Chrono Trigger: Twins of Destiny Chapter 10
By Mox Jet
At the M-1 Compound
The principle of Armour warfare is that with greater power in the hand of each individual, fewer individuals are needed. If one person can be transformed into an artillery battery, then the extra people that would otherwise be used to operate this said battery are unneeded. It was on this foundation that M-1 was formed: that the actions of many could be now conducted by few. With this, they were able to cut off the lesser soldiers, increasing the general ability of the common soldier, and create an elite team of mercenaries.
Their current contract with Lyons was different from most in the fact that it required attention of the entire organization, as they were basically functioning as a standing army. Unlike normal one shot deals, this was highly irregular. All other normal functioning of the organization had been put on temporary hold, and all active combat-ready agents of M-1 were stationed in the Lyons area.
There was no doubt that M-1 was a superior force to most of the Denegrad military. The past years of war had proven that. The only force that had been able to match M-1 was Denegrads own superior fighting force that called themselves the EnKai. These soldiers were able to defeat M-1 at times mostly due to their reputation for altering the rules that are normally engaged in armed warfare. These rules, of course, were rewritten with the advent of the Armour, but by throwing new tactics into the works, they were able to hold M-1 back at times. Where these ideas came from, however, was a mystery, as rumors abounded of the EnKai not actually being led by someone from Denegrad.
Another aspect of Armour warfare is that there were generally fewer casualties, as there were fewer units involved. Also, what would make up an injury that might take an Armour out of action might not actually kill the pilot. With all of these factors added together, M-1s need to replace casualties was not that great.
M-1 had both a training school and a recruitment service for enlisting new members to fight. However, neither of these establishments had been overworked to find new soldiers. This led to, over the course of the last six months or so, what was actually becoming an increase in the total standing army of M-1; this being an anomaly in a time of war. So, that someone as high in the works of the organization as Kallar would find someone off of the street to bring them into service did not just strike Lina Esrevni as against normal procedures, it struck her as downright peculiar.
As she paced down the halls with Tyrion just at her heels, if she didnt make her displeasure of being assigned a menial task obvious in her speaking, her walking was making it even more clear. Tyrion, who stood nearly a good foot taller than her, looked awfully funny being towed around like a pet.
The halls seemed oddly vacant for a military institution. Aside from three men that ran past them once, they had not encountered anyone on their passage towards the would-be living quarters for Tyrion. Granted, those three men had been running at a good pace, obviously in a rush to get somewhere, but otherwise, the silence between the two blue-haired teens was only made more painful by the lack of other activity in the hall.
The halls of the living quarters area of the compound were a dull green-blue, only marred by the black doors which occasionally blotted the walls. On the ceiling, uncovered pipes and tubes ran across the unfinished, darkened alcoves above them, carrying with them the strange rumblings of the station that had been reduced to a mere buzz in this area.
How much farther is it? Tyrion finally asked, tired of both the walking and the awkward silence with someone who he knew he would eventually have to get along with.
Not much, Lina said abruptly. Then, without warning, she stopped in her tracks, Tyrion nearly tripping over her. Turning her head first, then the rest of her body, she spun around to face the taller young man, crossing her arms over her chest and looking up with a raised eyebrow.
What exactly is your story? she asked him curtly. I mean, why are you here? This isnt exactly the kind of thing someone does for fun. Tyrions eyes looked at her, and then at the floor.
What? he asked.
You heard me, she said. Just appease me and answer my question. He paused.
I didnt really have a choice, he said finally, after some effort. It seemed like the only thing left.
After what? You lose your parents or something? She suddenly snapped her fingers as she recalled what little she had been told about him. Wait! she said. I remember now. Youre the one with the dead girlfriend, right? Tyrion winced at the bluntness of the comment. Anger flared, but he managed to let loose only a furrowed brow.
Her name was Rachel, he said with great heaviness. And, yes, he said very slowly, letting each of the individual words take full effect. My girlfriend was murdered. Lina shifted her weight on to one leg as she looked up.
So you joined the military? she said, only halfway believing.
I was recruited, he corrected. Though I dont know why, he again admitted, looking at the floor and seeming very pained at the recollection of the girl who he still mourned for.
Why you were recruited, or why you joined?
Why I joined. I think he paused. I wanted a chance to kill some of the ones that killed Rachel. Its like if someone makes an attack at people that are close to you, then you want to see those people punished. With me, I wanted to make sure that I saw those people given what they deserve first hand.
And Kallar was the one who brought you here, huh? Lina said, closing her eyes. Not really wanting to have to ask Tyrion of his entire history, she let loose a quiet psychic impulse that brushed through his mind and grabbed what info that she needed. Tyrion jumped, somewhat startled by the unique feeling that a psychic reading delivers.
Did you just go through my head? he said, feeling somewhat violated.
Itll speed things along, she said. If Im going to learn about you, you know?
And you suddenly have interest?
Because from what Ive seen of you, it doesnt strike me that you care much about other people. She couldnt help but grin.
Thats a bunch of crap, she corrected. I just dont care about particular people. He cocked his head sideways, pausing momentarily.
Then why the tough façade? he shot. She blinked harshly, not answering immediately. Had he struck a nerve?
I dont have a tough façade, she said, taken someone aback and shifting her weight to her other leg and putting her hands on her hips. I just dont like being sent on menial tasks while having gear that Ive should be given disappear to the likes of a new recruit. And that is why I want to know. Kallars a yes-man, and hes not dumb. That means either he wanted you for some reason, or someone else wanted you. Which, in turn, means that theres something unique about you. That is why I have interest. Get it?
Tyrion cocked his head backwards, before looking past her for a moment. He grimly nodded.
Then lets trade. One for one. Qui pro quo. You tell me about you and I tell you about me. Lord knows, itll stop that damned silence that seems to have been following us.
I thought you didnt believe in God, she said, lifting her chin up.
How did you he stuttered as she smirked. Frowning, he grimaced. Now thats something Im going to have to get used to, he said. But, my question then becomes, if you can just read my head, then why even bother asking me?
Psychics honor, she answered with a smile. There are certain depths I certainly dont pry to. Theres a certain code of decency to the whole thing, you know?
Tyrion shrugged, leaning against the nearest wall. So you want to trade personal info? I should probably assume that you have something to gain from this.
Just a better understanding of my partner, she said with a smirk. And of course, some insight into why theyre giving you that damned Armour.
Then thats my first question, Tyrion said. Why are you so interested in getting it. As advanced as it may be, its just a piece of metal.
The reason is that thats not all I think it is, she said obscurely. Again, you have to look at the motives of the people involved. M-1 may just seem like a group of battle hungry men who are making money off of a country that cant defend itself properly, but theres a hell of a lot more to them than that. If youve ever spoken to anyone in High Command, then you know that theyre more than just soldiers; theyre politicians. You cant escape politics, Tyrion. As someone who became victim of said politics, you should know.
What do you mean, that I became victim of it.
Na ah ah, she said, shaking a finger. Its your turn now. She pointed to him. You answer a question of mine, now. Tyrion shrugged and nodded. Lina lifted her the finger she had pointed at him to her chin, formulating her question. Okay, lets talk about you joining M-1. Whyd you really do it?
I already told you, he responded curtly.
No, she corrected. You said you guess thats why. What I want to get an idea is what really went through your head.
I he paused and blinked in almost a sudden wave of surprise. You know what, Lina? he asked. Im not sure anymore. I knew what I was doing when I spoke with Kallar and told him that Id go with him. The more it seems like it, though, I think that Kallar himself was right with what he said. He told me he was giving me a how to deal with my problem. More than anything else though, I think he was giving me the answer to what I viewed as the problem at hand.
And its not like I really had anything to run from, you know? In hindsight, everything I had was pretty damned good. It was just Rachel was that crucial to my life that I think I wanted to run from the inevitability that I would be without her. Have you ever had an experience where a lot of moments in time flashed before your eyes at once? I think thats what I felt, and I saw life without Rachel and I he paused. In the back of his throat he choked a little, stuttering a bit. A single tear ran down his face beside his nose.
And I ran, he finally said. I wanted to run. He wiped his face. Lina looked up at him with the first sign of sympathy that she had shown since they had met, but it was a peculiar kind of sympathy. It was almost a confused form of sympathy, like she didnt know how to respond to the grieving before her. Her only response was silence.
Tyrion sniffed a little, before snapping out of it. Its your turn, he said, then. I want to know why youre running.
Who says I am? she said. Tyrion raised his eyebrows.
But arent we all? he asked. I mean, arent we all running from something?
What if Im running to something?
No, he said. Its never like that. Humans dont work like that. Even if we are running towards something, its to get away from something else. Its the simple matter of survival. He looked at her with a piercing stare. So why are you here? Why are you running? Lina looked up at him, shuffling her left foot against the floor. She paused, trying to think of how to word what she would say.
The air around them momentarily buckled in an awkward moment of silence. Temporarily, the sound in the pipes above them grew louder, almost searching to alleviate that silence. Footsteps could again be heard in the distance as a low rumbling, growing for a moment and then dying away again. When the pipes reduced their sound again, and silence returned, Lina spoke.
Do you know what its like to be easily differentiated from everyone around you? she finally asked. To be markedly different to the point where you want to hide from your own persona? Thats what Im running from. Im running from being so unique that people mistreat you because of it.
Are you talking about the psychic thing? Tyrion asked. Lina snapped from serious to joking.
Ya think? she said, mockingly slapping her own head. Duh.
Do you think youre the only one whos different? he then said, countering. Like youre the only one whos ever had that problem?
I suppose a lot of people deal with it, simply not to the same extent that I did, she said, becoming serious again. People tend to be afraid of what they dont understand, she admitted. When I could beat up the bigger guys that would pick on me and tease me, simply by using my mind, people got scared. That scared feeling sometimes manifests itself in hatred. She looked to the floor. Thats what Im running from. She began to walk again, leading Tyrion towards his room.
So why here? he asked, beginning to walk alongside her. Why to some place like this?
Because theyre like a family, she responded. They value my abilities more than they fear them. Here, it doesnt make me a freak; it makes me a powerful warrior. Here, those who go into battle with you are your family. They are your brothers and sisters that would die for you, more so than any real family Ive known. Its like the family I never had. I know that may seem kinda sick and twisted to someone else but
No, he said, his eyes darting to the ground as they continued to walk. It doesnt seem that twisted at all. He paused for a second. Actually, Ive never really had much of a family, myself, either. The only thing Ive known as a home is the Nisai Ryu. I had sort of lived there with them for most of my life, mostly because thats all Ive known. I stuck around there for a while until they found me a place where I could go live and go to school. I was 14 when I moved in with the only people I could really call my parents, but they were more or less caretakers, rather than real parents. I went to school, but always spent as much time as I could at the Monastery. That was my real family.
I dont know much about the Nisai Ryu, she admitted. But how young were you when you were orphaned?
I dont know, really, he said, laughing. I never knew my biological parents. In fact, as terribly peculiar as this sounds, they just sort of found me outside of the Monastery one day. He laughed again, this time slightly harder. I believe I was two or three when I showed up there. They didnt know how I ended up on their doorstep though he paused. Maybe all Im running from is my own lack of a past? he asked with a shrug.
But its my turn again, he continued. And I want to know what you said when you referred to me being a victim of politics.
Lina laughed briefly, flashing a grin that almost was becoming her trademark towards him.
This is your room, she said, halting her walk and hitting the button next to the black door in front of them, causing the door to slide open, revealing the room it guarded. We can continue this chat at a later time.
Hey! he said. Thats not fair! Lina began walking away, turning back to him momentarily.
I have other things to do, she said with a wink. I believe Ill see you later tonight. Dont get into trouble while Im gone. She waved passively before turning around and walking away. Tyrion, too tired to argue, did not even go after her.
Bureaucracy ? he asked himself aloud with hands on his hips. Part of the politics that Im a victim of? Is she giving me a hint?
Lina had pretty much confused him indefinitely now. It was not only in what little she was revealing of his situation, though, but also of what she was revealing about herself. His first impulse about her had been one of frustration and annoyance at her arrogance and, well, for lack of a better word, bitchiness. Then, in an instant, when it seemed she might get something that she needed from him, she became sweet and innocent. In taking him to his room, she became nasty again, and then sympathetic, then philosophical. He knew judging people too quickly could be a mistake, but now this girl had already contradicted her own personality three times over. The question remained for him, how would she treat him? He could live with the sweet and innocent, as that never hurt anyone. If she was as powerful as Kallar said, though, Lina wasnt a girl that he wanted as an enemy. That was the last thing he needed. He felt, though, that there was little he could do to control it at the moment. He shrugged and walked into his room.
It was of decent size for one person, a little larger than a single person dorm room in any of the schools he had visited. Against the left wall was a bed made of stainless steel, all of the sheets folded and piled on the bare mattress for him to make up on his own. Along the back wall was a small desk, also made of stainless steel, with a black lamp on it. The chair for the desk was made of black plastic. The walls were the same color as those of the halls outside, a dull bluish-green. He noticed that there was no window, and that apparently the ventilation duck on the left wall above the bed would have to suffice. Along the right side was a standard issue dresser for what little clothes he had brought. Inside, there was a rail for clothes on a hanger, as well as shelves for whatever else he had.
Sitting on the desk was a small black book. Upon further inspection, he saw that it was labeled as the Griever Bible, the holy text of the omnipresent religion. Apparently M-1 encouraged their soldiers to be holy men.
Apathetically, he drew his bag off of his shoulder and threw it into the corner of the room, where it hit something with a thud and a sound was produced that made him jump out of his skin.
Ow! the sound squeaked in the voice of a human. There was nothing there, as far as he could see, so it seemed as if the wall was deciding to complain about being hit with the bag he had thrown. Tyrion raised his fists out of instinct, but really didnt know what to do.
That hurt, the voice said again. Tyrion was sure he was going insane. The wall in front of him was complaining about being hurt.
Whos there? he asked to apparently no one.
Its me, Tyrion, the voice said in a harsh whisper. Keep your voice down! Tyrion took a moment to register it, but he recognized the voice, and when he recognized the voice, he didnt know whether to be happy, or sad, or to just simply hit the floor.
Tristan? he asked in a whisper.
Yeah, he said. Im hiding. I cant uncloak myself. Listen to me. Pick up that book on the desk and sit on the bed. Pretend to read it but dont look in my direction as you talk. The cameras in these rooms only pick up video. They dont record audio.
Cameras?! he asked in surprise. Were being watched?!
Just do it, Tristans voice said. Ill try to explain.
Why are you hiding? he asked again. What the hell is the deal?
Just listen to me! he said, this time more harshly, some magical energy even kicking up in the room due to his frustration. Tyrion, slightly nerved, did as he was told as he picked up the Grievers Bible and sat on his bed, opening the book and gazing at it.
What do you want? he said, looking stoically at the book.
Its not so much what I want, but what you need. Tyrion took in the cryptic statement for a moment.
Im getting awfully tired of all of this mystical crap, he said, finally. I wish that someone would just tell me what they want so I can get down to deciding whether theyre on my side or not.
Look at it this way, then Tristan said. Think of me as your Guardian Angel.
Guardian Angel? Tyrion asked. Some Guardian, he mocked. You cant even show yourself because theyre after you right now, arent they? Those men running through the halls were looking for you, werent they?
Regardless, Tristan said changing the subject before his ego could become more bruised, you may be in danger, he said. And if it comes to that, Im here to help you out.
Im a big boy, Tristan, Tyrion said, trying to keep his emotions under control. I can handle myself.
Thats twice youve told me that, Tristan said.
And now looks whos the one whos hiding, Tyrion shot back. Tristan, though Tyrion couldnt see him (and this was good for Tristan) nodded apathetically, knowing that his new subject was right. He was the one hiding, which was not a good thing to do for a man whose ego was as large as his.
Listen, Tristan said. Do you remember when I told you I needed to figure out who was after you? You know? Who were the bad guys?
These people are my allies now, Tyrion said. Ill get to strike back for Rachel if I stay with them.
No one is your ally, Tyrion, Tristan said. Even your best friends are sometimes either out to get you, or just plain using you.
Then how do I know who to trust?
You trust me, Tristan said, immediately realizing how terribly unbelievable that sounded.
How do I know youre my ally? Tyrion shot back.
Because why else would I be risking my neck to come here to protect you?
I told you already, I dont need anyone protecting me.
And I told you already, that you always need someone watching your back.
There was a long silence as the two stared at each other, Tyrion really not seeing anything, but at least knowing that Tristan could see him stare him down.
Look Tristan finally said. You look hungry. Tyrion shrugged.
Whats that got to do with anything?
You cant be on guard if youre hungry, Tristan said, reaching into his pocket and procuring something, though Tyrion was not able to see what it was yet.
Eat this, Tristan said, tossing him what he had taken out of his pocket. As the item passed out of his image shielding field, its form became clear as that of a packaged bar of food. Tyrion caught it absently and examined it. The language that the package was marked in was unfamiliar, but it looked like any standard form of energy bar that he might buy in a convenience store. Realizing that he certainly was hungry, he tore it open and took a bite. It tasted like chocolate.
What is this? he asked.
Just some brain food, Tristan said. Munching away at his food, and taking the gesture of good will, Tyrion was somewhat quelled of his anger.
So do you have any idea exactly where we are? he asked Tristan.
Not really, Tristan admitted. The plane that I hijacked passed through an image shielding device, and then when we went under auto pilot, the windows to the cockpit were closed. As a result, I dont really know where this base is. I do, however, have a pretty good idea of its structural layout, based on the plans that I stole from their computer systems.
So youll be out and about? he asked.
Yes, while I try to figure out what it really is with these M-1 guys and why they are after you. Tyrion paused. You just have to trust me when I tell you that Im working on it. I mean, these people might, in actuality, be your allies, but we have to be cynical if you want to survive. We have to operate under the assumption that they want something out of you. If it simply is the gift of your distinguished services, then everything should be okay. If its anything more than that, we need to find out quickly.
Why are you helping me? he asked, repeating a question he had asked earlier.
Because, like I said before, my department needs to figure out who the bad guys are, so we can figure out who the good guys are. Get it?
I guess, Tyrion muttered.
Ill make sure I keep you posted on any new M-1 information, Tristan said. Though Tyrion couldnt see him, he moved towards the door.
I have to go now, he said. Ill be watching. Dont let yourself get pulled in too deep, okay? Before waiting for an answer, he opened the door via the panel and exited the room, wondering where he would go to hide, next. He knew he couldnt evade the people here forever. There were only so many places where he could go before he started to leave unwanted evidence of his presence. That would be his downfall. As long as he was careful, though, he would survive for a little longer.
Tyrion, on the other hand, sat with a bewildered look on his face as he slowly ate the energy bar that Tristan had given him. He gazed blankly into space as he tried to figure out just what the hell was going on, and why on Celes he had been chosen to be a part of it. Looking down to his lap, the Grievers Bible still lay, opened to a seemingly random page. Looking down and glancing at it, the book read:
And there will come a Great Destroyer who will purge the
world for the return of Adrekel.
The coming of Adrekel will be foretold by the Avatars and they will
make themselves known with fire from the sky, and death dealt as swiftly
as the wind. Upon the Wings
of Angels they will fly and prepare the world for the coming of the Destroyer,
and he will in turn purge the unworthy in the name of
Adrekel. Then, and only then,
will the Final Judgment begin.
Closing the book, he threw it to the opposite corner of the room, finished his snack and then lay down on the bed, closing his eyes in the purest hope that sleep would come.
Tyrion helped a great deal, both knowingly and unknowingly. Im quite surprised that he took it so lightly when everything was eventually revealed to him. He didnt even know what a Lavoid was at the time. He sure as hell would find out soon, though. Jack McKlane
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