Part 48: Accursed Wanderers
The ZEUTHers finally get filled in on the whole King of Destruction business. It's pretty clear that the timing of the King and ZEUTH being called in isn't a coincidence, so does that mean they can go home if we beat him? Crowe suggests that the actual person of interest is the man who summoned Gaioh in the first place - Ime Liard. The good news is that if they want to see Ime, they could do no better than sticking with us, since Ime wants Crowe's life. Good for ZEUTH, anyway.
Gainer isn't 100% sold on signing up with GOONZ (some of our own, like Aoyama, can't blame him). But in any case, a few other members of ZEUTH have warped in. It would probably be best to meet up with them and plan from there. Shirota promises them our support in their quest to get home, and surprisingly, so does Holland. He insists that he's just interested in their world. (Gain and Gainer mutter to each other that this Holland reminds them of their Holland a long time ago, back when he refused to accept Renton's and Eureka's relationship and it burned a hole in his stomach.)
Hap guesses that Earth-Z1 only has one moon. Yep, pipes up Garrod, and someone's carved "Renton + Eureka" in gigantic block letters into it. Whoops, someone blabbed! Tifa shuts him up, but both Holland and Renton took notice for sure.
Now that the cat's out of the bag, they explain that yes, it was Renton's gift of love to Eureka, and the pair from this game blush. Renton is motivated to be his double's match, but the revelation has rather confirmed for Holland and Hap that ZEUTH is from "the world we saw on the Tragedy of Doha. Their world. The world we need to be in. We have no hope of survival if we can't make it."
Back in the real plot, the report from Ohtsuka says that the Imperium is making for north America - Britannian territory. Britannia's forces are the most powerful in the world. Does Imperium really plan to take them head on? If anyone can do it, it's them, but whoever wins, the fallout is going to be nasty. Of course, WPC is calling us back in so Chairman Roddick can reform GOONZ in response. The spaceships have picked up their own ZEUTH soldiers we'll be meeting up with, but will they be willing to help? At least ours will be glad to see their buddies again.
With his characteristic tact, Watta asks if the black robot was a member of ZEUTH's happy family too. But they're surprised to even hear Asakim's name, considering he should have been taken out back at their final battle under the orbital elevator. So that's a definite no on the friend thing, but Asakim is more complicated than just a foe. There's more to him than meets the eye...
Meanwhile, our last new friends - Kei Katsuragi and his future-daughter Athena Henderson - have arrived on the Dark Continent. You know the story - they were minding their own business in the bazaar, when a dimension shock opened up, plucked them out, and dropped them here along with their robots.
And the terrain around here isn't in the databases of my Orguss or your Nykick, huh?
Yep, guess we've been warped off to another universe.
Can you be serious for one second? Do you even understand what's happened to us?
Hey, I'm from the same multiworld you are. I know the deal with dimensional quakes.
We've been dropped here and throwing a fit isn't going to change that.
Grr... I still can't believe this irresponsible, immature man is my father!
Hey, don't be like that. I thought you weren't going to worry about that.
I'm just saying, we're not going to get anywhere arguing. Come on.
Kei is hoping to find his partner and Athena's "boyfriend," Orson Verne. He was with them when they were swallowed, so he must have come with them, and he's always good to have around at times like this.
Unfortunately, he finds Asakim first, muttering about how Kei was the "strong scent of Stigma" he's been tracking. Like our current ZEUTH people, Kei and Athena are surprised and none to happy to see Asakim alive and kicking. "I am an Accursed Wanderer," murmurs Asakim. "And now, so are you." What?
Ime shows up to say there's no point in Kei and Athena learning what that means. He introduces himself, but there's no point remembering his name, either. He's not here for them, only for Asakim Douwin, and he supposes Asakim wants to talk to him as well. Asakim gathers that Ime has "awakened," and is aware that he, Asakim, is going to aim to take his life starting now. "False Black Sheep," he addresses Ime, and "Accursed Wanderer," returns the liar.
Chapter 27: Accursed Wanderers
Asakim summons Shurouga. Ime responds by calling in a pack of DAMons.
Kei and Athena board their robots, and Kei asks if Ime wouldn't mind if they settled things with Asakim before he takes his turn. Ime's afraid he simply hasn't the time, so we're going down with him. Well, that's that. Kei calls a cease-fire with Asakim until the Damons are dealt with. And he's got some questions for him afterwards, if he doesn't mind. "I have all the time in the world," replies Asakim. "But that's also my unending Hell... And to break out of this cage, False Black Sheep, I will reap your soul."
The SR Point is a little interesting and kind of familiar: destroy Rhinodamon MD, who flees after three full turns or if he has time after getting below 5000 HP. Hope reinforcements are coming.
Orguss/Orguss Flier (Kei Katsuragi)
Hit (10 EN)
Missile (8 ammo)
Missile Gun (10 ammo)
Alpha Strike (6 ammo, 110 will)
Missile (8 ammo)
Missile Gun (10 ammo)
Ace Bonus: When adjacent to a female pilot (ally or enemy), deals 1.2x damage.
A little underwhelming, this guy. Now he's just this tiny robot with a bunch of missiles that don't ignore size. In Z1, Kei was an expert at cleaning out squads by raining missiles with his TRI move and alpha strike. I like him, though. He does have the honor of being one of the very few pilots to start out with Attack Again (and an early game pilot in Z1 to boot) which I suppose should help his damage. It does make him burn through ammo like crazy, though.
The most powerful attack Kei had and doesn't anymore is combination attacks with the missing Orson, and also I want to say Athena. This would make me feel better if the penultimate attack he kept was terribly destructive.
Nykick (Athena Henderson)
Offensive Support L2
Hit (10 EN)
Missile (10 ammo)
Triple Barrel Shotcannon (16 ammo)
Alpha Strike (6 ammo, 100 Will)
Ace Bonus: Accuracy, Evasion, Critical Rate +10%.
Same deal, and another ace-statted pilot in a second banana robot. The Support will be nice.
Oh, and once again, we have Asakim and Shuroga, and this time we can actually control them... for now.
Here's hoping MD comes to me, because otherwise, shooting it down in three turns will be terribly difficult.
I am the Accursed Wanderer. But I know where to find the key to my salvation.
And this world holds a clue to the Taiji, font of all evil.
I will find... the power to break free of the chains of destiny!
So we'll let Asakim bat the DAMons around a bit while Kei and Athena catch up.
The Bull and Rhinodamons do not move.
Luckily, the WPC and attendent ZEUTH goons (ZEUNS?) are here to lend a hand!
Kei explains that he had no choice but to make a truce with Asakim, and Shirota orders the rest of us to work with him as well - but the ZEUTH pilots don't like it one bit.
Crowe, of course, has his eye on MD.
Let's break up this party, shall we?
(Uncle Orson, I will live to see you again.)
(So please, Orson... be safe!)
You know, in the PS3 game, there is a trophy for this shit happening.
It's called "It Happens All The Time."
I did play it cool for Athena, but I've really gotta get back home!
Wait for me, Mimsy! I'll come back in one piece to you and the child inside you!
(by the way, Orguss spoilers?)
See, damage could be better.
But with this much raw power charging in, taking down MD probably won't be too hard.
I am going to ignore the regular DAMons and focus on the elites.
The Bulldamons are finally attacking.
The Rhinodamons, including MD, move in.
Luckily, MD is only as powerful as when we last saw him - but all of us, especially Crowe, have grown much stronger. He's still pretty strong, so it's going to take something serious to deal over 5000 damage to him at once - probably either a support or Kamina.
It's not likely that Crowe can deal the damage on his own, but he's certainly a good candidate for the second attack in a support teamup. So weakening MD comes first.
Well, actually, many of them can't really reach MD yet, so they can take out the lesser DAMons first. Good for morale.
How've you been, MD? Looks like you waited so long you've gone old and white.
I don't know or care if you're the King of Destruction's champion or something Ime Liard brought in...
But I'm ending this right here, MD! For my promise to Esther, and for myself too!
This looks like a reasonable time to finish him. Anything that damages him further through the D. Fault will likely just make him run anyway.
So there's the SR Point, but far from the end of the stage.
For as Crowe moves in to end Rhinodamon MD's life...
One of the humanoid robots from the Birth of Calamity rushes in to stop him! She introduces herself honorably as Marguerite Pistail, knight of Insaraum, the Seventh Archsabre. She demands that Ime call back MD, because she'll fight us in its place. Ime allows it and warps MD out, but this is interesting - Imperium is using piloted robots now. Other than Arietes, I mean.
Again, the other DAMons aren't terribly important - the only thing I need to do to win is take down Marguerite's Pearlnail.
Speaking of Pearlnail...
Pearlnail (Marguerite Pistail)
Offensive Support L3
Willful Archers (2 ammo, 125 Will, MAP, ignore size)
Valkyria Spinner (10 EN)
Faithful Archers (8 ammo, mobility down)
Bloom In Heaven (20 EN, 110 Will)
Bosses don't have ace bonuses so I don't know why I bother. (Yet.)
I like Pearlnail. I like Marguerite too. I'm not sure I can say much more for now, but keep an eye on her. Pearlnail is a super cool robot, though. Bloom in Heaven is the particular attack she just used, by the way.
This path split is generally about ZEUTH, I guess, but the Marguerite event also marks it as the beginning of the real plot of Z2, the bits about Gaioh and what he brought with him and what the real deal is with the DAMons.
In the meantime, let's just form up, get ready to put the hurt on Marguerite, and let the ongoing skirmish with the DAMons continue. As usual you'll forgive me if I don't include particular detail on their deaths, I hope, since even the stage win condition doesn't really care what happens to them.
I give Marguerite one turn, by the way. This path split still has all the incredibly dangerous dudes - Kouji, Kamina, Ryoma, Takeru...
(This world is my new battlefield.)
(I have already been stripped of my honor and all I was bound to protect. I have nothing left to lose, so let me fall and become a monster.)
Zambot's actually pretty tough.
Hey, I haven't recorded the new guys yet.
Just fire everything at once, Kei and Athena! Kei gets a damage bonus from being next to his daughter, so that's nice.
Lots of the Damons are weak. I'll take some out quickly before focusing on Pearlnail.
Learning Resolve pays off for Gainer.
So that's all the Damons and Bulldamons.
Well, except this one that's been loitering down here, but forget him.
Forget the Rhinodamons too. Too much trouble. Time for Marguerite.
And uh... I guess that Valor was unnecessary huh.
That really hurt, you know.
You survived! You stubborn oaf!
Sorry about that. I've got too much money on the line to die here.
Money?! Is that why you fight?
That's about the size of it. I'm not proud of that, but there it is.
You... why must my opponent be such a cur?
Look, I don't know what I did to offend you, but don't forget this is a battlefield! And I don't go easy on women!
Silence! By the pride of an Archsabre, I will not be bested by a wretch like you!
But she is, of course.
Crowe scores the loot.
Ime decides to pack up too. An extraneous factor messed up his plans. (Kei, Asakim, or Marguerite?) Crowe has a bone to pick with him, but Ime repeats that he no longer has any reason to care about Crowe. Besides...
"I'm quite busy just keeping myself alive, thank you. So formidable a foe is he." Ime ditches, but Asakim will chase him to the ends of the earth.
Eventually. Crowe has questions for him, too, but Asakim just smiles cryptically. "Do you really want to ask them while you're wavering between your fears and your regrets?" Huh... "I will await your awakening, Wavering Scales. But for now, I must go. The False Black Sheep is my current prey."
Well now. The time to explain what that was about will be coming soon, but for now, if you haven't played Z1, just know that the protagonists of that game were the Scarred Lion and the Sorrowful Maiden - though they didn't know what that meant at first either.
ZEUTH explains to Kei that we need Ime, somehow, to get them home. And getting to him is going to be harder now that he seems to have lost interest in Crowe. But now Asakim is in the game, and whatever connects him to Ime passes through Crowe as well. Gain has his own theory...
But back on topic, Chairman Roddick is regrouping GOONZ, and like the others, Kei's willing to stick around long enough to meet the other side's ZEUTH. They never did find Orson, but the U. N. is keeping track of ZEUTH, and if they find him, they'll let us all know.
Still, Asakim. Kei admits he had a few words with him, but as usual, Asakim spent the whole time speaking in riddles. The only thing that made even a lick of sense was the weirdest part - that they, Kei and Athena, are Accursed Wanderers now just like him. It doesn't sound good, whatever it means, but it doesn't sound like any answers will be forthcoming except from the man himself. And how are we going to track both Asakim and Ime, both slippery enough assholes on their own?
Crowe seems like he's bitter about losing MD yet again, but he's actually curious about Marguerite. Not like that - Crowe is still a gynophobe - but it definitely looked like she was protecting MD. And what did she call herself, an Archsabre of Insaraum? Must be the universe she's from, or at least whatever country she's from in her universe, but like everything else, it's a mess of unanswered questions. And again, the best way to answer those questions is to take on the Imperium and get answers personally.
"There you have it, Chief, Esther," mutters Crowe. "Wiping out the DAMons turned out to be a lot bigger a job than we thought. If I pull this off, I'd better get a hell of a bonus..."
Elgan orders Ohtsuka to have the Dark Continent team rendezvous with the space team in Europe. The Imperium may be moving on North America, but that's exactly why the Chairman wants us away from them - he's invited the Imperium to talk things out and he doesn't want to give them an excuse to go on the offensive. They have to be very careful with GOONZ.
Speaking of which, Ohtsuka is also not to invite ZEUTH into GOONZ. In fact, he's not even to mention it. It's their decision, and "we may not take away their freedom to choose." Ohtsuka defers to his judgment and wishes him luck at his summit.
With Ohtsuka offline, Elgan is talking to himself again. "If ZEUTH has been transported here, it must been due to... so he's coming."
In fact, he's already here. Elgan knows all about Asakim, which makes the latter suspect that he's yet another Accursed Wanderer. Accursed? Perhaps, suppose Elgan, but...
He's interrupted by a call. Gundams have attacked the Overflag base!
Eifman seems to have figured out what makes the Gundams tick - why there are only a few of them, why it's taken this long for them to show up. It seems that the only place to produce the reactors is Jupiter, and the only chance anyone had to do it is 120 years ago on the manned exploration mission out there. "But if that's true, that means Aeolia Schenberg's true goal was..."
No time to theorize though, because the Gundams have caught up to him! They're none of ours, though, that's for sure.
Mihael sweeps up the opposition...
Giving Johan and Nena time to hook their robots up and blast the base, killing the Professor.
The Trinities gloat about how no one can match them, especially not the sucky Celestial Being Gundams that are being dragged around with GOONZ. They don't even need the R-Daigun's help anymore, do they?
The Overflag mains return to the base too late.
Johan orders a retreat, since they're done here, but Mihael wants to stay and play some more. In a rage, Graham leads his subordinates in a charge,
but Mihael slips out from his grasp and destroys Howard's robot.
His bloodlust sated, he joins his siblings as they vanish under the cover of the second one's stealth field.
Angry as he is, Graham knows it would be a waste to go after them now. He's already lost Howard and Eifman to the Gundams, but he won't forget what they did any time soon...
Alejandro and Ribbons have heard the news, and they know that Britannia will have no choice to mobilize their Knightmares - otherwise, the Imperium won't be able to pass up the hole in their defense. Although if that happened, wouldn't it be nice if the Imperium could raze the east coast and Elgan Roddick with it?
Alejandro isn't too worried about the Imperium coming for him. Schneizel has something going on in Cambodia that can take them out on a whim, and he's got his own iron in the fire up on the Orbital Ring. Basically, the Imperium is barely a threat to him, but potentially a great asset if he moves his pieces right. It's all to guide the world on the path he's drawn for them. But for now, he's content to just sit back and watch the talks between Elgan and Imperium.
Up next: Space Route. It has some of my favorite ZEUTH guys, so I hope you're looking forward to it.