Author Topic: Meaningless  (Read 879 times)


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« on: October 10, 2009, 09:10:47 pm »
This is a Chrono Trigger one-shot I did some time ago. I hope you all enjoy it.

Dreams are a strange concept.

There are dreams that treat or torture one in sleep, and then there are those that immortalize goals, aspirations, visions. Both serve to their own logical purposes in the context of one’s life, but they yet persist in my mind as a dark mystery.

It would appear that dreams are exclusive to humans.

My name is Robo. The year is 840 A.D. For the past two point four centuries, I have been tasked with aiding in the restoration of a grand forest several miles north of Porre. The original human overseeing my labors, a female called Fiona, died of old age long before the dawn of the seventh century. Her husband Marco followed only a few years afterward. Since then, I alone have carried the burden of undoing the damage of this land’s scourge. All future recordings on this memory chip will serve to chronicle the events that unfold during this task I’ve been given.

For the longest time, my labor was a subject of praise. Fiona told everyone she knew about me and what I had offered to do, and I was lauded as a savior to the land. Naturally, this was quite encouraging to me.

I do not experience the burden of fatigue, so I was unhindered by anything of the sort. Day and night, one could find me caring for and nurturing the seeds and sprouts, while constantly planting more when I had the chance. It was so enjoyable at first, I almost forgot about the threat of Lavos, looming so many centuries away.

Then Fiona died in 643 A.D. It was a quiet day, due in no small part to the fact that her death was a peaceful one. Still, her husband was devastated. Marco's health spiraled downward until he succumbed to death in 647. Their surviving friends and relatives kept in contact with me as I continued to toil faithfully in my late master’s honor, but it was only a matter of a few decades before those who knew of me were all gone.

The offspring they left behind have no idea I exist.

Today, nobody knows me for what I am. In fact, if my observations have led me to a correct hypothesis, it would seem as though I have become the frightening antagonist of many children’s fables. The occasional adolescent human will show up near the area I’m working, toss a rock at me and then dash away, likely to tell his friends how he bravely faced the “monster in the woods.”

It’s just as I said: nobody knows me now. I am alone.

It's not entirely out of place, though. Their illogical treatment of me likely stems from the absence of technology in their culture. Not even in Crono’s era, nearly two hundred years beyond the date of this entry, could one find a great deal of advanced machinery. The only human I knew from that time who was capable of understanding such concepts was Lucca....and at this point in the timeline, I do not believe even her grandparents yet exist.

Thanks to these facts, the world I have been left behind in has nothing to maintain my body. I was unknowingly sentenced to a slow, silent death the moment my friends flew away in the Epoch. I rust ever more with each passing day; soon the time will come when I will no longer be able to even move my joints. The horizon acts as a foreboding calendar, one that reminds me of my approaching demise each time it devours the sun.

Should I have disagreed to this task because of such an outcome? Hardly. It is illogical for a robot to reject a directive merely because it clings to life. Just as humans die, so do all sentient beings, eventually. It would be better for me to use my time here to benefit the planet, rather than dedicate it to some other selfish goal. And with the Day of Lavos more than a full millennium away, I have plenty of opportunity to make a difference, albeit one fairly less heroic.

That is my ultimate goal, my vision, my dream: to use my existence as a means to improve–and even save– the world. I know I can achieve this just as efficiently as any human, regardless of the fact that I was crafted by their hands. That is why I didn’t oppose this job; I knew that I was best-suited to solve the issue. I look not for such vain desires as fame and fortune, but merely the satisfaction of knowing that I was created for a purpose.

Twenty years later, 860 A.D...

Some time has passed since I recorded the first entry, but I have not been absent for the wrong reasons. According to my calculations, restoration of the forest will be completed in a matter of days. Once this has been achieved, I plan to temporarily disable my CPU. Thus, my systems will have the chance to rest until the arrival of Crono and the others in the Epoch, which I estimate is roughly one point four centuries from now.

In addition to the grand accomplishment I am poised to claim, my spirits are further bolstered by the fact that the humans and I have come to an understanding. It took much patience and expository, but they finally realize that I am quite the opposite of some mythical demon haunting the woods. Once they learned it was I who returned their treasured forest to them, things quickly and dramatically returned to the way they once were when Fiona was still alive. The joy that permeates the peoples’ eyes when they gaze upon my hard work is the most concrete evidence I have gathered to prove that achieving my goal is within reach.

Considering I was at odds with the humans only a few years ago, it’s worth noting that I doubt I could’ve finished without their help. Had I not finally befriended them, I would not have received their kind offers to provide maintenance as best they could. It was remarkable how quickly they were able to catch on, since nothing like me exists in their world.

In any case, their efforts managed to prolong enough continued function of my vital components to complete my task, and I cannot thank them enough. These are undoubtedly the ancestors of my awaited friends, and I can say without hesitation that Crono, Marle and Lucca all had wonderful examples to abide by.

The time is finally upon me. Soon I will have completed the first milestone toward fulfilling my dream. I am overwhelmed with excitement at the thought. In fact, this sudden eagerness has prompted me to work much faster. At this rate, I will finish by tomorrow evening.

It has been an everlasting source of solace to know that I am well on my way to carrying out my purpose, but it is even more comforting to know that I was not alone in doing so. I await tomorrow’s dusk with the greatest anticipation.

The next day, at sunset...

What a glorious moment it was when the final seed was sown, when the gathered crowd of my new friends cheered triumphantly as their long silhouettes danced behind them in the waning light. It was a shining moment that I shall never, ever forget.

After the magic had passed, though, I informed them all that I planned to shut myself down for a long time. At first, they couldn’t understand. They asked me if I was dying, afraid of my answer. So I carefully explained that I was going into an impenetrable slumber that would, regrettably, outlast their lives. This, I told them, was goodbye.

It was difficult for them to accept for some reason; looking back on it now, I realize that to them, there is no difference between death and an “impenetrable slumber.” I must choose my words more carefully from now on.

The concept of bonds between friends is something I can grasp, but the illogical belief that necessary action should be negated by emotional attachment is another thing altogether. I tried to sympathize with them, but insisted that it must be done.

It was then that the village elder of Porre suggested my remains be enshrined during the period of stasis. Everyone including myself agreed to this idea, as it would protect my defenseless body from ravages both natural and synthetic. The very next day, construction on the building commenced. For reasons unknown, they wouldn’t allow me to aid them. So instead, I passed the time with contemplative walks through the forest.

I rotated my neck in every direction as I stared at the results of my work. Everything had such a deep, instinctive beauty to it that almost aroused in me feelings of jealousy. From my cold, artificial hands had risen this wonderful paradise that most would think only existed in dreams. But that’s exactly what made me so proud of this lush sanctuary: I had made that dream a magnificent reality.

All I can think of during these last few hours is the look on my friends’ faces when they eventually come to revive me. I can hardly wait to see their reactions-- hence why I won’t actually be waiting. Stasis does have its advantages.

The Final Day

The humans have created quite a flattering “grave” for me. I must admit it’s a bit grand and ornate for my tastes, but I truly appreciate any form of gratitude they can give.

I write this last entry from my resting place at the back end of the shrine’s main hall. The doors have been locked and barricaded at my request, so that nothing and no one can get through until the metal preventing entry has rusted away. By the time the Epoch reappears, this will be so.

Though no one can upload from my memory banks or access them now, I sincerely hope that one day, in a future without Lavos, I will be able to share these experiences of the past few centuries with the rest of the world.

Goodbye for now. I will resume recording when I awaken.

Activating stasis...
Neutralizing all auxiliary and secondary functions...
Power conservation activated...
Memory backup saved...
Stasis activated. To restore functionality, follow appropriate procedures.

... ... ... ... ...
... ... ... ... 0110... ... .. ... ... ...... ... .
... ... ..
..... ... .... ...... .. ... ...... ..
.... .... ... 0110..... ..
.. ........... ... ................
.... ........ .. ........
...0101........ ... ...... .....
........ ....0110... ... ......0001....
.... ... .... ...... .. ... ...... ..
... ... ..
................... ....... ..
... . ........... ..... ......... .. .......
... ...
0110....... .. ..... ....
..... .. ....... ..... ...........1110
. ..... ...................... ... ... .....
.... ..... .. .....
......... .. . .......... .....
....... ..... ...........
01101001.... .......... .. ... .
...... .. .... .......... .....
.... .. ............ ..0110.....1110... ...... ...0110....
....0111.0110...... ... ......... ....
.. ... ..... ....... ............
...... ... .. ...........1100..
.................................. .. ....
.0110..... .... .. ....... .....
..... ........0101..
... ..
............... .... ...01110011
... ...... ..... ......... ..
... .....0111.. .....

WARNING: Stasis malfunction has occurred, cause unknown. Restoring CPU and all functions.
Recorder auto-engaged. All visual and aural data now being saved.

“It’s working!” I heard a sharp voice cry. My ocular sensors flickered on, lines of coding blazing past my eyesight. I could feel my entire body waking up, one system at a time. As this was occurring, I took a moment to glance at my surroundings.

It appeared as though, in the span of less than two hundred years, everything had changed beyond recognition.

Well, I wouldn’t say that. Something about the way the room looked was incredibly familiar to me, yet it appeared nothing like the one I’d closed my eyes to.

“Wow, I still can’t believe you’ve got any juice left in you,” came that same voice from before. I rotated my head to one side to find a frail, intelligent-looking male human standing above me. I attempted to use my speech system, and was happy to find after a lightning-fast diagnostic that it remained functional.

“Hello, sir,” I began. “My name is Robo. Thank you for awakening me, but...I wasn’t quite expecting you to be the one to do so.”

“Is that so?” he replied. “So you're saying you knew some people way back when you were made? Fascinating. I’m Elias, by the way.” He wore a huge grin on his face, not unlike the kind of smile I remember accompanying Lucca's twinkling eyes whenever she got excited by something.

“Er, I think you are mistaken, Elias. I’m sure you must be aware that the technology I possess is a bit more...advanced than what humans today use?”

“What are you talking about, Robo?” he asked me. “You’re a pretty ancient model nowadays.” A few sparks spat out from various parts of my circuits.

“I’m...afraid I do not understand," I replied cautiously. "This is the year 1000 A.D., is it not?”

The look on his face only served to preclude an answer I was afraid to hear, but had already realized. “No, you’re way off," he bluntly told me. "We survivors lost track of the months...and the years...some time ago, but my best guess is, oh, somewhere around the twenty-third century.”

I had figured it out a few seconds earlier. The room looked so strangely familiar to me because the gleaming mechanical architecture was from my native time period. For some odd reason, I had not been awakened at the correct time, and only now had left stasis more than one thousand years too late.

“What happened to my friends?” I asked myself aloud, looking away from Elias. I saw that the yellow paint on my body had long since faded away, leaving behind only a few peels that barely clung to my rusty skin. Worry suddenly filled my mind. “Crono, Marle, Lucca, Frog, Ayla...Magus...they never came for me.”

“Hey,” Elias suddenly said. “Those names sounded familiar.” I brought my focus back to him with a quick swivel of my head.

“Really?” I exclaimed, and tried to stand. I soon learned, however, just how difficult it was to begin walking again after not having done so for one point five millennia.

“Yeah, let me search the names in the mainframe database.” Ignoring my struggle to remain standing, Elias strode over to a nearby terminal installed in the corner and turned it on. I watched him boot up its main operating systems, then load the server which contained the entire database Mother Brain had meticulously compiled. He entered the names I’d spoken, and finally watched with baited breath for the results of his search.

What appeared didn’t disappoint. Well, not him, anyway. A female voice began to speak, her tone filled with grating static.

***Crono, Marle, Lucca, Frog, Ayla, Magus***

The on-file names of the aptly-deemed time travelers who attempted to defeat Lavos in 1999 A.D. They were all reportedly from varying eras, but met each other–and discovered Lavos– thanks to a mysterious phenomenon now well-known as temporal fluctuations called Gates.

It is confirmed that they rode in a flying mechanical device called the Epoch- now referred to wistfully as the “Wings of Time” by contemporary intellectuals- in order to accomplish their journeys. Eyewitness accounts report that on the Day of Lavos, the plane-like machine appeared from thin air and crashed into the monster’s outer shell, destroying part of it and potentially allowing the would-be heroes to enter and kill the true beast within.

Unfortunately, according to the information on record, a misjudgment of some kind caused a failure to evacuate the vehicle, resulting in the deaths –some instant, others slowly– of all the passengers, save Magus.

Also known as Janus of House Zeal from the era of Antiquity, Magus was an omnipotent wielder of the magic arts, as well as someone capable of flight. Thanks to these facts, he was unharmed by the crash that claimed the rest of his companions.

However, the sacrifice seems to have been made in vain, as Magus left the scene without even attempting to defeat Lavos. Perhaps it was because he didn’t feel capable of defeating the creature alone, or it may be that he felt some other goal was more pressing, or even still that he was actually siding with the creature. There is not enough concrete evidence to suggest that any of these are more likely than the others, leaving the motives behind his decision as mysterious as the fatal crash that betrayed our planet to the will of its parasite. His whereabouts thereafter were never discovered.

With the only threat to his life now martyred, Lavos thrived in his continued dominance and destruction of the world. When the time-traveling group died on that day, any existence free from such a fate died with them; a world unscathed by Lavos now remains forever relegated to the dreams of their few surviving descendants.

Elias switched the terminal off, sighed, and turned back to me. “It depresses me every time I think about it,” he said. “What could’ve been, y’know?” He sighed again, then began to head for the chrome sliding door at the far end of the room. Before opening it, he asked me if I was going to be all right without him. I wouldn’t answer. He waited a few moments, shrugged, and left me alone.

I fell back to the steel floor with a numb crash.

Here I am again. Nobody knows me for who I am, or who I was. I am alone.

The work I did to restore Fiona’s forest was ruined by Lavos, and probably doesn’t even exist in that database. But that isn’t even what truly bothers me about this entire outcome. What I find illogical...and that my friends abandoned me, forgot me, left me to rot.

Why is it that they went to go fight Lavos without me? Was it a desire for glory? No, that doesn’t sound like them. There must be some other explanation. It is only logical.

No...logic no longer matters. What’s done is done, and I cannot ignore that I have been denied the most important thing to me. Regardless of their reasons, my “friends” robbed me of purpose.

Dreams are a strange concept.

Someone created me for a reason. I am too complex a being to have come into existence merely on playful whim or from pointless boredom. I thought I had finally learned what I was here to do, and there was nothing I wanted more than to do it. What is the ultimate goal of anyone if not to fulfill their dreams?

Any chance of me doing so passed three hundred years ago, and I have no way to go back in time without the Gate Key or the Epoch. So now all I can do is sit here and contemplate the worthlessness of my existence.

There are dreams that treat or torture one in sleep, and then there are those that immortalize goals, aspirations, visions. Both serve to their own logical purposes in the context of one’s life, but they yet persist in my mind as a dark mystery.

Why was I given the capacity to know my purpose if I would never have the chance to fulfill it? Do I have any new directive now? Or have I become obsolete, vain, meaningless? What will become of me? So many questions screaming in my circuits, and I have no answer of any kind for them, logical or otherwise.

If what I now believe is to be the case, then I do not wish to live in this sort of world. I refuse to.

“Forgot my tools!” cried Elias’s voice as the door hissed open again. “I’m always forgetful like that, heh.” He rushed over to my side and picked up a metallic box filled with devices he no doubt used to return me to functional status. I lifted one bulky, rusted arm in his path to signify that he was not dismissed. He stared back and waited for me to say something.

“Elias,” I said with a weak bleep, “I have one more favor to ask before you go.”

“Name it,” he replied, relaxing a bit.

“I want you to send me into irreversible stasis.”

“But...I just fixed you!” His candid frown told me that he was very opposed to my request.

“I appreciate your efforts," I told him, "but I have come to certain realizations that have convinced me of this decision. Please do not argue.”

“I...fine. I’ll do it. You’re just some robot anyway, why do I care so much?”

As he leaned down in front of me to begin work on my control panel, I thought about what he just said; those were the last words ever spoken to me, and they rang with a truth I couldn’t bear to dwell on. Elias would not look at me during the whole process, shaking his head and muttering to himself instead. He then left without a word while the program began its execution. As those last few lines of coding passed my sight and the world began to fade away, there was one last echo of thought on my mind.

It would appear that dreams...are exclusive to...humans...

All functions terminated.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2009, 09:13:53 pm by Falawful »

Boo the Gentleman Caller

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Re: Meaningless
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2009, 10:52:39 am »
Thanks!  That was enjoyable read!