The Let's Play Archive

Ar Tonelico Qoga

by Feinne

Part 28: Clustania

The party was split. While the rest were sent elsewhere, Akane escorted Finnel to the Executive District.

Video- “Finnel and Akane”


There's no need to worry. They'll come to the Executive District, as well, later.
Then...why are you sending them to the Slave District?
Before they can enter Clustania, they must pass the proper examinations.
Proper...? Please don't make them do that!
We can't make any exceptions. It's prohibited by law.
And on top of that, I warned you already.
If you aided them further, I wouldn't be lenient. Why did you help them? Furthermore, you aided the Archian Army!
I'm sorry, but I...
But I'm glad. Since you left, I've been worried about you... Even when we met at the Moebius Factory...
You're a precious friend.
But if you defect from Clustania, you must be punished accordingly.

You should never have left Clustania. You should've left your life extension up to those in charge.
Why shorten your life more by going out to Great Fang...!?
...You'll never understand.

Speaking of, Aoto was far below in a dingy cell in the Slave District.

Video Record- “Aoto at the District”


Anyway, my first concern now is...

While Saki was of course in trouble, he was even more worried about Finnel, taken away personally by the General. Though they seemed to know each other, would she really be alright?

Finnel... She was taken by Akane... I hope they aren't torturing her...
...Damn it! I have to be with Finnel! Why am I here!?
I have to find a way to escape...

The door, though, wouldn’t open.

Please undertake the inspection and arrangements. By going through several programs, your limit will increase.
For details, please consult the Guest Capsule.
...Oh, so I can't even get out of this room without going through an inspection?

So he investigated the ‘Guest Capsule’.

When you enter Clustania, it is required that you receive inspection and arrangements that are stipulated by law.
The inspection and arrangements will be performed by a simple procedure. Please wait while we prepare the capsule.
Once they're are all finished, you'll become an official visitor of Clustania.
Please enter the capsule now. The verdant nature and blue skies of Clustania await you.
What was that...? I guess they want me to lie down in this little capsule...

No amount of force could get me into that thing but Aoto’s a moron so he was seriously going to go through with it.

Fortunately a tiny child, armed with his extensive knowledge of things even a child should see are things you shouldn’t do, burst in and stopped him. No, I’m not making this up.

Whoa!? What’s this little kid doing here…!?
???: Once you go in there, your life is over!
Who the hell are you!?
???: When asking for someone's name, it's common courtesy to announce your name first. Teacher taught me that!
Oh...sure. I'm Aoto.
Totora: I'm Totora! Nice to meet you, buddy!
So, Aoto, do you know the other names for the examinations and what they make you do afterwards?
...Other names?
Totora: It's called Purification, but sometimes they also call it Cleansing.
Cleansing!? You mean like when they blow away entire cities!?
Totora: People tend to believe that's the definition of Cleansing, but it actually means to Purify people.
They only annihilate towns when they can't Purify the people...
Oh, well, the more you know...
Totora: Aoto, you're really lucky. If I didn't stop you, you'd be dead by now. Come with me. I'll show you around the city.

As Aoto was escaping, Finnel and Akane reached the belly of the beast, the rotten heart of Clustania. The core of its mainframe, the Harvestasha Module.

Video Record- “Her Divinity, Harvestasha”


Thank you, Your Divinity.
You're so calm about doing cruel things. You took advantage of the enemy's hacking by feeding them bullcrap.
I'm really glad I put you in charge of this mission, General Akane.
Excuse me, Harvestasha, Your Divinity...
Long time no see, Finnel. Akane gave me all the details.
You entered Hyuu-man Society and found the owner of the Fourth Dimensional Core Square Ring?
Indeed, Your Divinity. This was entirely Finnel's achievement.
And where is that lowly creature now?
She is undergoing Purification in the Slave District, along with her allies.
I see... Good for you, Finnel. Your life will be saved now.
Okay, if you want to live longer, go and bring them to me.
Is it permissible to dispatch Finnel to the Slave District? We don't know if they're completely brainwashed yet...
...Sure, why not?
Yes, Your Divinity. Your orders shall be carried out. Now go, Finnel.
Y-yes, General!
Now, I must go deliver my orders to the officers. If you will excuse me...

While Harvestasha seemed to trust Finnel, Akane felt it important to remind her of how close she came to very real trouble.

I have business to attend to, but I won't send anyone to go with you. As a friend...please don't betray my trust.

With Finnel gone, Akane got back to work.

Clustanian Soldier: Hah! Yes, General!
Command the entire fleet to set forth towards Great Fang. All Clustanian forces are to zero in on Archia.
Once this mission succeeds, the balance of power between us will tip...greatly to our advantage.
Remind everyone that what we are about to achieve will be a defining moment in history!
Clustanian Soldier: Yes, General!

The dreaded Clustanian fleet turned its gaze to Archia, and that was just one prong of the attack.

At the same time, a dedicated effort began to shut down Archia from the inside.

Archian Soldier: All access to the Tower of Origin has been cut off. We can't reach the SH Server!
Plus, radar has detected that Clustanian forces are heading this way! Their ETA is in about 10 minutes!
...Worst case scenario, we'll abandon the Think Tank. Everyone who survives must defend the XP Shell at all costs!
Archian Soldier: Roger that, Chairman!
Hacking into our network as a decoy... They're crafty. Yet, we've already retreived all the information we need.

Raphael would have been in real trouble, if he didn’t have an ace up his sleeve.

Do you have any requests, sir?
Handle this situation.
Uh, sir, that's impossible. How are we supposed to save you from this? Your forces can't even stop them.
Just do something about it! That's your job, understand!? I've paid you a lot, so you better meet my expectations.
Yes, sir. But we'll have to charge you a premium rate for this.
Hmph, do as you wish.
By the way...your product, the virus it really going to work?
You don't need to fret over that, sir. The whole other world that we used to live in was almost destroyed by it.
Unless something extremely unusual happens, like the Rinkernator stops working, it'll work like a charm.
Alright, we'll get on with the mission, sir.
Hmph...why don't I watch these hicks handle this situation...?

He’s lucky I was back on Sol Ciel and not hearing him badmouthing one of my viruses. Anyway Aoto and the kid who rescued him started moving around the Slave District to find the others.

Totora: There are manholes in houses and streets all over the place. They're pretty easy to open, so you can travel underground.
Many of the streets are blocked off on the surface.
Let’s go, buddy!

The Clustanians weren’t really expecting escape attempts, so there weren’t any real patrols of the District. There were some guards, though, including one who was new on the job…

Totora: Yo, babe…
H-hey, wait!
Totora: What's wrong, Aoto! Oh, I see! You haven't been Purified, so you'll be in trouble if she catches you!
You're the same, aren't you? You'll get in trouble if she catches you, too!
Totora: Do you know that babe?
Well, she's more like...a hostile acquaintance. But why is she here anyway!?
Totora: Don't worry. She's a good prison guard.
Totora: We were actually supposed to be Purified too, but she saved us.
She secretly gave us the key to the underground path, too. She promised she would let us escape back to Archia.
She did all that? But why...?
...Anyway, for several complicated reasons, I'd rather avoid her.
I'll sneak past her while she's looking the other way.

This forced them to move on a sort of odd path through the District. After quite a bit of searching they managed to find Saki, which itself caused another unexpected reunion.

Video Record- “Saki’s Kids”


I'm glad you're okay.
Totora: Ms. Saki!?
...Is that really you, Totora!? What are you doing here!?
Huh? What's going on?
He is one of the kids who used to be at the pre-school.
What!? Are you serious?
Did you come here all by yourself?
Totora: Uh-huh. The other kids are nearby, too. We all missed you, Ms. Saki! I'll go tell them to say hi to you!
Uh, hey!
Kairi! Renny! I'm glad you all look so great!

And so Saki was reunited with some of her children.

How did you kids end up here?
Totora: The pre-school closed down a little after you left...and I didn't have any place to go.
The three of us were living in the empty pre-school. And then one day, the Clustanians came...
What...? Were you guys okay? Did they do anything cruel to you!?
Kairi: They asked a buncha questions about you. But I di'n't like 'em, so I just told 'em, "I don't know anything!"
Rendeisha: But...they arrested us, and brought us to this place.
Oh no... I'm sorry you had to go through all that because of me...
But, I'm glad that you helped these children, Aoto!
Actually, they're the ones who saved me.
Totora: That's right! Without my warning, he'd be dead by now.
...Oh, really? Thank you, Totora for saving Aoto.
Kairi: So, Ms. he your boyfriend?
Wh-what are you talking about, you little brat!
Kairi: Ahh, Ms. Saki is blushing!
Rendeisha: So's that dude!
Totora: He must be her boyfriend!
...Give us a break!

Saki wondered how they children had escaped, and the answer was quite a surprise to her.

Oh, that...
Totora: Yeah! I'll ask the guard chick to let you and Aoto escape, as well.
Totora: Uh-huh. That way, we can all go back to Ogai.
Th-that's not gonna work!
Totora: Why not?
They're talking about Butch...
What!? B-but...why is Mute over here?
I don't know what's going on, but for some reason, Butch saved these kids.
Mute saved them...?
Totora: Uh-huh. She's actually really nice. I bet she'll help you, too!
Th-thank you, Totora, but I don't think she can save me...
Totora: Why? Did you get into a fight with her?
...Well, it's-...

Aoto actually did an almost cool thing for once and explained it in a way that sounded like Mute wasn’t constantly trying to stomp them and capture Saki.

Totora: What!? Then it's your fault, Aoto!
Kairi: Yeah, you shouldn't be so possessive, or else she'll end up feeling suffocated in your relationship!'s okay.
Rendeisha: ...Ms. Saki?
Ms. Saki wants to stay with Aoto, too.
Totora: Awww...
Kairi: They really are a lovey-dovey couple!
Rendeisha: Aoto and Ms. Saki, sittin' in a tree...
Totora: Alright! ...Then I won't tell her about you two.
Thank you.
Come on, you guys are coming with us.
Totora: No. I like the guard I don't wanna leave without saying goodbye to her.
Rendeisha: Me, neither.
Kairi: We'll be fine. I know she'll keep her word to us.
Totora: But, Ms. Saki, once you excape from here, you have to come visit us in Ogai, okay?
Kairi: That's right! I wanna play with Ms. Saki again!
Rendeisha: Alright, everyone...I promise. So, please stay safe until then!
Totora: Uh-huh!

With the children gone, it was time to search for the others. Saki, however, was still convinced that the cat helmet was an inherently good plan.

Yes! ...That means, we'll need Nyamo once again!
Well, about that...
I won't make the same mistake twice!
...Alright. I'm expecting a lot from you...

After a bit more searching they found the Doctor.

Aoto, Saki! Thank Goddess you guys are safe!
This way! Let’s get out of here!

By the time they found Cocona, Finnel had already found her.

Video Record- “Cocona and Finnel”


You guys...escaped?
I went to the shack, but it was empty. I was so worried!
I’m sorry!
But I'm so relieved that both you and Cocona are okay, nyamo!
But Finnel, I thought you went separately to the Clustanian District.
That's right, and I was told to come back after I confirmed that you guys were completely brainwashed.
But I don't like brainwashing! Hey, Aoto, since you've already come this far, please escape with Saki and Doctor!
Once you get out of the Slave District, security is a little more lax.
That's ridiculous! How can I leave a clumsy idiot like you all alone here!
I made a promise to Soma, too. Harvestasha wants to meet us. I guess this is a good chance for us.
...Thank you...
But...although we know we'll meet Harvestasha together, the question do we get out of here?

Still, things weren’t going to be easy.

Oh yeah! Why don't we pretend to be brainwashed!? We'll just shout, "Glory to Clustania!"
Are you stupid? They'll know we're pretending right away.
We'll be fine as long as we can fool the guards at the entrance. Once we get to the boss' place, we've won the game!
Maybe Aoto's got a point. Anyway, we have to get out of here somehow...
His idea is somewhat better than trying to cut through their security by force.
Yeah, maybe it'll work!
They know I work under Lady Harvy, so they won't stop us Reyvateils.
Okay, let's carry out the mission!
...I don't know about this...

Aoto still couldn’t believe what had happened with Saki and her kids.

It's interesting that the kids call you "Ms. Saki."
Wh-what's wrong with that?
I knew you worked at the pre-school, but I never imagined you were their mentor.
I feel like I have to respect you more.
Well, but the only thing I can do for them is play with them. I can't teach them anything special.
But they seemed to respect and trust you a lot.
Maybe I should start to call you "Ms. Saki," too.
N-no! I'm not used to it. I would be embarrassed.
Plus, unlike Doctor, I don't have a degree or any title whatsoever.
I see. You're not a professor or anything. And I'm not your student, either.
So, please just call me "Saki."
Plus, if you call me "Ms. Saki," I'll feel distant. That would be sad...

He had also thought of a rather odd safety concern given where they were.

Hey, isn't it kind of scary to have a manhole inside a house?
A manhole?
Yeah. Think about it.
What if it's pouring heavy rain outside and the sewage overflows?
Filthy, stinky water will come into your room with that ugly gurgling sound...
Ugh...I never thought about that.
See? I don't know why the Slave District people don't care about that.
I think it's because they're all Purified.
...Hmm...Purification is even more frightening than I originally thought.

Feinne on Qoga: Ultra-Supermoves
I’m about to make two of the Ultra-Supermoves. These are incredibly powerful moves with a special condition to use them. We need to be at our third Purge, and 30k% will be consumed from the Burst Meter. Each Vanguard can use their Ultra-Supermove once per activation of Song Magic (use a Flipsphere to be safe). There is another aspect of them we’ll see when we use them where the game just doesn’t give a fuck and is trolling you. I can’t make Cocona’s yet because I need a V-Board I can only buy in Ciela Gate and I can’t get to the World Map right now.

Aoto had come up with an even more powerful move to combat the terrifying enemies they might face in Clustania.

Damn! I'm still inexperienced!
...Aoto, what's wrong!?
My Supermove wasn't good enough, but I was so drunk off my fake moves and excitement.
I think it was strong enough. Is that really not enough for you?
Huh? Aoto, what's this book?
It's every man's bible!
No way... Could that possibly be...?
It's a sumo wrestlers' book, right?
Oh, that's a sumo wrestlers' book... But why is that every man's bible?
I was moved when I saw these pictures of fighters bumping each other!
Charging at their opponent, never retreating... Push, push, and push!
...Awesome! This definitely is a true man's fight, don't you think!?
I don't know, but I think those sumo wrestlers look very tough and admirable.
Aoto, don't say your next Supermove is going to be a sumo move.
Not a sumo move...
But a move based on sumo moves!
To make it useful in a real fight, I first need to add a new function to my weapon.
He started synthesis without explaining enough about it. What should we do?
Let's wait. We shouldn't disturb him.

I don’t even know how this worked but I’m assured it did.

He isn't saying a word, but I'm sure he succeeded.
Yes! Aoto, you look very pleased!
I am pleased. This is a Supermove of every man's burning passion!
It's finally become a real move!
That's good, but please tell me what kind of move it is.
A drill.
...A drill again?
Well, it's a different kind of drill. "How?" you may ask. It's got way more zeal!
Could you explain it to us a little more clearly?
Well, before, I was just thrusting the drill and that was it, right?
This time, however, it won't stop until my drill shatters the enemy to pieces!
The drill reacts to my yell! It'll start to create a giant drill out of Grathnodes.
And it thrusts forward, forward, and forward! It only goes forward!
...That sounds really macho.
But it also sounds like a very powerful move! I can't wait to see it!
Yes, you can expect a lot from it. I mean, please look forward to it!
I'll let you guys witness my shout to tomorrow and the unstoppable charge!
...But please be careful with the neighbors.

Doctor Gojo was also thinking of a way to inflict more damage on the enemy.

Doc, are you making up a new move?
Yeah, I though I would come up with an even better idea.
I don't know... It's kinda hard to come up with a better Supermove, since your weapons are limited.
I know. I can't think of any, either.
I have no idea. I'm sorry...
Well, to be honest with you guys, I actually have an idea.
The problem, though, is its order...
Order? What do you mean? Are you gonna do sequential Supermoves?
That's right. But it seems impossible to complete all of the skills in a row.
So, besides the order, I'm thinking of what to use and what not to use.
...I wonder what it's gonna be like.
I don’t know…
It's going to be a series of Supermoves, right?
Well, I didn't have to fix his weapon or anything this time. Let's just watch him do his thing.

He ended up settling on a devastating combination of his current moves.

...Okay, it should work now.
Oh, it seems like it's done.
Congratulations! It's finally done!
Well, yeah, more or less. All I need to do is use it in a real battle.
What kind of skill is it?
As I told you, it's sequential Supermoves.
It's actually a combination of the Supermoves that I've invented.
So, you're doing those Supermoves in a row?
I see. That's putting it in a new way.
Well, I'm not going to use all of them, so it's not quite a medley of all of my Supermoves.
But I'm sure it's going to be really powerful.
I want to see that, too. Please use it in the next battle.
I want to see that, too! I'd love to see Doctor Gojo's Sequential Supermove!
As for its name...
I call it Gojo Forbidden Fix. If you have any better ideas, please let me know.

Feeling ready, they followed Finnel to the way out of the District. As for what happened there, that will be a story for another day.