Part 20: Dimension Shock
We're about to go into the version of chapter 9 that follows the Japan route, where Kouji, Takeru, and Akagi just proved their ability and determination. Just remember that their story is over for now, and chapter 9 is a transitional stage.
At Scott Lab, Traia is in communication with a shadowy man, and she reports that "Number 0" (Brasta, remember?) is blowing away expectations at 80% (of what?). He asks if that means she's finished analyzing the VX, but her uncharacteristically unconfident reply bothers him. She shoots back "Shut up, you moron!" (a familiar nickname!) and tells him it'll be done when it's done.
The moron is passing through Japan on the winds of nasty Dimension Shocks going on over the pacific, and he blithely tells Traia to give him a good show of what Number 0 can do.
He cuts the line. Traia finally lets us know that the moron is Carlos Axion Jr. (owner of Axion, super rich, total moron, etc.).
Our old friends the Crushers are spending their afternoon at their base on the Izu Peninsula. Watta is back from school, claiming that all he can talk about without getting into trouble is lunch and how much ass he kicked in P.E. While Takeru's mom babies him with snacks, everyone else stands in for his mom keeping him disciplined. Shirota chews out Akagi for slacking off on his reports, and everyone is happy.
Crowe is missing. He's gone with the Brasta back to the lab to have the machine maintained.
Speaking of which, he's run into a girl at the lab who seems to have an interest in the robot. Her name is Esther Elhas, and she doesn't seem to agree with him - she even threatens to mace him!
But then she remembers that he's the DM Buster's pilot, and does a quick change, begging him to wipe out every single Damon.
Now this is Carlos Axion Jr. in the flesh, the richest man in the world and not afraid to troll Crowe with it. He pegs Crowe as a man in debt out of nowhere and claims that he, the privileged, can smell the misfortune on Crowe. Then he offers to write off all of Crowe's debt - if Crowe would only give up Number 0. Is he trying to sabotage Traia?
Esther, of course, encourages Crowe to stick to his job. She's full of spunk and says she doesn't hold back whoever she butts head with, even Carlos Axion, Jr. She says she'll even smack him if he dares get between her and destroying the Damons.
Crowe, cool as ice, says he was never going to listen to Carlos anyway. The scent of money is sweet, but his principles say to pay off all his debt with his own hands. Esther doesn't care why he does it, as long as he pilots the Brasta against the Damons.
Then an alarm sounds, signaling an attack from an unknown entity. Crowe grins and tells Carlos the Brasta is his partner and he's not leaving it.
Chapter 9: Dimension Shock
Crowe is ready to show Carlos his stuff. He wouldn't say no to a bonus reward from Traia, either.
It's the Image. If you've seen Eureka seveN, it's best to just forget everything you think you know about it starting now.
Meanwhile, Carlos is waiting to see if Crowe can master the VX.
The conditions are the obvious ones.
There are certainly quite a few of them.
Let's get started, I guess.
Double attacks are great.
The Image are another unknown being. Why are they attacking?
Someone else can worry about it. My job is to fight them off.
Okay damage, I guess.
The thing unfolded and tried to engulf the robot. Ew.
Then it takes another hit and crumbles into dust, or something.
Let them knock themselves out.
Guess they're just using the one bite attack.
Faiz knocks it out in one volley.
The next one lands a hit.
But the sniper Eagle rips it apart.
When the Image goes down, Crowe catches an incoming on his radar. The Crushers?
The Gekko! In this universe, it's the U.N.'s dedicated counter-Image team, not a freewheeling surfer club. This Holland, likewise, is a soldier. He has nothing to do with the dick from the TV show, though he's still a dick. A bigger dick, really. He and Crowe agree to work together to take out the Image.
Talho Yuki is still the captain of the Gekko (tlnote: Moonlight in Japanese) and is already wearing her late-show (and much worse) style. She informs Holland that his new friend is piloting the Axion prototype. Holland doesn't seem too keen on Axion and tells Talho to stand by and ready to rush the lab itself.
Lose condition is the destruction of any allied unit.
Turns out the Spiker isn't quite good enough to knock out an Image at once.
Holland comes under fire.
Unupgraded and unFocused, he doesn't have stellar projections.
If we follow them, we'll find it sooner or later.
I've already got one of the keys coming to me. I've just got to find their spy robot!
And then he does terribly.
Crowe, of course, doesn't suck.
The rest approach and turn over the phase.
Let's meet the new guys!
Terminus 303 (Holland Novak)
Hit & Away
Homing Laser (10 ammo)
Long Range Laser Cannon (12 ammo)
KLF Squad Assault (2 ammo, 110 Will)
CFS (Compac Feedback System) (45 EN, 120 Will)
Ace Bonus: Deals 1.2x damage when below 20% HP.
The Devilfish is an odd duck. It's a real robot and Holland's Spirits are real fighter staples Focus and Sense, but his Ace Bonus involves putting him in danger for no worthy gain because he lacks Prevail. Also, the machine uses energy for exactly one thing, and I guess it's supposed to be a sniper? But Holland's ranged stat is just okay and of all things, his melee stat is higher, but not by much.
Anyway, a couple of things to point out about it too. The Devilfish has an S in Air that Holland is wasting. Its KLF ability does nothing but make it not drain EN when it moves in Air or Space terrains, when most robots spend 1 EN per square they fly. Also, he has another squad attack like Aoi - that third attack lets him call in Hilda and Matthieu.
I don't like him. He's a douche.
Gekko (Talho Yuki, Ken-Goh, Moondoggie)
Offensive Support L2
12-Burst Missile Launcher (25 ammo)
Trapulsar Cannon Full Burst (60 EN, 120 Will)
3-Barrel Trapular Cannon (15 EN)
Ace Bonus: The Spirit command Valor becomes Love.
This is a warship. It had better be - Talho doesn't have Command. "Battleship" was the Gekko's role in Z, as well, but we've got a better one coming in this game (and, spoilers, a couple of better ones coming in Restoration).
As a consolation prize, she can share parts and join attacks as well as having the baseline ship function of docking. Also, she can cast Trust to heal.
Talho's Ace Bonus is currently dead weight, but there's no time too early to talk about Love, one of a pair of Spirits that duplicates several others for cheap. And in the case of replacing Valor (call it Hot Blood if you want) with Love, which does Valor and much more for the same price, it's a pretty good deal.
Because the Gekko is fairly representative of battleship weapons (very large cannons) and the first ship I've gotten with weapons at all, it's also my argument for teaching every single ship captain Hit & Away.
The Gekko also has a MAP attack, but it's kind of awkward and very expensive. Like Heero's, its use is limited because of its awkward pattern, inability to be used post-movement, and Will requirement barring it early in a stage.
She talks about using the Image's power. Weird.
The good thing about battleships is they tend to hit hard, especially in the early game before their poor accuracy has become a huge factor.
And while I have Holland, let's let him show off a little.
I don't like that song, and to add insult to injury, it's no Storywriter. Oh well.
Crowe double-taps the big one.
With a little luck, this will be the last turn for the Image.
Not quite, I guess, but it'll be over quick.
But while I have Holland, let's show him off fully.
Apparently, the CFS let's Holland sense... life, or souls, or something.
Crowe shoots down the final Image.
Talho asks Holland if he's okay. He says he didn't use the CFS that much.
Crowe recognizes the famous Devilfish and marvels that Holland can pilot it. But then the Brasta's sensors warn him that space is beginning to twist...
And sure enough, a big Dimension Shock ripples through the zone and Damons begin to appear.
Ken-Goh tells Holland to retreat, but Holland thinks the Damons could be related to "our plan" and he wants to check them out. So we're working together a little longer. Crowe reminds himself that he's fighting for Esther now, and she's watching from the lab and seething in surprisingly intense hatred for the monsters.
Still no SR Point. Where is it?
The Gekko alone hasn't moved. Let's bring it in.
Only one Damon actually bothers to attack. Don't forget they lack (P) weapons, so any not in range will just move.
It's a very uneventful enemy phase.
At the beginning of the player phase, Gidget reports other U.N. mecha approaching.
But wait! The dimensional walls are opening up again!
As space itself shakes around our heroes, Crowe comments that this is beyond a Dimension Shock and has graduated to a full on Dimensional Quake - a level of spacetime distortion that can warp the land and even people!
The Gekko crew seem to recognize the phenomenon. What are they not saying?
The Quake spits out another set of Damons, including some of a type we haven't seen before.
Esther is particularly interested in this big white one.
It charges at Crowe at lightning speed, and...
The Brasta is totaled. The Crushers realize they have to work fast if they want to rescue Crowe and salvage the machine.
The new win condition is to wipe out the Damons, but I can ignore the mystery white one (Damon ???). The SR Point (ho hum) is to do that within three turns of now.
It's turn 4. The Damons need to be dead by the end of turn 6.
Damon X is fast, hard, and powerful.
His ranged attack, Frozen Fire, hits true and drains EN.
But the real new threat is these guys.
The "horned Damon" has a new feature that Damon X shares: a barrier called the D-Fault which negates all incoming damage below 1500 points. Mercifully, an attack that breaks the barrier is applied in full.
That's not a big deal. No, the real threat is that that, like the big guy, they can now attack on the move - and their (P) attack, Shocking Horn, drains Will if it deals damage. This is not merely bad for tempo - losing 5 Will to a Damon can set a pilot back Will.
Takeru and a few other pilots have the Spirit Block ability which protects them from Will drain (among other things). The skill can be learned, but for the price of PP and a slot many pilots can't spare.
Our side consists of five fighters - Mazinger, Gaia, Trider, Cosmo Crusher, and Dai-Guard - and their two supporters, Aphrodite and the Shuttle. Also, we still have the Devilfish and Gekko.
Their side consists of a lot of Damons. Wow. Crap. Including three with horns.
One anti-Horndamon measure is to attack from outside its range. Another is to attack with a machine that can dodge. The Crusher can do both.
What it can't do is damage.
It's also necessary to get some people out into the middle of all the Damon Classics, who still can't move and attack.
Dai-Guard depends on Prevail and its pilots' ability to patch it up between turns with duct tape.
Mazinger depends on being a goddamn badass.
Gaia doesn't depend on much, but Sense helps.
I dunno what Trider depends on.
The sidekicks can fight too!
But not well.
Shuttle's not even going to try.
The Gekko is already having accuracy issues. It's been running on Focus and luck.
With Focus, it hits all right, but still relies on its ship HP.
Seriously, these things are tough.
Now time for the counter round.
The weakest ones begin dropping.
When the second one falls, Celestial Being arrives to help out. According to Sumeragi, they were supposed to come here but didn't expect the Damons. Now that they're here, though, they can't just turn around and leave.
Ptolemaios is added to the list of units that are not allowed to fall.
Less injured Damons attack and prove their outrageous toughness.
Is Watta really that underleveled? Damn.
Oh. I forgot. The horned Damons can support attack too.
Fortunately, Celestial Being is here to take some of the heat off the Crushers.
I'm glad we're not fighting humans. Though you probably aren't, Hallelujah.
Kyrios - charging the target.
Heh. We're actually working with the U.N. robots now. It's like we're in a real super robot team.
But the world accepts them and considers us terrorists.
I didn't ask to be a hero, but it's no picnic being the bad guy either.
We're fighting against monsters. If we want to be heroes, this is our chance.
So let's go wild!
(Screenshots cannot express how lame the Dan Magnum is. I'll record it sometime.)
These Damons are just like the Invaders. They die when you squash them.
That's how you would see them, Ryoma.
These guys look pretty tough. You want me to take over, Ryoma?
Don't be a stupid moron! The stronger they are, the hotter my blood boils!
Shocking, I know. The good news is that in Getter's case, only Ryoma (well, the current head pilot) is affected by the Will loss. Hayato and Musashi are fine.
Why do I feel so uneasy?
My clairvoyance is showing me a danger greater than any we've faced before...
Gaia isn't very good at doing damage.
And the Crusher is really a support fighter.
Meanwhile, oh fuck. Mystery Damon is really good. (Level 30!)
Thankfully, Holland dodges. If he'd been finished now, it would have been Game Over.
On my turn, I've got some bad news.
This is not a save where we actually journeyed with Celestial Being, meaning they've been dumped on us without all the stuff I gave them. That applies to money as well as skills (though they have been gaining some levels, to be fair).
Those horned Damons are really dangerous and we have Gundams now that can take them on more safely than Sakuya's Team Super Robot.
Other than that, it's important to tag the lesser Damons.
Secretly aiding the U.N.? Why did Veda approve this mission?
Virtue - obliterating the target!
It missed. Curses.
Lockon. Enemy approaching. Enemy approaching.
Got it. Dynames - sniping the target!
Yeah, no upgrades to armor or mobility. Sucks, especially when the enemies are buffed from the New Game + effect.
Finishing this one will go to Setsuna, who will leapfrog off with a second turn.
Exia - routing the target.
That'll get Setsuna up into the fray later.
Before Getter moves, Musashi will repair it with Guts.
Every Getter hits hard.
Even Getter-2 has some armor.
What the hell is this? It's way stronger than all the Damons we've fought before!
Are they here because of the huge Dimension Shock we just had?
Shit, Kouji, save some for the others. (Seriously, please do - they have dialogue against the horned Damons.)
Invincible is a really useful Spirit, but it doesn't protect the user from status effects, which go through if any damage was dealt at all.
Akagi heals up before challenging the Damon.
Watch out! This one is way stronger than any of the others!
What is this thing? It's sure not just a new paint job!
Figure it out later! Right now, our job is to take it out!
But Dai-Guard misses and is countered for its trouble.
Once Watta takes his swing, no more pressure.
This is for Crowe! I'll kick all your butts!
Doesn't matter how big or strong you are, I'll beat you up with Trider!
It's up to the Cosmo Crusher to finish the job.
For those of you who care about it, the level gains Akira Accel.
The kill got Aoi up to 130 Will, so let's Beast Fusion.
Since this is this timeline's first experience with Nova, we get the scene where they explain Dancouga's mechanic.
Dancouga wipes out the horned Damon quickly.
In fact, there aren't any more at all. It's just a matter of finishing this swarm of stupid Damon now.
Holland flees into the Gekko.
Last to move is Takeru.
Setsuna has a second turn, which he'll use weakening the Damon in this cluster who isn't down below 2000.
I don't want to risk the Gekko so I'll keep it out of harm's way.
I don't know what to do with the Shuttle.
The counter turn starts lively as Takeru begins eating through the weakened mob.
Soon the Damons learn their lesson, but many of them don't have any better luck with the other fighters.
Even the one that thinks it has a chance against Lockon, um, doesn't.
How are there so many Damons, seriously.
Finally, the white one takes a crack at the Gekko.
Defending, the Gekko takes a solid hit.
It's turn 6, the last turn to finish this grind.
Fortunately, the enemy line is not in great shape.
Allelujah and Kakekouji team up against one of the untouched ones, to limited success.
Watta, who badly needs the experience, goes for the kill.
The big Damon takes its leave. Akagi is glad we didn't have to take it head on, but the cooler heads on the team remind us that it was a really strong Damon and it could be back for round 2 at any time.
Sumeragi informs the Crushers that Celestial Being will be working with them for the foreseeable future, and their commander has already been informed. Ohtsuka says we can talk about later, because he's got news: Dimension Shocks and Quakes have been rocking the whole planet, and as a result, the powerful dimensional distortion surrounding the Dark Continent, a region in Africa, has stabilized. Not only that, but an unidentified spaceship has appeared out of the dimensional folds some distance out in outer space.
Holland and Talho share a meaningful look - the Dimensional Quake is related to everything that just happened. Holland drops a vaguely ominous line: "The legend's going to be retold." The Gekko takes its leave.
Ohtsuka orders his men (including CB) to return to the base for debriefing. Crowe has already been recovered by Traia, but they have work to do.
How long has it been since we saw this? 10 PP and some snacks.
Elgan Roddick tells Ohtsuka that a fellow going by Boatman has arranged for Celestial Being to cooperate with the U.N. (under whose flag the Crushers operate, if you recall). It's obvious to both men that "Boatman" is a pseudonym, but why would their mystery contact name himself the head of a water vessel?
Roddick can only assure Ohtsuka that while Boatman's identity is a mystery, they need his help to deal with the current situation. He's already made plans to investigate the unknown spaceship. In the meantime, he wants Celestial Being to check out the goings-on on the Dark Continent.
Ohtsuka goes to brief the Crushers on their new assignment. The Dark Continent was a swath of land surrounded by a powerful dimensional distortion that no one could get through. Now that the storm has quieted, it's worth seeing what's there. But what will they find... and can they trust Celestial Being, who are going with them?
Sumeragi assures the Crushers that Celestial Being's main goal is still to eradicate war, and they'll cooperate if that's what it takes. And while they may have declared war on the three superpowers, and even if the U.N. doesn't trust them, Sumeragi is willing go take Elgan Roddick's World Peacekeeping Council at face value. The Council's goal is exactly as its name says - working towards peace on Earth, just as Celestial Being does.
Then Sumeragi and Ohtsuka have their squads introduce themselves to each other, but you've already met all of them.
A groggy Crowe wakes up in the lab's medical room to the faces of Esther and Traia. This makes him thing he's died, gone to Hell for defaulting on debts, and is being tortured by a witch and a she-demon (but which is which?). Esther is genuinely glad to see him alive.
Crowe mutters about the white Damon that took him out, and Esther begs him to destroy that one, specifically. It seems that this is not the first time that Damon was spotted. One year ago, it wiped the Texas city of Odis off the map. Not a trace of the city was left, except for a single survivor: Esther. She's named the monster Damon MD, for Moby Dick, and she won't rest until it's dead - and every other Damon with it.
Crowe smirks and asks Traia what the bounty is on MD. She says she can only offer him 10G. But a price is a price, and if it's got a price on it, he'll bring all his talents as a professional to bear. He promises Esther the MD's head.
But there's the matter of Crowe's debt. He worked hard for the Crushers, and brought back data on the Damons, Mechabeasts, Heterodynes, and even real live aliens.
But his debt has climbed to 990000 G. The Brasta was totaled and repairing that machine isn't cheap. As a professional, Crowe accepts his mistake, but tells Traia that the Brasta isn't powerful enough to fight the increasingly powerful Damons. She informs him that he isn't using 100% of its power himself. He may be using all its abilities as a machine, but it has hidden powers beyond its printed specs that he has to draw out.
But she can't say any more than that. It has something to do with the machine's power core, the VX, but even she is still analyzing the thing. VX, or Quintuple X, is something the moron brought in and asked Traia to study. Its theoretical maximum output is enough to fuel some serious firepower, but it's been impossible to get it to that point without it threatening to blow.
The moron, of course, is the rich guy Crowe met earlier, but he's not just some spoiled fuck in a suit. Other than the VX, it's true that in ten years he turned Axion from some little shop to the most powerful arms group in the world and himself into the richest man. Crowe assures them again that he won't sell the Brasta for the world, not even to the richest man in it - not until he's unlocked the VX's power and taken down MD.
In his super fancy office at Axion HQ, that very moron is in conversation with one Shioni Regis. She's accusing him of treating the world stage like a game, and he is acting scandalized. But there's another side to the conversation. Carlos comments that a certain unnamed benefactor told them about the big Shock and insists that Shioni should now be convinced that this person is not just a snake oil salesman.
The next step of their plan is for Shioni to stir up trouble between the nations, though Carlos reminds her that war will spread even if they just sit and wait. "One thing alone is certain. Our Project Uzume will change the world in a big way."
Crowe's debt now stands at 990000 G.
By next update, I'll fix up Celestial Being, and we'll go journey to the Dark Continent! You'll enjoy it.