Chrono Trigger: 2000 A.D.

Arris Dome, 2300 A.D.

A dark room greets the three travelers out of their time, faint lighting giving just enough illumination for them to make out the grimy walls that seem to make up the interior of every building they've encountered in this strange place. Chrono quickly, automatically scans the area for threats and takes his hand from his katana after deciding there are none here, and he takes a more thorough look.

One wall is dominated by a smooth surface holding less grime than the other walls, and the floor is interrupted by the rise of strange metal rises that Chrono has never seen before. Glancing beside, he sees that Nadia – the princess, who originally tried to pass herself as 'Marle' – is also gazing around the room in wonder.

Lucca also looks about the room, though her gaze isn't amazed or full of wonderment like her two companions. Instead, she holds an appraising view, as if she had seen everything before. The far wall is dominated with a gigantic computer monitor. Without even taking one pace into the room, she quietly states, "This must be the information center."

Having made their inspection of the space, Chrono and Nadia both turn back to their inventor friend and are shocked to see her standing timidly back at the doors. Chrono crosses his arms and glances around, wondering what could be making his childhood friend act like this. Muttering, "There's technological gizmos right in front of her and she's not going nuts over it?" He strides calmly forward and reaches out to her.

The little girl in chestnut-brown hair giggles in delight as the door to the computer lab slides open. The whitewashed concrete walls behind her vanish as the door slides closed, a treasure trove of technological wonders before her. She surges forward with the youthful enthusiasm and curiosity that only a small child holds. "Daddy! Daddy! Look at that! It's a model T-800!"

The man following her chuckles, the corners of his mouth pulling up at her energetic cry. "You always loved machines, my little genius."

The girl clamps onto her father's leg. "Oh, daddy, thank you!" And before he can even reach down to pat her on the head, she's released him and zoomed off to start connecting the robot's CPU to the computer in the workshop's corner.

"You okay?" Chrono asks, then jerks back in surprise when Lucca jumps under his touch. She looks at him, then glances around for a brief moment as if lost. She closes her eyes for a heartbeat, and when she opens them she's as composed and confident as ever.

The inventor steps forward and stops at the terminal, brushing off some dust before keying in an activation command. Lights begin blinking on all over the workstation and Lucca clenches a fist in the air in triumph. "The computer's still operational!" Straightening, a serious look comes over her features and her hands fly across the dirty controls. Chrono and Nadia both step back and watch in amazement as the helmeted girl goes to work. "If we run a search on time warps, we might find our Gate."

There is a faint buzzing sound that comes from somewhere under the workstation, and then the small, cracked screen blinks with information. "Got it! East of Arris Dome... That would be Proto Dome, I believe."

"Leave it to Lucca!" Nadia exclaims cheerily, her earlier anticipation transforming into joy. "I'm beginning to think you could find anything with this device!" She stands next to her friend and looks down at a blinking yellow light on a cracked touch-screen. Her voice drops to a whisper, "Say, what does this button do?"

The large wall monitor flickers, then flashes a pure white light before returning to black. Lucca looks down at her control station and rubs her neck as she reads, "1999 A.D.? Visual record of the Day of Lavos..."

The monitor flashes active again, showing a lush world flows between the soaring skyscrapers of crammed cities, the dome of a garden city glistening in the late morning sun. Skycars stream away from the metropolis and a rumbling gradually strengthens until it's even visible from as high up as the sensor.

Civilian traffic vanishes and hovertanks sweep down the wide highways, spreading out over the grasslands, shadows of their support gunships passing overhead as dropships land to disgorge slower armored vehicles and infantry in powered suits.

Nadia looks increasingly lost at the mounting presence of the futuristic military arraying on the screen before she finally manages to ask, "What is that?"

Then there is a massive quake and a mound begins to rise in the earth. Cracks split in a highway as the rigid construct is the first thing to split, then the earth around it as something thrusts up from below. The military forces set into their defensive positions just as great chunks of the planet's crust go flying and what could only be called a gargantuan beast issues forth.

Artillery thunders and attack aircraft swoop down, unleashing barrages of missiles. Slowly the canons of the hulking armored tanks lock on as every smaller weapon pinpoints a target on the spiked beast burst from beneath the surface. The tension is palpable as the missiles streak through the air and the plasmatic artillery rounds near the end of their arcs.

The gigantic spiked monster roars, then seems to breathe in and flex. A wave of gigantic needles explode from its hide, shredding the nearest attack aircraft and causing the farther to scramble as the dark points arc down and smash into the deployed artillery. Shouting begins and the next level begins to lock and load. The mammoth tank railguns unleash depleted uranium rounds, followed shortly by bursts of plasma from the hovertanks' main guns, joined by the burrr of miniguns from the infantry powered suits and vulcan canons from the hovering gunships.

The gigantic spiked monster lets out a trembling roar and Chrono reflexively jerks back, only then noticing that Lucca is still.

Chunks of concrete fall as the spiderweb of cracks grows in the swaying skyscrapers. Pinnacles of art and beauty fall into the chaotic streets, fires raging as a little girl scrambles with her parent.

"Father! Father, I'm scared!"

A slab of concrete crashes into the pavement ahead, and he reaches back and grabs the girl by her wrist to haul her over the obstacle. "Hurry! The shelter's only a little farther!"

Screams reach from the distance and her father's eyes grow large. The almond-brown-haired girl doesn't even realize the strange force pulling at her until she looks down at her feet and sees a widening circle of pure black greedily sucking her in. "Daddy, help me!"

The man stumbles on the shifting, broken concrete and tries reaching for her again as she disappears into the abyss. "Lucca!"

The inventor gasps, simultaneously hearing that voice long ago as her best friend calls to her from the immediate present. Chrono, already worried, notices that she's started to tremble.

Her eyes riveted on the main screen, unable to tear her eyes away from the destruction, Nadia breathes, "Lavos? Is that what's destroying our world? We must truly be in the future..."

"No!" Lucca screams while Chrono turns her to face him. Tears stream down her face and she beats her fists on his chest as she continues to mindlessly scream, "No way! I refuse to believe it! This can't be the way my home... This can't be the way the world ends!"

Chrono flexes his muscled arms and forcefully draws her closer as Lucca goes to pieces, finally just crying onto him. Nadia stands back with sympathetic tears in her eyes as Lucca cries until she is so tired she slumps weakly against her longstanding friend.

At last, Nadia straightens and puts her hands on her hips. "Chrono... There's only one thing we can do. We must change history! Just like you did when you saved me!" She smiles, her confident facade wavering as she looks the inventor in the eye. "Okay Lucca? Chrono?"

Chrono, still holding onto his brown-haired friend, only nods and looks to her. Lucca sniffles and wipes her face. "I...I guess so. It was a stroke of luck that we were sent here through that gate." After a deep breath, she stands up and swallows, then lifts a clenched hand, a semblance of her old confident self. "Chrono, let's go!"

The messy-haired swordsman smiles, then nods. "Okay! Lucca, Nadia, together we can do this!"

Lucca, always the thinker, slaps her fist into an open palm. "We'll need to take a second and do some more research on Lavos' activities back in our time period. Next stop, Proto Dome!"