"Now approaching the outskirts of the Arctura System, Ma'am."
"Good. Begin a comparative analysis of this region against the original one from two years ago."
"Aye, Captain."

The Captain of the great Federation vessel —its flagship, its pride— stood staring at a control panel. She wasn't entirely sure what SHE was doing here— what the Federation was doing here was obvious. But… two years ago, she hadn't even known the Federation existed— and now she was one of its most prized members. Where had the time gone?

"Captain!" the young cadet sitting in the Science Officer's chair called. The Captain merely turned her head towards the cadet, and waited for his response to her unspoken question of "What?"

"The analysis is complete. There is something unusual, though."
"Hmm?" the Captain prompted, waiting for an explanation.
"Well, according to the last scans of this region, there was a high-class energy body on a collision course with the fourth planet in this system. However, that energy body is gone… yet the planet remains. Strangely enough, Captain," the cadet continued with a furrowed brow, "The last scans were also made by this vessel… former Commodore Kenni's observations noted that there was less than an hour from the stardate when this scan was made left before the bodies collided."

"…Exp— Arctura 4 is still in existence?" the Captain asked, doing her best to maintain her cool. How… how was it possible? HOW!

"Yes, Ma'am. Coming up on the viewscreen." The cadet pressed a few buttons, and then the screen in front of the helmsmen flashed— and a planet not unlike Earth, only much bluer and greener, lay in orbit, a bright sun glowing not a billion miles away.

All the cadets aboard the bridge of the Federation Flagship Calnus suddenly looked up. Their first mission— and already a planet that was Not Supposed to Be There — WAS. All eyes lay entranced upon the viewscreen, especially those of the blue-haired Captain.

Two years… she thought she'd moved on, and forgotten the past. But now… Now…

Now she had returned at last… to Expel.

Perfect World
A Star Ocean: The Second Story Fanfiction
Chapter 1: Not Meant To Be
By Azurite
Email: anzu DOT kaiba AT gmail DOT com
Site: seventh-star DOT net
Hello, and welcome to yet another one of my SO2 ideas. Well, now it's actually a fic, and I'm ecstatic that I'm finally getting it off the ground. Hopefully my inspiration will last long enough for me to finish this one! ; I thought I'd point out two simple things: 1) there are spoilers for up to the part of the game when the party arrives in El and goes to Eluria Tower; 2) this is an odd combination of Rena's scenario and Claude's scenario. I did this because I needed to see what REALLY happened while Claude was on the Calnus, but I also want some PAs that are only available in Rena's scenario to have their "results" here in the fic. Technically speaking, if SO2 were REAL (as in, they'd finished making Star Ocean EX for the TV and such) then both scenarios would be together… and aside from the confusing-ness of whether or not Dias is part of your group (he's not in this fic) then all would be the same, right? Right. On with the fic.

No, I don't own Star Ocean 2. Enix made it, Links did the CG, Tri-Ace created it… etc. etc. There's a list of Japanese people who own the character design, battle system, anime, and manga rights, too, but I don't know any of them, so just read and enjoy…

Eluria Tower, El Continent … Two Years Previous

"D-did you hear something?" Leon looked around nervously, half expecting another Coldlizard or Timekeeper to just pop out from behind the nearest pillar. Yet since they'd arrived on this floor, all they'd seen were glass statues of fighting men… it unnerved everyone, to say the least.

#…in… Ensi… Ken…#

"There it is again!" Celine exclaimed, trying to pinpoint the source of the sound. Their entire group— which only consisted of Claude, Rena, Celine, Leon, and Precis was inside the Eluria Tower— part of what had once been the great city of Eluria. Yet since the Sorcery Globe had fallen upon the continent of El, nothing had been the same— not in El, nor anywhere else in Expel. One would think that after all the strange happenings, frightening monsters, and dank caves the few friends had conquered together, a strange voice wouldn't seem out of place at all.

Yet here, in an empty, mysterious tower that just hummed with power…

#…pare… for bea… out… 10…#

Claude's eyes widened as he realized what the muffled, sourceless voice was. He barely needed to move in order to slide his hand into his worn jacket pocket and feel his communicator. It was vibrating, meaning that signals were being sent.

Oh no… The Calnus… Father… They've come to get me!

He wasn't entirely sure what he was thinking when he ripped off each piece of armor he had on, right down to his greaves— but he scurried to the center of the floor that the tiny group had found themselves on. Rena was looking at him strangely, her blue eyes a muddle of concern, worry— and fear.

"Claude!" she called out, her voice catching for some odd reason. Funny, she wasn't winded— since the last battle on the floor below, she and Precis had raided the bags and found themselves some food to help get their energy back up again. So why, all of a sudden, did she feel so… strange?

"Just stay back everyone! Don't come near me!" Claude called, fiddling with something box-shaped and blinking. Suddenly the bile that had been churning in Rena's stomach burbled up to her throat, and she swallowed convulsively, ignoring the rush of pain.

It… it could be a trap. The enemies… they could be trying to take Claude! I… I can't lose him again! Rena thought desperately, launching forward.

"No! Claude!"

Even with the added weight of her Buckler, Silver Greaves, and her Cestus on her right hand, Rena seemed to float towards the strangely-blinking, vibrating thing that was causing Claude to act so strangely. Her fingers brushed it, the sensation of touching an unfamiliar material snapping through her nerves. And then she pushed it, pushed it out of Claude's hand as the static crack grew louder, and the two of them tumbled to the shining blue floor…

#…tiating… eam… up…#

"Rena, stop, NO!" Claude yelled as the girl straddling him veritably YANKED the communicator from his hands. He didn't know what she was doing, but suddenly his fears multiplied— the communicator beeped once loudly, shrilly, and Rena was backing away…

"STOP! RENAAAAAA!" He extended an arm to try and grab her back, just barely having regained his balance enough to jump up and reach for her as she backed farther and farther down the tower's platform.

But by the time he reached her spot, it was too late— a bright white flash blinded everyone, and the familiar pattern of triangular energy-transfer —transportation light— whisked Rena off— and away from them.

"Uggh…" Rena groaned, lifting a hand to her head. She winced as the sharp spikes on her Cestus knicked the top of her head— which was throbbing quite painfully. In the deep recesses of her mind, she could still see Claude's face as she backed away with The Thing that had threatened him so. Perhaps what she hadn't done was the smartest, yet… if Claude was safe… then…

"Where… am I…?" Rena sat up, fighting a sudden wave of nausea that forced her to keel over. She could barely lift her head, she felt so heavy… but wherever she was, it sure wasn't Eluria Tower. It didn't look like ANY place she'd ever been… and it was so dim…

Am I… am I dead? Oh… oh no…

It didn't seem fitting, for her to die this way. If it was possible to FEEL something when you're dead, Rena sure as hell felt guilty— she'd abandoned her friends in the middle of their mission, in one of their darkest hours… and she still hadn't found out anything about who she was or where she came from.

And here she was… wherever HERE was… alone, in a dark, dismal place… with no one to comfort her. As an 'Expellian' Rena always enjoyed hearing the legends, the fairy tales, and the myths. She'd been prone to believing rumors, and more than once had helped pass them on. But when it came to religion… well, she just hadn't been so sure. Of course, she'd gone to Arlia's church and listened to Pastor Marshall whenever he gave a sermon about The Warrior and how he'd save Expel… but…

So. If she didn't believe in an Afterlife, there simply WASN'T one? How sad. At least, Rena mused to herself as spots dotted her vision, she would have liked to see Claude's smiling face… one last time…

5 Minutes Earlier

"Commodore! The transport has initiated!" the officer shouted as the transporter whirred into action. Not long ago they'd locked onto Ensign Kenni's communicator's distress signal— and had tracked it to the fourth planet in the as-yet-unsurveyed Arctura System… particularly, the fourth planet. What made the region so strange was that there was an unidentifiable high-energy body near, but not in orbit with, the planet. It seemed to be causing some strange effects, for the orbit of the planet kept shifting, forcing it into a collision course with the energy body.

Scans had proved pointless, as neither the energy body nor the point where it kept tapping on the planet's surface could be analyzed. But for a brief moment, Ensign Kenni's signal had come in loud and clear, and with Commodore Kenni's order, they'd initated an involuntary transport.

"Transport… complete!" the officer shouted, running his fingers down the panel as the generator of the transport mechanism hummed slowly to a stop. The light on the pad faded away, and the slumped-over form of a human —no, not a human, as the post-transport scans revealed— began to take shape.

Only… it wasn't Ensign Kenni at all… but a young girl, who, by the looks of it, was a native of the underdeveloped planet, Arctura 4, below.

"…What happened?" Commodore Kenni demanded, striding over to the pad. This was certainly not his son… yet in the girl's hand, held in a vice-like grip, was Claude's communicator. What was this girl doing with it?

"Sir!" Another officer ran into the Transporter Room, looking quite winded— he'd obviously run all the way from the Bridge.

"Yes, what is it?" Commodore Kenni growled. The lieutenant who'd had the misfortune of being on the recieving end of Ronixis J. Kenni's Death Glare shivered in his boots and swallowed.

"S-Sir the… the…" Suddenly he was very nervous, that lieutenant. For some reason, he couldn't stop eyeing the Commodore's hand, and how CLOSE it was to the Phase Gun at his side.

"Get on with it, Lieutenant!" the Commodore nearly shouted. He was quite annoyed with the present situation, and not having his son here to calm him down, and keep him rational was adding to the stress.

"YES SIR! The calculations we made earlier regarding the collision time of the Level 9 high-energy body and the Class M planet, Arctura 4, were recently adjusted… there is less than 60 minutes before a full-impact."

"What?" the Commodore asked, his voice having softened to a faint whisper.

"…the collision, Sir… in less than 60 minutes… A-and the gravimetric pull of the unidentified energy body is affecting our propulsion, Sir, so the helmsman wanted me to tell you that we have to break orbit in less than 3 minutes or risk having our hull punctured… and we might also be caught in the wave and either will collide through the planet, or be crushed between it and the energy body…"

The lieutenant didn't look so happy delivering this news— Commodore Kenni hadn't exactly been in a sane state of mind since his son had gone missing on Milocinia so many days ago. He'd been full of hope the minute they'd discovered his automated distress signal coming from the unexplored Arctura system. As of yet, there was no connection between what they'd found on Milocinia and Arctura 4, but such minor details were of little relevance to the highest ranking officer in the Federation.

What was more, the entire Bridge crew was well aware of the fact that, unexplored, undeveloped or not— Arctura 4 had a population of nearly 1 billion people on its three largest continents. 1 billion lives would be lost because the Federation had a policy of non-interference with cultures that were not yet space-faring.

"Tell the helmsman to break orbit immediately," Commander Kurtzman interrupted the Commodore's thoughts, "Bring us a safe distance away from the bodies, and prepare to initate the jump to Hyperspace and get us as far away from here as possible."

"NO!" Commodore Kenni shouted. "NO! My son is still on that planet somewhere…!" Commodore Kenni strode over to the control panel of the transporter, shoving the duty officer roughly aside, sending him tumbling into Kurtzman's stomach.

"Commodore Kenni, are you suggesting that we endanger the lives of this entire crew for your own personal reasons?" Kurtzman snapped. He hoisted the duty officer off the floor, and both of them knelt down in front of the transporter pad to see whether their new guest was alive.

"…Forgive me, Kurtzman," Commodore Kenni sighed, his head hanging, "For my lapse in judgment." He merely waved a hand, and the lieutenant that had been so terrified to even speak before briskly sprinted back to the Bridge to deliver the Commander's orders to the helm.

"There is no way we could possibly power-up the transporter twice enough to send this girl back to her planet, or wait around long enough within transporter range to try and lock onto Ensign Kenni's bio-signal." Kurtzman sighed, swinging the strange female's arm over one shoulder. He motioned for the duty officer to do the same, and together, they hoisted her up, so she hung like a rag doll between them.

"…" Commodore Kenni was silent a moment before glancing up at the newest passenger of the Federation flagship Calnus. "Bring her to sickbay," was all he said before striding off down the corridor, back to the Bridge.

The Hyperdrive of the Calnus slowly powered up, glowing a brighter blue, as the ship broke orbit from Arctura 4, and sped out of the way of the high-energy body and the planet it was doomed to destroy.

Tee hee hee… well, that's all for Chapter1. Thankfully, I have enough inspiration to probably go to Chapter 3 or 4, but… we'll see. I hope you enjoyed this… be sure to correct any mistakes I make, as I have not yet played the game through (I have over 17 different saves… ;) and have yet to finish watching Star Ocean EX (even though I know it doesn't go up to the Energy Nede saga). Lastly, just let me know what you thought! Thanks!