Chrono Trigger: Descent Prologue

Before the Storm...

By Divan

"For a self-proclaimed scientist, you are remarkably illogical." Said the quizzical creature, who somehow managed to be pompous despite its inherently comedic bearing and stature, "I seem to observe a tendency that, when it comes to a certain mutual acquaintance, your reactions becomes predictably lacking in reason."

Lucca sighed. And not for the first time in the day either. Not half a month after the construction of the first true artificial intelligence on the planet, a scientific break through of no small proportion, she is already regretting it. Attempting to hide her irritation, rather unsuccessfully, she answered.

"My dear Hermes, if I am as illogical as you claim, you wouldn’t be able predict my reactions, however unreasonable they may be, now would you?" My god, a part of Lucca detachedly thought, I am beginning to sound like this creature. It had taken Lucca the better part of a year to complete her master (mistress?) piece, a humanoid artificial intelligence. Just why she choose such a cumbersome mode of locomotion, as Hermes had frequently pointed out, is beyond her. As a challenge perhaps, something to take her mind off things, or simply to commemorate her friend, Prometheus, better known as Robo (Singularly unimaginative. How typically Marle). Or most likely, a combination of all the above. She did name Hermes in the same language as Prometheus, the ancient tongue of Zeal. How the language survived an ice age is beyond her, though their erstwhile ally, Magus, had more than once pointed out disdainfully that the version they learn is a corrupted form of earthbound Zeal. Yet they managed to communicate. Marle learnt Zeal as a matter of course, part of the education of any self-respecting princess, and she learnt it to study ancient texts that might provide her with inspiration (They did build the Blackbird and the Mammon Machine, things yet beyond the technological capability of this time, not to mention the Wings of Time). True, Crono hardly speaks any Zeal (he hardly speaks for that matter), but his very presence seems to exude power…

"And your mind wanders." Quipped Hermes.

Involuntarily, Lucca found colour rising to her cheeks. "Damned the machine." She muttered under her breath.

"What was that my omnipotent creator? Oh, and to answer your earlier question, I used the word illogical advisedly. It implies a manifest inability to correlate actions with observed facts, such as the generally accepted fact that backing in a room as cluttered as this one is not a good idea. Not unpredictability. In fact I might go so far as to list the symptoms. Stammering uncontrollably, blushing furiously, acting like a wet hen…"

"Stop it!" Said Lucca, finally snapped. "Correct me if I am wrong. But I did know him quite a lot longer than you did, and anyway how I act, and who I choose to associate with, is no business of yours!"

If Hermes is at all annoyed, he did not show it. "Calm my dear mistress, I was merely attempting to assist you in your… romantic endeavours…"

"WELL DON’T! Shut up or I swear to god I will turn you off!" Shouted Lucca at the top of her considerable lungs. Gloomily she thought, I am baited by a machine. Again.

That did the trick. As it nearly always does. Hermes, the blue, two feet tall replica of Robo felt silent and sunk into his usually niche in the corner of the workroom.

"I shall be here if you need me." He said, somehow managed to project a sense of injured dignity without sacrificing the least in sarcasm, and felt into the robotic sleep mode.

Lucca can not help but feel a little guilty. Perhaps it was a little unfair of her to threaten somebody who has no way to fight back with the equivalent of oblivion. And her mood is ruined anyway, and no fruitful work will be done today. Closing her eyes in exasperation, Lucca decided that a stroll in the woods would be the answer.

* * *

Taban watched in silence as his daughter left the house. A sense of ineffable sadness gnaws at his heart. He can tell that his daughter is troubled, and would do anything to help her. Its just that, well, it is easier said than done. Lucca had never been a particularly communicative child, and their early relationship had been some what strained, as he used to have to work every day on his inventions to keep his family afloat (So his inventions are the major financial drain, but a man has got to have a hobby hasn’t he?), neglecting his child in consequence. It was not until recently that he realised how important his family is to him. It torn him to bits that he was unable to accompany his daughter in her noble quest to save the world (Taban can not help but think that perhaps it isn’t quite the only reason), but he knows that he would be more of a hindrance than a help. Besides labouring day after day to create items that would protect his daughter, he is forced to put up a jovial face, if only to sooth his dear Lucca. He could still recall vividly the time when Lucca returned, her complexions pale, her actions listless, and worst of all, her normally twinkling (or was it the glasses?) eyes had a hollow look. She had refused to speak to her parents about it, despite Lara’s pleading and his cajoling. She had locked herself in her room for a week, and emerged, looking even more fragile in her state of enervation. Lara had been most worry when she heard that she had to leave again, but Taban allowed her to. Because he fancied that he saw a ray of hope in her eyes. It was not until much later that he learnt that Crono had died, and his daughter had spend a whole week recombining and producing a viable sample of his DNA necessary to save him. Besides other things. And than it dawned upon him that his daughter is in love. Deeper than anyone imagined.

A soft hand touched his shoulder, putting him out of her reverie. He turned his head and smiled to his wife, sharing a moment of silent communion.

"I am worried too. But you were right. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than not at all. However much we wish our daughter happiness, for her to move on, for somebody it just isn’t possible. I guess it’s in the blood."

Taban’s smile broadens just a little, acknowledging his wife’s reference. Whilst many are able to move to pasture new, some people have such powerful love that once they loved, it lasts forever. Taban had underwent several quests to save his wife from the grasp of death, and had no doubts that Lara would do the same. No doubt about that, Lucca hails from a long line of heroes.

* * *

Lucca, now changed into her casual attire, a simple pullover with the obligatory spandex shorts (Taban’s new fabric. Stupid name), is standing on the path to the beach. It is getting dark, and she is feeling more than a light chill on her skin. And yet the gentle caress of the light breeze calls to her, and the thought of the sound of waves crashing against the rocks on the beach offers a chance to ease her troubled mind. Having made up her mind, Lucca began to walk towards the rocky cape.

* * *

Finally, it opened. After aeons of patience, his chance finally came. He was not excited. In fact he hardly feels anything at all. Millennia spent doing nothing more than waiting does that to you. One part of his consciousness dimly recalls a time when he feels, just like his friends.

Friends. So long ago. What have I done? What happened? Who did this? Why? Why? WHY?

Shaking his head, as if to clear it, an unnecessary remnant of his breathing days, the being prepares himself to be transported.

Soon. It would be time to set the wrong things right.

And than he felt oblivion.

* * *

Sitting on a rock by the sea, Lucca realised that it was futile for her to take her mind off things and relax. Collecting her stray thoughts, Lucca began to reflect upon the event that conspired to change her life. In the space of a year she turned from simple (alright, not so simple) inventor to one of the saviours of the world. For better or for worse she honestly does not know. But it did save the world. So it was worthwhile. And yet she can not help but wonder. It all started with Marle running into Crono. What if…

Mentally she scolded herself for even sporting such thoughts. How can she be so selfish? Trading a world’s future and the ruin of countless others for her own happiness can only be described as an heinous act of crime, even in the name of love. No. It wouldn’t even be that. Love is the ultimate manifestation of the good in humanity, of selflessness. The other would be a selfish act unworthy of the name. And if he could love someone else, he would have loved someone else anyway. Some things are not meant to be.

If Hermes were here, he would certainly comment upon the lack of logic.

The thought of the idiosyncratic robot can not help but bring a smile to her face, lifting her spirits somewhat. Deciding that she has had enough contemplation (she seem to be doing an awful lot of that lately) for the evening, she decided to return.

Getting up slowly and stretching her wearied body, Lucca prepares to walk back to the house.

It was then something caught her attention.

It was nothing more than a flicker, and a momentary sense of dislocation. Warily she looked around for any sign, discovering none. Deciding that it was a mere product of her tired mind, Lucca started on her journey back.

Chapter 1

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