Tempo Trigger Chapter 16
The End of All Eras
The End of Time
Tempo was crying his eyes out. He didn't care who saw him. In fact, he hoped people would see. He was only four years old, and his mother was dead. He wanted to cry this news to the whole world. Most of all though, he just wanted his mother back. Let Garin's ransom go unpaid. Let the assassins kill Lord Nagar. He didn't care about them. They were worthless. Why did she die? Other people walking by the front of the hospital paused to look, but no one stopped to talk to him.
Then, slowly, Tempo felt himself starting to drift back to the waking world. He wasn't four years old, he was eighteen. He began to realize this, and his tears stopped. But then, the hospital vanished, and his mother stood before him. "Why did you let me die?" She asked in a hoarse whisper.
"What?" Tempo was taken aback. "What could I have possibly done?"
"Even back then, you had the power to stop this. But you were too afraid."
"Of course I was afraid! So were you!" He shouted, feeling tears forming again.
"You shouldn't have been. Not with all your power." She glared at him.
"I was only four-"
"Coward." Her image began to vanish.
"No, I..." Tempo sank to his knees. "Mother, please! Don't leave me like this!"
"Coward." She said again simply, then disappeared.
"Well, uh, I guess he's awake now." Lion stared over at where Tempo had suddenly sat up, wide eyed and screaming. Schala regarded him for a minute with a curious expression. Lion quickly walked over to where Tempo was sitting on the cobblestones, staring blankly, and waved a hand in front of his eyes.
"Hey Tempo. I know it may not seem like it with this background, but you're awake now, all right?"
"I know that!" Tempo snapped angrily, standing up. "It was just a bad dream, that's all."
"I'm not surprised." Lion dismissed the rudeness like it was nothing. "You've been out of it for quite a while."
Tempo calmed down enough to take in his surroundings. "I guess so. Where are we?" He squinted, trying to see through the mists.
"I think you better ask him." Lion pointed to where an old man was leaning against a round pillar, with a tall flame burning at the top. It was the only real source of light in the gloom. The man was dressed in some very odd clothing that seemed to defy description. Strips of red and white intersecting at random angles characterized what looked like a long robe.
"Greetings, travelers." He said formally. "My name is Keldon, and this is the end of time."
"The end of time?" Schala asked nervously. "Then, how can anything still exist?"
Keldon chuckled a little. "My dear, the end of time is by no means the end of everything. Some new system has come along and replaced time. We, being four dimensional creatures at best, simply cannot comprehend existence without time, and thus, fail to see any results of the new system. All we see is this fog."
"Okay then." Schala faked a smile. She hadn't understood much of that. "Could you possibly tell us how we ended up here?"
"That is quite simple." Keldon nodded. "Somehow, that ship of yours increased to a sufficient speed to enable time warp. However, since it had no other time signature to latch on to while warping, it automatically went to the time coordinates of least resistance. Namely, here. The end of time."
"So, you're basically saying that the ship came here because it didn't know where else to go?" Lion ventured a guess as to what Keldon's "simple" explanation meant.
"That's correct." Keldon nodded.
"Hold it!" Tempo held up his hand. "We somehow managed to travel through time, without one of those blue portals?"
"Yes. Any sufficient speed above light will cause some distortion, and if the acceleration is rapid, full blown time travel will usually result. Now," Keldon gave them a stern look. "I know you're all set to go ripping back and forth through time, but you should really return to your own time before too much time has passed."
"We're not all from the same time." Lion told him.
"Oh." Keldon shook his head sadly. "In that case, it's already far too late."
"Wait, wait, wait!" Tempo shouted. "You mean we can get home from here?"
"Yes." Keldon nodded simply. "You see those lovely pillars of light over there?" He pointed to another circular platform, with three glowing pillars of light in the middle of it. "All times connect here. Those pillars will automatically sense what times you are from, and adjust in a few moments to lead you back there. Others will simply respond to other periods you have visited, and maintain steady gates there."
"That's more than I needed to hear!" Tempo shouted, smiling. "C'mon Silva, let's get out of here!" He grabbed her hand and raced up to the second platform.
"Hold on a minute!" Schala gave him a demanding look. "What about the Lavoid?!"
"Lavoid?" Keldon looked up, surprised. "Oh dear..."
"Screw the Lavoid, whatever the hell it might be!" Tempo shouted. "Schala, I've been brave through this whole ordeal, but I haven't come anywhere close to enjoying it. If I can go home, I'm going. You can come along, or you can continue a search you obviously have no idea where to start." With that, Tempo stepped into the glowing pillar of light, Silva close behind him. They rocketed up into the fog and disappeared, glowing sparks trailing behind them.
"Damn it!" Schala slammed her fist on the rickety old fence, and it clattered noisily. "I can't do this alone! I never could..." She sighed and ran up to the pillar as well, then jumped inside.
Keldon looked at Lion. "What about you?"
"Well, I should be glad to have them all out of my hair, but..." Keldon didn't finish the sentence for him. Lion paused awkwardly. "But, I am concerned about my ship. I'm not going anywhere without it."
"If you try to leave in the same manner you arrived in, there's no telling what time you may end up going to." Keldon told him sternly.
"You mean there's no way I can control where I go?" Lion's eyes widened.
"Not without some serious modifications." Keldon maintained a neutral expression.
"I see." Lion grinned. "I don't suppose you would know how to make these "modifications," would you?"
"Certainly." Keldon nodded.
"And how much would that be costing me?"
"For Lionello and the ones who just tore Moogoo a new one, nothing at all." Keldon winked at him.
"Uh..." Lion's mouth was working with no sound again. "I think I"ll just hang around with them until it's ready." Lion smiled weakly, than ran up to the platform and jumped into the pillar.
"Heh, heh." Keldon chuckled again. "You do that."
Schala blinked at the sudden difference in darkness. The sky was filled with stars, and there was a small sliver of moon in the sky. In the darkness, she could faintly make out landmarks that reminded her of the middle ages, but there were some significant differences as well. Then, she heard Tempo's excited shout. "Hot damn, we're back!"
"I... I'm home." - Shinji Ikari
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