|SeeD Mercenary Corps|
Balamb Garden, Centra
The SeeD Mercenary Corps is an independent organization based in several autonomous zones on the planet Centra. SeeD employs elite troops typically trained from a young age, and possesses knowledge of a mysterious power believed to have been discovered from the ruins of Centra's extinct natives. SeeD will generally take jobs from any nation, organization, or individual, but may reject jobs that would put it at undue risk.
In late 10 BNE Cid Kramer was working as an archaeologist on Centra, exploring the ruins on the Crater Continent. There he discovered and successfully deciphered ancient documents which, among other things, explained in great detail a system of magic used by the ancient inhabitants of Centra. Believing the magic too powerful to fall into the hands of any national government but unable to bring himself to destroy the documents, Cid hid them away while he consulted with his wife Edea and several close friends. Eventually he decided to establish an elite, neutral mercenary force trained in the Centran magic; in this way he hoped that the magic could still be used to benefit humanity without being exploited for political purposes.
Cid began by opening a combined orphanage-academy on the Talon Continent, where Edea helped him to raise the young students and instruct them in the ways of Centran magic, in which she displayed a natural talent. Several combat instructors were hired to train the students. There was no shortage of orphans on Centra, due to the harsh conditions in the early years of the planet's settlement, and the academy eventually reached it's capacity. In mid 6 BNE the Shinra Corporation, which itself had been conducting extensive research on the ancient Centra, offered financial backing and expert assistance, and renovation began on an ancient Centran structure on Balamb Island. The operation was moved to this new facility, which would become known as Balamb Garden and serve as the future headquarters of SeeD.
The first class graduated in 3 NE, and the SeeD Mercenary Corps was officially formed. Initially most of their jobs came from the Shinra Corporation, but as their renown grew so too did their list of customers. In 5 NE a second facility was opened on the Cross Continent, followed by another in 6 NE in the Trabia region. In 7 NE SeeD successfully negotiated for autonomy to preserve it's neutrality, with the government of Kira's Kingdom agreeing as a means of denying any responsibility for SeeD's actions.
SeeD normally deploys in small teams of three to nine, with larger teams being deployed only for the most difficult missions. These teams are put together based on the requirements of the mission, rather than being pre-defined, but SeeDs known to work well together will often be assigned to the same mission. All SeeD soldiers are assigned a Rank of 1-30, with a higher number indicating increased abilities, and there exists an additional rank of "A" for the best SeeDs.