model is based on Zack's. While Weiss's model recolors Angeal's hair and adds the Deepground logo, Nero's model makes no such changes, and the ordinary SOLDIER logo is kept intact due to only Weiss's front mid-area being seen in the scene.
- Nero is Latin for "Black", referencing his control over darkness.