The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 19: Episode 19 - Clawing the Red Earth

Chapter Nineteen: Clawing the Red Earth

Music: Intermission

We didn’t get much money from last mission due to encountering very few enemies, but we’ll be spending what little we gained on weapon upgrades.

Everything we can spend goes towards boosting the Dreizehn’s Long Rifle over the 1,000 damage threshold. Sadly the next mission is also going to be sparsely populated with enemies, so it’s likely we’ll have a repeat performance the next time we stop by the Garage.

Music: Strategy Explanation

: I hear Ares and company have been terrorizing inhabitants everywhere with their violent riots - we'll have to do something about that first.

: Things are going to get complicated if BAHRAM really is behind them... But why would they want to use Ares? He seems too independent for that...

: I though so too. Riots are usually more emotional outburst than strategy, and I don't think for a second that it can be so effective as to better the situation on Mars. I think we're still missing something here...We need to consider the existence of a completely different motive.

: It's possible...but he would be able to see through that. Perhaps he is in some sort of situation in which he cannot avoid being used in whatever way they desire.

:...Ares himself said that he caused the Bonaparte accident to get back at Zephyrs, who had killed his parents and had experimented on him. It was the wrong thing to do, but I can understand why he would be driven to do such a thing...However, I still find it hard to believe that he meant to instigate war on Martian soil from the very beginning.

: What's the point in sitting around hypothesizing about something we don't even know? The problem is still going on. If we're going to stop them, let's get on with it!

: That's true. It is a bit risky, but if we make a move, it's possible to put BAHRAM or NUT or whomever else in a position in which they have to act. That may shed some light on all these questions we have right now.

:…suppose we can't just sit around and watch.

: Neither BAHRAM nor the UNSF are thinking about the citizens of Mars. If something is not done, there is no doubt that the entire city will be transformed into a battlefield.

: Their actions cannot be described as being at all systematic, or well-planned. I expect that they will trip up at some point, but if we wait for that to happen there will be much damage to the people of Mars...We must do something!

: It's my understanding that the UNSF is sending an LEV troop from Malgalityfel to here, Hellespontos. Apparently they have already arrived via the land route to Hellespontos...If things progress, there is no doubt that there will be a battle between the Armed Civilians and the UNSF.

:…coming all the way from there?

: They're just support troops. After all, we've pretty much cleared out the military forces in Hellespontos!

: There' no doubt in my mind that Ares and company are planning to fight. We need to come up with a likely battleground before it happens, and warn the residents so they can escape in time.

: We have to do everything and anything within our power to prevent casualties!

Twede’s phone suddenly rings.

:…gather at a point on the military's procession route.

: Good, we'll start there! We'll give them a warning, and depending upon the circumstances, we'll have to put an end to any violence physically.

: Got it!

: Oh, Deckson... before I forget. In celebration of you convalescence, I've done some work on Blade. It's now called 'Calibur.' Don't forget to read the user's manual.

And with that, we dive straight in.

This should say, ‘Clawing the Red Earth’.

Music: Counterattack

:…mechanisms fortified…which is all fine and dandy, but it may make manoeuvring somewhat complicated…

: Hee, hee...what are you whining about? The old-timer can't handle all the new tech?

: I admit that, unlike you, I am only growing older and older. But I don't know about being called an old-timer, and besides...

Armed Civilians appear.

: The Armed Civilians! It's Ares and his group!

:...I knew it. We won't be able to go into hiding for a little while longer, the way things look now.

:…better off minding your own business and watching the action at home! Whose side are you on?!

: Comrades. You are only causing strife, and harming Mars. If you shower the seeds of betterment with destructive deeds, they will not bloom. Timing is crucial, and this is not the...

: As if you would know!! We have an important obligation to fulfil. If you get in our way, we will get rid of you!

: We have no choice. We'll have to stop them forcibly. Let's disable their frames, and hope that they retreat.

: Yes, sir! Ready, Pharsti?

: Roger.

We gain control of the battlefield now.

Player Phase Music: Counterattack
Enemy Phase Music: Impact

Mission Map:

This is going to be an incredibly short mission because the enemies currently shown on the map are the only enemies we’ll be facing. There won’t be any surprise Raptors this time, it’s just more Beam Gun LEV’s.

First of all let’s check out Deckson’s new ride, the Calibur.

The Calibur is effectively the Edge and the Blade rolled into one. It can both repair and resupply our units and its primary weapon has received a significant power boost. Oh, and despite Deckson’s grumbling it has the same movement range as the Blade. On top of that, any upgrades you purchase for the Edge will carry over to the Calibur, which is why its weapon is clocked in at 1360 damage rather than 1300. As far as I’m aware the same is not true for the Blade, though, which is why I never bothered to upgrade it. We won’t be seeing the Blade ever again in any event, from here on both it and the Edge are replaced by the Calibur.

The one problem is Deckson’s low level – being out of action for so many missions means he’s lagging way behind. We’ll have to be careful and keep him out of the firing line for the time being.

I carefully arrange my units like so. None of them are inside the enemy’s range, but the enemy will now happily charge into our firing zones and set themselves up for a nasty drubbing on our next turn.

Just as planned. Now we can take them apart with ease.

The first enemy to die is melted by the Semyl-Razma tag team.

There’s really no reason to hold anything back when these guys are all the enemies we’ll be fighting for this mission.

The Calibur’s gun is now a legitimately dangerous weapon. Also Deckson gains seven levels from simply damaging an enemy.

Warren swoops in to finish him off.

Nadia shreds with her claws, but can’t kill her target.

So it’s a good thing Cage is there to help her out.

The end result is that half the enemy force has been wiped out before they can fire a single shot, and the other half will shortly be following them next turn.

All the enemies decide to attack Semyl on their turn, unable to resist the Caliburnus’s tanky goodness.

Two misses and two hits, not that it matters at all.

Yeah, from here on it’s just mopping up.

You might be wondering why the map is so big if these are the only enemies we have to kill.

Don’t worry, the reasons will become clear soon enough.

A scene plays after all the enemies are defeated.

: Numerous heat sources have been detected five thousand meters from here. It is my opinion that these are UNSF LEVs from Malgalityfel.

: We were somehow able to avoid combat...

: What? Who could that be?

Music: Sadness

: Myona?? Pharsti! Is that really her?

: 99.86% voice match. According to my analysis it is certain it is an authentic human voice.

: Cage! Oh...good. She's safe?

: How are you? Where are you? Come on out, let's go home.

: You can't...? Why?!

: I won't be me for too much longer...I...wanted that for myself...

: What do you mean? Where are you? There's something I need to tell you...Please come out here...!

: (.......)

: Myona...You don't like me anymore...?

Myona appears on the field…in the red colours of an enemy unit.

: Uh...Myona...You're riding in that? Isn't

: Myona...It would be so much better if that were really my name.

: Your real name...? Did you...Were you able to remember your past?!

: Your brother?

: When I met you for the first time on the day of the accident, I was supposed to escape from the Bonaparte on the Animus...on your machine. But then you came and you almost got hurt...and I unconsciously gave a part of me to her.

: I wanted to move her...and save you... *Giggle* Do you understand what I'm saying? Of course you don't....

: I'm not like you...I'm...I'm a monster.

:…UNSF is headed this way!

: Cage, I had a really good time with you. I was...really fortunate to have met you. That machine...That's me, Cage. I wanted you to have her a sign that I, Myona Alderan, once existed in this world...

Music: Enemy Mine

Amante shows up behind Myona!

: Cage! Who is she?!

: I've seen her with Bolozof...Her name was...Amante, or something like that. What is she doing here?!

: Yes...I...know that...

: What are you doing to Myona?!

: Myona?!

: Good...bye...C...age...

Music: Danger

Cage rushes west to save Myona, but…

: I can't let you go there. Cage, she's no longer the Myona you know.

: Acting On Strategy…Location Confirmed. All Security Systems Will Be Disengaged.

: Phil! What did you do to Myona! Get out of…Move!!

Yeah, Phil also had a crush on Myona that made him very jealous towards Cage. But it doesn’t stop that line from being oh so very creepy.

: Phil!

: All Systems Go. Beginning Countdown. 10...9...8...

: Rapidly rising energy levels have been measure within Miss Myona's body. There may be a high-energy projectile being readied for ejection. Cage, this is very dangerous. Please, retreat!

: No! Cage, I cannot let you die! Whether or not you permit it, we are going to escape!

: Please don't do it, Pharsti! Myona...Myona!

: 0...Fire.

: We can't go!

…Oh dear…

Music: Tragedy


: Hah, that's special. We'll hear what they're moaning about before we tear them to shreds. Let the heads of the Security Keeping Force know also.

: Yes, sir!

The soldier switches on a screen showing one of Ares’ broadcasts.

:…boundaries that divide this land is the direct result of Earth's territorial squabbles. Human green has found its way even to this red planet.

: However, what one finds here is not a progressive, modern society. It's nothing but a mouldy board game with its archaic rules; discrimination, tyranny, oppression, and violence hidden by the cloak of national interest abound.

: We, the inhabitants of Mars, have been tolerating this reality until today...Why? 'Unchecked population,' 'food shortages.'

: 'Earth can no longer support all these people!' This is what Earth people say, sneering.

:…they're so weak.' But…who made us that way to begin with?

: None other than the Earthlings! They call anyone at all different from them 'Enders', and sit in their comfortable homes under the sun, complacent, their noses in the air, thinking that they can dominate us...They couldn't be more wrong! We are going to prove them wrong. They'll see. Let them hear our cries! Comrades, fellow fighters for justice, unite! Freedom to Mars!

:…forces is made up of those Martians too. If they attack us, they'll be attacking their own kind!

: L-Lieutenant! Abnormally high energy fields have been detected up ahead!

: It can't be! Those...! Aaaarrrrrgggggggg!!!!!!!

The security forces are wiped out by the energy blast. Meanwhile, back on the mission map…


: Miss Myona can no longer be located. Cage, I retreated of my own accord. I am very sorry that I disobeyed you.

: (Myona...) It's okay...I'm sorry too.

: What?! After...that light?

: Cage! Are you alive?

: Ms. Robin...

: Oh good. You're safe! Everyone else was able to escape also! The situation has changed again...Please come back immediately.

: Delicate electrical parts have been severely damaged. I would recommend that we retreat temporarily. With my current condition, I could not withstand an attack of the same calibre again, nor is there any guarantee that I would be able to make an escape.

: (...Myona...)

: Cage...

: Fine...Let's head back, Pharsti.

The screen fades out and Cage makes his way back to the Saoshyant. But when he gets back there…

Music: Danger

:…filled with specks. If Earth wants to call all humans living outside the terrestrial region 'Enders,' that is their prerogative. It is their choice if they want to play the almighty king of the entire universe.

: However, I will not stand for it, and I officially hereby declare Mars independent from Earth's grasp! Whether or not that light will continue to burn this ground we walk on is entirely up to the UCM.

: My request is easy – join us in our fight against Earth. Even you should be able to understand a request that simple.

: It's not as crazy as you think. At this point, it's possible.

: Pops! What's that supposed to mean?!

: He has given the 'means' and the 'end.' Nobody dreams of something that is impossible. But once they understand that it can occur in reality, humans will stop at nothing to get it.

:…back. A simple 'yes' or 'no' will do. We will not tolerate any indecision when the time period is up.

: Come with us, or get burned. Two options...See you again very soon.

: Good day. 'Freedom to Mars.'

: He's proved it. He’s proved that he has enough power to fight against Earth. Earth's military has been demolished.

: And that's the strategy? That platoon was filled with Security Keeping Force officers!? They victimized their fellow Martians...

: If they succeed, he'll probably say the incident was a foundation of Martian independence. Either way, I can't imagine that anybody would not cooperate with him because of it.

:…the civilians. The problem is that they don't realize that....

: Deckson...

:...Everyone, Vale has established contact with us. I will connect you.

:…you personally...You will return Testament. I need it.

: Ares...Where is she? What happened to Myona?!

: You never change. Nothing happened to her. This person, 'Myona,' never existed in the first place.

: That's a lie!

: Phar...sti? Little sister? What are you talking about?

: She was Subject 479. All Subjects in the 470s were used in the experimental research of the ‘Organic Implant Model Metatron Communicator’.

: Organic Implant Model?

: Testament - the one you've been riding - never had a system program installed. Using the 'Communicator,' people who are able to send their brain waves directly into the Mindflow us...can manoeuvre it. Other humans cannot make it move.

: We sank the Bonaparte, seized the Animus, and were planning our escape. Instead, she met you, and in order to escape from the danger unfolding in front of her very eyes, she subconsciously wished to help you...and the Communicator in her body 'transplanted' this desire into the machine...In return, she lost her memory.

: So...Pharsti is a part of her...?

: I wouldn't say she is a part of her. They're one and the same. I gave her back her memory, and rebooted her so that she could go back to being 'Pharsti' instead of 'Myona.'

: Heh heh...She wanted it. By the way, did you happen to see that light earlier? Some powerful stuff, wouldn't you say? That's something that can be done only by those with hyperalignment to the OF.

: Hyper...alignment? What are you talking about?

: Right now it's just us, but we want to expand our team. If we have Testament, we can procure more hyperaligned allies. I doubt that they will just quietly surrender to us; not until we do a little more than we did today...There is a need to strengthen our side further.

: Mars will be illuminated by that light...and to that end, I need to have Testament returned!

: Ares! Do you really feel that way?

:…will fight with me, or against me. At any rate, you should hurry. In three hours, we will be heading to West Hellas to level it.

: That's the largest nest in Hellespontos! How many tens of thousands of innocent lives are you trying to claim?!

: If you don't want it to happen, I would suggest you come out and try to stop me. I'll find some time for you.


Ares ends the communication.

Music: Sadness


: Huh...?

: Up until now, I have always thought of myself as an agent acting on behalf of Mars. As irresponsible as it may sound, I believed that I am here because of Mars' will, not my own.

: But in terms of this decision, I cannot make the choice...It goes without saying that life should be respected, and that it shouldn't be destroyed on a whim. But Ares - or should I say Vale? - If what he is attempting mirrors the true wishes of the Martian people, I am in no position to refute that. I leave this decision to you.

: Deckson!

: Boss! What's gotten into you?!

: He has been involved in this incident from the very beginning - both as a victim, and for bringing this responsibility to us. Besides, he is the only one who has the power to manoeuvre Testament. It would be easy for me to make the call, and command him to do my bidding. But that would be wrong. He has both the right and the responsibility to put an end to this issue once and for all. Discuss your options with everyone, and make your decision carefully. Is that okay with everyone?

: Deckson...

: Heh...I guess that works.


And with that, the episode ends.

Things are definitely heating up – literally in the case of the new weapon Myona deployed against the security forces. We get an explanation for how Ares was able to sink the Bonaparte by controlling the Black Frame remotely and then setting off the self-destruct explosives after the collision. Most important of all is the reveal that Myona’s real name is Pharsti and that she is Ares’ sister, and Testament’s AI is a copy of her personality.

We also see a firsthand demonstration of Zephyrs’ Mindflow system and how it can align both Frame and Frame Runner to generate massive amounts of power. So far everything is going Ares’ way except for one; only he and Myona are capable of doing this, and they need Testament to enable others to do so as well. Ares intends to attack a major population centre in order to draw BIS out – how will Cage respond to this? Find out next time.