Part 13: It's Just Death Metal
Fortunately, the blackout didn't affect the Wave Road at all, so we can solve this issue.
This Z Wave ball is immediately north of the pulse in point, and it is all but guaranteed to be missed if the player forgets to check up there.
Each of the Z Wave balls, when we interact with it, shunts us into a fight with at least one (usually two) G viruses.
Most of these fights last until I get TaurusFire SP. Because 190 damage kills everything except a PeekabooG or a BellGong G, and those are still easily destroyed with a few charge shots.
The other sneaky Wave ball is in the Space Sim. It's not that far in, but you'll forget to check because the game told you the Wave balls are in the Lab.
Oh look TaurusFire SP and some extra damage, that's a one-turn kill.
S-ranking pays off, people.
In good news, there's only one wave ball in each of the areas inside AMAKEN (and none outside) so once these are destroyed I can just saunter into the Lab with no questions asked.
This fight is a repeat of the last, essentially. Do better, game. Give us a giant Timebomb virus. Hell yeah.
: ODD TIME FOR A BLACKOUT, HUH?
Mr. Hertz there is a wave ball right next to you, you should know what's going on.
Something new I learned is that you can actually counter the BellGong viruses as they're about to ring the bell. Which is... weird? Maybe it has an effect on the other viruses that I just have never seen.
For once, I am completely unable to answer this. I never knew what them ringing the gong actually did.
While we're walking around, just gonna take this opportunity to jump into Sonia's Transer and invade her privacy.
Alright, looks interesting enough... An upgraded form of GroundWave, WideWave1, a bush stabbing something, and a few utility chips.
...Why not stuff like QuakeSong? I can see the healing (songs with healing power) and Invisible (she feels invisible since her needs aren't being addressed).
: ...Mama, heeelp.
Well that's thoroughly depressing!
It's still early but we have so many chips that do high amounts of damage. Maybe that's why the bosses have over 1000 HP by their second form?
: Now what? Are you going to go home?
: No, I've got to go back to where they were. I've got to give them an answer... about being Brothers...
: OK, sounds like a plan.
Mega is being surprisingly easy-going here. Maybe because Geo is actually making a decision for once instead of just letting things happen?
: ...she smells like danger... Don't let your guard down.
: Danger? As in?
: I don't know. But I just have the feeling, kid.
: Anyway, let's get back to Mr. Boreal. I've gotta give them an answer. ...... I don't think I can deal with a Brother yet...
Poor Geo. But it's a sign of improvement that his answer has changed from "I don't want a Brother" to "I can't handle a Brother yet".
Look who I ran into along the way! And, since I coincidentally have an extra SearchEye from picking it up in a BMW somewhere...
Let's try that again, with better luck, right? CygnusWing SP can get annoying to hit since he hops around so much, but his attacks still only do 50-70 damage a hit.
"only" Last update you said Taurus hits hard, and he goes up to 70. I see Yeti has gotten over his fear of SPs.
Perfect. Or, well... Not perfect, that would be a sub-10, but good enough for my purposes right now. It's still 200 damage around the entire left and right columns and back row. Which will come in very handy for the next boss.
The counter timing on that feather attack is tough; it's right before the feather touches the panel. A safe counter would require a defense of some sort.
Are you making sure to count movement spaces? CygnusSP always moves 2 times before he attacks. It's consistent in your video. Can get a slightly better time if you memorize this for each boss. You guys don't believe me? Go back and count it. I have just given you the ability to see the matrix
Alright, time to give them the bad news. Geo is a strong independent boy and he doesn't need no Brother.
: But I hope someday you can have some Brothers.
Boreal, stop pushing for it. I get that it's Geo's dad's whole thing, but please. You're not helping.
This dude is massively trying to overcorrect Geo's social issues.
: Can you please wait for me on the roof?
: Y-Yeah, sure.
The actual trigger for progress is talking to Sonia. You can just ignore Boreal entirely if you want, despite Geo saying that he needs to talk to Boreal and give his answer.
Geo, like usual, is staring up at the sky when Sonia walks out.
: Uh, um...
How dare this socially inept 10 year old not know how to make women feel comfortable.
: I wonder if Heaven is beyond those clouds...
: When I look up at the sky, I feel like I can hear my mama's voice...
I wonder if Geo, somewhere deep down, could sense that he and Sonia were alike, and that's why he helped her? She's looking for a parent in the sky too.
: My mama's body was always weak, and she was sick in bed a lot. Nothing changed for a year. I wanted to make her happy, so I thought of all these different things. That's when I started singing whatever came to mind for her.
: ...sea in the Summer, the leaves changing colors in the Fall, and snow in the Winter... I sang about whatever I saw outside my window - all the pretty things, and fun things. I turned them all into songs for my mama to listen to and enjoy.
: After a while, we wrote songs and sang together... Music was the thread that held us together...
: ...held that was sponsored by a TV station. Mama said I had natural talent, and that I should give it a try. So I went to that audition, thinking that if I became a real singer, mama would be happy. That's when mama bought this guitar for me...
It's mildly irksome that the game insists on spelling it 'mama' lowercase when, since she's referring to a specific person, it should be 'Mama'. But it's a small thing when we come right down to it, and since this game isn't Battle Network 4 I'm willing to forgive the small errors here and there.
: ...and got picked. Then I made my debut. Mama got a lot of flowers and was happy. I sang harder than before because I wanted to make my mama even happier. But now, I can't sing for my mama anymore...
: Three months ago, she went to Heaven... I continued to sing for my mama's sake... because I wanted to make her happy... But now... Since mama is already...
This game is for kids so they can't say the word 'die', obviously.
My Mama was deleted... Eh? Eh!?
: But it's all really for him to get rich. I... don't want to sing anymore.
: Um... I don't know how to put this, but saying you don't want to sing is probably making your mom sad up there...
Geo's in over his head, he has no idea how to deal with this. He barely knows how to deal with his own trauma. What he said makes some small amount of sense? But also it's not a great thing to say.
He kinda figures that out immediately and takes it back, but still.
: H-Hey! Wait!!
He's fucking trespassing. The offices should be off-limits. Tell him to leave.
Considering you need a StaffPass to even get up here... How did he get here, anyway?
: You've caused me quite a lot of trouble, missy! I had to cancel the concert because of you! Do you know how much damage you've caused!? Come on, we're leaving!!
And right about here is where the manager switches from being 'asshole person but with a point' and just becomes a straight asshole.
: I don't want to cheapen me[sic] and my mama's songs!
Honestly, Sonia's big problem here is that her reason for singing disappeared. And also that the manager is a greedy asshole. But mostly that her mother died; I guarantee the manager was making money off of her before now.
Ooh, look at Geo go.
Go, you tiny child! Go!
: You were the one hiding Sonia? Get out of my face, boy!!
: I told you to get!!
This game refuses to show physical violence, too. I don't remember, but I bet this doesn't have Lan's PET attack or anything like that.
Uh, we just had one last update.
You can't hit a child, but I guess you can hit adults without censorship. Boo. Booooooo.
: He wasn't a threat to you!
: Shut up! It's because of that punk hiding Sonia that I'm in this giant mess to begin with! Can you pay back the millions of zennys I lost!? I didn't think so! So just mind your own business, pal!!
Well, given that he owns and runs AMAKEN, it's possible Boreal could? But it's enough money that probably not.
Sonia, no, stop it with the eyes.
Blinky adding levity to the situation is a boon.
After Sonia apologizes and leaves, it's Boreal's turn.
: No, it's OK... I didn't do a good job either. Well, I'd better go...
Poor kid. He tries to help someone for the first time and then immediately gets punched for his troubles.
: If we had been Brothers, would I have been able to protect her...? ...No, I can't. I can't do it. I can't be another person's strength.
: When she was telling me about her mother, I understood what she was talking about because all the things she was saying were things that I could say about my own life. But I couldn't tell her she was saying things I couldn't say myself because I'm so... weak...
Like I said: They're very similar, in that they've both lost something and are searching for a connection. For Geo, it's space. For Sonia, it's music - and she feels like that connection is being damaged by the manager's greed.
Got anything funny to say, Mega?
: Oh, well. Enough about that. Let's head home.
Not really, but he's also not making fun of Geo. He knows the kid tried his best.
Hey, wait a minute. ArmNavi! Why the hell didn't you punch him out. You could have done it! What would he have said? "a 10 year old boy knocked me out! BOOHOOOOO" Yeah, right.
Along the way, I stopped to pick up the CygnusWing SP card since I got it legit. You're really only going to know to get these if someone tells you or if you look them up online, or if you're REALLY bored one day and try random Cipher strings.
Well, that's the end of the day. Let's just go home and sleep.
Or, not. What now?
Fuck. Zack's here. Hi Bud.
Hm? Who's Zack? I just see fat kid.
: Geo, you were at Vista Point this morning, weren't you?
: Who was that person with you?
: Weren't you with Sonia Strumm!? You have something to do with her concert getting cancelled, don't you?
Geo, accurately reflecting my exasperation with the small, tiny idiot.
I think Blinky hates Zack, too. Or Yeti be trollin'
: This is a disaster, you know!?
: I-I don't know anything...
: ...Hmm, well it's not like you know Sonia, so of course you wouldn't know.
: ...the real Sonia wouldn't hang out here. Man, when it rains, it pours. They cancelled the concert, and we're so going to get punished by the Prez for ditching yesterday...
Wow, Bud. Rude. But he's got a point. Whatever happened with Sonia, there's no way Geo would know about it - he didn't even know who Sonia was until they told him about her the day before.
: But that girl really looked a lot like Sonia. I hope I didn't make any trouble when I told Sonia's manager that I saw her get on a bus...
Oh right! Here it is! Zack's most notable contribution to the story: Fucking Everything Up.
Man, if I could totally see this 'Zack' person, I'm sure I'd be quite livid right now. But Bud is taking up the entire frame, so, alas.
Pictured: Geo plotting murder.
: She's a big star! Maybe she thought Echo Ridge was too small for a super-star like her?
: You're wrong! You don't know anything, so stop talking like you do!
: Oh? And what do you know about her!? You hadn't even heard of her until yesterday!
Zack you little shit goblin.
: I guess there are fans like you. People who think they know all and pretend they do. Well, we're fans too. We believe in Sonia. And we think some special circumstance caused the concert to be cancelled. You've become a fan of hers, right? Then don't be shy about it and say it!
: I'm... not a fan...
(I swear I'm not taking these screenshots deliberately.)
(anyone wanna bet?)
A quick fade to black, and we're back at AMAKEN.
: You've really done it now! You're going to pay back all these damages with your singing! Do you understand!?
: N-No! I don't want to sing! I don't want to sing for money! My songs are only for making mama happy!
Idols like Sonia aren't 'people' to their managers. They're something you can use to make money. And if your songbird won't sing...
: Your song is a product! I raised you so I could get cash for your singing and if you don't sing, I can't eat!
They do a very, very good job of making the manager a complete and total scumbag.
: I don't want to sing anymore...
: Making you sing so he can get money... What a terrible adult, isn't he?
: Who's there!?
: Hee hee. Over here...
Well, this is starting to be remarkably familiar.
At least this scenario was well set-up, not like the last two.
: You are a chosen one, Sonia. You have the ability to turn music into your strength... Your music is your own. If you were able to dispose those who want to use your song, or make money off of it, then your music would be yours. And then, you can keep your memory of your mama and you pristine...
: I must protect my song... But how can I do that?
This is the first time we've actually seen an FM-ian teleport. It's pretty neat.
: Once you do, I will lend you my powers. Powers to protect your music.
Just one more push and Sonia will fall straight into Lyra's clutches.
Ah, someone comes along to shove her.
Honestly, I don't even have to commentate much because this is fun to watch on its own.
: You won't get away from me again. Because now you are in some serious debt.
: Hee hee hee. Take me inside yourself, and get your revenge through the power of music.
Remember, regular humans can't see FM-ians. Only those with the 'loneliness frequency' in their heart. Greed apparently doesn't cut it.
: You must prepare for your next concert!!
: How dare you!? You'll sing when I tell you to! You got that!? So sing!!
Shouldn't he have her in a contract or something? To stop this exact situation from occurring?
I mean, a binding contract won't mean much to kids like them. Plus, I'm not sure if "transformed by FM-ian" is covered. When Sonia re-negotiates, that'll certainly be a new clause.
Well, maybe not this situation.
Becoming a fucking Magical Girl isn't covered in the contract either.
: Thank you for listening to me, Sonia. It makes me very happy. Now let's show this foolish man the power of music!
So, remember: don't poke the angsty child because they might fuse with an alien and then murder you with rock and roll.
: Hee hee... Time to deal with the fans - those that would dirty your precious song! Hee hee hee...
And away she goes. Leaving behind a corpse. (Quick someone steal the diamond on his tie)
Another fade to black later and we're back focused on Geo. My guess is, the Sonia cutscene took place at roughly the same time as Geo talking to Bud and Zack.
: (Be careful and stay on your guard.)
Oh, it's Copper.
: You two, did anything odd happen in this area? I found a large amount of Z waves, but when I got here, there wasn't anything out of place.
: No, nothing's happened around here, pops.
: The Z wave levels are sky-rocketing! It's coming from over there!!
It's amazing they all fell over in the exact same fucking pose. Despite being hit from likely different angles. Man, what the hell.
I'm not skipping anything; they really just flop over unconscious. The guitar screech is kind of a giveaway about what happened, though.
: Geo! Put on your Visualizer!
If you hadn't guessed already - this is why the Z waves suddenly spiked. Sonia decided to come visit.
: I knew it. She's been taken over. I figured this would happen, and by the looks of things, I'd say it's Lyra...
His rough personality isn't a hit with them. Who needs 'em, right? ...
: Sonia!! Wake up!! You're being controlled by an alien!!
: Hee hee hee. Please don't get in our way, cutie-pie. Harp Note, he's trying to stop us, the bad boy. Give him a small nap for his bad behavior.
: Out of the way!
That's what hit everyone else: a solid wall of music. Geo was just able to get out of the way in time.
: This girl's the one who knocked the old man out. Lyra is an FM-ian who controls music notes. You can't let your guard down!
: Please Geo! I don't want to hurt you, so please get out of our way...
Girl's got some air.
Well, Geo does say "On the Air"
: What are you going to do? The fight's already begun. Are you going to finish this?
: I don't have a choice! I have to fight back! We've got to pulse in and go after her!!
Next time: We fight Harp Note. Surely things will go smoothly and won't involve the touch screen at all.