The Shadows Chapter 43
By Keith Adams
Lucca examined the missles of all shapes and sizes, nearly three hundred of them. They had to be deactivates. Lucca glanced at her companions; Janice wore a wry smile, but her hands were trembling. R-007 was mechanical, unemtional, dealing with examing the area for signs of life. Crono was relaxed, unfazed by the fact that if they failed, the world would likely die. Responsibility fit him like a glove - he didn't agonize, he just did. Melchior appeared thoughtful, as if perplexed by a problem that had been nagging him for quite some time.
"I detect one human life-form," R-007 announced.
"A game," noted Melchior "He's trying to get us to seperate, so he can pick us off one ot a time."
"We have no choice," Lucca said "Allright people, concentrate on the missles - if you can't disarm one, contact me. We checked our radio's - let's hope they work allright. We've got trackers linked back to my computer back home, in case one of us gets taken. Let's go."
Melchior bent over, reaching into the missle. He felt a wire and pulled. There was a sharp crack, then silence. Melchiorleaned against the missle; I really am too old for this sort of work, he thought absently.
Suddenly Melchior noticed a man's shadow on him and looked up. It was him all right; Marle's testimony had been right. The prodigal son had returned.
"Hello, Melchior. It has been a long time, no?" smiled Thiek "Why are you here?"
"The same could be asked of you, my son," said Melchior.
"Do you konw why I'm here?" asked Thiek, but before Melchior could answer, Thiek leaned over and whispered in his ear "It's because I'm a Shadow. Yes, I'm here to stop you from stopping us."
"Why have you betrayed everything the Guru's stood for?" Melchior asked, in a clear, proud voice that knew it had been betrayed.
"I haven't betrayed the Guru's at all, but I will. The High Shadow would disagree with your assesment - he's very interested in meeting you. Yes," smiled Thiek "You will have much to discuss." Thiek unleashed a small burst of lightning from his fingers, sending Melchior slumping to the ground.
"One done, four to go," smirked Thiek.
"Hello Crono," said a sinister voice from behind Crono, who spun around to see a black jacketed young man staring at him "Ready to meet the High Shadow?"
"You scum," began Crono.
"Don't begin a fight until you've heard me out," Thiek said, walking around Crono.
"And why shouldn't I?" asked Crono.
"Because if you do, the HighShadow will come. Trust me, he shall never explain about the man you met in Medina. Yourself, Crono. I can tell you the whole sordid story."
"Why should I believe you?'
"Don'y you want an explanation? I can provide one. Just sit for a while, and I will explain. There's no harm to me in it."
Crono glared at Thiek, but he still sat on a small missle. Thiek smiled wryly; now the truth shall come out.
"The person you met was from six hundred ad. At least, that's where we picked him up. We had been beated in twenty three hundred ad ..."
"By whom?" Crono asked.
"No one of import; as I said, we had been beaten, and our base was whisked away to six hundred ad, Truce Canyon, which it destroyed, and it appeared as a blue column. It enveloped several dozen people, and we didn't know what to do with them. They were captured and interrogated."
"One of them was Knossus Hansako, a young man of about your age. He looked exactly like you - I have never been able to divine why - as I was saying, he was a directionless young ruffian, wallowing in drink and self-pity. So we gave him direction. Sound familair?"
"No," replied Crono grimly.
"Very well. After that, he was transfered to a thousand ad," finished Thiek.
"That's it?" asked Crono.
"Not quite," said Thiek, bringing his fist across the back of Crono's skull "Two down, three to go."
"You are not what I had expected," said Thiek to R-007.
"You are a Shadow," R-007 said mechanically, arming his weapons "You are to be destroyed."
"You seek the destruction of the world."
"I have record of such."
"You are fascinating. Your designer must be brilliant. None of the emotion of those silly later models like the Robo class. Functional, effiecent. What I wouldn't give to have a model like you. I might give up everything to study the original models."
"You will come with me."
"Forceful, simple/ You shall make a much better subject than that silly Lazarus," said Thiek as he shot a little volt of lightning into R-007, shutting him down.
"Three down, two to go."
"You love Crono, do you not?" asked Thiek of Janice. Janice was quite lovely; pale skin, cascading, curled, blonde hair, and nice .... tracts of land, noted Thiek with a bit of interest.
"What are you talking about?" asked Janice, seeming undisturbed by Thiek's presence.
"You love him. And do you know what bugs you a lot? The fact that whenever you get on his case, trying to get him to stand up, to be what he can be, you have to bring Marle into it. It must bug you quite a bit, to have her clinging to your lectures to him, to be forced to guilt someone you love into loving someone else. It must be one of the worst things I have ever heard."
"Crono is a friend. Not even that good of one. He's lazy, irresponsible, and he ..."
"You like him lazy and irresponsible. But he's not really; he came here. He just needs a nudge now and then to keep him from drowning himself in self-pity."
"What do you know? I mean, nudge? More like a bloody tractor."
"Quite a bit actually, about everything. I know what the future holds for all of you, whether or not the bombs will go off, - everything that the High Shadow has deemed fit to tell me. I love knowledge. I love chaos. I love change. The High Shadow doesn't, but that's rather beside the point."
"Is there a point to your ranting and raving, or shall I just shoot you now?"
"There's a point. You love Crono."
"No I don't."
"Whether or not you admit it. Why not seize the day? Why serve people you don't like?" Janice was speechless as Thiek slowly sent her drifting into a deep sleep.
"Four down, one to go."
Lucca kicked a missle. It hurt her toe a bit. The other four recievers were dead. Whoever it was had got them. Lucca reached under her jacket and pulled out a gun.
"You're really underappreciated, arnen't you Lucca?" said Thiek.
Lucca spun around and fired her gun at Thiek, but Thiek just sat there, calmly, cooly, as she ran out of ammo.
"Are you quite done now?" asked Thiek.
"I guess so," answered Lucca.
"Good. We can talk."
"About what? I worked for six months undoing the damage Lavos - or at least what I thought was Lavos - did."
"Trust me, we worked a lot longer undoing what it took you six months. More like sixty years."
"So? It's easier to destroy than to build."
"We have preserved what you sought to destroy."
"I sought to destroy a future where humans were going to become extinct."
"Is that what you believe? You are sadly mistaken."
"The better question is 'How' you are mistaken. If you ask 'why' you are mistaken, I could merely state that your opinion is at odds with the truth, and that is all the answer you can get from a why."
"Fine, how am I mistaken?"
"You'll see," said Thiek "Oh, yes. You will see quite clearly. Quite clearly indeed. You are destined for great things, you are, but first you must see your mistake." Thiek opened his palm towards Lucca "I shall show you." A burst of reddish energy erupted from Thiek's palm, and Lucca fell to the floor.
"Five down, none to go."
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