Part 18: His Name is Zero
Ugh why are Glasgows so baaaaad... both Ohgi and Tamaki need some money.
Ohgi and Tamaki get the obvious skills, the ones that buff their healing and supply effects.
In the clubhouse at the Academy where Nunnally lives, she and Lelouche are watching the news about Clovis' assassination. She laments her half-brothers death, and Lelouche has a fleeting pang of... guilt?
The newscaster goes on to announce that the purist Jeremiah Gottwald has been appointed acting overseer for the moment. Lelouche knows the Purists support only pureblooded Britannians in the Britannian forces. What does this mean for honorary Britannian soldier Suzaku? As if on cue, the newscaster announces that a suspect in the Clovis assassination has been brought in - an honorary Britannian. A former Eleven, now Britannian soldier - named Suzaku Kururugi!
Nunnally recognizes the name. Suzaku was their friend seven years ago, but had to leave just after the war. Lelouche is more shocked that Suzaku is alive after the incident.
He assures Nunnally that the accusations against Suzaku are, of course, false, and that justice will be served. Inwardly, he curses Jeremiah and vows not to let Suzaku be sacrificed for the Purists' political ends.
But first, he has a chat with Milly. She knows all about the two's past, how they are Britannian royalty whose deaths were faked, because her grandfather, Lord Ashford, took them in and handled their affairs. If it was known that he and Nunnally were alive, they would be go right back to being political pawns, which is one reason Lelouche dreams of toppling Britannia - so that he and his sister can live in peace like they are now, but without the shadow of Britannia haunting them.
Shirley and Rivalz are welcome mood-lighteners, and Milly has just the news to lighten the mood for them. Two more students are joining the Academy after Relena.
"Kallen Stadtfelt" has been "sick" and so frequently misses school. This is one of those rare times she's "feeling well enough" to come. In her Britannian guise, she's also girlier and much more soft-spoken. Shirley is ready to take care of her if she has any questions about what she's missed, though it sounds like the "ill" Kallen is still keeping on top of her grades.
Lelouche recognizes Kallen's voice as the red Knightmare, though. Rivalz mistakes his attention to Kallen as interest, shocking Shirley. Later, Karen will wish this were true, but Lelouche really is just curious about the secret Resistance fighter. He has some designs on using her to get the resistance rolling...
Karen runs into Duo and Heero in the library. Apparently Heero hacked the Academy computers to get their transfer in order. Duo makes fun of her for a while, but there's business to get down to. The mysterious commander wants to meet the Resistance in person tonight at the base.
But let's have another awkward moment - Relena has come to invite the new kids to their welcoming party. Without a word, Heero rips up the invitation and stalks away, leaving Relena's head spinning.
Saji hazards a guess that he's just shy and flustered. Duo hastily explains that he and Heero really need to get to work, then rushes off himself. But Relena has some things to say to Heero and gives chase. Louise and Saji follow.
With Karen now alone, Lelouche jumps her and gives her a Geass to answer his questions, hoping to extract information on the Resistance out of her. First he confirms that she was the red Glasgow's pilot. Then he wants to know why she's a terrorist. While she may be half-Britannian, Karen considers herself Japanese, and she wants to take back the Japan of seven years ago before the occupation. Lelouche briefly marvels at the fact that his Geass can make her openly admit to being half-Japanese on school grounds.
With his questions over, the Geass turns off and Karen seems to have no memory of the conversation.
But just to be safe, he Geasses her to keep quiet about Shinjuku. This time, the question has no effect, other than to throw Karen into a panic over why he would say that. This is the first rule of Lelouche's Geass - it only works once per person - but the damage is done. Karen wonders how Lelouche knows about her, and almost recognizes his voice! She demands to know if he was in Shinjuku, and Lelouche shoots back asking why she's so defensive about Shinjuku.
As she presses the offensive, she gets a phone call from a mysterious voice. The mystery man on the other end greets her as the red Glasgow's pilot and expects to see her at the meeting tonight, then hangs up. I guess that settles her suspicions about Lelouche being him, and she decides that pressing him further would only invite more suspicion on herself and hurriedly takes her leave.
Lelouche had arranged the call beforehand on a timer in case his conversation with Karen went longer than expected, and it did its job perfectly. She couldn't believe he's the masked man if she got a call from him while Lelouche was standing right there. Bam. And he learned an important limitation of his power, too.
Later, at the base, Ohgi is getting hung up on by the masked man, who seems to have called in to his own party. He did promise to help about the Resistance, but they aren't too keen on putting their faith in a man who won't see them face to face. According to Ohgi, the fellow promised to "win our trust by making the impossible possible." And he will demonstrate this concretely - by striking at the escort of the accused Suzaku Kururugi in three days and saving him. In the meantime, the Ohgi group is still on to kidnap Foreign Minister Dorian's daughter.
A couple days later (?), Lelouche is enjoying tea with his sister and his maid Sayoko. Nunnally says that Sayoko taught her origami, and claims that folding a thousand cranes will grant you a wish. She asks Lelouche for his wish. He won't answer but asks hers in return. She wants peace in the world, and Lelouche promises her that when she can see with her own eyes again, that wish will be granted.
But he reminds himself privately that his time and choices are limited. He can't rely on the Ashfords forever, and there's always the chance that his secret will come out. If he can only save Nunnally...
Oh, and the phone call from earlier - I guess rather than getting a machine to do it, he Geassed Sayoko into making the call and playing the tape for him. The rest will happen tomorrow.
He has a disguise, and everyone involved in making it is Geassed to secrecy. "I will make the impossible possible. There'll be no turning back."
Chapter 7: His Name is Zero
(Area 11 route)
Accompanying Jeremiah is newsman Diethard Ried, whose barely concealed excitement worries the lord. He's got cameras all over lest something... interesting happen.
Viletta reminds Jeremiah that Suzaku is the son of Japan's last independent Prime Minister Genbu Kururugi, and some Elevens out there will want to save him. Jeremiah just replies, "if that happens, the panic might just turn the escort into a public execution." But then he claims to have spoken in jest - he'll just fight off the attackers.
Meanwhile, Lloyd is whining that "My beautiful Lancelot is worthless without the most important component!" But nothing can be done about Suzaku now, an honorary Britannian soldier under the (temporary or not) rule of the Purist Gottwald. After Lord Batley was stripped of his authority for letting Clovis get assassinated on his watch, Jeremiah and the Purists have consolidated control of the military in Area 11, and that's bad news for people like Suzaku. Funny thing is, despite being on the business end of a huge miscarriage of justice, Suzaku himself just said "If that's how it is, I don't care for this world anyway."
The escort arrives...
while the Resistance lies in wait. One false move and Suzaku is dead.
When all of a sudden, one of the Sutherlands breaks formation, then opens its cockpit to reveal... Zero!
Everyone watching is shocked, but the Resistance recognizes his voice. Zero claims that he has "what you were searching for in the Ghetto some days ago." Jeremiah still thinks it's poison gas and assumes Zero is holding the public hostage. He aims to solve this without alerting the people. He asks Zero's condition, which is nothing more than to hand over Suzaku Kururugi.
Jeremiah refuses on grounds that Suzaku is the murderer of Prince Clovis, to which Zero responds that the murderer wasn't Suzaku. "It was I who killed Clovis!"
And when Jeremiah declares him a liar, Zero makes his masterstroke - "Are you sure? I'll tell them about Orange."
Zero approaches Jeremiah and claims that if he dies, "Orange" will be made public.
Then, when he gets in range, he gives Jeremiah a Geass - "Secure my escape with all your might! And his as well!"
Jeremiah orders his subordinates to hand Suzaku over.
Kewell brings his reserves in. He asks what the hell is wrong with Jeremiah (in nobler words, of course)...
and Jeremiah shoots him for getting in the way of his task.
He orders Kewell not to anger him anymore, to take his forces away, and for all his own forces to secure Zero's retreat.
But as soon as Zero leaves, Jeremiah returns to his senses, and Kewell orders a chase.
And the Resistance makes its move!
Zero returns, reporting that he's hid Suzaku in a safe place. Now that the Zero part of this drama is over, the next thing to do is to defeat Britannia on camera. Viletta reports that all the civilians in the area are safely evacuated, and Jeremiah orders his forces to wipe out the terrorists at all costs. The Resistance is puzzled by his flip-flopping, but most of them assume he was only following Zero's instructions because he didn't want anyone to know about Orange.
Zero is the only unexpendable unit here, technically. SR Point is to wipe out the Britannians in four ally phases.
Karen is still in her Glasgow. Sigh.
But first, let's pay attention to Zero...
Break Will Limit
Slash Harken (4 ammo)
Assault Rifle (16 ammo)
Heavy Cannon (4 ammo)
Ace Bonus: Radius of Tactics effect +2.
So here's Zero. As a pilot, he's kind of bad, and in a kind of bad mech. However, he has a series of interesting features that make him an excellent commander.
First, he has the Analyze Spirit. Basically, it's a nova Spirit that targets one enemy and lasts for one round, causing that enemy to deal 10% less damage, and more importantly, to take 10% more.
Second, he's got the best Command aura in the game, I think. At times, Sumeragi might be a better commander, but for sheer aura power you can't beat the king.
Third, he does this:
Zero's Tactics is a unique command that he can use anytime before or after moving.
There are three Tactics to choose from. Attack temporarily increases the Melee, Ranged, and Accuracy stats of pilots under its effect. Defense does the same for Defense and Evasion. Assault greatly increases Melee and Ranged, but at the expense of an even greater hit to Defense and Evasion, perfect for rounds when you just want to push damage.
It affects an area - with Zero's current Ace bonus, an enormous area - and grants the buff once to every ally in the effect, lasting on those allies until the end of the round. (It doesn't affect Zero himself, though.)
In terms of the mission, we're looking at two waves: one short wave of Sutherlands containing Jeremiah and Viletta, and one larger group led by Kewell of mixed Sutherlands, Glasgows, and Flags.
The first thing to do is move Zero - because if you don't move the King, his subjects won't follow - and drop an attack buff on all our soldiers.
You can see Karen's stats boosted by Zero's orders. She'll also get a hit/dodge kick from being close to his unit.
Most of our guys can't hit any enemies yet, but we'll keep them clustered around Zero anyway.
If the mysterious masked man Zero isn't Lelouche, then who is he?
I'll figure it out later! I'm in a fight! And I have to win for all the Japanese watching this fight right now!
Even keeping Karen close to Zero, though, she can shoot.
In fact, being so close to Zero, her performance is perfect.
That Zero guy's brilliant, but he's got chops, too.
Don't know how much I trust that mask of his, but let's see what he can do for us.
These are slightly better Sutherlands, and two of them are piloted by Jeremiah and Viletta. The third is just some knight.
Time to counter.
Tamaki takes the first incoming.
He does okay (mostly because of Zero).
Right next to Zero and in building cover, Chirico's evasion is excellent. Pity.
But the knight gets lucky and evades Chirico's extremely silent wrath.
A dumb Britannian decides he really wants Karen to kick him.
Heero gets infought - Bird Mode Wing can't attack at point blank range.
Viletta goes straight for Zero.
I can use these rebels to defeat Britannia if they just do as I command.
But the difference in our forces is still too great. How do I play this... how can I tear down their stronghold?
But Jeremiah wants his blood too.
Zero makes it without too much damage, thanks to his defense action.
Kewell's forces move forward.
The phase ends.
Putting the second wave on hold for the moment, the current fight is a, er, clusterfuck.
Dealing with Jeremiah and Viletta, two dangerous opponents, will be important. Jeremiah in particular is blocking the way forward.
The "Pls/5" sign sitting on top of the soldier is a quick-scan mark to show that he's partially surrounded and will take slightly more damage. Fully surrounding an enemy amplifies the damage it takes even more and is a good tactic to use on bosses. Just a small way SRW makes placement (rather than, say, charging, or resource management) matter.
I swear Jeremiah spends like half his cut-in blinking. It's actually kind of hard to get a good shot of him with his eyes open.
Crowe steps in with the Clutch Sniper.
And then Heero advances, trusting Zero to follow.
Karen finishes Jeremiah and gets a second turn. Disappointingly, he doesn't say anything. It's up to Duo to finish clearing Zero's path.
That Zero actually did it. He's gotta have some kinda magic or something.
If he pulled that off with just his brain, he can go ahead and fight with my body.
Now Zero can move to the next stage of the battle freely.
His enlarged Tactics can actually affect everybody even spread out like this. Using Attack will help them on the charge and the subsequent counter, but I choose Defense so they'll be better able to stand the coming onslaught and then go on the offensive on my third turn.
(Zero really did make the impossible possible. If we do as he say, we can win.)
(Not only can we win this, but we can win even bigger fights...)
Ohgi takes out a Sutherland quickly on his way out...
I almost forgot about Viletta! The problem with her for now is...
She's next to the third, nameless Sutherland pilot, and that pilot has Defensive Support, so he'll take the first attack against her for her.
Chirico and Crowe are the main two attackers left, and Chirico's best attack is far from usable right now.
Nevertheless, Chirico will attack Viletta directly.
Oops, he hit the ally instead for low damage.
And she gets to come back for a counter.
However, Crowe steps in to hit Viletta with his strongest attack.
Which also spent Viletta's get-out-of-attack-free card for the turn - the knight only had one support for the turn.
Also, Nameless Knight is down to the point where Tamaki can just pick it off.
Finally, Crowe takes Viletta out.
Still sticking to Zero, Karen takes the first shot at the Flag team. Her pummeling attack is surprisingly effective at anti-air.
Now to see how far I can counter them down.
Tamaki fails to kill the last of Jeremiah's squad. Surrounded by idiots, I am.
Karen's ranged damage is disappointing as always.
Zero finishes off the only preinjured Flag.
Crowe one-shots a second one.
That was a disappointing onslaught. I blame the Glasgows. They're very bad at moving through terrain.
First we'll get Tamaki and Ohgi to finish off crippled enemies.
Then plant Zero in cover and deliver Attack orders.
Then we'll remember that the shitty Scopedog has nothing that can attack flying enemies post-movement that doesn't require 120 Will.
As usual, the game is staying clustered and spreading damage. We have both Zero's Command aura and Deathscythe's Jamming field to take advantage of.
And for Karen, just being near Zero is enough to make her fight like a pro.
Heero and Crowe are a good partnership, able to double attack at long range.
For instance, Heero has serious accuracy issues right now.
But Crowe can cover his back.
Crowe's decent range and power plus his ability to Hit&Away if necessary leaves him very mobile.
So we're leaving Ohgi and Tamaki out in the cold. They're available to do some healing if necessary, and that's what matters.
Hey, that went well. Go Ohgi. (Tamaki is still terible, though.)
But the Britannians smell blood and continue going after him.
Well damn, Ohgi.
He survives and hits. I'm actually impressed.
Finally someone isn't attacking Ohgi. Heero fights off a Glasgow squad.
Duo and Zero take out the nameless Sutherland pilots.
And Heero's powered Buster Rifle takes out Kewell in one blast.
There are just two sad Glasgows left on the board.
One goes to Zero, who is important but a bit underlevelled.
The second goes to Chirico, who didn't get to do much this chapter.
With that, the map is clear. It was a really boring map. I think Area 11 chapters are supposed to be more about plot. More's the pity, since the game devolves into novel mode when it's not in a fight.
Zero tells his men to drop off their mechs and meet him at a specified point.
Lloyd wonders if Suzaku will join the terrorists. "I'll have to find a replacement part..."
At the base, the rebels still aren't sure if they can trust Zero, but Ohgi is certain that if nothing else, he does have the power he promised. The man himself is talking with Suzaku and forbade the rebels from intruding.
Zero is trying to convince Suzaku to fight with him to change the through-and-through corrupt Britannia. Suzaku takes issue with Zero's methods - taking hostages with a bluff, for one - but Zero is after results, and the results he got were that no one died and Suzaku was saved.
For some reason, his focus on results makes Suzaku laugh mirthlessly.
Zero repeats that the corrput Britannia does not deserve Suzaku. He turns down Zero's offer though. He wants to change Britannia from within, not destroy it. "There's no point getting results the wrong way."
Then he gets up and leaves, he claims to his own trial. Both he and Zero know the trial is a sham set up to find him guilty of Clovis' assassination, but Suzaku accepts it. Not only because it's the lawful thing to do, but because if he doesn't, even worse things will fall on the other Elevens and honorary Britannians. And he doesn't care one bit if he has to die for it.
Suzaku admits he wanted to take in Zero, actually, but if he tried now, he'd just be shot by the rebels. "I'm going to be killed either way. I may as well do good by dying. But... thank you for saving me."
He walks away. Lelouche curses inside his mask.
Tamaki is outraged that Zero let Suzaku go, but Zero just replies that "I can't stop a man going to his death." Crowe is letting Zero, the one who ultimately saved Suzaku, have the final word on how to handle him.
The conversation about Suzaku is over. Zero begins a debriefing of sorts, starting with the thesis question: "How did you see today's battle?"
It wasn't a victory for the rebels. Any destruction they caused today wouldn't even sting the Britannian Union. Nor was it an act of resistance - Zero says that Britannia will not be defeated by terrorist activities. "Terrorism is just annoying them as a child would. Your enemy is not any Britannian. It is Britannia itself." This shocks the rebels, who seemed not to be thinking so large - defeat the Britannian Union! Zero seems to be telling them to stop being rebels and start being warriors. Ohgi at least has gained some confidence in Zero's ability to lead them there and asks him to become their leader for real.
The rebels are reluctant, but Zero is confident they'll come around sooner or later. Crowe and Duo are in - they can't trust him for sure as long as he wears his mask, but they have faith in his abilities. Heero wants to check Zero's confidence first, but when Zero promises victory without hesitation, he's convinced. Chirico has already left to work on his robot.
Ohgi offers the rebels one last chance to object, and in the end, no one does. So the Resistance too is officially under Zero's command.
But Lelouche reminds himself that he will use anyone and anything to achieve his goal - of changing the world into one Nunnally can live in peace in.
Later at school, Karen is disgusted that the Britannians can just keep on living their own lives as if nothing is happening elsewhere in the world. Not just in the Ghetto either - Celestial Being is all over the place and aliens called the Gishin have attacked the other Japan.
Karen warns Duo not to approach her inside the school, lest her cover be blown. "Yeah, okay. I'll stay away when you're with your friends." "I don't... have any friends."
Oh, I guess Heero is there. He's easy to miss in this format because he doesn't say anything! Anyway, the appearance of Relena breaks up the awkward moment and Heero goes off chasing her.
Oddly, he tells her "I'll kill you," and then leaves. I don't understand Gundam Wing at all.
In New York, Treize and Lady are talking about F.M. Dorian's speech in which he called for talks between the Colonies and their rulers to combat the spread of terrorism. The speech didn't go over well, and both of them think that even if it had, any such talks wouldn't have gone anywhere. Treize says "the Minister chose the wrong time. It has nothing to do with whether or not he's right. There haven't yet been enough sacrifices to change the world."
Treize still wants to change the world, but doesn't believe he can do it alone. He came down to see if he could find someone that would understand his goals, and he thinks he may have somebody in mind. When he finds him, he'll "take the fall for the world."
We get a repeat of the scene where Setsuna visits Area 11.
And then it's over. We have Zero's Sutherland now. Later.