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AVALANCHE (アバランチ, Abaranchi) is an eco-terrorist organization appearing in Final Fantasy VII and the greater Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series. They are the main rebel force against Shinra, and are openly opposed to the company's Mako-based energy production, which is draining the planet of life.
Final Fantasy VII
At the beginning of the game, Barret Wallace is the leader of the second AVALANCHE. Tifa Lockhart is also a member of the resistance, being the owner of the 7th Heaven bar. She convinces her childhood acquaintance, Cloud Strife, to accept a bombing mission at the start of the game and join with AVALANCHE. Cloud claims to be a former member of SOLDIER, Shinra's elite military force, and displays the phenomenal strength and skill to support his claim. The other members of AVALANCHE at this point in the storyline are three individuals by the names of Jessie, Biggs and Wedge.
AVALANCHE plans to begin its mission to defeat Shinra by bombing the eight mako reactors that surround the eight sectors of Midgar. Cloud and his companions manage to destroy two of these reactors in this way before their base of operations is discovered by Shinra. In an attempt to destroy AVALANCHE, Shinra blows up the pillar that supports the upper level of Sector 7, in the hopes that crushing the entire sector would kill all the members of AVALANCHE, as well. This act kills many civilians in Midgar, as well as AVALANCHE members Jessie, Biggs and Wedge.
After this, the three surviving members of AVALANCHE move on with greater determination, and their cause ultimately leads Cloud to a confrontation with the legendary Shinra hero Sephiroth, who has surpassed Shinra itself in threatening the planet. Along the way, several new members join the group: Aerith Gainsborough, a flower seller who lives in Midgar's slums; the lionesque Red XIII; a teenage ninja named Yuffie Kisaragi; an animatronic cat called Cait Sith that is actually controlled by Shinra executive Reeve Tuesti; Vincent Valentine, a former member of Shinra's covert unit the Turks; and Cid Highwind, an embittered pilot with dreams of journeying into space that were left unrealized because of Shinra's greed. Working together, they forge bonds of friendship while resolving their respective pasts and saving the Planet.
Barret Wallace was the original leader of AVALANCHE, but after leaving Midgar to escape from Shinra and find Sephiroth early on Disc 1, it was decided that Cloud should be the leader.
Later in Disc 2, Barret realizes that he is unfit to be the leader of AVALANCHE. With Cloud and Tifa (both of whom had served as leaders prior to this point) absent at the time, Barret elects Cid the temporary leader of the group.
Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII
In Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII, a prequel to Final Fantasy VII, the story behind AVALANCHE is expanded upon. It is revealed that the incarnation of AVALANCHE that existed prior to the one led by Barret Wallace early in Final Fantasy VII was more militant and ruthless, and were antagonistic unlike in Final Fantasy VII. AVALANCHE consisted of three members: Elfé, Shears, and Fuhito.