by the Chrono Compendium
June 7, 2004
with direct quotations by
with contributing discussion by countless analysts
Few topics of interest manage to obtain as high a level of mysteriousness as the Dead Sea of Chrono Cross does; its phenomena and existence are shrouded in enigma, and contribute much to the feeling of helplessness some players feel when struggling to comprehend the complex plot of the game. Little is revealed through dialogue, and to obtain a higher level of understanding, it seems one must probe relentlessly all evidence regarding the area, the result often being more questions. Even the simplest questions, including 'Why does it exist?' and 'How does it affect the plot?' are infinite in their interpretations and answers. The Dead Sea is a direct link to Chrono Trigger and the outside world, and one so brunt and expansive that it is overwhelming. Long have theorists attempted to explain even simple details of the Dead Sea; this is evident in the Dead Sea / Sea of Eden FAQ Refutation, an effort by the Compendium to criticize one such collection of hypotheses and ponderings.
After several months of meeting, theorizing, and refuting, the Compendium and its members have produced several proposals that are consistent with the temporal and dimensional mechanics of the Chrono series, the script of Cross itself, and most of the peripheral, semi-canon commentary surrounding the region. As neither the game nor its creator offer explanations that are final and clear, the Compendium members have attempted to draw conclusive and definite resolutions -- and even in this regard must permit a certain degree of uncertainty. I will begin with a broad question:
Miguel told Serge that "a future denied of all existence because of a change in the past... A future that was destroyed even before it was born rests here... condensed into the Dead Sea." Without delving into this, we can confirm it with Masato Kato's remark:
"The Sea of Eden became the Dead Sea in the Home World because of the incident 10 years ago at Opassa Beach. Serge lived on in that world, causing the time-line leading to destruction (which Crono and friends nullified) to come back into existence again. In the Other World, where Serge died, the Sea of Eden and Chronopolis remain as is. In other words, the Dead Sea indicates that if Serge lives, the future will probably lead back to destruction."
Thus, it seems that since Serge lives in Home World, the future will come to destruction. Stay with me now; why in the world, do you say, does Serge's living cause the future to end up in ruin, and how in the world does the Dead Sea reflect this? Before we examine why Serge seems to cause the future to end in ruin, let us examine why a natural landform would come to reflect this.
I. Why does the Sea of Eden reflect the future? A. Time Crash Shift II. How does Serge's existence spell future destruction? A. Dark Ages Branch Theory B. Misconception: Armageddon-Branch Theory C. A Demonstration III. At what time is the Dead Sea frozen at? A. Why is the Dead Sea Frozen? B. Geographical Location and Company 2400 IV. What is Lithosphere Investigation Report #27? A. Fundamental Access B. Day of Lavos Recording V. What caused the Tower of Gheddon to form? A. Nadia's Bell B. Frozen Flame? C. Did FATE eliminate the Dead Sea, as suggested in Miguel's dialogue? VI. What are the Ghost Children? VII. Restoration of the distortion
Why does the Sea of Eden reflect the future?
A computer in the fourth-floor western lab of Chronopolis provides the motive and background:
- FATE has been manipulating the world of El Nido, in order to avoid any major change to the history it knows. If an event on El Nido influences the main continent, the year 2400, in which FATE exists, would change. This paradox could potentially lead to great disaster...
And thus we may conclude that since the future of Home World ends in ruin, the Sea of Eden is reflective of this. Chronopolis as it is seen in El Nido would be instantly impacted by present changes to history, and this is precisely why it installs the Records of Fate. However, what is the nature of this connection with the future? Was not Chronopolis simply thrown 10,000 years to the past, as stated in-game? GrayLensman provides an elaboration:
Time Crash Shift
The Time Crash was completely unlike standard forms of time travel.
- Chronopolis and Dinopolis contained many more than three entities, violating the Conservation of Time theorem.
- A three-dimensional region of space, containing a vast area of the earth's surface, was transported. This is opposed to Gate travel, where the horizon of the Gate acts as a portal from one space-time to another. Gates displace their spherical volume in normal space-time -- they do not envelop a region of space and transport it through time.
- The area of the Sea of Eden was still linked to the cause and effect of the future. Unlike normal time traveling, where travelers are not affected by changes to their past world line, the Sea of Eden changes along with the timeline. In Home World, the Day of Lavos still occurred and Chronopolis changed into the Dead Sea, reflecting the ruin of the future.
My conclusion is that the region of the Sea of Eden containing Chronopolis in the Chrono T-2 dimension and Dinopolis in the Reptite dimension did not time travel at all. Rather, the counter-time experiment created a space-time warp which brought the space-time coordinates of the area surrounding the Sea of Eden in 2400 AD into conjunction with the space-time coordinates of the Sea of Eden in 12000 BC. The substance of Chronopolis and Dinopolis was not transported through time; a region of space-time in 12000 BC became that same region in 2400 AD.
The edge of the Sea of Eden was separated from the space-time of 2400 AD and connected to the space-time of 12000 BC. The Sea of Eden and the rest of the world both moved forward through time at the normal rate so that in 1020 AD, Chronopolis was in 15420 AD. The boundary of the Sea of Eden anomaly allowed an entity to travel 14400 years into the future. Passing through this boundary is exactly like time traveling through a Gate or in a vehicle. Time is Conserved and travelers become immune to timeline changes.
In 2400 AD, I image that the Time Crash would appear as if the area of the Sea of Eden collapsed into a singularity. A hole was made in space-time, and the edges of the hole were pulled in to fill the void. In 12000 BC, the future Sea of Eden space would expand from a singularity, enveloping the past Sea of Eden.
When the timeline was changed so that the Time Crash did not occur, the Sea of Eden in 12000 BC remained unchanged. The version of the Sea of Eden which contained Chronopolis was sent into the DBT. However, the boundary of the Sea of Eden behaved like a Gate, even though the space-time anomaly no longer existed. Any entities which crossed the boundary from the future Sea of Eden into the 12000 BC world were protected from changes made to the timeline. Each time an entity crossed the boundary from the Sea of Eden in the original timeline, that same entity appeared at the boundary in the new timeline. The settlers of El Nido appeared out of thin air at the edge of the Sea of Eden. If and when the entities returned to the Sea of Eden in the original timeline, the new versions of the entities were sent into the DBT, in accordance with the Time Bastard theory. Since the outside world was identical in both timelines, the new versions of the entities ceased to exist just as they crossed the conceptual boundary of the Sea of Eden, maintaining the illusion that anomaly was still there. Thus, El Nido was constructed and settled by humans and Reptites, even though Chronopolis and Dinopolis no longer existed in the past.
An unfortunate consequence of this theory is that any entity to ever exit the anomaly must appear at the boundary of the Sea of Eden regardless of changes to the timeline. Iâ€™m not sure exactly how many entities exited Chronopolis/Sea of Eden/Dead Sea after 12000 BC (in Another World only, of course), but they would end up wandering around the new timeline. Some of these entities would eventually be sent into the DBT as a result of the Time Bastard theory if they originally time/dimensional traveled. Maybe Schala could have just sent them all into the DBT. This problem could be potentially far-reaching.
How does Serge's existence spell future destruction?
Thus, when the future's destruction is ensured, it is reflected in the Sea of Eden in the form of destroyed ruin swept into that spot. The next inquiry involves how the destruction of the future is ensured; it is a fact that temporal change cannot be brought about in the Chrono series by possibility alone. This observation negates several theories that attempt to explain the future's destructions, most stating that Serge accidentally and indirectly causes something to go wrong when Crono challenges Lavos. This is a compelling mystery, but Armageddon-Branch theory provides a tidy solution: the nature of Home World prevented Crono and the others from defeating Lavos.
Crono could not have defeated Lavos in Home World. The event which spares Serge's life also creates a plurality of dimensions from 1010 onwards. Since there is only one Crono in 1000 AD to time travel and defeat Lavos, only the future in Another World is saved.
In the original timeline (Another World) Serge dies in 1010 AD, but Kid changes the past, somehow creating an alternate dimension in which Serge lives (Home World). Another World always existed; it is the original dimension, but Home World only extends from 1010 AD onwards with a carbon copy of the past. In 1000 AD, as begun in Chrono Trigger, Crono exists in Another World. If he travels through time, he can only reach a destination within his own dimension. When Crono defeats Lavos in 1999 AD, or any other time, the battle takes place in Another World. In 1000 AD, there is only one version of Crono. If Crono lived past 1010 AD, there would be a version for each dimension, but that version did not travel through time to defeat Lavos.
In Home World, no savior appears in 1999 AD to save the future. Serge caused the destruction of the world by spawning an alternate dimension which is beyond 1000 AD Crono's notice or reach. He does not undo any of Crono's actions. In Another World, the future is secure, at least until the Time Devourer arrives. There cannot be multiple Crono groups because there is only one dimension in 1000 AD!
YbrikMetaknight and GrayLensman fleshed this theory out further within a dialogue.
GrayLensman, Ybrik Metaknight
GrayLensman: Home World begins in 1010 AD. No one from 1000 AD can time travel to it. In Another World, in 1000 AD, Crono and Mare enter the transporter.... ... But Home World did not exist at that time. There is no Home World version of Crono and Marle in 1000 AD, because it doesn't exist yet.
YbrikMetaknight: So where does the rest of Home World come from?
GrayLensman: Another World.
YbrikMetaknight: Exactly. So it stands to reason that everything that happened in Another World up to that point is in the history of Home World, does it not?
GrayLensman: If someone in Home World read in a history book, they would see evidence that Crono traveled through time. ... ... At the instant of Serge's survival in 1010 AD, Home was fissioned off from Anther. It shares the same past as Another. But Home and Another are separate dimensions. There is no way to travel from 1000 AD Another to 1999 AD Home without traveling across the dimensional veil. I find it nice, because it doesn't undo Crono's accomplishments. It only creates a new world were armageddon still occurs.
Epsilon also proposed the Chronopolis-Nullification theory. It states that since Chronopolis traveled backward from Keystone/Another World to 12000 B.C., and that Home World does not exist until 1010 A.D., Chronopolis's arrival simply isn't a fact. Though this does not directly explain the destruction, it reinforces the above.
Other theories exist, and most possibilities and disproving evidence can be found in the Dead Sea / Sea of Eden FAQ Refutation.
At what time is the Dead Sea frozen at?
Lithosphere Investigation Report #27 may suggest 2300 A.D., as it displays that date. However, the sunset at Nadia's Bell suggests otherwise; cloud cover was continuously present in 2300 A.D., suggesting either it is frozen fresh after the apocalypse or long after the dust has settled back to the ground. The 2400 A.D. on the outside of the Tower of Geddon also supports this theory. However, according to GrayLensman's Time Crash theory, it would actually be frozen at 15420 A.D. This is consistent with the lack of cloud cover and other time mechanics.
Lastly, one may wonder...
Why is the Dead Sea frozen?
This question arises out of comparing the Dead Sea to Chronopolis; both reflect the same era, though one is animated time passes within it. This is a difficult question, and presently, only one theory exists. FATE, having power to destroy the Dead Sea (see farther down in this article), can possibly also freeze it via an effect similar to that of a Time Egg (as in Chrono Trigger's Time Freeze), and does so to prevent it from interfering with the present day world outside the Sea of Eden. Otherwise, perhaps the anomalistic nature simply causes it to be frozen.
Geographical Location and Company 2400
If you notice, there's a lot of things in the Dead Sea that have almost nothing in common with Chronopolis. This is very important when considering just what the Dead Sea and the Tower of Geddon really is. For example, there is a broken down highway which is never seen in or near the Chronopolis research facility. Furthermore, let's take a look at Miguel's words:
Quote: A future denied of all existence because of a change in the past... A future that was destroyed even before it was born rests here...condensed into the Dead Sea.
As we can see, the Dead Sea isn't really a ruin version of Chronopolis, but it is more like a version of a time freeze, except an entire time period is condensed into a small time freeze. We can come to these conclusions through looking at the Dead Sea itself. All the water there is solidified, frozen in time. There are still things moving around there, however, so the place is not a perfect time freeze. It's an enigma. From the quote, however, we can see that the Tower of Geddon is a mesh of many structures from 2400 AD, including Company 2400 (which we can guess was just some big corporation in the future), as it was a ruined future that was condensed there.
With these major points explained, we may now move on to the lesser details.
Why does Lithosphere Investigation Report #27 exist?
While traveling through the Dead Sea, the party can access a computer displaying Lavos's apocalypse. The picture is dated 2300 A.D. and shows fire raining upon the cities.
This theory requires that the Dead Sea be frozen in 2300 A.D. It holds that the Report is simply reporting the date it is accessed when it displays '2300 A.D.' as a header.
Fundamental Access Theory: Belthasar Clause
Since the world is ruined in 2300 A.D., Belthasar would probably find a time similar to the 2300 A.D. of Chrono Trigger. LIR #27 may simply be a slice of his own research.
Day of Lavos Recording
It may be the video that spurred Crono to save the world, considering it visually displays destruction raining from the heavens by the power of Lavos. Refutation comes in the two arguments that the differences between the two reports nullify this notion and that the Arris Dome seemingly only contained the report; however, the Arris Dome did support towers, and it may be buried under the frozen waves that the tower containing the report lies in.
What caused the Tower of Geddon to form?
Aitrus, Fxeni, GrayLensman, ZeaLitY
The Dead Sea is a conglomeration of the averted timeline that is destroyed by Lavos, condensed into the Dead Sea, and possibly other disjointed fragments of spacetime; it is also believed to be a sort of shell of Chronopolis, destroyed during the split into Another and Home. This is supported by '2400 A.D.' appearing on the tower. Nonetheless, it seems odd that passable walkways exist leading one exactly to the Gate that leads to Nadia's Bell. Why would the Tower of Gheddon collate so perfectly to allow this travel? A few theories exist; the Miguel-Construction Theory states that Miguel used his Elements to create a path, while the FATE-Construction theory suggests FATE somehow constructed the path across the dimensions to allow access to Nadia's bell and the storing place for the Frozen Flame of Home World. Lastly, the Flame itself, a source of immense power, might have been tapped to allow passage.
This begs the question:
Is Nadia's Bell part of the geographic region of the Dead Sea, or merely a connected area of space-time? Why does Miguel call it Time Crash Ground Zero?
Before I feature elaboration on the nature of Nadia's Bell's presence inside the Tower of Gheddon, allow me to quote Miguel's exact statement about the area being the epicenter of the Time Crash:
Welcome to the Tower of Geddon... Time Crash Ground Zero!
It seems that Miguel was speaking directly about the Tower itself, which certainly is the center of the Time Crash, as it resides precisely where Chronopolis would have been in the Sea of Eden. What, then, is Nadia's Bell doing there? Obviously Leene's Square from Chrono Trigger, how are it and a grand sunset accessable within a Tower of finite capacity? The answer lies in the fact that one must pass through a Gate to access it -- a spatial wormhole. The entire party under General Viper's command is frozen before this Gate, and it is also the last defense before one can reach Miguel and the Home World Flame. Thus, it is perfectly reasonable to label the Gate as such, and also classify it as a defense against access to the area Miguel was defending. Judging from the fate of the Acacia Dragoons and from Serge's success, only the Arbiter of the Frozen Flame and those in close proximity can pass. The Gate transports the party to Leene's Square and Nadia's Bell within that ruined timeline -- cool, eh?
In any event, Nadia's Bell is where FATE is keeping Home World's Frozen Flame.
It has been mentioned twice now that the Frozen Flame of Home World resides at the Dead Sea, or more specifically, Nadia's Bell within the ruined timeline reflected within the Dead Sea. However, the game does not reveal it to be there outright, and its implication of such culminates in a mere piece of dialogue given by Miguel --
- It looks like Fate has made its decision and has started to carry it out now...FATE doesn't want the Frozen Flame to awaken in this pladce at this time... It would choose to destroy the Flame along with the whole Dead Sea, than to allow its enemies to take hold of the Flame...
As Serge was certainly an enemy of FATE, and as his receiving the power of the Flame was a direct threat to the supercomputer and perhaps the space-time continuum, the presence and existence of a Home World Frozen Flame is valid.
Of course, seconds after this quote, the Dead is destroyed. One may ask...
Did FATE eliminate the Dead Sea, as suggested in Miguel's dialogue?
Bubblebobby2000 notes that the eruptions that converge at the Tower of Geddon and eventually destroy the sea stem from three points that would appropriately exist as the ends of an equilaterial triangle -- and thus are in harmony with the arrangement of the three FATE islands that guard Chronopolis in the opposite dimension! The Island-Destruction Theory thus states that the elimination of the Dead Sea was carried out via these three islands; the exact mechanics behind this feat are indeterminate, however.
Lastly, on the subject of the location of Nadia's Bell, is the Sky Dragon's intervention to save the party. A nagging question might be, "how could a Dragon fly directly into that area?" It suffices to say that Dragons can trascend time, space, and dimensions, evident in their ability to travel dimensions at will and justified by their root in the Darkness Beyond Time and advanced nature.
What are the Ghost Children?
One of the more interesting and disturbing aspects of the encounter with Miguel is the presence of the three ghosts that appear to be Crono, Marle, and Lucca. They are startingly antagonistic, blaming Serge for the future destruction of the Home World. How that has been accomplished has been explained already; we now can focus on the ghosts themselves, and ponder how and why they exist in the Dead Sea. Two theoriest exist on the subject:
The images of Crono, Marle, and Lucca are real ghosts that realize the quest they have memories of has been totally negated in Home World, and take it out on Serge, who has caused this turn of events. However, this does not account for their appearance as youth.
The ghosts have to do with the planet's dream. Crono and the others were part of the planet's plan to defeat Lavos. When the plan was thwarted, and the planet's chamions eliminated (in some way), figments of the heroes exist within the planet's consciousness. The ghosts are simply representations of the planet's memories. The planet is still calling the shots in Chrono Cross, remember that. Chrono Cross opens with "but the planet's dream is not yet over." The entity displayed the ghost with exact purpose of guiding the new instruments of the planet's salvation.
The Home World Dimension was created in 1010 A.D. when Serge survives, thus creating two Dimensions of Home & Another World. According to the Armageddon-Branch Theory the only Chrono that exists, exists in Another World, because during Chrono Trigger, that is the only dimension (up until the end of the DS credits).
According to the mechanics of the Time Crash Shift's unique type of time travel, it caused certain points in time to become part of the same region of other points in time. This explains why when the three Dimensional Vortices rip through into Another World (in the CTDS after credits) that they appear in vastly different times, (12000 BC, 1000 AD, & 2300 AD), because from the Dead Sea, these times and regions are all intertwined indistinguishably into the same location. This would mean that the Alabaster, Steel, & Crimson Shades are, in fact the Ghost Children in Chrono Cross seen at a different point in their own contained, aborted timeline.
The CC party seeing them when they're younger, and the CT party when they're the same age as their counterparts. Due to the nature of how time does (or doesn't) flow in the Dead Sea, it's difficult if not impossible to tell if there's actually a conceivable passage of time outside of the Dead Sea itself that would determine the appearance of the age of the three Shades. Due to the way that time and space is knitted together, they could conceivable be any or all ages at once, and just manifesting in a particular form at random, since they're just echoes of Marle, Chrono, & Lucca in a region of a Dimension where they don't properly exist.
Because their echoes exist in the Dead Sea, which is a location where discarded information and time are all merged together, this might also explain why they, have such intimate knowledge of so many different things that have and haven't happened, since they exist in many times at once (and none at all). This would also explain why once defeated by their other selves in Chrono Trigger, they merge together and awaked latent powers in themselves- they're connecting the Another World original with their Home World/Dead Sea counterpart that contains knowledge and other effects from being exposed to the Dead Sea Time anomaly.
It's also worth mentioning that within the Dead Sea where we find the Ghosts of Chrono, Marle, & Lucca, because of the Time Crash it contains the Sea of Eden from 12000 BC, Nadia's Bell from 1000 AD, and Chronopolis from 2400 AD. In Chrono Trigger, the Dimensional Rifts that tear open containing the Shades of Chrono, Marle, & Lucca appear at 12000 BC, 1000 AD, & 2300 AD. I'd hypothesize that the Dimensional Rifts are being torn open into Another World during the event of the Time Crash, since it's the main temporal anomaly, and the Time Devourer is still in its early stages.
I'd be stretching to explain WHY the shades of Chrono, Marle, & Lucca aren't swallowed into the DBT, but it may be because Chrono, Marle, & Lucca travel into the DBT to confront the Dream Devourer. Since their aborted timeline selves aren't able to exist alongside their real selves inside of the DBT (related to the Time Bastard theory), the three of their shades are essentially trapped into a state of partial existance in the Dead Sea, rather than being able to enter the DBT and be consumed.
I was playing today, and I thought it was interesting, what Glenn says upon encountering the Steel Shade. "Even if you are the real Chrono, we will not allow you to harm ours", indicating that at the very least, the Steel Shade bears a very strong resemblance to the genuine article.
Upon rereading this page, I once again reflected on Glenn's words. Perhaps this indicates more than a mere resemblance to Crono, perhaps Glenn truly senses that it is the real Crono whom they are fighting. If we tie this in with the idea that the party controlled in the vortices is not the most "current" version, but rather a version experiencing the alterations of the original; and if we also incorporate the theory that these Shades are in fact some form of CC's Ghost Children; this could all support the idea that said Ghost Children are indeed future versions (or actual ghosts) of Crono, Marle and Lucca. ~
GrayLensman's theory provides purpose to the ghosts, and both benefit from Miguel's quote that the ghosts are echoes from ones far gone. The Shades theory has a powerful thematic link with the Ghost Children, albeit the placement of CT DS's bonus content in the canon is always a bit hard to pull off. Chrono'99 rounds out the section by proposing that since Home World was created in 1010 A.D., the ghosts may appear 10 years old because of this fact.
Restoration of the distortion
Chronologically, the last issue to be resolved is at the heart of Serge's quest to the Dead Sea, and defines its purpose -- to restore the dimensional distortion, and allow Serge as Lynx to travel to Another World once again. Ironically, it also may be the difficult aspect of the Dead Sea to explain; at the highest level, one may wonder how destroying the reflection of a ruined timeline and the mechanics behind it suddenly reactivates or alters the Angelus Errare point at Opassa Beach to allow Serge travel once more. Aitrus, however, has miraculously come up with a theory that is in accordance with statements made in the game and real life physics, specifically Quantum and String theory.
During the explosion, the remnants of the Frozen Flame destroyed there cause a change in Serge's genetic make-up and cause it to somehow "line up" with his mind, and cause him to become the Missing Piece again, despite the new body; that his DNA once again became Serge's own.
This theory has merit in that Arbiter status is identified through DNA, shown in Serge's admittal into room in which the Frozen Flame is kept in Chronopolis. How might simple DNA have such profound meaning in physics, however? One can assume that the atribute of the Arbiter's DNA is not the genetic sequence, but some quantum mechanical -- or deeper elemental -- quality of his material substance. The destruction of the Dead Sea altered Lynx's DNA -- or body -- to have an identical signature as Serge.
Additionally, this theory is validated by this statement made in Chronopolis by a researcher.
Perhaps the DNA of the ones who made contact with the Flame is recomposed by the sound they generate within? I wonder if life-forms are just dreaming in an endless flow of music?
Lastly, the Chrono Cross itself operates by using tones, and String Theory, as well as classical Quantum Mechanics, incorporate harmonies and resonant frequencies. Thus, it seems reasonable that the destruction of Home World's Flame successfully realigned Serge as Lynx's DNA, though this was not a full body changing.
Chrono Cross's plot alone is a challenge to understand fully, but as you may now judge from this article, the Dead Sea is possibly the most hard-to-understand topic in the entire Chrono series. Producing this analysis required much discussion and many chats; most theories presented were not developed alone, but were the result of group discussion. This article would not exist without the contributions of the members, whose different ways of thinking allowed ideas to be evaluated, refined, and ultimately presented here. I pray that the release of this article will symbolize the fall of the most extensive enigma of the Chrono series, and will allow readers full comprehension of the Dead Sea and its phenomena.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to give us feedback by replying to this article.
Acknowledgments and Thanks
Major thank yous go to --
- Everyone who participated in discussion on the subject.
- Everyone who has read work on the Compendium or has joined the ranks of its members.
- Everyone in the springtime of youth. Yoshi, ikuzo.