So, this is what you wanted to show me?
Yes. I am glad you understand.
I don't wanna understand! Sorry, but I'm not like that. I mean all these guys with tails, who look just like me... They're a bunch of zombies.
Genomes? Is that what they're called?
Not just them, but you and me, too. It is the name of the seed given to all of us. Its name is Genome.
No wonder I never found it. It's not even on Gaia!
In most other RPGs, the main character would just now realize this is their home despite how freaking blatant it's been since we've been on Terra (or, hell, back at Oeilvert). It's pretty nice the game assumes you'd know Zidane is smart enough to pick up on the incredibly obvious clues and know this place is his home. That doesn't mean he has to like it, of course.
This entire update is going to be a massive plot dump, so get settled in as we go into the backstory of Terra and Zidane in particular.
Happy? You guys can process that emotion?
What can we do? After all, we are made that way. And we are built to watch over each other and work together as soulless Genomes.
What's it all for!? Get to the point already! How come I grew up on Gaia if I was born here!? I'm alive! I have a soul! Why is everyone here so...
We are mere vessels. You have been given a greater purpose.
Garland? Who's that?
R-Restore the people of Terra? You mean people besides these guys here?
They are merely vessels. So am I, and so are you. But the true people of Terra have been asleep for ages, waiting for their time to come.
Wait a sec! So the people of Terra are out to take over Gaia!?
What else can there be? Terra has always absorbed new planets to survive. And when the time comes, the souls of the people of Terra will occupy the Genomes. Such is the restoration of the people of Terra.
You may want to go back to Chapter 62 of this LP and read it along with this update. They foreshadow the majority of this in our trip to Oeilvert. In particular:
Then, a final resuscitation was attempted on the mother continent... Unfortunately, it ended in failure... It was later discovered to have been the catalyst... Subjects were selected...
Flora and fauna were revived, but...is still in stasis. Final results...are still pending...
Why don't they just wipe us out with magic like they did Alexandria!?
Once, Garland tried to use a more forceful method, but failed.
Because of his failure, he was forced to wait a long time.
So that's why you attacked the summoner's village and destroyed Alexandria.
Garland planned to gain control of that very cycle...
Don't worry. We'll find out more shortly. But Gaia is supposed to be exploited so the souls of Terra can be reborn in the bodies of the Genomes, with Zidane being created to play a large part in that.
Let's take a break from that and go back to the rest of the party.
And with Dagger not feeling well... I wonder where he is.
No, Dagger! You can't get up yet!
I'm alright. Listen, I want to ask you a favor.
Oh? Just tell me, and I'll get right on it!
Huh? Oh, sure. Okay. Oh, I get it! You're getting jealous!
No, I'm not... I just have a feeling something terrible is going to happen.
Alright! I'll go get him. So you just stay here and rest!
So we have control of Eiko now, and as we move around with her, we'll have several ATEs pop up, the first of which...
Why you all watch stone? Is stone edible? Or is for barbeque?
I think I lick it. You no answer, so you no mind, right?
Hmmm... Is very salty.
Huh? Oh... Hi, Quina.
They say someone always has double somewhere. There so many of you here! The world strange place, no?
Yeah, I guess...
Zidane, what matter? You no seem yourself.
Hmm? Oh, it's nothing. I'm always myself. Besides, it's not just me. You look just like your master, too.
Of course! Master Quale is Qu Clan! We same!
What he say? Same...race?
Once Eiko leaves the inn...
So, umm... What do you guys do here?
Hmm... Oh, yeah... This blue light sure is pretty, isn't it? You like it, too, right? You're all looking at the blue light.
Bless Vivi for trying so hard. (Pretend this is :unvivi:)
What do you mean? What are you doing, Vivi?
I'm trying to talk with the natives. This boy here seems to be my age and everything...
You're wasting your time. They won't give you a decent answer.
Oh... But I think I can get through to them.
Huh. I'm surprised you feel that way.
Similar? What do you mean? I know they're similar to me, but...
No, no... Not like that. They're a lot like the black mages we saw on the cargo ship, and in Cleyra... Of course, we don't look alike at all. But I can see one thing. Their minds aren't hollow.
Hmm... Not hollow, huh?
I can see the kinship between Black Mages and Genomes.
What? That's no way to say hello.
I thought we'd find some mean mothers down here, but they're all a bunch of wimps.
No challenge, huh?
Yeah, I guess not.
What a stupid question.
Sorry. I was just curious.
I only found meaning in life through combat.
Funny how you put that in past tense. All due to my wonderful influence.
Pshhh. What do you want me to do? Thank you?
How about you?
What? You mean my parents?
Zidane and Amarant have some great dialogue now that they're BFFs. It reminds me a lot of how Zidane and Blank talk to each other.
I dunno... He just left without saying a word.
Eiko will recruit Quina, Vivi, and Amarant. It's kinda silly because we're not going to have any combat with them.
One last ATE.
I told you. You are going to see Garland.
Yeah, of course. But this way is a dead end.
There is a way.
Pandemonium is the final dungeon of FF2. Next update we'll get the music for this area, and it's pretty much the music of FF2's Pandemonium placed over Garland's theme. Seriously, it feels like this game has more callbacks to FF2 of all games than any other.
I don't care what I am... I was born here, wasn't I?
You learn quickly.
I just... If we are actually relatives, then...
Now back to Eiko.
You saw Zidane!?
Hello!? Why didn't you stop him!?
Huh? How come... He was acting kinda strange.
Yeah, seems so. He had a real serious look on his face.
I knew something was wrong...
Gonna go look for him, right?
Now we can enter that green light in the center.
He went on his own to see Garland.
But Zidane wouldn't just leave us hanging!
He went... Yes, he went to find out the reason for his existence.
Liar! That's a terrible lie!
We-We gotta tell the others!
That's going to be it for the rest of the party this update. We're gonna focus on Zidane and Garland from here on out.
Talk about bad taste in interior decorating.
So, here we go. Get ready, we're gonna learn some things now.
Twelve years ago, I lost one of my most prized Genomes. I created him and sent him to Gaia to disrupt the cycle of souls there.
Shut up! Nobody tells me what to do! And I didn't come here to answer to you!
And what if I am?
Then you're goin' down! But first, you're gonna tell me everything! Like, why did I grow up on Gaia, and why do you want to destroy it!?
What did you just say!?
Of course, not everything went as planned. You growing up on Gaia, for example.
He!? Who the heck are you talking about!?
Someone you know quite well.
Garland does a lot of teleporting around.
You move Zidane and use action prompts to jump between platforms to catch up to Garland, who dumps plot on you before teleporting away and you chase him again. I'll cut all that bullshit out, of course.
I constructed the Genomes to be vessels for the souls of the people of Terra when they awaken. But 24 years ago, I gave life to a Genome that was very much like you. His will was too strong to make him into a proper vessel, and I even considered discarding him.
I sent that Genome as my servant, to disrupt the cycle of souls on Gaia.
Yeah, so tell me who he is already!
Alike? I've never met anyone like me...
You judge only by appearances. I mean someone with a soul similar to yours. The one I sent to Gaia might also be called your brother...
He is only hiding it. He denies his own identity. He rejects the meaning of his existence and tries to assert his own individuality.
Shut up! I'm not like him at all!
He said the same thing when speaking about the other Genomes: 'I'm not like these guys.'
To bring war and chaos to Gaia... That was what I sent him to do. To induce an unnaturally chaotic flow.
So then, why-
The disruption of the flow of souls is best brought about by war. And what he did for me far exceeded my greatest expectations.
When you received the gift of life in Bran Bal, Kuja could not bear it. He oculd not bear to see a Genome with more power than his own; he felt threatened.
So I was to be your slave, just like Kuja, to start a war on Gaia?
That is correct. I did not expect Kuja to abandon you, but I believed it was his nature. And to him, bringing war to Gaia would prove his victory over you. Perhaps it is because of his desire to justify his existence that he let you live as well.
So, that is why the blood of thousands had to be spilled?
Are you referring to Kuja's ambition? Or to our plan to disrupt the cycle of souls?
I want to disrupt Gaia's cycle and drain its souls, filling the void with the souls of Terra. To speed the cycle of souls is to speed the work as a whole. Thus, war...
You saw it with your own eyes. You saw the Iifa Tree and the Mist it emits.
Oh yeah? But we stopped the Mist! So much for that!
All you saw was the back of the tree... Even now, the Iifa Tree blocks the flow of Gaia's souls, while it lets those of Terra flow freely.
Think of it as an observatory. A place to measure the radiance of Gaia and Terra.
What are you talking about? And what is this weird light?
That is the center of the planet. The end and the beginning of the cycle of souls.
That is why I wrapped up the light in the Iifa Tree, to prevent the cycle of the judgment of souls on Gaia from inside the planet. Such is the Iifa Tree's true purpose, its true form. All you saw was its material form. The flow of Gaia's souls cannot be changed simply by stopping the disposal of Mist.
I don't think it's really explicitly stated in-game, but Terra actually exists within Gaia due to the failed attempt at merging the two planets alluded to in Oeilvert. The red moon we've seen is the former moon of Terra (with the blue moon being Gaia's).
Yes, my angel of death. But only until you came of age.
What do you mean!?
You mean you won't need Kuja's soul once I grow stronger than him?
Precisely... Soon, that time will come.
Forget all that. You are destined to live among the stars for all eternity. You have the power, the position, and the motive to do it.
If you say I have a motive, then it's to punish all of you who brought pain to my friends!
Shut up! I've heard enough of your crap! I'm taking you out, right here, right now!
But I have no choice.
I can't believe I actually returned to this place, but... Soon... Soon, the power will be mine alone.
I'll exact sweet revenge upon you both for insulting me!
We've got three factions clashing against each other. Zidane, representing the people of Gaia, Garland, representing the people of Terra, and Kuja, representing himself. Which will come out on top?
Next time, my favorite part of the game.