Disclaimer: Seriously, I don't own Xenosaga. Please don't sue.
PG-13 for violence and swearing.
AN: This is an AU. It's also something of an Alternate Timeline. Characters and situations may be or play out very differently, a.k.a Let's rewrite the plot yays!

I'm writing this for personal enjoyment, but I hope you all enjoy this as well. There will be plenty of surprises along the way, from pairings to entire plot points.

Special thanks to my beta's 100series and ladytecuma. You guys are awesome (to put up with me).

Enough of my rambling; on with the show!

Overture- On Choice

What is the distance between the outcomes of certain phenomena? Between the millions of possibilities that may come from the choice, are events--are worlds, so different because they were meant to be?

Or are they simply different because of choice?

Cause and effect. Like a wave, a single choice, a single difference will radiate out and affect other choices spreading through the whole. Some will be minimal, others will shake events to their cores and decide entire futures. Two vastly different outcomes may stem from a single choice.

A world has formed, different yet familiar. Choices made it that way.

What will be the end result of a few people's choices? Salvation or Oblivion? Only time will tell.

A record skips, a sound is heard, but it is different then before.


Destiny Shift
Act I, Scene I:Turnabout

Everybody falls, and we all land somewhere.
– From "Spin", Robert Charles Wilson


When Roland came to, there were screams, gunfire, and the smell of burning fuel. His head felt hazy and it took him a moment even with a mind as quick as his to register what a bad situation he was in. Old training took over and he suppressed the urge to bolt up immediately; after that explosion and the firefight that had erupted as a result, he definitely did not want to become another target due to carelessness.

Roland clenched his fists and waited eying his next destination, then made his move. He rolled over, cursing under his breath as glass from the blown out windows crunched under him with the whistling of bullets above him and he quietly crawled behind an overturned table. The protection from the live rounds of ammo flying would be less then satisfactory but it was better than nothing.

Just a quick trip to the Capital. He was going to kill Nigredo when he got back.

He wasn't the only one who had decided to seek shelter behind the table. Crouching, while pressing herself against the hard surface was a 100-series Realian. Only one side of her hair was still pulled in a pigtail, the other dangled loose, and parts of her green uniform were singed.

Roland ignored her, she was probably on her way between stations and had gotten caught in this sorry excuse of a detour. He reached into his coat pulled his gun out from its holster. Positioning himself, he began firing at the purple-clad forces.

U-TIC. What were they doing here? Surely they knew that an attack force this small was doomed to fail on the Federation stronghold of Fifth Jerusalem, it's very capital. Even religious fanatics like them weren't that stupid. Then it hit him.

"This is a distraction," a small voice said startling him. He looked at the 100-series beside him realizing it had been her. She bit her lip and continued.

"Their true purpose is elsewhere. While everyone directs their eyes here, and the Federation sends back-up, they'll infiltrate quietly and take what they want."

As she talked he could feel his eyebrows raise higher with every word as he fired round after round into the U-TIC forces. Those were his exact thoughts, his exact sentiments. 'We have more brains then half the Parliament,' he couldn't help but think blackly.

"Hn," was all he said though to indicate he had heard her.

The 100-series continued to keep her eyes on him, not breaking her gaze for even a moment. For some reason it was beginning to make even him feel uncomfortable.

"What are you looking at? Can't you do something useful?" he snapped.

"I'm scared," she whispered.

With those two words, he immediately felt all anger at her leave him. Roland knew that feeling all to well.

"Try to try to find something else to focus on other then the fear," he told her as he shot another man and he crumpled to the ground, preventing him from killing a Federation soldier, "It helps."

There was no reply from her, but he didn't dare look away from the chaos the battle had become. Federation reinforcements had arrived and the entire room was a melee of guns, swords, and other weapons. He was so caught up in it he didn't realize until it was too late that someone had come around behind.

Cursing himself for his stupidity he tried to turn fast enough to aim his gun as the U-TIC soldier was about to bring his sword down on him. He was interrupted when a blue Ether beam hit the U-TIC operative in the chest sending him sprawling back onto the ground. He didn't move again. Roland looked to see who had fired it.

A wide-eyed 100-series looked back at him, an Ether bow in her hands.

"I took it from one of the dead soldiers," she told him faintly. Then before he could say anything, she peeked out from behind the table and fired another arrow. He stared at her for another beat then shook his head.

'Realians', he thought. But he didn't say anything as he aimed his gun on the opposite side of her. Bullets of psychic energy and arrows of Ether soon filled the air from their small cover. More then once they had a close call when a bullet ripped clean through the table they used as cover, or an elemental Ether went off near them. But he keep firing, and the 100-series grew more confident with every arrow and soon began throwing a minor Ether every once and a while.

Then suddenly there was the a familiar hum in the air. Then there was the sound of another explosion in the room mortar and broken glass flying. There was a course of screams and moans from those unlucky enough to be caught in it. Despite this, the U-TIC forces started falling back towards the windows where the machines suddenly became visible. It was their escape route.

"The U-TIC bought transport ships!?" Roland cried out exasperated, wondering where on the planet they had gotten them, "Jesus, killing Nigredo is too good for him! I'm going to make him watch reruns of 'UMN-chan's Super Happy UMN Fun Time' until it melts his brain when I get out of this!"

He didn't expect for his ranting to elicited a sudden giggle from the 100-series.

"You're funny." she told him, as she let loose another arrow.

"No, it's the truth. He's a dead man." he grumbled back.

She had never met anyone like this before. Then again, she had never been in actual combat before in her life. But the Ether bow felt good in her hands, despite how sweaty they were from nervousness and whatever minimal instructions her program had reserved for battle seemed to be working as she fired arrow after arrow.

The instigators of the attack were retreating now. It was their only option unless they wanted to be massacred.

This day was turning out to be very bloody and violent. It worried her. How had she gotten caught up in this?

"Cover me would you?" the boy beside her said suddenly, and he abandoned his place behind the table.

Startled by his sudden boldness, the Realian nonetheless focused herself on protecting the boy who had suddenly dashed out. His coat flared out behind him as he fired at the retreating forces, ducking behind whatever cover he could find avoiding their returning shots with ease.

He couldn't be more then twelve years old physically. Yet his skill in battle was obvious. It was a strange puzzle. She wondered who he was. He had such peculiar hair and eye coloring--

That boy.

Something within her bended, blurred, then snapped; and as she felt that something within her rise, it never occurred to her to do anything but embrace the darkness.

Roland sighed, scratching the side of his head with the back of his gun as Federation forces milled around him along with scared and dazed civilians. A full retreat by the U-TIC. By now they had probably made it back to their main vessel and gate-jumped away. Despite heavy losses he knew they probably considered this operation of theirs a success.

He continued to gaze out the shattered windows out at the blue sky that wasn't quite blocked out by skyscrapers. A hit and run. How many people were dead or wounded from this? He didn't want to think about it. Yet he had to.

He knew it had to be related somehow to the Y-Data. With the recent news of the discovery of where it was, inside some Realian, it was a race between the Federation and other factions over who got to it first. The Foundation had been alerted by Helmer that the SOCE had told him to be on the lookout for a "strange Realian" as they put it. That annoyed Roland. Like that really narrowed down who the (un)lucky carrier was.

"I'm happy to see you're all right."

The sudden voice started him out of his thoughts. He spun around ready to confront whoever it was--and he faced the same battered 100-series Realian he had fought with. A bright red gash on the side of her temple stood out brightly from her green hair.

"What?" he asked feeling stupid.

But the other only smiled, "She can't say the same though. That's probably my fault."

"What are you talking about?" Roland replied annoyed; he hated feeling confused, "Are you feeling alright? Maybe you should get that injury checked out--"

She gazed into his eyes.

"Hello, Albedo." She said. Then her eyes fluttered and she collapsed towards him in a faint. As he dropped his gun, reaching out to catch her, it took him a moment to realize that that was the first time anyone had used his true name in fifteen years.

Meanwhile, across many light-years; another body fell to the ground, having made the last mistake he ever would, eyes gazing lifelessly up at his silent attacker who was gazing distastefully at the deceased.

"Humph." The man said at last wiping his hands on his red coat, "Yet another dead end. This one had no leads on the girl either."