Part 70: It's Only When We Fall We Learn To FlyTydaria some time later.
Are you ready?
Yes. The commander has already arranged a safehouse a kilo away. Follow me.
I still can't believe Claude was alive all this time. You know, if she had a piece of lost technology which just let her teleport out of the Bianca moments before it got hit, she should just have told us earlier. And on top of that, I can't believe she actually made up the medical report about Chigara not being a prototype either! Argghh ... If only she hadn't been such an idiot we could have known that Chigara was a prototype much earlier! I guess I really shouldn't have counted on a ditz like her to deliver an accurate report.
There is a matter I wished to discuss with you. In private. Without the other members of the crew.
Whats the matter?
I have come to suspect there is a great deal of information that our chief medical officer is hiding.
What do you mean?
I believe Claude was actually the one who has been relaying our movements to the prototypes.
What!? Sola! You need to say stuff like this sooner!
No ... the matter is far more complicated. I have ... had a vision. Where I spoke to Claude. It was like a momentary trance, where all of my surroundings faded away, and I floated in midair. It was as if I was suspended in deep sleep once more, yet I was still in control of my body. During this ... vision ... I learned that our chief medical officer was, in fact, an ancient Ryuvian like myself. But she could not have come from my era. For she was far more powerful than anything I could have imagined. Indeed, if my suspicions are correct she may have attained a power far more terrifying than even the mightiest Ryuvian Emperors of the ancient past: the power to bend both space and time. Such powers were beyond even the Ryuvians. The implications of this discovery were too terrifying for me to dare speak. Indeed, I feared if I exposed the truth of her identity, she may simply write me out of existence.
You're telling me ... Claude is a time traveler?
No it would be far more accurate to say that she is a god.
But not a god that seeks to be worshiped or feared. A god that seeks ... amusement. An entity which merely desires to watch over the insignificant little mortals at her feet and nudge them around for laughs.
Yet, the situation is still more troubling. I believe the sole reason for Claude joining the crew of the Sunrider was to lead you to me.
What makes you think that?
Given the revelation that I was in cold sleep for mere months instead of millenia, there is only one remaining explanation as to how I ended up in this time given the circumstantial evidence at hand. I too am a time traveler, albeit an unintentional one. I must have been sent forward in time two thousand years just moments before the activation of the Sharr'Lac's Final Tear. That would further explain why I survived the certain death that the Final Tear would have caused. I have a theory: Claude has come to return me to my own timeline. So that this timeline can be fixed. Already, my existence in this universe has begun to dramatically change the course of the galaxy's history. If I were to remain here its possible that the entire fate of the universe may be at stake.
Slow down, Sola! I'm ... not quite following. Why does you being here mean the universe is doomed?
As I said, my arrival here has already changed the course of the universe's history. If the timeline were to deviate any further, I fear that an irreparable time paradox could occur. I am effectively a rogue agent which should not exist in this universe. If I am to accidentally cause an event which would otherwise be impossible in the original timeline, then the entire space-time continuum could very well collapse. Put another way, if my existence changes the timeline so majorly as to alter the course of history, this entire universe will simply collapse. I am a threat more dire to this universe than either PACT or the prototypes. One which must be removed.
No, Sola. You're one of us now. From what you've told me of your time, if you were to go back to it you'd just be used as a pawn again. No, worse, you'll be killed right away! You said it yourself, right? You time warped just a second before the Final Tear. If you go back now, you'll just be dead! And there's not a chance in hell I'll let that happen. Not on my watch!
I swear I'll protect you, Sola. The universe or time paradoxes can be damned!
thank you, captain.
Ahem ... uhh ...
You know, you mentioned the time paradox, but you've been here with us for about a year now and it looks to me the universe is still working out just fine. And if anything Claude seems like she's still just observing the situation. Maybe there's still a way out of this without collapsing the universe or sending you back in time.
Yes I shall hope for the best ... while preparing my heart for the alternative.
(Another new problem For now, with the both of us hidden away on this remote planet, Sola won't be able to change the future. Maybe that's part of the reason why she decided to babysit me. As long as we're here, we won't have to worry about the timeline collapsing.)
Well, for now, let's just leave the time paradox stuff alone. We'll deal with it ... once we have a ship again. And when I can confront Claude about all this.
So ... by the way, what's this hideout that Ava's got prepared for us?
It appears to be a small settlement built by the Mining Union which was abandoned decades past when the nearby rocks failed to yield any ore. We will be residing together in the main building until the commander and Asaga return from Ryuvia Prime.
Wait, were going to be living together?
Meanwhile, in the mindstream