Chrono Trigger: Dare Chapter 28
"Everybody, brace yourselves! We might experience some turbulence!" I shouted as I banked the Aeon sharply to the right. Two laser beams cut the air where we had been mere moments before. Red warning lights flashed, indicating that the beams were closer than I had wanted them to be.
"Outta my way, kid, youre not old enough to use this thing yet! Marle! See those controls over there? Take a seat and start aiming!" Lucca shouted above the klaxon to Ecin and Marle. Marle nodded and dashed towards the seat. Instantly, two control sticks popped up and a panel slid back to reveal a miniature version of the world outside. I looked closer and saw two crosshairs on the screen.
"Crono, pay attention to flying! Schala, Cid, Ecin, Kain, start casting any spells you can!" Lucca shouted again.
"Lucca, youre going to need help. Im your man," Cid shouted back then ran to Lucca seated near the repair and status console.
"Im giving you another chance to surrender. You cant win. I have the might of the universe at my fingertips!" Dalton taunted.
"Eat the might of Aeon, you two bit moron!" Marle yelled at the screen as she fired twice. I saw two lances of blue laser shoot out from below us and strike Dalton's bulky ship.
"Direct hits! Good job!" Lucca reported.
"Lucca, didnt you say this thing had missiles on it?" I yelled, jerking the ship around to avoid laser fire and sending anyone not strapped down flying into either wall.
"Thats only in submarine mode," Lucca corrected.
"Speaking of missiles, look out! Missiles incoming!" Cid shouted.
"Marle, see if you can blast them before they hit us! Ill try to keep them from coming any closer!" I shouted, then pulled the control stick back sharply, pushing the speed button rapidly at the same time. The Aeon rose at a maniacal speed, throwing everyone but Lucca, Cid, Marle, and me to the back wall.
"The missiles are gaining!" Lucca reported.
"Fine. Marle, do your best. Im going to try something else. Everyone, hang on tight. This is going to be close!" I shouted, then reversed the stick. We plummeted toward Dalton's ship, the missiles turning but missing us by mere feet.
"Crono, thats suicide!" Marle exclaimed.
"Just pick off the missiles or hit Dalton and leave the flying to me! Lucca, if we have any shields on this thing, now would be a good time to turn them on!" I shouted to both, then concentrated on the fall. Halfway through, I put the Aeon into a spiral, making it harder to hit. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Marle had quit trying to hit the missiles and was aiming at Dalton. Fifty seconds to impact, two concentrated bolts of laser struck the flying monstrosity. Forty seconds to impact, a bolt of lightning and a cascade of water struck the ship. Thirty seconds to impact, I pulled up. Two seconds to impact, we passed over the ship. Three more seconds after we passed over the flying beast, the missiles struck. Massive explosions peppered it, exposing charred and twisted pieces of metal.
"Uuaaaaaaaahhh!" Daltons scream sounded over the intercom. We let out our breaths, thankful to have survived.
"Crono, dont ever do that again. Please," Marle pleaded.
I nodded, then turned the ship around to survey the damage completely. Half of Daltons ship had been charred beyond recognition, and the other half had exposed wires and pieces of twisted metal protruding from the hull. The cockpit, barely visible before, was now completely camouflaged amid the wreckage. On the charred side, a large hole marked the impact crater.
"Well, even though we thought we had killed Dalton before, theres no way he could have survived this. I believe that hes dead, once and for all," Lucca announced.
"Dont be too cocky, inventor. It takes more than that to kill the mighty Dalton!" Daltons voice reverberated through the ship. All eyes turned to Lucca, each laughing despite the situation.
"Arrrg! The man wont die! I think his ego is so big it absorbs most of the punishment we dish out," Lucca complained bitterly.
"Temper, temper. You really ought to control yourself. You could have heart problems later on if you dont," Dalton taunted.
"Heart problems? Ill give you heart problems!" Lucca shouted, but did nothing.
"See what I mean about controlling yourself? Now, if you could actually vent that anger, then youd be fine. Let me show you," Dalton said mysteriously. His wounded ship spun around slowly, revealing its charred side and the impact crater. Slowly, slower than a turtle stuck in molasses, the hole started glowing. A vermilion hue emanated from the crater, coating the blackened remains of the material with an evil red tint.
"Feel my FURY!" Dalton shouted suddenly, his voice so loud and hateful that the speakers on the Aeon crackled. Immediately, our ship was engulfed in a vile, crimson light. At first, I felt nothing, and was about to fire a volley of insults at Dalton. But then, I felt a slight tingle in my mind. An itch I couldnt scratch. It spread, infesting my head with a nails-on-chalkboard-like sensation. The pain felt like a hundred Lavos Screams compacted into something as dense as a diamond and as small as a pin, then embedded in my head and set loose. It burned with a raging fury and seared my mind with a mental firebrand. Then, after it had wallowed in my pain, it began to tear my mind to shreds, just like the Scream tried to do. The light, that tainted, unholy light stripped away my resolve, devoured my hopes, and bore into my mind. Only my willpower, the iron clad willpower that comes from living the ultimate nightmare of Lavos and surviving, kept me from submitting.
"Give in. Give in," I heard Daltons voice echo in my head.
"N ne ne ver," I managed to stammer. The words never made it past my lips, and they only echoed in the empty iron walls my willpower had erected. I was now cowering in a corner of a room in my mind, whose walls were constructed of pure will, and whose dark, empty recesses proved horrifying to me in my semi-catatonic state.
"Destruction rained and smote the lands
And all hope was shattered
As shattered as the wills and hands
Of all those who were scattered," Dalton sang.
"V very ni-ce," I stammered.
"Thank you. I made it up. Its more or less a description of what happened after Lavos ravaged Aire. And, its a description of what will happen to you. No one, save maybe three hundred thousand people survived. Three hundred thousand out of twelve point two billion people. The same will happen to you. You were lucky. Twice. You have beaten the odds. Twice. This time, we will win."
"Not whi while Im ali-ve. N not while I can think," my voice echoed shakily again.
"That is easily rectified. My hatred for you and your friends is absolute. Prepare to die. And this time, you. Will. Not. Be. Resurrected. EVER," his voice not only boomed through my mind, it smashed into my consciousness and squashed me against the floor of my mental construct. Suddenly, cracks appeared in my walls, cracks small enough to let the red light in.
"Found you," Dalton announced. The beams of light slowly filled the room, destroying my last sanctuary.
"Youre probably wondering about the Source of my power. Its my anger. My fury. And King Zeal, bless him, gave me the amazing ability to use that fury. At last, Im strong enough to beat you. Aaah. Do you know how much I hate, I loathe, I abhor you?"
The light continued to seep in like water, then stopped suddenly.
"Huh? Whats this? You seem to have a power Source as well. It doesnt matter now. Its too weak and too late. Goodbye, Crono," Dalton said as the light began to move again.
Suddenly, another voice pierced my walls.
"Dalton, go back to the void. You do not belong in this world," the Voice whispered. "Crono, fight. For Marle and for Lucca and for the love you have for both, fight. I can only hold him. You must do the rest," Schalas voice, smooth and sparkling, passed through my mind like a refreshing breeze. I felt some of Daltons anger lessen as Schala muffled it. Given the break I needed, I summoned every emotion, every feeling I had for my fiancée and my friends, then let them loose. An azure light radiated from my huddled body, driving away the violent red.
"No! This cant be happening! I HATE YOU! I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE I HATE!" Dalton screamed, each word pounding my skull into mush. But, the vermilion hue slowly withdrew, and azure tint replacing it. Spent, I huddled up into a smaller ball and shivered.
"Crono, its ok."
"Yes. Come on. I need you to help me."
"O k," I stammered, then relaxed. The world flashed red, then blue, then white, and suddenly, my eyes fluttered open. They focused on the ceiling of the Aeon, and I mentally thanked Balthasar (for the millionth time) for creating such a sturdy machine. As I became more and more clear-headed, I felt Schala kneeling by my side, felt her eyes resting on me.
"Im ok," I grunted as I got up and glanced about. The rest of the group was strewn about the floor in ragged heaps, their mouths contorted in surprise and pain.
"How did you break free of his spell?" I asked Schala.
"Dalton was never strong enough to imprison me. I simply stopped his spell," she replied calmly. She paused for a moment, then stood up.
"Crono, take my hand and concentrate with me. I need your strength of will."
I nodded and grabbed her hand roughly, then concentrated on her pendant, the archetype of Marles. Seconds, minutes, hours, they were all the same when I focused my nearly exhausted energies onto that brilliant blue jewel. Seconds might have passed, or they could have been years, and my eyes fluttered open again; the spell had finished. The others had awakened and were rubbing their heads gingerly, trying to regain their bearings. For the first time since I had been unconscious, I glanced outside and saw the abomination of a ship hovering across space from us. I also noticed the world getting darker. We had been unconscious for almost the entire day. I climbed back into the captains chair and turned on the lasers. From the look of Dalton's ship, he was knocked out as well. Schala, as if reading my mind, spoke in her usual silk-soft voice.
"The feedback he received when his spell broke probably knocked him out."
I nodded, then turned to my friends.
"Whenever you guys are ready, you might want to start casting your strongest magics. I have a feeling this thing wont go down easily," I suggested. My speech was met with a loud groan from Ecin, who immediately collapsed on the floor, pretending to be unconscious. Lucca nudged him with her foot and grinned playfully.
"I thought you were tough. Cmon, lets go."
"I am tough. Im just drained. Let me sleep," Ecin grumbled.
"Oh no you dont. If I dont rest, you dont rest," Lucca ordered playfully as she attempted to pick him off the floor and set him on his feet. Cid grinned and helped her.
"Fine, but after this were getting some rest. My head hurts," Ecin mumbled. Lucca ignored him and strode over my chair, her hand intertwined in Cid's. Cid, Lucca, and Ecin were on one side of me, while Marle, Schala, and Kain had just walked onto the other.
"Ok everyone, on three. One, two, three!" I shouted, then fired the laser. As soon as the beams struck, they were joined with another cascade of water and a gigantic bolt of electricity. Seconds later, Lucca summoned Ifrit. A massive hairy beast appeared beside the mammoth machine, pieces of his clothing bursting into flame as soon as he appeared. The world turned read as he called up the flames of hell onto the abomination. As soon as the monster disappeared, explosions wracked the ship, splitting it into two uneven halves. The smaller half, the one without Dalton, was sent plummeting into the ground. Marle sent building sized chunks of ice into the ship, and seconds later, Schala joined in with her pendant. One quick glance at the sorceresss face told me that although she hated to kill someone, she was doing this to prevent other catastrophes from happening.
"Ahhh!" Dalton screamed over the intercom.
"Good. Hes awake," I thought.
"Ahhh! All systems failing! I cant control this damn thing!"
"Goodbye, Dalton. And this time, stay dead. The world needs less of people like you, less of people who rely on hate and anger. When will you realize that power cant exist through anger? Too many dictators over too many years have killed too many people because of their anger and hate for one thing or another. It ends here with you and King Zeal," Marle shouted back, to my utter surprise.
"You cant stop them all! We exist because you let us exist. And you let us exist because you are all too ignorant to know the difference. Therell always be another demagogue or dictator. Always!" Daltons pained but determined voice rang through the ship.
"No. It ends with you. It ends with the last great dictatorship. Ive seen two worlds destroyed by it, two of the most beautiful worlds. Theyve been destroyed because of hate and a lust for power. I am not going to let it happen again. Not now, not ever. I swear right now, no people will have to suffer the wrath of a power mad tyrant!" This time I shouted, releasing my grip on the lasers and motioning for the others to stop their magic. I wanted him to hear this.
"I take that oath as well," said Cids voice surprised me. I shot a glance at him and he nodded, determined.
"And so do I," Marle agreed.
"Me too," Lucca announced.
"Aw hell. If this hasnt killed me, nothing will. I swear the same as well," Kain said gruffly.
"If Kain swears, then I guess Ill have to too. Someones gotta keep him outta trouble!" Ecin grinned.
"And I do as well," Schala voiced her decision.
Dalton laughed. Although his voice was weak and pained, we all noticed the disbelief and sarcasm in his voice.
"I Dare you. Try. Anger, violence, greed, power-lust, theyll all still exist. Theyre part of us. I Dare you to try. You wont succeed."
I glanced around at the hard, determined faces of my friends. They all looked at me; our decision had been made.
"We Dare, Dalton. And we wont try. We will do it. We swear," I growled as I reapplied force to the lasers. The two beams of light streaked across the sky and struck Dalton's wounded ship. My friends all joined in for one more round of destruction.
"Well see..." Dalton whispered as the Lavos ship tilted downward at an obscene angle and exploded. Debris and fireballs flew everywhere and sparks lit up the now dark sky. I flew as fast as the Aeon could fly, dodging the destructive pieces of Dalton's ship. As soon as the metal and fire stopped whizzing past us, I set the Aeon down on the dusty earth, then wiped the sweat off my face. I felt Marles hand resting on my shoulder, comforting me.
"Lets go outside. I think we could all use some air," Schala suggested. We agreed wordlessly, and were soon outside, stretching our cramped and tired muscles. For minutes, no one spoke; everyone was still too stunned. Finally, I sat down, raising a dust cloud as I hit the ground. I motioned for the others to do the same.
"Its time for us to find out what happened while we were separated. Marle, Ecin, Kain, Cid, you start first," I ordered. The words came out weakly however.
The four all exchanged awkward glances, then Marle leaned closer to me and said, "Crono, do you remember how weird our adventures sounded to our parents when we told them?"
"Well, prepare to feel the same way," she finished.
I sat in awe as Marle retold her entire story, with several additions courtesy of the others. And they were right. It was amazing.
Chrono Trigger Fanfic