Story order:

TEMPORAL INSANITY

By: Mark J. Hadley

***** CHRONOLOGICAL VERSION *****

AUGUST 12 -- 81,072,231 BC -- 6:24 PM

The sun beat down over the quiet desert landscape, stretching out for miles in every direction. A dry riverbed ran through the valley below. The only other notable feature in this wasteland was a large outcropping of rocks and caves. There was no movement at all in this prehistoric setting, until a few moments later, Buttercup suddenly appeared, emerging from thin air.

She panted heavily, and raised up the set of goggles she was wearing, giving the surrounding terrain a glimpse. "Oh man, great," she said, "Now where am I? No, no time, gotta get to safety..."

Unfortunately, she barely flew a few feet, before she heard someone else arriving behind her. She turned around with dread, even though she already knew who it was. Hovering ominously as he was, his green-black trenchcoat blowing in the dull desert wind, laser rifle in hand, and silhouetted by the sun behind him, he looked less like a mere villain, and more like a nightmare. "Ch--Chronos..." she stammered, backing away.

The sun glinted off of his visor, casting a brief green sparkle, as he hovered forward, speaking, "This was a poor decision you made. You see, the further back in the past you go, the less time windows you'll find. And I'm afraid you won't exactly find many escapes here."

Instead of saying anything back, Buttercup flew quickly for the rocks...she went around to the back side, and hid in one of the caves, pausing to catch her breath, and her thoughts. "This stinks...I gotta think of something...aw, I wish I never went there in the first place, to the m--" She hesitated, as realization suddenly struck her, "That drawing! Bubbles was trying to warn us! Oh man...stupid...stupid! Why didn't I see it before? Why? I could've...I..."

A voice startled her back to her feet, "I'm not highly impressed with your evasion skills, Buttercup." She scrambled back against the wall, looking around, but finding no way out. Chronos stepped into the cave, and continued, "Still, you are one of the PowerPuff Girls, so you'll make an excellent trophy."

"Trophy? What?!" Buttercup exclaimed.

He flicked a switch on his weapon, and the barrel converted, turning into a radar dish. "You'll see...or rather, you won't..."

The weapon powered up, and Buttercup cried out in panic, "NOO!!" A thick, white beam of energy lanced out from the gun at her...she threw her hands up protectively in front of her, but to no avail. The energy washed over her, and when it cleared away, she was still standing in the same position. Her entire body, however, had turned to stone, her face locked in an expression of fear.

Chronos grinned, and flicking the switch on the rifle, the radar dish converted back to a barrel. "One down...two to go. I must go now, Buttercup, but I'll be back for you...oh yes, you aren't going anywhere..." He laughed, and hovered back, passing through one of the invisible time windows, leaving the statue of Buttercup behind. His laugh echoed through the cave even after he had departed, but now, there was no one left to hear it...

MARCH 7 -- 2423 BC -- 3:35 PM

The Great Pyramids of Egypt loomed over the desert, a testament to the Pharaohs, and to the ancient Egyptian gods. However, something even more unusual was happening in the skies. Blossom and Bubbles appeared from out of thin air, and quickly got a bearing on where they were.

"Ancient Egypt," Blossom remarked. "I really wish we had the time to stay longer; I'd really like to learn more about it. Look for a window that goes back to Townsville, quickly!"

Both of them flew around, looking through their goggles. They passed up several windows, not finding the one that they were looking for. Circling down by the edge of one of the Pyramids, they found a large group of them, and quickly started checking the readouts on their goggles to find out where they go.

Blossom finally spotted one, and said, "Here we go! Hey, it's even in the right place, and I think it's just before we left..."

"Cool!" Bubbles flew over to the window, and pulled out her crayon drawing. "So, uh, I just drop it through, then?" Blossom nodded, and Bubbles took the drawing, reaching into the window and letting it go. She dusted her hands off, "There we go. All done!"

They waited a few seconds quietly, then started to glance around. Bubbles looked concerned, "Um, isn't something supposed to happen?"

Blossom scratched her head, "You're right. We're still here...maybe it didn't work..."

"Um," Bubbles said, suddenly recalling something, "Uh oh..."

"What?"

"On the way out, before, Buttercup said something about a drawing I made," Bubbles said. "I wonder if she was talking about the one I just did?"

"Oh no...that means she did get it!" Blossom said, worried. "And that means we went ahead anyway. Maybe it's impossible to change the past..."

A voice called out, "Of course it is!" The girls immediately reacted, leaping back away from the Pyramid, as a blast from a laser struck the ground next to them. Chronos was hovering high in the air, weapon at the ready, and said, "You can't change the past. All the changes you make are fated to happen; you should have realized that by now!"

Without hesitating, Blossom grabbed Bubbles' arm, and shouted, "This way!" yanking her through the nearest time window. They vanished before Chronos even had a chance to fire another shot.

He frowned, "I am beginning to grow tired of this. They're taking me much longer to pin down than anyone else has before." The frown turned into a smile, and he added, "Excellent. This is my most exhilarating hunt yet!" He dropped down to the ground, and calmly stepped through the time window that the girls had gone through, leaving the Pyramids alone once again.

APRIL 8 -- 48 BC -- 11:31 AM

High above the Coliseum in Rome, Blossom and Bubbles appeared, flying out from the time window. Blossom looked down at the sprawling city below, and said, "I was right, this one led to Ancient Rome..."

"Hey, where's Buttercup?" Bubbles asked.

They waited a few minutes, watching the time window, but there was no sign of her. "Oh no...this can't be good..." Blossom said. "Maybe she got lost..."

Bubbles looked worried, "Or maybe Chronos got her..."

"Don't say that! I'm sure she got away!" Blossom insisted. She looked around, and pointed at one of the aqueducts going into the city, "Let's land over there. Not many people around."

"But won't he just come looking for us?"

"We need a strategy if we're going to beat him, Bubbles..."

"I know, but what if we just keep running? He can't be faster than us..."

Blossom thought about this, "You know, that's not a bad idea. If we just keep moving, we'll have more time to plan our next move somewhere else." She put the goggles back on, and spotted a time window, down in the center of the coliseum. "Down there! If we move fast, nobody will see us, but he'll have a hard time staying unnoticed. Let's go!" They shot towards the window, moving in a quick blur of color. They disappeared through it in a flash.

Barely a few seconds later, Chronos emerged from the window high up in the air. He glanced around for a moment, then looked down at the stadium. He grinned, "Clever, but not clever enough." He pressed a button on his belt, and his form blurred slightly, like some great energy was building up. Flying downwards towards the stadium, the blur made him nearly invisible while moving, and he passed through the window, unnoticed by the crowd.

MARCH 15 -- 1208 AD -- 3:43 PM

Within a castle stronghold in England, a fierce battle was taking place. Arrows whizzed through the air, and knights did battle with foot soldiers in the courtyard, trying to drive back the invaders that laid siege to their fortress.

As one of the knights rose his broadsword, about to swing at one of the invaders, when something strange happened. Bubbles half-appeared out of thin air, reaching out at grabbing hold of his shield. She said, "Can I borrow this? Thanks!" and yanked it from him. She disappeared, shield and all, leaving the knight (and his opponent) staring momentarily at the space where she was just a second ago. Shrugging it off, they resumed their battle...

JUNE 25 -- 1942 AD -- 7:49 AM

A squadron of British Royal Air Force B-17 Bombers soared over the skies of Germany, en-route to a bombing mission. The left gunner of one particular bomber watched the skies for any sign of incoming enemy aircraft. Everything was quiet now, but that could change at any moment.

Something happened, though, that confused him. He could swear he saw a man fall onto the wing of the bomber from out of nowhere. The strangely dressed man gripped the edge of the wing and tried to stumble back to his feet. A moment later, three tiny children appeared next to him, and started attacking him with a flurry of punches. They knocked him up off the wing with the last punch, and the man disappeared into thin air, and the little children disappeared after him, as well.

The gunner rubbed his eyes. Did he just see what he thought he saw? He glanced again. No one there. His eyes must have been playing tricks on him, he decided. Best not to tell the others; they'd think he had lost his mind...

JUNE 11 -- 2001 AD – 1:44 PM

The city of Townsville. A place where you can go for business, or just to kick back and relax. While this lively community regularly receives visitors for all sorts of purposes, the truck that pulled into the suburbs was there for something much more important. It cruised along the quiet streets of one particular neighborhood, before finally coming to a stop, pulling into the driveway of the Utonium household.

Several men emerged from the van, dressed in somewhat dusty khaki outfits. They went up to the front door, and rang the doorbell. After a few moments, Professor Utonium answered the door, "Hello?"

"Professor Utonium?" one of the men said. "My name is Dr. Jack Irvings…we spoke on the phone the other day?"

"Of course, Dr. Irvings. I've been expecting you," the professor said, smiling. "You weren't very detailed on the phone, but you said you discovered something during your last dig?"

"That's right," Dr. Irvings replied. "I think the PowerPuff Girls will want to see this as well. Are they here?"

"Certainly." The professor turned around and shouted, "Girls!"

All three of the PowerPuffs flew over to the door from different parts of the house. Blossom arrived first, and said, "Right here, Professor! What's up?"

"Girls, this is Dr. Jack Irving, and his collegues," he said, motioning towards the men at the door. "They're archeologists…they told me that they discovered something during their last archeological dig that might be of interest to us."

"Like what?" Bubbles asked.

"It will be easier to show you," Dr. Irving said. He started walking back towards the truck, and everyone else followed. He continued to speak, "What we found was preserved in very good condition, but its age is a problem."

He opened the back door of the truck. There was a small object covered carefully in a sheet. He added, "According to our tests, it's over eighty million years old, but it's impossible, simply because of what it is." He carefully pulled the sheet off of it, revealing it to everyone, who gasped.

It was a statue of Buttercup. It looked like it was carved from stone, but the detail was absolutely perfect, right down to individual strands of hair. On the top of its head, it wore a pair of strange, high-tech-looking goggles, and it was holding up its arms in front of itself protectively, with an expression that seemed a mixture of shock and fear. One of the arms had a small gash, but it was obviously part of the statue, rather than a piece that had been chipped off accidentally.

Buttercup stared at the statue, at a loss for words, "It's…it's me! But how…?"

Dr. Irving shrugged, "I have no idea. This cannot possibly be here, yet here it is. The odds of anyone crafting such a statue so close to something that wouldn't exist for another eight million years is astronomical. It's too accurate to be simply luck."

"Well, it's not perfect," Blossom pointed out. "What's with those goggles?"

"Do you mind if I keep this?" the professor asked. "I have some tests of my own I'd like to run on it. Don't worry, I'll keep it in the same condition."

"Of course, Professor," Dr. Irving replied. "Keep it for as long as you'd like. We figured you might be able to help us find out more about it."

The men carried the small statue carefully indoors. Blossom, in the meantime, looked over at Buttercup, who was watching them with a slightly worried expression. "What's wrong, Buttercup?" she asked.

"I dunno," Buttercup said with uncertainty, "I just have a bad feeling about this…"

JUNE 11 -- 2001 AD – 7:28 PM

The girls sat around the kitchen table, casting a glance at the door to the Professor's lab. Buttercup seemed a little upset, as she huffed, "He's been in there for hours! How long's it gonna take?"

"Just be patient, Buttercup," Blossom said. "We all want to know more about it, too. It is pretty confusing, though."

"Maybe someone just carved it out of some really old rock," Buttercup said.

Blossom shook her head, "No, the age tests can tell stuff like that."

"Well," Bubbles suggested, "Maybe it's like one of those time travel movies." The other girls looked at her, confused, so she continued, "Maybe someday Buttercup will find a time machine, and travel back in time…then she saves a bunch of people, and they're all like, 'Thanks for saving us!' and they make a statue of her because they liked her so much, and--…"

"Bubbles, this was from eighty million years ago!" Buttercup interrupted, "There weren't even any people around back then."

"That's right," Blossom agreed. "And besides, even if there were…if she was a big hero to them, then why would they make her look afraid in the statue?"

At that moment, the door to the lab opened, and the professor stepped out, carrying the statue with him. The girls looked over at him in anticipation, and Buttercup exclaimed, "Well? What did you find?"

"Actually, something rather disturbing," he said, setting the statue down on the table. "My tests confirmed its age to be over eight million years old, but even more important…it's not made of stone. Rather, it appears to be petrified organic material…"

"You mean…?" Blossom began.

"Yes," the professor confirmed. "Wherever it came from, it was alive at one time."

The girls looked back at the statue. Buttercup looked uneasy, and managed to say, "What…what does this mean…?"

At that moment, they heard the PowerPuff Hotline ring in the other room. Blossom shouted, "I'll get it!" and dashed into the next room. Bubbles and the professor followed her. Buttercup, though, remained at the table, unable to take her eyes off the statue. The expression of horror on its petrified face now chilled her to the bone. It was unsettling before, but now it was becoming too creepy, as she tried desperately to think of a reasonable explanation for this whole thing.

Her thoughts were interrupted by a piece of paper, which drifted into her field of view, and landed on the table in front of her. She glanced around to see where it came from, but there was no one around. Picking it up and looking at it, she noticed it was a crayon drawing. At the top, it said, "dear girls". There was a picture of a big building, with "muzeum" written next to it…nearby, there were drawings of the three girls, with an arrow pointing from them towards the building, but the arrow had a big, red 'X' across it. Down at the bottom, it was signed, "luv, bubbles".

"Huh?" she said, scratching her head, trying to figure out why Bubbles would draw this.

She didn't have time to look at the picture for very long, though, because the others came back into the room. Blossom said, "The mayor called…there's trouble downtown. Let's roll!" Buttercup nodded, and flew out of the house with the other girls, leaving the crayon drawing behind on the table.

JUNE 11 -- 2001 AD – 7:36 PM

The girls flew high over Townsville, in the darkening skies. Buttercup tagged along next to Blossom, and asked, "So where did the mayor say the problem was?"

"The museum," Blossom answered. "Someone broke in a few minutes ago…"

Buttercup was suddenly concerned. "The museum? Are you sure?" When Blossom nodded, Buttercup glanced over at Bubbles, flying over next to her, and asked, "Bubbles, that drawing you made of the museum…why did you draw it?"

"What drawing?" she asked, confused.

"The one of us heading for the museum!" Buttercup said, a little annoyed, "Don't you remember?"

"I never drew anything like that," Bubbles insisted. "Honest."

"But then, if you didn't…" Buttercup trailed off. This was getting too weird…she decided not to think about it anymore, because it was starting to hurt her head. She continued on with them towards the museum.

Everything looked quiet. There was no sign of entry anywhere; whoever had broken in had been careful to cover up their tracks. The girls circled the building once, then carefully opened a skylight and flew inside. Deep within the museum, they could hear movement, and headed in that direction.

There, in a gallery of paintings, a man floated just off the ground. He wore a greenish-black trenchcoat, a strange-looking belt that glowed softly, a large backpack that looked like it was filled with various objects, and a thick green visor over his eyes. He held a small device in his hand, and was holding it up near one of the paintings. Aside from the fact that he was, indeed, hovering off the ground, he looked fairly normal.

"Hold it right there!" Blossom shouted.

The man looked back over his shoulder in brief surprise, "Hm? Well...I must say, I certainly am surprised to see you three. I assumed that I had taken every precaution to avoid detection, but apparently I haven't."

"All right...who are you?" Buttercup demanded.

He turned around in the air, and bowed with a flourish, "I am Chronos. Pleased to meet you, PowerPuff Girls. I suppose right now you're wondering what I'm doing here, so I'll allow you to save your breath, and simply tell you."

He hovered up to one of the higher paintings on the wall, and continued, "You see, I consider myself to be one of the most cleverest criminals of all time, because my crimes are never discovered. I look at points in history where rare and unusual items, such as works of arts or ancient artifacts, are completely lost...then, I simply travel back in time and snatch up the item just before it is lost, and no one is the wiser."

"Travel back in time?" Bubbles said.

"That's right." He pointed to his visor, "This device allows me to see naturally occurring time windows. They exist all across the world, leading to various points in time. Not only does it let me see them, and where they go, but it also allows me to travel through them. This is how I can accomplish my task, and amass great wealth without causing so much as an iota of suspicion from anyone."

Buttercup said, "So why come here?"

"Because tomorrow morning, there will be a fire in this very room," Chronos stated. "By the time anyone finds out about it, several important pieces of art are obliterated. Well, I intend to take those works of art for myself. But then you three show up. I already knew every security measure in the place; I don't understand what could have gone wrong."

"This museum's had its fair share of robberies before, Chronos," Blossom said. "The mayor had a secret silent alarm system installed, that no one knew about except us."

"That would explain it." He lowered back down to the same level as the girls, and said, "Since it was so secretive, it probably didn't exist in any records. Well, this has happened before, but it is always something easily dealt with."

"Why are you telling us all this, anyway?" Blossom asked.

Chronos grinned, "Because it won't matter, shortly. You see, never in any of my time thefts has anyone seen who I am, and walked away alive. Therefore, I shall simply have to destroy the three of you, and my secret will remain secure forever."

Buttercup shouted, "Oh yeah? Well, lemme show you how wrong you are..." Buttercup charged forward, ready to punch Chronos in the jaw. Chronos was too fast, though, and clicked a button on his belt. A forcefield popped up around him, and Buttercup struck against it, momentarily electrocuted. The force from the shield knocked her backward into the wall.

He dropped the shield, and said, "You see? You cannot harm me. My technology is far more advanced than even your superpowers can handle. I know all about you girls from history, so there's nothing you can do to surprise me. Now," he reached into his backpack, "I could simply vaporize you here, but that wouldn't be sporting of me, so it's time for one of my favorite pastimes...the Time Hunt!"

He pulled a set of three purple goggles from the backpack, and tossed them towards the girls, who caught them and stared at them, confused. He explained, "They are smaller, less-powerful versions of my visor. They will allow you to see and utilize time windows in a similar fashion, although mine is far more advanced, as they have the ability to locate other window usage, making it easy for me to track you down."

Blossom frowned at Chronos, "We're not playing your little game!"

Chronos merely pulled out a large weapon of some sort from his backpack, and said, "Would you prefer I vaporize you here, then? Come now, at least this way you have a sporting chance. I'll even give you a head start. But you'd best hurry."

Blossom and Bubbles glanced at each other, and Bubbles shrugged. Blossom said, "Okay, you win." She put the goggles on, and slid them down over her eyes. Just as Chronos had said, she became aware of dozens of small glowing white windows floating around at various spots in the air...the goggles quickly brought up a readout telling each one's destination. Bubbles followed suit.

Buttercup, though, was staring in dismay at the goggles in her hands. It's...it's the same ones from the statue, she thought, but...but that means...

"C'mon, Buttercup! We've got to move!" Blossom ordered. Buttercup snapped out of her thoughts, and quickly put the goggles on.

Chronos, in the meantime, said, "You have five seconds to begin. Otherwise, you will have no head start."

The girls quickly looked around, and Bubbles pointed at one of the windows, "That one!" The girls nodded, and all three of them flew towards it. They entered it, and disappeared from view. Chronos waited another few brief minutes, then hovered through the same window after them, leaving the museum in undisturbed silence once again.

JUNE 11 -- 2001 AD – 7:46 PM

The girls emerged from a time window just outside of the Utonium residence. As Blossom and Buttercup came through, they were followed by Bubbles, who was saying, "...those different places. I do get kind of bored with the same old Townsville after a while."

"I dunno, Bubbles...after all that, I'm just glad to see these old sights again."

They went into the house, and saw Professor Utonium at the kitchen table, still examining the statue of Buttercup. He looked up, and said, "Oh, hello, girls. Finished saving the city again?"

"In a manner of speaking," Blossom replied.

Buttercup floated over to the table and said, "I'll explain why later, but could you keep that statue in a safe place? It's kinda important..."

The professor shrugged, "Okay...I know just the place." He picked up the statue and carried it into his lab.

Bubbles said, "So, where did that window go, the one that Chronos went into?"

"Oh," Blossom said, "someplace safe..."

APRIL 29 -- 2031 AD -- 6:20 PM

Inside the Utonium household, the Professor sat in his laboratory. He glanced down at his watch, and nodded, "Any second now..." Sure enough, a piece of paper suddenly fell from out of nowhere, landing on the table nearby. He scooped it up, and looked at it, then got to work with his chemicals.

In only a few short minutes, he had finished following the directions on the paper, and lifted a beaker containing a softly glowing red chemical. He nodded, "I've got it! Now, for the final item..." Walking over to the corner of the lab, he set the beaker down on a table and pulled an old sheet off of a safe there. He put in the combination, and opened it up.

Inside, just where he had left it, was the statue of Buttercup. He gently lifted it out and set it on the ground. Picking up the beaker, he carefully poured it over the statue. It sizzled when it hit, and the statue started glowing. A moment later, in a bright flash of light, the stone had disappeared, replaced by organic tissue once again.

Buttercup was short on breath, and glanced around, still a little panicked. "Wha--...where...?"

"Shhh, it's okay, Buttercup," the professor said, calmly, "It's all right. You're safe now."

Buttercup looked up at the Professor. He looked different; his hair had turned grey, and he was wearing a pair of glasses. It also looked like some wrinkles were beginning to shape around his face. "What...what happened to you?" she asked.

"Nothing's happened to me," the professor replied. "I think I should let you know that the year is 2031 right now. Do you remember anything?"

Buttercup said, "Everything...I was cornered, and...and that guy, Chronos..."

"That's right. He used some kind of petrification ray on you, sometime way in the past. We've kept you safe all these years, until we finally got the way to reverse the process. From the future, I might add."

"So...so I'm going to live after all?" Buttercup said, brightening up. "I thought I was a goner...I thought there wasn't anything I could do to change it..."

The professor smiled, "No...in fact, you're going to be a great help, because Chronos doesn't know that you've been restored. I have one final set of instructions for you: there's a time window right here in the lab that you need to use. Be prepared for a fight; you'll know what to do as soon as you show up."

Buttercup smiled, narrowing her eyes, "All right! A chance to get back at last! Thanks, professor!"

"You're welcome, sweetie," he said. "Hurry along now."

Buttercup nodded, and slid the goggles from her head back down over her eyes. Sure enough, there was a time window nearby, and she quickly flew through it, battle-ready. She disappeared from the lab. The professor smiled, and said. "Good luck..."

DECEMBER 3 -- 2062 AD -- 6:49 AM

Blossom and Bubbles emerged from the time window, and looked around. The morning sun was rising over the horizon, and in the distance, they saw a city, covered with snow from a recent snowfall. It was large, but not as large as the one they had seen before. However, the shape of the buildings seemed vaguely familiar, almost like...

"...Townsville!" Bubbles said. "But, it's different..."

Blossom nodded, "Well, we are about 60 years in the future." She shivered slightly, in the cold air, "And it's winter...we'd better find someplace warmer."

They descended to the woods, and sat down under a large tree. Both of them piled up some wood, and Bubbles started it on fire with her eyebeams. She warmed her hands in front of it, and asked, "So, what now?"

"Hmm..." Blossom thought about it, and said, "Bubbles, I think this is a good sign..."

"What is?" Bubbles said.

Blossom pointed to Townsville off in the distance, "Townsville is still standing, right? Well, how can it still be there if anything bad happened to us? I mean, if this Chronos guy catches us, who's going to be left to save Townsville while we're gone?"

"Hey, you're right!" Bubbles said.

"Of course!" Blossom exclaimed. "So maybe we can defeat him. Or maybe, we can prevent this from ever happening

Bubbles began recalling some of the time travel movies she'd seen, and said, "Maybe we can send a message to ourselves..."

Blossom's face lit up, "Yes, that's it! It could work...do you still have your crayons on you?" Nodding, Bubbles took out her box of crayons. Blossom continued, "Good...write a warning for us, while I keep an eye out for Chronos."

"Right!" Bubbles took out a sheet of paper, and started drawing. Blossom flew up above the trees, and peered into the sky. There was no movement, save for a few drifting flurries. Her thoughts began to wander... I hope Buttercup's all right, wherever she is, she thought. I hope she got away...

At that moment, a dark shape appeared way up in the sky. Blossom quickly ducked down by the trees, and shouted, "Bubbles, he's here! Time to get moving!"

Bubbles finished drawing, "Okay...just a sec...all right, done!" She tucked the drawing and her crayons away, and both of them flew off as fast as they could. They stayed low, weaving between the trees in the forest, so that Chronos wouldn't spot them.

However, upon emerging from the forest at the other side, they stopped cold in their tracks. Chronos was waiting for them. "I don't think you realize what you're dealing with, here," he said with a smirk. "I'm a master hunter. Your dear sister couldn't escape me, and neither will you."

"Wh-what? Buttercup?" Blossom stammered.

"That's right, Blossom." Chronos grinned evilly, and said, "Turned to stone with my petrification ray. She'll make an excellent addition to my collection...as will you two."

He raised his weapon, but Blossom immediately shouted, "Escape plan delta!" Blossom and Bubbles immediately shot in different directions, circling around the edge of the forest. Chronos' eyes darted between them, momentarily hesitating as he decided which to follow. A moment was all they needed, though, as they disappeared from view. He frowned, and flew in the direction that Blossom went.

The girls had cut through the forest, though, as soon as they disappeared from view, and met back together at the center. Bubbles noticed a time window up amongst the branches of one of the trees, and pointed at it, "There's one!" Both of them ducked through, vanishing.

Chronos, in the meantime, hovered over the forest, cursing himself for being so easily fooled. His visor told him what he needed to know, however, and he grinned, locating the time window they had passed through easily. He raised his weapon and blasted the branches away from the top of the tree, giving himself enough room to fly through...

DECEMBER 5 -- 2062 AD -- 12:51 PM

Blossom and Bubbles emerged from the time window, outside of Townsville. Bubbles glanced around, and said, "I don't get it, why did we come back here?"

"I don't know," Blossom responded. "I thought maybe he wouldn't think of looking in the same place twice. Truthfully, I'm running out of ideas...even if my last plan went through, there's no guarantee it'll help us."

"So, now what?" Bubbles asked.

"I guess we could try to stay and fight. Maybe there's something we can do." Blossom didn't sound very convinced herself, though. "Well, let's look for some more time windows...maybe we can still find something to help us out..."

Chronos appeared in the air, almost right next to them, and hissed, "Not this time!" The girls shrieked in surprise and flew back as he raised his weapon up and started opening fire. They dodged the laser blasts and circled down amongst the trees.

Blossom glanced around, but didn't see any time windows nearby. "Where are they? Come on, there has to be one around here somewhere!" A few blasts struck the trees next to her, and she pulled up. She called out, "Bubbles, quick! Plan beta-twelve!" Both of them shot in opposite directions and flew up out of the trees, firing their eyebeams at Chronos from both sides. Unfortunately, he spotted it, and rose his forcefield in plenty of time to protect himself.

He fired a spread of blasts at them, and both girls had to dodge as fast as they could to avoid getting hit by any of them. Blossom spotted a time window in the air, and yelloed, "Bubbles! Over there! Hurry!"

They started flying towards it, but Chronos flew between them and the window, blocking it off. He growling, "You're not going anywhere!"

Bubbles looked scared, "Oh no! Blossom, what do we do?"

Blossom was clean out of ideas, and she said, "I--I don't know..."

"But, I do," Chronos said evilly. He flicked a switch on his weapon, converting it back to the petrification ray, and lifted it up, "You will be the finishing pieces to my collection. It's all over now, PowerPuff Girls...prepare to join your sister!"

He was more right than he knew, for at that moment, Buttercup appeared from the time window behind him. She hesitated only for a moment, noticing Chronos about to blast her sisters, and immediately sprang into action, flying forward and kicking him square in the back. Chronos, surprised, was knocked from the sky, and crashed into the trees below.

"Buttercup!" Blossom and Bubbles said together, overjoyed.

"Didja miss me?" Buttercup said with a smirk. She slammed one fist into her other, and said, "Let's go get 'em!"

Blossom nodded, "Right!" All three of them flew down into the trees, looking for Chronos. He was just picking himself back up from the ground, and glanced down at his belt, which was smashed in the fall. He yelled, "No! What have you done?"

"Whatever it was, it won't be as bad as this!" Buttercup shouted, darting forward and punching him in the face.

Chronos stumbled back from the blow, and accidently fell right through another time window behind him. Blossom quickly ordered, "After him!" The three of them flew through the window and vanished...

OCTOBER 3 -- 2147 AD -- 1:18 AM

The Megatropolis, a giant city nearly the size of Texas, rose above the horizon. Thousands of buildings, skyways, and flying vehicles were visible as far as the eye could see. It was at the rooftop of one of the tallest buildings that the three PowerPuff Girls suddenly emerged from one of the time windows.

They landed, and looked around. Blossom raised the goggles up from her head, and examined the city incredulously, "Whoa...I can't believe it, these things really do work...this is really the year 2147..."

"Look at all the buildings!" Bubbles exclaimed. "Wow, this is better than I imagined!"

Blossom suddenly remembered where they were, and said, "Listen, we don't have time for sightseeing...we'd better get moving, before that Chronos guy comes after us." She glanced over at Buttercup, and said, "All right, I think we should fly down and find one of those time windows far enough from here so that..." She stopped, as she noticed Buttercup wasn't listening. "Buttercup? What's wrong?"

Buttercup raised her own goggles up, and said, "It's coming true...all of it's coming true..."

"What is?" Bubbles asked.

"Don't you see?" Buttercup shouted, her voice beginning to show signs of fright, "That...that statue of me those guys found...it was me! That's how come it's from millions of years ago! We're gonna be running around on this stupid time hunt, and I'm gonna end up in the past...and then...and he'll..."

"Now, Buttercup, we don't know that's actually going to happen..." Blossom said reassuringly.

Buttercup flew back slightly, "No! Listen to me! Everything's turning out exactly the same! We're traveling through time...I'm wearing those same stupid goggles...it's all coming true! All of it!"

"Calm down!" Bubbles said, "Even if that is what happened, we can still change things, can't we? We are traveling through time, after all..."

Buttercup still seemed to be somewhat shaky. She swallowed, and said, "Maybe you're right. I mean, it's not like it's destiny or anything...right?"

Blossom shook her head, "Of course not! But we'd better get moving before..." She didn't get to finish her sentence, as a moment later, Chronos appeared on the rooftop next to them suddenly. The girls fell back in alarm.

Chronos rose an eyebrow, "Hmm. I see you haven't even used your head start. Well, too bad, because you won't get another one." He raised his weapon and opened fire at them. The girls quickly flew down from the rooftop, and soared towards the street below.

Blossom put her goggles back on, and yelled, "Look for a window! Hurry!"

Buttercup nodded, and was about to do the same, when a laser blast grazed her arm. She cried out in pain, and dropped from the air, clutching her arm. The girls exclaimed, "Buttercup!" and flew down quickly to catch her.

They carefully eased her onto a ledge. Blossom kept an eye out above for Chronos, but she didn't see any sign of him. Bubbles, in the meantime, slowly pried Buttercup's hand away from the injury to take a look at it. A gash had been cut along the length of her arm, nothing that wouldn't heal. When Buttercup saw it, though, she yelled, "Aaaaaugh!"

"What? It's not that bad..." Bubbles observed.

"Oh no! Oh no oh no oh no..." Buttercup stammered, now on the verge of panic. The cut on her arm was identical to the one she had seen on the statue. "It's the same! It's the same!"

"Buttercup, it's all right! Stay calm!" Blossom shouted.

"NO!" She pushed herself away from them, and started glancing around desperately, "Have to get away! Gotta find...no! Doesn't matter! Gonna happen anyway! Can't do anything!" She was breathing quickly, almost hyperventilating.

I've never seen her like this before, Blossom thought. She's totally freaked out! What do we do? She tried to figure out their next move, when suddenly, Chronos hovered down from above, raising his weapon again. Buttercup cried out hysterically, and started opening fire with her eyebeams at him. Chronos spotted this, though, and brought his forcefield up.

Blossom quickly looked around, and noticed a time window nearby, "C'mon! Through here, quickly!" She and Bubbles flew towards the door, wasting no time, but Buttercup was too busy firing her eyebeams to notice.

Chronos, behind the safety of his shield, glared at Buttercup, and said, "Nice try, but not good enough. Too bad your sisters have already left...you won't be as lucky."

Buttercup stopped firing, and looked around. She hadn't seen where the girls had flown off to, but she put the goggles back on and flew away from the building as fast as she could anyway. Chronos flew after her, firing blasts from his weapon.

She darted around a skyway, glanced around, and finally spotted a set of time windows. Which one? she thought. Doesn't matter...just pick one! Without checking where the windows went, she immediately dove into one of them, vanishing from sight.

Chronos came around the skyway, and hesitated by the set of windows. His visor easily detected which one had been recently used, and he grinned. "What a foolish choice," he scoffed, and casually flew through the window, vanishing as well...

NOVEMBER 8 -- 2380 AD -- 2:42 AM

Out over the ocean was one of the many oceanic cities that had been constructed within the past hundred years. Though most of it was underwater, a small section of it poked up out of the surface of the water, the entry point for visitors from the surface. It was on top of one of these large, dome-like structures, that Chronos appeared, landing with a *thud* against the metallic surface. The PowerPuff Girls emerged from the same time window he had come from.

Blossomed folded her arms, and said, "Now, are you going to come quietly?"

Chronos leaned up, rubbing his jaw, and said, "You really think you've won, haven't you? You're forgetting something, girls...I have never lost! And, I still have the upper hand!" He raised his weapon, and continued, "The beam from the petrification ray is too fast for even you to dodge...and now that I have all three of you in one place, your defeat is imminent!"

"Is that true, Buttercup?" Blossom asked.

Buttercup nodded. "Yeah, 'fraid so. When he got me with the beam, it came way too fast."

"But," Blossom said, "that means he was just toying with us before. He could have defeated us anytime?"

"That's right!" Chronos said, laughing, "Now, say goodbye to the world, and hello to my trophy case, PowerPuff Girls!" The weapon powered up. The girls weren't sure what to do, but at that moment, Bubbles glanced to her left, spotting a time window. Noticing the readout on her goggles for where it went, she reached halfway into it...

Bubbles leaned back out of the time window just as Chronos opened fire. She pulled a large shield out of the window with her, holding it up in front of them. When the ray from his weapon struck the shield, it rebounded directly back at him. Chronos barely had time to acknowledge what happened, before the ray struck him...and in the next moment, he had been turned stone.

Blossom and Buttercup both had their arms out in front of them protectively, but when they saw what happened, they cautiously lowered their arms. Blossom said, "Wow...that was fast thinking, Bubbles!"

Bubbles smiled, "Thanks!"

"So what do we do with him now?" Buttercup asked. "Are we just going to leave him here?"

Blossom looked around, spotting some more time windows nearby. One of them went back to their own time, but one of the others...she smiled, and said, "I've got a better idea." She lifted the statue of Chronos up and heaved it through the window. She said, "All right, mission accomplished. Let's head back..."

The three of them flew over to the window leading back to their own time, and passed through. Bubbles started saying, "You know, I kinda thought this was fun, visiting all..." until a moment later, they vanished.

JUNE 12 -- 2730 AD -- 11:04 PM

The landscape that Blossom and Bubbles emerged into was almost indescribable. Gleaming metal structures rose up into the night sky, for miles, it seemed. As high up as they were, they could see across a huge distance, and as far as they could see, the landscape was covered with city. Here and there, giant towers extended up into the sky, taller than anything they had seen before, tall enough to connect with stations in orbit.

"Wow," both of them said, breathlessly. Especially in the darkness, the view was magnificent, with myriads of tiny lights glowing brightly in the darkness.

Blossom didn't stare for very long, though, and she said, "Come on, Bubbles, let's move...Chronos will be right behind us..." The two of them flew down towards one of the lower buildings, and darted out of sight.

As they watched from around the corner, they did indeed see Chronos appear up where they had appeared. They ducked back around. "He won't give up, will he?" Bubbles asked.

"No...and we can't keep running forever," Blossom answered. She looked around, trying to find something useful, and her eyes spotted a viewscreen against one wall, that read: PUBLIC DATABASE TERMINAL X8297YV92. Blossom flew over to it and glanced around, trying to find any kind of controls.

Bubbles peeked around the corner again, and said, "He's still looking for us, but I think he doesn't know where we are..."

"Good...keep an eye on him, and warn me if he's getting close," Blossom said. She peered closely at the screen and thought, This thing doesn't have any controls...how do I turn it on?

A moment later, the screen printed: INVALID COMMAND -- TERMINAL IS ALREADY ACTIVE.

Blossom grinned, and thought, It read my mind! Well, this will make it a lot easier. She narrowed her eyes, and thought, Computer, display information on...Chronos.

The screen printed: CHRONOS -- AN INFAMOUS TIME CRIMINAL, BELIEVED TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE THEFT OF PRICELESS ARTIFACTS FROM HISTORY. VERY LIMITED DATA EXISTS ON THIS CRIMINAL'S ORIGIN OR STATISTICS.

"Hmm," Blossom murmured. She thought, Okay, display information on petrification ray.

The screen printed: PETRIFICATION RAY -- A DEVICE INVENTED IN THE LATE 24TH CENTURY, USED TO PRESERVE ORGANIC MATERIALS BY CHANGING ITS MOLECULAR STRUCTURE TO A SOLID MINERAL SUBSTANCE.

Blossom thought, Is there a way to reverse the process?

The screen printed: YES -- THERE IS A SIMPLE FORMULA WHICH WILL REVERSE THE PETRIFICATION PROCESS.

She smiled, and had an idea. She quickly thought, Can you print me a hardcopy of the formula?

A slot opened up on the side of the terminal, and a slip of paper came out. She grabbed it, and said, "Yes!" She thought, There may be a chance to save Buttercup after all...

Bubbles suddenly whispered, "Shhh...he's coming this way!"

Blossom nodded, and put the goggles back on, looking for another time window. There were a lot of them in this area, and it wasn't difficult at all to find the one she was looking for. She flew over to it and reached in, dropping the paper into it. "Okay," she said, "Let's get out of here!" The two of them chose a different window, and leaped through it.

Chronos came around the corner, and glanced between two of the time windows. "Hmm...they wouldn't have split up," he mused. He adjusted the tracking display on his goggles, and it told him that one of the windows was recently used by two living beings. He said, "I'm impressed, but now, it's time to end this once and for all." He hovered through the window, disappearing from view.

JUNE 14 -- 2730 AD -- 10:22 PM

One of the city security officers stared up at the night sky. He was just thinking about how nothing ever seems to happen on his shift, when a moment later, a large stone statue suddenly dropped out of the air, slamming to the ground in front of him. He looked at it with surprise, but instantly recognized it. He smiled and said, "Ahh, Chronos...the infamous time criminal himself. We've been looking for you for a long time."

Chronos, still in statue form, was unable to answer, but even if he had, he probably still wouldn't have been able to come up with a good comeback. All he could do was sit there, frozen, as other security officers converged on his position.

And so, once again, the day was saved (any day, just pick one!), thanks to the PowerPuff Girls!

THE END