To My World and Back Again Chapter 12

SROC Revisited

By Ghost

"I don't care what you are doing, so much the idiotic way that you are doing it."

Vincent Valentine. Final Fantasy VII

May 23, 2006
12:17 PM

Patrick, Michelle, Crono, Marle, and Lucca all entered the SROC waiting room via the sliding doors of the front. They were there on a mission. Crono, Marle, and Lucca were there to study the instrument that had brought them to this strange, new world. Michelle had come along for the ride, and Patrick had come to deal with business.

The room was empty, as it was most of the time. Rarely did SROC have actual visitors. Mostly, if there was anyone, they would be signing up to take a position at the facility. The group approached the front desk, the receptionist on duty, a blonde with a pair of glasses sat at her computer, sat at her computer, playing Solitaire until she realized that she had work to do. She casually minimized the window and faced the three. "Good afternoon. May I help you?" The woman then noticed Michelle and gave a smile, "Oh, hey Michelle. Running an errand?"

Michelle returned the smile and gave her cheery voice. "Yeah, Jeanine, I'm running errand girl for Mr. Marks. Patrick has an appointment with him."

The girl looked to the others and turned her gaze to the blue-hair man. "Oh, so you're the Patrick Simmons. I've heard a lot about you. Would you mind if I asked a question?"

"Sure, go ahead," Patrick quickly replied. He had an idea of what she was going to ask.

"Is your hair…" Jeannine started

"Yes, that is real, and blue is my natural hair color."

Jeannine blushed a deep crimson, "I am sorry if I had offended you, Mr. Simmons."

Patrick sighed deeply. He had dealt with that enough for a life time, but he wasn't just going to make this girl feel horrible. He put on his best smile, locking his eyes with hers, "It's alright, really. I'm…glad to be able to answer any questions that you might have. It's only natural, is it not?"

Jeannine immediately perked up and smiled broadly. She gave a nod and picked up her phone, calling Jeffery Marks. She informed him that Patrick was here to see him. "Yes. He's with them sir. Yes, sir. I understand."

With that, she hung up the phone and addressed the group. "Director Marks will see all of you now."

The group was surprised, to say the least and didn't bother to hide it. "He wants to see us?" Crono asked motioning to Marle and Lucca.

Jeannine nodded her head and directed the group's eyes to a door on their right. It was labeled as, "Director Jeffery Marks," with large bold letters on the door so there would be no mistaking who was behind that door. Patrick and Michelle led the group, having been there before. Patrick was not sure why Jeannine pointed the way. Every scientist in the building knew where his office was…well, that is if you didn't count Lucca Kepler.

Patrick gave a knock and opened it upon hearing a loud "Come in." The room was rather modest, though it was large; having more than enough room to accommodate Director Marks along with the other five. There were bookshelves with many large hardcover books and some smaller books which Patrick or the others could not identify. There was a desk near the back, facing the door with a computer on the left, from Patrick's point of view. There was a tinted window right behind the desk for view since it let in little light. Some of the wall space appeared to be a dedication to Mr. Marks with several awards and college diplomas.

The five, at Mr. Marks' direction took seats in the chairs in front of the desk. The sixty-year-old Jeffery Marks looked as tall as any of the visitors, though his stature was much shorter than theirs a four foot nine. He rubbed his light mass of white streaked-brown hair and a light brownish beard with a hand as he stared at some figures on his computer screen. He wasn't a minute before he minimized the screen and turned his attention toward Patrick, Michelle, and the rest.

Mr. Marks looked at the crew gathered before him. Two of them he knew. The other three were strangers to him. "I see you brought your company. I wanted to talk to you about your experiment. I haven't heard much from you in a while. Of course, I also want to hear about your friends. First of all, I want to know how your experiment went and where that large scorch mark on the floor came from. It took a while for the janitors to clean it up, Mr. Simmons."

Patrick cleared his throat and thought how to answer the question. It had been two weeks so he didn't have to worry about faking emotion. It seemed all he had to do was to explain some sort of failure and be done with it. There was, however, the case of the floor. He still wasn't sure how that happened. I guess it was time to do some effective lying.

Patrick was sure to look in a thoughtful manner so not to meet Mr. Mark's eyes. "To be honest with you, sir, the experiment failed again, but not before I received some interesting results. It seemed as though the lightening bolt I routed into the machine had somehow partially opened the gate I had been working on. However, the energy must have been too much because the gate overloaded, resulting in its dispersion, but not before some energy bursts flew to the ground. That's what caused the scorch marks. Next time, I think I'll try to include a transformer in order to tone down the energy input. That all depends whether or not I can harness another bolt." Patrick nodded his head in what hopefully would look like some thoughtful closure. Gee, that was a stupid lie. I just have to hope he bought it. I mean, does energy just jump from a gate and onto the ground?

Mr. Marks took some time to think about it. Having no real knowledge of time gates, and let's face it, who really does understand that sort of thing unless you happen to really be into that sort of stuff, he took the reasons behind the scorched floor as fact. Now, there was another item of business to deal with: unauthorized personnel.

"I see, well thank you for your update, Mr. Simmons. I'm sure the data you gathered on this experiment will aid you. Furthermore, I'll allow you to wait until conditions are right before you carry out another one. Now, I want to know how these strangers got into the building last night. I heard reports of a kid with spiky red hair and some girl with purple hair, and I'd like to know what they were doing here."

Hey, what about me, Marle thought.

"Hush", Patrick thought back in a serious tone, "This is serious, Marle." Marle quickly sat still and paid attention.

Patrick cleared his throat, reply already on his tongue. "Well, sir, you see, these three are some old college buddies of mine who happen to do a lot of research in Chronology."

"Chronology? Chronology," the old man huffed, "is the science of dealing with dates and events"

"Well, that is one definition, but I've added something else."

"Time Travel," Marks asked.

"Exactly!" Patrick almost stood up. "These three have been doing research for years. You could say their research has given them an eon's worth of knowledge."

"I can vouch for them, sir," Michelle added thinking back to the times when she had seen Patrick playing the game, "I've seen them in action so I know what they can do." Crono had to hold back a snicker at the choice of words. Marle seemed to be enjoying the conversation as a whole, and Lucca felt disgusted by the horrible joke. She did, however, understand why Mr. Marks had to be kept in the dark.

Lucca decided to do some explaining. "Everything he says is true, Director Marks. I'm one of the most informed of the three 'strangers' you see before you now. I can assure you that I have been studying the possibility of space-time travel for several years. In fact, I have developed some interesting theories on the matter including the possibility of warp drive engines. These would be essential for any time machine to go back or forward through time."

Mr. Marks seemed rather interested at this stranger. "I see. You do seem to be rather sure of yourself, miss…"

"Lucy," Lucca said with a pinch of disgust at the name Patrick had given her. He really needs to get better at naming people. "Lucy Kepler."

"Well, Miss Kepler, I am rather impressed in your confidence. You do realize that this particular topic is rather one not looked highly upon by most scientists."

Lucca thought about this for a moment, "I am used to most things by now."

Mr. Marks grinned, "Well, in that case, if it can help the program, I don't mind you helping out Mr. Simmons. He can use all the help he can get."

Lucca grinned from ear to ear, "Oh, I'm sure he can use all the help he can get."

Thanks a lot, Lucca. That really boosted my esteem, Patrick thought. Then he added to Mr. Marks, "Don't worry, sir, I can assure you that with their help, this project will take off in a matter of time."

"Excellent, my boy, excellent. It's good to see you have some serious help. Now get along. Go and do what you must."

Patrick had thanked Mr. Marks for the support and time as well as Michelle. They all shook his hand as they headed for the door.

Lucca stopped at the doorway with a question on her mind, "By the way, Director Marks, you do realize that the night of the experiment, Patrick required some doors to be open, creating a breach in the security of the complex?"

"I do. I gave the approval myself."

"Well, given his string of failures, why would you allow something so outgoing and, to be frank, dangerous?"

Mr. Marks began to check his e-mail as he answered her question, "You see, Ms. Kepler, since Patrick has started here, he's made some progress little by little. Believe it or not, he's had most of his breakthroughs through the trial and error of some crazy ideas. Basically, you get used to something like that after a while. So, when he needs to try something weird, I let him know what I don't want happening as a result of his little trials, and he seems to work things out alright. What can I say other than that, Ms. Kepler. He seems to make progress through that which is out of the ordinary. It seems it worked this time."

Lucca gulped, "W…What on Earth do you mean by that?"

Mr. Marks looked up from his computer, "Well you're here to help him aren't you? I'm not one to believe in coincidences, Ms. Kepler. I think you happened to get in town around this time because you are supposed to be here. It's as easy as that." He smiled.

"I see," she said aloud. Then, in a whisper as she left the office, "Very much like destiny." She closed the door behind her.

12:37 PM

Patrick and Michelle had taken the roll of tour guides as they led Crono, Marle, and Lucca through the confines of SROC to Patrick's lab. The trio, including Lucca, were amazed at the experiments being performed for the government.

"And this is the Environmental Department," Patrick explained, "One of the top experiments they are performing here include the development of more efficient ways to cool or warm a house without the aid of much electricity. I think one way they plan to do that is through some sort of constant exothermic and endothermic reactions. I'm not sure how they plan to do that. As you know, I'm into computers more than anything."

"I see," Lucca said while adjusting her glasses, "but to do that, they would need to find some sort of equilibrium to keep in the reaction. If it began to get too warm, the energy in the air would have to be absorbed. Then, if it got to cold, there would need to be some energy released."

"That sounds rather complex," said Marle.

"It would be," added Michelle, "that's why we leave things to the professionals." She pointed to her right, "Ah, this is where scientists are working to shrink and expand matter. This could help reduce the amount of fuel needed to carry tanks around because if you shrank them, then they would be lighter. The same goes for expanding the size of organic materials. I mean, imagine what you could do to the size of gallon of ice cream. You could make a gallon into five gallons or more. Of course, they're still working out the exact theory."

"That would be heavenly," Marle said picturing herself with an enormous amount of ice cream to feast upon."

Patrick laughed at the look Marle had on her face, knowing what she was thinking without using any mind reading. "I wouldn't get too excited, Marle, I doubt you could eat so much ice cream. Even if you could," Patrick poked her on her side, resulting in her jumping from the tickle, "you might gain a few inches."

Marle pouted, "I'm still young you know. Besides, I do so much walking back in Guardia that I have no worries about eating a bit extra."

They continued walking, Patrick and Michelle pointing out areas of work. "Now we come to the Genetics Labs," Patrick said with spite.

"Oh you don't have to be that way, Simmons," John called out as he stepped out of his lab wearing a lab coat, "Just because I'm better with genetics than you are computers is no reason to act so childish."

Before Patrick could respond, John Cindel made an inviting gesture toward his lab, "Please, do come in."

"You're kidding me, right?" Patrick spat. He had no intention of willingly walking into that laboratory. It gave him the creeps just to think about genetic manipulation, which is exactly what John Cindel worked with.

"You would really allow us into your lab?" Lucca asked.

"Of course, I would. I have nothing to hide, and I'm sure you're rather curious to step inside, right, Miss Lucy?"

"I have been curious myself," Michelle admitted.

"I have no problem," Crono said. Marle agreed to it.

John smiled and met Patrick's gaze. "Well, well, Simmons, aren't you going to come into my parlor? I'm sure you will find it very educational."

Patrick could not figure out why John would ever extend such an invitation. He was probably going to show off, but something still bugged him. John rarely let people into his lab. It was just the way he was. Such an opportunity may not present itself in the future so Patrick made a decision though he felt sick from it. "Fine. I'll accept your invitation, John." He forced a smile, "Please, do lead the way."

12:57 PM
John Cindel's Lab

John Cindel had equipped Patrick, Michelle, Crono, Marle, and Lucca with a lab coat and safety goggles per lab safety standards and led the group into his "humble little lab." There were beakers and equipment everywhere used for extracting and viewing genetic information. There were charts on the walls pointing out certain gene functions and along the walls away from the equipment were cages with rodents, flies, and some other animals. Probably for genetic testing Patrick thought.

"Welcome to the exciting world of genetics," John announced to the group. "In a short time, you will understand the importance for such a field in what we call 'science.'"

He made a grand gesture, indicating his lab. "Now, I'm sure you're wondering, 'Why is genetics so important?' Well, let me tell you this. If we find the appropriate genes, we can increase the human speed, such as I have done in these rodents," he said, motioning to them. He then motioned to the flies in a glass cage, "Maybe we can increase the human life span, just like in these typical house flies, which have been living for a week and are now showing signs of eventual death."

"It seems you're playing God in here, John." Patrick looked very displeased with the opening introduction, and John looked displeased with Patrick's comment. Crono, Marle, and Lucca, having experienced what Lavos could do to human genes such as with the kingdom of Zeal, felt very nerved in the room. Michelle, though, looked on with curiosity, although she really didn't like John too much.

"Please hold your questions and comments until the end of the tour," John said with a slight sneer which only Patrick picked up. "Now as I was saying, through the use of genetic engineering, we may also find some special abilities that animals used to have but just evolved away from. Amazing isn't it? If we can do this with just lower forms of life, imagine the possibilities if we were allowed to alter the genes of humans. Soldiers could have more tolerance to pain, more strength and speed, not to mention the heightened senses. Children could be given gifts that would have normally lay dormant."

"At what cost, Mr. Cindel," Lucca asked with a serious expression. Patrick and John both looked at her in surprise. "I've done my own researching into genetics. I've also seen what happens when someone" or thing "decides that they want to mess with the normal evolution of a species. What you are describing may lead to a great thing. You might give people something they could only experience in their dreams, but you may also cause an entire population to be destroyed through a power hungry maniac." Crono and Marle nodded, remembering Zeal in all its glory on the outside, but the evil intentions of those who had power and wanted more.

John smiled in such a way a politician would, "Miss Lucy, I'm sure you've done research until the sun came up, but what I'm talking about is completely for the good of this country and the people of this world. I'm sure you can understand the good that can come from this."

Lucca nodded, "I do. I can also understand the evils which lay dormant.

Patrick finally decided to put a word in, "John, you're trying to play God in this room. Haven't you read Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. When you start to play God, you end up making trouble. Genetics weren't meant to be messed with in such a way. Remember when they started cloning? That sheep they cloned wasn't the first try, you know. They failed many times until they got it right. All the other tries were mutants and such."

John smiled slightly as if with some divine knowledge. "I'm sure you would be worried about this considering my advances. That reminds me. You know, you're playing God if you mess with time. Let me ask you this, Patrick, why are you so obsessed with creating time gates? Consciously, is it just because of some little childhood fantasy or is it subconscious? Are you just trying to figure out something that happened long ago in your childhood that you can't remember?" After getting no reply from Patrick he decided he was through. "You can leave now. It's about time I got back to work. "

"Gladly," Patrick said with disgust. The five left the lab with feeling of dread in their souls. When others play God, things never feel right.

John stood in the same spot for a couple of minutes then finally replied to no one around, "Don't worry. I know what I'm doing. I just wanted to give them a taste of what the future was to hold."

1:47 PM
Simmon's Lab

After receiving John's Grand Tour, Patrick finally got to his lab and began to explain how his machine works, in theory that is. Since the machine didn't actually open the time gate, he couldn't say it did what it was supposed to. He had thought about what the child said before he brought the trio to this world. Or did it?

"So basically, if you gather enough energy together to form a sort of dense mass and you rotate it using opposing polarities, you can then draw space-time together in such a way that you can create a gate between various space-time coordinates. Viola, you have time travel."

"That's strange," Lucca said after hearing Patrick's detailed explanation of time travel. Crono and Marle looked somewhat sleepy having actually traveled through time. Michelle, though, was paying attention.

"What's so strange about it," Patrick replied.

"Well, it just sounds similar to a theory I had developed during my travels while we were on our adventure to stop Lavos.

Patrick then remembered where he first heard of the theory he was using and laughed nervously, "Well, I guess you could say that you helped me before we met."

Lucca nodded, "I see, so you took my theory and applied it to your experiments."

"I guess I did. Hope you aren't mad or anything"

Lucca smiled slyly and walked next to Patrick, placing her left hand on his cheek, causing him to gulp. Suddenly, Lucca punched him with her right, which actually caused a bit of pain given her size and stature. "Nah, I'm not mad. Just ask permission next time."

Patrick rubbed his stomach, slightly stunned that she actually caused a bit of pain, "Sure," he said sarcastically, "next time I base my theory off of yours when we're worlds apart, I'll ask permission. So, you guys want to see how it works?"

The group gave their approval, especially Michelle, who had never seen anything close to a gate before. The group stood before the machine as Patrick started it up with his computer. Lucca, having an expertise in the field, paid close attention to how it worked and how the energy flowed. Soon, Patrick had turned the machine on. A humming sound began to originate from the circular machine as it began to take on energy. It built up just as it was designed and soon energy began to crackle in the room.

Everyone in that room could feel the hair on their arms stand up. It was as if static electricity had built up in their bodies. Then, flashes of blue energy filled the room. If someone had walked in from the outside, they may have thought an interior light show was taking place. The energy began to pulsate rapidly, unsteadily in the center of the machine. Once again, Patrick felt sweat form on his brow. For some reason he felt nervous every time he was making a gate. Like the energy itself, Patrick's breathing speeded up. It seemed to be something he could never help.

The energy seemed to find a medium and the energy began to pulsate steadily. The energy then began to slowly condense into an elliptical shape of a football. After the energy condensed to a point a bright flash of blue light filled the room. Everyone in the room was forced to close their eyes. Within a minute, the light died down, and the group uncovered their eyes to gaze upon the bluish sphere that stood before him just as before.

"Amazing," Michelle said in awe. It was like something out of a movie. The bluish sphere stood still, but it was as if it were alive somehow with the way it moved within itself. "I wonder where it goes."

Patrick nodded his head, "We really can't tell right now. Unless we open the gate and actually step through it, we can't tell. Of course, I'm sure Crono could open the gate and someone could go in while Crono stays in here. As long as the orb exists then we may be able to get them back, but we don't know how stable or unstable this orb is. It might jump times without us knowing. That's why I'd rather do more research on this. Besides, if the power were to go off, then we'd have to wait for the power to come back and then we can not be confident the gate would go to the same spot as before."

"Talk about your gambles," Crono said, "I'd really hate to be that uncertain.

Lucca agreed, "At least with Lavos, we knew the gates would stay where they were. He gave off so much energy constantly that there were no worries for losing time gates."

Michelle took a closer look at it, "There's always beauty in something dangerous it seems. Just as a rose has thorns, know what I mean." She sighed, "It looks like a glowing blue jewel."

Patrick turned off the machine, and the orb disappeared much to Michelle's disappointment. "Oh what did you do that for? I might have wanted to look at it longer."

"I'm sorry, but we really need to go see Britt. He really would like to see our 'guests.' Wouldn't you agree?"

Michelle pouted, "All right, but I want some pictures next time you do that. Promise?"

Patrick smiled, "I promise. Maybe by then, I'll have it completely working."

"But that could take forever!"

"Well, gee, thanks for the vote of confidence."

"She's right, you know. It could take forever if you work on it the way you do."

"Just what are you saying, Lucca," Patrick said raising an eyebrow.

Lucca crossed her arms, "I'm saying that you need help, and I'm just the scientist to do it. Besides, who else do you know that knows as much about time travel as me?"

Patrick thought for a moment. Maybe I could make some sort of reference to The Time Machine by Wells. Nah, I might as well go along with it.

"Fine, we'll work on it, but let's at least see what we can do to stabilize the destination before we do anything."

"Fine, we'll work on that first before we come up with something."

Patrick started to walk out the door, "Well let's get going then. If we wait any longer, Britt will have graduated high school."

Michelle giggled, "Don't you mean college? Considering that you want to work on your project."

Patrick could just groan in frustration as he walked out of the lab with the other four behind.

Note: Hey, it's that time again. I just want to thank two guys for their help with this chapter. These are in chronological order. First, I have to thank NeoKefka for sorting out a few things and reviewing my story. Thanks for the help there, man. This chapter may be around a year overdue, but I got it in. Secondly, I'm going to thank Kain Servant for his help. He pushed me to keep continue after all this time and helped relight a spark I thought was gone forever. Now that I have myself in gear and a summer ahead of me, I have some chapters to write.



Chapter 13

Chrono Trigger Fanfic