"To Save A Friend"

The woman, bruised and having just been unceremoniously dumped onto the floor by some coquettish jester girl, was absolutely livid. But she wasn't even concerned with the dumping aspect, it was the scene she had just been ripped from. Fire in her eyes, she whirled around and glared with extreme malice at her captor, a feline demi-human who seemed extremely calm about all this.

"Doctor Lucca Ashtear," he said simply, he voice cold and ruthless. Lucca glared, trying to focus her naked eyes to her surroundings. It was very difficult to see without her glasses. She suspected that he had knocked them off on purpose.

"How dare you even utter my name, you beast!" Lucca cried, her voice echoing throughout the cold steel chamber they were in. "How DARE you. After...after what you did to those children! Their home!! Their--LIVES!!" The demi-human had absolutely no reaction to her rage, not even twitching a whisker.

"Perhaps zey made eet all out alive, non?" the harlequinn girl said from somewhere to the side of Lucca.

"ALIVE?!" Lucca shouted. "How could they---you and your awful magma monsters scared them into hiding! They were too frightened to make an escape....Benny, and Robert, Celia, Jolene--ohh, and Kid! She was right there beside me....she screamed when you knocked my glasses off! And you didn't even flinch..." She was burning with rage now, she had half a mind to bake this fiend with a fire spell, but she was too horrified by this trauma to dare use FIRE any longer. The mere thought of casting a spell that was the same thing that destroyed her children's lives was awful. At least, she regarded them as her children. Every last one of them.

"Lucca Ashtear, I need you to perform a task for me." the demi-human said calmly. "My name is Lynx."

"I don't care who you are!" Lucca spat. "I'm not doing anything until you tell me why you did this."

"Very well, but it's more simple than you think." Lynx said with a shrug of his shoulders. "I burned your house to effectively get the children away--it just wouldn't do to bloody them up if they tried to protect you! I kidnapped you because only you can perform a task that I need done."

"You heartless---all that for---but--" Lucca gasped, speechless. "Why didn't you just ASK me instead of destroying innocent lives!!"

"Because if you knew the nature of the problem, you would refuse, or so I presume." Lynx said. Lucca's fists clenched involuntarily. If she just had her Wondershot! But no. It was locked up, to prevent an accident with one of the children. But what of the children now? she thought. Poor Kid! She needed the most protection, for reasons only Lucca knew. Only two other living people knew of that secret: Luccia, a friend with whom she had left a revealing letter, and her best friend in the entire world: Crono. It had torn her not to tell Marle, but now she was queen, and she tended to blab things a bit. But that was just the way Marle was, Lucca didn't hold it against her. She turned to Lynx.

"What is your dastardly favor, then?" she demanded icily.

"There is a glitch in my computer I want you to work out. I cannot do it, and it has locked me out from an important function I need to be a part of." Lynx said enigmatically. The gears in Lucca's head began to turn.

"Computer? There aren't any of those on Zenan! Where have you taken me??"

"Chronopolis." Lynx said simply.

"What? What do you mean?" Lucca asked suspiciously.

"We aren't on ze mainland, or in Choras." the harlequinn said, anticipating Lucca's next question.

"El Nido?" she inquired, and Lynx nodded, though she could scarcely make it out.

"Well, Computer glitch or not, I'm not helping you, no matter how many functions you want to perform."

"The penalty is death, Dr. Ashtear. I suggest you repair my glitch, and then I will let you go. Then you may go and gather up your little children, and do whatever you like." Lynx said with a wave of his hand.

"Ze ones zat aren't roasted..." the harlequinn murmured with a stifled chuckle.

"R-roasted--??" Lucca cried, turning red. "I'll roast you!" she whirled and shot a fireball at the harlequinn, but she vanished.

"You might as well stay out of this, Harle." Lynx said. "Now, Lucca, it's just a simple curcuit lock. Just undo it and be on your way."

"How is it so complicated that you can't do it yourself?" Lucca demanded, then sighed. She might as well get it over with.

"But I can't see anything anyway." she mumbled. Suddenly, she was blessed with temporary sight as Harle snapped her fingers. Now she could see that she was in a huge room, with a computer terminal and a large mechanism hooked up to some sort of glowing object she couldn't make out. She walked over to the computer terminal.

"I'll just run a search on viruses." She tapped a few keys, and then stopped.

"This software is more advanced than even the programs I saw in the future!! What is this?!!"

"I suppose I shouldn't conceal it any longer, Lucca..." Lynx said slyly. "This is Chronopolis's main computer system, from the year 2400 AD. I suspected you would not have any trouble with it, being that you are the greatest scientist of your time."

"Don't try to flatter me," she snapped. "How did a computerized fortress from 2400 AD end up here? In 1020 AD?? If I hadn't seen the whole Lavos incident, I would call you crazy. What happened?!!"

"Ah, Lucca...always the inquisitive mind. Or so history has recalled you. I shall give the story to you in the simplest terms." Lynx said, fingering a whisker. "Chronopolis was in the middle of a time-altering experiment when it resulted in the Time Crash. The Time Crash hurled this place 10,000 years back into the past, while at the same time, pulling the city of Dinopolis, a Reptite city from another timeline, into the future. But all of that is mere background. What happened was, a storm many years ago caused the main computer to lose control of ...a certain thing I want. It is speculated, now, that a program dating back to the MotherBrain generation may have locked me, er, the computer out. I need you, Lucca. To fix my problem."

"Hmph. You hardly deserve it. After what you did to those children! I'll not lie to you, if I had my gun you'd have been dead long ago. And your little pity story about viruses doesn't move my heart either!" Lucca spat. "However, since you promised to let me go and leave me alone, I'll do it." She turned back to the circuitboard and tapped some more keys, her movements echoing throughout the hollow metal chamber. After a minute or so, she frowned.

"I'm not finding any viruses..."

"It has enabled itself to avoid detection. That is why I need YOU. It's a complicated procedure." Lynx said.

"Still..." Lucca said, her brow wrinkling. "I'm still not finding any viruses."

"It isn't TECHNICALLY a virus, merely a program. It was the brain-patterns of a R-Y robot unit until it was converted into a computer program."

"R-Y Robot?" Lucca asked slowly.

"Yes, and if it will help your search I believe it was called Prometheus." Lynx said impatiently.

Lucca froze. Not that. Anything but that. But, by her usual bad luck, it would have to be that particular R-Y robot. Not Prometheus. Not ROBO.

She turned to her captor.

"Ummm, Lynx...I'm not going to perform your service after all." Lucca said nervously.

"What?" Lynx asked sharply.

"I--" Lucca began, but at that particular moment, the computer chimed in neatly. Prometheus had been located. Lucca whirled and looked at the screen.

The screen blinked thoughtlessly, awaiting her command.

"Well?" Lynx demanded. "It seems the program has been found. Excellent work, now delete it. Immediately." Lucca turned and faced the computer, deep in thought.

Delete Robo? Her friend? She...couldn't do that to him. Of course, there was the possibility that this was a completely different program. But that was unlikely, Mother Brain named no two robots alike, and Robo had definitely been Prometheus.

It's just a program, half of her brain taunted. Go ahead and get rid of him...

NO! the other half protested. I can't kill Robo!

Lucca sighed heavily, her hands trembling. Not after all they had been through, not then and not now.

"You pity them, don't you Lucca??" Marle's words from long ago echoed back at her. Marle was right. Lucca did pity machines. She pitied Atropos, and Gato, and Robo for being so mistreated by humans. Sure, she treated Gato fine, but others did not. Lucca thought back to Lavos. They had saved the future so others could live---and that included Robo.

She turned to the control console, and began typing quickly.

"Get on with it." Lynx said coldly.

"You don't understand, I can't do this, he's my friend," Lucca said softly, her eyes tearing up.

"What? What do you mean??" Lynx cried, becoming animated and dashing to the console as Lucca finished typing.

Lucca pressed enter as Lynx howled with rage. Harle dashed into the room as Lucca slumped down onto the floor, sobbing happily. Friends were hard to come by, she knew, and this time...there would be no mistakes. Her friend would live.

Lynx raised his razor sharp weapon. As "Monsueir Lynx"'s weapon came down, Harle noticed something flashing on the screen. She read it.

Was all that it said.

She threw her head back, and laughed.

I just sort of felt like writing about Lucca's thoughts after she was kidnapped, and why she would be unable to locate Prometheus. Too bad he gets deleted anyway. Stupid Lynx! But yeah, I felt like tying up some details from Chrono Cross, since Lucca is so cool and all.