Part 57: The Island of God
Corny is trying to convince Euphemia to at least take another knight on. Euphemia stubbornly insists that Suzaku Kururugi, despite not being a real Britannian, has every bit the prowess to defend Euphemia. After the Battle of Narita, even Cornelia must know that firsthand. Still, Cornelia says that the way of the Britannian Empire is to separate ourselves from the Numbers. "Then I shall change it," declares Euphemia, and the Viceroy is taken aback.
But Cornelia hasn't time for this, and tells Euphemia they'll finish this later. She's headed out to Kyushu: the HRL is busy handling the Imperium, so it's time for Cornelia to try to settle the situation at home. And Euphemia has somewhere to be, too: the little island of Shikinejima. Who's she supposed to see there, wonders Euphie?
Nina is very impressed at Relena's ability to handle two princesses so confidently, which is not a big feat compared to what Nina did, which was jumping up and down and squealing about how amazing princesses are. Relena, on the other hand, feels like she made a complete idiot of herself. And neither of the princesses had a good answer for her dumb question, but Relena has found an answer in that. The world is changing, and whatever peace is, no one can just tell you how to get it; we'll each have to search for our own peace in the chaos. "Heero, I'm sure the peace you're after isn't the one I want. But I hope one day, we'll both have peace together..."
Millay enters with Shirley, who's doing much better now. Lelouche comes just after, asking where Suzaku is, but we won't be seeing much of him. Being a princess's right-hand knight is a time-consuming job.
Shirley still doesn't recognize Lelouche; they reintroduce themselves. After Shirley leaves, Lelouche quickly explains to Millay that he and Shirley have had a bit of a tiff. "And she's pretending she doesn't know you?" tuts Millay. "That's... kind of adorable." Lelouche gets her to agree to "play along."
Being stuck in Area 11, the resistance has to get their news of the world from the other routes. In fact, they have to fill in Goto's team on what the Imperium is and why it's ripping the world apart. Crowe, in particular, is pretty mad, because it seems like they're not even laying down the hammer when other nations disobey them, so much as releasing the DAMons whenever they damn well feel like it. Their victims have no cohice to defend themselves, and they always lose. And, again, they can't even rebuild before their neighbors gobble them up. Not to mention all the countries and groups making secret deals with the Imperium. (Todo: "They would sell their souls for a moment's peace...")
The worst is still that there isn't even an idea of what the Imperium wants. Crowe repeats that they're basically toying with the world stage. But as mad as GOONZ is, they don't stand a chance against the Imperium either - not their endless horde of DAMons, and certainly not against the King of Destruction, a man who they could see taking down the three great nations singlehandedly. It sounds like there's nothing anyone can do, but the rest of GOONZ has other ideas, and so does Chairman Elgan Roddick. GOONZ has been ordered to regroup, and while the Gundam pilots don't think that'll be enough, they've got something else up their sleeve: ZEUTH. The new pilots and machines have got some serious bite to them; the only question is if they'll stay and fight by GOONZ' side. That's why Roddick's first step is to get all of GOONZ together and talk about what's coming next. The rebellion should be getting the memo any day now...
But Zero says the Black Knights won't be answering. They've already done enough good for the world, and it's time to focus on liberating Japan. ("Can you ever really do 'enough' good?" wonders Crowe.) Fighting the Imperium is a bad investment, and the rest of GOONZ won't help with the revolution effort. Besides, he'll rejoin the war once he has a free Japan.
C. C. knows he's just taking advantage of the Imperium to destroy Britannia. "Or is it just that you don't want to leave Nunnally again?"
Then Diethard drops a bomb: he's got the orders ready for the assassination of Suzaku Kururugi! For all we know, Euphemia picked him as a symbol to the Elevens that still side with Britannia, the way Zero is to the resistance. Zero disagrees; he may become that way, but Euphemia, in her forthright, innocent way, must have just chosen him as a symbol of union between Japan and Britannia. Even so, Diethard insists he's a danger, but Todo and Ohgi disagree that he needs to be taken out. At the very least, underhanded assassination is no way to gain the faith of the Japanese. Diethard maintains that it's the most efficient thing to do, and anyway, they can hide the truth easily enough. Both sides look to Zero for an answer.
Instead, Zero asks what Diethard really wants. Diethard says he's been watching Zero ever since he took back Suzaku. In what Zero's done, he sees the future, the next wave of change coming over the world; "to me, you are more impressive than Celestial Being's declaration of war or the King of Destruction's arrival." And whatever's happening, he wants to be right there on the front lines, seeing it and recording it himself.
Okay. But Zero won't allow the assassination plot to go through. In fact, he intends to reach out to Suzaku once more and ask him to join the Black Knights. He knows Euphemia will be visiting Shikinejima, and Suzaku will undoubtedly be with her. They'll have a guard, at best, not an army, so it's the perfect time for us to catch him. The Black Knights blanch at the idea of fighting Lancelot again, and having to take it alive, too, but Zero says he already has a plan...
The plan gets fed up of waiting for her introduction. She introduces herself as "the Guren's and Gekka's mommy" - Doctor Lakshata Chaura. She tells Karen not to die, because she would really like to continue collecting data on the Guren. And on the subject of data, she can't stand letting the Lancelot run around. She's got some history with its maker, you see. With everyone in the room, Zero can start explaining the stratagem...
Crowe's concerned about GOONZ. Duo hopes ZEUTH will make up for their absence. ZEUTH, huh... Crowe wonders if that Asakim will be among them, but this time, there's no one to correct him.
Chapter 27: The Island of God
(Area 11 route)
The Knights have made contact with Britannian forces deep in the island, and Karen is driving Suzaku to Zero's location. C. C. asks if Lelouche really thinks he can turn Suzaku, and why he doesn't just Geass him. Zero just says he can't. "Why not?" she demands. "Stubbornness? Friendship? Ego?"
"...all of them," replies Zero.
Suzaku arrives in sight of Zero. Zero goads him to approach, and Suzaku, being not smart, charges in face-first...
Right into Zero's trap: a mine loaded with a doohickey called a Gefjun Disruptor that knocks out an Yggdrasil Drive, the Sakuradite-powered reactor that powers a Knightmare (whew!). Zero gives Suzaku a choice: agree to talk, or he and his robot are forfeit.
Suzaku dutifully exits the Lancelot, and Zero does the same, warning Suzaku that the Guren's weapons are still trained on him. He asks Suzaku to join him, and Suzaku refuses without hesitation.
I already told you, I don't believe in getting results through the wrong means.
Then what meaning do you claim is found in the cheap peace Japan has today?
What would have happened if Japan had kept fighting seven years ago?
The HRL and AEU would have joined the war, and the fighting would continue even today, with Japan split into three.
What peace we have is due to Japan's unconditional surrender.
That's right. And I'm fighting to keep the peace my father gave his life for.
It's a false show of peace. The Black Knights...
Karen interrupts to let Zero know that there's a missile headed straight for them. In the instant when Zero is distracted, Suzaku grabs him! He has orders to take Zero in - and he knows about the missile. Zero counters that it's easy to follow orders. "What do you want?" Suzaku says this is what he wants.
Euphemia, however, won't allow Suzaku to die. Both Zero and Suzaku are unpleasantly shocked to see Euphemia here, but Suzaku refuses to let go of Zero. Dying would be better than breaking the rules he's set out for himself. Zero realizes what Mao was talking about, opens the eye in his mask, and just as the missile strikes, he gives Suzaku an order:
Zero wakes up and immediately deduces that he's been thrown far away from where he was... likely by a dimensional quake. In fact, he's on a little island called Kamenejima.
Euphemia is here too, in fact, and somehow has figured out who he is. She hasn't told anyone, though. "So before you shoot, let me at least..." Lelouche takes off his mask.
We're gonna cut to Shikinejima, where Lloyd is reporting to Schneizel: they've lost trace of Euphemia, her knight, and all the involved Knightmares. Schneizel comes to the same conclusion that Lelouche did, a quake, and it's a solid guess that they're on Kaminejima, where spacetime had a fit right as the event happened. If that's so, Zero is likely still alive.
Schneizel reveals that while the order to hold Zero came from Shikinejima, he personally had the missile launched. But he thought it was going to give Suzaku a chance to get out of the pickle the Black Knights had drawn him into, not put him in danger, and he certainly didn't expect Euphemia to be there as well. He even graciously apologizes to Lloyd and Cecille for his lapse in judgment. Lloyd invites him to come looking for his missing soldier...
Back on the Island of God, Suzaku has encountered "Kallen Stadfeldt" and is attempting to arrest her, and she demands he call her by her Japanese name. But they're both pretty hosed; the Guren and the Lancelot are trashed, and they can't even call for help because their radios are busted. Karen says that Suzaku's the one that's going to be arrested, because she knows Zero is coming for her. Suzaku asks her to tell him who Zero is, but quickly deduces that she doesn't know either.
Then he asks her to leave the Black Knights, but she's devoted to being Zero's personal guard. They have the usual argument where each claims the other's eventual victory will be empty, until Karen hits below the belt: "Genbu Kururugi, the Last Samurai, must be rolling in his grave."
And then, "I'll change the world. If I can't, I can't get my brother back."
Despite all the drama bombs, this conversation isn't going anywhere, so Suzaku suggests they look for high ground, to make it easier for either army to find them.
Apparently, Euphemia has suspected Zero since the hotel thing. Zero tipped his hand to her there, though she wasn't certain until now. Why hasn't she told Cornelia, then? Euphemia says Cornelia never takes her seriously. She asks after Nunnaly, and Lelouche tells her she's fine, though Euphie still can't shake the fear that Nunnally resents her.
Down to business, as Lelouche asks about his mom again. Euphemia doesn't know anything, but Cornelia, who idolized Marianne, has been looking into her demise. That would probably be why Clovis named her when Lelouche questioned him.
Euphemia has one more question: "Are you Zero, or..." Lelouche assures her that he's her Lelouche, but he'll have to be Zero again when they get back to Japan; he has to keep fighting Britannia. And then she asks something he didn't expect: "What if Britannia changed?"
I was talking to a friend, and she asked me... "what is peace?"
Whatever it is, I know it's not what's in Area 11 right now.
Because of the Black Knights?
It's all because we hold down the Numbers. The problem is segregation.
And you want to change that?
War is swallowing the world. Not just the Imperium, but everyone who makes someone else suffer.
I don't want a peace where people silently suffer, or where discontent is silenced by threat of force.
I think we can achieve true peace if we all try to understand and respect each other.
And you think that can happen between Britannia and Japan?
Just like you trusted me enough to take off your mask.
All this talking has made me quite hungry. Shall we search for food?
Hee hee. I feel like we're on a hike.
Yeah, just like old times...
But they don't find anything. Sorry, but Lelouche isn't as good a knight as Suzaku. When Lelouche first came to Area 11, Suzaku was his only friend. But the memory is bittersweet now that they're on opposite sides of a war.
Suzaku and Karen appear out of the brush, and Lelouche quickly puts on his mask as Euphemia ducks behind him. Zero declares that Euphemia is his hostage, offers to trade her for his soldier, and whispers to Euphemia to play along. She plays the hostage well, asking Suzaku to forget her and fight. In the panic, the squeal of another dimensional quake permeates the air, and everyone is swallowed up by the light...
In an underground ruin elsewhere on the island, Lloyd is showing Schneizel what Clovis took this island for: what they call a "Consciousness Elevator." A few of these have been found all over the world, and Charles has executed several invasions to get his hands on them.
Lloyd has some distaste for all this hocus-pocus, which is unfortunate, because the data from these things has been incorporated into "the Gawain's Druid System". That's what Lloyd's been brought here for, not the Elevator itself, but...
this douchebag comes to let everyone know that this is "not for you to touch." (Lloyd: "Gah! Talking about all this spooky stuff has called in a spook!") But how could Asakim resist coming here, where "the key to breaking it resides?" (Pronouns!)
Oh, and he's brought a friend, who agrees with Asakim that man was not meant to dabble in what's located here. The two speak cryptically to each other...
when all of these people rudely get warped in to interrupt. Asakim instantly recognizes Zero as the bearer of the King's Power, and introduces himself as "an Accursed Wanderer, much like the one who gave you your power." Zero doesn't have time for this and dives for a nearby KMF to escape in, ordering Karen to escape and make for hers as well.
Oh, but Schneizel is here! But Zero doesn't have time for him either, and promises he'll deal with him soon enough. Ime, too, feels that this place has gotten too crowded for him and Asakim.
Asakim summons Shuroga, and Ime in response calls MD.
But as always, GOONZ complicates matters: this time, it's Zero in his new flying KMF - and it's got something else on it Zero is very interested in. "It's almost like this Knightmare was made specifically for me!" he gloats.
To make full use of it, though, he'll need someone else to drive, and luckily, C. C. says she's been "called." Even more fortunate, this Knightmare is a two-seater, and as she boards, she quips that she's getting sucked deeper into the "partner in crime" role. "Sinner doomed to wander in endless torment," sneers Asakim. "So pleased to meet you."
Karen is also here to help, but Suzaku is being terrible. Zero manages to convince him to work with us for now, since Euphemia is still in those ruins and the DAMons are looking to get in.
Gawain (Zero, C. C.)
Break Will Limit
Hit & Away
(C. C. - SP Regen)
Slash Haken (12 ammo)
Hadron Cannon (40 NE, 110 Will)
Hadron Cannon (MAP) (60 EN, 130 Will, size)
Ace Bonus: Radius of Tactics effect +2.
Oh, yes. This is Zero's permanent machine for the rest of the game, and it's a hell of an upgrade. It flies, its movement doesn't suck, and it has a second pilot and some nice weaponry. Oh, and I threw Hit & Away on Zero but forgot to upgrade his EN or give him EN save. Whoops. Anyway, other than that, Zero is the same Zero, with his tactical commands and his leadership aura, and oh, the Gawain's jammer to stack on extra bonuses for units that are near Gawain.
Gawain... its true value lies in its astounding computing power.
I'm likely the only one in the world who can use this Druid System to its full potential.
Cut the bragging and put the thing to use already. I'm doing all the piloting for you.
Then take me into the enemy formation! We'll wipe them all out with the Druid System and the Hadron Cannon!
Jibun wo, etc.
Turn 2: GOONZ arrives. They're impressed with Zero's new machine. Suzaku makes it very clear that he's only fighting with Zero to survive. Crowe, as always, is focused on Rhinodamon MD.
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!
I will carry out my duty as Princess Euphemia's Knight...
Zero... this will be our first and last battle together!
Oh, and here's your video of the day:
Zero learns Invincible, which will be pretty useful.
And Karen gets the first strike against MD.
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!
GOONZ defeats MD, but Marguerite steps in to take its place. Nothing special happens this time, the stage just goes on.
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!
Crowe has better luck on the counter.
Before we begin Marguerite beatdown #3, though, here's another video.
That's a MAP attack. , I know, but it's pretty much the other thing Gawain has going for it.
(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.)
That's the whole chapter, nothing that wasn't in the other versions. Ime leaves, disgusted with Crowe's performance, and Asakim sets off to hunt him - mentioning, since we have no ZEUTH with us to say it, that he and ZEUTH aren't exactly on friendly terms.
Suzaku has no desire to stay with us either, but Zero tells him to deliver a message for Euphemia: "I'll put my faith in you." The Black Knights leave Suzaku to puzzle over that one, but Schneizel and Bartley have other plans for him: he's being court-martialed for insubordination!
Having a brush with the Imperium has made Zero realize he can't ignore the larger world stage, and he's decided to rejoin GOONZ after all. "Japan is a part of the world. If the world is not at peace, peace for Japan is a pipe dream." Tamaki protests, but everyone else agrees that Zero has the right idea.
And he wants C. C. by his side as Gawain's pilot, too, so we're keeping that. Lelouche has faith that Nunnally will be in good hands with Euphemia watching. C. C. is amused to have discovered Lelouche's soft spot, but Lelouche doesn't care. Peace, true peace, is the world he wants for Nunnally, and for that possibility, he'll give Euphemia a chance to make things right. But if she can't turn things around, he's still got his eye on toppling Britannia.
Oh, and Crowe's still wondering what Marguerite's deal is.
Back in Pendragon, Schneizel smugly explains to Euphemia that they have a recording of Suzaku disobeying direct orders to hold onto Zero: "Shut up! I don't care! I have to live!" It's surprising to everyone, but the evidence is airtight. Lloyd smirks and says Euphemia, in charge in Cornelia's absence, will have to deliver his sentence... but just so she knows, to take responsibility as Suzaku's handler, he intends to remain with the boy.
Schneizel interrupts to inform everybody that his little bird says the Black Knights are leaving Japan. Likely, of course, to rejoin GOONZ under the World Peacekeeping Council. That gives Euphemia an idea for what to sentence Suzaku to...
Elgan lectures Ohtsuka about keeping GOONZ away from the peace talks and not pushing ZEUTH. He briefly speaks to Asakim, and hears about the assault on the Overflag base.
Alejandro and Ribbons plot about GOONZ.
Anyway, we are now finally out of the split and into the next phase of the game, in which many very dramatic things will happen. Also, I may go back over ZEUTH's units if it interests anybody! Otherwise, we'll just get to know them a little better in the next chapter of the game.