Part 19: The Princess and the Witch
To begin with, Zero may not get into much direct combat but I want to raise his chances of survival.
A couple of heads are discussing the situation at Enforcers HQ. Jeremiah lost so much face in the Zero incident that he's gained the informal nickname of "Orange." Iskui is actually concerned for Britannia's outlook, since the Enforcers are on the Union's payroll, but Boro, the fat one, has no problems ditching Britannia anytime.
They're more worried about the Gilgamesh hunting for "Proto One." They've got the idea that Chirico is a Gil agent and plot to take him out so he doesn't report back. While he has the support of the Resistance, that's a mixed blessing because it provides them the perfect excuse to throw the might of the Enforcers at him - and Britannia won't even mind if they wreck the Ghetto in the process. And if they have to, they have an AT prepared to use Proto One itself on the Resistance.
Hello, Proto "Phantom Lady" One. Why the towel on your head?
Lelouche returns home to find C. C. (pronounced C Two) casually having tea with his sister. Wait, what?
A wacky scene (I'm not sure how I feel about those in Code Geass) ensues in which Nunnally assumes C. C. is Lulu's new girlfriend, and C. C. leads her own ("we have... a promise") to Lelouche's extreme embarrassment.
He forcefully takes her to his room - no, it's not what you think, he just wants some answers. Who can blame him?
She knows he's been experimenting with his Geass, which prompts him to start summarizing the rules for our benefit (in the show, we got to see some of the experiments, which were kind of cool). He's apparently got the range nailed down to about 270 meters (!) eye-to-eye and it can be reflected like a laser. Plus its orders are absolute regardless of the target's own personality, they have no memory of the Geass's effects, and he's not aware of any time limit.
(The rules are as much limitations as non-limitations - the clauses about absolute obedience and indefinite duration in particular are mostly defining magic. And we're going to see a few of these rules bent or broken by the end of the show.)
He thanks her for getting him ahead of schedule destroying Britannia. She wonders if his power is big enough to do that, and he replies that he was planning to do it with or without the power.
So anyway, C. C. is a top military secret, meaning she doesn't have to try very hard to hide. In fact, she plans to move in and demands Lelouche hide her. Lelouche is against this, mostly for his own safety - he has big plans and he wants to continue lying low - but C. C. takes a different tack, promising to help him. Then she takes his bed.
(And if it wasn't obvious, "orange" was a bluff, but a happily effective one.)
Meanwhile, Suzaku has been quietly released from all charges, and to Count Lloyd's glee, has been inducted into a special operations program and handed piloting duties for the Lancelot. Lloyd teases Suzaku, wondering if his experience with the court has disillusioned him with Britannia, but Suzaku is 100% business. "There is something I must do from within Britannia."
Cecille suggests Suzaku take a rest, and when he leaves, she and the count discuss Suzaku's past, or more accurately his father's. Genbu Kururugi, the last Prime Minister of Japan, resisted Britannia until the very end, but changed his mind, surrendered, and took his own life. Ironically, his surrender may have prolonged the fighting - because Britannia never had to defeat Japan, the Resistance has rallied around the slogan "Japan isn't down yet!"
So you see, some Elevens consider Genbu a traitor to their country, and now his son Suzaku is an honorary Britannian. The pair wonder what the kid has in mind. But "the Resistance doesn't have much longer. The new Viceroy will be here soon." Dun dun dun!
Suzaku is downtown minding his own business when a girl with pink and very strange hair jumps out of a window and falls onto him.
Relena passes through and seems to recognize this woman, who claims she was being chased by an unsavory fellow and asks if they won't please protect her. Relena wonders if she's incognito. From what, we wonder?
Pink addresses the three of them - where did Heero come from? - and asks them again to escort her to Shinjuku.
At the familiar place in Shinjuku, she introduces herself as "um... Euphie." Relena introduces herself and Heero, who Euphie pegs as her boyfriend. "No, you were following her quietly from far behind. Perhaps it is only you who likes her?" Heero growls.
Euphie encourages them to be friends, and Relena jumps on the chance to grill Heero about his identity and past, which Heero pointedly refuses to answer.
Suzaku tries to get a passing cat to play with him. It attacks instead! He admits to Euphie that he likes cats, but they never like him back. She claims that only the kind can hold loves like that - Suzaku and Heero both. Heero growls again.
Euphie says it's her last day of break and she wanted to see Japan. She was a student before (but won't say where she's going). Suzaku and Relena fill her in on the destruction caused by the fights with the terrorists, being sure to point out that the Britannians caused no small part of it.
Heero asks Suzaku straight why he, the son of the former Prime Minister, is now an honorary Britannian. Suzaku says that when he was ten during the occupation, he saw a lot of badness in the world, and he believes there are a lot of people trying to fight it - including Celestial Being and even the Gundams and Resistance. He wanted to be one of those people.
But Relena asks why he chose to do that under Britannia's flag. The question of why he would side with them with his past is still the most pressing part of the problem, and she thinks he must have a very good reason to have taken that step. Maybe he thought he was siding with the winner and that if he supported Britannia taking over the world, that would end war in itself?
Suzaku has no answer, and Relena apologizes for pressing, but she wanted and still wants his answer, if only to answer her own doubts. She asks Heero to join her and search together for an answer to stop the wars.
Suzaku finally says slowly that his father had to die, and that he has to do something so that death doesn't go to waste.
This depressing philosophy session is interrupted by gunfire from the Ghetto. Suzaku recognizes it as the Enforcers trying to burn the place down.
Chapter 8: The Princess and the Witch
(Area 11 route)
A platoon of Knightmares, ATs, and Enforcer machines are firing all over the Ghetto. Jeremiah has authorized them to fire at will even if they tear down the whole place.
But the knights resent being sent out to do dirty work with the Enforcers, and taking orders from "Lord Orange" isn't helping morale.
Meanwhile, Suzaku and the gang are horrified that Britannia would make such a move against an area where people are living. Heero has silently disappeared.
An Enforcer moves towards Suzaku, Relena, and Euphie, seemingly not seeing them, but Wing Gundam flies in to deal with the problem.
Heero takes out the rogue AT, and as his Gundam looks towards the kids...
Relena guesses he's the pilot (how?) and wonders why he saved them.
Heero is wondering the same thing. Relena's death would be convenient for him.
Orange wants to get some honor back by slaying a Gundam and orders his units to go get Wing.
This is not much of a condition. Basically it's Heero vs. Jeremiah with a bunch of douchebags in between.
The buildings are considerable cover (10% defense, 15% evasion) for Heero, but they work for the ATs too.
Accelerated, he's fast enough to dive into the alleys and start ripping up the ATs.
Without Focus, he will (with a little luck) take just a few hits. If he does, Prevail L7 should keep him alive.
Commentary: I think it's been said before, but in this game, pilots generally begin with all the Prevail they'll ever have, compared to earlier SRW titles in which they started at low and gained over the course of the game. I have to say I like it this way. Prevail essentially defines a percentage cieling at which you start getting bonuses that climb as your HP drains, so I like it better when it's fixed compared to starting low and rising over the course of the game.
The Standing Tortoises are pretty tough. Plus, ATs in general (and KMFs) are better than the vehicles we've generally been seeing the Enforcers use.
The AT comes back for more on its turn.
Each dodge brings Heero's dodge rate down, but each hit will send it shooting back up with interest.
Every Gundam from Wing has this one sad, boring head vulcan that slows the enemy but does nothing. I think they were supposed to be anti-infantry weapons.
Heero's accuracy is bad enough so I switch him down from the heavy, inaccurate powered Buster Rifle to the weaker Machine Cannon.
He's the type whose weapons decrease in accuracy as they rise in power.
With that damage, it looks like the Rifle would have finished it... if it had hit.
Maybe not. Only on a critical, I guess.
The rest of the ATs approach.
Now it's the Enforcer machines' turns.
They're still bad.
The last chopper and cars approach.
The knights hold.
At the beginning of turn 2, Suzaku plants Euphie and Relena in a safe place and heads out to "do what I can. That's why I became an honorary Britannian in the first place."
Now the Resistance arrives.
Zero berates Heero for deploying without his permission. Heero doesn't care. Crowe stops the argument by reminding them of the battle ahead - plus, "Let's at least be heroic for the Japanese." Zero reacts to the mention of heroism, but Crowe's right. We've got a Ghetto to defend.
But there's one more complication. A red AT joins the battle.
Chirico refuses to say anything about it. Tamaki presses him, but Heero jumps to Chirico's defense. Well, sorta: "Talk later. We have a fight." Two silent peas in a pod - but Duo catches onto Heero's (relative) animation, plus him running in with his Gundam, and wonders...
Zero tells Chirico to handle the lone AT, and Chirico responds with a "roger." Heero and Chirico sure are talkative today.
We're essentially looking at a charge with Heero coming in from the side.
First, Zero will take cover and buff his men.
With Zero in position, we'll keep the soldiers clustered around him.
I wish Karen had a better robot.
They still call her the Red Devil. That's a nice touch.
Duo takes point so he can buff around too.
Chirico advances so he can draw the (ahem) Phantom Lady.
Ohgi stands ready to Defensive Support.
Tamaki offs the other wounded AT.
Finally, Heero rejoins the pack and takes out a chopper on the way.
Now Focused, Heero can put up a reasonable shooting performance.
Our friendly terrorists take down wounded units.
A lot of units in the back shuffle around or advance.
Finally, ??? takes a shot at Chirico...
(That AT is well modded.)
(But what is this disturbance in my chest? Is it the pilot of that AT?)
A quiet pair, isn't it?
With the Lady's turn, the enemy phase ends.
Will you look at that. She's got Chirico's unique skill, Precise Attack. The one that boosts crit damage. The one that only he's supposed to have.
She's also wearing a Precision Aiming Lens, which ups the equipped mecha's targetting score by 10 to help it hit. If this path weren't ending this chapter, I'd say put it on Heero. But she's got a solid HP pool and enough skill to go toe to toe with Chirico.
To begin with, Zero can hit the entire squad right now, but it'd make me feel better to have him in cover.
So I want to try to clear his path a bit first.
So we'll send the Ohgi/Tamaki team at the Strong Buck.
"Way to go all out, Ohgi!" Sometimes pilots have special lines for each other when they do supports.
Karen spends her first turn finishing it off.
This allows Zero to get absolutely nowhere. Well, I tried.
I think most of the KMFs should be safe to handle on the counter, so let's focus on the Brutish Dog for the moment.
She's actually more talkative than Chirico.
By the way, her range is only a few tiles.
So she's fair game for Heero to snipe.
It was a bit of a risk, but now she's well weakened.
Pilots will complain when they can't possibly counterattack. This is different from just choosing to defend or dodge.
Heero goes to bait the enforcers.
Aided by Sense, Chirico moves in for the finish.
Oh wait no! She activates Counter and goes for the punch.
But Chirico dodges and goes back in for the win!
He gains two levels and the Lens.
Phantom Lady silently retreats.
While the rebels are in awe of her skill, Chirico just wonders why she was obviously gunning for him and if she's connected to Conin, who also wants Chirico's head.
With her gone, I'm free to start on the Britannian knights.
Quick breakdown: I've got a bunch of guys in a skirmish with knights, a Jeremiah who wants Zero's blood, Heero ready to knock down some cars, and a single Strong Buck who I expect Duo to take out in the next action or so.
Let's see how bad I am at predicting things.
Well, first of all, the AT is much slower than I remember.
Heero does knock down some cars, though.
The knights don't fare well either.
Jeremiah can't reach Zero so he goes for the next best thing, Heero. It doesn't work out great.
I'll get Tamaki to weaken Orange quickly. (Ow.)
So I can hand him to Zero. Let's see how well he screams!
Zero! You took everything from me!
That's quite untrue. I gave you the name of Orange.
You will rue that taunt! When I destroy you and present your head to the late Prince Clovis' grave!
Yeah, there it is.
Kewell catches Jeremiah retreating in disgrace. It seems that even Kewell has lost respect for Jeremiah - getting his hands dirty with the Enforcers, being forced to retreat, losing the Clovis assassination incident, and again, what is that Orange thing? He's decided the solution is to execute Jeremiah and then report him as having died in battle to save face. The family's face, that is.
But Lancelot dives in and gets in Kewell's way.
Suzaku refuses to let this idiocy go on. Jeremiah feels odd for being saved by an honorary Britannian.
Kewell is ready to attack Suzaku to get to Orange, but Euphie orders both of them to drop their weapons in the name of - the third princess of Britannia, Euphemia li Britannia! Lelouche recognizes her, but...
You know what this path was missing? Yeah.
Suzaku and Jeremiah leap to defend Euphemia and beg her to escape.
Jeremiah takes Euphemia and all the Britannians and Enforcers retreat, leaving only Suzaku to fight the Damons. Zero orders the resistance to attack them as well.
An SR Point has finally arrived: take out the Damons within three turns.
And we have a helper.
Lancelot (Suzaku Kururugi)
Slash Harken (4 ammo)
Varis (8 ammo)
MVS (15 energy)
Varis Full Power (4 ammo)
Ace Bonus: At 130+ Will, deals 1.2x damage.
Currently a basic version of the Lancelot, it comes with the Varis gun, the MVS (Multi-Vibration Sword? Hell if I know) for close range attacks, and the pumped up Varis for a power attack. Suzaku has the same Will situation as Karen (starting at 115), and at 130 Will, gets a damage kick from his Ace and an accuracy/evasion kick from Predict.
He's a guest star so there's not much else to say about him right now.
Flying, accelerating Heero can join him.
Everyone else just hits the road.
Suzaku can counter the Damons with his Varis, so we want him within their range (5 tiles) of as many Damons as possible so they'll attack him.
The Damons are bigger threats than the Resistance right now! As a soldier of Britannia, I will protect the Ghetto!
The Lancelot was pretty much the coolest thing in early Geass.
The enemies move as planned.
Locked on. Target: Damon.
This'll take a couple turns anyway, huh.
Suzaku starts countering with his Varis. The AI selects the powerful version.
It's a cool gun.
The lower power version is green instead of blue, I guess.
In fact, let's see the gun in action.
And yes, that's the memetastic theme song Colors by Flow (a.k.a. JIBUN WOOOO). For some reason, by default it's only the BGM for the Lancelot, while the regular characters (you know, the terrorists) use a Zero/resistance theme called Previous Notice. I'm probably going to change that.
He continues countering.
So anyway, it's turn 2 of the Damon party. (I think it's neat that the Damons are side 3, because Britannia is against them too.)
Zero's turn will be buffing to Attack (but I have a reason for placing him where he is).
You demons! Stop destroying the Ghetto before I make you!
You ready? It's you and me now!
Not who I wanted to see, but if you want to play, I'll bite.
Look alive, partner. This is your time to shine.
Heero finishes it.
Then he heads back for refueling, mostly so I can demonstrate it (because I don't really need him).
First of all: 150 Will.
Tamaki uses his command. He has to pick a target adjacent to him.
Wing's energy is completely refilled.
Tamaki even gets experience for it.
Energy is now maxed, but Heero's Will is 140. Fascinating, I know.
Anyway back to work.
I'm leaving Suzaku here mainly so this Damon won't go anywhere.
He should take out that one next phase.
And the other two... move? I don't get the AI sometimes.
But whatever, it's the final turn and there's one last Damon dialogue event to see.
It seems as if they're moving according to an organized strategy.
How can that be? Does this mean the Damons are intelligent?
He fails to finish the job.
So Chirico does it for him. Still, that was the most informative bit of chatter yet. And kind of the most chilling.
Last one down.
Well within the time limit.
Again we learn that the Damons disappear on their own after a bit, but in this case, just as before, we hadn't time to wait.
And again, Crowe realizes the Damons are getting better.
Euphemia's Knightmare escort returns, and Suzaku greets them. She asks him to cooperate with her so that no one would have to lose anyone the way she lost her brother and Suzaku his father. Also, she orders the knights to let Zero go in appreciation for our help defeating the Damons. Besides, we can't start another fight in the Ghetto right after we saved it.
As Suzaku leaves, he reflects that the next time he and Zero meet, it will be as enemies.
Zero has better things to do than chase him. The rebels are all wondering what that is, but he'll tell them back at base.
"Relena... who are you?"
The new Viceroy is Princess Cornelia, and she's just arrived with her knights Gilford and Dalton. She doesn't like what's going on in Area 11, and while Euphemia got out of one encounter with the famous Zero in one piece, Cornelia wants her to be more careful.
Corny and Euphie are blood sisters, you see. Emperor Charles has several consorts, of course, so many of the royalty are half brothers, but siblings like Lelouche and Nunnally exist. And while Cornelia puts up a stern public face, she definitely has a weakness for Euphie. Speaking of, Euphemia has something to ask her sister, but they'll have to talk about it later, in private.
Kewell comes to greet Cornelia, but she flies into a rage and yells at him to cut the bullshit and go get Zero.
Zero has heard of the new Viceroy too. He's well aware that Cornelia is a battle princess with strong command skills, and she won't be nearly as easy to take down as the intellectual Clovis.
As usual, Chirico is maintaining his gear, but everyone can tell he's acting different from usual. Something about that red AT that tried to take him out.
But Zero is still thinking about that big plan he came up with, and he's ready to share it: "Be a force for good." Recast their image from a pack of rebels to a band of heroic freedom fighters. Step 1: put the "heroic" back in it. If they can be the good guys, Japan's support is in their pocket.
Crowe likes the plan. Karen is wondering how he plans to implement it. Zero tells everyone to drop the kidnapping plot first of all, and hold while he arranges things.
Duo suggests that since Karen is already on their side, he and Heero don't really have a reason to stay at school. Heero agrees, and adds that "If I stayed there, I'd soon become someone else." But even he can't say what exactly he means by that.
But right now, let's watch the sudden speech being put on by the Emperor of the Holy Brittannian Empire, Charles zi Britannia.
The Britannian capitol is called Pendragon, but for some reason it's in New York.
"All men are not equal. Some are born faster or more beautiful. Some are born into poor families, others born frail or ill. We are all different in birth, in upbringing, in talent. Inequality is the nature of man! But so do men compete and wage war, and so humanity progresses. Inequality is not wrong. On the contrary, the wrong is equality.
"Look at the AEU and its equal rights. They are ruled by any fool who becomes popular. And the HRL with its equalized wealth? A pack of lazy sloths. But we Britannians reject that. Through competition and conflict, we progress. Britannia alone marches on towards a greater future!
"Even the death of my own son, Clovis, is a sign of progress! So fight! Compete! Steal! Hunt! Rule! That is the way of the future! All hail Britannia!"
Treize can't help but agree, in a way.
And the same goes for Prince Schneizel el Britannia. He comments offhandedly that he's not confident his father is fit to rule, but is quick to assure Treize that he merely wants a bright future whether he is on the throne or not. Treize extends his hand in partnership, but Schneizel says his goals are not as lofty as Treize's. He only wants to fulfil his duties. Both men laugh and raise a toast. "To each of our, and all of our futures."
Back at the academy, Rivalz and Shirley are talking to Relena, who has been having some trouble sleeping. They wonder if it's something that weird kid did, but no matter, he and his friend have already transferred out. They talk about the events of the CB Path, in which Saji and Louise nearly got killed, but Celestial Being of all people saved them.
But you know what? They may have lost two students, but they've gained a new one: Suzaku Kururugi?! The kids recognize him as "that Eleven who was a suspect in the Clovis assassination." Gonna be fun here for Suzaku.
Relena lags behind, thinking about how she never got an answer from Heero. But she figures she'll meet her again, so...
She shouts, "Heero! Come back to kill me soon!"
With the chapter over, I have some things to talk about.
We've just finished three paths: Godmars in Japan, Gundam in wherever, and Code Geass in Area 11. Chapter 9 is a fourfold chapter that serves to put everything on hold, shake things up, and then launch into two further, unrelated paths before everything finally ties together.
That's it, I just wanted to warn you. What I'll do is go through one version of chapter 9 (the thread-chosen "canon" one - Japan, if you forgot), which is identical to the other three other than featuring robots from its particular split, then skip the alternate chapter 9 to show both versions of chapters 10-12. Hope that's fair.
The second thing is, um, we're about to hit the Eureka seveN movie. Which means there might be some mild spoilers for the Eureka seveN TV show. In particular, I'm talking about having to write "Holland Novak" at some point. Since this sort of thing is going to happen again a couple times over the course of the game, and it might be more serious the next time, I want to know how you guys think I should handle it?
Either way, see you there.