The Theory of Sorceresses
The last time they were here, Galbadia attacked Garden, almost initiating a world war. The time before the last time they were here, Galbadia commandeered Lunatic Pandora and tried to wreak havoc. Hopefully this time, Galbadia could allow them the peace to actually accomplish a personal goal for once. Nonetheless, here they were, entering the laboratory of the most renowned scientist in the world: Dr. Odine. Though his morals were at times questionable, it was impossible to deny his genius. Without him, it is possible that Selphie, Quistis, Irvine, and Zell would be dead, and Garden would be history. Hopefully, his genius could prove useful once more.
Despite his astute intellect, he was rather surprised to see them.
"Ah, velcome. Ah, so vat do you vant zis time?"
Rinoa stepped up, slightly bashful. The way he posed his question implied that they were intruding, something that she especially didn't like to do. But there was no point not to ask now; they had already come all the way to Esthar.
"Hi, Dr. Odine! Um, last time, you said you might know of a way to suppress my sorceress powers. We never got to finish this because of the…uh…Galbadia problem." Odine's eyes lit up, and he began jumping up and down.
"Ah, yes! Seet down. I vill explain. First, let me get Laguna and ze others in here as vell."
Squall, without realizing, placed his hand on his forehead, signaling frustration. Why the hell did Laguna have to be there? This was not his problem. It was theirs. Rinoa noticed his demeanor change, and placed her hand on his shoulder for comfort. He looked over to her, and weakly grinned.
Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, the Presidential convoy arrived. Laguna had no idea why Odine wanted to see him, but it's not like he had anything better to do. Well, besides run the most technologically advanced nation in the world, who just so happens to be dealing with a monster invasion. But, that could wait, right?
As soon as the three entered, they noticed Squall and Rinoa. Immediately, their thoughts raced to the pessimistic. Last time they saw each other, a world war almost started. The time before that, they had to time travel and fight an all-powerful sorceress. What happened this time?
"Seet down. I vill explain." The trio did as ordered. "So, these two came to me vith ze issue of vanting to suppress ze sorceress' powers." Without missing a beat, Laguna interrupted.
"Wait, tell me you're NOT considering entering a cryogenic state at Sorceress Memorial again! I won't permit it, Rinoa…"
"NO!" Squall interrupted. Damn, Laguna jumped to such illogical conclusions sometimes.
"Oh, uh, okay," he replied in a low volume, embarrassed at his own outburst.
"NOW ZEN," Odine began again, frustrated that he had been deferred, "as you all know, I have studied sorceresses and magic my entire life. Recently, I have formed a new scientific theory regarding zis matter. If it iz true, zen it may be possible to suppress ze powers of ze sorceress vithout a cryogenic slumber." Rinoa's mind went in full alert. She would learn whatever it is he was about to explain, no matter how difficult.
"So first, ve begin vith the origin of ze sorceresses."
"What?" Everyone turned to Laguna once more. "Isn't that something we already know? They are descendants of Hyne, right?" Odine's face went blood red.
"ZAT IS A CHILD'S STORY, NOT SCIENCE! Let me ask you something. Do you believe in magical elves?"
Laguna thought about this for a moment. "Um, well, I don't know. I suppose not."
"Well, I've never seen them."
"Or heard them," Kiros furthered.
"Or sensed them in any way," Squall continued, knowing full well where this was going.
"Exactly! Vell, have you ever sensed Hyne in any vay?"
"Well, no, but," Laguna started, but Odine interrupted this time.
"Zen it vould be hypocritical to believe zat story. Ze only evidence for both Hyne and magical elves is folklore and books! There iz a difference between religion and science. I vill stick vith science, as it vill help us in zis case. So for now, discount ze idea of Hyne. I vill explain some biological concepts as background to vhat I am talking about."
He walked over to the large computer panel housed in his laboratory and brought up some illustrations. Squall recognized the pictures immediately, and knew where this lecture was going to go. Garden made students take general education courses such as math and science in addition to fighting and military strategy. Squall, in his attempt to be the best he could be, never got anything less than an A, and always remembered the material after the course. This was going to be a lecture on genetics.
"So, let me ask you a question. Vhat determines you?"
"What determines…me?" Laguna was confused at the question.
"Yes. Vhat you look like, your body composition, et cetera?"
"Your DNA," Squall replied confidently.
"Yes! Something physical about you iz called a 'trait'," he began. "For example, your hair color, hair shape, ratio of slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers, eye color, and so on. Now, how do you get zese traits?"
"From your genes, from your parents," Kiros answered. He felt like this was high school all over again, and surprisingly, was welcoming. It beat the stress of running a country.
"Yes. Let's discuss how zese genes form 'you'. First, zere are two forms of every gene, called an 'allele'. Depending on how zese allels are expressed, you may look a variety of different vays. Ven you are created, ze DNA of your parents combine in certain vays. You inherit chromosomes from your parents. If everything goes right, you vill have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each pair of chromosomes determines your traits, so to speak. Ze two types of alleles for each trait are called dominant and recessive."
He pressed a button on the computer screen, and another picture popped up. Squall recognized it instantly.
"Zis is called a Punnett Square. Ve can determine ze probability of certain traits occurring in you vith certain allele combinations. For zis example, ze allele for brown eyes is dominant. Suppose both of your parents are heterozygous, meaning zey have one dominant allele, and one recessive allele. Keep in mind zat you will receive exactly ONE allele from EACH parent. Zen zere are four possible combinations. You can get two dominant alleles, one from each parent, meaning you vill have brown eyes. Zis is called homozygous dominant. There are two cases in which you receive one dominant allele and one recessive allele. In other vords, you vill be heterozygous like your parents. In zis case, ze dominant genes take over, so vill again have brown eyes. Finally, you could receive two recessive alleles. In zis case, you vill not have brown eyes. It is called homozygous recessive. So vat is the probability you vill have brown eyes?"
"Seventy five percent," Rinoa answered, paying close attention. She still didn't see how this helped, though.
"Excellent! I see you understand. Let's cover another example, though, just to make sure. Suppose one parent iz homozygous dominant, but ze other iz heterozygous. Zen vat iz the probability you vill have brown eyes?"
"One hundred percent. There's no way to receive two recessive alleles," Kiros answered.
"Good. Okay, you have zis material covered. Let's move on. Natural selection. Anyone vant to summarize?"
"The strongest survive, but the weak shall perish," Squall responded. A chill ran up Rinoa's spine hearing this. It wasn't the theory that bothered her, just Squall's wording of it. Did he have to put it so…coldly?
"Yes. Basically, ze goal of a species is to survive and reproduce. In certain environmental conditions, something happens called a mutation. For example, consider a lizard living in ze desert. Abyss Worms feed on lizards, so lizards need to be able to hide. So, vat happens is eventually, a mutation might occur. Suppose out of a thousand lizards born, one is born vith ze color needed to blend in vith its surroundings. So, no Abyss Worms eats ze lizard. It survives, and via genetics, spreads its color to its offspring. However, many of ze lizards zat did not have ze color vill be eaten. After several generations, zis problem stabilizes. Zere vill be very few lizards zat did not have ze color due to predation, but ze lizards zat do have ze color to hide vill be ze majority of ze population. In other vords, as Squall said, the veak perished, but ze strong survived."
"Okay, I appreciate the biology lecture, Odine, but how does this help our problem?" Squall interrupted. This was getting ridiculous. He already knew all of this; he just wanted to help Rinoa. Then, it hit him.
"Wait...," he massaged his temples with his hands, thinking. "Your theory…you think that Sorceresses are not descendants of Hyne. You think Sorceress powers were a mutation born out of necessity, and then it became genetic, right?" Odine beamed, thoroughly impressed.
"YES! Very good!" Rinoa became completely speechless. She didn't know what to say or do. A thousand questions raced through her mind. So she was a mutation?
"Um, Odine? I'm not sure I follow. What kind of 'environmental factor' would necessitate something like that?" Laguna asked. Even Kiros was stumped.
"I think I know," Squall claimed. "Lunar Cry, right?"
"You know, I have never said zis to anyone before, but you vould make a decent scientist. Yes, a Lunar Cry." This time, Kiros had to interject on this theory.
"But didn't the first Lunar Cry happen eighty years ago? There have been documented sorceresses before that, as Squall and the gang even fought some of them during Time Compression. Plus, even if there weren't, I doubt enough generations would pass in eighty years for something like this to occur."
"Zat iz not correct. Ze Lunar Cry has happened for thousands of years. Ze one eighty years ago vas famous because it vas ze one responsible for the destruction of ze Centra civilization. Ze phenomena is essentially ze mirror image of tides. During some parts of ze day, ze moon is closer to Earth. As a result, ze gravity is higher, causing ze tides. During some parts of ze moon's revolution, it iz very close to ze Earth. Research indicates zat zis time coincides vith the moon's monster population becoming unstable, it becomes vay too saturated. Because of ze intense gravity, ze monsters fall to Earth. Zat iz ze Lunar Cry."
"Then what about the Crystal Pillar? Wasn't that needed to cause the Lunar Cry?"
"You are close. It does not cause ze Lunar Cry, per se. Ven ze Lunar Cry occurs, ze monsters vill fall to wherever ze Crystal Pillar is."
"But then what about the recent events?"
"Zat vas a special case. Even I did not predict it. You see, long ago, Tears' Point vas determined to be ze most likely place for ze Lunar Cry to occur. So, Tears' Point was constructed and equipped with a ground energy field to deflect the energy field created by ze Crystal Pillar, thus stopping ze Lunar Cry. Theoretically, it vould have worked. Even if ze Crystal Pillar vas directly over Tears' Point, according to my calculations, nothing should have happened. Ze problem vas," Odine stopped to catch his breath for a moment, and Squall took the opportunity to complete his sentence.
"Yes," he answered slowly. "You see, during Adel's reign, we excavated ze Crystal Pillar, and I became aware at an early stage of its purpose. Adel vanted to utilize it as a weapon of war. So she made me construct ze Lunatic Pandora. When the magnetic field of ze Crystal Pillar combines vith ze electric field of ze Lunatic Pandora, it can cause a Lunar Cry. This enormous power overwhelmed ze ground electric field at Tears' Point and rendered them useless. Combined with ze fact zat ze Lunar Cry is most likely bound to happen there, it just became a sure thing."
"Yeah, Adel and Odine actually used Lunatic Pandora to trigger a small Lunar Cry about seventeen years ago as a test run," Kiros explained. "We were filming a movie in Trabia, and out of nowhere, a bunch of Ruby Dragons just showed up. After we defeated a few, we noticed a large object in the distance. Turns out it was Lunatic Pandora. If you go to that area now, you can actually see the large crater that it caused."
This jogged Squall's memory. "Yeah, I remember going to that area a few times while Nida was piloting Garden. There was a large crater, and something interfered with the Garden's systems, so we couldn't pass over it."
"Yes. Anyvays, so my theory is zat a Lunar Cry prompted ze need for a sorceress."
"Okay, but, how would that work? It defies the genetics stuff we just covered." Rinoa inquired. "Only women can be sorceresses, right? But not every woman is a sorceress. This means that all women are heterozygous, and men are homozygous recessive, right? So…I'm confused."
"Actually, you are incorrect. Men are not homozygous recessive. They do not have ANY alleles for sorceress powers vatsoever."
"Okay…then how can a woman be a sorceress?"
"Zis is vere ze theory comes into play. Indeed, from research, I have found zat women are heterozygous for ze sorcery trait. But of course, zen it vould be impossible for any woman to be a sorceress. Now, what is the primary component of being a sorceress?"
"Adept magical skills," Squall replied confidently.
"Exactly. Now, can anyone use magic at any time?"
"Only a sorceress. You'd have to be junctioned to a GF."
"Exactly. You know your stuff, eh? GFs naturally have the ability to use magic, unlike humans. This is vhy we must junction to zem to be able to do so. So my theory is this. During some Lunar Cry, a woman who was heterozygous and junctioned to a GF was trying to fight ze monsters. Quickly, she and ze GF realized that it would not be enough for them to fight together, so something unusual happened: they made an agreement of some sort and fused into one being. It took on the form of the human woman, but it had natural magical abilities. She vas ze first sorceress. Ze sorceress vas more powerful than if ze woman and GF remained unfused. But, zis combination altered ze sorceress' DNA structure. Instead of being heterozygous, she vas now homozygous dominant for ze sorcery trait. Now, ven she had a child, vat happened?"
"Well, the mother is homozygous dominant, and the father is homozygous recessive, so the child is heterozygous. So they wouldn't be a sorceress?" Laguna guessed.
"No. I said a minute ago, men are not homozygous recessive. Zey have NO alleles vatsoever. So, when a daughter is born, she receives certain chromosomes from her mother. But for that particular trait of sorcery, she receives no allele from her father, meaning she inherits BOTH of ze alleles for sorcery from her mother. So vat is ze probability zat ze daughter of a sorceress is also sorceress?"
Rinoa gasped. She felt as if the entire world was going to crumble around her. Surely, this couldn't have…that implication, right? "Um…one…hundred percent?" she guessed.
"So…if I have a daughter…she will be a sorceress?"
"If ve cannot suppress your powers, zen yes, she vill be." Both Squall and Rinoa looked down. Neither knew what to say. Both wanted to comfort the other, but didn't feel compelled in the present company. They both made the subconscious decision to do so later.
"So, does that mean…I was a sorceress the entire time?"
"Yes. It vas not ze case zat Edea 'passed on' her powers to you. It vas simply zat Ultimecia possessed you. Many women go their entire lives without knowing zey are a sorceress. It is likely you vould have never known if those events did not occur."
"Odine, reverting back to the original problem, how could this help us suppress Rinoa's powers?"
"Vell, zere are a few possibilities. One, if ve could determine vat GF ze original sorceress fused vith, ve could try to have ze current sorceress unjunction. Zere is a few problems vith that method, however. First, it could be ze case zat MULTIPLE sorceresses came about in this way. Second, ve do not know vat exactly happened to ze GF ven ze original sorceress or sorceresses passed avay. It is likely ve vill never know."
"Then what do we do?"
"Ehh…I am still in ze process of figuring zat out."
Another twenty minutes passed without a sound. Well, except for Odine pushing buttons on his control panel. The entire room had just relearned everything they thought they knew about sorceresses.
Squall, in particular, thought about the implications it would have on Garden. If this is true, all textbooks would have to be rewritten. SeeD might have to change its strategy for combatting future sorceresses. Wait, future sorceresses? His and Rinoa's daughters would be sorceresses! He wouldn't allow Garden to fight against his daughters! Wait a minute, his daughters? He and Rinoa weren't even married yet. Was it…appropriate to be thinking about kids? Did he even want kids? Ahhh! This was just so confusing.
"Dr. Odine," somebody terminated the silence. It was Rinoa. "This may be a dumb question, but how did you become so intelligent?"
"Questions are precisely ze answer." He didn't even bother turning away from his control panel.
The young sorceress became entirely puzzled. Was this a metaphor of some sort? "Huh?" Finally he turned around, placing his hands behind his back.
"I do not vant zis to become some inspirational speech, but basically, you grow based on vhat kind of questions you ask. True, ze more questions you ask, and answer, the more you learn. But, ze type of questions you ask are also important. Zey facilitate learning. Now, vat is ze most important question to ask?"
Squall knew the answer. In this past hour, he obtained a newfound respect for this strange little man, as it turns out their thought processes were very similar. "Why."
"Yes! Let me give you an example, eh? Suppose you take an introductory math course. Zey teach you Pythagorean Theorem, right? Zen zey give you fifty problems to do where you plug numbers into the formula. But, why is Pythagorean Theorem true?"
"I…don't know," Rinoa admitted, turning red.
"Exactly. It vasn't like people just made zis stuff up. There is a reason it's true. Once you realize ze reason it's true, you can answer a wider variety of questions, even those that you couldn't answer just knowing the formula. Plus, it invokes a great deal of creativity vithin you. In ze past hour, we covered vhy you look like what you look like, vhy people are sorceresses, and more. And using this, ve vere able to come up with an entirely new theory on sorceresses altogether. Similarly, ve must question everything. Laguna vould have never seen another side of zis story if he blindly accepted that Hyne story for the rest of his life." This time, it was Laguna to turn red and lower his head.
"Wow, I never thought like that before. I…um…thank you, Dr. Odine." The doctor simply nodded and got back to work. Thanks to this possibly immoral man, she had an intellectual epiphany like no other. She'd follow his advice accordingly, and hopefully, solve any and all problems she ever faced.
Needless to say, the two did not spend the night in Odine's laboratory, nor did they take the trouble to fly Ragnarok all the way back to Garden. Luckily, Laguna was president, and so they stayed in the palace. The rooms were quite extravagant. Every room had a double-king size bed, a refrigerator, microwave, a technologically advanced form of a television, and an office area. In addition, every room had a balcony, which was where the couple was at the moment.
The view was simply astonishing. The blue city shimmered in the darkness; they could see for miles. Despite all of the lights, the stars and the full moon glistened brilliantly in the sky above. The weather was cool; it was a perfect night. Unfortunately, Rinoa had taken a lot from Odine's talk earlier. Probably more than she should have.
"Squall?" The commander shifted his focus from starwatching to face his girlfriend. He looked her in the eyes, and nearly lost his breath. The stars were beautiful, sure, but her eyes were simply...magnificent. It was if there was an entire infinity of stars within her eyes. He would have no problem with never eating, sleeping, or training again if he could spend the rest of his life gazing into them.
"I was wondering. Well, there's a reason for everything, right?"
"Kind of. Why?"
"Well, what's the reason for…love?" Squall became concerned at this question. He wanted to proceed cautiously. Pissing off his girlfriend, who carefully monitored his every word, was not something he wished to do tonight. Or ever, for that matter.
"If I recall from biology correctly, dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is responsible for love." Rinoa giggled, placing her hands over her mouth. "What?"
"Odine was right. You really could be a scientist."
"Whatever," he crossed his arms and looked to the side. He was thankful for the compliment, but couldn't stand the thought of ending up like Odine. Hell no. "Rinoa, why ask something like that?"
Her expression became more serious, a hint of worry betraying her gorgeous face. "I just…well, what if the only reason we love each other is because our dopamine tells us that right now? What if five years down the road, our dopamine changes, and that love is gone?" Tears started to form at the corners of her eyes. She couldn't stand to think about something like that.
Squall pulled Rinoa into a tight embrace, then looked her in the eyes again, his arms resting on her shoulders. "Look, Rinoa. Odine is a genius, but you can't take everything he says at face value. Not everything has a reason. Some things are just…true."
"Well, let's go back to Odine's example: math. It is true that just about everything in math can be proven. But even math has axioms."
"Things that can't be proven. Like a plus b equals b plus a, the commutative property of addition. It can't be proven; it's just logically true."
"Okay, but you just said love did have a reason!"
"Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. That doesn't mean there needs to be a reason. I know I love you, and that's all that matters. What happens in five years, happens in five years. Like axioms, some things are just meant to be true. Like us." He offered her a smile, and kissed her forehead. Rinoa's doubts were now completely cleared. He was right; she loved him, and nothing else matters. If something changes, at least they gave it their best shot.
"I love you, too, Commander Leonhart." He put her arm around her, and together, went back to watching the stars.
A/N: If you're good with science, you may have realized a hidden implication. Please don't spoil it for others.