Part 85: Rose's Decision
There's a repeat of this scene, in which Carlos tells Shioni to stop being ruled by her rage - but darkly hints that they've got a game-changing secret weapon up Gaioh's sleeve. This time, though, rather than Ime cooking up a scheme in Japan, he's making his move up on the moon.
Mars's mercy is still weighing on Rose's mind, and this is, of course, not lost on Zuul. Bereft of purpose, she begs Zuul to tell her what to do. "The only purpose to your life is to bring about Mars' downfall," replies the Emperor. Her next chance will be her last.
He knows that won't be enough to quell the doubts that Mars planted in her mind, though, so he calls in an old friend. Zagul is assigned to watch Rose, and if she makes any false moves... well, he doesn't have to say. Zagul has already had the necessary "preparations" made to her mecha. After all, Rose is from Planet 8, and her sister remains there fighting for the rebellion. She was never out of his sights.
Zuul now believes Mars is doomed. Even if Rose can't kill him, he won't be able to kill her either, and that will be his undoing. It must be; Mars may be small and weak, but his potential to effect change in Zuul's empire, even indirectly, is too great.
Zagul and Wahl know how right he is. As long as Mars is alive, he will put a fire in the resistance movements all over the galaxy. He must die - and Rose's life is a small price to pay. Unlike them, she's only a battle robot...
The Ptolemaios has made it to the moon. The WPC has ordered them to investigate this Moon WILL, but it's pretty obvious that there's no way they can get close to investigate without being forced to engage. Elgan probably knew they'd know that, so the order is tantamount to one to destroy the alien. That guy's still using the authority of the Council to make us his personal armed gofers, huh? That said, the WPC and the UN Forces are busy trying to keep the Imperium's damage to a minimum; while they hold the fort on Earth, we GOONZ are tasked to clean up the Gishin and Moon WILL (and the beastmen, of course).
Aoi's fine with this, since Team D exists to destroy Moon WILL. This makes Allelujah give away the game and point out that the Getter Team fights the Invaders, Team D fights Moon WILL, and Godmars fights the Gishin. Takeru feels the same way as Aoi, though - he intends to crush Zuul and anyone who gets in his way, including Rose. But if Rose doesn't want to fight, on the other hand, he'll do all he can to help her. That's a decision he made after hearing WILL talk, after all that about humans and their potential.
That inspires Crowe to pledge his support if he tries to help Rose. The girls of GOONZ are surprised he'd do that for her, and while he brushes them off, only he knows his real reason - somehow, she reminds him of Marguerite...
Setsuna is listening in silence; Amuro admits that mercy may seem like a weakness in battle, but only if you're fighting to win. But if you're fighting for peace, it's always better to try to understand each other. Setsuna is trying to figure out if he thinks he's read his mind. "People aren't that good," chuckles Amuro. "Not even psychics, and not even Newtypes."
Though, Amuro adds, it doesn't even take Newtypes to understand each other. Look at all the GOONZ trying to help Takeru. Look at how he, Amuro, understood Setsuna a little bit just now. That's all it should take.
"Is that the answer you found piloting the Gundam?" asks Setsuna. Amuro answers that he didn't even have as much purpose as Setsuna when he first piloted the Gundam.
Crowe and Lockon are glad to see Setsuna hear it from another Gundam pilot, even one from another universe. Amuro wasn't trying to put on airs, though; he's just like everyone else, trying to figure out what he can do as a citizen of this world. Lockon accepts that; "You, Camille, Shinn and Kira and Athrun, Garrod and Loran... I think Setsuna would say you're all Gundam."
This is where Crowe has to pipe up: "What about that golden Hyaku-Shiki?" Amuro remembers the doubts that crept into Quattro's mind after talking to Treize. He doesn't want to fight Treize either, of course, but he has doubts of his own about that man...
Anyway, we've got trouble. Not Moon WILL's forces - a Gishin strike force. It's almost certainly Rose, and that means Takeru's up.
Chapter 43: Rose's Decision
Since Alto's out, Michel taunts him about his ability to handle the Super Pack. Ozma, who hasn't deployed, would be using the Armor Pack instead, a heavier pack with increased firepower, but more sluggish controls. That makes it harder to use, requiring far more experience, and as a result, it's only given to skilled pilots, a.k.a. not Alto. (Actually, Ozma thinks Alto's a good enough pilot, and could be a great one with a little more flight experience.)
Rose has brought her Ganymede, of course, and the usual contingent of Gishin battlemechs, including their worthless jets. She's still claiming to Takeru that she's as good as a battle robot who follows the Emperor's orders; the other GOONZ write her off, but Takeru still thinks he can get through to her. If they can just disable her mech, he'll try to talk to her.
We do have to shoot her down, but you know how it goes.
The Super Pack is a straightforward upgrade to the basic VF-25. It replaces the homing missile launchers with micromissile bays, which are a bit stronger and usable in Battleroid mode. Its specs are also a little stronger.
This being our first ever mission on the lunar surface, I should point out the special thing about lunar terrain. Units can be on or off the ground, just like on terra firma, but "flying" squares are considered to be in space rather than in air. Since the Ptolemaios does much better in space than in atmosphere, this is good for it. It's also weirdly good for Apollo and the other Elements, who have a B in atmosphere but an A in space (Aquarion itself has an A in both). Finally, it's the other difference between the basic VF-25 and its Super Packed version - while the normal one is excellent with wind under its wings and passable in a vacuum, the Super Pack sacrifices its performance in air (a D rank!) for an S rank in space.
The other robots with differences in air and space can't fly to begin with, which is why their ranks in air are so bad and they're average in space (to function in open-space maps). They can just bounce along the moon rocks.
Remember when I said the more Panics, the better?
Setsuna gets Soul.
And Alto shows what Macross missiles are supposed to look like.
At least Rose's forces move.
If you were wondering, yes, you can absolutely still punch a mecha to the moon from the moon.
And by the way, Rose has some crazy Prevail (level 6, which is painful from a boss).
Rose! I'll sink that ship if I have to, to break you out of your lie!
How do you do it, Mars? How can you be like this?
This isn't just me. Everyone has the ability to be true to themselves!
Zuul's the one that did this to you! But I'm going to save you!
Rose drops a Precision Lens...
And remember when Simon learned Courage, and I said it was one of the two ultimate Spirits in the game? Well, Takeru has the other one: Love. That's right, the raw power of love, and like Courage, it includes the magic of Accel, Strike, Valor, and Spirit in a discount package. Rather than Invincible and Fury, though, Love gives its wielder Alert to defend against an attack and the twin bonuses of Gain and Luck.
Say, doesn't the Class A Takeru regenerate his SP? He'll rarely be in want of it.
(For the record, there are also two other Spirits which are expensive and incredibly powerful, but Courage and Love are almighty and versatile self-buffs that go in their own category.)
Rose begs Mars to finish her, but Takeru tells her that her life belongs to her now. If she wants to battle him of her own free well, he'll oblige, but he refuses to let her fight him on Zuul's orders alone.
How... how? After your parents and your brother were killed, how do you keep your spirits so high?
I'm far from alone. I fight with many people behind me, giving me their support and love.
Love gives you strength...
But I fought because I was afraid of Zuul, following his orders...
I left behind my home... my sister...
Tell me, Mars. What... what do I do with my life?
Personally, I would suggest you die.
But this time, just like on that Heterodyne, Crowe knows that Ime's come for his Sphere, and Ime explains about the twelve "keys." Asakim's been going around trying to kill Sphere holders to claim their Spheres, and it seems Sphere holders can do the same to each other. Ime promises he'll return to take Crowe's soul when his power fully awakens. In the meantime, he's giving Marguerite the chance to wipe her honor clean, and his Damons will destroy half of GOONZ. "The remaining half will be more than sufficient to lead Crowe Brust astray."
This time, the Imperium forces are attacking both GOONZ and the Gishin, so Takeru should get Rose out of the battlefield, but...
Zagul orders her to hold onto Mars while he activates the self-destruct mechanism installed on her robot! GOONZ can't believe Zuul would stoop so low, and Takeru urges Rose to eject. Rose gasps out that she wants to live, but Zagul has already done the deed. "Farewell, Mars... I wish we had met sooner..."
Takeru managed to pull Rose out of her cockpit just in time. Rose asks why he'd risk himself so; he smiles and says it was worth it to protect her. "Just like you protected Marg..."
Take a good look, Marguerite. Rose was just like you taking orders from Ime.
Be silent! I will fight you of my own volition!
For my brother, you will fall!
You are one thickheaded woman.
So I guess I have four turns and change to wipe out all the Gishin, all the Damons, and Pearlnail? Or do I remember what happened on the Imperium side from last time?
At least, I remember that the nasty part was the regular Damons (possibly the last time we'll see them in the game) sandbagging. And Crowe's going to chat with Marguerite again. And after that...
By the way, the Gishin are tough, if not as threatening as they could be, and I think a lot more of my star warriors are currently dealing with the Do-Ten-Kai-Zan.
One thing I've been forgetting is that Aoi gets an extra turn from her Ace Bonus when she Goes Wild. In this game, if she doesn't use it, she gets to keep it. I usually save it for a rush turn.
Oh, goodie, enemies fighting each other.
We do have Gishin dying off, but the stronger Ganymedes are still buzzying around.
Other than moving, have everything that happens on the Yellow turn.
Zagul and his ship are going to be annoying, but we can save them for after dealing with the Imperium.
And it's always better to stick together, right?
Actually, I changed my mind. The more these fuckers kill each other, the happier I'll be.
And if you wanted an update, I do still hate Dinodamons.
Prepare yourself, Crowe Brust!
(I'm not in the habit of defending myself from revenge for something I don't even know.)
(And I've gotta know... I can tell something's holding her back...)
(Dammit, I can't fight like this! I've gotta talk to her!)
Despite all the tits flying around, I do really like the Valkyria Spinners as a weapon.
Marguerite! We need to talk!
How dare you address me so!
What are you to Ime? What are you following him for?
I thought you were a knight! You know, honorable and proud!
What are you doing taking orders from a liar?
It's not your business...
Then tell me what happened to Chene!
How do you... know my brother's...
If you hate me for killing your brother, you are absolutely my business!
Tell me! You came from another universe, so when would I have even met your brother?
You tell me or I can't fight you!
Marguerite. Why are you so reluctant to give yourself up?
Ime... I don't know what's going on here, but I can tell it's not clean.
The burden of conquest is on the conquered. I shall call someone who actually realizes that.
Did you summon me, My Lord Ime?
Marguerite is no longer useful. Cheval, I leave her duties to you.
With pride, my lord!
I will strike down your foes in place of that worthless she-dog!
So you brought out your lapdog?
Indeed! I am a dog! A loyal hooooooooound!
A faithful servant of my lords Ime and Gaioh! The hunting dog of the Imperium - Cheval Repteil!
And with your total and utter defeat, I will wipe clean this stain on the Archsabre's honor on Marguerite's behaaaaalf!
Sure. I don't have to hold back against you.
If you're a born-again soldier of the Imperium, I won't leave enough of you left to wipe.
The nice thing about this sequence is that you don't actually have to fight Marguerite at any point, only Cheval.
And look at this, one of the other super-powerful Spirits: Hope, which gives an ally 50 SP (the lead pilot only, if the unit has more than one). Obviously, it costs significantly more than that for the caster - in Sumeragi's case, 75 SP.
By the way, Command fields have gotten tremendous at this point in the game (this is a level 4 aura).
Well, it's turn 4 of 6, so I figure I can just pick off the Dinodamon, Emeraldan, and Zagul's warship (I was trying to remember if it had a weird name, but it's actually just "Gishin Battle Ship") at a steady pace. I'm pretty sure there were two Dinodamons in the Heterodyne chapter, but now there's just one. I guess the game realizes that all the heavy hitters are elsewhere.
For this particular finish, I'd like to point out that we do, technically, have a new unit this chapter: the VF-25 Messiah SP and its remixed ISC Maneuver...
Say what you want about Macross units, but they move very well. (Though, fuck the Damon music.)
And it drops a DM Unit, which you seem to get whichever route you take.
A couple of Gundams are left on Damon-countering duty, though it remains to be seen whether those Damons will cooperate.
This is going well, I think. We're nicely grouped up, cleaning up Damons, and I'm pretty sure I can take down Cheval and Zagul in good time.
There's like, one live Gishin, too. Prick.
Mars! I'm well aware of the extent of your psychic powers!
But they will not save you against me, advisor to Emperor Zuul himself!
I can sense Zuul's powers even from inside his craft... he's more powerful than anyone I've faced yet!
Can you hear me, Rose? Know that after accepting sanctuary from the enemy, you are no longer a soldier of Zuul!
You will die here, along with Mars!
I won't let you, Zagul! Not when Rose is taking the first steps into her new life!
I'll defend Rose! I won't let you take control of her again!
Zagul attacks from out of range.
Damons, in summary.
Crowe Brust, know that I will not be as pathetic an opponent as Marguerite!
I have no idea what's going on between you and Marguerite, but let me stop you right there.
What Marguerite's fighting is in her own head. If you can't see that, I'm not taking this from you!
The only hard part about this is that he refuses to move, keeping his distance from the GOONZ-body.
This ends now, though.
Because with the 10 SP he would gain, Takeru can use Love twice this battle. One's got Cheval's name on it, and the second is marked for Zagul.
Just look at the line of indicators lit up under Godmars. Isn't that beautiful?
This is not going to be a good day for Cheval Repteil.
300k HP isn't gonna cut it anymore, Cheval, pal.
Again, Cheval drops a DM Armor, for what it's worth, and leaves, whimpering.
This is going very well, so there are a couple of things I want to throw out, since these two haven't been deployed for a while:
Personally, I think Tieria's is cooler.
While cleaning up the Damons, Amuro gets Valor.
Once they're all gone, Ime sniffs and says he'll have to try a different tack before sulking off.
And with this asshole exploded, it's just Zagul.
This should be plenty for Takeru.
In fact, Zagul goes straight for Takeru without stopping or attacking (he doesn't even have any P attacks).
This is going to be totally worth it, though.
Hey, Love gives you Alert.
Zagul drops an item I barely noticed he had: a Barrier Field, which sucks 5 EN when the equipped unit is hit to reduce incoming damage by 1000 points.
Takeru begs Zagul to eject, but Zagul has no patience for his mercy. Is he really willing to fight so hard for Zuul, who thinks of his subordinates as mere machines? Zagul insists that he's different - he is loyal to his Emperor!
Wahl has come for Zagul, but not to help him -
To destroy his ship and take Mars out in the explosion! "These are Emperor Zuul's orders," he says as he turns his back on his colleague. "It's nothing personal."
With his last breath, Zagul calls himself a fool for believing he was anything more to the Emperor than Rose ever was...
With one of his closest generals dead, Zuul will have to regroup. In the meantime, we're free to carry out our real mission - to confront, and destroy, Moon WILL.
Rose is left without a place to be; Takeru invites her to come with GOONZ. Not just for her sake, but because he wants her to see what he and his friends are fighting for. Rose wants to see Takeru fight, too - "to learn of your strength and your compassion."
She's still coming to terms with Takeru's ability to draw strength from his compassion - and still sorry that if she had come this far sooner, Marg would still be alive. Takeru tells her that Marg is still alive in her heart - and he would be glad to see her here now.
The rest of GOONZ would be glad to have her by their side when the time comes to do battle with Zuul (Naoto points out that she'd bring valuable tactical insight against him). Mika thought the Crushers would be more opposed to this idea, but they have no objections if Takeru doesn't. Besides, we do have to show Moon WILL that we can forgive and coexist. Well, the last people who should have the right to say that are Raita and Oliver of Blue Fixer, but - well, that's a tale you'll want to wait for the Z thread to tell. Suffice to say that they and Marin alike learned this lesson the hard way, but that's all behind them now. The battles in their world showed all of ZEUTH the value of forgiveness and acceptance, and above all, that it's not out of the power of human hearts.
Moon WILL doesn't believe it - says Rose. What does she know about the WILLs? Emperor Zuul has lived for unimaginably long, she says, and there are records of his battles with beings calling themselves WILL, guardian of the universe. She has no intention of letting him destroy this planet either, though, and to that end, she'll fight alongside us in the Cosmo Crusher, in the seat Takeru vacated long, long ago.
(Marg... I managed to save a single life. I... no, we got through to Rose.)
(I have to unite all the hearts in the universe and create a world of peace...)
Ime himself says Marguerite isn't worth offering to Gaioh, though, since this time, the King isn't here to mention it himself. He was just at the Dark Continent, and now he's headed to the moon. Maybe to confront GOONZ, maybe not, but Ime did hear that there's someone up there who knows him.
Next week: Wakamoto time and the exciting finale of Dancouga Nova. Oh, and lots of those moon bunny robots.
Also, I hope you're watching the Z thread, because everything is about to get wrecked.