Chrono Trigger: Time of Illusion Chapter 5

By Nihon Soba

The world, a dark, metallic world, opened up before her eyes.

Or at least, that what it seemed like. Minako's optic sensors glowed yellow as she looked around. Her memory returned almost instantly. She had been shot by one of those alien guards, she remembered. Right before she had gone out, there was a little blue creature coming toward her...

Minako then became aware of the presence of an entity beside her, violating her metallic body, wires inserted into it, wires that somehow made their way through her unbreakable body, supplying her with energy lost from being shot earlier. Turning her head, she could almost get a glimpse of the... the Nu through her vision blocked by the thin strands of her own metallic hair.

"Ah..." she spoke, her sentient robotic mind full of questions, emulating human curiosity and wonder. The Nu turned around, revealing not only its blank, wide face but also a small machine it was apparently manipulating, the wires from it the same ones in her body.

Creation... creation, are you awake?

Minako's eyes flashed yellow. This Nu actually talked! Or so she thought until she saw the machine again. The being was somehow manipulating the device with his mind alone, for on a small monitor on the machine, the exact words he had said were typed. The wires in her body were transferring the words he "typed" into her positronic brain so she could hear them.

It will only take a little longer, creation. You will be fully repaired in just a few more minutes.

Her eyes narrowed in anger, or so it seemed.

"Stop calling me that. I have a name. Minako."

The Nu looked blankly toward her, still engaged in manipulating the machine that was repairing her. It blinked.

...very well then. Minako. You will be repaired soon. I need your help.

She read the Nu's words that scrolled across the monitor, her mind engaged in a human process that she was all too familiar with now: thinking.

"Okay. What do you want with me?"

* * * * *

Like it or not, he was forced to leave his heavy metal armor behind in the area where he came from. Only the reassuring feeling of hs sword in its scabbard remained, the weapon attached by a chain to his belt. Glenn, quite skilled in the arts of stealth though he preferred, as a knight, not to use them, made his way around the dark, metal corridors of this strange new area he was ushered into. His mind was an array of half-eaten questions and inquiries that would probably never be answered. Why was he here? How did he get here? Why did the Nu...?

He heard some unidentifiable sounds from around the corner of the dark metal hall he was in. Footsteps. Talking? Sounds more like grating metal. The noises were getting closer and closer. Frantically, Glenn searched his surrounding. Above him was a mass of what looked like pipes and thick wires. He jumped, hoping his physical training back in his soldier days had not been in vain. A hand grasped at one of the think, insulated wires, and Glenn pulled himself up. Finding a comfortable position, he slowed his breathing and waited. Two humaniod shadows showed up against the wall he was facing in the hall. Soon, the sources of the shadows came into light.

It was a twisted sense of deja vu. Glenn almost lost his hiding place when he lost his grip in suprise, and almost blurted out something unintelligable. His mind was racing, he thought his sanity was at an end.

It can't be! Those... those are... Lavos?!

As if called for, one of the Lavos creatures looked up. They looked just like Glenn remembered them: the final form of Lavos, a humanoid creature in strange armor that concealed all but its arms, legs, and part of its torso.

The creature made a frightening sound, and the other one looked up. Both aimed their hands up, palms open. Energy began to build up.

Faster than he could even think out his actions, Glenn's instincts kicked in. He dropped, landing feet-first on the first creature's shoulders. It collapsed. With the hilt of his sword, he gave a solid punch to the other creature's stomach. It made a strange sound, then collapsed as well.

Glenn's mind and pulse were racing. He looked around the corner, listened for a while, and, when hearing and seeing no other of the creatures, he ran down the hallway that the creatures had come from. He wanted answers. And he was going to get them. Now.

* * * * *

"Captain!" Robo shouted. he stood up from the chair than the alien creatures had made him sit on. Utema was cut in several areas, bleeding from various wounds. On a closer analysis, the wounds turned out to be from what looked like partial exposure to the freezing vaccum of outer space. Luckily, he had not had too much exposure, else his veins would be exposed everywhere and he would rememble a patchwork map of hell.

Utema's eyes, previously tightly chut, opened up upon hearing his rank and title. He looked toward Robo, squinting his eyes, spitting out blood.

"Captian, sir! We thought you were lost!"

Utema's eyes opened wide. It was as if all the qiestions in his mind erupted forth.

"What happened?! Where am I?! Where are my crew?!? Death screams... they were fucking torn apart! How the hell did it happen?! ANSWER ME!!"

One of the aliens produced a hypodermic needle from nowhere, holding it carefully in its strange, large hands and then swiftly injected its contents into Utema's arm. The captain, still screaming, flailed around madly for a minute, then stopped, falling limply into the strong grip of the aliens. The alien creatures brought the limp form of the captain to the chair Robo was sitting in, and placed him there, tying the man's hands behind his back. Swiftly, they procured, again from nowhere, a machine that looked like some type of medical apparatus. Which it really was, judging how the aliens hooked it up to the captain's body, inserting tubes and needles, placing patches on bleeding areas.

"Captain," Robo said softly. "Don't strain yourself."

"All dead..." Utema muttered, in a daze, while the aliens hooked his body up to the medical machine.

Another machine was brought in and left in the care of the two beings. While one of them slaved away with the medical machine connected to Utema, the other began to connect the machine to Robo, who stared blankly as the alien opened various parts of his mechanical body and connected wires and other unknown devices to his insides.

* * * * *

", you can't do everything on your own, can you?" Minako remarked, testing out her joint flexibility and running a program to check her body for viral or mechanical problems.

The Nu bobbed its head--rather, its body--once in confirmation.

Minako sighed, something she had picked up from humans a while ago. "Fine, I owe you for this repair after all." Her program completed, and there were no problems with her system.

"However, I want to know why you're withholding so much information from me."

That, I cannot say, said the Nu. However, if we accomplish the task I have set for you to help me with, then maybe I will explain.

"All right, so I'll try and protect you so we can get to the flight control room," Minako said, tossing aside with her hand a few strands of black metallic hair. "But why do you need my help, if you say that you're so powerful?"

The Nu blinked once. These beings aboard this ship... even I am not a match for them all, and just one of them would be a hard battle for me. So, I'll need you to provide backup. Plus, you are a creation--I mean, robot--so you'll be able to interface with the ship's computer.

Minako pretended to crack her knuckles, a human habit she had picked up along with a slew of others, even though she had no knuckles.

"All right. Let's do it."

The two, after checking the corners behind the door to the room they were in, quietly made their way down one fork of the hall.

After the two had left, from the other fork of the hall came a human wearing ancient armor and carrying an equally ancient sword by his side in a scabbard.

Glenn brushed his green-tinged hair from his brow as he swiftly moved, amazingly keeping quiet while he snuck through the passegways of the ship. He saw what looked like a tall, lean human female in a one-piece blue suit and one of those.... creatures next to her.

"Another Nu..." he mused silently. Nu and Lavos, both on the same ship. Nothing could bode good with omens like these. With determination in his eyes, Glenn silently followed at a distance the girl and the Nu, making sure that he was not seen, hoping that the... the Lavos would not come again.

* * * * *

Though the language of the strange, sentient creatures was utterly foreign to him, Robo could see what looked like words appearing on a monitor hooked up to a machine, which was hooked up to him through a series of wires.

The two aliens were there, one manipulating the machine and the other apparently trying to speak with Robo, motioning with a large, four fingered avian-like hand toward the monitor. Utema was asleep, the medical machine beside him running, patching him up on the inside and out, as the sedative drug was taking effect.

The first creature, the one in front of Robo, uttered something that sounded like tzzrtzzrtzzak, and looked toward the screen along with Robo. A few symbols of what looked like written language appeared on the screen, but it was unreadable. The creature said something to the second one, who replied and typed something on a keypad.

Suddenly, without warning, it came. The words on the monitor, transferred from the alien language into one Robo could understand. Not a greeting, but an inquiry. And a rather strange one, at that.


* * * * *

In the ship's hold ,the same area where Glenn had emerged from earlier, another gate appeared in the air. Crackling lightning formed a circle containing a blue void, from which two large mechanical objects fell to the metal ground with a loud crack. Two human forms fell out of the void as well, landing on their feet.

Eventually, the two stood up and one viewing the scene could see that the two were men clad in what seemed to be large, complicated armor that seemed too out of place to be considered anachronistic or futuristic. Each man went to one of the two machines that fell out before them, and with some effort, managed to stand them upright. The machines were what appeared to be large, hulking bipedal armored carriers equipped with massive amounts of weaponry.

"Wha… what happened?" the first of the two people asked.

The other seemed to be less phased by the strange event that just took place.

"Damn. Both mechs are not functioning…." He retrieved from within his thick breastplate a pack of rolled cigarettes, two of which he lit, offering one to the other person while he puffed away furiously on one of them. Reluctantly, as if considering something, the second person accepted the lit cigarette and took a drag of it, exhaling smoke which trailed up into the darkness of the ship's hold.

"So where the hell are we?" the second person asked. The first, constantly in a state of smoke exhalation, replied after tinkering with his armored walking suit.

Vicks never seemed to be able to quit the habit, Wedge mused.

"Dunno. Ah, shit. Mine's out of commission. Don't know about yours… might be the same as mine."

After a quick check, it was found out that Wedge's armored walker was non-functional, as well. Vicks cursed, taking another puff of his coffin nail. Those walkers were working fine when he and Wedge marched into the empty streets of Narshe with that sorcerer girl in the lead…

Suddenly, it hit him.

"Wait a minute… weren't we just in the Narshe mines?" asked the Vicks.

Wedge nodded with a slight smile. "Of course we were. I seem to be the only one who realized that we were somewhere else."

Vicks ignored the insult. "But I remember something happening, I remember the girl and the Esper communicating or something, and then it glowed, and after that…"

"We end up here, wherever the hell 'here' is." Wedge finished the sentence.

Vicks studies his surroundings, which consisted of a large, dark empty space made of metal, a few large boxes standing out hauntingly in the distance. There was a stream of light coming from an open door to their left, providing enough light to enable the two to see their surroundings.

Wedge watched as his friend walked around the area, checking the boxes in the distance, a trail of smoke revealing Vicks's location in the darkness. He was thinking of where the two of them have been transported to suddenly, thinking of the locations that would make sense. Possibly somewhere in Vector, the Imperial Capital. Maybe they were inside a warehouse right now. The atmosphere of the place seemed to confirm that, but still Wedge didn't think that the solution was that simple. What the hell even happened to them to bring them to a place like this?

"Oi, Wedge," his partner's voice came from a few yards away. Vicks was walking toward him, carrying what looked like a bunch of cubes in his arms. Behind him, one of the large boxes was open.

"I was looking around for clues, and inside one of these crates, there were these." He tossed to Wedge a few of the cubes. "I don't know what these are, but they really seem to resemble the bio-fuel power cells that give energy to our Magitek Armor. Maybe we should try them out.

Wedge took one of the cubes, and studied it closely. Unlike the Esper fuel they used to power anything made by Magitek Co., these energy cells were a rainbow of swirling colors that seemed to react to every touch of the hand. Strangely enough, they were just about the right size to be used by their Armored Walkers. Wedge tried one out by placing it in the fuel cell area of the Magitek Armor. Sure enough, it fit perfectly. The machine began to hum, and lights on it flashed as it started working.

Vicks tossed away his cigarette stub, crushed it with his boot, and lit up another one.

"Okay, so we can get our machines working again, but where the hell are we? Shouldn't one of us go and scout or something?"

Wedge had inserted a fuel cell into Vicks's Magitek Armor. As the machine booted up to life, he answered his friend and comrade.

"I suppose you want me to go and do it, eh?"

Vicks shook his head vigorously, cigarette clamped in his teeth. "No, man, I'll be right behind you! Trust me!" and to justify the statement, he retrieved from his Armored Walker a standard Imperial Army automatic rifle, to which he attached a bayonet while whistling cheerfully, sending puffs of smoke up to the ceiling of the area. After doing so, he spat out the cigarette, stamping it out with his foot.

Wedge retrieved his rifle as well, though he kept the bayonet knife in a sheath at his side.

"Right behind me… heh. Well, you've never left me for the dogs before, Vicks, so I guess I can trust you still."

Vicks removed his helmet and untied his ponytail, letting his shoulder length hair fall to his shoulders, matted with sweat. He lit up another cigarette, and offered one to Wedge, who hadn't even finished his first one. The offer was promptly refused.

Wedge had taken off his own helmet, but kept his hair tied back to keep it out of his way. He scratched his chin, checked to make sure his rifle was loaded, and looked back to make sure his younger partner was behind him. Sure enough, Vicks was there, puffing away at his cigarette, of which he had many, since they were generously included in the soldier rationing.

"I swear, Vicks, you're gonna die young from those fucking things."

Vicks simply grinned. "Lead the way, pops."

The two soldiers of the Imperial Army of Vector softly and silently walked out of the large area, entering a long hallway draped with shadows created by malfunctioning lighting. Any situation was adaptable for them. Any. Or so they thought…

* * * * *

HOW DID YOU GET HERE? The message read on the monitor. One of the aliens attached a small microphone connected to the monitor near Robo's voice box speaker.

Robo had other things he wanted to inquire about. He spoke, as his words were transferred to alien writing on the monitor:

"Who, or what, are you?"

The aliens looked at the screen, their faces unable to be seen, studying it intensely. After a while, they used the keyboard, and the same message scrolled across the screen:


Robo saw that these creatures had other things on their mind, and were not looking to learn anything about their prisoners. However, he once again pressed for the information he sought:

"I will tell you that if you tell me who you are."

After seeing the translated words, the alien using the keyboard device slowly typed its response:


Robo's interest was seized. "Operatives? Do you mean to say that your operative is the destroyer of Earth, Lavos?"

The Lavos looked at each other, and what was exchanged in those glances was unknown. The alien used the keyboard again.


Robo scanned his memory banks, and what he came upon would have made him shudder with fear if he were a human. As a robot, all he could do was shake his head and think of how horrible the sight was… how the crew members died under those hurried, strange circumstances…

"Something malfunctioned… we were investigating an anomaly, a black hole, and then our ship was hit, and then the crew…"

The alien paused for a second after Robo spoke. AN ANOMALY, YOU SAY?

"Yes." Robo said.


"No, it was purely scientific… but operating procedures required that we take military personnel."

Exchanges made with the other Lavos. AND SOMETHING HAPPENED TO THEM, YOU SAY?

Robo made a sigh, a strange sound coming from him, a robot, who could not feel the one human emotion called fear.

"They were attacked by something. I'm not sure what it was, really. In fact, I could not see it. It ripped one person in half, and tore the throat out of another before the hull was breached and the rest of the crew died from explosive decompression."



The Lavos exchanged something in their strange language for a moment.


Robo explained what else he remembered.

"After the incident of the hull being breached, the female android and I, along with the expedition leader," Robo motioned to Utema, who was still being healed by the medical machinery. "who was wearing a pressure suit, all of us were brought into the anomaly. Sucked right in. My memory banks have not recorded what happened after that, except when Minako-that is, the female android-and I ended up in the room, and then two of your race came to retrieve me."

The Lavos exchanged glances again.

Robo decided to ask the questions this time.

"Now, what did you mean by 'operative?' Is that what you refer to the Lavos who almost destroyed our world? What are you beings, exactly?"


There was the unmistakable sound of an alarm in the room, along with a flashing red light.


And with that, the Lavos who had been typing left the room in a hurry, leaving Robo with the other one who sat and watched the two of them.

"Minako?" Robo wondered aloud.

* * * * *

This is the control room, said the Nu, motioning to the empty, large room that housed many different control panels along with a view of outer space.

Minako nodded, tossing aside her hair. "And now, what exactly did you need me for?"

The Nu reached back with one of its short arms to scratch itself.

Well, since you are a creatio-I mean, an android, then you will most definitely be able to interact with the ship's controls, since I cannot with my body.

Minako was already retrieving a cable from a pocket on her one-piece suit. While she unwound it and looked for somewhere to attach it in, she spoke to the Nu.

"So, you need me to change the direction of this ship?"

The Nu nodded. More than that, I need you to set this ship to do a space-fold to a certain planetary system, and then to a certain planet within that system.

"It's as good as done. As long as Robo and I can get off this damned ship soon." Minako said as she connected one end of the cable to a port in the control panel facing the viewing port, and the other end to an unseen port in her neck.

When we get to the place we need to be, I will need your help again, along with the other creation and the human survivor. When you complete the space-fold program, we will have to wait for several minutes. We can probably wait here, undetected-

The Nu broke off, looking behind him.

"What?" Minako asked, craning her neck, the changes in the space-fold program already being run by her superior CPU.

They know we're here! Hurry! I will leave to make sure that they do not interrupt you!

Minako cursed as the Nu left through the door leading out of the control room.

Not too far away, the sound of metal clashing against itself could be heard…

* * * * *

Robo was attempting to communicate with the other Lavos.

"So tell me, what exactly are you?"

The alien looked straight at Robo through the bulky partial-suit it wore, and then looked away.

"It is a very exciting thing to know that another space-faring race exists besides ourselves," Robo said. "Perhaps you could explain more about yourselves, and we sould exchange information on our races?"

The alien did not bother to look at Robo this time. Robo decided that he would take a different route this time, one that he was sure would get attention.

"Why did you send one of your people to destroy our planet, Earth? What was the reasoning behind it?"

The alien looked at Robo, then got up and walked toward the keyboard.


Robo was intrigued. He checked behind to see if Utema was recovered yet, but he was still on the medical machine.

"But why did one of your own do such a thing?"

The alien began to type.


It was then that the door to the room that Robo was in burst open, and in the doorway stood two humans wearing a type of form-fitting armor and carrying what resembled automatic weaponry.

The Lavos stood up and reached out with an arm, energy forming within its hand, ready to fire. However, one of the two humans, the younger one, was quicker. He raised his weapon and fired, the rifle making a loud sound as metal bullets fired from it at a high velocity. The bullets ripped into the Lavos's suit, and it fell to the floor with a crash.

The older one immediately rushed toward Utema, the only other human in the room. Checking on the captain, he signaled to his partner to come with him and see. As the older human began to fiddle with the medical machinery, Robo decided to move to Utema's assistance.

"Shit!" the younger human yelled, instantly pointing his rifle at Robo and pulling the trigger. The rifle kicked back as the heavy bullets were shot out of it, and the sound of firing was extremely loud in the small room. However, the hot metal ammunition simply bounced off of Robo's metal hide.

Robo decided to act. His fist shot out toward the soldier at an extremely fast speed, and with his extended hand he grabbed the soldier's weapon and snapped it in two. The human looked dumbfounded as he saw his rifle fall to the floor in two pieces with a loud clank.

"Please desist."

The older human raised an eyebrow as he observed the large, talking machine that had destroyed his partner's weapon. He raised his rifle for a moment, then lowered it when he saw that shooting the machine would do no good.

"What are you, machine?" he asked, scratching the gray stubble of a beard he had. The younger soldier crept beside the elder, clenching his fists.

"First of all, I am not a mere machine," said Robo, checking on Utema. Satisfied that the medical machine had healed the captain's wounds and pumped a stimulant through his system to get him awake and energetic when he awakened, he detached the many tubes from various parts of the captain's body. The exit wounds of the tubes were sealed up immediately, thanks to a powerful and unknown agent that the machine produced.

"Second, what you did is unwise." Robo motioned to the seemingly dead alien several feet away from them. "Any time now, some more of the Lavos will come back and see what has happened, and that could be very unfortunate to you."

"Who are they? Where are we?" asked the younger human harshly, who retrieved a cigarette from his uniform pocket and lit up.

Before Robo could answer with anything, something rapidly entered the room from the now open door. The older soldier raised his weapon, but lowered it immediately, a look of stark confusion upon his face.

Standing in the doorway was a Nu.

There is no time to argue, and we need all of your assistance. Leave this area immediately, and follow me, the Nu said, words which spoke aloud although the mouth on the creature did not.

The two soldiers looked at the blue creature with dumbfounded gazes. It was only when the creature spoke their names that they bolted up and went into action, obeying the being's every word:

Vicks, Wedge, please carry the other human with you. Robo, you stay behind them to watch their backs. All of you, follow me.

The two Vector Imperial Army soldiers, Vicks and Wedge, rushed up to support Utema with their two bodies, struggling under the captain's weight. Not understanding the situation, but compelled by some unseen force, they followed the Nu as it walked outside the room. Robo, not entirely sure what was happening but use to the mysterious circumstances after the failed anomaly incident, followed closely behind.

You must follow me to the Cargo Hold area! Hurry! The two soldiers have special weaponry that can stand up to our captors! The Nu said to Robo as the four of them shambled down the long, dark metal corridors of the ship.

"What about Minako?" asked Robo in haste.

She is presently performing a crucial task I have given her. She will be fine when it is completed. Someone else will be protecting her.

"How do you know all of this? It seemed like you had planned this all along!" Robo retorted.

It is not me that knows of all of this, the Nu said to Robo. They had all finally reached the corridor leading to the darkened Cargo Area, stepping over two bodies of stunned aliens. Robo did not have time to think of how the bodies ended up there. The Nu pressed its hand against the corridor wall, and instantly the entire Cargo Area was lit up. What looked like two bipedal, heavily armed walking armor suits were what awaited the four of them.

All of this is preordained, you see, said the Nu, It is fate.

* * * * *

"C'mon…" Minako hissed as the program neared completion, ready to disconnect her cable at any second. She heard some sounds of clashing metal outside of the control room, and could now hear footsteps coming closer and closer. It could be the Nu, or it soulc be her alien captors. In a rather human gesture, she hoped that it was Robo and he was safe, and that he came to her with a plan to get out of the ship…

"…done!" Minako said as she tore the cable out of her neck port and let it dangle in front of the terminal, he mission complete. In a few minutes, the ship would execute a space-fold jump to the coordinates that the Nu had provided her. For now, however, Minako had more pressing matters on her mind. Like who the incoming footsteps were coming from and how she would defend herself. She assumed a fighting position and stood her ground. If the aliens wanted her, they wouldn't get her without a fight.

Instead of an alien, or even the Nu, that came into the control room, it was a young green-haired human male dressed in ancient trappings and anachronistic metal armor, complete with a sheathed sword by his side.

"A Maiden?" the man said in awe, his defenses dropping. "But you look so different… like an angel or a demon…"

Minako frowned. The speech and dialect of this man matched her memory bank records to a person of almost two millennia ago. She did not understand what was going on.

"I shall protect you," the man said, drawing his sword. "There were some of the… the Lavos-like creatures back there, but I have dispatched of them. I will stay by your side and-"

"Where did you come from?" Minako asked abruptly, breaking the speech of the young man. She could tell that he was obviously smitten by her. Great.

The man cleared his throat. "Guardia Kingdom, Main Continent, of the year…"

Minako sighed. "No, I mean, where did you get into this ship from?"

The man looked dumbfounded. "Ship? This? Well, in this dark, large area, I happened to arrive there via a hole torn in the heavens, and…"

"Let's go." said Minako, determined, grabbing the arm of the young man ina powerful grip, dragging him behind her as she and him left the control room. Perhaps she would see Robo on the way out, perhaps the Nu. Perhaps she would make sense of this strange mess sometime soon…

* * * * *

Fate, as the Nu described it, was certainly at work here.

Robo and Utema were both in the cargo area of the ship, along with the newly acquired allies Vicks and Wedge, who have come to this place from another world, another universe entirely. The two soldiers were presently seated in their armored suits, awaiting the alien creatures that would presumably attack soon.

Minako Aino, the female android, raced down toward the same cargo area, where unknown to her, the others waited for the enemy. Trailing along with her, the person the most out of place in this decaying modern setting, was Glenn, Knight of Guardia, sword in hand.

The aliens-no, the Lavos-however, were not as shallow in their plans as the others thought. For even now, they planned to enter the cargo area unharmed, joining with the others. Their true motives are unknown.

Everyone was coming together. Everything was coming together. It was meant to be. And the ship's space-fold was about to be executed, warping the ship from the present location to the outskirts of a certain planet known to its inhabitants only as the Dead World, setting it in the orbit above a certain city called Acheron…


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