A Different Time

Part One:
My Trigger

A Quick Note: This series is a sequel to the alternate-reality story "A Different Place." If you aren't familiar with that particular entry, perhaps you should read it first before proceeding-it's on my author page. Otherwise, you're likely going to be very confused. Okay, I warned you...

Since the beginning of time, the twin Goddesses have been warring over the fate of the world. As the Sky holds sway, the sun grows hotter and presses down upon the firmament. As the Earth reigns supreme, the warmth of light grows dim and far. When the twins are in equity, the sun and earth stand in balance.

The servant spirits of the Two join them in their eternal battle, at times walking among men. Each strives to thwart the will of his Mistress's opponent. They care little for those who stand in their way.

For as long as Earth and Sky wage war, men of the world can live as Fate lays out, but should one of the Twins stand victorious, her will shall be imposed upon men, robbing them forever of their destinies.

from the text of the Oracle of Duality, Canto the First

The door to the sleep chamber hissed open. Two bodies were now housed within its confines, where there had previously been but one. Yuna looked down tenderly on both, as the sight of both Trigger's shell and her own so close together evoked memories of what might have been the most pleasant time of her existence. Trigger's face had been mutilated, certainly, but not so much that his features were not still recognizable beneath his new guise. His short nose, still possessed of its characteristic point; his ears, still standing out a little from his skull-the reason that Trigger had always preferred a slightly shaggier hairstyle than was common, among either the carbons or his fellow System Units.

Don't worry, Yuna-I'll be back! I promise. You're the most important thing in the world to me.

Sniffing, Yuna ran her fingers gently down Trigger's cheek. "I've missed you," she told him, though there was no way he could have heard. "Soon enough, my beautiful one, we'll be together again-and the way that the Master intended! The nanomachines in your blood will see to that."

After all these years of hoping, praying, and yearning for one of the extinct Purifiers to be found, Yuna could hardly believe not only that one had finally been located, but that it was Trigger himself, whom she had long thought to be dead. She brushed the unnaturally-dark hair, with its small white streak, out of Trigger's face, silently thanking the Master once again for his most wonderful creation.

Yuna grasped Trigger's limp hand, finding a small bit of slang from her host body's vocabulary. "Those carbons sure 'did a number' on you, didn't they, Trigger? It's been months since we found you, and your systems still aren't fully repaired. Don't worry," she added as an aside, "Gatz says you should be fully functional very soon, now. In fact, we'll even restore your true appearance, while we're at it."

Suddenly, Yuna felt an incredible urge to flee. She looked at her strange surroundings, and began searching for an exit, something to take her to the surface.

"Stop that!" she shouted. The feeling subsided. On occasion, Yuna's host would try to re-assert her independence. A minor annoyance, nothing more. The carbons' brains were so cluttered. Yuna was often amazed that she could retain her identity at all. Still, that wouldn't be an issue for much longer, would it?

"Mistress Yuna," Gatz prompted gently as the chamber's door slid open.

Yuna sighed, though she attempted to keep it as quiet as possible. Still, Gatz had probably heard it. "What is it, Gatz?" she snapped, knowing there would be no peace until the Servitor had his say.

Gatz let a second of silence go by before reporting. "The large carbon skyship is still circling Sector 36J-14Z, Mistress."

Forbidden Island, her host's memory involuntarily interjected. "Has it moved any closer to the protected zone?"

"Not as of yet, Mistress Yuna, but the carbon units' transmissions generated from near the ship indicates that an attempt at the island is imminent."

Yuna ran her fingers through Trigger's hair once again. To a bystander, it might have appeared that Gatz's statements had gone by unnoticed by her. "This is hardly any different from your last thirteen reports, Gatz. What was so urgent that it had to be brought to my attention immediately?" She shot a fiery glare at her subordinate.

Gatz shuffled his feet, a nervouse habit which Yuna would not have suspected was in his program. "Well, Mistress, I must admit that these developments were not precisely what I wished to speak with you regarding."

"Out with it, Gatz!"

"I was wondering if you...might reconsider your orders to re-activate Servitor Gretz."

Yuna felt herself getting a bit irritable. Still, she managed to force her words into a civil tone. "The truth of it, Gatz, is that there may be too much going on now for just you and myself to handle. The resuscitation of another Servitor seems like a valid solution, considering the variables. My decision was not intended to cast doubts upon your abilities."

"Mistress, perhaps it would be better of me to explain that my...difficulties are with your choice of Servitor rather than the decision itself."

"Why?" Yuna considered. "Gretz is a competent Servitor with a excellent record." She would have called it up in her memory, but of course she was no longer connected directly with the System. "And...if you are referring to one specific incident, let me remind you that I was present during those circumstances, and that Gretz accounted for himself quite satisfactorily during that time."

Gatz bowed his head submissively. "Of course, Mistress. In truth, the incident of which you speak has no bearing upon my current misgivings. I was instead referring to Gretz's somewhat errant tendencies, not the least of which is his unnatural fondness for the carbon units themselves."

Yuna sighed. "I don't care, Gatz. Unfortunately, for you at least, Gretz is the only Unit on Terra with a completely functioning shell at this time. To revive any other Unit, you and I would have to either fabricate a new shell, or make extensive repairs on one of the partially-functional ones. I don't think I need to tell you that this would take weeks, perhaps months. No, we'll revive Gretz. See to it at once, please."

"As you wish," Gatz said, nodding. The doors slid closed as the Servitor left the sleep chamber.

Trying unsuccessfully to fight of a wave of exhaustion, Yuna rested her head on Trigger's still chest. "It's getting close, now," she said, closing her eyes. "Once you put me back into my shell, we can work on restoring the Mother System's power on Terra. With Sera out of the way, you and I can finally get the planet back under our control. It will be wonderful..." Yuna's hand retained its grasp on Trigger's even as she drifted into slumber.

NEXT TIME: Temporary Solution