Part 51: The Way Back ShutOkay, let's trim some fat and give this another shot.
Introductions! GOONZ is ever so slightly surprised that the visitors from another world look like plain old humans, but why not? We have humans from planet Gishin and the Astragius galaxy, too.
Speaking of things that are surprisingly exactly the same in the other universe, Gundams. Shinn kicks the elephant in the room, pointing out that his team was attacked by OZ for having the name of Gundam. In this universe, what are Gundams, exactly? The Meisters uncomfortably won't answer (the iron rule of Celestial Being is still not to stick your nose in other peoples' business), but Ozma assures them that we're the good guys. And don't forget, we did bail them out of a tight spot.
All four of them ultimately agree to the no-snooping policy; the others convince Shinn that they still don't have the right to make judgments on the state of our universe, and they don't want to rock our boat. It's obvious to everyone that Shinn has a lot of respect for his three superiors. In particular, Shinn looks up to Kira and Athrun, but he has something special with Camille, who just says they've been through a lot. Z history lesson: while this world's quake was twenty years ago, it's been only a year since their world's big quake, which brought Shinn's universe and the one Camille was from together. Dimensional faults have strange effects on time as well as space, so it's not that surprising that the timelines of parallel worlds don't quite match up.
Anyway, the joining of worlds send the political situation into chaos, and in the ensuing planetary war, ZEUTH emerged and brought Shinn and Camille together. But initially, ZEUTH was cracked into two infighting halves, and Shinn and Camille with it. Still, clearly, after the misunderstandings were all cleared up, ZEUTH returned to being one whole army and saved the world from destruction.
Shinn says he just couldn't stand people causing strife and suffering for their own selfish ends, was all...
I don't think your ZEUTH and our GOONZ are that different.
I don't expect you to believe the likes of us, but that's all we want, too.
We're all fighting to bring peace to the world.
Should keep your mouth shut.
ZEUTH still doesn't completely trust GOONZ, but this conversation has gone a long way towards convincing them we really aren't the bad guys. And wait until they meet those of us who will actually unironically call themselves heroes. For now, they'll fly with the Frontier.
And not a minute too soon, because we've got direct deployment orders from the top brass. Cathy reports that a Defold just blipped near the fleet, and we need to get the Quarter back there on the double. There's a pretty good chance it's the Vajra, which even ZEUTH knows about now, and it'll be a good chance to show them what we're really all about...
Chapter 25: The Way Back Shut
Guess what? It was the Vajra, and they're already through the fleet's defenses. The fleet's home defenders don't have the firepower to engage the bugs.
But then the Vajra scatter, a hole opens in space, and...
who are these assholes?
As usual, they were doing their own thing (in the red robot's case, the pilots were having a tea party) only to find themselves in their robot in space after a quake hit out of nowhere. One thing's for sure, though, the bugs they're surrounded by aren't friendly.
Back at the fleet, Mishima seizes the opportunity to turn the fleet around and leave while the new robot distracts the Vajra.
Sol Gravion (Touga Tenkuuji, Eiji Shigure, Runa Gusuku, Mizuki Tachibana, Eina, Leele)
Sol Graviton Missile (2 ammo)
Sol Graviton Crusher Punch (8 ammo)
Sol Graviton Cannon (8 ammo)
Sol Graviton Bringer (10 EN, barrier)
Sol Graviton Screw Crusher Punch (2 ammo, barrier)
Sol Graviton Nova (40 EN, 115 Will)
G Gladius Attack (50 EN, 125 Will)
Heavy Gravity Sword (90 EN, 130 Will, barrier, size)
Ace Bonus: Touga, Eiji, Runa, Mizuki, Eina, and Leele's maximum SP +10.
Welp, I'm going to go all out and say I really like this dumb show.
The devs might have too. Sol Gravion has a ton of special animations and retains ownership of pretty much all its moves. Granted, this is because the "every ZEUTH unit loses something" blow was absorbed by its partner unit, God ∑ Gravion, with whom it had a combination attack. And while the loss of the inimitable Sandman is grave, that still means Sol Gravion remains a fully functional Masami Obari super robot.
The main thing about it, and this is legacy from Z, is that the main pilot, Touga, does not have any levels of Prevail, because he thinks he's a Gundam or something. This we will fix, because frankly, if I had to pick one ZEUTH robot to use in Z2... it'd be coming up really soon, but Gravion would give it some pretty stiff competition.
Incidentally, Gravion at the beginning of Z functioned like Dancouga Nova on hard mode, with a higher Will requirement, a time limit that was actually relevant, and a pilot who, again, does not understand what kind of robot he's piloting. The Gran Kaiser was cooler than the Nova Eagle, though.
Gran Trooper (Faye Xin-lu)
Offensive Support L2
Defensive Support L1
Gravity Rang (10 ammo)
Gravity Arrow (8 ammo)
Lightning Detonator (70 EN, 125 Will, size)
Ace Bonus: At 120 Will, casts Gain at the beginning of the player phase.
Faye was an alternate pilot for Gravion that never got the chance, and probably would have been better at it, but therein lies a tale. The Trooper isn't a particularly bad unit, though, just very sidekick. She's got a set of flunkies that come out for the Detonator attack, but eh.
Wherever this is and whoever they are, nothing's taking Gravion down!
Right! With me, fellows!
By the way, this is Runa. She really likes drills. She came to the right place.
If we can't talk to them, then there's no point showing any mercy!
All units, maintain formation! Show them the power of the Gran Troopers!
The Gran Trooper is a super-style support, kind of like Aphrodite, but not terrible. The bad news is, we already have Dai-Guard.
After a couple of Vajra go down, Sol Gravion detects a warship entering the fray!
But it's just us. The Gundams and Gran Knights recognize each other, of course. They settle the issue of the Vajra's intelligence for Gravion, and that frees them to give it their all.
Meanwhile, this branch of GOONZ is sizing up their first visiting super robot. Team D hopes they can measure up to the Gravion. (Spoilers: no.) Ozma reminds the ZEUTH Gundams (notice I have deployed the ones that aren't sidekicks) that they don't have to fight on our account, but it's clear that the Vajra are as much a danger to them as to us - and if we're fighting, Shinn wants to pull his weight. Ozma tells Shinn he has the guts to qualify for his squad, and the existing Skull squaddies know that getting Ozma to put in a good word takes guts indeed. But first, we've gotta save Gravion!
This is the Lightning Detonator. Jack off!
GOONZ wipes up the Vajra within a few turns, but there were too many here to have been hiding all this time.
In fact, there are still more on the way!
Not only are there a lot more, but they've brought along a warship-sized Knight Vajra. And it looks like very one of these Vajra is stronger compared to the equivalent bugs we've fought before - the Vajra are improving. Crowe gripes that he'll have to rerecord all his combat data on them, though it almost sounds like he relishes the idea of selling it all over again.
They are, in fact, more accurate, and stronger, too. This powerup is permanent - it's the beginning of a new wave of Vajra for all of space.
I don't care how much stronger you get! I won't let you beat me!
We have a real enemy to beat! And we've got to get stronger too!
Are you kidding me? They evolved this far this fast?
This is bad. We've gotta exterminate them before they grow too much for us to handle!
A couple of kills gathers all the data Luca needs to confirm that the Vajra are now stronger in every measure.
But they're no longer all we have to worry about. Remember how the Red Dancouga peeled off from the Trinities? Because they're not with it, which means it wants a fight.
Team D asks its pilot who she is and what she wants. The pilot says that the R-Daigun's mission is to defeat Dancouga Nova, and she couldn't do that as long as she was with the Trinities. Now that she doesn't have them to worry about, "I will defeat you here and now, Dancouga Nova!" Ozma reminds Aoi that our job is to eradicate the Vajra, but since the Daigun has gone this far out of her way, Aoi can't turn her down.
In fact, the mission is still to defeat all enemies before the sixth turn ticks, including the Daigun.
But with this map, it'll be better to focus on the Vajra and let the Daigun come to us.
As GOONZ chews through the swarm of Vajra, Setsuna's extra turn allows him to charge straight through them and take a slash at the boss.
And it looks like the Daigun isn't that threatening either.
Team Gravion follows through...
R-Daigun! We'll get our answers from you after we defeat you!
Big talk! But it will be you who falls before the R-Daigun's might!
Don't get me wrong, lady. I know how to deal with stalkers.
I don't know what your problem is with the Nova, but we don't have time to deal with your issues!
And that is a victory for Team Obari. R-Daigun drops a Sniper Kit, and Aoi stays her hand and lets Red go - if she'll fill us in a little. But she spits and leaves, probably to join the Trinities again. Rude.
Shortly, it is turn 5 and we have only the Knight Vajra staring us in the face.
Units obviously not to scale.
And good bug hunt, everybody. Jeffrey orders everyone to rendezvous with the Fleet, but the Fleet calls him first.
Defense Chief Leon Mishima thanks us kindly for keeping the Fleet safe. He confirms Jeffrey's suspicions that these Vajra haven't been hanging out in the Earth Sphere since we got here, which can only mean they're slipping in through the fractures in space left behind by the Birth of Calamity. This means the dimensional ripples go out as far as orbit, and while we already knew the Vajra had self-contained Fold systems, it's now clear that they've learned to Fold between universes where the dimensional barriers are weak. The question remaining is, why are they Folding after us? The Vajra, at least, aren't talking.
Neither is Mishima. Now that the Quarter is under the same banner as Celestial Being, he can't risk being associated with us any longer, and not even the sanction of the Peacekeeping Council - not an official move by the U. N., mind you - will change that. Jeffrey's ship is officially on its own.
Cathy and Bobby protest, and Sumeragi offers to cut ties with the Quarter rather than let the fleet do it. But Jeffrey would rather cut himself off from the Fleet of his own volition. He knows that Mishima is right, and besides, his duty now is to remain by his comrades' side. Ozma asks the pilots' opinion, and the Skulls will all follow Jeffrey gladly. Jeffrey then offers ZEUTH the choice to remain with either the Fleet or his ship. Kira speaks for ZEUTH when he says that they feel the same as the Skulls. But he also wants to hear more of GOONZ' story. Camille adds that while they may have been with us for a short time, that time means something. Don't misunderstand - ZEUTH will ultimately choose their path for themselves, but first, they want to learn as much as they can from us. Jeffrey and Sumeragi understand and agree - they won't force ZEUTH to remain with us indefinitely, and when they leave is up to them.
The Skulls take one last look at the Frontier, because they won't be seeing it again for a while. Alto reflects that when he lived on the Frontier, he always dreamed of flying in a real sky. "I found that dream on the Earth, and I understood a little bit what it really means to fly. Farewell, Frontier Fleet. I'll be back when this world is at peace..."
Berlin - Mishima fills Grace in on the same stuff we just learned about the Vajra. Thanks to the Calamity Birth, the Vajra have gained the ability to jump from world to world - and how does Mishima intend to atone? It was he who gave Limonesia the Fold technology they needed to complete the project. Oh yes, she knows about that. Mishima's surprised, but why should he be? Did he not think she'd look into where he got all that Fold Quartz he paid her in? Or should she say, all that DEC?
She'll keep it under her hat, for now. Letting those dealings get out would be just as bad for her, after all. But, well, she'll have more favors to ask of him in the future. To begin with, a bit more Fold Quartz. He should have plenty from those Vajra, right? And continuing to feed her their intel on what the Vajra are up to. Mishima has no choice but to agree, but what does she need all that Fold Quartz for? She supposes he should already know. DEC-derived energy is under research in this universe, and she's heard it from several grapevines while doing Sheryl's marketing. "She is my dream. I'll make her queen of this universe, no matter what it takes."
With Mishima gone, Grace reflects that while the bugs have come over through the cracks of the Birth, so have a few bars on her Super-Dimensional Comm. "I can even contact them across the dimensional walls," she thinks, abusing pronouns as the Japanese love to do. "All that's left is to raise the Little Queen, and wait for my theories to become reality..."
And then she laughs and laughs.
Right as Sheryl walks into the room and asks just what is so funny. Grace changes the subject quickly: how is Sheryl feeling? Just fine, the singer replies, thanks to Grace's medicine. Good, because both of them are looking forward to Sheryl's Germany tour. With the world quivering under the threat of the Imperium, it's more important than ever to raise their spirits. And Sheryl Nome, the woman even Ranka Lee wants to be, is just the girl to do it.
Speaking of Ranka, Bird-Human just opened in Berlin, and Sheryl's planned to do a double feature against its premiere - Grace doesn't miss a trick. She's even embedded GOONZ intel on the disc Sheryl has, as asked. But right now, Sheryl needs to take her medicine and get some sleep. Big things are coming up. Bwahahahaha...
We return to the Ptolemy as GOONZ finishes the long long story to ZEUTH. Kira can't pass judgment on whether Celestial Being is in the right or wrong (earning a glare from Setsuna), but he sees where they're coming from all too well. He tried the same thing once, trying to destory all weapons of war, and on the flip side, he can see that Celestial Being is changing in a changing world. The Imperium has forced their hand - taking the long view, their mission is to bring peace, and right now, the Imperium is the greatest threat to peace out there. ZEUTH may not fully understand, but they think they can trust us. "Besides," Lockon says darkly, "we'll have to face judgment for what we've done eventually." But then he adds, "We'll do all the good we can until then." The other Meisters, and Team D, feel the same way.
Eiji has one question: he wants to hear Sumeragi say that they are carrying on a fight against humanity. When Sumeragi gives a clear yes, that's all he needs.
Even though it may look like we're just another gang of thugs taking advantage of the mess.
Uh, I'm actually a--
ZEUTH once again feels that GOONZ are kindred spirits. They were also an army that pulled itself together from different backgrounds, sometimes even fighting each other, to fight for the whole world's peace and prosperity. GOONZ isn't so noble yet, but Kira says that at first, ZEUTH wasn't, either. But they feel lucky to have crossed paths with GOONZ. They'll definitely stay with us for a bit longer.
Eiji introduces the Gran Knights. Touga is Gravion's main pilot, a finely tuned fighting machine in the cockpit and a flighty airhead out of it. (Luca is the first to notice - Touga shares his voice, Jun Fukuyama, with both Luca and Lelouche). Afterwards are the limb pilots, who get less words in this game then I would have liked.
What's up next? Sumeragi wants to check on things down surface-side, and they need to resupply anyway, so they're swinging by Dragon's Hive. While they're there, ZEUTH can reunite with their fellows on terra firma, so they might as well start thinking about where they want to go next. The other side has at least ten ZEUTH pilots and their robots, and Camille is still wondering about that. There must be a great power at work here, maybe an intelligent one, and if ZEUTH can trace it to its source, maybe they can find a way home.
Tanaka lets the mysterious commander know that GOONZ is coming home, but he may not be here when we get back. He's got business to take care of...
With his partner in crime, Final Dancouga's pilot, and their manly-jawed new guest, who seemed cool as a cucumber even after being pulled through the dimensional warp - he says that it would have been "unbecoming" to be terribly shocked. In fact, he almost seemed like he expected to have been dumped out where he was, which he attributes to "the pull between the seals carved into you and into me." What? "You could also very well refer to them as curses."
Finally, they turn on the fricking lights. The long-haired man introduces himself as F. S., commander of the Dragon's Hive, and the visitor as Klein Sandman... Accursed Wanderer.
Oh look it's this asshole.
Heh. Bearers of SEED, Newtypes, and the Scarlet Fang with the power to forge worlds.
All marked with the Stigma... this is an interesting mix of ingredients.
He should be drawn here as well. I should go welcome him.
I will return you to your unending hell, Accursed Wanderer...
If everyone's okay with this, we've got a great one coming up. I've been waiting 12,000 years for this bit. It'll be fun!