The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 11: Episode 11 - Double Deal

Chapter Eleven: Double Deal

Music: Intermission

Here we are again.

Today’s upgrades are exclusively for the Caliburnus, boosting its HP up to 4,300 and its Laser Blade attack damage by one chevron. We’re getting to the point where upgrade costs are starting to make across-the-board improvements difficult, so focusing on one at a time is probably going to become the norm.

Music: Strategy Explanation

: Good morning. You're up quite early.

: Oh...yes...Um, you haven't been up all this time, have you?

: Yeah. I don't know what the big hurry is, but somehow I got sucked into it also.

: *Giggle* I'm sorry. But thanks to you, we've made a lot of progress. We were able to decipher the data from Zephyr's factory with that password, Cage.

: Really?!

: Sure!

The screen fades out as Cage runs off to get everyone.


: Looks like a backup ledger.

: That's kind of strange. It seems somewhat unnecessary...

: They probably put a lot of trust in the coding. Even after we got the password, it took this much time to make any sense of it; it would be virtually impossible for even the average expert to decode these files. The actual program itself is a mishmash of symbolic letters and numbers, so it's possible that even after the file was thought to be deciphered, one would not be able to discern which part was correct and which wasn't. You could analyze for all eternity and never break the code.

: Wow, Ares. How do you know all this stuff?

: So all we know is that we may be wrong?

: That's not the important part. Look at this: it's the data corresponding to a Metatron LEV...or rather, OF.

: Advanced...Animus? This is an OF blueprint! It looks just like Testament!!

: Animus...It's a German word, whose roots come from the Latin for 'soul.' Jung, the psychologist, used the term to mean 'an inner self with interests conflicting with the ego of the person'...the gender of the word is male. It must be pointing to the existence of the OF for the Earth-side.

: An autonomous soul...Is that a joke?

: That's what they call a system that claimed the lives of so many children? Fools...Playing God...

: Zephyrs' rampant megalomania aside, the system onboard that frame is impressive, to say the least. It's called the I.D.O. Mindflow System.

: Yes. A very sensitive type of electricity is passed through the runner's body, and an interactive channel is created between the runner's mind and the machine. After that, those impulses are received by the neuron circuit in the interior walls composed of Metatron...There is no way that a system such as this could come out of ethical research. Surely there were countless diabolical experiments that took place behind its completion...

: Ah. An OF that would function according to the thoughts of the runner. Hey, Cage. Be careful. Most people who ride machines like this are headed for a really miserable future.

: Hunh? Huh...

Oh please. How bad could a system that directly links a mech’s controls to the user’s mind really be? I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?


:…they got stuff that comes close already. Why they gotta do all these sketchy experiments to come up with this stuff?

: That may not even be their main goal. By reversing the flow of the neuron circuit we were talking about earlier, you come up with what's called the 'Self-binder system,' with which it's possible to forcibly enter into the communication route. In other words, it is possible to invade the runner's mind and control his actions.

:...And in order to control the system, they started installing advanced A.I.s like Pharsti...

: A battle weapon that will do exactly as commanded at all costs...even when it is damaged, it can be fixed, and there is no costly runner training program. It will be more effective than the unmanned fighters of the past, and, of course, there is no fear of death to stand in the way of victory.

:...As a battle strategy, this gets a '10' - but on the humanity scale, it's as low as it gets.

: Don't worry. I ran some tests just in case, but Testament doesn't include that system. Right now all it can do is sense brain waves and navigate accordingly. Nobody can control it externally.

: Hmm, kind of like being genetically engineered to be a killing machine, but escaping before your military training.

: But...if it started moving on its own...

: That Black Frame had a different version of Mindflow System. There's nothing to worry about with Testament.

:…Now if we just had one last piece of concrete evidence...

:...I have an idea.

Before Ares can elaborate the doors open.

:...Mr. Deckson. Please let me help too.

: Myona! Who let ya outta bed?!

: Thank you, but I am all right. I can't be sleeping at a time like this...

: Myona...

: Fine...Have a seat, Ares, and tell us what you have in mind.

The garbled mess should say ‘Scene 11: Double Deal’.

Music: Offense and Defence

:…in Ares’ plan. Is everyone ready?

: Good to go. I've connected the network directly to the cable, so we won't get charged for it, either! Which means no bills - and we can't be traced. Connect away!

: That's really somethin'! You could make a living outta this.

: Yeah? This is an everyday skill, isn't it?

: (...Maybe YOU do this every day...)

: Good, all ready on this end also...

: From here, even if they do find us, we'll be safe as long as we get rid of the evidence and evacuate.

: Hey, Pops, what do you think of Ares' plan?

: At the moment, I'd give it a 6. I hope the password is still valid, but they're not that stupid, either. I hope I'm overcautious, but there are too many unknown variables.

: Warren, the voice of reason. Well, if everything goes as planned...

Music: Enemy Mine

Suddenly, Amante appears with a squad of Acemos LEV’s.

: Damn! We've been found out already?!

: Too bad!! Sneaking around someone else's files is so naughty. Welcome to the real world! You Martians really are the lowest!

Razma and some other BIS units spawn in as well.

: You idiot! What kind of comment is that?!

: Uh, that Bolozof person doesn't seem to be here...

: Lieutenant Bolozof and I are doing separate things today. So be nice, okay?

: Why's she so relaxed?...Did she figure out our plan??

: That's true... OK!

: Oh, no, they saw through us already? How much longer until we can get into the server?

: Phil's program is already running... I'd say 10 minutes. Can you hold them off?

:...We'll have to. So I just defend the Edge for the next 10 minutes, right?

Player Phase Music: Offense and Defence
Enemy Phase Music: Impact

Mission Map:

And with that the eleventh mission of the game begins in earnest. Our objective this time is simple – protect the Edge for ten turns or we fail the mission. The Edge itself is permanently greyed out and cannot be moved in this mission. Our usable units include the Dreizehn, Caliburnus, Orcrist, Durandal II, Justeen and the Blade. Hmm…where is everyone else?

Amante and her followers start out to the east of our position, spread out into a reverse arrowhead formation. There are two more enemies offscreen to the north and south.

Amante herself is slightly stronger than before, but still not too much to worry about. There are few enemies to deal with, and overall this mission is pretty short.

The only slightly problematic issue is that there is a Local Server on this map that’s slightly out of the way. Either Warren or Mebius is going to have to trek down there are get it before the mission ends.

I decide to send Warren down for it. The rest of our units will be staying put and allowing Amante’s forces to come to us.

They readily oblige. Once again our units stay put.

Okay, time to let loose.

As usual, Razma begins the battle by sniping an enemy. The 7 exp he gains is enough to give him another level.

A lucky critical hit puts the first attacker in the ground. Mebius also gains a level from this.

Hmm…Yukito’s max HP is lagging behind a bit. I’ll probably focus on him when I next have access to the Garage.

I’ll have to finish this guy off next turn I guess.

Meanwhile Warren grabs the Server before the turn finishes.

Phil, etc.

Come on Yukito, you’re supposed to be better than that.

See, Razma can do it.

At the start of our next turn the battlefield looks like this. Now, to begin with…

Phil gets a level for killing the crippled Missile LEV.

Mebius and Semyl take care of the Machinegun LEV to the north.

Razma and Yukito both make their attacks, weakening enemies for next turn. I also move Warren back up, and at the rate the enemies are moving it shouldn’t be long before he can help.

That’s much better.

This happens again with the other Beam Gun LEV, and once again Razma evades.

My turn comes and hey, Warren is in range already.

He does what he does best.

Semyl gains a level from shooting an enemy full of missiles.

Now it’s just Amante left.

Phil gets some nice experience for dealing scratch damage.

That grenade is really powerful. It’s probably the strongest basic LEV attack BIS possesses thus far.

: Damn…additional enemies on the other side…!

: *Giggle* You’re pretty cute when you’re panicking. So what do you think? I’m not just a pretty face, you know.

On the fifth turn two enemy reinforcement units spawn in to the west. This is why it’s a good idea to not rush out and meet Amante’s squad halfway.

And of course Amante herself immediately attacks BIS’s resident punching bag.

Ugh, these flashes make it really hard to get good screenshots even from VirtualDub.

Phil’s luck holds out…for now.

Time to wrap things up.

Bye Amante.

Amante retreats, leaving only the two reinforcement enemies to deal with. How does that go?

Like this. Destroying every enemy also finishes the mission and nets us a nice cash bonus as well.

Deckson yells that everything was for nothing and BIS withdraws, ending the mission.

Music: Black Ops

: But pretending to hack and using that as a decoy for the LEV team…and using that opportunity to enter the main facility to find evidence pertaining to the Bonaparte accident…Ares thinks of some aggressive strategies.

In short, the previous mission wasn’t a failure at all; it was a ruse so that the rest of BIS could infiltrate Acemos’s main base to dig up some dirt on Zephyrs.

: I KNOW! Myona is not just cute, she has the courage! Unlike other people I know...

:...Like who?!

: Now, we have to go and support Cage...I'll race you!

: Hey! Wait!!! Heyyyyy!!!!

: For now, I think we're safe.

: To be on the safe side, let's provide some distracting manoeuvres. I hope they can find the activity data for the Bonaparte...

: But how do we know that data exists?

: According to Ares, he is the cautious type who would have backup data for everything.


: What?

: What don't you like? Or do you have some sort of reason for feeling that way?

: No...I guess it's a hunch.

: Warren, I don't doubt you intuition, but let's avoid making statements without logic to back it up. Right now, we should be praying for his success.

:...I'm sorry. Forget I said that.

The scene changes over to Robin’s room.

:...Dana. If we do any more than this, it will involve Internal Affairs.

: I know. As an agent, I can't give in to my emotions...But I just can't abandon them. They're my...

:...They overcame their obstacles on their own. You must do your own job, Dana. You should know...

: That is my only identity.

: If things change, that name will simply be erased from existence.

: You're saying that I have no place to go.


The screen fades out at this point, denying us any context or answers.

The spoils for this mission are pretty nice. Geyser is a new attack for the Vjaya, and BulletEndure is a passive skill that reduces ballistic damage to the Durandal II. On top of that we also get 1000 cash for killing every enemy before the ten turn limit was up.

Well that was a short and sweet mission. Not much really happened, but that’s okay, because it was mostly setup for the next mission, which is one of the most important stages since it’s where the long-awaited plot branch takes place. But that’s for next time.