Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > Fleeing Dragons

The Scientific Method

by Myshu 0 reviews

Zidane forgets someone important. Magus and co. follow the Dragon Tear's lead.

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Crossover - Characters: Blank, Zidane Tribal - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-12-20 - Updated: 2006-12-21 - 2460 words

I think marriage is a great institution. I've gotten more lays from desperate married women than from all the single chicks I've ever met. Forbidden fruit is hot stuff.

...Maybe that's part of why I wasn't in such a hurry to get married, myself. Maybe it was really a lot of little things. Maybe I was just waiting for the right moment! Maybe I'm a shiftless coward.

Maybe I'm too indecisive.

6. The Scientific Method

The sun was rising late over Lindblum by the time Blank and Zidane arrived. The former was on the deck of the passenger airship they'd hopped out of Treno, spitting potatocorn seeds over the side and into the maw of the Falcon's Gate, the main thoroughfare into the castle-city. Beyond the giant fire bird emblazoned on the gate's slabs, the mountain metropolis peeled into view, all steaming clockwork, buzzing traffic and ruby spires.

It was awesome to tourists; Lindblum boasted the most advanced technology Gaia could offer, which showed in its thriving industrial sectors. The bird's-eye view of smokestacks and running steel alongside colonial playhouses and churches was too familiar to impress Blank, however. He retreated into the cabin and found his cohort, hunched over a desk by a sunlit window.

Blank stealthily leaned over Zidane's shoulder and spied the letter in progress, which he began to recite. "'Dear Dagger'..."

The pen danced out of Zidane's startled fingers. "Ah!" His hands fell fast over the letter, obscuring it. "Hey, this is personal business!"

"Sure." Blank took the indignation in stride, leaning back against the adjacent countertop. "What're you writing a letter to Dagger for?"

Zidane picked up his writing where he left off. "Just tellin' her where I ran off to, what's goin' on, all that. I'm gonna stick it in the mail once we get to Lindblum."

"And you didn't tell her this stuff in advance? You know, in /person/?"

"Didn't have time! I had to catch the ship out to Treno, or I'd be stuck waiting three days for the next one."

"Likely excuse."

"Oh, like you've never skipped out and left the boss a note," Zidane peevishly remarked.

"No," Blank countered thickly, "I believe that was your M.O."

"It was effective!"

"Yeah, I remember the boss effectively kicking your ass whenever you got home. So, when are you telling her you'll be back?"

"Oh..." Zidane paused, twirled the pen and stared through the window at a pigeon keeping up with the ship. "I don't know."

Blank huffed. "What else is new? Do you at least know when you're gonna quit dicking around and propose to 'er, /Marcus/?"

The reference to Dagger's favorite play ruffled the fur of his tail. Zidane didn't want to admit it was a valid question, even to Blank, the first person to bring it up--to his face, anyway.

He'd been living in Alexandria Castle for months under Queen Garnet's grateful hospitality, though it took an idiot to think he was just a guest--or part of the Royal Reserve Guard, as the official statement went. Meanwhile, the queen's advisors grumbled disapproval over their concubinage, and the royal court, jumping to conclusions, already whispered the m-word, which was a fine idea to Zidane as long as it was to Dagger rather than the Queen of Alexandria. Nonetheless, he'd quiet them all in due time.

Starting with Blank. "Hey, shut up!" he lightly snapped. "I will soon enough. I'm waiting for the right moment!"

"Oh yeah? And when is the 'right moment' gonna be?"

"Next month."

"What happens next month?"

"Only Dagger's /birthday/."

"Oh yeah, that," Blank muttered airily, as if remembering the answer to some obscure trivia.

"Yes, that," Zidane stressed its significance. "I'm going to give her the best birthday present ever."

"You mean the one you just stole?"

"Just stole /back/," Zidane affirmed, "It was hers to start with!"

"Yeah," Blank quipped, "I'm sure she'll just gloss over the fact that it's an illegally acquired re-gift."

"She'll get over it--" Zidane shook the argument off. "Look, the point is that once she sees what I got for her, she won't be able to say no. It'll be /perfect/."

"You're such a sap."

"And you're still single."

"Whatever. It's by /choice/. Girls are just so much fuckin' work, man. Gotta listen to 'em, and shop with 'em, and always buy them shit... and they yell at you anyway!"

"Wow," Zidane said with flat awe, resuming the letter, "You're even lazier than I am."


White noise faded into plain grey in a mere blink.

"He teleported us, you spaz," was the best Myshu said to assuage Jerad's panic attack. Jerad would have appreciated the sentiment more if he hadn't first witnessed real magic just five minutes ago, and then first endured the same five seconds ago.

As it was, he was busy crawling on a cold, strange floor, trying to pick up his glasses and his senses. The residue of Magus's spell clung to the backs of his eyeballs and left him dizzy enough to puke.
Eventually, a dim slate cavern came into focus. Myshu's fur-wrapped ankles showed up to his left--he could picture her scowling down at him without lifting his head. Magus's silhouette appeared a few feet ahead in front of a bending corridor, from which an alien blue glow seeped into the room. It was otherwise a dark, barren rock chamber.

Jerad gulped and shakily stood. "What... where are we?"

Myshu prodded him with a nail sharp enough to scratch his arm, and he winced. "I thought you've been here before, brainiac. The gate's right through that hall."

He nearly choked. "We're on /Death Peak/? Already?"

"Do I have to explain what a teleportation spell does or are you gonna wise up?"

Jerad swallowed his surprise. 'Teleporting. Magic. Right.' "N-no, I'm just a little... shocked, still, I guess."

Myshu carelessly shoved him aside and began marching after Magus, who had already ventured into the glow. "You're so green, kid, I swear."

Jerad picked up his pride and followed.


"If you don't cut that out and watch where you're goin', you're gonna bust your nose on a lamppost and I'm gonna laugh my ass off."

The city blossomed out of the cobblestones and over their heads, and suddenly they were the ants those tourists in airships were pointing and marveling at. Blank preferred the down-to-earth feeling of walking Lindblum's streets, though he knew Zidane's head would always be in the clouds.

"You're gonna trip and bust your head open sometime if you don't stop gawking at the sky and start watchin' where you're goin'," he chided the monkey-boy once, forever ago.

"I'm keeping my eye on what's important!"

"But I am!" the ten-year-old replied cheekily, and flapped his arms like a chocobo, laughing.

'You always were a goofy smartass,' Blank reminisced as he watched his friend flip a ten-gil piece into the air over and over.

Zidane's game of catch was cut short once they reached the aircab terminal. They ducked into a cab that reeked of musk and rumbled like a sick cat, and sped off the public airship docks towards the city proper.

"So," Blank started once they found seats not covered in soot and grease from factory-bound passengers, "Tot's making you go all this way for a few bottles?"

"Nah," Zidane said, pulling the coin back out and starting a new game in the cramped cabin, "I already figured the stuff Tot told me about having to go to Lindblum is a load of crap. He just thinks it'll be good for me to get out of the castle for a while."

"If you knew it was a bunch of crap, why did you agree to go anyway?"

"I dunno..." He snatched the coin as it bounced off the ceiling and began rolling it between his knuckles, watching the sun play off the copper visage of a lion with a suddenly pensive look. "Maybe he's right." He then pocketed it. "Besides, I had other stuff to take care of--like in Treno, remember? It was a convenient load of crap."

Blank shrugged his brow--the belt wound across his forehead slipped onto his nose, so he had to push it back up--and turned to gaze out the window. Central Station was climbing into view, a giant wooden spider at the hub of a web of aircab ramps. "If you say so."

Once disembarked, Zidane started into the business district. Blank tapped his shoulder, reeling him back.

"What's up?"

"Look man, I'm gonna head back to the hideout." Blank frowned and threw a thumb vaguely over his shoulder. "I gotta check in with the boss."

"Heh." Zidane cracked a mocking grin. "Have fun with that."

"Psh. You should come say hi."

"Maybe later. I'm gonna take care of business first."

"Suit yourself. See ya later."

Zidane nodded. "Yeah." He scratched the nape of his neck, digging for the best farewell. "Thanks for, uh, stuff. You know."

Blank waltzed off, seeking the next aircab. "Whatever," he waved without looking back, "Just stay out of trouble."

"Hah! You know I will!"

"Bullshit," was the last Zidane heard of him, and then Blank vanished into the station.


"So, let me get this straight. You built this but you don't know how to work it?"

The three huddled around the gate shrine, Magus aligning the rings to the coordinates the Dragon Tear fed them while Myshu drilled Jerad on his technical prowess--or lack thereof, as the case was becoming.

Jerad fidgeted with thin air as he explained too quickly, "Well, no--no, not exactly. Me and the guys were commissioned to construct the gate rings according to Ramezia's blueprint, and she gave us all the materials, and as we worked we tried to study all the little mechanisms and how they work, but the work kinda got ahead of our research, is all, and we just don't... um, we're not entirely sure how it works, or how to, um... use it. But Ramezia knows! Knew. She knew. But now we'll never know. But I know what it's supposed to do, and I know the theories--on time gates, and all. I was just a little while ago trying to apply Dr. LEA's space-time theories to the machine, to understand its application, but, uh... yeah."

"So," Myshu repeated in slow, disdainful deadpan, "You built this but you don't know how to work it."

"No!" Jerad yelped, then recanted as Magus stopped to throw him a piercing smirk, "I mean, not exactly. And by 'not exactly,' I mean sorta. Okay, yes."

Myshu sighed loudly. "For a nerd you're pretty stupid."

Finally offended, Jerad blurted, "I graduated from the University of--"

"Nobody cares," she shot him down, and turned to Magus. "You got it?"

"Wait," Jerad butted back in, "You guys came from this gate, right? Tell me how you operate it! I know how the coordinates are integrated into the wormhole, but what actually activates the gate?"

"You're kidding, right?" Myshu indicated one of the shrine's three points, where a beast's paw-print was embossed on a chalky column. "You just press that right there."

Jerad blinked at the strange button. "What? That's it?" He shook his head. "No way, we examined that switch and every inch of this device, and nothing that simple ever worked."

"There's a mystic seal on it. Only magic users can breach it," Magus informed.

"Magic users? You mean that's what's been stopping me and my friends from activating the gate? Because we don't know magic?"

"That would be it," the wizard said, and let it stand.

"Huh." Jerad scratched his head, digesting the key data. "I'll be damned."

Myshu impatiently clapped her foot on the rough stone. "Enough chit-chat. Are we ready?"

Magus nodded and stepped back towards the switch. "Let's go."

"Whoa," Jerad balked a bit, "So we're really--this is going to take us to another world?"

Magus answered by holding his palm to the paw-print. A violet spark threaded from his glove, to the switch, through the cables suspending the gaterings, and finally into the gate's eye, which exploded into a full-fledged portal. Screeching gusts and blue light fluttered about the cavern, circling the pinhole in space-time like a storm. Jerad was nearly thrown back to his knees by awe and fright, yet his legs held locked as he gaped at the fruit of his handiwork.

The dragon woman set one bold foot into the gate and twisted around to ask, "You coming or staying, shrimp-nerd? This is the last time I'm gonna ask."

Jerad shivered. He was cold, weary and in a nebulous state of shock, and here stood a masterpiece in relativity that he patched together by numbers and /had to be taught how to turn on/--he was no where near ready--these people were insane--he didn't know where he was going--these people were /dangerous/--he was /still in his fuzzy slippers/.

But. He had to know what lied ahead. He had to /know/.
Also, he had no way to get back to his apartment on his own without meeting a bitter end on Death Peak's frosty, craggy slopes.

"There's no way you're leaving me here! I'm going."


Zidane stepped out of the chemist's, sorely disappointed. He was only given one vial of juice. The rest, the chemist said, would take a week to procure. A little vexed, he took what he could get and left.

He sighed, shifted his pack to the other shoulder and started through the crowded market. What was he going to do in Lindblum for a whole week? Blank's idea of visiting the hideout was starting to sound like a promising option...

Zidane stopped as he sighted the castle in the distance, breaking free of the merchant tents, shops, houses and factories like a volcano before a peasant village. Lindblum Grand Castle was the capitol of the Regency of Lindblum and the keep of its thriving city. It was an immense pillar of airship docks, armories and laboratories in the shell of an antique clock tower--the largest ever, of course. It epitomized everything inventive, grandiose and yet old-fashioned about Lindblum--and perhaps all of Gaia.

It was an inspiring view, though not as much as the festive banner stretched on a clothesline overhead:


Zidane cocked his head to the side as he read it, musing, "Cid's throwing a birthday party, eh? I wonder for who."

He spent a minute filing through his memory for a famous birthday he might know on the nineteenth of--

He then slapped his forehead hard enough to throw him off balance, and his pack hit the ground with a cracking jingle.

"Oh man, I completely forgot!"
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