Part 12: Behind the Train
It's a really popular place to hide, for some reason.
Where did Geo go? He gone.
: ...Mr. Copper here. He sure is taking a while. I wonder if he's OK? He didn't get caught on the way here, did he...?
Breaking news, old man shouts at clouds.
: *huff, huff* It finally stopped. *huff* You won't get away from me...
: Now, Geo!
We can actually just sit here as long as we want. Nothing happens until we hit the button on screen, though.
I wonder if this is the red ball that Joe saw above his machine? It probably was, if you want to make a few inferences about the density of waves making it easier to see EM beings like Navis.
Good lord, why would a Navi be designed to throw a pitch that hard. Did Geo remove the safety feature.
: Nice pitching! A perfect strike. Or should I say a "dead ball"?
Kill the Umpire.
Oh also we probably just gave Bob Copper brain damage.
: Don't worry, you only knocked him out, kid. Now let's check out his Transer.
: Ah, um... Yeah...
Conveniently, whatever Z Wave reflector thing he had up went down as soon as Geo knocked Bob out, so we can jump right into his Transer.
: ...Detective Bob Copper, charged with the task of totally eradicating Z wave radiation.
We haven't seen any of these cards yet. But they look like guns a little bit.
FireBazooka is a strange choice, I think.
: Z waves are EM radiation given off by extraterrestrial beings whose bodies are composed of waves in the RF spectrum. Location where incidents have ocurred thought to be related to Z waves are A point @1785kHz; B point @2317kHz; C point @2109kHz; observed from coordinates 19283. 87347. 1349.
: Geo Stelar is a primary suspect.
Ooh, that's a lot of words. He wasn't joking about putting all his information in his Transer.
Usually cops operate in groups of 2. I wonder if Bob is just a loner because everyone thinks he's crazy. Sadly, he's usually the most correct out of all the NPCs aside from the heroes.
: I asked my dad that once... He said they are a group under the Force Satellite's control. They deal with things regular police can't.
: I see. Having them on our tail is gonna be bad.
: I got it. Go into his Transer one more time.
: No way. What are you going to do?
: Just do it, kid! Trust me.
Yeah, they'll deal with things regular police can't! Like fire bull monsters, or dancing swans in zero G, or... ...Huh. I guess he actually is trying to take care of those things, come to think of it. The police are (mildly, and almost approaching) competent in this game!
Police....Competent? Can those words be used together in a sentence like this? In a universe like this? A-Aaaaaaaaaaa
: We're going to be in so much trouble randomly erasing stuff from people's Transers!!
: Shut up!
Please continue, Mega
I love this. But when he wakes up, he's going to think Geo had something to do with it since the notes point to him as a primary suspect.
: I'm erasing everything he knows about us! Haaaaah!
: Hey, calm down... Oww! Waaah!! If you touch that... Aaah! Yeeow!! Stop it already! Aaagh...
And then fade to white.
: *huff, huff* I've deleted all the stuff he had on Z waves. Now let's get the heck out of here!
: U... Unngh... Huh? What am I doing here...?
Oh good, he's not actually dead.
: Oh! Z waves! I chased some strong ones here and the readings are...?
: M-M-My data is all g-g-gone!! Wh-What am I supposed to do now!?
Very convenient for our heroes that people in the Wifi Future don't have any way of making backups of their data, just in case.
...Or remember who their MAIN suspect was? I mean, he should still know that much, right?
No, Geo, that guy's a cop! Don't apologize.
: Now that we know what the old man is up to and what he knows. Let's go home. Tsk, what another fine mess we're in.
While walking around in the EM wave road, look who I ran into! Taurus Fire SP can be encountered anywhere in Echo Ridge's main road (not Vista Point) after beating his EX form.
Anyway, the only differences between the SP form and the EX form are the same as EX and base; faster, more HP, and the attacks deal more damage.
Deliberately taking those hits or not, I forgot how much SP forms hurt. The punch is up to 70 damage, and the tackle carves off 100 HP (which is more than a quarter of my max).
Because I enjoy a challenge, I'm going to beat Taurus Fire up for his SP card too. This is the one time I'll ever use SubCards; healing up after deliberately jobbing for the EX card, and then using SearchEye to lock in the fight.
Yeti is going the Giver route. I...I am shocked.
Let's see how this plays out. Unlike other backseat gamers, I can actually justify my commentary!
SearchEye will skyrocket the chance of encountering the same fight configuration as the last fight. In this case, that means I get to fight Bully Boy again without having to wander around for a year waiting for him to attack again.
Round Two goes much smoother than the one where I wanted to lose a few ranks.
My advice, videos and text on S-ranking paid off.
And that's the TaurusFire SP card, in my greedy clutches. It does a whopping 190 damage right now! Which, since I started the update with base TaurusFire, is almost doubling the firepower of the Mega card.
Notice how I mentioned "right now"? That was on purpose. SP cards have scaling damage, based on how quickly you delete the SP version of the boss. 30 seconds and above is the weakest, while 10 seconds or less is the strongest. TaurusFire SP can go up to 280 damage, which is absolutely insane for this part of the game. (Trick is getting that 10 second delete time, though, and my cards just aren't strong enough yet.)
In Battle Network, usually SP cards max out at +100 damage from the original damage for single-hits, and +50 for multi-hits. Taurus starts at 180 base, and ends at 280, so this follows the rule. Hard to say if every Mega card in Starforce follows this, but it'll be fun to check.
Now that I've taken care of everything in Echo Ridge, let's go to sleep.
Huh, this feels familiar. (I was sorely tempted to try to squeeze the first part of this update into the end of Part 10, but there was no way it was going to fit)
: Morning... already...? ......Mega?
: I'm here today.
Aw shit it's the cops again.
Satella Police open up.
: But mom'll get the door... Wait! Mom's got her part-time job again today. Guess I have to go answer it... ...Why does this feel so familiar...?
Hey! I already made that joke. You take it back, game.
: Mega's here with me today...
: Heh, if it's him, I'll give him a nice little nap.
Mega's version of problem solving is my favorite, not gonna lie.
ArmNavi is straight-up gangster.
: I could pretend I'm not home, but what if they need to find mom for something important...? Alright, I'll get the door.
I guess peepholes don't exist in this universe?
If you're selling something, we don't want any. Probably.
This really is just a replay of the cop, huh? Well, it's a good joke anyway.
: Um, who are you, mister...?
: Oh, I did it again!
That is a smug-ass icon, though.
: I'm looking for someone, uh... um... I'm not a thief, so please stay calm, yes!?
: So are you looking for a kid named Sonia?
: How did you know I was looking for Sonia!? Are you hiding her by chance!? Hmm!?
: You're the one that kept saying, "Sonia." And no, I don't know where she is.
People may complain that Geo isn't Lan, but I usually find Geo to be better written than Lan is.
Who seriously complains about this? Character-anything in Starforce is better than character-anything in Battle Network. Period. Yes, even Zack. Now shut up, Yeti.
: S-So, have you seen Sonia Strumm around? You know what she looks like, yes?
: Well, I know her name, but I have no idea what she looks like.
: WHAT!? You've never seen her!? You need to watch more TV! How do you make conversation at school then??
I have to imagine this is like some kid saying "I don't know who Benedict Cumberbatch is" or "What's Fortnite" in the equivalent of late elementary school these days. (I was usually that kid to be honest)
: It's OK to worry about your own problems, but I have to find Sonia! Where did she go!? We have a live concert to do tonight! I'm Sonia's manager.
For those who were wondering, this guy probably isn't Sonia's father. It's definitely written to parse that way at first (Where's my daughter?!-type panic) but nope, he's just her boss.
: If you see that girl, contact me immediately!
: Mega, let's take a walk outside.
: You gonna look for your sweetie? Unless you've decided to be a fad-follower?
: It's not like that at all!
Hmm, we did run into a girl recently with a suspiciously unique sprite...
And as soon as we step outside, the Help signal goes off again. I wonder if it's that old guy, trying to cross the street still.
Something I almost forgot! After you see the cutscene with Zack and Bud, their houses open up to be explored and not just their Wave Roads.
...in reality, only your arms get longer...
What a wiener.
And, since naturally I need to be as inefficient as possible, there's a wavehole here that I didn't check out on my first run. This is your fault, Zack.
Man, fuck Zack.
...really see in it are Luna and Bud...
A pity picture, to be sure.
What a loser. I bet he sits on the top bunk and just drops the ball in and feels proud of himself.
Worse. He can't even lift the basketball.
...every one, he must be really smart.
Zack is exactly the type of nerd to just buy encyclopedias and never read them.
Buying encyclopedias when you have the Internet at your disposal? Laughable.
It looks like he has glasses for every occasion!
Getting a swirly, getting shoved in a locker, getting pantsed...
Just how many of the same shirt does he have??
Yes, even the narration is getting in on it!
That's your cue, thread. Jump in and bully the poor NPC!
Why would you not just... climb up somehow? Why the unnecessary lift system that's definitely going to break in the middle of the night?
No strength to climb a ladder, I bet.
Bud's room is open too! Though the Help signal isn't coming from here, either.
It's really bad to waste energy like this.
In grand tradition, at least one of the Trio's houses contains the latest Nintendo home console. You can see Bud's got the Wii sitting on his desk right there.
There's also another wave hole here. Sigh. At least I can get them both in a single trip.
There's not much fight left in it.
Bud, c'mon. At least throw your garbage away, man.
It's hilarious to me he almost gets a girlfriend in Starforce 2.
: Why can't the concert start already...?
Better not tell him that if Sonia's still missing, there won't be a concert.
Let's take care of those comps really quick before we move on with everything.
: OH, YOU SCARED ME! THIS EXERCISE MACHINE WILL MAKE YOU TALLER, BUT WITHOUT ME, IT'S JUST AN ORDINARY SET OF BARS! THAT SAID, IT DOESN'T SEEM TO HAVE ANY EFFECT ON ITS OWNER! *BEEP BEEP* STRRRRETCH!
There you go, Giver. Insult the Mr. Hertz and you're supporting Zack. You can't, can you
You kidding me? I can do both.
This Hertz is clearly part of a defective model, and Zack didn't know better because he's a dipshit.
I didn't take a screenshot of it, but this comp is a good source of WideWave1 if you need it for some reason and didn't collect a bunch in AMAKEN.
Blue datas took a nerf in the series, god damn.
This one has actually useful enemies.
The two new viruses in the Video Game Comp are MonoSword and LupiNatra. MonoSword is in an invulnerable (except to Breaking moves) statue form until you enter the column, and then lunges down it to slash you.
Like so. The counter timing is as the virus swings at you.
LupiNatra hops around in the back for a bit and then sings a song. While singing, Megaman can't move. A time-waster, and one that can screw you up if you needed to dodge something. Since the shield exists though, it's much less dangerous.
BraveSword is actually a really good chip.
I fucking love BraveSword. That was my shit.
BraveSword is basically "LongSword but better in every way" so if you're still using any of the sword chips, switch it out immediately. Hell, use it even if you're not, 100 damage at high speeds is worth it.
And it fucking BREAKS SHIELDS. Yes. Use BraveSword you fools.
Even Bud's BMW are more useful than Zack's.
: HUH? WHAT AM I DOING? ISN'T IT OBVIOUS? I'M HAVING A HEAD-TO-HEAD BATTLE. YOU KNOW WHEN YOU PLAY THE CPU IN A VIDEO GAME? WELL, I AM THE CPU! OH, HERE WE GO AGAIN. A RE-TRY. *BEEP BEEP*
Say what you will, but having a thinking program controlling the AI sounds kinda cool for things like tactics games and fighting games.
Except if it's Mysterious Figure from Birth By Sleep.
After taking care of that, there's really only one other place the Help signal can be coming from.
Sure enough, it's blinking from this train.
: ...somewhere around here...
I wasn't joking about the update title, by the way. Everyone's hiding here.
: A-Are you... Sonia Strumm?
: Some guy who says he's your manager is looking for you. Something about a concert and what to do...
: ...hold it for his own selfish reasons. ...Please. I don't want to go back. Take me where no one will find me. Please.
: Where are you!?
There's a lot to unpack with this storyline. Most of it has to do with how idols (especially child idols) are treated in the business.
: If I cancel the concert, it'll be my neck. I have to find her no matter what...
That is to say, "poorly". Most idols are worked to the bone making money for whoever their producer is, and they very rarely see much of it. Once they're too old to appeal to a wide crowd (of sweaty guys), they're tossed aside to make room for the new, fresh, younger faces.
They have to put on a bright and smiling face for the audience, no matter what. And, they can't be involved in any scandals at all. At the time of writing, a few months ago (January 2019, for the sake of the LP Archive) there was a huge scandal where it was revealed that an idol had been forced to apologize for... talking about how she was assaulted in her house and her management did nothing. SHE had to apologize.
(Not now, Blinky! I'm on a diatribe!)
: I... I don't want to sing...
: I think this guy, I know, Mr. Boreal, would let you hide out at his lab for a while.
In this case, Sonia is running away because she doesn't want to do the concert. While I understand the manager's side of things more than when I first played the game (a kid under his care ran away, the concert would have to be refunded, loss of pride for the company, etc etc) it's hard not to see this as commentary towards how idols are treated.
(I know I talked about a lot of this in the Operate Shooting Star LP, but some readers may not have read that LP!)
Which you should. Go back and read.
: (It's not like you. Dare I say it's love...?)
: (Mega! I just understand how she feels, that's all... That's why I'm going to help her. But that's as far as it goes.)
Of course it also has to do with the themes of this game (we all remember Mega's comment about the loneliness waves from the last chapter, right?) as well. But, that's something that'll come up later.
: N-Nobody! Just myself! Well, want to get going?
Geo you're really bad at this whole "keeping Mega a secret" thing.
This kid never got practice by lying to his parents like a certain co-commentator.
That's the end of the cutscene and we're given control of Geo after he and Sonia wander off together. Naturally, the first thing I did was check if there was any funny dialogue for pulsing in. There wasn't. Sigh.
: ...so there are no visitors on the premises.
Conveniently, the museum is closed, so nobody will be able to sell out Sonia.
Alright Boreal, let's talk. You gonna be cool, or you gonna be a cop?
: Well, this is a surprising request for you to make, Geo. ...Did something happen at home?
: Um, something like that... So can I stay?
: Y-Yes... I do.
: Ah, you don't have to tell me or anything. We all have something troubling us. There isn't a person alive who doesn't. When I was your age, I had things happen in my family all the time. So it's OK for you to stay here today.
Boreal here is coming off as the mature, understanding adult in the room. Probably because he's been through a lot of this stuff before? But it's a little surprising that he's just going to let this girl stay here.
: But make sure you go home tomorrow. Deal? Your parents are probably more worried about you than you think.
: ......Yes, sir.
: Well, Geo, do you want to stay overnight too?
: Ah, that's OK. I've gotta go home...
Do they just have beds somewhere or something? They've gotta, unless Boreal's asking them to just sleep in the chairs.
: You've helped me so much, and I didn't even ask. I'm sorry... and... thank you...
: Y-You're welcome.
: Why don't you two form a BrotherBand!? You know, Geo, your dad always said, "Anything you can't solve on your own, can be overcome with the help of a friend. Other people can make us stronger, and we can give other people strength, too. If every person on this planet were connected by BrotherBands, we'd all live in a wonderful world where we could support each other."
This, on the other hand, comes right out of left field. "Hey Geo you helped this girl run away from her parents, wanna be best friends with her?"
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE FRENZ!?!?! is all I got from this. Boreal means well, but god DAMN does he try too hard.
Of course he says no. I've worked with Giver for a while at this point on LPs, and I still wouldn't want to be in a BrotherBand with him.
: Ha ha ha. Well, give it some thought.
: O-OK, I'll think about it... a little...
: We'll be waiting!
: That kid has his reasons for why he's not keen on getting close to other people...
At least Sonia doesn't seem mad about Geo's curt refusal.
: Heh heh! Admit it. You want to become Brothers!
: Wh-What are you talking about? I can't... You have to trade secrets when you form a BrotherBand, right? I can't tell even a Brother that I've got a weird freeloading alien living in my Transer!!
Geo, you. You don't have to tell everyone everything. Being a Brother doesn't mean sharing everything with them. You can just share one secret.
In this world, not sharing everything is considered a betrayal, I'd imagine. This is Eastern culture, for you.
: As if there's anyone else...?
That being said, I personally read that excuse as Geo is still scared to get close to other people, and that was the first excuse he grabbed onto.
Suddenly, lights out! Time to go pulse into a powerplant. Hope you're ready.
: A blackout!?
: What happened!? What happened to the emergency backup power!?
: Hmm, this isn't any ordinary blackout...
: Put on your Visualizer, kid.
: Oh, yeah...
Ah. The swirling black ball. Probably not ominous at all.
: What's that circular thing?
: That's the Z wave old man Copper was talking about! That's when it looks like when a bunch of Z waves collect and create EM viruses. If we leave it alone, it might call an FM-ian. And it's not gonna go away by itself.
: But we can't just leave it alone!!
: Give it up, kid. There's a whole bunch of these wave balls all over the lab.
: But we have to do something!
Right here is the first time, I think, that Geo is taking the initiative in this story. Everything else was either him going along with Mega, or being forced into action.
Is this... Is this character progression?
: Humans can't break wave balls, right?
: By the way... There are 5 wave balls in this lab. If you don't get them all, the power won't come back on. Got that, kid?
: Yeah, I got it.
Mega is just playing along. Good for Geo.
I swear. This is probably that black hole generator's fault.
Good news is, the antigrav still works with the power out.
Next time, we'll take care of this mess.
By the way: You can just... get these. There are special Cipher codes you can type in that aren't the usual jumble of letters. And they give you SP cards.
You know how busted regular TaurusFire was for basically all of the second chapter? Now you have SP cards in your folder as soon as you have Mega. This is the main reason I don't want to abuse Cipher, and so I'll only be getting the codes to show them off after I get the SP card normally.