Chrono Trigger: The Planeswalkers Chapter 36
Aspiration to Destruction
By Mox Jet
2000 AD, Project Hellreach
The bright lights of the surgical room shone down on the table with great intensity. Within the deepest bowls of the Project Hellreach complex was the autopsy lab in which the dead body of Lavos laid across a platform, waiting to be gutted by the Doctors around it. The room was inhabited by three people: Doctor Jurai, the project leader, Jack McKlane, the supposed 'Specialist' sent from Headquarters, and another Doctor, the surgeon that would be doing the actually operation. Looking in through the viewing window on the right side of the room was everyone else that was on the project. All of them huddled to get a better look at the blue, humanoid thing which had been at the center of the giant which they had been digging up the past three months.
Tristan also waited outside. The actual autopsy should not have been open to Jack either, since his rank was not high enough. In fact, none of the things he had done should have been allowed. Jack had somewhat transcended past rank in SSAF. His well founded knowledge base of the Lavoid allowed him more freedom and others, who didn't know anything, allowed him to use this freedom. How a mid-ranked officer was even permitted to the facility shocked most of the people who hadn't been privy to his story and his explanation what had happened. Yet, his knowledge gave him power, and he used he power to get at Lavos.
They were garbed in surgical scrubs. Once they had exited the magically contaminated Lavoid Cavern, the all-encasing suits were no longer needed. Normally, the energy emitted from a Lavoid could also be harmful, but Lavos no longer emitted energy. Nothing inside of him was still working.
"Are you sure he's dead, this time?" Jurai asked Jack. Jack nodded.
"His energy intake is down to zero," Jack confirmed. "Aside from lacking normal signs of life, he also has stopped absorbing and emitting energy. Trust me. He's a goner."
"We should make the incision here," the surgeon said. "Down the mid-section." He indicated the proposed cut with his scalpel.
"Sounds good," Jack said, crossing his arms. "Go for it." The surgeon bit his lower lip and gently began to cut through the blue skin from the area just below the neck, dragging the knife down to where, while they were curiously lacking on the Lavoid, the genitalia would be. Carefully, the surgeon completed the cut and slowly opened the flaps of skin with a sickly suction sound, revealing the chest cavity.
"Good God " the surgeon muttered, expecting to find an extremely bizarre set of internal organs and bone structure. "It's human." He swallowed hard. It was almost true. The innards of Lavos looked remarkably human. The stomach, the liver, the lungs. All of them were arranged identically to that of a human, all sitting under a rib-cage that was close to human as well.
"Strange " Jack commented, leaning over and looking in. "It does look human. Aside from a few things here and here " he pointed to a few structures that he did not recognize, "it looks identical to a human torso." He felt ill.
"What could possibly explain this?" Jurai asked. "I mean, our physical makeup is the result of millions of years of genetic accidents and random choices up the genetic tree. How could something of such unknown origin be so close to human in its form?"
"It's not a matter of coincidence," Jack muttered bitterly. "However this thing was created its original source of DNA was no doubt human." Jack refrained from explaining anything more about the origin of the species. It was not important at the moment. No. The truth about Elosia and Earth could wait until another time, maybe when he had a better, more accurate story.
"We should take samples," Jurai said. "I look forward to analyzing them." Jack didn't answer. He suddenly felt like he was having a fever attack. His face became warm and he started to sweat. Suddenly, he felt somewhat panicked. He looked down at the blue, dead face of Lavos and saw the damned thing looking back at him, mocking him.
What are you doing to me, Lavos? he asked inside his head. His question seemed to echo inside of his head, and then he thought he heard laughing. Get out of my head. Get out of my head! he screamed to himself. Then, out loud, "Get out of my head!!" Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at Jack. Jack looked back at them, not knowing what to say. Becoming unsteady, he started to rip off his surgical gloves and move towards the door.
"Make sure you remove all organs that are unknown for closer examination," Jack said as he exited the room unnerved. Once in the air lock that lead to the surgery chamber, he sat down against a wall and pulled his knees up to his chest and started to breath heavily. "It was human " he said to himself over and over again. "It was human "
Tristan quickly made his way through the crowd into the air lock to where Jack was. Sitting down next to him, he attempted to comfort the blue haired teen.
"Dude, what's wrong?" he asked casually. "You look totally bugged out. Snap out of it, man."
"Tristan," he said shakily, "It was human. It's internal structure it was almost human."
"So?" Tristan asked. "Monkey's have similar internal structures as us, but they're not human."
"You don't get it," Jack said. "This thing except for the slightest differences, it looked completely human on the inside."
"Well, remember how you said Lavoids were designed on some planet millions of light years away from here?" Jack nodded. "Well, maybe the scientists that created the Lavoids used Human DNA as their base. That would make sense, since humans have always had a bit of a ego problem. So, why not make their 'ultimate biological weapon' from the DNA of a human? Plus, either way you look at it, that thing is not human. It may look it, but it's not. Like you said, the Chaos tainted it."
"Still," Jack said. "It's quite disconcerting to know that this thing which has killed so much and has deserved death more than any other living thing is " Something new came to his realization now. What if Chaos doesn't make something evil? What if Chaos simply draws out whatever existed inside of something to begin with. Humans. For so long, we've killed each other and killed other species, supposedly in the name of either survival or advancement. Bah. How is that different from what Lavos did? Are humans the same as Lavoids? Could it be that-"
"You're human, aren't you?" Tristan asked, cutting off Jack's internal monologue.
"I said, you're human, right?"
"Yeah," Jack said.
"But you have Lavoid in you?"
"Well, that would lead one to take a guess that the DNA structure that makes something a Lavoid isn't expressed physically. It might just be a set of genes that were inserted into the human genome to achieve the desired effect."
"I guess that makes sense," Jack said, slowly standing up. "You want to study it, don't you?" Jack asked. Tristan nodded.
"I'm looking forward to getting some samples." Jack was silent. "Do you feel closure now?" he asked. "Now that you've seen it? Do you feel like you're final put an end to whatever was calling you?" Jack shook his head.
"No " he said. "Something in me still wants revenge. I still don't feel complete. In fact, I think getting so close to the core really set off a new feeling in me. A new mission."
"You have a plan, don't you?" Tristan asked after a few moments of silence. "You've been thinking about it for a little while now. I've seen it in your eyes. You want to kill more of them." Jack closed his eyes.
"It's crazy, I know. I just felt that if I couldn't kill this one then I'd kill as many others as I could. What happened on this planet isn't an isolated situation. I've 'seen' what they do to planets. To think that all of those lives throughout the universe are being lost to this species, simply used as pawns and experiments and then discarded. It makes me sick. I feel like I can't let that go on. All of those lives are being lost and for once, I feel like I have the power to stop it. I think I can learn to use my power to kill these things, Tristan," he clenched his fists. "I don't want what happened here to happen anywhere where it can avoided. An evil like the Lavoids has to be stopped."
"You have quite a sense of justice, friend," Tristan said.
"Maybe it's not even a sense of justice, Tristan," Jack admitted. "Maybe I just want to kill as many of them as possible. I don't feel complete with just the death of this one. The only problem is that even if I could go on a Lavoid killing spree, that would require organization and a means of space travel and special equipment and well all sorts of things we don't have. Maybe that's why I haven't brought it out in the open. Maybe I just know that it's not something I'm going to be able to achieve."
"You don't think SSAF or the Government will fund it?"
"Oh sure," Jack said sarcastically. Speaking in mimic, "Please, Sir. Me and my friends need twenty billion dollars of government funds so we can go off into space and chase down a species of aliens that are killing people on planets that have nothing to do with ours."
"When you put it like that, of course not," Tristan said. "But you obviously still need to work on your powers of persuasion."
"What would you suggest?"
"They need to be getting something out of it," Tristan said. "You have to appeal to the human desire to explore. Turn it into a research mission to follow up Project Hellreach. Give the government experimentation rights or something."
"I guess just appealing to their sense of 'Evil needs to be stopped' isn't gonna do it," Jack lamented. "But I'm gonna kill 'em," Jack said. "Every last on of them." He made a fist.
"How many do you think there are?" Tristan asked.
"It doesn't matter," Jack said. "Even if I can't kill them all in my life time, I'll make sure I set up a group of people that can. We have to fight these things, Tristan. We can't let what they're doing continue." Tristan touched his hand to his chin and began to walk around the air lock in circles.
"How would you travel?" he asked. "It would be impossible to travel at any velocity that we know at the moment. Space Shuttles and the like wouldn't travel nearly fast enough to reach another star system in a life time. It would be my guess that Lavos was the only Lavoid in this system, Jack." Jack sat in silence for nearly a minute.
"That's why I'm the only one who can do this, Tristan," he said softly and smugly. "Because I know how to travel through space using means that haven't been discovered yet. I know how to travel through space by means that break physical law."
"When I read into Lavos's memory, I only took away certain information. But, as time passes, I seem to be able to view more and more of this information. It's like there was a time delay on the memory banks, but, as odd as it sounds, I think that I have complete access to whatever Lavos knew at the time when our minds merged. I can't look at all this information now, but slowly it is becoming apparent to me. As a result, I'm learning more and more about my own power."
"You lost me," Tristan said, scratching his head.
"Topik," Jack said, "wanted to teach me to 'unlock my potential.' At the moment, I didn't know what it meant, but slowly, I've begun to come to grips with the true power that has been given to me due to the Lavoid DNA complex in my cells. I think that he wanted me to do this as well. He always said that there were bigger plans for me. Am I just realizing those plans now?"
"He can teach you how to transcend physical limitation and allow you to travel though space at faster than light speed?" Tristan asked skeptically.
"No " Jack said slowly. "Not just transcend physical limitation. It's more than that. It's sort of like transcending the physical plane."
"Walker of Planes " Jack said to himself, repeating what he had been called by the Farilii he fought in Zeal as well as by Topik in the Beginning of Time. "Could that be it?"
"Okay," Tristan said, throwing his hands in the air. "You lost me, now."
"If they've been right about everything up until now, they might be right about that too.." Jack said. "Don't you see?" he grabbed Tristan's shoulders. "We have the ability to break physical bounds and transcend physical limitation!"
"I think you've lost it," Tristan said.
"Think about Doreen and the Finori," Jack said. "They said that they were able to shift their existence from plane to plane, essentially moving freely in a Five Dimensional universe. Moving in that fifth dimension, the planar dimension, laws of three dimensional travel no longer exist!"
"We need Finori?"
"We need me!" Jack corrected. "I don't know how, but somewhere in me that ability lies. Topik told me so. Normally, I wouldn't be so trusting, but that bastard has been right about everything since I met him. Something tells me that I have that power."
"You want to move yourself through dimensions?"
"But what if it wasn't just me?" Jack asked, starting to get excited. "What if it was an entire Starship, filled with people specially trained for killing Lavoids?"
"Could it work?" Tristan asked.
"If I can uncover the workings of how a one shifts from plane to plane, we could also imbue the ability into a machine that could do it!"
"It might work!" Tristan agreed. "Of course, with my scientific genius, I could find a way to do it!" he said with a wide grin. "But you don't know how to use that ability, yet," he said. "We can't plan to build anything until we know how the ability works."
"Topik," Jack said. "Topik will teach me. I know he will. He has a lot of stuff that he wants to teach me, I sense. I'm not sure how he knows about all of it, but he's got a lot of knowledge in that head of his. I think I can go to him and learn."
"You want to go back to the Beginning of Time, then?"
"Yes," Jack nodded.
"Then why waste any more time?" Tristan asked simply. "The sooner you learn about whatever powers you have floating around inside of you, the sooner we can put your idea into motion. You're not the only one who feels that way towards the Lavoids, Jack. All of us that traveled with you feel it as well. We all show it in different ways, but it's all there. Some of us just guise it differently. I make it sound like it's the cool thing to do and Rayith does it for the challenge and Aragorn does it supposedly to uphold Justice. It doesn't matter how what we say we're doing it for, though. There's bitter enmity towards the Lavoids in each of us, that feeling that it had done something that couldn't go unpunished. I guess we just needed someone like you to lead us along."
"You're a good friend, Tristan," Jack said, putting a hand on Tristan's shoulder. "Thank you for helping me get my thoughts together. I've been a bit emotionally unbalanced lately."
"I think the shock that you're finally getting laid has just sent your head for a spin," Tristan said jokingly. Jack laughed briefly before punching Tristan in the kidney. Clutching the contact point in pain, Tristan laughed. "Okay, okay!" he said. "I'm sorry! I guess you're still a little sensitive about it!"
"No matter," Jack said. "It's actually the culmination of a lot of things. Maybe that does have a part in it," Jack admitted, "But there's a lot more to it."
"Well then," Tristan said, still flinching. "We should get out of here. Let those scientists finish their thing. We can get the full report latter."
"Right," Jack agreed with a nod. Together, they left the airlock and passed through the small crowd of scientists that were to engrossed in the autopsy happening in the next room to take much notice to the two teens. Jack and Tristan made their way to the exit and passed up a series of elevators and security check points before finally reaching the ground floor of the base. After passing through one last security scan, they exited the base into the fenced in area of Project Hellreach.
"You wanna teleport now?" Tristan asked.
"Yeah," Jack said. "Let's find somewhere that no one will notice, though."
Ducking off into a corner and avoiding the guards, Jack cast the teleportation spell, placing them in an ally a block away from the coffee shop they had been yesterday. That was to be the meeting place after Jack and Tristan were done examining Project Hellreach for the day. They had decided to finish a little early, though, so Sarah, Rayith and Aragorn were not there yet. Jack and Tristan decided to wait and have a few drinks to kill the time.
"So basically once you learn how to do this Planeswalk thing, or whatever you call it," Tristan said, "You write up a plan for and give it to me. Then you can go on with your training while I head up the construction of the uh what was it again?"
"The Weatherlight," Jack said.
"Right. The Weatherlight," Tristan confirmed. "Or in any case, our ship."
"That's pretty much the gist of it. It may take awhile to learn how to Planeswalk, but since we have all matter of temporal distortion, we won't lose much time at all. Basically, I can send you the plans from the Beginning of Time the moment after I get there, or, it will feel like that for you, anyway. Then I can stay there for the time needed to train. I'll allow myself to jump back into our era around the time that the Weatherlight is complete. This way, we achieve maximum efficiency."
"You don't want to check up on the construction?" Tristan asked hesitantly.
"I'll probably be able to monitor it from the Beginning of Time in the same way that those guys there were monitoring me. I can probably communicate, or find someone to communicate, should need come to that " Tristan was silent for a moment.
"We're really gonna do this, huh?" he asked, taking a sip of his drink. Jack nodded.
"Assuming we can get the funding. I don't imaging building something like this and creating the equipment will be easy or cheap. We'll get by, somehow. You know, if worst comes to worst, I can always just take mental control over someone and have them establish the project and divert the funds like that," he smirked. "I hope it doesn't come to that, though."
"I don't know if possessing a government official is listed as illegal anywhere, but that sounds like a federal crime punishable by life in prison to me, Jack," Tristan said. "But whatever happens, happens, I guess."
About twenty minutes later, the other three walked into the shop. Noting that Jack and Tristan were already sitting down, Sarah realized that something must have happened, since it was still seemingly early to be done. Sitting down next to Jack, she inquired about the passing events and why they were done so early. With great length, Tristan and Jack told the story of the day thus far, starting at their journey down to the Lavos Cavern and ending with their final decision to form a group dedicated to the destruction of the Lavoids. Finishing their joint story, Jack and Tristan finally leaned back in their chairs and finished what was left in their respective glasses.
"Wow " Rayith said. "I didn't think you were that serious about this, Jack."
"Neither did I," Jack admitted. "I think Sarah also knew I was thinking about such an organization, though. I just needed to vocalize it."
"I think I knew, too," Sarah said. "I think you've known for awhile that you have a place in that position. Screw whatever Topik told you. That was something you needed to learn for yourself."
"Yes," Jack said, nodding his head. He looked to Aragorn. "You're welcome to join up with us again," he told him, somewhat hopefully.
"I don't think I should, Jack," Aragorn said. "I think my rightful place is by the King's side, even when compared to the option of fighting by your side. If anything, this journey has taught me that."
"Such as I suspected," Jack said, rising from his seat. "Well, then. That leaves the only thing left for us to do is to speak with the High Commander and receive and audience with the Grand Counsel for the Kingdom. I don't know how easy that will be. I'll likely have to come clean about my origins and display proof. With the proper persuasion, Tristan thinks we can get the proper funding."
"What about man power?" Sarah asked. "We need a crew."
"They'll come," Jack said. "We'll probably recruit mostly SSAF people, even they won't be able to resist the opportunity to explore the stars."
"Star Travel " Sarah mused. "It seems so far fetched."
"And ironically it's not technology that will get us there," Jack said. "It will be magical power. From propulsion to probably also our storage of supplies, it will be magic over technology."
"Amazing " Sarah said again. She sighed and drew herself out of her chair. "Do you want me to go to see the High Commander with you?" she asked.
"No," Jack said. "I'd actual prefer if Tristan came with me. You understand, I hope."
"Jack, I understand you better than you understand you. Remember?"
"Right," Jack said, scratching his head. "How could I have forgot."
"A small stone may make a ripple at first, but someday it will be a wave." - Wiegraf
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