Squall and his comrades have but barely escaped from the D-District Prison when they split up to gather information on Galbadia's next moves in retaliation for the attempted assassination of Sorceress Edea. The sorceress orders missile strikes on all SeeD positions. Squall and two others make a beeline for Balamb Garden, uncertain of what has transpired during their incarceration, to warn Garden students and officials of the incoming attack; meanwhile, Selphie and the rest of the team use espionage and sabotage in an effort to stop the missile strikes on her home facility in Trabia as well as on Balamb. The latter group is slowed by the G-Army's heavy artillery after their cover is blown, but still manages a partial victory by tampering with the Missile Base's electronics. Unfortunately for Selphie, missiles bound for Trabia had already been launched; and the Garden there was reduced to ruins. At this point, it is not known whether any in Trabia survived.
This event begins as Squall lands in the heart of a student riot, needing to reach Headmaster Cid before time runs out. He and his party must fight through various barricades laid by supporters of Master NORG, a main backer of the Garden program who seeks to appease the sorceress by offering SeeD operatives as a sacrifice in exchange for ending the attacks. Cid hints at an old mechanism that might aid in the Garden's defense in its deepest sub-levels, which the party moves to investigate, then inadvertently activates. The mechanism is revealed to be an ancient Centra hoverdrive, and so Squall and his team manage to maneuver the Garden clear of the missiles, albeit by blind luck. With the Garden now mobile, Cid tries to talk NORG down, but fails. This leaves Squall's party to incur the brunt of the Shumi's wrath, and he attacks them.