Part 44: The Curtain Rises on a New World
Shioni is understandably horrified that Project Uzume - which you may remember Carlos and Ime both promised her would put her nation back on the map - has instead wiped a chunk of it off the map. Ime calls in to assure her that this is simply a sign of their new friend's vast power. "Come, let us celebrate... the arrival of the King of Destruction."
Chapter 23: The Curtain Rises on a New World
Starting up cold. No visible enemies yet. The key here, as you'll soon see, is to lead with units that can ramp up very quickly - Morale, Resolve, Spirit, low-cost weapons, and so on. Simon is obviously the pinnacle of this.
There's a huge crater where the city used to be, and all the pilots are sickened by the sight. Meanwhile, the Great Axion and Arietes are nowhere to be found.
In their place, a lone human stands amidst the rubble. He notices us and murmurs, "Fresh prey..."
And in the blink of an eye, he's punching a hole in the Macross' armor with his bare hands. In fact, he seems impressed that it could absorb his blow at all. Even Kamina is a little scared.
As quickly as he charged, he leaps back to the crater and unleashes a barrage of power on GOONZ, taunting us over private communication lines that we'll be a fun hunt.
Zero orders GOONZ to return fire. Shirota protests that their enemy is an unarmed human, but by now it's pretty obvious that's far from the case.
As the smoke clears, a new, enormous creature erupts from a dimensional rip with the King riding it like a mount. He invites us to come at him with all we've got. Tieria advises against fighting an unknown enemy, but it doesn't look like he's going to give us a choice!
The main win condition - destroy the mystery man - is irrelevant. But the SR Point is to deal him 45000 damage within three turns. And given that he's on the other corner of the map, that's probably more like two.
Break Will Limit
Ace Bonus: -
First, note that he's level 70 and has insane stats, including an amount of HP that is literally off the charts.
Second, note that he has a laundry list of very dangerous skills, including Perfection (which you've seen) and the ability to take two complete turns every phase, pretty much the two most dangerous skills in the game and both restricted to bosses and only bosses.
This is going to be one of the few times Zero actually issues the order to defend. I've got a bad feeling we're about to weather something pretty nasty.
Turn 1. Everyone's sticking together and close to the commanders. Takeru, Aoi, and Kamina all cast Spirit. Musashi cast Drive on the entire Getter team.
Now we absorb.
Something inside me is telling me... to gather the strong.
What wants me to do that? What's driving me to fight?
Why does my blood boil? Where is my true enemy?!
It gives Chirico a chance to get hit.
Aoi has better luck...
And on round 2, we're set up to begin the assault.
Zero analyzes the beast and gives the Charge! order.
As usual, the strategy is to surround him...
But it looks like his massive stats aren't just for intimidation.
I'll have to use all my attacks and defenses for this one.
It's going well so far, I suppose, but...
That bastard Ime! He's brought me to a fun universe!
Kouji doesn't have the morale to use his Breast Fire yet, but he should after he exchanges blows.
By the way, Mazinger Z takes the counterattack pretty well, but I should clarify that this is after the Guard spirit, which cuts the damage to a quarter.
So I guess this is going all right. He's surrounded now and the round has really only just started.
By the way, Super Robot Wars traditionally doesn't show the enemy's HP numbers until they're below 100,000. So, again, this is how much HP he has.
I brought Lockon because of his complete lack of reliance on Morale to use his weapons and his ability to Support.
That said, ouch.
Anyway, we can position him to a more friendly place.
Likewise with the Quarter, which can't attack but will be providing moral support and using its cannon repeatedly.
Speaking of support, Crowe is good at that.
And like I said, you can see the boss' HP now. His active skill is Perfection, but I haven't brought any pilots who can Exhaust his Will down right now. Since his total HP is 122,400, I might actually be able to take him out this round with my upgraded GOONZ. He needs to be knocked down about 20,000 more points this turn if we're to avoid seeing his MAP attack up close and personal.
Another round of Crowe.
(I'm putting Heero next to Setsuna so they get the most out of their friendship, by the way.)
Okay. Just a little bit more to go, but I'm running out of strong attackers.
Whew! (By the way, I tried pretty hard to get a bonus video of that MAP attack for you. He didn't cooperate. Sorry.)
The Question (Mark) isn't satisfied with our performance. GOONZ is still shitting themselves, but if we hesitate even to run, we're chow. They all wonder if they're going to die here.
Then Ime shows up with the Great Axion and addresses ??? as his king, grovelling that he is most deeply honored to have entertained him. He introduces us to the "King of Destruction," and the true master of the DAMons. Then he informs the King that the gate to Insaraum is open.
The King calls in his entourage and tells them he's found a new arena for them. We see two unknown robots and two new, terrifying varieties of DAMon.
The robots are even piloted. We'll be seeing more of them. But having teased us, Gaioh takes his posse and leaves.
Ime calls his pals to leave too. Shioni is still in shock at the fate of Limonesia. Carlos jokes that there's no point dwelling on it since everyone's dead anyway, but goes serious for just a second and grimly says he never expected anything like this. But oh well! What's done is done, let's make the most of it!
Crowe wants to know just what's going on here, but Ime is just cryptic again. "Even that much of the energy of Creation couldn't awaken you," he sneers. "This was a bit of a waste of time. Farewell, Crowe Brust. You aren't even worth killing to me."
He summons DAMons and, as he turns his back, decides that we should know before we go - the whole story of Nein was fake. Zero seems especially shaken up by all he said about the King of Destruction, but right now we have bigger problems on our plate.
He's even left us one of the new DAMons - a Dinodamon. It's even more powerful than a Rhinodamon.
Actually, small favors - the only win condition now is to destroy the Dinodamon. The others are optional.
The Dinodamon is pretty damn strong, and I might as well let you know now - it's wearing a droppable DM-Armor. This is like any armor part in that it increases the equipped unit's Armor rating, but instead of giving bonus HP, it restores 10% of the unit's HP each round. Since the Dinodamon has equipped it, though, it's going to benefit from it, and it stacks with its 10% HP and EN regeneration.
The bad news is that the turn is almost over, I'm surrounded by DAMons, and everyone's still high on that tactical order. Whoops!
Hopefully it'll work out.
There are still a lot of regular Damons out here, which is nice.
Lockon learns Invincible. That's actually pretty handy - he didn't have a survival Spirit yet.
But most of the Damons - who, you may remember, can't move and attack at the same time - just converge around GOONZ.
I really do hate Bulldamons, though. Shield aside, they're ridiculously tough and annoying for shock troopers and it's going to get worse as they replace the regular Damons.
Lockon gets piled on, and manages to pull through!
But the King had already hit him hard, and he soon gets overwhelmed. Sorry.
There are also two Rhinodamon. I suppose they're the sub-bosses.
Shit I don't like the way this is going.
Ow! How did he--
Why does it have a drill?
Why does it have a drill rocket punch made of flesh?!
Well, apparently all that dimensional digging did something bad to the fabric of spacetime, because something else is breaking through reality again. More Damons?
(This guy is from Z. I'll explain later, when the characters learn about him themselves.)
The Dinodamon seems to dislike him. Why? "Oh," the black stranger says. "You're trapped in an unending Hell, just like me. I'll unchain your soul!"
And then that happens. GOONZ doesn't know who the stranger is, but at this point, they'll take any help they can get! Sumeragi orders her men not to touch the black robot.
He chuckles when he notices the Brasta and says everything makes sense now.
Break Will Limit
HP Regen M
EN Regen L
Embrace the Inferno
Ace Bonus: -
Should be pretty obvious that this guy isn't joining us, like, ever. He's actually computer-controlled right now.
Zero orders a regular Attack this time. No point leaving ourselves open.
I should get on the Dino soon, since it's regenerating fast, but might as well take down a few weakened Damons on the way.
Besides, at this point I can almost kill it at leisure.
Plenty of time to take down the Rhinodamons, also valuable targets. The first one gets a lot of super robot.
The second takes a bit more work.
Back to business.
Oh, come on.
Well, that's okay. The DM Hunter himself can finish this one off.
Damn it! It's even stronger than MD!
Seriously, what are DAMons anyway? And what do the King of Destruction and Ime Liard have to do with them?
Crowe scores the DM Armor.
The rest of the Damons vanish, but we're still in a bad spot. A country just exploded and left a very powerful, very dangerous entity in its place.
There's still the matter of this guy. His name is Asakim Douwin, "or at least that's what I'm called now." Crowe introduces himself back, and Asakim tells Crowe to consider himself lucky. "You're not worth killing quite yet. So I'll be off to keep looking for peace." He vanishes like the wind.
But wait! The world's communication lines have been hijacked! Someone is (yet again) broadcasting their message to the whole planet!
"Attention, viewers all over the world," intones Shioni. "I am Shioni Regis, leader of a new empire: the Imperium."
"We of the Imperium have no land," she continues. "Our whole nation is the mobile fortress, Great Axion, and those that serve it. We demand to be recognized as a sovereign nation, and we demand absolute freedom. Anyone who interferes with us will be considered to infringe on that freedom, and we will respond with extreme prejudice."
Wow. "The Great Axion is currently moving southwest from coordinates 1271. The Harnes Federation, which lies on that path, has asked us to stay out of their airspace. We consider that a declaration of war. Our forces are composed of DAMons, and the world will see exactly what that entails two hours after this broadcast ends. Within two hours, the Harnes Federation will no longer exist.
"We are Imperium, a new empire. Know that all who try to control us will be met with force."
Corny is pretty mad about this. Dalton and Gilford point out that if Shioni is telling the truth, everyone is in serious trouble. She orders all the knights serving with the joint op back to Area 11's defense immediately, and damn the Peacekeeping Council. The U. N. is scarcely a consideration right now - the Imperium certainly won't respect them. "The world is changing," she growls. "If we make the wrong move, it will change into a new Hell."
The Ashford kids confirm that the Federation really is being attacked by DAMons. Nunnally is worried about Lelouche. Saji assures her that he's fine - he's in France, way out of the Imperium's way. Oops! Suzaku's deployed, of course, but he's probably also nowhere near the warpath. It's Relena who's really worried - about Heero, and the flames of war spreading all over the world...
Team Cub Reporter is in Singapore, where they're getting the news of the assault on Harnes. They can make it there well within two hours, but Isabelle talks Kunue out of it. This is way bigger than either of them. "This is like dropping a rock in a pond," she explains, "only the rock is more like a meteor. The ripples are going to spread all over the pond, and there's a chance the whole pond will go up in steam." She's sure the Gundams and Dancouga will make their move soon. All she knows is, they have to be ready to keep up with the truth if they want to have a chance of telling it.
In a hotel in Paris, Sheryl is desperately trying to keep Ranka calm. The two singers panicking isn't going to help Alto, Ozma, or anyone else. But what's sure is that they're all fighting as hard as they can. "So what can we do? Their job is to fight. What's ours?"
Ranka knows the answer: "Sing."
Five minutes before the deadline, New York hears that the Harnes Federation has been wiped out. And this isn't about Limonesia - the Imperium is strictly under the thumbs of Shioni and Axion. Treize asks Lady if she thinks they would have saved Harnes if they had stormed the shores of Limonesia earlier, but she supposes they would only have delayed its destruction a bit. Treize and Schneizel would have taken that bit of time and saved whoever they could, but Alejandro reminds the two that there's nothing they could have done - they're not gods.
Schneizel snaps that there is no god. That's what they, the leaders, are there for. "Nothing we could have done" isn't in the prince's vocabulary. Treize just resolves not to forget what happened today. Still, the U. N. joint forces are disbanded. It's up to each nation to weather the coming storm, if they can, by themslves. Meanwhile, Britannian King Charles is in his room and won't speak to anyone, but Schneizel isn't so sure it's because he's stressed about the situation.
Finally, Treize mentions that all their plans are back to square one. On the other hand, Alejandro thinks he can use the Imperium to get them back on the right track, but Schneizel sees that going down that path will lead to even more bloodshed. Treize, for his part, hopes that maybe GOONZ will set things back on the right course...
Charles has a super nice room. He says that Schneizel and the Imperium both will see sooner or later that war is a waste of effort.
Elgan is talking to no one again. "Yes, I know," he says. "It may well be important. That's why I let the girl do as she wished, knowing full well that it would cost many lives." He pauses. "Irrelevant. If we cannot defeat it, we have no future. If it destroys the world first, it may as well. Pandora's Box was full of curses, but at the very bottom was hope. Yes, it may be false hope. I know humans can think they see hope where none exists. But we can only have faith. Faith that GOONZ, and that our... visitors will bring real hope to the human race.
Finally, we turn back to the Great Axion, where Shioni is pretty pissed at Ime. He's actually very pleased with all this - between her excellent oratory and a wonderful performance in Harnes, the entire world is terrified of the Imperium. And sure, Limonesia was a heavy price, "but don't forget," he smirks. "Limonesia was destroyed by you yourself."
As Shioni freaks out, Carlos changes the subject to this King character. Ime simply repeats that he's what Carlos wanted, the power to change the world. Sure, Carlos wanted power, and Project Uzume's purpose was to channel lots of energy from parallel universes, but... Ime says that the power took the form of the King of Destruction, with whom he's been working the whole time. Shioni wails that Ime promised her control of the world through DAMons and raw energy, and he points out that for once, he told the truth. Imperium effectively rules the world now. Promise kept.
But Carlos has just one objection: the name. "King of Destruction" sounds so cheesy and old-fashioned. His new name is Gaioh, and his huge battle-throne is the Geiltiran. Gaioh doesn't remember a thing about his life, let alone his name, so "Gaioh" is fine with him. And he remembers one thing, a command etched into his brain: to fight. The whole world is his hunting grounds now, and he expects the finest prey delivered to him.
A narration tells us that no one knows the meaning of Gaioh's fight, not even Gaioh himself. But the event that would come to be known as the Calamitous Birth marked the beginning of a new age of war, violence, and suffering. The Imperium spread conflict and death in its path, but even as those they subjugated swallowed their fear and anger, some of them found new resolve.
Zero wants to return to Area 11 now that his Black Knights have crushed the WLF and enjoyed the spotlight for a while. Celestial Being needs to get back to its original goal (fighting the concept of war itself), and with the Imperium on the move, it has its work cut out for it. For the moment, Sumeragi wants to return to orbit and regroup her Meisters. Jeffrey, captain of a space warship after all, decides to take the S. M. S. and go with her. Holland doesn't have anywhere particular to be, but wants to stick with the Peacekeeping Council - as he says, Elgan Roddick owes him. And the best way he can take advantage of the Council's hospitality is by working for them and using Roddick as air cover.
In summary, we're going three ways. The group that will remain under the Peacekeeping Council will consist of the original Crushers - Mazinger, Aphrodite, the real Crushers, 21st Century, Takeo General, the Gurren Gang, the Getter Team, and the Gekko. (The Getter Team needs to swing by Japan for maintenance.) The group that heads up to space will pack the S. M. S. squad, Celestial Being, and Team D. Finally, Zero will return to Area 11 with the Black Knights, Chirico, and the Colony Gundams.
As for Traia, Axion's staff all have their doubts, but none of them dare speak up against Carlos. And Traia is sure she'll be just fine. After all, she figures, she'll be very disappointed in him if he brings the whole Imperium on her little ol' lab. And he'll never be able to live with himself if he has to use the Imperium to kill her. His pride couldn't take it, you see. No, she'll be all right.
At any rate, the lab's making good use of the data Crowe's selling, and maybe sometime she'll have an upgrade for the Brasta that can go head to head with the moron's dumb Damons. Speaking of data, Crowe may be saving the world, but he hasn't forgotten about money. Traia admits he's got a point, and totals his findings up to a value of a cool 300,000, bringing Crowe's debt down to half its original of 490,000 G.
But seriously, where does Crowe go? With the WPC, up into space, or to Area 11?