Principles of Time and Dimensional Travel
by the Chrono Compendium
with direct quotations from
and contributing discussion by many others
The Chrono Series offers a rich cast of characters, settings, and other atmosphere, deftly creating an engaging mythos and deep world. Unlike other games, which often tell a linear story, the universe of Chrono employs an interesting crux on which its machinations hinge -- time travel. As the Chrono title implies, the changing of history and the exploration of new and uncanny areas breathes life into the series, allowing it greater freedom when presenting its themes. Time travel is not handled haphazardly, however; rather, it is apparent that the creators of the games worked avidly to build a basic technical framework. This allows consistency in the story and prevents confusing paradoxes. This standard was maintained in Chrono Cross, which explained more of the world by introducing the concept of dimensions, countless realities that progress on their own and house their respective timelines. Stories revolving around temporal transforms often suffer from inconsistencies and causal quagmires, but upon close observation, the Chrono series displays a standard of excellence in maintaining plot harmony. With this article, the Principles of Time and Dimensional Travel, the Chrono Compendium aims to explore by observation the manifest rules shaping time in the series, and postulate on other theories which may play a role in tidying the effects of changing history.
Please note that the old article has been archived at On The Axioms And Corollaries Governing Temporal Transforms.
Table of Contents
General Background and Terms I. Time A. Observations 1. Time Travel Mechanisms 2. Effects of Changes to the Timeline i. Flow Principle 3. Time Eggs 4. The End of Time 5. Conservation of Time 6. The Darkness Beyond Time 7. The Black Omen 8. The Time Crash B. Theories 1. Discarded Timelines 2. Time Error 3. Relativistic Flow Principle 4. Time Traveler's Immunity i. Dimensional Adjunct ii. Adjunct: Temporal Revision Theory 5. Time Bastard i. A Problem of Duplicates ii. A Review of Time Bastard iii. Case Study: Schala's Pendant iv. Dimensional Adjunct 6. Cause of Trigger's Anomalies 7. Entity Plan and Error 8. Useful Life of Entity Gates 9. The Time Crash Revisited 10. Gate Color Theory C. Issues 1. The Marle Paradox 2. The Guardia Line Paradox 3. The Doan Paradox 4. The Telepod Paradox II. Dimensions A. Observations 1. Alternate Worlds 2. The Dimensional Split i. Time Travel and the Split 3. Angelus Errare and Other Anomalies i. Angelus Errare and the Darkness Beyond Time ii. Other Dimensional Connections 4. Dimensional Travel and Observation B. Theories 1. Origin of Dimensions 2. Unified Dimension Theory C. Issues 1. The Dead Sea / Sea of Eden i. Armageddon-Branch Theory ii. Arbiter-Resonant Theory 2. The DBT: Omnidimensional? 3. The Dimensional Unification and Aftermath i. Theories ii. A Proposed Timeline 4. Dimensional Split Timing and Chronopolis III. Charts A. Timelines B. Dimensions Acknowledgments and Thanks
General Relativity - General Relativity forms the basis of the space-time continuum, or a way of representing three dimensions of space and one dimension of time. By combining the two concepts into a single manifold, physicists are able to deal in a unified way with spacetimes which attempt to explain the workings of the universe at both supergalactic and subatomic levels. There may be an endless number of dimensions, though 4-D spacetime is as far as modern-day scientists know. Treating space and time on the same footing and as two aspects of a unified whole was devised by Hermann Minkowski shortly after the theory of special relativity was developed by Albert Einstein. Space-times are the arenas in which all physical events take place — for example, the motion of planets around the Sun may be described in a particular type of space-time, or the motion of light around a rotating star may be described in another type of space-time. In any given spacetime, an event is a unique position at a unique time.
Light cone - A light cone is a concept in four dimensional spacetime relating the temporal evolution of a flash of light. This can be visualized in 3-space if the two horizontal axes are chosen to be spatial dimensions, while the vertical axis is time. The light cone is constructed as follows. Taking as event p a flash of light (light pulse) at time t0, all events that can be reached by this pulse from p form the future light cone of p, whilst those events that can send a light pulse to p form the past light cone of p. The light cone in Chrono series discussion is used to describe the mere presence of a time traveler in the past. Even if a time traveler want back in time and immediately returned, the light cone of his presence would still change history, even if only on a subatomic level. However, it would only change history as far as a photon of light can travel in a given period of time.
Paradox - A paradox is a situation in which true statements or observations apparently contradict each other. In mathematics in logic, the term paradox is often given to a troublesome problem of this nature that nonetheless can be solved through research and intuitive thinking. Many paradoxes arise concerning time travel, often dealing with causal relationships. The most famous problem is called the Grandfather Paradox; it asks whether one would cease to exist if one traveled back in time and killed one's grandfather before the parents were born. Another type of common paradox is the causal loop, or predestination paradox. For example, consider a time traveler who reads of a great fire in Chicago. He goes back in time to discern the fire's cause; while poking around, he knocks over a candle and starts the great fire himself. This event later influences him in the future to go back in time and discover the cause. Causality is trumped, with the cause and effects becoming disjointed. The Chrono series, in nearly all cases of time travel, attempts to skirt these paradoxes by maintaining logical cause and effect relationships and invoking a postulated principle called Time Traveler's Immunity, shown later in the article.
Timeline - A timeline is a chronology of events displaying the entire history of a topic. In the Chrono series, timeline is used to describe the history of the world, frozen at a particular point. For example, consider the world before Crono went to the Millennial Fair. It consisted, notably, of Lavos's landing in prehistory, the extinction of the Reptites, the rise and fall of Zeal, and establishment of civlization, and the eventual destruction of the world in 1999 A.D. This static state of history can be likened to one timeline. To contrast the difference, consider now the world after Crono has completed his quest in Chrono Trigger. At this point, the world's history now includes the defeat of Lavos in 1999 A.D., the revival of Fiona's Forest, and a new future. This slice of history is also a timeline. We make the distinction for ease of discussion; when comparing events by time travelers, we can say that their changing history resulted in the "discarding" of an old timeline (for instance, they went to the past to depose a king), and the introduction of a new timeline (now with the king deposed in history). In summary, a timeline is a state of the world's history before or after time traveling is done. The Chrono series is host to many distinct timelines which have been organized into a graph that will appear later in this article.
Worldline - A worldline is an entity's path through four dimensional spacetime. Imagine Crono; he was born in the 980's and lived in Truce for most of his life. In 1000 A.D., he traveled throughout time, eventually returning home. His worldline is basically a record of his existence in the space-time continuum. The concept of worldlines is often brought up with the Grandfather Paradox to specify disruption of a particular being's personal history.
Wormhole - A wormhole is a hypothetical shortcut through spacetime, connecting two otherwise-distant regions or times in the universe. Imagine a worm traveling around an apple's skin; if he instead burrows directly through the apple to the other side, he saves time and has utilized a "wormhole." Wormholes are theorized to possibly allow time travel; a time traveler may pass through an end accelerated faster than when he entered, causing a time dilation and resulting in the traveler's exiting earlier than he entered. Wormholes are often used in fiction to allow time travel or fast passage throughout the universe; Chrono Trigger utilizes them in the form of Gates, though only Chrono Cross clarified them as types of wormholes (though never referencing the term specifically). More concerning Gates are available in this article.
Time Travel Mechanisms
Several methods of time travel exist, including the use of Gates, the Epoch, the Neo-Epoch, and temporal distortion anomalies. The primary method of travel utilized by time travelers in the Chronos series is passage through Gates. Allowing movement from one period of time to another in the past or future, Gates are types of wormholes whose interior radiates with blue light distortional patterns. The primary Gates were created by the Entity to allow Crono the ability to travel through time and defeat Lavos; in their natural state, they existed as observable punctures in spacetime, not large enough to allow entrance. Lucca's Gate Key demonstrated that the circumference of Gates can be widened to allow human travel; after the travelers enter, the Gate Key's effect fades and the size of the opening returns to its small stature. Their precise composition and mechanisms are more complex; a researcher in Chronopolis once described the process while ruminating on the 11th century scientist Lucca's achivements.
In the 11th Century, a scientist by the name of Lucca indicated the possibility of time travel through the use of a '"Time Egg,"' which utilizes miniature black holes. Whether this could actually be possible or not is still the subject of intense debate and no conclusions have been made.
According to her theory, by rotating a single point of supergravity, space-time continua can be drawn in... thus making it possible to transform that singular point which pulls in everything else, into a ring formation. Using this ring as a Gate between dimensions, it should be possible to travel back and forth between various space-time.
Altogether, nine Gates were created by the Entity. Eight of these Gates had connections to two eras, while the ninth is a mystery. Altogether, the connected Gates included passages from Guardia Forest (1000 A.D.) to the Bangor Dome (2300 A.D.), Tyrano Lair (65000000 B.C.) to a cave in 12000 B.C., Leene Square (1000 A.D.) to Truce Canyon (600 A.D.), and Mystic Mountain (65000000 B.C.) to Medina Village (1000 A.D., whose Gate was interestingly in the cupboard of a house). The final Gate existed at the Proto Dome; its destination was never discerned, as when Crono used it, the presence of four entities resulted in his displacement at the End of Time (see Conservation of Time Theorem later on). Since there is no space at the End of Time's platform for a tenth Gate, the Proto Dome may have been linked to the End of Time anyway. There is a possibility that it connected to a Gate in 1999 A.D., as a tenth wormhole did exist at the End of Time -- the connection to the Day of Lavos in 1999 A.D.
One question concerning the Gates often arises in discussion. Until the party reaches the End of Time, Gates simply lead from one era to another. Afterwards, they mostly lead to the End of Time, though in one instance the Gates function as they did previously, taking Crono from 65000000 B.C. after the Tyrano Lair ruin to 12000 B.C. uninterrupted. Who controls how the Gates function? All time Gates naturally connect two points in time and space, but at times each travel destination may connect to the End of Time. Other than Spekkio, Gaspar is the only person who resides there. Since Gaspar is the Guru of Time, he is responsible for Gates connecting to the End of Time, Conservation of Time theorem nonwithstanding. He decides if and when Gates will connect to the pillars at the End of Time. He may also have to witness a Gate used in order to acknowledge it and link it at the End of Time. The only requirement is that Crono and his crew have to find and use a Gate for it to link to the End of Time. As Gaspar put it: "Once you've been through a Gate, you can always use it to come here."
Before moving on, keep in mind that the Skygates and spatial Gates used by Zeal for transportation and Dalton for his Golem warriors appear to only teleport users, not send them to a different time.
The Epoch and its later model, the Neo Epoch, allow greater freedom and control when traveling through time. Constructed by Belthasar, the Guru of Reason in Zeal, the Epoch enabled to Crono to visit each era otherwise accessible through Entity Gates. It was mostly built and designed in Zeal and was completed in 2300 A.D. with available technology. The exact nature of its time traveling mechanism is unknown; the Epoch seems confined to only the Entity-defined eras, though this may simply be a constraint of Chrono Trigger as a game (exploring countless years would have been impossible). When engaged, the Epoch seemed to slip out of the physical world and into a strange aura of raging orange colors and bursts. Once time traveling was complete, it would phase back in to the physical realm (appearing as many shadows merging into one vehicle). The Neo Epoch elaborated on the mechanism's components; it was built by Belthasar after he arrived at the restored future and founded Chronopolis. It is unknown whether it was capable of traveling anywhere through time, but this is very likely as Belthasar used it to check on different stages of Project Kid. Specifically, the Neo Epoch utilized an antiproton drive to realize time travel.
The third method of time travel is the use of a Time Egg, a sort of self-contained Gate. A mystical device made magically by the Gurus of Zeal, it allows presumably one use before shattering. Due to its mysterious nature, more concerning the Time Egg will be revealed in its own section later in this article. The other methods time travel are anomalistic in nature, Gates or shifting effects created by major events or entities in time. Six instances of distortional time travel are known in the Chrono series, four of them occurring in Chrono Trigger. Firstly, in the Ocean Palace Incident, strange Gates materialized and gated the Gurus and Janus to various eras across time (and in the new timeline with the Prophet, one would gate Schala to the Darkness Beyond Time). Secondly, Marle's pendant reacted with the Telepod to take her to 600 A.D. (in actuality, she merely fell into the activated Entity Gate). Thirdly, Magus's summoning Lavos in 600 A.D. caused a raging temporal distortion that sent Magus to 12000 B.C. and Crono's group to 65000000 B.C. These events were probably effected by the Entity, as each played an integral role in the Entity's plan to defeat Lavos; a coincidence seems unreasonable. Fourth to occur is the new Melchior and Janus's disappearance from 12000 B.C. (see Time Bastard in Theories). Coming fifth with Chrono Cross is an event explained to have happened during Chrono Trigger; in the new Ocean Palace Incident, Schala fell into a dimensional distortion and went to the Darkness Beyond Time, where she bound with Lavos to become the Time Devourer. Lastly, the most anomalistic time distortion occurred in 2400 A.D. at Chronopolis; the Counter-Time Experiment there caused the Time Crash, resulting in Chronopolis slipping ten thousand years into the past. More concerning the mechanisms involved and the effects of the Time Crash are discussed later in the article.
Effects of Changes to the Timeline
When a time traveler steps back through time and alters the past, the results of his or her actions are immediately manifested in the future. How does this all work, though? How are changes to the timeline handled in the world of the Chrono series? Let's start at the very beginning, with Flow Principle.
Destiny and fate do not exist in the Chrono series; that is, no events are predetermined, and anything can be changed through time traveling. In the scope of the timeline, time flows normally until rewritten by time travelers. To make a somewhat mathematical example -- in timeline X, if event Y shall rewrite certain events to form new timeline X', even if event Y surely shall occur, time must flow until reaching Z, the time of Y's occurrence, until X can be rewritten to X'. This may seem overly simple, but it is important to establish free will in the Chrono series, as the ability to alter the events of history to make a better world from the central theme of the games.
Support for Flow Principle
Lavos is not defeated until Crono consciously decides to exercise his free will and thwart him, and the Time Devourer is not defeated until Serge makes the final journey to the Darkness Beyond Time. To invoke predetermination or destiny would fundamentally undermine this right. The question of whether events by time travelers have already occurred or have yet to occur is answered by the stablization of the observer's viewpoint. To Crono in 2300 A.D., Lavos still exists, but to Serge, Lavos was defeated. This is merely because Serge was born after Lavos was defeated. Please consult Time Error for more on this subject, and how time traveling events transcendetally line up as a whole.
We can make an analogy here:
Timeline X = 1000 A.D. X' = 1000 A.D. w/Black Omen Event Y = Ocean Palace disaster, raising of Black Omen Z = Time of Ocean Palace disaster (12000 B.C.)
So, to rephrase:
Due to the Ocean Palace disaster, the 1000 A.D. timeline is rewritten to include the hovering Black Omen. The rising of the Omen is unpreventable in the "correct" version of the plot (the one that nets New Game+ and the normal ending), but until the Ocean Palace disaster actually occurs in 12000 B.C., the Omen does not appear in the other time periods.
We can make another example out of Ending #1:
Timeline X = Ruined 2300 A.D. X' = Bright and Happy 2300 A.D. Event Y = Defeat of Lavos Z = Time of Lavos' fall - 1999 A.D. (You could argue 12,000 B.C., or say that Lavos exists in some kind of pocket dimension, or that it's a temporal anamoly... but as long as it's before 2300 A.D. we're good.)
Crono and co. defeat Lavos in 1999 A.D., averting the apocalypse and making the future bright and happy. While its defeat is predestined in CT's course of events, until Lavos has actually been vanquished, the ruined 2300 A.D. future still exists. Free will is a fact.
But what happens if the time travelers go back and murder their ancestors? Does the fact that Lavos's defeat would cause the travelers not to see a Day of Lavos video in 2300 A.D. and as a result not go on their quest? These questions will be addressed in the Theories section of the Time principles. First, let's cover other observations in the series on the nature of time travel.
So far, we have established that Gates and antiproton drives allow time travel, and that there exists no fate in the series; time travelers can change history as they like. Let us now expound upon a unique form of time travel -- the use of a Time Egg. These devices are self-contained Gates, packaged in a solid form. Only two, possibly three individuals have been able to create them in the world's history, including Lucca, Belthasar, and Gaspar. Most likely, it can be only be created with arcane magic and special materials; the resulting forms differ. Belthasar's Time Egg was a black, emanating orb surrounded by a purple, egg-like frame, while Gaspar's Time Egg seemed to be a normal egg, albeit spotted with brown marks over the shell. The first time egg was utilized by Crono's friends to travel to the Ocean Palace to save Crono. Gaspar cryptically noted that the person being saved must be important to the space-time continuum, and that a clone would be needed to take Crono's place. The reason for these stipulations is unknown. Lastly, the Time Egg would have to be used at Death Peak.
Crono's friends met these requirements, unleashing the Time Egg atop the mountain; it shattered and gated them to the Ocean Palace. There, time was frozen, though they were still able to move and interact with objects. After a certain length of time, they were apparently automatically pulled back to 2300 A.D. The strange use of the Time Egg raises several questions; specifically, why did these special stipulations exist? Was the Time Egg truly an interactive object, or did the Gurus of Zeal merely provide special instructions for the party to follow in order to enrich their quest? Lastly, how was the time freeze accomplished, and what pulled the travelers back to the future? These questions are addressed in the Theory portion of this article for Time. After the use of this Time Egg, it was shattered and its pieces presumably scattered among Death Peak, rendered useless. The next complete Time Egg was created by Belthasar for Project Kid; it was given to Serge as a way to enter the Darkness Beyond Time. On Opassa Beach, it interfaced with an apparent purple Gate, allowing the boy and his party to venture to the Darkness Beyond Time and battle the Time Devourer.
Again, its exact function here is obscured; apparently, the route to the Darkness Beyond Time already existed on Opassa Beach (perhaps placed there by Belthasar), though it required a Time Egg to function. This suggests the devices are perhaps stores of temporal energy, akin to "Chroniton particles" used in Star Trek to represent temporally displacing forces. Additionally, it is unknown whether this Time Egg was constrained to only one use. Though Serge is able to run away from the Time Devourer in the game, whether this constitutes the "way it happened" and the correct plot sequence of the events as envisioned by the creators is unknown. At this point, it is simply important to note that it was integral in gating a time traveler from one area to another. More concerning the Darkness Beyond Time will be presented later in this article.
Lastly, two uses of other Time Eggs round out the few known details of the enigmatic device. In Chrono Cross, before the orphanage was burned and she was abducted, Lucca researched time fastidiously, acquiring the ability to create incomplete Time Eggs. An incomplete Time Egg of her making could not unleash its temporal power of its own accord, requiring an external power source to activate. This was done in 1020 A.D. after Kid fell into a coma; Masa & Mune (within the Mastermune) recognized her as having Schala's features, and charged the incomplete Time Egg given to her by Lucca with enough power to send Serge and two party members back to 1015 A.D. to calm her memories. Lastly, in Radical Dreamers, Kid carried with her Gaspar's original Time Egg meant to save Crono; Lynx desired it so that he could use it in conjunction with the Frozen Flame. Doing so, he noted, would grant him complete control over time (this idea possibly resurfaced in Chrono Cross as the Counter-Time Experiment). During the final confrontation, Kid held the Time Egg in the air, causing it to shatter and unleash its effect. The Radical Dreamers (Serge, most notably) were temporarily adrift in what appeared to be a disjointed mesh of eras, possibly the End of Time. They returned to their home time after several seconds, and the Time Egg lay shattered. Again, the many mysteries surrounding this device are addressed later in the article.
The End of Time
The End of Time is a place described as the point of least resistance in the time continuum. The exact meaning of this statement is cloudy; the actual setting appears enigmatically as a void full of mists. Gaspar arrived there after the Ocean Palace and set up his platforms, anticipating the Gates with probable knowledge of the Entity's plan. The Gates eventually all connected there, including a direct Gate to 1999 A.D. at the moment of Lavos's eruption. Gaspar was presumably able to observe events from the End of Time; this ability was noted by Spekkio, his assistant proclaimed to be the God of War. After Crono slew Lavos, the Gates disappeared and the End of Time was cut off from the normal eras once more. This left many questions concerning the temporal nature of the End of Time; for instance, what does "coordinates of least resistance in the spacetime continuum" mean? It has been theorized that the End of Time exists at the end of the universe, perhaps in a singularity; more on this can be found in the article Beyond Time. Other ideas include that the End of Time really exists at a "point of least resistance" in the space time continuum, if the continuum were thought to have various integrity strengths along its dimensions. The true nature of the End of Time remains a mystery, though more will be elaborated about its temporal state in Time Error later on.
Conservation of Time
After Crono reaches the End of Time, Gaspar introduces a Conservation of Time Theorem, noting that only three people can pass through the Entity Gates.
When 4 or more beings step into a time warp, the Conservation of Time theorem states that they will turn up... ...at the space-time coordinates of least resistance. Here. [End of Time]
The veracity of the Conservation of Time Theorem is debatable, as it probably stemmed from a need to limit the party to three characters at any one time to conform to the game's RPG system. The Conservation of Time Theorem is also violated a few times; specifically, when Magus summons Lavos at his castle, he ended up in 12000 B.C. while Crono and two others went to prehistory. Secondly, in the original Ocean Palace disaster, two Gurus and Janus went to another era normally, leaving only Gaspar to arrive at the End of Time. The biggest infraction on the theorem is the Time Crash, which sent the entire Sea of Eden, housing countless researchers and workers at Chronopolis, ten thousand years into the past. Notwithstanding these contradictory instances, a defense can be raised. These three problem instances differ from normal Gates in that they were caused by temporary distortions. The Conservation of Time theorem thus may only apply to the blue, permanent Gates made by the Entity; black Gates and other distortions (even if Entity-orchestrated, like the probable Ocean Palace Incident), would not adhere to this rule.
The Japanese version of the game elaborates that at least one of the four beings must be from a different time period than the others, though this is still completely arbitrary and used to reason why the party must have three members at all times.
The Darkness Beyond Time
The Darkness Beyond Time is another extratemporal area, akin to the End of Time. No details exist on its spatial location; it is merely spoken of as being transcendent to time. After Crono defeated Lavos, the beast somehow went to the Darkness Beyond Time. During the new Ocean Palace Incident, with the Prophet and Schala in attendance, Schala fell into a distortion that took her there as well. After arriving, Lavos integrated Schala to begin evolving into the Time Devourer, a being capable of consuming space-time. Later on, during Serge's quest, Miguel noted that the future timeline avoided by Crono (the ruined world in which Lavos erupted in 1999 A.D.) was soon to be resurrected from the Darkness Beyond Time in Home World. This precious detail and the scenery of the Darkness help to establish its purpose, which will be theorized on later in this article. From pure observation alone, the Darkness Beyond Time remains a mystery.
The Black Omen
The Black Omen, like Lavos, also displays some unusual temporal characteristics. Consisting of the Ocean Palace risen by Lavos's energy and power as appropriated by Queen Zeal. As soon as it rose in 12000 B.C., it subsequently appeared in all time periods, unable to be brought down by any force over history. But what caused its creation? If you recall, no Black Omen existed after the first Ocean Palace Incident; what changed when Crono traveled through time? Specifically, after Crono died, Schala used the last of her pendant's powers to whisk Crono's two friends away along with her brother Magus. This left Queen Zeal with Lavos to pursue evil ends. However, in the Lavos Timeline, Schala would probably have been free to use the pendant's power to warp herself and Queen Zeal out of the palace (rather than having to use it on Crono's friends). This situation would render Lavos inaccessible for Queen Zeal, who subsequently could not raise the Black Omen. It also provides for the passing of Schala's pendant down through the Guardia royal family for the next few thousand years.
Secondly, the Black Omen is said to transcend time. Some interpret this to mean the Black Omen is the same in all time periods; yet if you visit it in 2300 A.D., the door is shut tight, proving time passes for it normally as it does for everything else in the timeline. A better interpration would be that the Black Omen is ageless, as the monsters inside it never wither and the Omen never rots with the passage of many years. This does not mean the Black Omen is exempt from strange temporal phenomena, however; inside, a Lavos spawn is able to emerge from a Gate. Other bosses are seemingly called from temporal wormholes as well, akin to Lavos's revival of his bits in the battle with the final form. In all probability, these distortions are likely the result of Lavos's power as keenly channeled through the Black Omen. It has already been established that Lavos has certain powers in time; the Black Omen seems to be proof. Nonetheless, the possibility that these are mere spatial wormholes exists. Like Dalton's tricks, they may simply pull the mutants and the Lavos spawn from a different part of the Black Omen.
By far, the strangest aspect of the Black Omen is the Mammon Machine's function there. Though the machine appears damaged on the outside, Crono and his crew are 'thrown' into the machine, where it appears to be in Lavos Space and wholly intact.
The Time Crash
The Time Crash was a cataclysmic temporal distortion, probably the biggest in history. It was caused as a tenet of Project Kid in order to send Chronopolis ten thousand years back to the past. Specifically, it was the result of the Counter-Time Experiment, a test on the Frozen Flame with the objective of gaining control over time. The experiment involved the release of a lock level on the Flame (probably energy related) and its subsequent stimulation. As planned by Belthasar, the experiment backfired, exposing the entire Sea of Eden outside the timestream. Lavos (perhaps the Time Devourer) foresaw an ability to introduce Chronopolis into human history in the past, which might have huge repercussions on the future and prevent Crono from defeating the parasite. It subsequently shunted Chronopolis thousands of years in the past from 2400 A.D. to 12000 B.C. The Time Crash then had a further effect once Chronopolis was in that era, but this aspect (the introduction of Dinopolis) will be discussed later in the Dimension portion of this article.
The Time Crash is important because of its scope and magnitude. An entire portion of earth was seemingly transported back in time, including possibly hundreds of individuals in addition to probably over a square mile of earth, water, and structure. But Chronopolis did not disappear through a Gate; rather, the Time Crash had the observable effect of engulfing the Sea of Eden in a giant, mushrooming black dome of what could be anti-annihilation energy (a force described by Chronopolis scientists). This somehow made Chronopolis unstable in terms of its relation to time. Lavos became aware of this and wanted to change history. Lavos's temporal powers have been established; he was probably able to effect the movement of the Sea of Eden through time with the aid of the Frozen Flame, which served as the power source for the time research facility.
The Theories section both attempts to account for some of the more unusual behavior and name and develop principles thought to govern time travel in the Chrono series. The very nature of theory presentation dictates that it must be laid down with an active tone. You might read things you don't agree with as a result; simply keep in mind that these are theories, and not specifically canon spelled out in the actual games.
What happens when a time traveler goes back in history and changes time? An answer beyond "it simply changes" was not available until Chrono Cross elaborated on timelines themselves and how they react to change. The exact quotes speaking of timelines are these:
[Miguel] But in saving our planet from the death Lavos was going to bring about, they also changed the course of history... [Lucca] At that very moment, this whole future time axis ceased to exist. Call it cause and effect... It is just a problem of possibilities, after all... In this world, there are no such things as absolutes or certainties. [Marle] But the future that was supposed to have disappeared is about to be restored here... The future destruction of our planet is going to become a reality in this world once again...
These comments were made by the Ghost Children at the Dead Sea; they explained that the future Crono and his crew averted—the 2300 A.D. seen in Chrono Trigger, where the world lay ruined by Lavos—ceased to exist once Lavos was defeated, but was soon to come to pass again as the future of the Home World dimension. But where do these eliminated timelines fade? A few moments later at the Dead Sea, the Ghost Children provide explanation once more:
The Discarded Timelines Principle, in summary, states that whenever a timeline is altered by a time traveler, a new timeline is created as a result of these changes. The original timeline from that point onward is sent into the Darkness Beyond Time, a realm of frozen non-existence. The creation of a new timeline does not imply that the substance of the universe is sent to the DBT and recreated out of nothingness. The new timeline represents the new state of the future light cone of the time traveler which is disturbed by his physical presence. This new state is affected by gravity and the other physical forces, even if only exerted on a subatomic level by the time traveler's mere presence in the past. The original state of the universe is condemned to the DBT. Nothing is created from thin air.
In summary, when Crono steps back to 600 A.D., his changes relegate the future beyond 600 A.D. to the Darkness Beyond Time and expunges the old timeline, as a new one is created with his changes intact (even if he just stepped on a twig somewhere and went back to the future). This accounts for Lucca's explanation that when Crono defeated Lavos, the ruined future went to the Darkness Beyond Time. Marle's revelation that the ruined future is about to return is somewhat cryptic, because she seems to suggest that the actual, distinct ruined future they avoided was on the way back. However, she was probably speaking figuratively, merely implying that Lavos was due to ruin the future of Home World as it had originally in Chrono Trigger before the heroes stopped it. One analogy draws on MSPaint. Have a blank picture, save it. This is timeline A. Now, draw a spot on it. That's timeline B. Now erase that spot. While it looks exactly like the first one (timeline A), it's still timeline C. As proof, exit MS Paint. It will ask if you want to save the changes (even though it looks exactly the same).
How is conservation of time, energy, and matter not violated?
Two problems have been raised with this theory:
- If the universe is a closed system, the departure of Schala and Lavos into the DBT represents the destruction of matter and energy in that system.
- Discarded timelines still retain information; a few pass by Serge as he fights the Time Devourer in transparent orbs. It seems every time a timeline is changed, information is created, violating conservation.
This theory can be resolved by considering the universe and the Darkness Beyond Time as two systems with an important relationship. The Compendium can theorize that the Darkness Beyond Time exists as a sort of finite "underworld" beneath the timeline, accessible physically through special Gates. When a timeline is changed, the past timeline is subsumed to this subterranean layer, the Darkness Beyond Time. Information from a discarded timeline is then broken down and recombined to form the new timeline as the time traveler creates it. There is a backlog of discarded timelines; the oldest in the sequence is what's taken to become the new timeline. As for the problem of physical matter (like Schala) entering the DBT and exiting the universe, her act of entering displaces gases in the DBT back into the universe, compensating for her departure in an even exchange of matter and energy.
Time Error is a simple concept, and is very important to understand the way time operates in the Chrono series. In the simplest of terms, Time Error is the way time flows in places like the End of Time compared to the way it flows in the rest of the world. Consider, for example, how people in 1000 A.D. would view Crono's changing history. The Porre Mayor is originally a greedy man; after Crono visits 600 A.D. and gives the Jerky to his ancestor, he becomes nice thanks to a family policy. Does anyone in 1000 A.D. recognize the change? No; history was always that way to them. However, aside from Crono's team, one other person is able to remember the old, evil mayor -- Gaspar, at the End of Time, who is able to watch Crono complete his quest and change history several times. The End of Time seems to transcend the normal flow of time; people there are aware of changes made to the normal timeline of the world. In essence, time can be said to flow at the End of Time "perpindicular" to the way it flows in the real world. This transcendental time flow is called Time Error. Another way to think of it follows; firstly, imagine that Crono goes back in time and labors hard for two hours. How would people in the normal timeline measure the duration of Crono's changing history? They could not; that history would seem normal to them. Yet from the End of Time, Gaspar can clearly watch Crono arrive, work for two hours, and then depart.
This theory was developed by Leebot in the article Beyond Time, which deals with locations exhibiting a flow of Time Error. Only time portals and locations outside the axis of time (such as the End of Time, the inside of the Black Omen, or the Darkness Beyond Time) exhibit this flow. Copied here from his explanation page is the full theory and its effects in time. Please note that the theory "Determining the Destination of Time Travel via Epoch and Time Gates" that appeared in the previous version of this article explained this effect, but the Time Error theory overall presents a more unified principle.
- Time portals within the standard time axis flow through time and Time-Error at equal rates.
Example: A time portal is created at time X and Time-Error 0. At time X+T, the Time-Error of the Portal is T.
- The perception of time in locations outside the time axis is actually a flow of Time-Error.
Example: A traveler enters the End of Time at Time-Error T. He spends a length of time* U at the End of Time. He exits at Time-Error T+U.
- When a traveler enters a time portal, the Time-Error of the location at which they exit is the same as the Time-Error at which they enter, and the time at which they exit is determined by the Time-Error.
Example: Two time portals exist, one at time X at Time-Error 0, one at time Y at Time-Error 0. A traveler enters the latter portal at time Y+T. Since the Time-Error of this portal is T at time Y+T, the traveler arrives at Time-Error T of the former portal. Since this Time-Error corresponds to time X+T, the traveler arrives at time X+T.
- When a traveler travels to a time portal from a point outside the axis of time, they arrive at the same Time-Error as the Time-Error from which they left, and the corresponding time.
- When a time-traveling device (such as Epoch) is used to travel through time from within the time axis, the Time-Error of one of the portals existing at the exit point is recorded. The exit location can only be a time when a portal exists. The recorded Time-Error is used to determine the exact time of arrival.
Example: Two time portals exist, one at time X at Time-Error 0, one at time Y at Time-Error 0. A time-traveling device is used to travel to the former portal's time at time Y+T. The Time-Error of T is recorded from the latter portal. The time-traveling device arrives at time X+T.
- When the Epoch is used to travel through time from a point outside the time axis, it can only reach a time when some portal exists. The exact time it arrives is determined by the Time-Error at which it left. (The Neo-Epoch may be able to arbitrarily access any era.)
This neatly explains the nature of the passage of time in places such as the End of Time and the Darkness Beyond Time. It also works for dimensions; if Serge leaves for Home World and returns to Another, he'll return at the time of his original departure plus how much time he spent in Home World. Time travelers conducting business in history can also said to exhibit a personal tabulation of Time Error. Let's say that after Crono went to the End of Time, it took him twenty days of his personal life to defeat Lavos. In actuality, he skipped all over the eras of the timeline, but at the End of Time, twenty days would have cleanly passed. This will come into play for the Time Bastard theory, presented a little later in this section. You can also think of it according to this example by DBoruta and Leebot:
1) We know that there exists at least four dimensions: 3 dimensions in which an object can move physically, and then we have time being the fourth dimension. 2) When time travel is achieved, as in the case of the events of Chrono Trigger, we now have time being considered an axis of position instead of truly being an axis of time, and a new "time" axis is required to measure where the object is according to the other 4 dimensions (This is describing what you were talking about with the future continuing on and the past being time-bastarded out as far as the time travelers are concerned).
So, this agrees with the notion that there could be multiple time axes - one is 4-D time, and one is 5-D time. So, when time travel is achieved by an object, that object is being described in 5 dimensions instead of the normal 4.
Note that it's never explicitly stated that anyone other than Gaspar and Spekkio can observe what's going on in the timeline from the End of Time. They alone may have this power thanks to their magic or supernatural nature. Thanks to Pyramid
Relativistic Flow Principle
The rate of time in each time period should not be the same. Relativistic effects produced by changes in the earth and sun's velocity would result in minute time dilations. Motion and mass have effects on the speed of time. As a simple example, a ball bounced on a train takes longer to bounce to someone on the station platform than to someone on the train with it. Thus, each time period would have its own relative time rate, dependent on relativistic factors. This introduces a further complexity to the Time Error axiom. Time Gate apertures and Epoch destinations follow the natural flow of time in their era, but since the time rate of each time period is unique, there would be a discrepancy in the translation of both ends of a Gate into the future. For example, if Crono were to warp from 1000 AD to 400 years in the past, the time he spent in 600 AD is not necessarily the same as the time he was away from 1000 AD. Luckily, Crono could not return to 1000 AD before he left, so there is no worry about causality. For most time periods this discrepancy should be very small, perhaps on the order of seconds. However, 65 million BC might experience a significant time dilation.
Time Traveler's Immunity
Thus far, we've described nearly the entire scope of the time travel mechanics covered in the series, including some irregularities and theories. However, one aspect of the utmost importance remains; it is the absence of the Grandfather Paradox. If you recall, the Grandfather Paradox addresses what would happen if a time traveler went back in time and shot his mother before he was born. Would he cease to exist on the spot? The Chrono series has a knack for shunning paradoxes, and this case is no different. Let's view some examples.
Crono takes the Jerky to the Porre Mayor of 600 A.D. to make his 1000 A.D. counterpart give up the Sun Stone. So Crono's past now reflows through the new timeline; history is changed and the mayor is happy. Crono has no need to go to the past now to give the 600 A.D. mayor the Jerky because his 1000 A.D. descendent is now generous and gives him the Sun Stone. If Crono doesn't go back, the 600 A.D. mayor won't get the Jerky. The grandfather paradox is conveniently brushed aside. Another one -- Crono defeats Lavos in 1999 A.D., making the future bright and happy. In this new timeline, Crono's history through time is changed. The future he must warp to now is not derelict and ruined. So does he still find an Epoch just waiting for him there? There won't be one, so he can't do half the stuff he's supposed to in order to kill Lavos! Will he see the Day of Lavos recording, the event that motivated him to go on his quest to defeat the alien parasite? Certainly not; Lavos never destroyed the world in this happy future. You can take this idea and apply it to nearly every single instance of changing time in the game!
Now, how does Chrono Trigger avoid the Grandfather Paradox is these examples? The answer is simple: time travelers are immune to the changes they make in the past, and the Grandfather Paradox simply does not exist. Crono can change the future so that he will never see the Day of Lavos recording and never be motivated to change the future, but this does not matter. Crono exerts his own free will to change history; he remembers each act he performed, even if these acts would preclude his necessity to perform them. While non-time travelers will always see the bright and happy future, Crono and his group can clearly remember the ruined future and their actions to remedy it. Crono's actions are preserved in time; if you went back to 600 A.D. a little before Crono came in to give the Jerky to the elder's wife, you could clearly observe him emerge from a Gate and give the elder's wife Jerky. No matter how time travelers drastically change history (even their personal history), they are exempt from the effects. Consider the Principle of Discarded Timelines above; the very presence of Crono in the past would change history, if only by his miniscule exertion of gravity on the particles of the world. Yet Crono remains the same person while traveling through time!
The unifying principle behind Time Traveler's Immunity is that once an entity travels through time, he or she is disconnected from the original timeline by changing history (past or future), and causality and consequences are resultingly broken.
Time Traveler's Immunity has other ramifications; namely, the Emergence Preservation Corollary. Imagine that you go back in time to 999 A.D. and murder Crono a full year before he can travel through time. What occurs at 1000 A.D.? Does the ruined future magically come back into place now that Crono cannot conceivably go back in time to 600 A.D.? It would not; under Time Traveler's Immunity, a time traveler's actions are preserved in the past. Think of it like this -- when Crono enters a Gate to 600 A.D., it does not take him to a specific timeline, but merely deposits him somewhere spatially at the time of 600 A.D. in the current timeline. Let's make an example based on a few occurrences in chronological order, all hypothetical.
- Time Traveler Locke goes back to 600 A.D.
- Locke plants a tree in fertile ground, and goes back to the present.
- Time Traveler Ethan changes prehistory to make the world have a desert climate.
Now, when Locke comes through the portal, will he see fertile ground? Certainly not; he'll observe the desert, as the timeline containing fertile ground has been relegated to the Darkness Beyond Time. The same would happen if someone went back in time and killed Locke after he had already time traveled. Locke would still emerge in the Gate of 600 A.D., as the act of time traveling separated his relationship of causality from the timeline by relegating his historical timeline to the Darkness Beyond Time. This means that Crono and the others' actions as time travelers are preserved in time, and even though they might preclude their birth from ever happening, they still exist even if they return to a 1000 A.D. in which they were never born. Time Traveler's have immunity from their own actions or the change of timelines.
At this point, two questions are probably on your mind. Firstly, what about the incident at the beginning of the game where Marle is explained by Lucca to have disappeared due to the grisly fate of her ancestor, Leene? That will be addressed in the Issues section of this article, which is next in line after this section. Secondly, you may be wondering, what happens to the new versions of time travelers? That is, if Crono goes back in time and changes history so that the climate of the world is now desert, what happens to the version of Crono who grows up in this desert world? And what happens to this boy when the time arrives that the original Crono went back in time? Does he simply disappear, or is he free to live? These are addressed in the next theory, Time Bastard.
Thought, chrono eric, Eske
Time traveler's immunity also applies for dimensional travel, which can be thought of as "horizontal" time travel along timelines rather than "vertical" travel back and forth on a timeline (compare to traveling to areas of Time Error, like the End of Time). Thea absence of TTI for dimensions (which some might call "Dimensional Traveler's Immunity"), a paradox could arise. Eske provides an example:
- Professor A invents a Time Travel "gate key" and can open time gates anywhere.
- Then, 10 minutes later, he invents a machine that creates an Angelus Errare that exists in all time periods (like CTDS) and is fixed in place, and can only exist if the machine is operational.
- Professor A can lay time gates perfectly on top of the Dimensional Vortex to use both simultaneously.
- Professor A indeed uses his devices simultaneously, immediately after both are invented.
- From Dimension 1, Time X, Professor A travels to Dimension 2, Time X-10.
There, he tells a resident, Person B, to traverse dimensions to Dimension 1 and kill Professor A before all means of extra/other spatial travel were invented.
- Person B at D2: Time X-10 travels to D1: Time X-10 and kills Professor A just seconds after Time Travel is invented. Dimensional Travel is never invented.
Now lets add "1" to Time Error and play this through again.
- A (time) gate will open in Time X-10 no matter what. But where? Time portals will always open no matter what because of TTI. Which means Professor A (who, by TTI, will always remember inventing dimensional travel as well) will appear 10 minutes into the past, meet the counterpart of Person B and tell him to cross dimensions to kill Professor A. Professor A will be shocked to see that the dimensional vortex no longer exists. (If the machine is rendered inoperable, the vortex ceases to exist in all time periods. like how the CTDS portals only exist in all time periods for Time Error Y+1 after they are created at Time Error Y.)
- That means that no version of Person B crosses dimensions (NOT time) to kill Professor A. If DTI did not exist this would create a loop because if Person B can't kill Professor A, then dimensional travel will exist -- but then Person B would now be able to kill Professor A, negating the existence of dimensional travel - and so on.
Adjunct: Temporal Revision Theory
This theory was developed to explain the Telepod Paradox, which it does well. Its effects on other accepted theory are presently too large to explore, so it's being presented here as an adjunct.
Everytime someone time travels, the timeline changes. However, how is the new timeline formed? One could guess that after (in time error) every time travel event, the whole of the timeline runs through, from beginning to end.
Let's say that before the events of Chrono Trigger, the last time travel event was at the Ocean Palace incident. I propose that after Lavos flings everyone at the Mammon Machine throughout time, time runs from beginning to end with Melchior, Magus, and Balthazar in their respective places and times. This is the timeline that exists prior to the telepod experiment. However, the telepod experiment must exist in the timeline, along with everything that follows. Therefore, normal time in 1000 AD keeps going after Marle gets sent back to 600 AD. This results in Crono going back, which results in Lucca going back. Since no more time travel occurs in the timeline, the timeline runs to conclusion and starts again, with Marle, Crono, and Lucca coming out at the appropriate times, as well as all of the TTI time travelers. In this revision of the timeline, plot happens, the party leaves back for 1000 AD, and the Guardia line is never interrupted, plausibly allowing the Telepod experiment to run, which results in Crono, Marle, and Lucca never being seen again, causing shenanigans in the further future until the end of time. And so on.
The key difference from established theory is that there is no intermediate timeline between Marle time travelling and Crono time travelling. This would fundamentally modify the idea of time error, as time error would be not be established in units of time, but in indivisible, ordinal revisions. The first timeline would be have time error of X. The revision caused by the time travel there would have time error of X+1. There would be nothing in between. I suspect that this idea is far enough removed from the concept of time error, that calling it time error would be an error in itself. However, terminology is tangential to the concept.
Thus far, this article has created a conceptual framework for the mechanics of time in the Chrono series. However, a glaring problem remains. Taking a cue from Time Traveler's Immunity, let's pretend that Crono goes back in time to 600 A.D. from 1000 A.D., and changes time to that the world becomes a desert. As time reflows to reflect the change, a new Crono is born before 1000 A.D. who is indigenous to this new timeline and desert world. The original, time traveling Crono then goes to 1002 A.D. The question is, are there now two Cronos? That is, will Crono the time traveler be able to meet the new Crono native to the new timeline of the desert world? If so, would this not violate the conservation of energy in the universe? Indeed, if a new Crono existed, he'd be a duplicate of the original and the conservation of energy would be violated. "Something," the new Crono, would be created from "nothing," the new timeline. The game also confirms this; when Crono returns from time traveling, there is no duplicate of himself. What happens? What mechanism in time prevents duplicates by acting as an extension of Time Traveler's Immunity? Presuming that the new Crono also travels through time doesn't solve the problem, because it doesn't eliminate the copy, and introduces some trouble with cause and effect.
A Problem of Duplicates
Time Bastard attempts to repair this. It stemmed from two observable events in Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross (not to mention the absence of player character duplicates when they return home). Specifically, during the new Ocean Palace Incident, Melchior and Janus are safe in Last Village. Recall that originally, Melchior and Janus were dispatched to 1000 A.D. and 600 A.D. respectively by temporal distortions. However, in this new timeline, the two are safe in Last Village, oblivious to what happened in the Lavos timeline originally. While Crono and his team are still in the Ocean palace, these new versions somehow phase out into black Gates and disappear entirely. Note that even though Melchior and Janus were far away from the Ocean Palace, they still disappeared presumably at the same time their original counterparts disappeared in the Ocean Palace Incident that occurred originally before Crono intervened. Secondly, in Chrono Cross, after the dimensions are unified, Serge returns to Opassa Beach. Assuming the dimensions did unify and the ideal timeline was created, what happened to the Serge who grew up in this new version of El Nido? He is nowhere to be found when Serge the hero returns from the Darkness Beyond Time, completely replacing him on the beach.
This is where the theory of Time Bastard comes in. In its simplest forms, Time Bastard states that counterparts of time traveling persons or matter cannot exist past the exact time of the original article's departure. Serge originally crossed the dimensions with Leene's discussion on the beach; with Time Bastard, the new version of Serge created by the Ideal Timeline would be shunted to the Darkness Beyond Time at the exact moment of Serge's original departure.
Using the analogy above concerning Crono and a new version of him indigenous to a more arid climate, let us say that Crono originally went back on time on 10:00 AM, June 1, 1000 A.D. He returned two days later, at 10:00 AM, June 3, 1000 A.D. Now, the world's history has been changed, and a new version of Crono is born who has never known anything outside the desert climate he observes. When 10:00 AM, June 1, 1000 A.D. rolls around, this new counterpart will be eliminated. This is the time that the original Crono, protected by Time Traveler's Immunity, departed. This ensures that a duplicate of Crono cannot exist; as a result, no matter or energy is added or subtracted from the sum of the universe.
Now, let's complicate things. Say that Crono, in 1002 A.D., wants to go back to 1000 A.D. and check out what he was doing in the past. He arrives in 1000 A.D., meets up with his past self, and discusses a few things. But wait -- does this not mean a duplicate of Crono exists? No, it does not; Crono is the same person, but merely in a different frame of time. The Crono indigenous to 1000 A.D. has existed for, say, 16 years, while the version from 1002 A.D. has lived for 18 years. They are the same person, but are merely in a different frame of time; in the words of Doctor Emmett L. Brown, you must "think fourth-dimensionally." Now, consider the case of the Red Vest and the Red Plate in Chrono Trigger. You can retrieve the plate, the evolved version of the red vest, from the future, and then go back in time and receive its counterpart. Should the plate vanish? No, because you traveled back in time with it, granting Time Traveler's Immunity. But aren't they duplicates then, and shouldn't the vest be subject to Time Bastard? No again -- because the Red Plate is merely the Red Vest after four hundred years passage of time. After the Red Vest ages 400 years, it would disappear, as that would mark the time of its being taken back by Crono and the time of the original Red Plate's receiving Time Traveler's Immunity. The same can explain why Robo can visit himself plowing the fields in 600 A.D. after the Fiona's Forest sidequest. Magus can also warp back to Zeal and encounter his past self, Janus, but there is no duplication.
A Review of Time Bastard
The premise behind Time Bastard is that time travel cannot be used to create duplicates of entities. It is possible for past and future versions of entities to exist in the same point in space-time, but duplicate entities from the same time period cannot coexist. The doubles in Chrono Cross do not violate this because Home and Another are separate dimensions.
Consider this scenario:
At the Millennial Fair Crono warps 400 years into the past. His presence in 600 AD creates a new timeline, and the original is sent to the Darkness Beyond Time. In the new timeline, a new version of Crono will exist, but the original version of Crono in 600 AD is not affected because he has time traveller immunity.
In 1000 AD, the new version of Crono may enter the warp to 600 AD, but where does he go? He cannot arrive in 600 AD, because the original version of Crono, who is protected by time traveller immunity already exists there. Based on evidence in Chrono Trigger, time periods do not fill up with duplicate time travellers. Thus, the new version of Crono is eliminated from the timeline and sent to the DBT.
Basically, if changes to the timeline result in the version of a time traveller entering a time-warp not being identical to the same traveller exiting the warp, the traveller entering the time-warp is sent to the DBT.
And if Crono continued time traveling:
The original version of Crono warps from 600 AD to 12,000 BC, creating another timeline. Yet another version of Crono would enters the warp in 1000 AD, and is sent to the DBT. The original version of Crono, protected by time traveller immunity, arrives in 600 AD. However, due to the new timeline, when this version Crono warps to 12,000 BC, he is not identical to the original Crono, and is sent to the DBT.
Perhaps if the changes to the timeline are severe, the new version of Crono would not enter the warp in 1000 AD (or the version of Crono in 600 AD). Would the original version of Crono return to the present to find a duplicate of himself? Since there are no duplicates, the new version of Crono must have been sent to the DBT at the same time the original Crono left.
A proof demonstration:
Suppose an entity X exists on timeline Y.
If X time travels from time A to time B, such that B < A; for time > B, Y is sent into the DBT, and Y' is created, containing X'.
For time > A, two identical entities X and X' will exist in Y'.
Conservation of Energy requires that only one entity X or X' exist.
Therefore, X' will be expunged from Y' at time A, and sent into the DBT.
The Theory in a Nutshell
Duplicates of entities cannot be created through time travel because this would violate the conservation of energy in the universe. If a time travel scenario would cause a duplicate entity to exist, the entity with the least seniority of time traveller immunity would be sent to the DBT.
Time Bastard may seem ruthless and cruel, as it shunts people to the Darkness Beyond Time impartially. The concept does seem cruel, but it is no worse that the millions of people sent into the DBT every time Crono time travels, which is canon! In fact, the condemnation of these people is the basis for some of Lucca's fears about time traveling repercussions in Chrono Cross. Lucca worried that the people sent to the Darkness Beyond With with the ruined future they averted may one day try to exact revenge (though this is impossible with established principles). Plus, people who are erased and sent to the DBT don't exist anymore at all, so they don't really suffer or even become conscious of their erasing. On the contrary, people who were killed becaused of Lavos (for example) did suffer physically and were conscious of their death afterwards since, apparently, ghosts exist in the Chrono world.
Case Study: Schala's Pendant
If Schala gave Kid her pendant before sending her to 1004 A.D., it means she kept her pendant with her after the Ocean Palace incident. How then would the pendant exist on the outside world and come into possession of the Guardia royal family, eventually ending up with Marle, who used it in Chrono Trigger? How was it originally passed down anyway before Crono started time traveling? Would its absence potentially undo Chrono Trigger, preempting Marle from reacting with the Telepod to enter 600 A.D. or charge it up at the Mammon Machine to get around Zeal?
Time Traveler's Immunity and Time Bastard dictate that regardless of what Marle or Crono were doing at the Millennial Fair in 1000 A.D., they would appear in 600 A.D. and their versions in 1000 A.D. would disappear at the original time of departure. Additionally, all matter going with them, such as Crono's wood sword or Marle's pendant, would be subject to these laws and would appear in 600 A.D. and be removed from the present. Under these theories, the pendant would materialize with Marle in 600 A.D. when she first time traveled and was thought to be Queen Leene, circumventing the need for the pendant to be physically passed down among the royal family for 13,000 years. For the issue of Time Bastard applying to the pendant itself, please see below.
Time Bastard's Application to the Pendant
Some debate that the answer is flawed because the pendant on Kid would be subject to Time Bastard. That is, since the pendant would go to 1004 A.D. with Kid from the Darkness Beyond Time, it would "pass" Marle's instances of time traveling, which take precedence. However, it is important to consider that Time Bastard operates on personal time. Let's examine the pendant's personal history.
Pendant is created in 12000 B.C.; used thirteen thousand years later.
Pendant is created in 12000 B.C.; used almost instantly afterwards.
Thirteen thousand years would have to pass until the pendant disappeared due to Marle's original time traveling with it. It would disappear roughly in 14004 A.D. to appear in 600 A.D. with Marle. The same case can be applied to the Vests and Mails in Chrono Trigger. Crono can use both the vest and mail because he has traveled through time with the mail before retrieving the vest. After four hundred years, the vest would presumably be subject to Time Bastard and disappear. Crono is not violating the conservation of energy or time in this manner; he is merely using the same item in two different stages of its personal history.
Thought, Eske, chrono eric
Time Bastard also applies to dimensional travel, which can be thought of as "horizontal" time travel along timelines rather than "vertical" travel back and forth on a timeline (compare to traveling to areas of Time Error, like the End of Time). Thea absence of Time Bastard for dimensions (which some might call "Dimensional Time Bastard"), a paradox could arise. chrono eric provides an example:
- Two dimensions exist which are parallel to each other in time. In Dimension 1 a man called Dimensional Traveler exists in the timeline. In Dimension 2 he was never born. A person called Time Traveler was born in Dimension 2 and may or may not exist in Dimension 1 (doesn't matter).
- Dimension 1: Time X: Dimensional Traveler goes to dimension 2 via some dimensional gate.
- Dimension 2: Time X: Dimensional Traveler appears in dimension 2. Time Traveler meets Dimensional Traveler, decides he is an asshole, and travels first to Dimension 1 with the intent of going back in time to kill his grandfather so he never exists.
- Dimension 1: Time X+1: Time Traveler arrives in dimension 1, goes back in time to X-100.
- Dimension 1: Time X-100: Time Traveler kills Dimensional Travelers grandfather, changing history in Dimension 1 so that Dimensional Traveler never crosses the dimensions to Dimension 2, then travels back to the present in Dimension 1 and goes back to his home dimension of Dimension 2 at Time X+2.
- Dimension 2: Time X+2: Time Traveler returns to his home dimension anticipating that Dimensional Traveler wouldn't be there. Does he meet Dimensional Traveler, or not?
Quite a thinker, eh?
In this situation, the act of Time Traveler killing Dimensional Travelers grandfather in Dimension 1 is preserved via TTI. The act of Time Traveler reappearing in the future of Dimension 1 is likewise preserved via TTI. But is the act of crossing the dimensions preserved by DTI/DB? This situation actually doesn't prove whether or not Dimensional Traveler will be there when Time Traveller returns, but lets analyze what would happen if Time Traveler did not disappear at the original instance of his dimensional crossing (ie: if Dimensional Bastard does not exist):
At Time X Time Traveler would not vanish. At Time X+2 this Time Traveler would meet his future self arriving from his journey to kill Dimensional Bastards' grandfather. There would be a problem of duplicates. Therefore Dimensional Bastard must necessarily exist to eliminate duplicates from the timeline.
Cause of Trigger's Anomalies
Four anomalistic instances of temporal distortion occur in Chrono Trigger. Firstly, in the Ocean Palace Incident, strange Gates materialized and gated the Gurus and Janus to various eras across time (and in the new timeline with the Prophet, one would gate Schala to the Darkness Beyond Time). Secondly, Marle's pendant reacted with the Telepod to take her to 600 A.D. Thirdly, Magus's summoning Lavos in 600 A.D. caused a raging temporal distortion that sent Magus to 12000 B.C. and Crono's group to 65000000 B.C. Third, after Crono was at the new Ocean Palace Incident, Schala fell into a dimensional distortion that took her to the Darkness Beyond Time. Last to occur is the new Melchior and Janus's disappearance from 12000 B.C. Who caused these, and why did, in each case, important individuals conveniently go to important eras in the planet's history?
Entity Plan and Error
These Gates were all effected by the Entity, whose first action to save itself occurred in 12000 B.C., when it gated Janus and the Gurus to the important eras of its lifetime. The actual Gates in this incident may have been created by Lavos, as he tilts his head toward each person he is gating at the time. Conversely, Lavos doesn't gate Crono and his friends when the incident occurs the second time around, meaning the Entity perhaps created them after all. Secondly, it created the Gates, the one at the Millennial Fair included; once it had found its savior, Crono (as evidenced in the instructional manual, which references "guardian spirits," probably a translation quip, as choosing Crono), the Entity then caused the Gate to open at the Telepod exhibition and start Crono on his quest. Lastly, though Magus's summoning Lavos was the cause of the temporal distortion at his lair, the Entity had a hand in sending the affected individuals to certain eras. If the Entity can create stable wormhole Gates through time, it is not a cop-out to believe that it can usher its own plan along by having an active hand in these instances of time travel. The Entity has much to gain from this course of action. If it is assumed that Lavos would have killed everyone then it would make sense that the Entity would have gated them all to safety. It also follows suit for the places that they were gated to to coincide with any plan that the Entity might have planned before beginning the events that start the game. The group goes back to 65000000 so it can actually see where Lavos originated from.
That said, it is probably not the Entity's doing that Schala was taken to the Darkness Beyond Time through the dimensional distortion in the second Ocean Palace Incident. Whether the planet is aware of Belthasar's Project Kid is debatable, along with whether it even perceived a threat in the form of the Time Devourer, which may have been outside the realm of its perspicacity. Sending Schala to a place where she might evolve with Lavos into a being that could devour time is certainly not in the interests of any reasonable entity, however.
Finally, concerning the disappearance into black Gates of Melchior and Janus in 12000 B.C., this is thought to be an example of the Time Bastard theory in action.
Useful Life of Entity Gates
Several Gates exist in the world to facilitate Crono's quest in defeating Lavos. But do the Gates terminate after a certain period? While the nature of the Gates dictate that they always project the user the same period of time forward or backward in history, do the Gates themselves exist for all time?
Limited Clock Theory
Leebot, The Unknowuser_
The Gates have a set lifetime defined by Time Error (that is, from the perspective of the End of Time). For instance, to avoid any temporal mishaps throughout history, such as other people finding the Gates and using them, the Entity anticipated that Crono and his group would only take a few weeks or months to defeat Lavos, and accordingly phased the Gates out at a certain time after its expectation for the completion of the quest. Once Crono actually finished, the Entity closed the Gates arbitrarily, as they were then definitively no longer needed.
The main problem here is that the Gates don't exist in other eras where spatially they should sit. However, each Gate is also presumably located in an inaccessible or nonexistent spot of land throughout the eras. To explain, take the Gate in Guardia Forest, 1000 A.D. In 65000000 B.C., that Gate might exist, but it may not be found anywhere or may simply hover above the ocean. It could also exist within a cliff face or lava flow; the party would never see it. The Gate at the Bangor Dome may sit several feet above the ground level of 1000 A.D. and other eras, due to sedimentary build-up. This can be applied to every Gate except interestingly the Truce Canyon / Leene Square Gate, which appear to be in the same area and can be interpreted as one Gate (with simply two openings on the other side of 400 years). With geographical inaccessibility considered, the Gates might actually exist in every era.
The only problem is, who determines what end of the Gate potential entrants are in when they access a Gate? What would determine whether someone entering the Tyrano Lair Gate in 30000000 B.C. went 65000000 B.C. into the past or the future? This is problematic, as if anyone entered the Gate in a strange era, he or she could potentially disrupt history on a huge scale.
The Time Crash Revisited
As described earlier, the Time Crash is very anomalistic, as it exposed the entire Sea of Eden to Lavos's will and resultingly traveled back in time ten thousand years. What are the exact mechanics surrounding this event? GrayLensman extensively addressed this question for the Salt for the Dead Sea article. Taken from there, here is the theory concerning the Time Crash.
The Time Crash was completely unlike standard forms of time travel.
- Chronopolis and Dinopolis contained many more than three entities, violating the Conservation of Time theorem.
- A three-dimensional region of space, containing a vast area of the earth's surface, was transported. This is opposed to Gate travel, where the horizon of the Gate acts as a portal from one space-time to another. Gates displace their spherical volume in normal space-time -- they do not envelop a region of space and transport it through time.
- The area of the Sea of Eden was still linked to the cause and effect of the future. Unlike normal time traveling, where travelers are not affected by changes to their past world line, the Sea of Eden changes along with the timeline. In Home World, the Day of Lavos still occurred and Chronopolis changed into the Dead Sea, reflecting the ruin of the future.
The conclusion is that the region of the Sea of Eden containing Chronopolis in the Chrono T-2 dimension and Dinopolis in the Reptite dimension did not time travel at all. Rather, the counter-time experiment created a space-time warp which brought the space-time coordinates of the area surrounding the Sea of Eden in 2400 AD into conjunction with the space-time coordinates of the Sea of Eden in 12000 BC. The substance of Chronopolis and Dinopolis was not transported through time; a region of space-time in 12000 BC became that same region in 2400 AD.
The edge of the Sea of Eden was separated from the space-time of 2400 AD and connected to the space-time of 12000 BC. The Sea of Eden and the rest of the world both moved forward through time at the normal rate so that in 1020 AD, Chronopolis was in 15420 AD. The boundary of the Sea of Eden anomaly allowed an entity to travel 14400 years into the future. Passing through this boundary is exactly like time traveling through a Gate or in a vehicle. Time is Conserved and travelers become immune to timeline changes.
In 2400 AD, I image that the Time Crash would appear as if the area of the Sea of Eden collapsed into a singularity. A hole was made in space-time, and the edges of the hole were pulled in to fill the void. In 12000 BC, the future Sea of Eden space would expand from a singularity, enveloping the past Sea of Eden.
When the timeline was changed so that the Time Crash did not occur, the Sea of Eden in 12000 BC remained unchanged. The version of the Sea of Eden which contained Chronopolis was sent into the DBT. However, the boundary of the Sea of Eden behaved like a Gate, even though the space-time anomaly no longer existed. Any entities which crossed the boundary from the future Sea of Eden into the 12000 BC world were protected from changes made to the timeline. Each time an entity crossed the boundary from the Sea of Eden in the original timeline, that same entity appeared at the boundary in the new timeline. The settlers of El Nido appeared out of thin air at the edge of the Sea of Eden. If and when the entities returned to the Sea of Eden in the original timeline, the new versions of the entities were sent into the DBT, in accordance with the Time Bastard theory. Since the outside world was identical in both timelines, the new versions of the entities ceased to exist just as they crossed the conceptual boundary of the Sea of Eden, maintaining the illusion that anomaly was still there. Thus, El Nido was constructed and settled by humans and Reptites, even though Chronopolis and Dinopolis no longer existed in the past.
An unfortunate consequence of this theory is that any entity to ever exit the anomaly must appear at the boundary of the Sea of Eden regardless of changes to the timeline. It is not known how many entities exited Chronopolis/Sea of Eden/Dead Sea after 12000 BC (in Another World only, of course), but they would end up wandering around the new timeline. Some of these entities would eventually be sent into the DBT as a result of the Time Bastard theory if they originally time/dimensional traveled. Maybe Schala could have just sent them all into the DBT. This problem could be potentially far-reaching.
The ramifications of this theory are fully addressed in the Chrono Cross Resolutions article, which explains the aftermath of Chrono Cross's unification of dimensions.
Gate Color Theory
There are several Gates and connection points in the Chrono series, and each has a different color:
- Chrono Trigger Gates - Blue
- Chrono Trigger Lucca Gate - Red
- Chrono Trigger DS Lost Sanctum Distortion - Green
- Chrono Cross Opassa Beach - Green
- Chrono Cross Hydra Marshes - Green
- Chrono Cross Darkness Beyond Time - Pink
- (New Game +) Chrono Trigger Telepod Gate - Green
- (New Game +) Chrono Trigger DS Dimensional Vortex Distortion - Purple
Timothy theorizes that the Gate color determines what the Gate does. Taking the canonical items:
- Blue - Takes traveler through time, but not space
- Red - Takes traveler through time and space
- Green - Takes traveler to another dimension
- Pink - Takes traveler to Darkness Beyond Time
One can add the New Game + items to suggest that pink/purple takes a character to disrupted or discarded timelines in general, and that the Telepod gate is also green because it grants access to Lavos's temporal field.
A few problems exist within the Chrono series's handling of time. Specifically, the Grandfather Paradox is invoked once, while the effects of time traveling are ignored in two other instances.
The Marle Paradox
When Marle and Crono go back in time, the search for Queen Leene is called off. However, Marle soon disappears; Lucca explains that she phased out since her mother was never found and could not give birth to her other ancestors as a result. This poses a problem in that the Chrono Series does not acknowledge the Grandfather Paradox, instead falling in line with the Time Traveler's Immunity theory. As Crono and his crew travel through time, they retain memory of their actions in history, even if they influenced events so that certain people they met never existed or were significantly changed. The clincher is that they defeated Lavos, yet retain memory of the Day of Lavos recording and the ruined future. However, Marle's disappearance is explained directly as a result of the Grandfather Paradox; she also disappears on a matter of possibility, as her mother was not even dead at the time of her evanescence. Interestingly enough, she was also alive during the entire ordeal, retaining memory of a cold, dark place. Why does she disappear? If her influence had been totally nullified, why would Crono and Lucca even remember her? Does this event contradict everything else laid down on the subject in the Chrono series?
The Entity's active role in bringing about Lavos's defeat is indisputable; it created the Gates to usher Crono along to squash the alien parasite. Perhaps the Entity, as it might have set up the conditions for the Telepod Gate to open, also phased Marle out (sending her possibly to the Darkness Beyond Time) to motivate Crono to save Leene to avoid historical abberation and also get him started on his quest. The fact that Marle is alive during the entire ordeal lends credence to this theory; she was not removed from existence by time, but seemed to be grabbed and shifted somewhere by an external force. Additionally, while some think the Entity's controlling the affair is a cop-out, akin to saying "a wizard did it," the Entity's role in the game is already well established as being direct and active, as it created the Gates and also presumably created the Red Gate for Lucca to utilize in helping her mother. Lucca's description of Marle's disappearance in this case was merely an assumption.
According to Lucca's explanation, the series of events caused by Marle's arrival in 600 AD would end the Guardia royal line and change history so that Marle was never born. This was not the case because Marle did not cease to exist for all time; she just vanished in front of Crono. Her past existence in 600 AD was not undone because the people in Guardia still thought that Queen Leene had been rescued. Thus, the effects of Marle's time traveling still remain. After Crono and Lucca rescued Queen Leene, Marle reappeared, as opposed to never having disappeared in the first place. I don't think this is an example of the grandfather paradox. The paradox is a logical impossibility that cannot actually happen. A solution to the paradox has to be made. In Chrono Trigger, the paradox is solved by giving time travelers immunity to changes to their pasts. Crono, Lucca and Marle would be unaffected by any changes they made to their pasts in 600 AD. The only purpose for Marle's disappearance was to preserve the Guardia royal line, which is very important. The supervisor and Doan had to exist so that the heroes could view the Day of Lavos record. Some agency made Marle disappear for this sole purpose, most likely the entity influencing history so that Lavos could be defeated.
Masato Kato was not completely in control of the overarching plot of Chrono Trigger; the only part of the game purely designed by him was 12000 B.C. If we consider that different people had conflicting ideas about time travel, and that this problem comes early in the game, it is possible that this idea was raised in the early stages of development or was proposed by an executive without extensive knowledge of Chrono series mechanics, which would not have been available at the time. As the plot progressed, time traveler's immunity situations arose and garnered evidence as the grandfather paradox was disproven; regardless, this important plot point could not be removed, and was left in the game unchallenged for release.
The most common misconception made about the Marle Paradox is the Temporal Inertia theory. Its full refutation has been available on the Dead Sea / Sea of Eden FAQ Refutation article for some time, and can be accessed from that article or the Marle Paradox's formal entry in the Theory encyclopedia. Specifically, it claims that changes through time are not instantly manifested (a point the Chrono series refutes in several instances).
The Guardia Line Paradox
Under the rules of Chrono Series time travel, history is not predetermined; if a person leaves for a year in the future, he will arrive in a world that has not seen him for one year's time. This is proven in the case of the Sun Stone; when the Porre mayor removes it in 1000 A.D., it no longer exists in the Sun Keep afterwards. Now, consider that Ayla is Marle's ancestor, and gave birth to the descendants who would eventually become the Guardia royal family. If Ayla leaves 65000000 B.C. on her quest with Crono to go to the future, why is history unaffected? From the point of her departure, the world's history should have progressed without Ayla, meaning the Guardia family would have never been born. The same can be said for Doan, said to be a descendant of the family from 1000 A.D. How do Ayla and the others travel through time without violating history in this manner?
Timeline Resilience Theory
GrayLensman, Leebot, whatev
Small changes made to the timeline will not have any noticeable effects if the intervening interval of time is sufficiently large. This is due to the overwhelming number of other factors involved and chaotic effects. After a geologic period of time, these small changes are simply cancelled out by the law of averages.
For example, even though Ayla was originally the ancestor of the Guardia royal line, in the timeline which existed while she is traveling through time, the present era was not noticeably changed. The Guardians had a different ancestor which had no noticeable effect after 65 million years. Doan is surviving member of the Guardia royal line in 2300 AD, even when Marle was traveling through time. After 1300 years, Marle's absence from 1000 AD had a minimal effect on the timeline. One example of where this does not apply is Queen Leene's disappearance in 600 AD, which may have eliminated Marle from the timeline.
Still, this is somewhat refuted by the fact that the Mayor of Porre does change if you give Jerky to his ancestor in 600AD. By most accounts, this is a minor change, yet the mayor is in fact changed by these events. Perhaps a better way to explain it is that the scale of the changes to the past corresponds to the scale of the changes in the future.
Examples: Having the original ancestor of Marle leave 65mil BC would end the Guardian line, but this is a very significant change, so some factor would act to preserve the timeline of the world to allow the Guardian line to come into existence. Giving Jerky to the Mayor of Porre's ancestor is a relatively small change, but because the resulting change to the timeline is also relatively small, it is allowed to happen. The rising of the Black Omen is a very significant change, but Crono's interference in the Ocean Palace is certainly not trivial.
Star Trek also uses an axiom that limits changes to the present from traveling to the past by an amount "proportional to the inverse-square of the distance traveled." This means that the further one travels into the past, the smaller the effect on the present. This can also be seen in CT; the party can easily make changes to the present from 600 AD, but can change nothing (with the exception of the Sun Stone) from 65,000,000 BC.
Perhaps the 65 mil. BC ancestor is just Kino, and Ayla has nothing to do with it. Certainly, this would create a domestic problem when Ayla returns to her own time and finds that Kino has already taken or will take another tribe member as his wife. Nonetheless, the time stream would remain undisturbed.
Another simple explanation is that they're not really ancestors in the literal sence. With all the intervening years, how could they confirm that either way without some higher technology than they posess? Or, it could be relation through adoption. With so many intervening generations, its possible (likely maybe?) that one of the wives marrying into line bore a child illigitimately and hid the fact, or someone adopted.
Perhaps one of the random people who had ended up at the End of Time was one of the descendants of Ayla and ancestors of Marle. Under Time Traveler's Immunity, this person would be protected from the disappearacne of his or her ancestors, and after returning to his or her home time, could continue to father the Guardia line.
Another stipulation operates on Radical Dreamers's note that Guardia probably held the Frozen Flame for much of its history. Perhaps use of the Frozen Flame to establish Guardia gave its first founder Time Traveler's Immunity. These theories are both farfetched, sadly.
History cannot be preserved simply because Ayla "returned to prehistory and had babies after the adventure." Until Lavos is defeated, there is no "after the adventure," and on top of everything, the theme of the Chrono games is that free will exists and people can change history by unleashing their desires and passions. The series does not operate on temporal possibilities, and neither is anything "fated" to happen. When Ayla departs 65000000 B.C., she should be missing for sixty five million years, and Guardia should evaporate.
Additionally, Kino and Ayla probably did not have a baby before she left. This is evidenced in the animation ending of the Playstation version, in which the two are formally married. Kino's jealousy in the game is also indicative of a young and turbulent relationship
The Doan Paradox
After Lavos is defeated, the future should instantly become pretty and beautiful, and the ruined future timeline should disappear. This includes Doan, the old man who led the Arris Dome survivors. Yet Doan is brought by Lucca after Lavos is defeated to 1000 A.D. for the Moonlight Parade. How did Lucca pull this off if Doan should no longer exist in his old form?
Lucca, in a show of optimism, previously arranged for the ancestors and descendants of the Guardia line to show up at Guardia Castle. This would sadly cause a complete breakdown of history like the Guardia Line Paradox, resulting in a history absent of Marle's ancestors (meaning Guardia wouldn't even exist). The only loophole that could work is if Lucca only took Doan out of the future and gathered the other relatives only after Lavos was defeated. This is quite a stretch, unfortunately.
The Doan we see is simply the new Doan. However, this theory is flawed because Lucca wouldn't have brought him back otherwise, and Doan also notes that Crono and the team gave him hope, implying he previously did not have "hope" in the ruined future.
The Telepod Paradox
If Marle changes history when she goes back in time, how do Crono and Lucca still travel to 600 A.D. from their home version of 1000 A.D.? The rest of the series dictates that as soon as changes are made to the past, the future changes resultingly in an instant. If Marle went back in time and significantly disrupted the Guardia history, 1000 A.D. would change; the Mystic War may not have been won, or the royal family may have simply changed bloodlines. In any event, the same 1000 A.D. would not exist as it was known to Crono and Lucca, yet they are still able to pursue Marle in time. How is this possible? Conceivably, another Crono and Lucca could find their way through time in an alternative timeline created by Marle's disruption in the past, but this Crono and Lucca would have no recollection of Marle. Despite applicable theories, this is probably a plot hole with no intended workaround by the creators.
Eriol, GrayLensman, Leebot
Leene is found despite Marle's introduction to the era anyway, meaning history is preserved normally (provided Marle doesn't much around too much and dies peacefully of old age) until the modern era. This would allow the same 1000 A.D. to roughly exist. The only problem here is that Marle is said to have disappeared (see Marle Paradox). Even if she did, her disappearance would have served as motivation for the soldiers to find the real Leene, which resolves that loose end. If this is the case (with Leene surviving; note that Frog was on his way to rescue her anyway), we have the following series of events:
1. When Marle initially time travels to 600 AD, her presence in the past results in a new timeline being formed, sending the original timeline to the DBT.
2. In 1000 AD, Crono and Lucca are instantaneously discared and replaced by new versions of themselves. Since they still exist and remember Marle time traveled, in this timeline the Guardia royal line was not interrupted.
3. When Crono traveled through the warp, another timeline was created in which both Crono and Marle exist in the past. In 1000 AD, another new version of Lucca is created. Since Lucca still exists and remembers Marle and Crono time traveling, the Guardia royal line was not interrupted in this timeline either.
4. After Lucca constructs the Gate Key, she follows after Crono and Marle, creating another new timeline consisting of the events witnessed in the game. Queen Leene doesn't die because Crono saves her. Marle disappears, supposidly because she doesn't exist in the timeline. The future version of Marle may or may not exist.
5. Once Lucca, Marle and Crono return to 1000 AD, the timeline is not noticably changed from the original. If the new version of Marle didn't exist in the previous timeline, she does now.
The effects of Crono and Lucca's actions immediately and instantaniously affect the timeline when they emerge in 600 AD. The future doesn't change as they act, except when time traveling. From the perspective of 1000 AD, all of the time travelers actions have already occured once they emerge in 600 AD.
Super Warp Protection
This theory assumes that Marle caused a significant disruption in 600 A.D. that would alter the future. When Lucca built the Telepod, she most likely tested it herself. Crono then used it at the Millennial Fair, and Marle finally used it to go to 600 A.D. Now, if the Telepod's warping is considered a form of time travel or dimensional distortion, then Time Traveler's Immunity may be invoked for Crono, Marle, and Lucca. This would take care of their preservation as individuals who know about Marle up until her disappearance into the past. The only problem remaining then is that the state of the Millennial Fair does not change either. It is a stretch, but perhaps Marle's disruption did not significantly affect history, and events played out mostly the same to result in a Millennial Fair at that time.
Long Gate Passage
What if Crono made it in the Gate before the actual Gate spit Marle out in 600 A.D.? Though this is possible, it would not help Lucca's case, as she still came in after Crono and Marle were both in the past and history was changed.
Chrono Cross introduced the concept of dimensions to the Chrono series; dimensions are self-contained universes, simply put. When Serge slips through Angelus Errare, the only explanation available to him is that he has come to an Alternate World. Later, at Viper Manor, Belthasar elaborates on definition of dimensions.
Prophet: The world is not just a single entity. Another world similar to our own exists in another dimension. There you will find what you might have become, a world of possibilities that might have existed, a whole history that has not been written yet... It is out there somewhere... We are simply unable to see, feel, or experience it.
[Doc] Parallel worlds, never to cross each other, yet existing alongside one another...
Home World and Another World are separate universes (or dimensions), existing alongside one another in what can be described as a parallel configuration. The dimensions never cross or intersect; they exist independently of one another with separate, divergent histories. This establishes the idea of alternate worlds in the Chrono series, or various universes in addition to our own that have their own histories and timelines. As they never intersect, residents of one dimension have no awareness of the other world, and vice-versa; additionally, travel is not normally possible. Thus far, we've established that two dimensions exist during Chrono Cross -- Another and Home. Later in the game, things became more complicated as the possibility of other dimensions was brought up.
[Kid] But that ain't all... At the same time, another city from a different dimension's future, was also thrown back in time. Dinopolis... The future city of the Reptites -- Azala's descendants, who had evolved more closely with the planet. Just as Lavos, in an attempt to save itself, summoned Chronopolis from the distant future... Perhaps our planet beckoned Dinopolis into the past... maybe as a measure against Chronopolis and humanity.
[Researcher] To think that time is not absolute, but elastic... Relative and subjective... That there can be individual differences caused by changes in time... Perhaps the same people and life-forms can even exist in several different space-times. An independent time that flows with a will of its own...? Hah... What nonsense... However, in the distant past humans could have been defeated in the contest of evolution, and the Reptites could have continued to develop... It is not unthinkable that such a time line could exist in other dimensions. Everything is purely a problem of possibilities, and the world is only stabilized by the viewpoint of the one who observes it.
These quotes definitively anchor the idea of alternate worlds in the Chrono series, establishing that, in fact, many other dimensions can and do exist, featuring their own distinct histories and events. One such dimension brought up above is the Reptite Dimension, a universe in which Lavos presumably never landed on the planet, meaning the Reptites defeated the Early Humans and inherited the planet, constructing a unique society culminating with Dinopolis. The explanation by Kid goes on to say that the planet was somehow able to pull Dinopolis to the world of Chrono to act as a counterbalance with Chronopolis (multidimensional awareness will be covered in the Theories section). The Chronopolis researchers also bring up the possibility of many other worlds, noting that the world a person lives in is only stabilized by his point of view relative to his home dimension. In the case of the Chrono series, all the action takes place in one dimension, later split into two in Chrono Cross (the split is covered in the next section) and then unified once more. For ease of discussion, the main Chrono dimension is called the Keystone Dimension, while the dimensions from which Dinopolis originated is called the Reptite Dimension.
The Dimensional Split
So far, we've established that alternate worlds exist, and except for Serge and the planet (whose involvement will be addressed in Theories), these separate universes never intersect or touch. With that considered, what allows Serge to travel between Home World and Another World? In fact, what caused these two dimensions? Originally, there existed one dimension in the Chrono series, called the Keystone Dimension for ease of reference. This is where all the action of Chrono Trigger took place; Crono defeated Lavos and saved the day. However, as a byproduct of his presence at the new Ocean Palace Incident, Schala was gated to the Darkness Beyond Time and eventually was merged with Lavos to form the Time Devourer, a being capable of devouring spacetime. Belthasar, in the future of 2300 A.D., subsequently built Chronopolis and created a complex plan to defeat the Time Devourer. His plan involved literally splitting the dimension of the Chrono series world into two separate worlds. Through his machinations, at 1010 A.D., the universe split into two separate dimensions, one in which Serge lived and one in which he died, called Home and Another respectively. To obtain a clearer understanding, let's read some background concerning the event.
Belthasar's plan to destroy the Time Devourer was very complex, calling for the Time Crash, the creation of El Nido, and the dimensional split. However, these actions were meant to work toward one goal -- that Serge would receive the Chrono Cross artifact and venture to the Darkness Beyond Time. The Time Crash and the creation of El Nido provided for Serge's life and empowerment as a strong fighter, but what were the forces behind the creation of the Chrono Cross? As it is described in the game, the Chrono Cross is a mysterious artifact capable of wondrous healing and sculpting powers. Apparently, an item such as this was the only thing that could separate Schala from the Time Devourer, saving her and defeating Lavos once and for all in the process. Now, the Chrono Cross is created from two pieces of the Dragon Tear, a Dragonian artifact. The important aspect of its creation is that these pieces originate from Home and Another both; that is, the Chrono Cross is created from components from both worlds! Presumably, this special construction and the intended effects of the Chrono Cross allowed it to appropriately free Schala and also unify the dimensions.
It is thus logical to assume that in order to create the one Chrono Cross, an item whose power depended on its multidimensional composition, Belthasar needed to simply create another dimension from which part of the Chrono Cross's components would be drawn. As an added bonus, the Chrono Cross would also be capable of unifying the dimensions back together again, as the split would be a necessary evil to create the Cross in the first place.
With this in mind, Belthasar set to work in planning Project Kid. Originally, when 1010 A.D. passed, the split of the dimensions did not happen; Serge was killed and time went on normally. Belthasar in 1020 A.D. then arranged for Kid to travel back in time and save Serge. Somehow, this action caused the dimensions to split. The exact mechanics are unknown, and the split is an anomaly in that according to the Principle of Discarded Timelines, the old history should have simply disappeared to the Darkness Beyond Time with the new history and a living Serge replacing it. Something was different, however, and instead of time merely being changed, Kid's action of saving Serge fissioned a completely new universe off from the original in 1010 A.D. This new dimension proceeded to grow independently of the original (Keystone, named Another World during Chrono Cross). A connection was retained at the spot of the original split, Opassa Beach, where Kid saved Serge. It was named Angelus Errare, and was stated by Belthasar to allow travel between the two. Aside from this border fluctuation, the dimensions were entirely independent of one another (though some small connections will be addressed later in this section).
Time Travel and the Split
The dimensions split at 1010 A.D. Does this mean that if two people travelled back in time from either dimensions after 1010 A.D., there'd be two of them in a single dimension?
Probably not. It is suggested that the dimensions are now complete, separate entities. Since dimensions are self-contained universes, Home World simply has the same history as Another up to 1010 A.D., after which it diverges. The Chrono series avoids paradoxes and probably would not create a case where the dimensional split literally happens at a branch on one worldline.
But can someone prevent the dimensions from splitting if they traveled back in time to Another World before 1010 A.D.?
This depends on whether the split of dimensions is protected by time traveler's immunity. Since acts of time traveling are, and since the dimensions, once split, are self-contained universes that exist all on their own, it would probably be impossible to prevent the split. Home World exists parallel to Another World and apart from it; even if you prevented the action that made things split in Another World, it still happened before you traveled back in time to stop it.
Angelus Errare and Other Anomalies
Before proceeding, let's review. So far, we know that many alternate worlds exist, never intersecting and evolving independently of other dimensions. We also know that the Keystone Dimension, where the Chrono series takes place, was somehow broken into two separate universes by Belthasar as part of Project Kid. The next logical step in this exposition is a describing how and why Serge can travel between the two worlds. Before delving into the "can" and the mechanics of dimensional travel, let's first examine the method he utilizes.
Angelus Errare and the Darkness Beyond Time
Belthasar speaks concerning Angelus Errare in Viper Manor:
The locations where such divisions in the time-space continua occur are called, '"ANGELUS ERRARE"' - '"Where Angels Lose Their Way."' It is said that, there, the borders of two dimensions fluctuate in such a way as to make the passage between the parallel realities a possibility.
Angelus Errare appears as a green portal on Opassa Beach in both dimensions. It allows Serge and any in close proximity to him to pass between the dimensions, provided he has an Astral Amulet (though he was called into Another World at the start of his quest by other means). Angelus Errare acts as a time Gate would, transporting its entrants to the destination through a wormhole. The second portal on Opassa Beach is a strange, pink radiation that allows travel to the Darkness Beyond Time. While Angelus Errare is explained as the spot where the dimensions split, the origin of the Darkness Beyond Time wormhole is mysterious, and its creation can only be attributed to Belthasar. As a stipulation, this Gate could only be opened with the use of a Time Egg. It is not named in the series, and only exists in Home World; before entering it, Serge briefly converses with the Ghost Children. Lastly, a few dimensional distortions exist in the Sea of Eden, lingering after the Dead Sea's destruction. The exact mechanics of why Serge can travel between dimensions will be addressed in the next section, but first, let us examine other dimensional connections.
Other Dimensional Connections
In addition to Angelus Errare, a few other connections between the dimensions exist around El Nido, varying in strength. This means that actions in a certain area in one dimension may have repercussions in the same area in the other, and so on. While Home and Another run parallel to each other, there are some connections. These can be readily observed by the well-traveled; here are a few cases. Examples
1. During the fire at Hermit's Hideaway in Another World, a patch of ground was charred and smoldered for days after. In Home World, the same patch of grass seemed to be fine; nothing notable happened there. Once the charred area was cooled by the Ice Gun or Breath in Another World, Turnip sprang to life in the same area in Home World, apparently thanks to the cooling of the grass in the other world, which enabled living or growth conditions and allowed Turnip to flourish.
2. Concerning Turnip again, he is stated to be the dream of an Acacia Dragoon -- in Another World. The dream apparently transcends the dimensions; Turnip notes that he dreams he is the Acacia Dragoon when he sleeps.
3. The Black Dragon of Marbule shares a similar dream. From Another World, his nightmare casts a gloom over Home World's Marbule, filling it with Lagoonates and Mantarreys.
4. In Shadow Forest, a rock exists in the fast stream coming from Viper Manor's water system. If you roll it over the water jet in Another World, it is rolled in Home World as well, and a man is trapped behind it. The same happens conversely; if the rock isn't rolled, the mushroom collector is threatened by enemies instead.
More interesting is whether dimensional connections exist between people, and whether actions in one world are balanced out by actions in the other concerning the same person. Some lead similar or the same lives, while everyone around them lead drastically different lives because of the split. Perhaps they, themselves, have a very thin dimensional veil, causing little difference to come about. And, then, the ones whose lives have the most difference would logically have thick veils about them. The same would go for areas in which the same monsters roam in both worlds; perhaps these areas are so unaffected that their environment has not changed in the least!
Perhaps when dimensions are split, some links or entities have stronger inward compositions or some other physical phenomenon that result in them running a bit closer to each other. Think of two planes set atop each other with space between; some points dip, nearly touching each other, while the only tunnels between the two are Angelus Errare and the FATE Island distortions in the Sea of Eden. In any case, connections between persons is tenuous except in the case of Orlha and Tia, who seem to be equivalents of one another though somehow different in identity.
Dimensional Travel and Observation
We can now question why Serge is allowed to travel between the dimensions. In Viper Manor, Belthasar notes the following:
[Belthasar] Perhaps in this world, you are the missing piece from a giant puzzle. And maybe, just maybe... the vacuum created by your non-existence here has drawn you across the border between the dimensions to fill the void in that puzzle. Of course, no one can say for sure.
This initially suggests that Angelus Errare operates on a type of Conservation of Energy modus, meaning that since Serge is absent from one world, he feels a natural tug to slip into that world. While some of this is true, the truth is much more personal. Angelus Errare operates on biology and recognition, similar to the way the Prometheus Circuit only admits the Arbiter to the Frozen Flame chamber in Chronopolis. This is proven by Lynx, who switches bodies with Serge and is subsequently able to go between the dimensions at will; meanwhile, Serge is not admitted through the Gate at all due to his form as the beastly Demi-human. The fact that this Gate operates solely on biological recognition suggests it was engineered by Belthasar for Serge's use specifically. The alternative belief is that somehow, the dimensions do implicitly "know" Serge's biology, but this almost has to hinge on an overarching intelligence, which renders it unlikely. At any rate, Serge's status as the missing piece between dimensions allowed him to freely travel through Angelus Errare; team members could accompany him as well provided they maintained close proximity after the wormhole's activation with the Astral Amulet.
Once bodies were switched, Serge was somehow able to edit Angelus Errare to let him back through once more by destroying the Dead Sea (the mechanics behind this are an enigma, and are addressed in a later section on the Dead Sea). Serge also later utilized the distortions present in the Sea of Eden; however, these portals were said to require the six Dragon relics to use. The reason behind this stipulation is unknown; it is known that the Dragon relics are used in the creation of the Chrono Cross, but their exact powers are never stated in the game. In any event, these dimensional distortions operate like Angelus Errare, transporting the missing piece to the other dimension in the same area.
The above concludes the observations concerning dimensions presented in Chrono Cross. While much information is given, a few questions remain begging to be asked, including "How many dimensions are there?" or "What is the nature of the universe?". These issues will be addressed in this Theories section.
Origin of Dimensions
How did the dimensions begin? Are there many separate realities, all proceeding independent of one another, or did they stem from a common root? The split of a dimension, as evidenced in Chrono Cross, seems to be a special and anomalistic event. That is, dimensions do not normally "split." Neither does time traveling alone create dimensions; the Principle of Discarded Timelines states that sufficiently. Alternate dimensions and space times did not fission off the Keystone dimension due to time travel or random chance. They originated from separate creation events (big bang, or other quantum mechanics) and developed independently of each other. Different initial conditions and chaotic randomness would account for the variation between these worlds. Unlike Another World and Home World, in which the latter split off at 1010 A.D., the normal dimensions of the multiverse are all separate from each other. Some entities may exhibit an awareness of more than one dimension, such as the planet (which pulled Dinopolis out of the Reptite Dimension), but sufficient data is not available to determine the why, how, or extent of multidimensional awareness.
At the beginning of the universe, the quantum indeterminancy would be so great as to cause the formation of many universes, one of which eventually becomes the Chrono (Keystone) dimension, while others become the various others like the world of Radical Dreamers and the Reptite Dimension. Since a big bang causing infinite universes would allow for many to be very similar to each other, this would allow for the similarities between these and the Keystone Dimension. In essence, these notations and beliefs can be expressed with one statement, presented in the next subsection.
Unified Dimension Theory
There is the possibility for a countless number of dimensions to exist; the world is only stabilized from the viewpoint of the observer. This draws on relativity; a person in a particular dimension is only aware of the dimension he exists relative to. For the Chrono series, the events take place in one dimension (two in Chrono Cross, one being an offshoot of another), called the Keystone Dimension, and later Home and Another Worlds. Dimensions run parallel to one another, never touching save through two exceptions, including multidimensionally aware entities like the planet and Missing Piece situations as evidenced by Serge. Each dimension contains its own history, called a timeline, which can be rewritten by time travelers; the discarded timeline would be sent to a Darkness Beyond Time in this scenario, replaced by a new one with changes by the time traveler.
The only question remaining is, do infinite dimensions exist, or do only a finite amount of realities exist? This question is troublesome for two reasons. Firstly, the Chronopolis researchers speculate that there may be infinite worlds and possibilities; however, the planet of the Keystone dimension exhibits multidimensional awareness. Unless there were finite dimensions that the planet definitely existed in, how could such an entity be aware of other dimensions? Even an infinite number? Secondly, the Time Devourer, main antagonist of Chrono Cross, is stated to be capable of devouring all space-time upon its evolution. However, how can a being of finite proportions devour an infinite number of dimensions?
A clear answer may never be known. Regarding the first problem, it is possible that the planet is simply the same "being" in a few dimensions, but this is a stretch as no information exists on how it was able to pull Dinopolis out of another dimension. The second problem with infinite dimensions may also be resolved if the Darkness Beyond Time only exists for one dimension. The question of whether one Darkness Beyond Time exists for all dimensions or merely one is addressed in the Issues section.
The Dead Sea / Sea of Eden Enigmas
The most enigmatic topic in the entire Chrono series is the Dead Sea, a ruined future condensed into the Sea of Eden in El Nido. Little expository information was provided for the Dead Sea in Chrono Cross, and though helpful evidence and statements existed in some places, many details concerning the area had to be divined by clues and theories. The best information came from Masato Kato, creator of the Chrono series, in an interview.
The Sea of Eden became the Dead Sea in the Home World because of the incident 10 years ago at Opassa Beach. Serge lived on in that world, causing the time-line leading to destruction (which Crono and friends nullified) to come back into existence again. In the Other World, where Serge died, the Sea of Eden and Chronopolis remain as is. In other words, the Dead Sea indicates that if Serge lives, the future will probably lead back to destruction.
The Chrono Compendium has authored a special article dealing precisely with the Dead Sea. Reprinted here are two topics of special interest. Firstly, how does Serge's relationship with Home World spell destruction for its future? This is a compelling mystery with no easy answer. Most theories hold that the possibility of Serge merging with the Time Devourer (as evoked in the lost plot line of Chrono Cross) causes the future to reflect destruction. However, Masato Kato states that the ruined future is simply the one Crono averted, and we also know that things do not happen by possibility alone in the series. What's the deal?
Recall that the split of the dimensions creates two worlds, each with the same history until 1010 A.D. Perhaps something about the nature of the dimensions prevents Crono from defeating Lavos in 12000 B.C.
Crono could not have defeated Lavos in Home World. The event which spares Serge's life also creates a plurality of dimensions from 1010 onwards. Since there is only one Crono in 1000 AD to defeat Lavos, only the future in Another World is saved.
In the original timeline (Another World) Serge dies in 1010 AD, but Kid changes the past, somehow creating an alternate dimension in which Serge lives (Home World). Another World always existed; it is the original dimension, but Home World only extends from 1010 AD onwards. In 1000 AD, Crono exists in Another World. If he travels through time, he can only reach a destination within his own dimension. When Crono defeats Lavos in 1999 AD, or any other time, the battle takes place in Another World. In 1000 AD, there is only one version of Crono. If Crono lived past 1010 AD, there would be a version for each dimension, but that version did not travel through time to defeat Lavos. In Home World, no savior appears in 1999 AD to save the future. Serge caused the destruction of the world by spawning an alternate dimension which is beyond 1000 AD Crono's notice or reach. He does not undo any of Crono's actions. In Another World, the future is secure, at least until the Time Devourer arrives. There cannot be multiple Crono groups because there is only one dimension in 1000 AD!
This tentatively takes care of why the Dead Sea forms and the ruined future occurs once more. Another problem exists relevant to the explanation given concerning the dimensions above in this article; specifically, why does the destruction of the Dead Sea allow Serge to enter Angelus Errare as Lynx? No official word on the mechanics behind the transformation exists in the game, interviews, or even Ultimania. Notwithstanding this lack of information, a theory about this problem was created for the Salt for the Dead Sea article; it is reprinted here:
During the explosion, the remnants of the Frozen Flame destroyed there cause a change in Serge's genetic make-up and cause it to somehow "line up" with his mind, and cause him to become the Missing Piece again, despite the new body; that his DNA once again became Serge's own. This theory has merit in that Arbiter status is identified through DNA, shown in Serge's admittal into room in which the Frozen Flame is kept in Chronopolis. How might simple DNA have such profound meaning in physics, however? The attribute of the Arbiter's DNA is not the genetic sequence, but some quantum mechanical -- or deeper elemental -- quality of his material substance. The destruction of the Dead Sea altered Lynx's DNA -- or body -- to have an identical signature as Serge.
Additionally, this theory is validated by this statement made in Chronopolis by a researcher.
[Researcher] Perhaps the DNA of the ones who made contact with the Flame is recomposed by the sound they generate within? I wonder if life-forms are just dreaming in and endless flow of music?
Lastly, the Chrono Cross itself operates by using tones, and String Theory, as well as classical Quantum Mechanics, incorporate harmonies and resonant frequencies. Thus, it seems reasonable that the destruction of Home World's Flame successfully realigned Serge as Lynx's DNA, though this was not a full body changing.
For other issues related to the Dead Sea, please see the Salt for the Dead Sea article.
The DBT: Omnidimensional?
We know that the Darkness Beyond Time is the final resting place for discarded timelines overwritten by time travelers. But does the Darkness Beyond Time exist for all dimensions, or does a DBT exist for each? This question hinges on a couple factors. Specifically, if there are infinite dimensions and only one Darkness Beyond Time, the Time Devourer could not possibly devour the infinity of the space-time continuum. However, if there are only a finite number of dimensions in the multiverse, this problem is moot.
Ultimately, this problem rests on the interpretation of Belthasar's statement that the Time Devourer will destroy all space-time continua. If taken fundamentally, it means the multiverse, though if taken conservatively, it only means the Home and Another Worlds will be destroyed.
If you think that if there is only one Darkness Beyond Time and as a result, infinite chances of a Time Devourer forming and destroying the universe, remember that as evidenced by Serge, there is also a persistent chance that something will arise to challenge the Time Devourer and prevent it from devouring space-time continua.
The Dimensional Unification and Aftermath
The ending of Chrono Cross suggests that the dimensions were unified and time restored to one stream. This comes from a quote by Schala:
[Schala] Time, which has been divided, will be unified again now.
The ending of Chrono Cross and its repercussions are fully addressed in the Chrono Cross Resolutions article. An applicable question is reprinted here; specifically, how did the dimensions unify to form an ideal timeline? Which world took precedence as the main timeline? Was a sort of balance struck?
The dimensions weren't unified, but rather Schala never interfered with time in 1006 A.D., preempting the events that shaped Chrono Cross's history. Time then proceeded normally from 1006 A.D. on, resulting it a new timeline whose details are unknown (apart from the fact that Serge lived, and he and Leena still are friends). The new timeline would proceed like this:
Serge bitten by panther demon. Wazuki, Miguel then brings Serge to Marbule and there Serge was healed by the witch doctor.
Serge never drowns (since Lynx was never there). And the world never divides.
Serge continues with his life, except he finds that one day he falls unconscious at the beach. And then he wakes to find that he has in his mind a set of memories from some other Serge in some other world. This other Serge is the Serge who once lived in Home World and defeated the Time Devourer. Note that under the Time Bastard theory, the Serge indigenous to the Ideal Timeline would be replaced by the one coming in from Home World / the Darkness Beyond Time. Everyone would have their memories erased following the unification, consistent with what Schala had predicted. The exception is Serge of course.
The worst problem with this idea is that Kid would have never been created as part of Project Kid. Even this stipulation is debatable; perhaps Kid might have still come in to the world. At any rate, these points are so far removed from the original idea that they are almost moot, as Chrono Cross leaves much to be desired in terms of explaining its resolution. While ideas like Time Traveler's Immunity and Time Bastard can be applied to these possibilities, it's tenuous to do so because so little is known.
Somehow, the Chrono Cross was able to rewrite history taking the most optimal elements from each dimension and combining them. In this scenario, the Acacia Dragoons would live, but so would the Hydra; Marbule would be restored, but Fargo would remain an independent, self-made pirate without regrets. This theory is troublesome, as who is to determine what is good or bad in each dimension? The Chrono Cross would have to have a complete awareness of history and human emotion from 1010 A.D. onward in El Nido. FATE could provide something like that, but FATE was destroyed by Serge prior to the resolution of the game. Additionally, the Records of FATE weren't working in Home World anyway.
Since Serge is depicted as being alive at the end of the game, Home World's history could have been used as default. Serge only lived in that dimension, as he was absent from Another starting with the time of the dimensional split.
Dimensional Travelers' Immunity
My theory is that since every event is somehow tied to a character on your team that a 'dimension travelers immunity' would rule that dictate what gets chosen for example Fargo the pirate joins you so in the final version he is a pirate. the guy in Arni isnt a fisherman because that scenario leaves no room for Mojoy who would have dimension travelers immunity.
The second is a little more complex it involves the question as to how the history is rewritten after the merger and all the paradoxes it creates; my theory is best explained by a drawing
_____1010_____1020_____ here is the timeline in Chrono cross \__________ _____1010_____1020_____ and here is the currently accepted final outcome
But what if... The dimensions only fused in 1020 and were still seperate until then.
This way is requires no rewriting of history it simply merges the two in 1020, and everyone without dimension travelers immunity is unaware of the occurence.
The problem is the members could be from either world, so the events associated could be either version (they could contradict each other).
For example, Radius is the chief of Arni in home world. But a member from another world may see things differently, because in their memory, Radius is a hermit during the time. Pirate Fargo may not have any idea on what the Grandslam is; he (and his crew) may not know Janice and Sneff. And if the crew live a different life, their families or the people they used to know may have been living a different life was well, causing chain effects.
A Proposed Timeline
This timeline represents what may happen in the Ideal Timeline. Since virtually no information exists on the ending of the game, this is not necessarily canon information.
- From the perspective of the time-line, once Serge defeats the Time Devourer, it is as if it never existed.
- When Belthasar warps from Zeal to the new timeline, he does not discover that Schala had been absorbed by the TD, and he does not start Project Kid.
- In 2400 AD, FATE and Chronopolis were never built, the Frozen Flame lays dead on the bottom of the ocean, and the counter-time experiment does not take place.
- Lavos does not create a temporal distortion connecting Chronopolis thousands of years in the past, and the planet does not do the same for Dinopolis from the Reptite dimension.
- In 12000 BC, Chronopolis and Dinopolis do not fight and the Dragon God is not split into six parts by FATE and absorbed by the Time Devourer.
- Because the temporal distortion surrounding Chronopolis acts like a Gate, the Chronopolis residents appear in the Sea of Eden due to TTI and terraform and colonize El Nido as if FATE and Chronopolis still existed. The same goes for Dinopolis, meaning Elements still might be developed. In 2400 AD, the people who would have worked at Chronopolis mysteriously dissappear due to Time Bastard.
- The Records of FATE never work, except perhaps according to preprogrammed instructions. Elements may or may not be developed.
- Serge is born in 1003 AD.
- Schala does not create Kid, but she may appear in 1004 AD due to TTI.
- Whatever happened to Guardia in 1005 AD hopefully doesn't occur.
- In 1006 AD, Schala does not create a magnetic storm, and Serge does not go to Chronopolis. Wazuki does not become Lynx and Miguel is not imprisoned in the Dead Sea.
- In 1010 AD, Wazuki does not attack Serge and he does not drown. The dimensional split does not occur.
- In 1015 AD, Lynx does not attack Lucca's Orphanage (if it exists) or abduct Lucca.
- In 1020 AD, the new version of Serge disappears due to Time Bastard. The original version of Serge (protected by TTI from warping to the DBT) is sent to Opassa Beach by Schala. Serge's dimension crossing adventure does not occur. What happens to Schala and/or Kid is anyone's guess.
Remember that the ending of Chrono Cross is fully addressed in the Chrono Cross Resolutions article.
Dimensional Split Timing and Chronopolis
In Viper Manor, Belthasar declares that the split of the dimensions happened ten years ago.
Prophet: Serge... This world is not the world you grew up in. 10 years ago, something happened that put your very soul teetering on the balancing scales of fate... with a fifty-fifty chance of life or death! This is when your future was split in twain. Prophet: In your home world, you survived to live a happy and prosperous life. That is how you made it to the present point in time. However, here in this '"alternate"' world, you are, in fact, very dead and buried. You died 10 years ago, but this world's time line has flowed on regardless. You have no place in this world... Here, you are but a ghost brought back from the past! Prophet: I do not know what happened 10 years ago... Nor can I guess what triggered your entrance into this world.
Later, Lucca alleges that it occurred in 1006 A.D. when Serge was injured and Schala reached out across time.
As Schala fell through the time gate in this condition, she heard your crying echoing through time... That is when her story and yours began to intertwine... It is also when the past and the future began to intersect, and when the world became divided into two... Led by the pitiful crying the young Serge made as the panther demon's poison took hold of him... Princess Schala traveled ten thousand years in time to try and make contact with this dimension!
Which account is correct? Is Belthasar lying? He obviously is faking it when he notes that he does not know what happened ten years ago; could he be misguiding Serge in preparation for the real truth as delivered by Lucca? Did it happen even earlier?
1010 A.D. Support
The 1010 A.D. timing was originally chosen by the Chrono Compendium for sheer weight of evidence. This is when Kid rescues Serge from Lynx and his life truly diverges from the past. This is the date several people in the game allude to as the point at which their lives diverge (such as Mojo and the Arni fisherman each). Miguel states that the Dead Sea was formed in 1010 A.D., which is consistent with the repercussions of splitting the world in twain with the consequences of Home World's future being fated to an apocalypse. Crono even suggests it at the same point in the game with Lucca by noting that the false reality of Serge's living stemmed from ten years ago:
[Crono] Where even angels lose their way... Ten years ago, you died at this very spot. There's no mistake. You drowned. The truth is, this world, in which you are still alive, is the irregularity... This is the false reality!
Also, we know that Kid is sent to the world by Schala as her mind tottered on the brink of being completely consumed by hatred. If the split occurred before 1004 A.D., two Darkness Beyond Times would have to exist for two copies of Kid to be sent to each dimension. This is a strange and troubling possibility, and this would mean there are two Time Devourers (with only one defeated), something we know to be false by ostensible game presentation at the nature of Time Error regions. However, this problem does not occur if it happens after 1004 A.D. If the split is truly retroactive (going backward as well as forward), problems for Chronopolis arise as well. Chronopolis came from a future in which the split hadn't happened; if it traveled back in time to 12000 B.C. with two dimensions, one of them (presumably Home) would never receive Chronopolis, and we know this to be false.
What causes the plot hole and flies in the face of all 1010 A.D. evidence is the statement by Chronopolis researchers that World 01 existed before this date.
An instruction to the young girl in Arni 01 to give up going to the main continent as a poet. An instruction to the man in Arni 02 to give up becoming a fisherman. A plan to avoid any point of contact with the main continent, so as not to affect history. However... Ever since the formation of the Dead Sea 10 years ago... FATE has been unable to intervene directly with World 01. The best FATE could do was cross the dimension and receive data through the Records of Fate. And with much difficulty, FATE succeeded in binding Miguel to the Dead Sea as a watchman...
Chronopolis even seems built in mind with watching a second dimension. This completely shatters the internal logic of having the split in 1010 A.D. by establishing that Home World existed before the split. It directly contradicts everything, including Crono's statement and all supporting evidence that a new reality -- an irregular one -- was created when Serge lived.
Gate Effect Modification Theory
Perhaps the Gate Effect is not a solid 'dome' encompassing Chronopolis, but a dome-shaped barrier taking entrants ten thousand years into the future always to the same Chronopolis, the one that came back from Keystone T-1. Assuming Home World does retroactively get its own history (albeit a carbon copy of Another's before 1010 A.D.), when the split of dimensions occurs and time traveler's immunity is preserved, so too is the Gate Effect. This means that those who would enter the Dead Sea from Home World would merely be accessing Chronopolis, just as there are distortions allowing dimensional crossing in Home World after the Dead Sea is dissolved. With this in mind, there is one Chronopolis for both dimensions until 1010 A.D. Now, perhaps Belthasar foresaw that the history of Home would extend back, and planned for Chronopolis to be equipped to control it or at least know about it from their perspective in 1010 A.D. onward.
- Whether Chronopolis cares or not, Home World's history is automatically a carbon copy of Another's. It wouldn't need to be equipped to control it.
- The Dead Sea is treated as its own future separate from Chronopolis. If the Dead Sea is accessible in one world and Chronopolis in the other, then the Gate Effect is either dissolved in 1010 A.D., or each Sea of Eden retains its own effect.
Now that the conceptual framework of time and dimensions has been explained, one can tabulate the known timelines and dimensions in the Chrono series. They have been organized into two charts.
While viewing timelines, remember that timelines are different from dimensions in that they compose the history and chronology of a parent dimension and can be overwritten by acts of time travel.
Mid-Dimension Timelines Illustration 1
Mid-Dimension Timelines Illustration 2
Listing and Explanation
- Lavos Timeline - This is the first known history of the world, in which Lavos crashed in prehistory and erupted in 1999 A.D. to destroy the world. This is the timeline before Crono ever set foot on the Telepod.
- Keystone Timelines (Not Shown) - These timelines compose every instance of time travel between the Lavos Timeline and Lavos's defeat at the hands of Crono. While Crono went throughout time, performing sidequests and other tasks, he generated countless timelines through his presence and actions. Each was a necessary part of his quest to defeat Lavos, and are lumped together in this category.
- Keystone T-1 - This is the history of the world immediately after Lavos had been beaten and before Chronopolis had been built. Life continued normally until 2300 A.D., in which Belthasar learned of the Time Devourer, created Chronopolis, and planned Project Kid. The Time Crash occurred in 2400 A.D., sending Chronopolis ten thousand years into the past; this in turn caused...
- Keystone T-2 - This is the timeline up until the split of the dimensions in 1010 A.D. It is comprised of the world with Chronopolis's influences stemming from 12000 B.C. onward. This timeline actually extended to 1020 A.D., but Project Kid then took effect.
- Mid-Dimension Timelines - These timelines outline the trips made before and after the split of the dimensions. They include Kid's trip back to 1010 A.D. to save Serge and cause the split, and other events related to Chrono Cross.
- Another Timeline - This is the timeline of Another World, as it existed from 1010-1020 A.D. after the dimensional split.
- Home Timeline - This is the timeline of Home World, as it existed from 1010-1020 A.D. after the dimensional split. Additionally, according to theory at the Salt for the Dead Sea article, the far future is seen in the Dead Sea. By that article's calculations, the Dead Sea exists in 15420 A.D.
- Ideal Timeline - This is the new timeline resulting from the unification of the dimensions. Very little is known about it.
- Radical Dreamers Timeline - This is the timeline of the Radical Dreamers world. It is considered a separate dimension from the main Chrono series. Specifically, it resulted after Lavos's defeat in Chrono Trigger. However, in this timeline, Crono was probably not revived with the Chrono Trigger; other conditions also exist as relevant to the plot of Radical Dreamers.
Listing and Explanation
- Reptite Dimension - In this dimension, Lavos never landed, resulting in the extinction of Early Humans and a natural society created by the Reptites, who evolved into Dragonians. Their city Dinopolis was shunted to the Keystone Dimension in the Time Crash by the planet.
- Keystone Dimension - This is the main dimension of the Chrono series, in which most of the action takes place. Home World fissioned off it in 1010 A.D.
- Another World - This is the name of the Keystone Dimension from 1010-1020 A.D. after the split of the dimensions.
- Home World - This dimension is an offshoot of the Keystone Dimension in which Serge was not drowned at Opassa Beach. It is eventually merged with Another World.
- Radical Dreamers Dimension - This dimension contains the events of Radical Dreamers, and is referenced in Chronopolis. It is considered its own, independent alternate universe.
Acknowledgments and Thanks
This article was created based on discussions held at the Chrono Compendium beginning in 2003. We are indebted to everyone who has participated in analyzing and discussing the Chrono series. Much of the discussion was finalized, rewritten, and presented in the article by ZeaLitY.
I would personally like to thank all the patrons of the site for helping to establish it as the greatest source of information and indulgement for Chrono fans. Another word of thanks goes to Ramsus, who hasn't skipped a beat in hosting and maintaining the website.
Lastly, thanks to Kishimoto Masashi for creating Rock Lee. The springtime of youth waits for no one!