Part 40: Shared Ideals
So here's a sweet thing: after a path split ends, you can give free sub-orders to everyone that just returned. It's a great way to make money off A-listers.
Back in the Taklamakan, the shadow team fills in the public team in on what they missed.
It's a long conversation and the good guys have fun gossipping and speculating, but the 21st Century staff are once again increasingly concerned about flying under the same banner as terrorists like Celestial Being and the Black Knights. Miss Nakahara is the first to bring it up, but everyone else agrees - except Shunsuke Akagi. He doesn't understand - aren't we all heroes here? - but they have a point. When GOONZ was split up, Akagi could play hero all he wanted, but if we're going to move as a single unit, 21st has to contend with the possibility that they will be branded terrorists by association.
By the way, Sumeragi is supposedly out meeting a friend. This comes as a surprise to pretty much everybody, but even Celestial Being has lives, or did before they became terrorists at least. And it's the way of GOONZ - the shadow GOONZ, at least - not to pry into things that are none of their business.
The unlucky trio (Lockon, Aoyama, Crowe) forms their own circle. Lockon opines that one who can't take the heat should be forced to remain with GOONZ. Those who want to fight should fight, and it's the right of those who don't to stay off the dark path.
Tieria agrees in a more dickish way - "We can't afford to have anyone who doesn't have the will to fight following us and holding us back." Akagi protests that they were just talking.
But the argument can't go on, for Akagi has been conscripted to run Dai-Guard at a company fair...
Chapter 19: Shared Ideals
So basically, this town's been hammered by the Damons (Tanigawa comments that we'd rather have the Heterodynes, who only appear in Japan). We're delivering aid packages from the Japanese government, and while we're in the area, 21st is giving Dai-Guard some publicity just to seal in goodwill.
Tieria's lecture still has Ibuki down, but Akagi and Aoyama are all bright and motivated. She clarifies that she's on board with GOONZ - it's only Celestial Being she's worried about. Even Duo and the Black Knights are sort of freedom fighters. Celestial Being is a terrorist-shaped enigma, and all anyone has to go on is Schenberg's message about ending war. What does that even mean?
Also, there's still the thing where GOONZ fights against all threats to the world, and going by the shadow team's stories, that apparently includes terrorists. They may be evil, but they're humans. Pointing weapons at them doesn't feel right.
Suddenly, a Heterodyne pops out of the dimensional fold - the same Heterodyne from Dai-Guard's first battle, and far from Japan! The 21st staff scramble to evacuate the town as Akagi braces Dai-Guard to intercept it.
Well, shit. Gameplay begins, and the SR Point is five turns to clear the whole map. GOONZ is on its way, but you can bet so is something nasty.
Dai-Guard's movement is pretty good now.
And so is his range.
Dai-Guard'll take on a Heterodyne no matter where it shows up!
Let's protect this town!
Oh, but I forgot to mention I also shored up a lot of pilots' Prevail rankings. Because Prevail is awesome.
But as soon as turn 2 starts, the WLF sneaks up on Dai-Guard while it's tangling with the Heterodyne. You can tell it's the WLF because they have an extremely liberal definition of mixed-unit tactics.
And the douchebags start trying to capture the city with its citizens still inside!
Akagi wants to take them both on. He promises to miss the cockpits, but is Dai-Guard really up to that? Either way, it looks like Aoyama and Ibuki don't have a choice but to join the fight.
But suddenly... no, that's it, it's Dai-Guard versus everyone.
Dai-Guard's going to have a long turn. Putting Guard and Focus on it will be very useful. (It will also run the subpilots out of a good part of their SP, but I'm banking on GOONZ arriving soon.)
And then we're going to have Akagi go totally Jackie Chan on the entire WLF, because the Heterodyne regenerates and so demands concentrated fire. Bets on how many attacks it takes for him to start taking 10 damage?
I'm not going to say there's such a thing as good terrorists and bad terrorists...
But you're the ones who are willing to hurt innocent bystanders!
Come on, Dai-Guard! We salarymen can fight for peace. We will fight for peace!
Oh. That long.
Apparently the Heterodyne goes first.
Dai-Guard defends, and its defense is way better too.
But even extended, its range isn't completely up to snuff.
It still kills the hell out of some terrorists.
It survives the turn easily.
The terrorist commander gets mad and orders his Genocidron to make a mad charge into the town...
Akagi notices some civilians, including Nakahara, right in its path.
Lockon flies in to the rescue and tries to line up his sights, but can't shoot without the Genocidron falling on the civilians.
So he decides to do something stupid: he charges in to push it away!
As Nakahara takes her charge to safety, Lockon shoots the Genocidron down.
And GOONZ arrives right behind him! So here's the team. More people care strongly against Watta than for him, so I picked Alto instead, since he'll be a thing down the line and Trider is, let's face it, not in the game's overarching plot at all.
Also, notice Sumeragi isn't deploying herself because she's missing, which means that this is a rare case other than a path split where she can be given a sub-order.
Anyway, I have a few turns to wipe this up, so we're charging right in.
Lockon's asking for a fight today, so let's give him one.
Your terrorism is hurting civilians. I guess with your bullshit ambitions, you learn to ignore a few sacrifices.
But those losses can never be replaced! You're going to learn that the hard way today!
Haro's Focus gets him out untouched.
Meanwhile, Akagi takes cover in GOONZ.
And with her extra turn, Karen gives them something more painful to worry about.
Radiation to the face.
Now our problem is just the northern stragglers, Genocidrons, and Heterodyne.
Speaking of whom, it just picked on the wrong GOON.
Karen microwaves a large chunk of the WLF.
Well, it's his life. (Is it just me, or have Genocidrons just gotten weaker?)
Who thinks I can wrap this up in a turn?
We start with everyone who can leapfrog off dying enemies.
Simon learns Strike. Awesome.
Let's pick off the Heterodyne.
I can get used to this Kouji supporting business.
Alto finishes it for the experience, as well as the bounty from killing a boss with Luck activated.
Apparently, anyone can break a Fractal Knot nowadays. The scary part, though, is that Heterodynes are no longer limited to appearing in Japan alone.
Here's what's left of the WLF! Three crappy mecha, a tank, and a landship full of holes.
Now just those last two.
Oh, and Heero's riding the Attack Again train now.
Not that he needs it to put the landship out of its misery.
I'm giving Simon the kill because he's also a little behind on xp for some reason.
He doesn't get a ton of it, but the tank drops E-Carbon Armor. Neat.
Oh and it's a whole turn early for the SR Point.
For some reason, this is what it takes to convince the Gekko crew that we are as heroic as we claim (though Holland is still sulking about something)...
It turns out that GOONZ has been gathered here in the Taklamakan to beat down the WLF once and for all - though the spacetime quake was an unexpected complication. Spacetime quakes and dimensional quakes are so similar, maybe this disturbing new Heterodyne development has something to do with the huge quake that brought us MD. Or was it Ime Liard's doing?
But Tieria is the only one who hasn't been swept up in the tide of heroism. He insists that in Sumeragi's absence, the Meisters were meant to be kept out of today's deployment. Lockon coolly replies that he's a member of GOONZ and will be a team player in all our operations. Tieria insists that no Meister should take action without Sumeragi's, or better yet, Veda's direct approval. Leave the heroics to the rest of GOONZ - they could easily have handled the Heterodyne and WLF without Celestial Being's help.
As Lockon's rage grows, Tieria points out that it's a little hypocritical of a Meister to harbor a grudge against terrorists. But it's Setsuna who steps to his defense, insisting that the WLF is a seed of war and it's a Meister's duty to stamp them down. Allelujah agrees, and Tieria seethes and storms out. (The Meisters storm out a lot, don't they?) Setsuna follows him, but Allelujah pulls Lockon aside and asks what his particular score is with terror. Lockon refuses to answer...
Nakahara comes to thank Lockon for saving her. Seems like whatever was going on between the Meisters and PR Division 2 has been settled - they're allies in the fight for goodness and justice. Lockon isn't so sure Celestial Being deserves to be called good at anything, but Team Dai-Guard insists - everyone has their own idea of what's good and right. A flag to march under, something to fight for. But for now, everyone in GOONZ is pursuing their own ideals in the same direction, and that's what matters.
Sumeragi, who spent the chapter in absentia, turns out to have been in Delhi, meeting... Billy Katagiri? He wants her professional opinion on a strategem that could supposedly take out anyone if it worked - even the infamous Gundam team. Bluntly, fighting them one on one is a losing battle, but if they could be surrounded and exhausted through attrition... Sumeragi points out that there are ways around that, though, even up to the victim self-destructing. Oh well.
Billy moves on to personal matters - won't Sumeragi come back to the military? Professor Eifman's asking about her, you know. She turns him down, sidesteps his questions about her "personal" life (read: does she have a boyfriend), and insists she's busy with work. As she takes her leave, she apologizes to him under her breath - that she's no longer the woman he knew, but his enemy...
I don't think I'll be able to record next week, but we'll see if I can find time. Anyway, it'll be fun - event deployments are Heero, Setsuna, and Tieria.