I, in no way, claim any ownership to Chrono Trigger or any of its characters. The plot and characters of the original Chrono Trigger all belong to Square Enix.
This started as a novelization of the game where I try to make everything more realistic. But as I've gotten farther my story diverges more and more from the original. Chapter 1-2 don't diverge much at all, chapters 3-5 start to play with details, and chapter 6 onward is when it gets innovative and far more interesting in my opinion! And since you know the premise and plot already you COULD probably get away with skipping to chapter 6 until I find time to go back and rewrite (which probably won't happen until I finish this monster and who knows when that'll be!). Though if you want to see what it's like to watch a writer improve over time, you can always go through everything!
I know the question with CT novelization is always "Why?!" because there are so many out there. I wrote it because I am to this day obsessed with this game, but I can't enjoy the game anymore because I've got the thing memorized. So I had to find another way to relive the experience. So I decided to flesh it out. I post it because I figure maybe there are other cultlike fans that want more. So I hope you enjoy. Be warned though, my updates are few and far between. But I don't think I will ever stop working on this. Its way too much fun!
And lastly please give me feedback. Good, bad, I want to hear it all. I used to never comment on people's stories, but after writing my own I've discovered how much the writers want to hear how their story is received so now I've been trying to get better about that myself and ask that all you readers try too!
Anyway, hope you enjoy!
The Millennial Fair -Circa1000 A.D.
Crono lay curled up on his sides the warm heavy blankets protecting him from the cold winter air. He was blissfully comfortable. He was not going to move no matter how many times his mother called his name! It was cold out there!
"Crono," he tried to ignore it, but the voice persisted. "Crono. Crono! Get up! Don't you want to go to the fair?"
The fair! The Millennial Fair! The Kingdom was celebrating the one-thousandth year of its existence right here in Crono's own hometown of Truce Village. Today was the first day and Crono had been excited about it all year. It was, after all, a once in a lifetime event. Crono peeked his head out from under the comforter to look out the window. The sun was already approaching its zenith! He inwardly winced. Lucca was going to kill him. He was supposed to have helped her set up her display.
He quickly sprang to his feet and began looking through the scattered clothes throughout his room for something to wear. He seized upon a blue tunic and some yellowish pants that had obviously seen better days.
"Can't you at least wear something clean?" His mother cried disdainfully.
"They are clean!" he insisted.
"Then why were they on the floor?" when Crono failed to respond his mother sighed before making her exit downstairs. Crono quickly slid into his boots as he fastened his belt around his waste. And finally he tied a white bandanna around his forehead to keep his unruly bright red hair from falling into his face. He took the stairs three at a time and made it halfway out the door before his mother's voice stopped him in his tracks.
"Hold it young man! Where do you think you're going?"
"To the fair!"
"Not until you've had a decent meal," she explained calmly nodding towards the food awaiting him at the table.
"But I promised Lucca that I would help…" he tried to explain.
"You're already late a few more moments won't kill you."
"I'll eat at the fair," he protested, but he was already making his way to the table.
"Of that, I have no doubt. I have less faith in what you will be eating." Breakfast consisted of some sort of pastry baked to perfection with ribbons of apple cinnamon and cheese running through. It was absolutely delicious, but it was completely wasted on Crono who wolfed the whole thing down in less than a minute.
Just before he was about to get up to leave his mother handed him a pouch. He knew instantly that it was his allowance, but it seemed heavy. He dumped the coins into his hand and quickly counted them.
"Mom, this is two hundred gold!" It was four times the normal amount.
"I know that. Special occasions call for special treatment. Have fun at the fair," she smiled.
"Thank you," he said sincerely. He made it all the way to the door before he realized he had forgotten something. He walked back to his mother kissed her swiftly on the cheek, "I love you, mom." Her smile broadened and she shooed him out the door.
Once outside Crono stopped dead in his tracks. Lucca really was going to kill him if she ever saw him. There were people everywhere and he was still miles away from the village square. He had never seen so many people! He'd be lucky if he ever made it to the Square. Lucca was definitely going to kill him.
Leene's Bell suddenly started tolling the noon hour shaking him out of his reverie. He started trying to weave his way through the crowds without bumping too many people. He was only mildly successful, but then he couldn't really hope for much better.
Something hit Crono's legs out from under him and he found himself sprawling onto the ground. He rolled out of it as he had been taught to do and wound up right back on his feet. He scanned the crowd for likely perpetrators, but no one took responsibility.
"Excuse me sir. You are standing in everyone's way. If you do not want to follow the flow of traffic will you please vacate the street?" a man in a blue uniform asked. He was a guard from the palace. Come to think of it Crono had seen a lot of them. Strange, that they were out in such numbers. But then, there were a lot of people about.
"Umm, yes sir. Sorry sir. I will be on my way thank you," and with that Crono continued trying to duck his way through the crowd.
He finally made it to the fair without any more incidents though he had received a few glares along the way. But Crono could not bring himself to care about that now. There were so many tents and booths and games and food that just screamed for his attention. Lucca! His mind reminded him. There'd be plenty of time, weeks actually, to see and explore all this. First, he had to find Lucca. Hopefully, she would be in a good mood. But where to look? He didn't know where her invention was set up. He started wandering aimlessly fairly certain that Lucca's booth would stand out like no other.
He was wrong. Crono could not resist the swords on display. They were the best-crafted weapons he had ever seen. One in particular caught his eye. . The steel blade appeared flawless. He was certain that it wasn't, but he didn't care. The handle was simple with the design of a vine running across it. It was not heavily bejeweled or overly gilded. It was perfect. He caught the eye of the old man behind the counter. The old man was dressed more strangely than anyone else he had seen that day. He was wearing orange and blue robes with a funny little hat that had to have gone out of fashion centuries ago.
"Excuse me sir. Could I have a closer look at that one?" Crono pointed to the one he liked. The man turned towards him. Only then did Crono see that he walked with the assistance of a cane. The man began stroking his mustache as if concentrating. He leaned over the counter peering through the glasses that bridged his nose into Crono's eyes. Crono fidgeted nervously. He felt he was being measured and judged and that this man could see into his very soul.
"And what would a young lad like yourself need with such a weapon?"
"Need? I suppose I don't need it sir. But I'd like to have it just the same. It is a beautifully made weapon. True craftsmanship and spirit went into it. Much as I'd like to have it I don't think I have the skill to match it." The man seemed amused. Well, he didn't smile or anything, but Crono thought he saw a twinkle in the man's eyes. Then again maybe he was imagining things. Whatever the case the man brought it down. Crono took it up feeling its weight and balance before settling into his normal ready stance and performing a few standard warm up strikes and blows at an invisible foe. The thing was so light! And it handled amazingly well. The balance was perfect. The blade was perfect. Crono sighed inwardly. There was no way he could ever afford such a wonderful piece as this. He looked closely at the hilt looking at the simple decorative work. He was about to place it back on the counter when he noticed what appeared to be a word. He brought it up to his face but the symbols were no letters he recognized.
"How much are you asking for it?" Crono asked dreading the answer.
"It depends. As you said Crono, it is an art. I make each unique and I know there is but one person fit to wield each weapon. And I will sell a sword to none other than the person for which it was made." He paused, "But at the same time an old man does have to make a living."
"How do you know if it's the right person?"
"You have just demonstrated how I know. That weapon, when you hold it, looks like it is a part of you, just an extension of your arm." Crono was doubtful. Any skilled swordsman could do such a feat and he was far from being able to call himself skilled. He really had just performed a few warm up exercises, but then the implications of what the man had said sunk in.
"You mean you'd sell it to me? That you think you made that weapon for me?"
"Crono, I have seen you wield it. I always know. It can be yours. And I am always right for I am the only one who judges," the old man started chuckling. Crono gave him an odd look. Was that supposed to be funny?
"I cannot take less than a thousand." Crono winced. The weapon was worth ten times that much, and yet he could not help but wanting to take the old man up on his offer. But he had only half of that and his mother would kill him if he spent all he had. And on the first day! And there was no way he could ask for more. Even if she wanted to, which she probably wouldn't, she didn't have a whole lot to give. Not towards the purchase of a sword anyway.
"How long will you be here?"
"I will be here for the first week or so until I sell all of those," he gestured to a pile of well-made but otherwise ordinary blades.
"I will be back sir," the man nodded.
"I do not doubt it."
The bell started tolling again. Had an hour gone by already? He had to find Lucca. Oh, how she was going to kill him!
"I gotta go sir! I will be back!"
Crono forced himself to turn back just long enough to read the sign on the booth, which read 'Melchior's Hut.' The old man was smiling. The man was strange, an artist of amazing talent, but strange just the same. He had gotten all the way to the end of the row before he stopped dead in his tracks. How had the old man known his name? Crono almost went back to ask, but thought better of it. He had to find Lucca!
It didn't take long. There were only a hundred gaudy signs for the display. Must have been the work of Taban, Lucca's father. He was always just a bit over enthusiastic about things. Lucca had selected a spot at the north end of the square. A little section surrounded by trees. Clever of her. It meant people could not really see anything until they were admitted. But two palace guards were blocking the way.
"Lucca is not ready to have viewers yet. You must wait until she's finished setting everything up."
"It's okay. I'm Crono, a friend of Lucca's. I'm supposed to be helping her set up." How on earth had Lucca managed to get two guards to block entry?
"Right. Do you know how many people have said that? Everyone just wants to get a peek at what Lucca is unveiling. Why should we believe you?" the guard was starting to get irritating.
"No seriously. I'm a friend of hers. She asked me to come help. Go ask her. Just tell her that Crono's here," Crono tried not to sound impatient.
"Then why didn't you show up with the rest of her set up crew?"
"Because I overslept! Now let me through." He tried to push his way past the annoying guard, but the other grabbed him by the collar.
"You were told you could not pass. Now do I need to throw you in the dungeon for a night to make that clear?"
"Umm… no sir. Sorry sir." Crono sighed in relief as the man released his collar. Lucca was going to kill him.
"You will wait in line like everyone else. You understand?"
"Yes sir." And walked away before he punched the annoying guard in the jaw. He was sure he could take them, but that would definitely get him into trouble and then he wouldn't have to worry about Lucca being mad at him. Yeah, it would be best not to go there.
He wasn't really watching where he was going so it shouldn't have surprised him when he finally ran into something. But it did. He was shuffling staring gloomily down at his feet and the next moment he was staring up at them. His head was ringing. No, Leene's Bell was ringing. That was odd. It wasn't on the hour. People who hear Leene's music will lead interesting lives. It was something his father had told him when he was little. He dismissed the memory and pulled himself up looking for his assailant.
His assailant turned out to be a girl. She wore a blue green jumpsuit that only had a mild layer of dust on it from the fall. Her golden blonde hair was tied neatly back in a matching ribbon. She was actually kind of cute.
"I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" There was a small cut on her forehead.
"My head…" she replied woozily.
"Do you feel dizzy? Can you stand? We really should have someone take a look at you."
"A little dizzy, but I think I'm okay." She started to stand and almost fell again, but Crono half expecting this was ready to catch her.
"Easy. I've got you. Let's go see if they have a healer anywhere in the grounds. What's your name?"
"Don't tell me I hit you so hard you can't remember who you are!" Crono exclaimed only half in jest.
"No, it's Marle," she said so quickly Crono gave her an odd look.
"Okay Marle, my name is Crono. Let's go find that healer."
"No, it's okay, I'm… My pendant! It's gone." She was pulling at a simple silver chain around her neck and began searching the ground frantically. Crono wasn't sure, but was that panic in her voice? He saw a sparkle off to his right and picked it up. He rubbed the dirt off it. It was a gorgeous gemstone. He had never really seen anything like it. From one angle it was sea green and from another it looked red. How could someone affect a jewel in such a way? He could definitely see why she might be afraid to lose it. He doubted it could be replaced. It had a hole in it where a silver ring went through, but the ring had broken open. That was how it had fallen off. He handed it to her.
"Is this it?"
"Oh yes. Thank you so much. I thought I had lost it," she hugged the jewel to her chest.
"We really ought to go to that healer now. It's just at the end of this row. Just to make sure your head is alright." He half supported and half guided her. The tent was white with green stripes. Healers always wore those colors. But Crono thought the attempt to look festive completely failed. There was a healer on the outside giving initial inspections and admitting patients to the tent. Most injuries seemed to have been caused by accidents. It never occurred to Crono that so many people could get hurt at a festival. Two palace guards were standing on either side of the tent's entrance.
"No really," Marle suddenly pulled away from his grasp, "I feel fine." She seemed steady enough. "I really don't want doctors poking at me all day. But really, you should pay more attention to where you are going. If you had I would not have been hurt in the first place." Crono was indignant. She had run into him just as much as he into her. Probably more so in fact because it had been a hard impact and he had barely been walking. He was about to tell her as much when she turned back to him. She was smiling. She was teasing him he realized.
"You could make it up to me," she said wistfully.
"Could I really? What could I ever do so that your royally lovely self would ever forgive the lowly humble little ole' me?" two could play this game. But she was glaring at him suspiciously all of a sudden. Had he done something wrong? She must have seen his confusion because her smile quickly rematerialized.
"Why yes. You could show me around this place. I am not from around here you see. And maybe we could get this fixed as well," she held up her pendant. "My father would be less than pleased if I came home with it in this condition."
"I think I know just the place," and he led her off through the maze of stands and booths.
They finally came across a jewelry stand. It was run by a middle-aged man, but he seemed agitated and flustered.
"How can I help you?"
"Well…" Marle cut off as a teenage girl came in through the back.
"Elaine! Did you find him?" The man had completely forgotten he had customers.
"No father. I asked a couple of guards if they had seen him and to keep and eye out for him, but I don't know how much good that'll do. They were very preoccupied. Apparently the princess has run away again. They are looking for her. I am sorry father. I'll keep looking if you like." The girl's father heaved a sigh.
"No, he'll come back. It's just not like him to be gone for so long. Where could he be?" The man suddenly jumped at the site of Marle holding out her broken pendant. "I'm sorry. Please, how can I help you?"
"My pendant fell off its chain. I was hoping you would be able to fix it," she handed him both chain and pendant.
"Anything for a lovely lady," he said with a winning smile that quickly faded when he took a closer look at the jewel.
"Where did you get this? This is the roy-"
"My mother gave it to me before she died. Please… can you fix it? It means a lot to me. And my father will be most displeased if I bring it home as it is. Please sir." Crono could not see her expression. She sounded like she was going to cry.
"Uh… of course, my lady. 'Twill only take a moment," and the man pulled out a simple enough looking tool and pushed the silver ring back together and then restrung it onto the chain. "There you are my lady. Good as new," he presented the mended pendant back to Marle.
"Thank you sir. How much do I owe you?"
"Nothing my lady. Your smile is enough." Right, Crono thought, because smiles were great at paying bills! Why was the man acting so strange? She wasn't that pretty.
"No, I must…" she was trying to press a few gold pieces into his hand. But he waved them off as if trying to ward them away.
"No, I couldn't possibly," he pushed her hand back and smiled again. "Have a good day my lady." She nodded and smiled and they left.
"You're lucky to have something to remember her by." Crono said softly. She turned a questioning glance his way.
"Your mother," he said simultaneously nodding towards her pendant. She grasped it self-consciously and didn't seem to know what to say.
"So that was strange," Crono saved her by changing the subject. "I've never met a peddler unwilling to be paid! What's your trick? Can you teach it to me?" He smiled brightly at her.
"No trick. Now let us see the rest of the fair!" She replied happily and grabbed his hand and began pulling him down the aisle.
And so they did. They watched races. They played games. He won prizes for her and even let her win a few times. They went dancing to the some 'authentic' Jurassic music. Though how something that old could still be authentic after all that time was beyond Crono. They even tracked down a kitten for a little girl who had lost it. They smiled and giggled a lot over that one. And Crono discovered at a shooting range that Marle was not at all bad with a crossbow. Who would've thought? In fact, she was more than not bad. He really truly could not beat her. She seemed to know that too. It was quite irritating.
They came to one corner of the fair and had to cover their ears. Someone was singing and not at all well. It was really low and not at all pretty. It sounded all too familiar to Crono. Lucca had laughed hysterically over it for weeks. She had made a singing robot! But it did not sing well, not in any musical sense anyway. And she thought it was great. She made all kinds of gadgets and machines, but there always seemed to be something slightly wrong with it. But in Gato she didn't seem to mind. She just thought it was funny especially with the way everyone else reacted. She said that he would make a great watchdog, or watch-robot rather.
Gato was in a square ring. There were a couple of attendants. Apparently you could fight Gato. The ring was just a box on the ground. There wasn't anything to hold you in so you could run away if you wanted. But if you stepped out of bounds you were disqualified. They allowed up to three fighters to compete at once and the goal was to cause 'damage' or disable the robot. If you struck a blow the robot would register a certain number of damage based on the force of the impact and where you hit him. Supposedly if you got to a certain number he would declare you won. But it reset after each contest and no one was managing more than one blow. He just kept singing, which the fighters couldn't stand and would slowly push or sometimes throw them out of bounds. No one seemed to get seriously injured though. Gato must have been programmed to be nonlethal for today. Crono knew that that could be changed. Crono didn't feel like competing. He felt no need to show off. They watched a couple of unsuccessful attempts. The audience seemed quite amused.
"Crono, we could take it," Marle surprised him.
"Oh, I don't know. I'd rather not embarrass myself," he replied.
"But we could take him. You use a sword?"
"How did you know that?" He really wanted to know.
"It's in the way you move. I am not really certain. Anyway, you strike in close and right when he's about to grab you I shoot him with an arrow," her excitement was growing.
"Marle, it's a robot! Not an animal. It calculates the damage it takes. It's not actually being damaged. Hitting it does not actually hurt it. It does not get disoriented or confused or angry. It will not hesitate."
"Perhaps not, but watch," she gestured towards the current contestants, "the robot does not hesitate or get confused, but there is a pattern. It goes after the last person who hits it, like facing the most immediate threat. The only reason no one is victorious is because the teams have no strategy. Or rather they all attack it at once. So if you stay in close and hit it, then I shoot an arrow at it, it should then come after me. But before it gets to me you have to hit it again."
"I didn't take you for a strategist."
"Well, I suppose I could do that as well. But the correct term for this kind of thinking is tactician." There was a difference?
"Oh, well excuse me. Why do you want to do this?"
"Oh come on! It'll be fun! I will let you keep all the prize money?"
"Yeah, 1000 gold to the first person who wins, 750 for the second, and 500 for the third," she pointed to a sign by the entrance to the ring. "The other prizes get a lot smaller. Probably works that way because the chances of other people watching other people's successful tactics go up so its not as much of an accomplishment to win after watching so many other people show you what you have to do."
"Has anyone won already?" If any of those first three prizes were available… Crono tried not to hold his breath.
"Umm… we could ask, but in any case will you do it?"
"Only because you insist."
As it turned out one person had already won early that morning, but no one since. There was an entry fee and they had to sign a petition agreeing that if they got hurt it was no fault of the inventor of the robot, nor the attendants who prepared and refereed them. They were allowed to pick from a variety of weapons, all which had a blunt edge, but that would be expected. Crono managed to find one sword that wasn't too banged up and Marle managed to find fifteen crossbow bolts that she was satisfied with.
Crono with Marle behind him and to the right faced Gato in the ring. He was singing his horrible song. Something about beating him up would earn a prize? Crono tried not to let that distract him. The referee blew his whistle. Gato didn't waste any time. His huge metal arm was swinging threw the air. Crono ducked down. His hair flowed in the breeze created by the swinging arm that could only be an inch or two above his head. It was amazing that something so big and awkward looking could move so fast! Then the other arm was coming and Crono had to jump awkwardly to the side. This was bad. He was off balance and his footwork was all screwed up and he could not seem to get himself back into form. It was all he could do just to dodge the next attack.
And then just as suddenly Gato was gone. He was stomping across the ring. He was going after Marle and was not wasting any time. Crono chased after him with his wooden sword poised above his head ready to strike. He couldn't see Marle as the huge Gato was in the way, but it seemed to Crono that she must be dangerously close to being pushed out of bounds if she wasn't already. He desperately hoped she hadn't been. This would be so much more difficult without her. He managed to strike two times before Gato swung around and made solid contact. Crono didn't really remember flying through the air or falling onto the ground, but he was suddenly there and that must have been what happened. And Gato was already on top of him the arm came down and smashed to the ground. Crono had somehow managed to just barely roll out of the way. He was struggling to stand up. Not an easy task when the world was spinning around you and there was a giant robot trying to kill you! Not to mention the singing that made his headache so much worse. But Gato was already heading back towards Marle. Thank goodness she hadn't been pushed out. But that also meant that Crono had better get moving before he did lose her. He ran back across the square, struck twice and then rolled down expecting the retaliatory blow and struck again before running back to the other corner where Marle seemed to have excellent timing as always. They repeated their pattern only twice more before Gato declared them the victors in his horrible sing song voice. In truth, it was very anticlimactic, almost disappointing. Once they had the rhythm down there had been no challenge whatsoever. No fun at all.
"Congratulations Crono, Marle! You won second place!" the attendant handed them an envelope, "Here is your prize. Enjoy it!" But there were advantages of course Crono thought to himself as he took the envelope. The crowd was cheering as well. Yes, Crono guessed he didn't mind too much that it hadn't been that difficult.
"Are you alright?" Marle was grinning from ear to ear, "There were a couple of times there where I thought you might have been hurt."
"No, I'm fine. Ears are ringing a little, but nothing my swords-instructor hasn't done to me twice over. Are you sure you don't want any of this? It doesn't seem fair that I take it all." He was referring to the money.
"I do not need it. Plus, you did most of the work. I just wanted to win. I told you we could take him!"
"So you did. Hey, there's a funny old man that I would like to go see now. You still want to hang around?"
"Sure. I have nothing better to do. You seem fine enough company."
Crono led Marle back to where the rows of booths and stands had been. It took him a little time to find Melchior's Hut again. He hadn't remembered exactly where it had been. But he did find it. And Crono could have sworn that the old man had not moved.
"Hello again. Hadn't expected you back so soon," He greeted.
"Hello old man. This is my friend Marle," he gestured towards her. Melchior took her hand with a flourish and graciously kissed it.
"I am Melchior, pleased to be at your service." Marle snatched her hand back.
"Why thank you good sir. I am honored to meet your acquaintance." Crono was forced readjust his opinion. She was more than kind of cute. When she smiled like that it was like the sun was rising.
"Hey, speaking of names how did you know mine?" Crono asked forcing his attention back to Melchior less she catch him staring.
"You told it to me."
"I did not."
"I assure you that you did," he was very calm
"But I don't remember telling you."
"You will remember in time," his blue eyes sparkled with amusement, "My dear, that is a lovely pendant. I am a collector of such rarities. May I have a look?" Crono opened his mouth to object the change in subject, but thought better of it. The old man was crazy. And yet, the man knew his name.
"Of course sir," Marle took the pendant off her neck, but Crono noticed that she never let go of the chain as she showed it off.
"It is made of a very rare material. You don't see much of it anymore. Has this been in your family long?
"Why yes sir. As long as we can trace back."
"Amazing. Treasure it."
"I do sir." He was like a grandfather doting on a favorite grandchild.
"So Crono, I assume you are here for your sword. How did you manage to come up with the revenue?" he said as he brought it down with a matching scabbard. Crono hefted the weapon in his hands experimentally trying to contain his glee at the expertise of the craftsmanship. He paid Melchior wishing that he could give the man truly what it was worth.
"We won a bout with the robot, Gato!" Marle exclaimed excitedly when Crono didn't respond and proceeded to describe the events. Melchior was soon laughing at Marle's antics. She seemed to have a talent for telling stories. Crono found himself just as rapt at her explanation as the old man and he had been there!
"Sounds as exciting as Lucca's magic show is said to be!" Crono hit his hand to his head.
"Lucca! She's going to kill me!"
"You know her?" Marle asked.
"Know her? We've been playing together since we were three. I know her well enough to know she's not going to be happy with me. Sorry to be so abrupt Melchior. But I am really late. Thanks so much. I will take good care of her." Marle gave him a funny look. She thought he was talking about her he realized. "The sword," he said by way of explanation.
"I'm sure you will my boy. Hope to see you again."
"What are you late for?" Marle asked as soon as they started off.
"It's so stupid," and Crono explained how he was supposed to help Lucca set up, but he slept in and how that stupid guard would not let him in. And he had planned on waiting there till the exhibit opened up, but that was when he had run into her.
"So yeah, I really should go up there if it's finally open. It's supposed to be really impressive. Plus, that way you can meet Lucca. She's a little, well… focused is the nicest word, but if you get used to that she really is a great friend."
When they arrived there was a line and so they decided to get some candy to eat while they waited. They chatted and the time went by fairly quickly though they must have been waiting for some time. Finally the guards started letting a group through. Marle pushed him into the middle of the crowd where Crono almost ran into some poor kid.
"Hey! What was that for?" Crono wanted to know.
"Oh, umm… I just thought… that… since the guard didn't much like you earlier today that it would be best if he did not see us… you I mean," she was babbling. Why was she suddenly so tense?
"Well, I appreciate the thought, but you don't have to be so rough about it. I'm sure it wouldn't have been that big a deal. I mean after all, I actually did wait in line." Finally they were stepping into the mini square. Lucca was facing her newest invention. Her purple hair was peaking out of her helmet. Crono had told her she was crazy when she told him she was going to dye it purple. He had always felt that unnatural hair colors didn't always make the best impression, but he had to admit it suited her rather well. She turned around to face her new audience. She readjusted her glasses and straightened her brown tunic. Crono could see her mentally preparing herself for a long explanation. He made himself comfortable.
"This is the Telepod," Lucca gestured towards two circle platforms on either side of the square. The blue platforms were wired to boxy machinery lying just to the side of either one. There was a monitor and control panel connected to each station. In no way were the two terminals connected together. "The device creates a Super Dimensional Warp field and anything on the left pod is transported into a inter-dimensional space and then brought back into our space-time dimension on the right pod. This works because inter-dimensional space exists everywhere and can be lined up with any point in our reality. So the subject is not moving really fast so much as being instantly teleported from one point to another. Inter-dimensional space is not really a plane overlapping ours where there is a coinciding point for every point in ours, but rather it is a single point that connects to all points in our own reality as well as all other dimensions. So theoretically we could, once in inter-dimensional space, go anywhere, even to dimensions outside our own. The problem lies in that once in inter-dimensional space you've caused an imbalance in energy in our universe. Energy has to be conserved so you are pushed back into normal space at the most natural place- usually where you started because the way the atoms are aligned. We compensated for this by making the second pod look identical to the first in every way even at the subatomic level while reversing polarity on the first pod. So when you're pushed back into normal space the second pod looks more like where you started than the first so you rematerialize there. The device, if synchronized correctly, should work just as well over significant distances. No rules broken. Energy is conserved and relativity does not apply."
"Did you understand that?" Marle whispered.
"I stopped trying to understand Lucca long ago. I've learned it's not so important why it works. Just need to know what it does."
"What does it do? I missed that part."
"You stand over there," he pointed to the left pod. "You disappear. Then reappear over there," he pointed to the right pod.
"I see," she said noncommittally.
"Let me demonstrate. Any volunteers? I assure you it has been tested and is safe. The possibilities of being transported elsewhere or getting caught between realities is extremely remote." Everyone took a step back assuring Lucca that they would not be volunteering. "Oh come on! Someone must be willing to try," she was practically begging.
"I don't know…" someone murmured, "Lucca's inventions never do quite what they are supposed to."
"I'll do it." Crono weaved himself out of the crowd.
"Crono! Where have you been?" She demanded. "You were supposed to be here hours ago!"
"Do you really want to have this conversation now?" he nodded towards the crowd of people behind them. Her cheeks reddened.
"I guess not, but if you think you've gotten…" she was getting louder again.
"Right. Sorry. Go stand over there," she pointed to the left pod. Crono complied. She was reading a panel next to his pod. She keyed something in.
"So you know those other possibilities you were talking about? Just how remote are they?" She smiled at his discomfort.
"Hardly worth mentioning my friend." She said as she keyed in something else.
"And yet you mentioned them." If anything her grin widened.
"Good-bye Crono." She pushed a button, he felt the machine power up, the pad beneath his feet lit up, and then he was enveloped in blue light. It was strange. For an instant he couldn't pinpoint where sounds were coming from and he had double vision. It wasn't like he was dizzy and seeing double images, but rather he saw two different scenes at the same time overlaid on top of each other. Almost like for a second he was in two places at once. Then it faded away and he realized that he was on the other side of the square.
"Welcome back Crono. How do you feel?" Lucca was asking from the other side. She had been standing right next to him. Now he was standing next to her father. It took a second to get used to. He made his way back to Lucca.
"I feel fine. It's disorienting for a second. But I feel completely normal now."
"Crono, that was amazing! I want to try." It was Marle.
"So this is why you were so late. How did you manage to pick up such a cutie?" Lucca whispered teasingly into his ear.
"It's not like that at all."
"Uh huh," she said skeptically.
"Behold ladies and gentlemen, as this vision of loveliness steps aboard the telepod," Taban announced. Marle skipped up the steps in childlike glee. She couldn't stop smiling.
"You know," Crono piped up. "It really isn't that exciting. I would imagine it's more impressive to watch." But he couldn't help smiling at her behavior.
"Crono, don't tell them that! You're supposed to convince others to try it by your example. Not that it's boring!"
"I will just have to see for myself. Throw the switch Lucca." Lucca was already keying all kinds of things into her pad. Her hands moved amazingly fast. She pushed the button. The whirl of power buzzed through the air for a second and then choked. The light on the pad began to flicker.
"That's odd. It should have plenty…Hey dad, I need more power!"
"Roger that." Taban called back. The pad brightened and for a second everything seemed to be all right. And then Marle screamed. The pad underneath her was sparking up towards her pendant, which had started to glow.
"I'm going to shut it off!" Lucca yelled over the noise. Then a lightning bolt shot out from the pad and hit the panel. Lucca screamed and fell backwards. Crono ran to her side. She was unconscious. Taban was soon right next to him. Crono looked back towards Marle. Her smile was gone. She looked terrified, but she wasn't panicking.
"Marle, it's your pendant!" Crono yelled, but she was way ahead of him. She had already taken it off and dropped it to the floor. "Taban, is there anyway you can turn it off?" But his control panel had exploded too. The air around Marle seemed to blur and it slowly darkened into a crackling ball of dark blue and purple energy. It was getting bigger.
"Marle! Get out of there!" She was trying, but she seemed to get pulled backwards into the hole in the air. It enveloped her and she disappeared as the ball shrunk back down into nothing. And then it was horribly silent.
Lucca was the first to move. She slowly sat up clutching her head.
"Are you alright?" Taban asked.
"I think so. What happened? She turned towards her invention. Marle's pendant lay alone on the blue pedestal. "She's gone isn't she?" She stood up. But Taban and Crono were both ready to catch her should she be slightly unstable.
"…something always goes wrong…"
"I told you it'd be exciting!"
"How can you say that? Someone is…gone!"
The comments weren't helping. Crono gave Taban a look and nodded towards all the people who were gaping at the aftermath.
"Okay folks, there's nothing left to see here," he waved the people out. "The authorities will take it from here," They slowly wandered out. They looked as confused and bewildered as Crono felt.
"No doubt they will want to arrest me," Lucca sobbed.
"Lucca! What are you talking about?"
"I knew something was wrong. I should have shut it down then. But no, I thought nothing could go wrong and that I had everything in control and that I could compensate for the malfunction. I should have known better! I was messing with space-time. A mistake is not exactly forgivable. She's dead because of me!" Lucca was in shock. Crono didn't want to be insensitive, but this was no time for a guilt trip. He took her shoulders in his hands and shook her.
"Lucca! Snap out of it! I know this is hard for you, but right now you are the only one who knows how this thing works. I need you to think. Are you sure that she's dead?"
"Crono, if she didn't show up at the target location nor reappeared at the starting point there's no way of telling where she is. She could be anywhere and let me tell you it is infinitely more likely that she is someplace where no one could survive. She could be in the core of a planet, not even necessarily this one, or in a star or space, or even transported into the middle of the sky where she could plummet to her death. Or even in the empty space between dimensions. Hell! She could be in another dimension. There is so much more of all those potential dangers than there is safe land she can stand on." Taban had come back in.
"But she could be alive?"
"I suppose so… Crono? Who was she? She looked so familiar,"
"Lucca, if she is we have to get to her. You have to figure out what went wrong."
"It wasn't the telepod," Taban interjected. "We tested it dozens of times accounting for every variable we could think of including power spikes."
"No, it wasn't the telepod," Lucca agreed. "The warp field seemed to be affected by her pendant. But how could a piece of jewelry cause a disturbance in the very fabric of space-time? It doesn't make sense!"
"Could the material it's made of have anything to do with it?" Crono asked as he walked over to the pad to retrieve it.
"I can't imagine that being the case. In all the tests there was no substance the telepod couldn't handle. I think that's because all materials are made up of the same thing at the most basic level."
"Well," Crono handed the necklace to her, "I don't claim to know anything about what substances are made of. But I had never really seen anything quite like this before." Lucca held it up and inspected it through her goggles.
"Well, even the simplest of elements have more than one spectra, but I've never seen a substance where the naked eye could distinguish between them without diffracting lens in such a split manner. Most peculiar. I have to run some chemical tests on it to discover some of its properties before I can truly tell you what might have happened."
"How long would that take?"
"A week or two at best," Taban replied.
"We don't have that kind of time. Lucca, we know the pendant caused it. We saw it happen. Let me take the pendant and you can send me to wherever it sent Marle. She might need help."
"Crono, I can't duplicate the exact conditions. I can't guarantee that you'll go to the same place she did. Plus, if you take the pendant then I might not be able to figure out what happened."
"Lucca," Taban was at his terminal, "the computer logs are still intact. We should be able to duplicate the conditions for the most part as well as be able to deduct with time what exactly happened so that we can duplicate it even without the pendant. We can send him."
"Let's go then." Crono hopped over Lucca's terminal and onto the pad.
"Crono! This is crazy! We don't know where she is. She could be dead and doing this again may only succeed in doing the same to you. We'll have gained nothing."
"Do you have a better idea?" Crono demanded. Lucca opened her mouth to respond but her father laid a restraining hand on her shoulder.
"It's his choice. Let him go." He said softly. Lucca only nodded before she started punching things into her keypad again. She wouldn't look directly at Crono. Was she crying? No, that couldn't possibly be the case. Lucca wouldn't cry. The machine started up.
"I need more power."
"I need more!"
"Roger," The panel flickered as it had before and the energy began sparking all around.
"We did it!"
"I'll follow you after I know what went wrong." The pendant began to burn on Crono's chest. And he felt the air begin to thicken.
"Why? So you can die too?" He managed to get through.
"Don't be silly!" she called, "In the unlikelihood that we all end up somewhere safe you'll need me to get you back home. I'm the only one who knows how this thing works remember?" Crono felt heavy. He couldn't lift his arms. He couldn't even speak. It was all he could do just to remain standing. The dark circle was spiraling around him. He couldn't see Lucca or Taban anymore.
"Good luck Crono!" he heard someone call. He thought it was Taban. But then everything was gone. Blue lightning and purple wave patterns surrounded him. All his hairs were standing on end as the energy crackled around him. He didn't know what to make of it. Thankfully it didn't hurt. He felt like he was moving really fast. He had no idea how much time had passed. He was beginning to think that Lucca had been right. And he'd be stuck in this space for all eternity. That he was as good as dead. He felt like he was being thrown and the energy storm around him dissolved. Blackness overtook him.
A/N: This first chapter feels choppy and forced to me in places. I hadn't found my footing in this world yet. I have tried to re-write it so that it matches the quality of the later chapters, but I've only been able to make superficial improvements. So if you have the time I would really appreciate comments and feedback for THIS chapter in particular.