Chapter 10- A Ruined Future


End of Time

"Jack, I need to discuss with you something important," Gaspar said. The group was in the main room of the end of time. Everyone was preparing to leave.

"What is it, old man?" Jack asked, walking over to him.

"Spekkio has told me about your magic. Your potential is immense. If you let me send you to someone who can help you focus those powers…"

"You want to train me?" Jack asked. "For what?"

"Not necessarily anything in particular, but in it's current state, your magic is very raw and potentially dangerous. It might be for your own safety that you learn to control it. After Spekkio woke your powers up, it's become somewhat unstable, or at least, that's what Spekkio says."

"I don't have time for that old man," he said. "I'm going home." Jack pushed by but Gaspar put a hand on his shoulder.

"Wait, one more thing."


"It's about these gates," he said, pointing to the pillars of light that were over the fence on their left. "Normally, gates are very unstable. The last group that passed through here had a device that stabilized them. You don't have anything like that do you?"

"Well, no," Jack said with a shrug. "I just sort of touched it and it opened."

"Okay," Gaspar said in thought. "Well then it's probably the magic in you that allows you to stabilize gates. Being that you control time magic, you body probably naturally controls the gate, sort of an inactive response."

"Yeah that's right!" Sarah said, walking over to the two. "After Jack entered the gate in Truce Canyon, it started to close."

"Yes," Gaspar said. "Jack must certainly be responsible for opening the gate then." He paused before address all four of the travelers. "Okay, two things," he said. "First of all, you must remember that only three people may travel through time at once." Everyone nodded. "Secondly, until you find someone else that cant control time magic, Jack must always be with your group. Otherwise, you'll be stuck wherever you are. He's the only one that can activate gates due to his time magic."

"I thought he was Shadow," Rayith said, trying not to get confused.

"Do you pay attention at all?" Jack asked. "Shadow controls all the other magic types also." Jack turned back to Gaspar as Rayith made an obscene gesture.

"I saw that," Jack said.

"Good," Rayith mumbled.

"Anyway," Gaspar continued. "Just remember those two rules and you'll be fine. Now, who's staying here?"

"What?!" asked the group in unison. Gaspar sighed.

"Weren't you listening at all? Someone has to stay here." Everyone thought about it for a second before Aragorn raised his hand.

"I'll stay," he said. "I believe my sworn duty to Jack and Sarah has been completed in addition to the fact that Jack and Sarah must return and I don't think Rayith will be convinced of not being allowed to go."

"Okay," Jack said. "I'll have to come back and take you to you're own time after I drop these two off."

"Very good," Aragorn said. Without another word, Jack, Sarah and Rayith walked over to the pillar. Jack spun the dial to one week ahead of time and took a deep breath.

"Everyone ready?" he asked. The other two nodded as he slowly reached for the button on the pillar...


Time Unknown, Location Unknown

"Isn't he going to be in for a surprise?" one voice said.

"You idiot, this might be bad. He can't be one of them if he goes insane!" came the recognizable voice of Hal.

"Yes, but I think it's going to provide the psychological drive he needs…"


End of Time to 1999 Time Gate

Jack had been falling for awhile. He had gone in last to keep the gate open while Sarah and Rayith entered, and he could see them about 15 and 30 feet in front of him respectively. Soon, he saw a recognizable black dot appear in the distance, signaling the exit of the tunnel. Let's try landing on my feet this time, he thought to himself. He spun himself around so his feet were pointing at the exit. He saw Rayith and then Sarah disappear into the growing black mass. Soon he hit it as well, snapping back into the third dimension.

The end of the gate came differently than the last one, this time, he felt himself in a blue sphere. Slowly, he exited it and then fell to his knees.

"I think I'm gonna sick from that damn time travel stuff," Jack said, clutching his stomach. Sarah and Rayith were standing above him, Sarah surveying the terrain with a worried look.

"Jack…" she said softly. Jack raised his head to look at her.

"What?" he asked.

"I think you're gonna be sick for more reasons than that…" she said dimly. Jack suddenly jumped into a standing positions and examined his surroundings. He gazed with horror at the sky which was completely black and gray for as far as the eyes could see. Fires with limitless smoke, burning away on charred forests and plains, surrounded them on all sides. A cold wind swept over them, bringing in the chill of a dying world.

"What…" Jack stuttered, "what happened here?" he asked in a whisper.

"I-I don't know…" Sarah said, struggling to find words. "It's looks like they had a nuclear war while we were gone…"

"Why did you want to come back here?" Rayith asked ignorantly. "It looks like hell." There was a pause before Jack exploded with anger.

"Are you that idiotic!" Jack screamed at here. "It…it wasn't like this when we left! What happened?!" he asked the heavens.

"Our…our home…" Sarah said, her eyes getting misty. There was another pause.

"My home…" Jack said, almost repeating her. "Oh no…"

"Jack, what is it?" Sarah asked.

"No!" Jack screamed again. He started to glow green and then blue. "Ray Wing!" he screamed, floating into the air before exploding forward in a blue blast of energy. He had never used the Force Tech move for flying for very long, but he was to enraged to think about it. Sarah and Rayith were left behind, standing without an idea of what to do.

"I still don't know why you wanted to come back…" Rayith said. Sarah merely collapsed to her knees and tried to hold back tears.


End of Time

Spekkio walked into the main room of the End of Time. Gaspar was standing where he normally stood, against the ancient lamp post.

"I want to talk to you about that blue haired boy," Spekkio said. Gaspar did not move. Spekkio looked at the sleeping figure of Aragorn in the corner.

"What about him?" Gaspar asked simply.

"That magic that he wields…"

"You mean Shadow?"

"Yes," said Spekkio. He started pacing around the room slowly. Gaspar made no move. "Shadow magic. I don't understand how he could have gotten that. That type of magic has surfaced since, well…" he paused. "You remember don't you?"

"That's not entirely true," said Gaspar. "There have been some odd wizards who held that magic. It could just be a fluke of nature that he was born with the gift of shadow."

"It still doesn't make sense," Spekkio said. "And, I'm already receiving a call for him. They must really think he's something special. His physical level is about equal to the boy with the punk hairdo, but his magic level…"

"I know, it's off the charts." Spekkio nodded.

"The problem is, like I told you before, it's mostly just potential or unstable energy. I think he needs the training."

"They did call for him, right?"

"Yes, they did." There was a long pause before Gaspar put his hand to his chin, wrestling with a new thought.

"You know," he said softly. "I think I have an idea of where he got that magic from…" Neither of them noticed that Aragorn had opened an eye half-way through the conversation.


1999ad, Trann City

Sarah and Rayith found Jack hours latter in front of the charred remains of his house. He was on his knees with his head bowed in what used to be the driveway. It was clear that he was muffling tears. Sarah slowly walked over to Jack. Rayith stood behind. Sarah slowly put a her hand on his shoulder. In response, he clenched his fists and closed his eyes tight.

"I…I couldn't save them," he said softly. "I tried to fight that thing but I couldn't save them. I wasn't strong enough…"

"Jack, you couldn't expect to fight something like that," she said. "You can't kick yourself over this. It's not your fault. You can't blame this on yourself."

"How…how would you know?" he said. "You can't understand…"

"Yes I can Jack. I have to deal with the same thing."

"No, you can't understand!" he yelled to the ground before wiping his eyes and standing up. "You can't! It's my fault! If only I was stronger…" Sarah backed away from him as her eyes started to fill. She paused for a few seconds.

"You think you're the only one!" she screamed at him. "You think you're the only one who lost loved ones!" She started to cry. "How can you be so self-absorbed that you don't see that others are suffering as well…" she said in a whisper before spinning around and running away from him. He reached to stop her but he was too slow.

"Sarah, wait!" Jack screamed, but she didn't turn. He closed his eyes tight again as Rayith walked over to him.

"Way to blow it big time with the girl," she said sarcastically.

"Aaggghhhhh!" Jack screamed, spinning around swinging his arm at a house behind Rayith. The house instantly exploded in a black flame as Jack turned away from Rayith and started walking. He was about 20 feet away before Rayith started to run to catch up.

"Where are you going?" she asked. Jack didn't say anything for about half a minute before stopping and turning to his pint sized ally.

"I'm going to make things right," he said before starting to walk again. Rayith didn't walk after him, wrestling with what he had said.

"Well what the hell does that mean?!" she screamed, no able to figure it out for herself. She ran after him again, but Jack didn't respond. They walked for about ten minutes before Rayith opened her mouth again.

"Where are we going then?" she asked.

"I know where she went. It's a place that's been important to us since we were little. I'm going to find Sarah and make things right."

"You sill haven't explained what that's supposed to mean!" Rayith exclaimed with an large gesticulation. "What are you talking about?!" Jack didn't answer. They kept walking until the came upon a small playground on the outskirts of town. It was dark, but all and all, it wasn't damaged. Sarah was sitting on a swing on the far side with her head down. Jack signaled Rayith to stay behind as he slowly walked up to her.

"It's all gone," she said without lifting her head.. "Everything is destroyed. This can't be the way the world ends, can it?"

"I know how to make this all right," he said gently. Sarah lifted her head up, remnants of tears still on her face. She didn't speak. Jack started again. "We can stop this," he said. "We can make it right."

"How…?" she asked slowly.

"We can travel through time, or did you forget?" Jack said with a smile. There was a brief pause before Sarah smiled and jumped off of the swing into Jack's arms, knocking him to the ground. Jack received her with a grin and pulled her close and tight.

"We can make it right, can't we?" she asked, tears coming back.

"Yeah," he said, finally holding the person who he had wanted to hold for years. "We can make it right. We can fix this all." Sarah buried her head in his chest.

"Yes, but…" she started. "What do we do first?" Jack paused before answering.

"Well, we should probably report to SSAF HQ, or rather, what's left of it. They probably think we're dead." Sarah didn't say anything, she just hugged Jack tighter, finding the emotional support she needed from the person she realized she trusted the most. Rayith stood on the parks edge, observing the situation.

"Ah, gag me with a stick," Rayith said, sticking her finger in her mouth. "Someone break those two up." Sarah and Jack didn't move from their position for over five minutes. When Sarah decided that she was ready to discuss this new plan, she climbed off of a floored Jack and wiped away the remainder of her tears.

"I'm okay now," she said with a smile. "Thanks."

"Hey, if I'm going to go through a psychological trauma, there's no one I'd rather do it with," Jack said. Sarah laughed. "Come on," he said. "Let's go make sure SSAF knows we're not dead." He made a hand motion towards the playground gate. Sarah started walking with Jack following close behind. He paused and spoke to himself.

"Women," said with a sigh. "I don't think I'll ever understand them," he mumbled under his breath before jogging to catch up to Sarah. She had met up with Rayith and the two girls stood, waiting for him to catch up.

"Where to now?" Rayith asked.

"SSAF HQ," Sarah said.

"And if you're lucky," Jack said with a quick hand motion, "you might just learn Force Tech." Rayith smiled a wide smile and started skipping out in front of Jack and Sarah. The three started towards the inside of the city, hoping to find SSAF HQ not completely destroyed. As they made their way farther into the city, they found more and more people walking about. At least there were some survivors. The closer to the center of the city they went, survivors were found in bigger and bigger masses, huddled around fires in the streets. It looked sad, but Jack was wondered how they escaped the blasts. Most of the larger buildings were either destroyed or charred beyond recognition. There was wreckage all along the streets, the dome above the city almost completely destroyed.

"This looks pretty bad..." Jack mumbled, stating the obvious. "But it looks like there are a lot of people that made it."

"They might have been in the subway system at the time, or maybe they were in-between contact points of the blasts," Sarah suggested. "Either way, I'm guessing almost all of the population was wiped out, judging by the wreckage. I wonder how Arris and Proto held up."

"More of the same, I'm guessing," Jack said. Rayith opened her mouth but Jack answered the question before it was asked. "Arris and Proto are cities like this one, further in the east. Arris is the largest of the three, but Trann has the most industry."

"Oh, okay," Rayith said. "How'd you know I was gonna ask that?"

"I took a guess," Jack said simply. "That's what I would have asked." The three kept walking until they found a building that was positioned almost at the center of the city, SSAF HQ. It wasn't completely destroyed, seeming to have dodged a majority of the missile fire. One of the wings of the building had been eradicated, however. On further inspection, there were blast marks on the wall, suggesting that the building may have withstood a few blasts. Neither Jack nor Sarah was surprised, however, as SSAF HQ was made to withstand missile attacks. Why should blasts from a monster that was hiding inside of the earth's crust be different?

"This is it," Sarah said. "It actually looks pretty good."

"Yeah, but while the building may be okay, I wonder how many of the people who work for it are," Jack said with his hand to his chin.

"Only one way to find out," Sarah said. With that, the trio made for the main doorway, one of the immense double doors completely destroyed, hoping to find out exactly what happened.


"No one can withstand the power of the mighty Lavos" -Queen Zeal




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