Joumae walked into the blackness of the screen once the ending had rolled in. Looking up at the word END, he said in a surprised tone, "What!? This story is ending already!?"
With a laugh, and to Joumae's further surprise, Roxas walked into view as well. "That's what the word usually means."
"Huh?" Joumae mumbled. "Roxas? What the heck are you doing here?"
Roxas shrugged. "Doing something. The Kingdom Hearts characters got pretty much no attention during the story. I'm getting bored."
Joumae nodded knowingly, but then a thought struck him. "Hey, wait... You're referring to yourself as a character in the writing... Holy crap, we're breaking the fourth wall!"
Grinning, Roxas nodded.
"Sweet!" Joumae cheered, jumping into the air with joy. The fourth wall was something he'd been wanting to break since the first story! And now they finally had a chance to do it! When he finally calmed down, he looked toward Roxas and said, "So... what are we gonna do here?"
Roxas stepped off-screen and pulled out a projector and a laptop. Setting them up on a table that appeared out of thin air for their convenience, he said, "Well, we can take some slides from the story and give commentary on them. No restrictions on what kind of commentary, either."
The protagonist's counterpart acquired a couple of chairs and set them on either side of the table, and took a seat in one of them. Facing the wall behind him, he said, "This oughta be great."
Sora's Nobody started to work with the laptop, trying to bring up the slideshow. After a few moments, he scowled as he encountered some difficulty. "Darn Powerpoints... Ah, there we go!" The projector flickered to life.
"First up," Roxas said, "a view of Alex's apartment, right before they head into Guardia." A picture just as Roxas had described came up: a still frame looking into the living room of Alex's apartment, just as Alexander was putting in the game while Edward and Alphonse were watching.
Joumae rubbed the back of his head. "Man, that apartment's small. Alphonse takes up just about all the horizontal space between the TV and the couch!"
"And, heck..." Roxas added, "if it weren't for Alphonse, even Edward would look large in that place. I don't know how Alex and his two relatives do it." Roxas pressed a button on the laptop, and the picture faded out.
A new picture faded in. This was in the inner sanctum of the cathedral in the Middle Ages, where Alex had freed the Chancellor from the small treasure chest. Joumae laughed, seeing the priceless look on the Interference's face at that precise moment.
Roxas snickered as well. "And so that running gag begins. Man, to look at the sprites in the actual game, the Chancellor looks a whole lot bulkier than the chest."
The slide shifted, and now they saw the small, narrow, hanging bridge from the prison. Alex was leaning over the edge, with Lucca's hand in his grasp to keep her from falling. Joumae rolled his eyes. "This is where it really started, isn't it? The whole 'pairing' thing... Actually, I think the term is 'bonded by trauma.'"
Roxas leaned back, placing his hands on the back of his head. "Didn't think that the author would go for a pairing, though... I mean, Alexander is him, so does that mean he has a crush on Lucca?"
Joumae shrugged. "Who knows. Betcha that some of the fans egged him on for it, though. The people on the Legends forum."
"Oh, right," Roxas grumbled, covering his eyes with one hand. "The couple now hasshippers. Perfect..." He quickly pressed on the keyboard of the laptop, and the image shifted again. This time it was a dirty, dusty Robo sitting on a metal floor in a dark room, just as he'd been when the group had first found him.
Joumae yawned. "Good ol' Robo. Always getting swindled out of screen time. Next!"
Another shift. Now it was their battle against Masa & Mune, with Edward lobbing a Mid Ether bottle with a fireball in it. Roxas's eyes widened in surprise. "A makeshift Molotov cocktail?"
"One of his better ideas," Joumae replied with a grin. "I'm glad it was Edward who got the Fire magic, really. Fits his personality."
Roxas nodded. "Then Water for Alphonse since he's the cool-headed of the two. But why give Alex Lightning magic? I would've expected him to get Shadow magic. Y'know, to go with the whole 'darkness' theme from the first two stories."
"That would've been cliché," Joumae pointed out. "Lightning is a change of pace." He reached over the projector and pressed a button on the laptop. The image faded out, and another one came in again. Now it was the party of six flying the Dactyls toward the Tyrano Lair, in the Prehistoric era.
"I really liked Ayla as a character," Joumae said suddenly.
The Nobody smirked. "Yeah, because she wears the least clothing of all the cast," he said with a chuckle, and quickly moved the slideshow onward before Joumae could put his protest to words.
Now they were seeing the moment just before Alexander's death. The point where Alex had placed his body inbetween Lavos and the rest of the group behind him. Joumae sighed and shook his head. "I can't believe no one expected this."
"Well," Roxas cut in, "there were a couple of people on Legends. But those were the people who already knew what happens that far into the game. The other people would've been just as shocked if Crono had died."
The slide changed again, and now they were seeing Magus standing over the coast, looking down from the cliff to the sea. This had been right after the final fight with Dalton. Joumae shrugged and said, "Kinda ironic, really. Having one of the major bosses as a party member later on."
"It makes the Ozzie sidequest a bit more satisfying, though," Roxas mumbled, pressing the button on the laptop again. Now they were seeing Lucca and Alex's embrace in the dark forest, just after the last sidequest. Both counterparts chuckled, but said nothing as they went onward.
Now the two of them saw the final battle against Elaeus, with Alex wielding the new Lockshield he'd gained. "Time travel powers," Joumae grumbled. "Man, that's gonna make the next story pretty interesting. I hope there's some limitations to it, though."
The slide changed again. Here, they were seeing Edward and Alphonse on the outbound train, dealing with their new problem as hijackers attacked the train. Roxas smirked. "Alex never told them about Broken Angel, did he?"
Joumae shook his head. "Nope. Chronologically, the second FMA game comes right before the first. And with the Elrics' new abilities, it'll make those events and the rest of the series interesting, to say the least."
Suddenly, the light from the projector faded as it suddenly turned off. With confused looks, both boys looked back to see... Crono glaring at them, with his finger resting on the power button. "What are you two doing!?" he growled.
The counterparts were shocked twice over. Once for Crono appearing in their little fourth-wall-breaking session. And once again for... "You're talking!" Joumae exclaimed.
Roxas actually managed to answer Crono's question. "Uh... We're just... having a nice little slideshow." As Crono's glare intensified, he rubbed the back of his head and said, "Okay... we got a little carried away."
"A little?" Crono muttered, snatching away the projector and the laptop. "C'mon, you guys are gonna be late for the cast party."
Both boys shot up out of their seats. "Cast party!?" Joumae shouted. "I never heard about a cast party!!"
Crono nodded at them, and started walking away. Roxas groaned and slapped his forehead. "Great, we just wasted this ending." Beginning to walk after Crono, he said, "I vote to just go to the party and forget about all this."
Joumae sighed and started following Roxas. "Not a bad idea. Breaking the fourth wall isn't all that great, after all..."
Newbie-Spud here once again. As expected.
Well, did you like that little ending? I thought I might as well treat you all for being such a wonderful audience. ...And I really had been tempted to break the fourth wall for a long while now. How fortunate for me that Chrono Trigger already had such an ending that I could spoof!
Three stories. Good grief! I've typed over 400,000 words for this entire series. That's an absolutely ludicrous number on a site like this! A couple of real book novels, at the very least. And the strange thing is, I'm not even done yet! Chances are, I'll have another many hundred thousand words before you see me give this project up.
I've had a few thoughts as I've gone over the course of this story. So I might as well treat you now with giving out another set of Author's Notes, my commentary on the stories as a whole.
Of course, the word "treat" can be entirely subjective.
Resurrection of the 16th Bit
Chrono Trigger for the SNES is truly a marvelous game in its time. Excellent story, gameplay, and art all around. In fact, it was elected by GameSpot to be one of The Greatest Games of All Time. It was one of the first RPGs I'd ever played, and it's pretty darn close to my entrance into the adventure genre of video games, possibly just short of Sonic the Hedgehog.
So I felt rather loyal to this game as I came around to using it as the host for the series. But boy, what a project I'd undertaken! The game is still 16-bit, and – as I've explained before – there isn't as much detail in cutscenes as one would like when writing a story. So there has to be a certain amount of improvisation and interpretation in writing it into a novel form.
And it's really, really, really, really big!! Just about everything in the world is heavily detailed and interconnected, and trying to skip all of that wonderful detail would be dishonorable to the game. Of course, trying to capture all of it would be taxing on my writing muse – as well as my readers, I'm sure.
People who've been looking at my writing analytically – as in style, skill, and content – will notice a great change over the course of the three stories in the saga. There's a fair bit more detail now. My vocabulary has broadened somewhat, and I try not to be repetitive so much.
This adventure has forced me to increase the level of detail I pour into these stories, because of a problem the game presented that was somewhat paradoxical. On one hand, the game has a lot of detail that is hard to capture all the detail in the game, but it also requires some additions when it comes to specific movements.
Also, battles aren't so easy to capture in the game. In the three-dimensional reality I write in, the Chrono Trigger battle engine simply doesn't work. So each battle has to be done and acted in a three-dimensional sense.
It has forced me to grow in my writing prowess. If there hadn't been any progress, a lot of you probably would've stopped reading long ago.
...is the term given to the relationship between Lucca and Alexander that I've apparently established. At least, that's the term that fans of the "pairing" have given it. And it looks like it's catching among the Legends forum community.
Let me set one thing straight: I don't truly approve of the "shipping." Believe me, this came out of the blue for me as well. There was a small little pretext for it in the first few chapters, and the community of The Interference: Legends took it positively, and urged me further when I went on with it. So now we have something like this.
Romance is not something I was expecting to write at all. I just simply wasn't planning on it. But, then again, a lot of this story has been built up on improvisation and going with the flow. I suppose it also shows how much I've improved over the last year or so in writing this series.
I can be proud of it, as long as you people keep giving me compliments. Review on this site, people! If I have more reviews here, the more likely I am to work harder at writing the next installment. Less FF reviews, less motivation. Direct relationship, and all that jazz.
The Art Contest
Oh, right, that art contest. The fact is, people, that the contest was decided in a few weeks after the announcement. I got three entries for the contest, and the winner was jenny210, the same person who made the very first piece of fan art for the story! You'll see her new outfit in the next installment of The Interference. Go to The Interference: Legends if you want to see all of the submitted designs.
The Continuing Saga
So just what will this next installment be? Well, of course it'll end up being in the universe of another video game. That's how it works so far, and I enjoy that process. I can't give away the name of the host game yet, but I can give you a few hints. These will narrow down the guesses at any rate.
One, it will be back on the Playstation 2 console. SNES was fun, but I don't think I could handle another two-dimensional game. It's just simply too taxing at times. And there's no good in causing hiatuses, is there?
Second, the game will not have Square-Enix's brand on it in any way, shape, or form. Square will not have had a hand in the next game's development. Square's games are great, don't get me wrong. But there are other great stories outside of their range, and I don't want to look like I'm staying in a rut by sticking with them. Going to another developer's universe will open up the range of where this story can go.
That's all I can tell you. So make sure you be patient, and await the arrival of The Interference IV: Dark Renegade!! It will be in the Game X-overs section!
The Final Mix
But that's not all, I'm afraid. No, over the last year and on I haven't stopped pumping out new material. It's been one story after another so far, without much of a break. So I think it's time we change that up a little bit. I apologize in advance.
I'm not going to stop working, of course. But I have a little something planned to work on. You see, as I mentioned before, there is a great difference of writing style between the first story and this current one. As well as writing quality. The truth remains that I can hardly read the first story nowadays, because the first story's style is lacking compared to how it is now.
The main problem is speech in paragraphs. It's a well-known rule that there should only be one speaker having dialog in a paragraph. But I ignored this rule in the first story and for the most part of the second story. Why? Because I couldn't supply enough detail.
Without detail, if each quotation only belonged to one character, each paragraph would look only one line long on a 1024x768 screen resolution. That looks repetitive, and people would feel obliged to start skipping. I know I feel that way when I see a whole screen of one-line paragraphs. So I cut a few corners to start out.
Then, at Chapter 13 of The Interference II, I changed up the style and corrected my ways. Each paragraph with quotation only belonged to one character at a time, and I came up with more detail to thicken up the paragraphs and make the story better. And now I want to do that to the rest of the series.
Thus, starting as soon as I'm ready, I'm beginning the Final Mix Project. I'm going to be pretty much rewriting The Interference, as well as the first twelve chapters of The Interference II.
There will be no great change in plot. It will just be adding more detail, making lines a little bit better, and maybe putting in a few scenes that might make things smoother. Basically, making the first two stories even better to match the first. It might sound like an abandonment to those stories at first, but it's really an effort to make them of an even greater quality.
So before you start looking toward The Interference IV, start looking for The Interference: Final Mix in the Kingdom Hearts section. Yes, the first story will undergo a slight name change as well. Not the second, though.
And since I am simply changing the content rather than making a new story, here's how I'm going to handle the alert email system on FanFiction. I will add the improved chapters in groups of four or three. Whenever I have a new batch up, I'll delete and repost the Conclusion Special of those stories to send the alert email out. So, those of you that have subscribed to the alert emails, don't be alarmed when you start receiving those for the 45th chapter of The Interference.
And, with that, we wrap up this installment in the Interference saga. I've said all that I wanted and needed to say, so now I must go. And if you want to continue being a part of the Interference universe, go join The Interference: Legends through the link on my profile page. I'm the administrator there, so you'll most likely see me around. It's a roleplaying forum, for those of you that haven't given it a look yet, and I roleplay Alexander there.
But, all advertisement aside, Happy Holidays and have a great New Year! Au revoir!