Alpha World Line 0.20360
By – Hime no Ichigo
Characters: MAKISE Kurisu, OKABE Rintarou
Story Type: One-shot(?)
Summary: In a dystopia, she hopes all this is a dream, a dream—a dream?
Disclaimer: Steins;Gate is the intellectual property of 5pb. and Nitroplus.
Spoilers: This is considered as AU, but still contains elements from the original story.
Her memories are always hazy whenever she tries to remember events around her twelfth birthday.
She was born with a level head, to highly intelligent and loving parents who devoted as much time as they could to teaching her the intricate matters of life. She was a questions child, always wondering about things – and there was always something new each day. Home-schooling was done by her parents and sometimes their colleagues, whenever they were excused from the confines of their labs and work. Bedtime stories weren't fairy tales, but abstracts from newly published scientific articles, mainly on the subject of physics.
Her mother wasn't as research-based as her father, but she spent hours at the university, giving lectures to students who didn't understand a word she said, but still needed to take a physics course in order to advance in their programs. Once or twice, she could hear her mother cursing in frustration while marking their tests.
Her father was patient and kind, though rarely at home too, with most of his time spent in either the lab or the library, researching the intriguing concept of time travelling. His study became buried in research papers, the wrinkles and bags around and under his eyes gradually deepened, and his hair turned white at an alarming rate.
To Kurisu, time paradoxes were challenges to her intellect, and she gladly took them on as her father bounced ideas off her. In her room, under her bed, she stashed scraps of paper as she collected bits and pieces of information she could find – even equations that meant nothing at the time, or scientific terminology that had no place in her vocabulary. She wanted to make up the lost time and distance with her father by catching up with her studies. Problem-solving became her childhood, and nothing changed as she grew into a teenager, a young adult, and eventually, a woman.
When her father died, she stayed in shock and denial for many weeks. Her mother didn't handle it too well either, though she managed to finish the burial business with very little problem. Her mother became distanced, saying that Kurisu reminded her too much of her deceased husband, and she spent increasingly longer hours away from home. His death was a hushed up "accident" – or so the news reported – but Kurisu knew better than that. It was anything but an "accident."
That was when she was twelve. And it was then she vowed to carry on her father's ambitions until she died.
Her father didn't leave much for her, really. His lab was ruined, completely in shambles, but he always kept spare labcoats at home. Kurisu took it upon herself to inherit the set, as it was only fit since she was going to rebuild his wing. She knew the dangers the plan imposed, knew how much her father would oppose (if he was still alive); but she was going to do it, regardless of how much the government wanted to crush them, to plug their thirst for new knowledge.
Now, going on 24, Kurisu stands at the front of a small room, giving her presentation on time machines and how theoretically it was an impossible feat. She sees sceptical faces and convinced nods, but she pays them no attention, not making hasty conclusions about the level of persuasion of her research of twelve years. The audience is painfully small, only a handful of bright, inquiring minds left in the scientific community, and a few stragglers who want to pass time fill up the rest of the seats. They look completely bored out of their skull.
Kurisu is wary of any government officials here, ready to bolt at the first sign of any trouble. She just hopes to get through her talk without any mishaps.
A man in a white labcoat approaches her after, eyes wild and animated and all too eager to talk. A scientist? She decides no. She's hesitant, but this is their floor now, and most of the audience have already taken their leave; she can't say no.
"Yes?" Kurisu asks in her most polite voice, hoping it betrays none of her true feelings.
"Your theory's all wrong," he accuses. Before she can say anything, he continues, listing a bunch of reasons, and ends triumphantly with a daring admission of having evidence that back up his claim.
Kurisu can't help but gape in shock. Suddenly, she's thankful the room is empty except for the two of them. "...Impossible," she says after a while. "That's impossible." She has spent twelve years on this, and here's some nut pretending to be a scientist trying to prove her otherwise? Impossible.
He gives her a business card – or so she thinks, because there's nothing professional about the small slip of paper. "The name's Hououin Kyouma." He offers her his hand to shake; she doesn't take it. "Come by and you'll get your answer," he promises, throwing a big grin at her before leaving her there, alone and stupefied.
She decides to take up his offer – she has to see with her own two eyes about this "evidence" and its authenticity. Her father always said "absence of evidence doesn't prove anything." It's only valid if it can be seen or tested.
The address leads her to a quieter part of the city, mostly residences...but this Hououin Kyouma doesn't live in one of the respectable houses. Kurisu wrinkles her nose in disgust as she climbs up the dingy stairs, swirls of dust floating across her face. Apparently, he lives upstairs of a local electronics store. She grimaces, reminding herself that this is all for the sake of her research. She has to do this. Only when she does can she sleep easy.
"It's Christina!" A man's voice greets her even before she gets a chance to ring the doorbell. The door flies open. "I knew I can lure you here with my char—"
"I'm only here to see the time machine you speak of," she interrupts him curtly, deciding to not question how he knows it is her (there's no peephole – at least no visible ones as far as she can tell). "If you're trying to do something else, I'll just be leaving now."
"Oh of course not, I'd love to prove our newest prodigy wrong. Well, you have no imagination, so you probably can't—"
"Science is based in facts," she says coldly. "If—"
"Let me show you the Mobile Microwave."
"Come on in, you won't be disappointed." He bows, making way for her to enter.
Kurisu holds the door and forces him to go in front of her, making sure she leaves the door unlocked – just in case she needs to run away from any funny business. It's a standard-sized apartment; its "rooms" are partitioned neatly and they are door-less unless privacy needs to be enforced. The kitchen is all the way back – apparently where his evidence awaits.
He waits for her by the microwave – which looks like any regular microwave, as far as she can see anyway – and bows again. "This, Christina, will completely shatter your thesis. Watch this." He shows her his message inbox before starting to key rapidly into his phone. "What date is it today?" He asks without looking up.
"The seventh. Why?"
"You'll see in a minute." He shows her the contents of the message, then turns on the machine and punches in 120.
There's a wave of electricity – Kurisu feels it first in her hair, as static is her natural enemy – then it ends as if nothing happened at all. She blinks at the phone screen that suddenly fills up her vision again.
"Read the date and message for me, Christina~"
"It's Kurisu," she corrects him, irritated. Nevertheless, she takes a good look – and ends up staring in disbelief. No... The message dates five days prior to the real date, but she's sure when she checked his inbox for tricks, this mail was not there.
"...Impossible," she denies the evidence in front of her. All my hard work...
"You should get your eyesight checked then, Christina. Nothing I, Hououin Kyouma, do, is ever impossible."
She backs away, the phone clattering on to the floor.
This is a dream, this is a dream, this is a dream—
- Owari -
Authoress' Notes: The reason why there's a (?) when I decided this to be a 'one-shot' is that there might be some one-shots written in this "universe"...but we'll see where this takes me.