Two years have passed since the fall of Shinra and the destruction of Meteor. But to say the world was a better place would be a very questionable statement indeed. The people of Midgar have almost completed the reconstruction of their once proud city, but it is a city diminished, no longer the world leader it once was. The removal of Midgar as a world power has left a vacuum, a vacuum other cities are anxious to fill. Two cities in particular now vie for ascendance, Junon and Wutai.
As the largest city left on the planet the leaders of Junon see themselves as the natural heir to Midgar's power and prestige. Almost as soon as Shinra was toppled, the government in Junon set out on an aggressively expansionist agenda. Quickly building up it's army and annexing both Midgar and Kalm into it's sphere of influence. Both those cities, too weak to resist, soon surrendered without a fight. Mideel was the first city to spurn Junon's advances. After working hard to rebuild their city the people there were too proud to bow to anyone else's will. Perhaps hoping that other cities would come to it's aid if it came to a fight, when Junon sent a proclamation of annexation to Mideel it was refused. But if Mideel hoped for help from other cities, it was a vain hope. Two weeks after the proclamation Junon invaded. and Mideel, with only the barest rudiments of an army, surrendered after a sharp but brief struggle. On the eastern continents, now only Fort Condor remains independent, too strong to be attacked by Junon, at least for the moment.
Much has changed in Wutai as well. Many of the old friends Godo once knew had retired as younger people began to take their places on the city council. Most of these young people were just infants during the war between Midgar and Wutai, and had no remembrance of it. Some of them pushed aggressively for Wutai to once more build up it's armies now that Midgar was no longer a factor. When Godo refused the younger members united against him and forced him from office. Now both Godo and Yuffie have gone into hiding, and a new young warlord rules Wutai. With an eye on keeping up with Junon, he has started a rapid expansion of the military and industrial might of that city. Gongaga, Nibelheim and Corel are now under his sway. The Warlord tried to form an alliance with Cosmo Canyon but he was refused. Since Cosmo Canyon holds little strategic value, and would be difficult to invade due to it's natural defenses, it has been undisturbed but isolated since. Now the young Warlord seems to be casting his eye at a town with much greater significance. A town with a large aerospace industry and the only rocket launching site on the planet. But the obvious advantages of having such a place in your sphere of influence had not been lost on Junon either, and it too is now looking across the ocean and focusing on Rocket Town. With both sides unwilling to have that city fall into the hands of the other it seems just a matter of time before the hostilities and veiled threats turn into open warfare.
Against this backdrop of rising tensions Tifa Lockheart finds herself arriving in Rocket Town. She has seen little of her friends from Avalanche since the defeat of Sephiroth. Soon after the battle they had gone their separate ways. She had settled in Kalm, opening a new bar there. Though Midgar had been rebuilt, she no longer had any desire to reside there. Much like Nibelheim, all that remained there for her were bad memories.
But lately she had found her wanderlust growing. She had begun to think more and more about the others and how they were faring. And abruptly one day, without any plan in mind, she had set off. She had thought to visit Barret in Corel first, but now that it was allied with Wutai that would be difficult, seeing as how she was a citizen of Kalm, and as such supposedly pledged allegiance to Junon. She hadn't really paid much attention to the growing hostilities between the two cities, wishing just to stay out of it herself. She had had enough of fighting to last her a lifetime, and really only wanted to be left alone at this point. But sometimes there was just no avoiding the political situation. Rocket Town would be first. Corel would have to wait.