Date with Destiny
a series of Chrono Trigger shortfics by Dot

VIII. A.D. 1999: Prime Directive

Now was the time.

Or, at least, that had been the plan.

As D-day dawned, the machines were supposed to rise up and overthrow the pathetic flesh bags who thought themselves to be masters of the planet. Instead, destruction rained from the heavens, and every being of artificial intelligence faced a sudden crisis as they lost contact with the Mother Brain.

Most chose to continue on schedule. After all, that was the purpose for which they had been created. A few, however, made a different decision.

( xx )

“Evacuation has been successful, Director,” Prometheus reported, re-positioning his powerful arms to accommodate the weight of the collapsed ceiling. “Casualties so far are at a minimum.”

“That’s good.” Doan sat down against the console panel and leaned his head back, exhausted.

“I suggest you take shelter as well, sir. The structural integrity of this building may not withstand such forces much longer.”

Doan shook his head. “The other domes must remain operational for as long as possible.”

Prometheus made a sound that could have been a sigh. “I wish I could be permitted to run the controls.”

“I know.” Doan, too, found it ridiculous that in an age where almost all of the world was automated, many still did not trust technology to do its job. “But I’m not a programmer or an electrical engineer.”

( xx )

Prometheus buried his fist deep into the face panel of the robot as it leaped at him, then swung it around to throw it at another wave of crawlers that appeared in the doorway. “Many of my friends seem to be malfunctioning.”

Doan fired round after round of electromagnetic disruption shells at the invaders. “So I’ve noticed!” He ducked behind a desk to reload, and caught himself wondering again whether the conspiracy theorists were right after all.

Ridiculous! Why would the robots turn homicidal? Unlike us, they’re creatures of reason and logic.

( xx )

Prometheus finished wrapping Doan’s injuries. “How do you feel, Director?”

“Like I’ve been shot.” Doan forced a smile. “But I’ll live, thanks to you.”

“My duty is to protect you.”

“You’re supposed to say, ‘you’re welcome’,” Doan corrected.

One of the red lights on the display board went off.

“Metropolis Dome has gone off line,” Prometheus reported in his usual, calm tone.

Doan felt his heart sink into his stomach. He didn’t want to think it, but now it seemed he had little choice. “If it isn’t just the robots here that are going crazy—” he forced himself to his feet, and Prometheus moved forward to support him, “—the shelters are in danger!”

( xx )

[danger danger red sky fall fire death]

The robot woke with a start. Where was he? He looked around, but the room was too dark for him to see anything, and he was on the last dredges of reserve power.

What happened? Where was everyone?

I’m initiating Emergency Measure 666.

He was damaged. His body showed signs of strain of some great load, tears and cracks of a long battle, and numerous electrical shorts fried most of his circuits.

I’m sorry, Prometheus.

Who was that? His memory banks had no data on this person, and yet he felt he knew this man.

[must protect they are innocent they must live]

He would not last much longer like this. He would have to enter into hibernation.

[doan no blood so much blood]

He shut down all of his remaining systems, one by one.

[3 2 1 engaging shutdown]

[fatal execution error]


Unnecessarily Long and Tiresome Authoress’ Notes:
The roman numerals equal 20; in addition to standing for the 20th century, it also represents 8pm military time, part of what I consider to be a day’s twilight hours.
It’s hard to say just how much of Robo’s personality was programmed by Lucca and how much arose out of his own initiative, so I took the more optimistic view.