Part 2: PrologueThe game opens with a big ol' wall of text (most SRW games do that to welcome you "in medias res" to the world of the game). It's always a good idea to read it:
"Transitions in the Century Following the Establishment of the Federation Space Calendar"
Earth, at the end of the last age.
As the cumulative effects of exhaustion of natural resources, environmental decline and overpopulation reached their limits, the global economy and stablished order were on the brink of collapse.
The regional violence gripping the Earth Sphere grew worse with each passing day, abruptly degenerating into World War III.
Terrified of the war it had wrought, mankind sought to end the fighting through the unification of all nations, and all peoples.
Thus was the "Federated Earth Nation" born, with dominion over all governance, all economics, and all military matters.
With the subjugation of the independent lunar metropolis - defiant to the very end - in the so-called "Lunar Campaign", the "Federation Space Calendar" officially began.
The Federated Earth Nation sought to mend the scars of war through the colonization of the new frontier: space.
This project drew its strength from the quantum leaps in the fields of physics and energy achieved during the war.
Construction of the space colonies, redevelopment of the moon's surface, development of Mars, surveys of outer space...
Space was not just the new frontier, but an ocean of hope.
Numerous asteroid cities and space colonies were constructed in an astoundingly short span.
The beginning of the Federation Space Calendar, with the influence of mankind extended all the way to the orbit of Mars, could be called Earth's honeymoon with Space.
However, that honeymoon paled with the passage of time.
As the heat of pioneering that had encircled all mankind cooled, the dictatorial bent of a few humans sapped the Federated Earth Nation of its willpower.
Resistance by the colonies, upon whom repression fell especially heavily, was fierce.
The resulting war between OZ, the actual rulers of the Federated Earth Nation, and those who opposed them, eventually gripped the entire Earth Sphere.
This conflict, known as the "Revolutionary War", finally ended with the death in battle of the Federated Earth Nation's president, Treize Khushrenada.
And by his secret will, the world was reborn into a new order, where every nation and people was valued alike.
Governance was returned to individual nations as in the previous age, and the "New United Nations" was born as a means of uniting their wishes.
This took place in Federation Space Calendar year 98.
However, from that point forward, the Earth and mankind were faced with the perpetual menace of assault from space.
The failure of the "Cygnalite Project" to explore the constellation Cygnus, and the crash landing of a giant, artificial object known as "EI-01", began an invasion of mankind by forces believed to be of extraterrestrial origin.
What followed was the approach of life forms which came to be known as the "Radam".
These beings took control of the Orbital Ring, greatly limiting mankind's access to space.
Moreover, incursions from an alien culture situated somewhere near Jupiter, called the "Jovian Lizards", wrought the destruction of the city on the Martian surface and indeed the total retreat of mankind from the Mars Sphere.
Meanwhile, a rash of terrorist incidents, fueled by the new technological menace of robotics, struck the Earth's surface.
Mankind had but taken its first steps under the New United Nations when these threats wrought terror and anxiety, making peace a distant dream once more.
Problems supposedly solved lingered instead with no hope of solution, building a critical mass at the world's core that might never be removed.
Arbitrary divisions between men, such as between the "Coordinators" who had undergone genetic engineering and the "Naturals" who had not, became a spark which could ignite another conflict between mankind at any time.
In the Federation Calendar Year 99, the world is about to enter a new age of conflict, in which even tomorrow is uncertain.
- Space Development Corporation, Historical Notes "Space Development Report", excerpted from Chapter 1 introduction
At the beginning of the Federation Space Calendar, the honeymoon of mankind and space begat a new occupation, based on life in space. Its members are known as "Trailers".
They were tasked with constructing the colonies, terraforming asteroids, and gathering raw materials - supporting the era of space development from behind the scenes.
Their numbers grew in step with demand, and their duties expanded from mere transport to the opening of new space routes and exploration of unexplored regions of space.
However, their very existence became an obstacle to the Federated Earth Nation's schemes to monopolize such commerce. When a series of restrictions robbed them of their dwelling places, they began a new life taking commissions from a variety of other sources.
Some would contract them to protect merchant vessels, while others would contract the theft of those same vessels. Some even lowered themselves to thievery of their own devising, or what became known as "Space piracy".
Now, nearly a century after the institution of the Federation Space Calendar, the majority of society thinks of the terms "Trailer" and "Space Pirate" as synonymous.
However, it is an indisputable fact that some Trailers exist who inherited the character and frontier spirit of the original Trailers.
These true Trailers, from their dwelling on the hidden colony "Bit", pride themselves as "spacemen" in accepting the most difficult and dangerous of jobs to this very day.
- Encyclopedia Galactica, "Trailers"
With that, we choose 3 favorite series which will benefit from extra experience, extra upgrade slots (more on this later) and will generate more cash when they kill stuff. I chose the Originals, Gaogaigar and Tekkaman Blade.
Kazuma is working on his log entry for June 13, Space Calendar Year 99.
He's reports that its been two weeks since he and his family arrived at Bit, after finishing their last job, and he's getting tired of hanging with the Junkmen and messing with his machine all day.
He's heard that most of the proceeds from that job got poured into mech modifications, and is afraid that theyll be declaring bankruptcy for the thirty sixth time; however, he does note that this will be the last day he enters a ship's log without actually being at sea, since his father claims a new client is coming - one with a mission requiring travel to the Earth!
He is really excited to finally go there and, hopefully, glorious tales of his exploits will keep the log interesting...
Meanwhile, Duo is waiting at Bit's dock, fuming over the fact that a little shuttle trouble has forced him to hire the Trailers just to find transport back to Earth.
Quatre's there too, and has heard that the Trailers are specialists in space transportation and combat, though he imagines Duo would already know that.
Indeed, Duo knows the Trailers all too well, having crossed swords with them many times during his old days on the Sweeper Team.
However, he tells Quatre to keep a close eye on them as the Trailer space transportation business went out with the end of the space development era - now they're into pillage, plunder and black marketeering.
If it's against the law, the Trailers are all for it - and the term "space pirates" seems a lot more suitable these days.
I guess it makes sense why this Bit Colony is so hidden, if its supposed to be a hideout for such unsavory types.
Indeed, even Duo confesses that he has never been to the space pirates' secret hideout before, and is still amazed that Lady Une knew where to look, orders or no orders from the Preventer brass.
It seems even Lady Une is not above dealing with folks like these in an emergency, and these are troubled times indeed for the Preventers; add to that the fact that their mission isn't precisely above board either, and Duo figures that the Trailers' shady ways suit them perfectly they probably know hidden routes to avoid prying eyes.
The information they've gathered must be delivered to HQ at all costs, though there's little to do except take things one step at a time.
And hey, if the Trailers try any funny business, Duo and Quatre will just go deal with it "suitably", as usual Duo says its been a long time since he did a good, old-fashioned spacejacking but figures itd be on people who deserve no mercy anyway.
Quatre hopes it doesnt come to that and Duo says that, while he's not expecting a limo ride, he would still rather have a smooth, quiet ride to Earth from the Valstork Family.
He's interrupted with the door opening next to them.
That would be Kazuma Ardygun, who hails Quatre Labarba Winner and "Heero Yui".
Duo seems underwhelmed that the Family would send a kid, but Kazuma warns him to watch his mouth if he doesn't want his long hair chopped off at the roots and used as a lure for space whales.
This leaves Duo totally unimpressed, figuring that the rumors about the Trailers dignty and prowess were false and says that, if this is all theyll offer, hell take his business elsewhere.
Hey, you. What is the point of this warning ?, Kazuma asks; hes been born and bred to his space trade and doesn't take kindly to being treated like a kid by someone practically his own age.
Duos point is: he and Quatre are costumers here and Kazuma should shut up if hes old enough to understand that.
Before Kazuma gets further in Duos face, his sister Mihiro appears to smooth things over.
Kazuma asks why shes here and it seems their father doubted Kazuma could handle these customers on his own and he was right.
Kazuma gets even more frustrated upon realization that his little sister is seen as more trustworthy than him.
She courteously introduces herself and apologizes for her brothers hot-headed behavior.
Kazuma gets peeved, saying that Duo started it; What are you saying, brother?! The Trailer maxim tells us to treat both guests and their luggage with care!, says Mihiro.
Duo starts laughing it up, saying that Mihiro is quite the contrast to Kazuma he does not appreciate that and wants to start the fight over when another voice tells him to stop.
Thatd be the father, Bless, who asks, if theyre trying to stave off another bankruptcy, why would Kazuma ignore the request that he received and, instead, try to pick a fight..
Either way, he's in no mood to hear Kazuma's excuses now, and hustles him off to prepare the Valstork's guest beds.
Kazuma figures Carret could handle it but Bless says itll go faster with two people.
As Kazuma stalks off, Blessfield Ardygun extends his welcome to both Mr. Winner and Mr. Yui and introduces himself as the leader of the Valstork Family; Quatre is happy to meet the Captain but Bless tells him to not stand on formalities and just call him Bless.
Quatre is quietly impressed at the captain's gentlemanly ways, certainly different from what he expected out of space pirates but Duo's sure it's just an act - Bless's son is the very image of a delinquent.
Bless then offers the two of them a meal of roast duck as a good opportunity to introduce his staff and hear more about the mission he's signed up for.
Mihiro is a big fan of her father's cooking and thinks they will all enjoy it.
Quatre gracefully accepts and Bless tells Mihiro to have Shihomi fire the oven up.
Duo's still uneasy about all this, thinking the Old Man is probably up to something, but Quatre has a lot of trouble believing that these are bad people, including the departed Kazuma.
Duo has a hard time understanding Quatres trust seeing how they dont know anything about these guys aside from their names; speaking of names, Quatre questions why Duo is using an alias - and Heero's name no less.
Duo sniffs that it's payback for Heero pulling the same trick long ago.
Bless seems to have sharp hearing, and asks if they said something about a Heero.
Duo quickly dodges the question but, inwardly, wonders where the heck he's seen this guy before.
Dinner is served in short order, but Shihomi says that Kazuma hasn't turned up yet.
Akane tells her sister not to wait lest the dinner go to waste, and Horis concurs if they dont eat the roast now, itll quickly go bad.
Mihiro and Quatre are more forgiving than that, saying that they can wait for Kazuma to return but Galent wants to ensure that the guests are properly cared for according to the maxim, and not fed cold duck.
In this case, the maxim is "Strike while the iron is hot, and feast while the food is hot!" this is Akanes cue to dig in right away.
Quatre is a bit startled by the old-fashioned use of "maxims" and asks Duo for his opinion.
Duo is more interested in devouring the feast, though, quickly saying that it is more than good enough to justify hiring the Trailers for this job in his estimation.
Bless then finishes introducing the Family, starting with himself as captain of the transport Valstork; his daughter Shihomi handles sensors and comms, and his other daughter, Akane, handles weapon systems.
Quatre sounds surprised that the vessel is armed, but Bless delicately says that these can be dangerous times, with one's own safety being one's own responsibility and this is doubly true with the Federation army out for Trailer blood.
Akane adds that it's her job to brush the sparks off, but quickly gets flustered when Horis starts to pun, calling him Stupid Horis.
Bless says that, Horis Horion, for all his levity, is a highly skilled pilot and Duo sees that hes not related by blood.
Indeed but Horis says lightly that he hopes to one day marry Shihomi or Mihiro and join the family roster; Shihomi and Mihiro both tell that hes laying it too thick, while Akane wonders why her name got left off the list.
Last up is the Family's resident encyclopedia, Galent Gavelinario, who claims (none too convincingly) to be nothing more than a retired old man.
Horis states that Galent, once known as the "Demon's Arm", hasn't hit retirement yet, and along with "Hawkeye" Bless is still a legend among the Trailers.
Those nicknames definitely get Duo's full attention.
However, before he can inquire further, Kazuma blusters in and asks where his dinner is.
Both Shihomi and Bless tell him to calm down and act properly in front of the guests; Kazuma asks if his father really accepted the job from these guys.
Bless wont have him referring to their clients as these guys and notes sternly that Kazuma needs some serious reeducating in the Trailer ways; Kazuma says that it can wait and casually asks Duo to tell him what the job's about but he is not listening, in shock after hearing those nicknames.
Kazuma wonders if Bless did something wrong with the food but Quatre volunteers to answer.
As their superiors explained to the Family, he, Duo, and their two containers' worth of luggage are to be transported to Earth.
Both elder sisters perk up when hearing of their destination and, when Mihiro asks, Quatre explains that the two of them indeed came from the Earth, though they were originally born in the colonies.
Horis notes that the Family normally confines its activities between the Lagrange Points and the moon, so none of them have been to the Earth for some years.
In fact, Mihiro and Kazuma have never been there at all, and Akane quips that, despite his attitude, Kazuma's nowhere near a full adult.
He retorts that her breasts are hardly those of a full adult either.
This earns him a rebuke from his father for reacting to the taunt in classic half-adult style.
Kazuma mutters that, as everyone seems to think, he's just the good-for-nothing son of "Hawkeye" after all.
Bless does not appreciate his sons lip but Shihomi reminds them both that their guests are watching.
Mihiro puts the conversation back on topic, asking why Quatre and Heero would need to hire the Trailers for what should be a routine trip to Earth and Quatre says that both their luggage and their schedule mandate it...
Of course, Galent knows of the unreliability of the Space Development Corporation and, upon Quatres remark that theyre very well informed, Horis says that its all common knowledge among the Trailers, for whom information means life and death.
Another thing Horis has heard is that making it past the Orbital Ring, with its Radam infestation, is also a matter of life and death.
The Earth Federation Army seems too preoccupied with its war against the Jovian Lizards to do much about it, which is also not helping tensions between the Earth and the colonies any.
Traveling to Earth via the colonies would pose many dangers, and the Trailers provide a way to punch through all that mess.
Kazuma actually likes that idea, and assures his guests that they couldn't have chosen a better set of Trailers for the job and assures them that it's his Trailer duty to see them and their luggage to Earth with nary a scratch.
Of course... it'll cost them: 5000G in advance, 10000G once the job is finished.
Even Bless is privately impressed at his son's bargaining prowess.
Kazuma assures Quatre and Duo that for all the Valstork is a bit cramped, it's also top-class speedwise.
Quatre and Duo, somewhat cowed by all this, agree to the deal.
With matters settled, Bless invokes another Trailer maxim: "Make haste to do good, make greater haste to do commerce."
The plan is to depart first thing in the morning, with accommodations all settled for the guests and the ship fully provisioned.
Kazuma tells Galent to mind the farm in his absence, promising to bring back some old fogey-style souvenirs from Earth.
Galent seems hardly amused, vowing to bust Kazuma's head with a spanner if he so much as damages his mech.
Kazuma's not worried, and seems very eager to finally prove to his father how good his skills have gotten.
Mission 1 - Set Sail for the Sea of Space!
As the Valstork gets ready to depart,Kazuma says goodbye to his friend Lowe, asking him to pass goodbyes along to the Professor and Liam too.
Kisato wishes Mihiro and her sisters well, too.
Quatre asks who were those aboard that other ship and Kazuma explains that Lowe and Kisato are Junkmen who happened to be setting sail at the same time; the Trailers and Junkmen tend to help each other get by out in space.
Quatre is surprised by this, letting on that he had heard that the Trailers engaged in piracy.
Kazuma bristles at the statement, but Bless orders him to his station.
Kazuma is furious that theyre being thought of as pirates.
He also realizes that Duo's initial provocation probably stemmed from that too.
Bless advises his son not to make his reputation with his words, and won't hear any backtalk.
Mihiro brings both guests some sheets to keep them warm and Quatre is surprised that she is part of the crew too; she says that even she and her brother have things they're in charge of on the ship.
Carret, the ship's support robot, then shows up with coffee for the passengers.
He came with the ship as a matched set, and can handle everything from washing dishes to ship repairs.
Duo hasn't heard of this kind of pairing before, and Quatre observes that this ship certainly doesn't look like a Federation vessel from the outside.
Horis is about to explain why that is when...
The alarm sounds! Liam has just radioed from the HOME(the ship Lowe and Kisato were on) to report unidentified vessels headed for the Valstork.
Horis is sure that it's "them" given the timing, and Bless figures they must have planned the attack carefully indeed, waiting until they were out of Bits airspace.
Duo asks whats happened and Kazuma says that the real space pirates he seems so taken with have arrived, and Bless decides to outrun them by pushing the engine to the max.
Kazuma doesn't like simply turning tail and running, but Bless reminds him that the Trailer prime directive is transportation of their customers.
Kazuma knows that, but points out that "they" can't be left to run riot either.
Now that they're targeting near Bit, the result can only be more needless sacrifices and while he wants to protect his customers, he also wants to protect the name of the Trailers from those who would besmirch it.
After a moment's thought, Bless asks if his son thinks he can handle it.
He assures him he can and Mihiro agrees with Kazuma; the enemy is rapidly approaching and Akane asks what theyll do to which Bless orders the attack, in the name of the Trailers!
Akane is all ready to blast them to bits but Horis lightly reminds her that "Wasted bullets beget red ink".
Quatre tries to stop Kazuma, but Kazuma tells him and "Heero" to just sit by and watch what the difference between space pirates and real Trailers is.
The enemies have just arrived and are in Federation machines, which Bless sees for the army deserters and black-market buyers they are.
He asks "Duo Maxwell" if the difference between them and genuine Trailers is now clear, and as Duo gapes in astonishment that Bless knew his name.
The pirates quickly open fire.
: What are you waiting for, Kazuma?! Hurry up!
: Hold on a minute, sister!
: Mission Desk, Boot! Battle Program, Start!
: Catapult - Open! Go, Kazuma!
: Valhawk, Air Force Mode LAUNCH!
They quickly move behind the pirates, much faster than they expected.
The pirates dont have any data on an unit like this and quickly start panicking; Kazuma is just itching to dish out some payback for sullying his people's name.
The pirates recover a bit and figure that, if they surround it, they'll be able take it down and sell whatever this mystery machine is for a pile of dough - after they minorly scrap it and ship it to the Junkmen.
Kazuma taunts them to give it a try and shifts to hand-to-hand Cross-Combat mode.
Duo and Quatre marvel at the transforming Valhawk and Bless proudly declares that its their secret weapon.
Akane asks for Bless to give the order, as she wants to help Kazuma out he does so, ordering full speed ahead and to support the Valhawk!
Mihiro tells Kazuma that all systems are good and he sets out to show the REAL Trailer Spirit.