Chrono Trigger: Dangerous Times Chapter 3

By Nihon Soba

Bangor City, circa 2304 A.D.

The Future is now.

Where he picked up the phrase, Robo did not know. But it did cause him to think for a while. His logic circuits could not quite understand this phrase and dismissed it as gibberish. But from his dealings with his human friends, Robo learned that things like that were not gibberish, but had certain meanings. Still, he could not quite understand the phrase.

It was Earth, 2300 A.D. ( “Anno Domini” is not what that meant). This time, though, the world was spared the destruction by Lavos. R66-Y, or “Robo,” was hailed as a hero, as well as all of the others who were involved with destroying Lavos. The seven heroes all had statues in a park in Bangor Dome, perfectly sculpted in their likenesses. Each statue had the date of the persons birth... and the date of their demise. Only on Robo and Magus’s statues were the death dates left empty. Robo was still alive, and Magus... well, nobody had ever seen him again, so nobody knew whether he was alive or dead.

Robo let out a mechanical sigh and stopped pondering the human phrase. He was in the park right now, amidst the green grass and trees which were carefully tended for by the maintenance workers. Hydroponics could work miracles nowadays. The android looked at the statues again, which were basked in the sunlight from Earth’s finally clear skies. He knew. He knew when almost all of his friends would die. Though R66-Y was not built with an emotion chip, his dealings with the humans had taught him the hard way about emotions, and now he had a sense of them within him, and he felt a lingering sense of despair whenever he looked at the dates on the statues.

Funny, how most robots from his “old” time of 2300 didn’t hold much respect for humans, their creators. “Machines aren’t capable of evil. Humans make them that way.” Lucca had said. And she was right. It was the robots’ programming that caused certain ones to rebel against the humans and try to create an empire of “steel and pure logic.” Humans then had originally created robots as slave-laborers and war machines. They were programmed with pure logic in their chips and were quite intelligent. But what was logic compared to imagination? Without imagination, robots were nothing but doddering geriatrics, doing nothing but building and destroying. Of course, they got tired of that and when the world was ruined by Lavos, the remaining robots revolted. Now, however, all robots (excluding Robo, for he had no need of one) were installed with the famous “Three laws of Robotics” (apologies to Isaac Asimov). 1. A robot can never intentionally harm or allow harm to come to a human. 2. A robot must have a sense of self preservation. 3. A robot must not let self preservation come above the first law. Now humanity had a friend, a helper to shoulder part of their burden. Although there were still humans who were not fond of the androids, they were treated better than they were before.

Robo finally remembered who said that weird phrase. It was Crono. He remembered when he and Crono and Marle were exploring the factory in order to find the switch to open the door in Proto Dome. Crono, taking a long look at the mass production facility, said “The future is now” in awe. Robo disregarded his logic circuits and hypothesized that it would make sense to someone like Crono, who had arrived from the past, to say that.

It was dark now, and Robo knew that the park would close any minute now. Getting up from the bench he was sitting on, Robo walked out Truce Park and out into the sprawling city of Bangor, covered conveniently in a large plasti-glass dome. Robo could remember when he was with Crono and Bangor Dome had been a filthy, rusting complex with only an Enertron to keep the small populace alive. Now, it was a large city with a population of thousands. Robo walked down the streets undisturbed by the masses of humans and androids. Unlike the other robots, he was an older model, and most older models were sent to the scrap heap for new bodies to house their CPU’s. Robo, however, was granted the privilege to keep his own outdated shell, with a few essential modifications, of course. After a few minutes of walking down the streets, Robo had made it to the building he was seeking.

In the wake of the destruction of Lavos in 1999, about three hundred years later, the old man who had been looking over Bangor Dome, Doan, was elected mayor of Bangor City in the “new” 2300 A.D. It was him who ordered the statues of the seven heroes to be erected in their honor, and it was his ancestors who created the Three Laws of Robotics. Robo would visit Doan from time to time. though it was a long trip from Proto Dome (Robo’s home, now fixed up) to Bangor City, the roads were not as treacherous as they were before. The Race Track was still there, a favorite place of many people who tried their luck competing and betting on each other. Johnny “The Man!” was still functional and usually competed against young hotshot racers. However, nobody had ever gone to the other piece of land that held the dome where Belthazar, the ancient Guru of time, had created the Epoch. Nor has anyone ever gone up Death Peak. Hmm...

Robo had made it to Doan’s office in the City Hall after a few minutes walk. Of course, he was given permission to see the aged mayor whenever it was convenient. Letting the sliding door open, Robo entered Doan’s office. The office was a simple room, with a synthetic carpet covering the floor and a mahogany desk with several chairs and couches around it. Doan was looking over some papers with interest at the moment, sitting in his desk. He did not notice the robot until Robo made an electronic noise to announce his presence.

“Ah, Robo! So good to see you again!” Doan got up from his desk and walked over to Robo. Unlike before, mayor Doan now walked with a straight back and an air of energy about him. He grasped Robo’s metallic hand in his own and gave it a crisp shake. Robo offered the closest approximation to a smile as his metallic features could.

“It is good to see you again, too.” he said in a synthetic voice. Due to his time around humans, Robo had also gained emotion in his voice, so it no longer sounded as bland and mechanical as before. “I indicate that you were very interested in what you were reading before, Mr. Doan. If you please, may I view the material? If it has to do with legal activities, I am programmed to help yo-”

Doan chuckled and held up a hand. “Please, Robo, you don’t have to talk like that around me. Lighten up! But thanks for the offer, though.” Robo nodded and spoke.

“Well then, my friend, what’s news?” the statement almost sounded funny coming from an android, but the humanness of the statement was genuine. Doan gestured toward his desk and Robo followed him there. The old man took the small stack of papers and gave them to Robo. As the robot read, Doan explained.

“Robo, you are aware of the factories and facilities we have in a low Earth orbit, aren’t you?” Robo looked up from the paper he was reading and nodded, making an electronic noise as an adknowledgement.

“Of course, sir.”

Doan spoke in a quieter tone now. “Well, one of our orbital laboratories doubles as a sort of watcher for Earth. It monitors incoming messages from our mining facilities on the other planets and incoming asteroids.” the old man looked around nervously before continuing, then spoke. “In the year 1999, our Earthbound laboratories had picked up strange tectonic and other anomalies when Lavos was bursting from the Earth’s crust. Well, just recently we have received readings of spacial anomalies just beyond the outer planets of our solar system. The anomalies have the same type of readings as the day of Lavos! But Lavos was destroyed by you and the others...”

Robo, who had absorbed every word Doan had said, responded. “Doan, we all know that Lavos was not of this Earth. Scientific analysis of the alien creature’s ‘quills’ had contained DNA like we have never seen before. No terrestrial animal, plant, or fungi have this type of DNA. The codons and anti-codons are arranged in the strangest way, the strands are not even in the traditional helix shape.” the android paused, making a whirring sound. “According to historical and archealogical evidence, we have proof that Lavos arrived on Earth around the year 65,000,000 B.C.” after this, Robo stopped to let his long explanation sink in. Doan was shocked.

“Do you think-”

Robo shook his head. “We cannot be sure. According to your papers, the readings are similar but still have their differences. There is always the chance that it is related to Lavos. I, sir, propose that you and the other mayors plan for an investigation to this matter.”

Doan nodded his head. “We already have, Robo. The mayors of Truce and Trann have agreed to fund this project.” then, giving a slight grin, he continued. “Oh, and I have personally vouched for you to have a place on this mission, Robo.”

Robo was silent for a moment. Then, in a voice that, though synthetic, could only be recognized as excited, he spoke. “Sir, I would be honored to lend my services to the mission! Since I have had dealings with Lavos in the past, I am sure that I can be of some help! When do we depart?” the android looked so giddy despite of his programming that Doan couldn’t help but to chuckle.

“You will depart from the Trann city launchpad tomorrow in the afternoon.” and after that, in a sincere tone, he added, “I wish you luck and hope for the best, my friend.”

Robo gave a crisp, military salute that was flawless (it was engrammed in his programming). “I will not fail you, Doan.” and with that, he proceeded to leave the office and the building. Doan watched him leave and sighed. He had a bad feeling about the mission, but he would not say anything to discourage his friend.

Robo walked fast down the streets of Bangor City. They were bustling with people, as always. As he walked, he thought about the mission. He was glad to go. It would let him think about other things instead of those death dates on the statues. He would find out if this was indeed a threat to Earth. And most importantly, it might give him an insight to how his friends were doing.

Passing by the park, Robo stopped abruptly. He sensed movement within his peripheral vision. Somewhere in the bushes of the park... Robo dismissed it after a short moment. It was probably one of the robotic maintenance workers watering the plants. With that, Robo proceeded to exit Bangor City and take the nearest monorail to Trann City.

There was a rustle in the bushed after Robo left. After a minute, a large blue head poked out of its hiding place. The creature then emerged entirely. It was a Nu, blank faced and as reclusive as always. Nobody had seen a Nu in over four hundred years, according to historical documents. In fact, as far as 1000 A.D. the creatures have no longer been reported. Only in the magical pyramid north of the Mystics’ Village was a Nu seen by Crono and his friends when they went to unlock the pyramid’s seal using Marle’s pendant.

This Nu made absolutely sure that no one would see him. The mysterious creature waited a few hours until the activity in the streets died down, then hobbled back into the bush. It, as well, had a mission.


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