Part 61: The Battle of Mars and Marg!
Pre-mission note: it's one of the vanishingly few times Sumeragi can go on a Sub-Order, and she is achingly close to that magic 70 mark. Sayaka gains hers, but does it really matter?
Marg demands Zuul execute him already "so I don't have to look at your face for another second." Wahl (remember him? no?) is enraged at his impertinence, but Zuul tells him that that strong will is exactly what he needs from Marg. He's going to execute Marg, in a sense... by erasing his memories and rebuilding him as a loyal soldier of Zuul, and sending him to kill his own brother. Marg struggles to resist, but the process has already begun...
Marg awakens on his battleship with no memories of who he is or who the woman is he's talking to. He asks why he can't remember anything, and she says that his memories have been erased (honest!) so "he can live for the future." Inexplicably, this is enough for the new Marg, and Rose continues that they are en route to the Earth, where GOONZ is, and with them, his enemy Mars. Once again, Marg simply accepts this without question.
GOONZ awaits Elgan Roddick at the location he gave them, apparently one of the shell corporations he moved through as Boatman.
Meanwhile, Lockon, Aoyama, and now Roger sympathize with Crowe's new, multiplied debt. Crowe asks if Roger can't help him, but Roger says the deal's already done. The window for Negotiation has closed. Well, if even Roger won't help him...
Ryoma's advice is to skip out on the debt, but Crowe can't give up the Brasta, especially not now that it's just got its upgrade. His principles leave him a slave to money, so he supposes he'll just go back to working it off. Sara, Runa, and Sochie realize they were wrong when they had pegged Crowe for a flake. While Crowe appreciates it, it's not going to turn him around on the fairer sex overnight - though speaking of gynophobia, they knew someone a little bit like that back in their world, in the Chimera group. It must be a traumatic experience with a girl, right?
Michel, on the other hand, is greatly enjoying ZEUTH's selection of girls, and Pierre and Kei of GOONZ'. Kei even goes so far as to say it's a nice thing about having been forcibly ripped from his own universe. It's a very sunny outlook, and Kappei adds something his dad used to say: "When you've hit rock bottom, you can only look up." That's a nice sentiment. Does Crowe have anything like that? "Even if you take one step forward and two steps back, you're still facing ahead."
The host arrives, and this is the first time some of our people have ever seen Elgan Roddick in person. Alto, Kouji, and Takeru whisper about Roddick's legendary stubbornness and force of will, but Roddick calmly says he's no such thing. "That's why I have to depend on you."
Elgan doesn't have time to chat, though - "and neither does the world." He's not just talking about the Imperium. He's come to ask us face to face to defend the future of humanity, come what may. (Tieria recognizes the phrase - Aeolia Schhenberg worked for the same thing.) He can't offer us power, nor ZEUTH passage home, but...
ZEUTH will help gladly. However, Sumeragi can't forget that Elgan kept some of the U. N. joint forces' movements from us. Shinn has a bigger concern: once, someone asked ZEUTH to help them fight for Law and Order, and that turned out to be a huge mistake. Kira, Athrun, and Camille are all willing to trust Elgan for now...
Apollo smells something fishy, and his animal senses are rarely wrong. He doesn't think Elgan is lying to them, certainly not like their once archnemesis Edel, but he can't put his finger on it. Jiron cheerfully suggests that it doesn't matter and we shouldn't worry about it, and Apollo immediately stops. HMM.
Elgan thanks ZEUTH, and promises to let them know if he learns anything important. Kappei wonders if Banjou is out there, and so does Kira about Lacus and Loran for Diana...
Ohtsuka dials in on Elgan's red phone, but he's looking for Takeru. And he needs Takeru to stay calm and listen, which is always a good sign. Because...
The Gishin have taken his mother.
They've demanded he come out to the Izu peninsula, alone and unarmed. Like an idiot, he's done so, and Rose and her army of psychics jump him. She'll have his head, but first, she wants to let him struggle to have him suffer for his treachery against his Emperor Zuul. Takeru manages to defend himself with one powerful psychic blast, but it drains his energy, and the psychics continue to advance. Just then, explosions fill the plain, but the Gishin radar shows no mecha anywhere nearby...
Chapter 31: The Battle Of Mars and Marg!
What was that? Where are they shooting from?
There aren't any blips on the radar!
Heh heh heh! You don't need a robot to throw a bomb!
Yasu from the Kurogane Bathhouse!
Long time no see, kiddo! Kouji asked us to give you a hand!
You dare to fight Gishin psychics without a weapon?
He's too strong!
Master! Slice 'em into ribbons!
I wouldn't want to be on the business end of the Master's chopper!
What's the matter with you? Shoot them with your psychic waves and shock blasts!
Who do you think you're dealing with?
Hey, hey! We can see right through your little tricks!
Avalance rolls down the mountain!
Eyes! Ears! Nose!
They're fighting psychics hand to hand...
Stop staring and lend a hand, boy!
Just an old lady!
My goodness, you're making a mess. Hup!
Yaaargh! I'm wrapped up in these strings!
Ho ho ho, these are Super Alloy Z wire. The harder you struggle, the tighter they squeeze!
G-get back! As long as they've engaged you, you won't be able to maintain concentration!
You got nowhere to run!
Nice, Django. Give 'em the customer's treatment.
Piece of cake.
The GOONZ sniper squad is putting on a shooting show.
I don't think they're enjoying it. Oh well.
They've earned it, taking Takeru's mom hostage.
Ugh! Keep fighting! We have them outnumbered!
Do you? Are you certain?
You're trying to sacrifice soldiers now?
We won't show any mercy!
H-how are they so strong?
You shoulda done your homework. GOONZ also works as Takeru's bodyguards.
You're pretty good, Crowe? What is that, aikido?
Cistema. Just picked it up a while ago.
(Heh... Crowe's really seen some rough times.)
You really thought you could stomp us just because we didn't have our robots?
Scatter them with the carrier!
Wh... he shot it down with a pistol?
That's a good weapon.
It's a Bahauser M571 armor-piercing magnum.
These humans... GOONZ is a threat!
Took ya long enough, huh?
We can fight with or without our mechs!
(Here's a video of the whole GOONZ bodyguard scene in case you want to see it in motion.)
GOONZ has the psychics cornered, so Takeru goes for his mom, but he finds Marg standing in the way and prepared for a duel. Takeru sputters that his brother isn't like this, but Marg laughs. He's never had a brother!
Marg binds Takeru, who hasn't the psychic power left to fight back, but Rose warns him that these humans are much more dangerous than they look. Marg makes the tactical call to retreat his foot soldiers and send in the robots, and takes Shizuko with him.
That's enough simpering out of you!
If you have time to blubber, you have time to do whatever you can. You want to save her, don't you?
Whatever I can...
Marg returns with his soldiers,
so Takeru does whatever he can: summons Godmars! Rose thought he was drained, but Marg at least realizes that his desire to save his mom let him dig deeper. "How touching. Crush the fool, courage and all!"
Takeru's borrowed a Haro for the mission, so he wipes out a squadron of fighter jets in very short order.
But that wouldn't make it any fun, would it? Baron Ashura has brought Ghostfire V9 to help Marg's forces under Dr. Hell's orders. Ashura, however, wants to weaken Takeru, then force the antiproton bomb to explode in space.
But GOONZ is back with their own robots, ready to cover Takeru so he can reach his brother.
Except that they're hanging Shizuko from the bridge! What do we do? Rose demands Takeru surrender if he wants his mother to live. Marg is too far for the sniper team to shoot her free. What do we do?
Baldios! Hyperspace warp!
Oh look, a new robot from ZEUTH! It teleports right up to the Gishin warship and grabs Shizuko.
Rose tries to return fire, but a second machine from ZEUTH intercepts with its God Shield.
Baldios and Godsigma fly Shizuko to safety under the Kurogane Five's guard, then join GOONZ' formation. ZEUTH is glad to see more of their old friends, and all of them would dearly like to make Marg pay for his douchery. With nothing holding us back, it's time for battle!
Zero tells Takeru that it's up to him to decide what to do about Marg. GOONZ will watch his back however he chooses to go.
Baldios (Marin Reagan, Jack Oliver, Raita Hokuto)
Hit & Away
Baldy Missile (10 ammo)
Shoulder Cannon (8 ammo)
Pulse Sabre (15 EN)
Hyperspace Beam (25 EN)
Pulse Sabre Whirlwind (50 EN, 110 Will)
Thunder Flash (75 EN, 120 Will)
Ace Bonus: Trigger rate of Hyperspace Warp +15%.
Most of the super robots in Z had some ludicrous gimmick. Baldios can fly through hyperspace somehow, giving him an evasive trait that comes on at 130 Will and protects him 25% of the time (40% when Aced). In addition, Baldios can also teleport when he moves, spending no energy while ignoring terrain (if grounded) and enemies.
Also, a gunbot with a pilot that knows how to use it. Finally.
It's been a while, Marin, but that doesn't mean you can slip up!
I think that warp speaks for me. So you'd better not hold me back!
Ahh, that's good to listen too. I don't think we'll have any problems.
Yeah! I don't know where we are, but it doesn't matter if we're all together!
Go, Baldios! Raita, Oliver and I are back together, and our combined power is yours!
Godsigma (Toshiya Dan, Juli Noguchi, Kensaku Kira)
Spinsaucer (6 ammo)
Finger Needles (6 ammo)
God Tomahawk (5 EN)
God Strings (15 EN)
Musou Blade (20 EN, 110 Will)
Final Musou Blade (80 EN, 125 Will)
Sigma Breast Musou Blade (100 EN, 135 Will, armor)
Ace Bonus: Takes 0.8x damage when blocking with a shield.
Uh it's another super robot which is super tanky and cuts stuff. If you use it, it's really useful to open a boss with because you get a surround square and then you reduce its armor. Godsigma's gimmick is the Trinity Charge, which lets it refill its own energy once per stage.
Also, I think it's funny that Juli and Kiraken are exact parallels of Oliver and Raita.
Right when we get back together with ZEUTH, we get thrown into a fight!
Well, we were a trap, and it shows that it worked.
That's right! We'll fight evil on this or any Earth!
Juli, Kiraken, follow me! We'll give them a jolt of Godsigma's power!
So those are the new robots.
Anyway, since I'm on a time crunch to kill all enemies (it's turn 2 out of 5), let's get to work on Ghostfire.
Meanwhile, Takeru makes for his brother.
Marg continues not to move, and Godmars doesn't have the energy to continue soloing the Gishin.
Meanwhile, Kouji finishes off Ghostfire and gets its Precision Lens. Ashura withdraws it, but leaves the remaining Talos, who are not even worth acknowledging.
At the end of turn 3, GOONZ is finally engaged with the Gishin, having chewed effortlessly through Ashura's chaff.
But by the time they're nearly wiped out, Marg is still hanging out on the top corner of the map.
In fact, he takes his move on turn 4, one turn before the SR point expires.
I mean, I brought Trider because Watta had lines, but... fuck you, Marg. Fuck you.
Prepare yourself, Mars! I will execute you on the orders of Emperor Zuul!
I have to fight... I have to find out what happened to Marg!
I have to talk to him! If I can't trust my only brother in the universe...
Actually no back up a second.
Yeah, Takeru has the talk command. Like he said...
You have to remember, Marg! We're twin brothers, and we swore to fight together for universal peace!
You can't fool me! I don't have a brother!
Gh... then I'll contact his mind directly with telepathy!
Marg's mind has been altered by Emperor Zuul!
Mars! How dare you invade my brain!
Please stop this, Marg! You've been mind-controlled!
Silence! You are my enemy! I must destroy you!
It's not working... if I want to get to Marg, I have to sink that vessel!
Let's do that, then. I'm gonna cheat and gap a turn out just to get Kouji and Watta in on the fight, and then claim the SR point anyway. Because seriously, Brainwashed Marg is an asshole when it comes to actually coming out to fight.
You know, he was really, honestly happy when he met his brother.
His one and only blood relative in the whole universe. And I know you felt the same way.
That's nonsense. He is my enemy, nothing more.
Brother fighting brother... that is not right at all.
It's you and me, buddy. You're not touching Takeru.
Hey hey hey hey! Siddown and listen up!
You guys are brothers! You and Takeru are bound by the blood flowing in you!
I have no brother!
You forgot about your own brother? How 'bout I smack your head back into working order, huh?
This is to help you remember what's important to you! Take it like a man!
What's the matter, Akagi?
He's going to kill us! You can't afford to hold back!
But that's Takeru's brother! We can't...
Coward! Face me in battle or begone from my sight!
Come on! Think about Takeru!
Cut it out! Takeru just said he doesn't want to fight you!
But I want to fight him! It is the will of Emperor Zuul!
But he's your brother! You've gotta look out for your little brother!
Okay, you've made me mad! If Takeru won't beat you up, I will!
You're Takeru's brother! What's wrong with you?
Zuul desires Mars' death, and I will serve his will!
You're not leaving us any choice but to fight you!
Anyway, ending Marg on turn 5 would be easy, but for Takeru to do the deed, it will have to be on the counter.
How dare you spy into my mind, Marg! You will pay for all you've done!
The only way to stop Marg now is to sink his ship.
I'm sorry, Marg! Brace yourself, it'll be quick!
Bitterly victorious, Takeru earns a lot of money (don't forget to precast Bless!) and both items Marg was carrying - a space-enabling Thruster Module and a will-boosting Psychic Reactor. He even learns a new Spirit, Fury.
But his loss only fills Marg with indignance, and he promises to make Mars pay.
Marg was the last enemy (because he's a coward), but other than him, we've done some pretty good work today. We saved the Gishin's hostage and we beat back Dr. Hell again. Still, Takeru will have to fight his own brother, maybe to the death...
Baldios and Godsigma have been with Tanaka for a little while. The weasel's damn good at keeping secrets, but it did come in handy, didn't it? They were being held up his sleeve for just a time like this when they could swoop in and get GOONZ out of a pickle.
ZEUTH talk though - at the end of Z, Marin left Oliver and Raita to go back to his home planet of S-1, along with the spacefaring crew of Godsigma. In fact, Marin's story continues from there; he and Godsigma traveled the galaxy with Aphrodia's colony fleet, and found a new planet that could support the S-1 people. It's a very nice bit of closure for Baldios, in which the S-1 were the bad guys and, in the original story, actually ended the Earth. But anyway, they were on their way back to Earth when a dimensional quake hit, and, well, you know the rest. In fact, Raita and Oliver were taken by their own quake as they saw Marin and Toshiya vanish on their screen.
Actually, there's one difference. So far, our ZEUTH members have popped in in the Earth Sphere, or in orbit at most. Raita and Oliver found themselves far outside the solar system, right where Marin and Toshiya were under attack by the Gishin. They managed to escape and found their way to Earth. It seems like quite a coincidence, and Roger again supposes otherwise. The Singularities attract each other, and Oliver and Raita share a powerful bond with Marin.
And there's one more bit to the story. When they got to Earth, a robot was there to take them to Dragon's Hive. Its name was... Dancouga, they think. Since when was Final in cahoots with Tanaka? Kurara, prodigy investigator, has some digging to do. In the meantime, Baldios and Godsigma are joining GOONZ for real. They've been filled in on the Imperium, Gaioh, and Ime Liard, and we could probably use the robotpower.
Takeru is crying on his mother, understandably. He wails that he wishes she was his real mother so he wouldn't have to fight his brother.
Tsubasa snaps and chews him out. What happened to fighting for peace? He's going to give it up just because it's his brother? He's got a lot of lives and hopes pinned on him. He doesn't have the luxury of being a sad little mama's boy. Kouji is ready to give Tsubasa a piece of his mind, but Shizuko herself says she's right. She advises Takeru to think about it as long as he needs to settle his own doubts, and when he has, to remember that he fights to protect the Earth.
"Are you telling me to fight Marg?"
"That's up to you. But whatever you decide, you'll always be my son."
Takeru has a long path ahead of him, and so does Kouji, who's been watching along with Tsubasa and her posse. He promises he'll keep training with Ryoma, and he'll surprise her when he comes back. The two boys go to join GOONZ. "I must seem like a terrible mother," murmurs Shizuko. "I just told my boy to go to war."
Tsubasa smiles dryly. "Don't worry. There are much worse mothers in the world."
Zuul, like Marg, has figured out that the reason they lost Mars when they had him trapped is because Rose went and kidnapped his mother. He cannot brook failure and is recalling Rose to Gishin for execution.
Marg steps in and says he needs Rose. If he has her, though, he thinks he has a chance at taking over the world. Zuul agrees, but demands that his next operation be a success.
Marg can't explain why he defended Rose, but there's something about Mars. He claims to be his brother, and he does have his face. All Rose knows is that Zuul says the Earth is a danger to the galaxy, and the Gishin have to take control of it or perish. Why does Mars fight them, then? He's branded a traitor, and that's enough for Rose, but Marg still wonders...