Date with Destiny
a series of Chrono Trigger shortfics by Dot

VII. A.D. 999: Cause and Effect

Lucca caught herself chewing on her nails again as she inspected the remains of Walkerbot Version 3-14. She wiped her hands on her pants, then removed her glasses to clean them on her shirt.

“All right, you,” she muttered as she repositioned her thick lenses to the top of her nose and picked up what was left of Walkerbot’s leg. “You can stand, you can jump, you can even balance on one foot, so why the hell can’t you walk?”

It made no sense whatsoever. The design was flawless, based on her previous success with Gato and also her intense studies of the human anatomy on top of that. All her calculations were impeccable; she had checked and double checked and even triple checked. The dimensions of each part had never been more precise, thanks to Dad’s new instruments. Every gear and drive shaft had been polished to shining perfection before she, not stopping except for the briefest of meals and naps, installed them. With breathless anticipation, she had cleared as much space for Walkerbot as she could in the small, cluttered workshop and turned it on.

Walkerbot had taken a single step.

And then fell flat on its face. Mom had smiled in her usual fashion and said that if the gods meant for her to walk again, then someday she would.

Lucca refused to believe in the gods that Mom prayed to and sought solace in. If they even existed, then they were either useless or sadistic; after all, where were they when they were needed most? Of course, Lucca hadn’t contributed much to the “Save Mom’s Legs From Being Horribly Crushed” movement either, but she at least had the excuses of youth and panic.

But now she wasn’t so helpless anymore. Now she had knowledge, science, and a will that wouldn’t quit, no matter what. Gods or no gods, Lucca was determined to see Mom back on her feet again.

Mom had loved to dance, before.

( xviii )

The three of them—Mom, Dad, and Lucca—ate dinner together, as was their custom, but tonight just Mom and Dad talked, making pleasant-sounding but idle chatter. Neither of them needed to ask her how her day went. They could tell from the way that she picked at her food and muttering under her breath about what adjustments she needed to make that the activation had ended in disaster.

“They’re already setting up the tents for the Fair,” Mom gushed, referring to the year-long celebration of the upcoming new Millennium. Lucca had once tried to explain that the true Millennium would not take place until next year, but that had served to confuse Mother, and so they had to discuss a less heady topic, like whether the orange tree in the front yard had started flowering yet. “Oh, it’s so exciting! I can’t wait to see our booth!”

Lucca perked at this. “Dad got us a booth?”

Dad beamed. “Two, as a matter of fact. Gato, the perennial fan favorite, will be providing entertainment and a fun challenge. But the main show will be us, when we unveil The Big Secret Project to the world—”

“What Big Secret Project?” Lucca interrupted before Dad could go on another one of his melodramatic rants.

Dad deflated like a lead balloon. “I haven’t thought of one yet,” he confessed. “But whatever it is, it has to be big, flashy, and really cool, or it’ll be hard to talk His Majesty into renewing the research grant.”

Dad didn’t say anything else, but Lucca understood his implications. Walkerbot was none of those things. Hell, it didn’t even work yet. She bit back a sigh as she parsed the list of everything else that she was supposed to be working on, but put on the back burner to make Walkerbot.

“What about that, um, magical zapping device you guys put in my room to send stuff between floors?” Mom suggested.

“The Telepod?” Lucca shook her head. “It’s buggy as hell and unless we can find a much more reliable power supply than the sun, there’s no way I’m risking a human-sized version.”

“Can’t you just take the sun and put it in a bottle to use later?” Mom wondered.

Dad almost spit his drink all over the table, and Lucca dropped her fork.

“That’s it,” Lucca said in a near whisper. “Like a battery, except for energy and not arms. The answer was right under our noses all along.”

A year later, the full-sized version of a device built to help a mother who was bedridden due to a traumatic accident was unveiled to an adoring public, one of whom being a certain Princess with a certain Pendant.

Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
Of course, in real life, a Telepod would be extremely problematic to invent, but hey, Lucca’s a frigging genius.
See Chrono’s chapter for the explanation on the scene breaks.