The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 24: Episode 24 - Pharsti

Chapter Twenty Four: Pharsti

Music: Intermission

Are you guys ready for the penultimate mission of the game? Well unfortunately our units aren’t, so let’s get upgrading. We scored just shy of 40,000 cash last mission, so let’s see about spending it.

The Dreizehn and Justeen receive Shell and HP upgrades, and I spend the remainder on improving the latter’s Laser Blade. At this stage even 40,000 doesn’t go all that far, but the next mission is full of enemies to wring more money out of before the final confrontation.

Music: Every Day

: Yes, we have gone quite far north of the Hellespontos mountain range. There are no nests or modules in a 100 kilometer radius.

: What a lonely place. Even more than it looks from space.

: Vistas such as these are not rare on Mars. Although it is still within the county, it is outside of the life sustaining areas.

: Outside, huh...For me, the inside of the ship was 'home' and Mars and Earth were 'outside.' I would always look at Mars from afar. Who would've thought I would actually be on this planet, and involved in all this?

: I feel that way sometimes also. I cannot leave this frame, so Testament is like my home. My entire existence revolves around it.

: Yes. We are an analytical programmed device and organic matter who have been exposed to similar surroundings and have therefore obtained similarities.

: *Laughing* What was THAT?

: Was it humorous?

: More than most jokes I've heard.

: *Sigh*

: For what, may I ask?

: For everything.



: Is something wrong? Oh, you think I'm making fun of you, don't you. That's not it!

: Cage. That sounds to me like a farewell. If it is...

: No, it's not. You, Ares, Myona - everyone is going to go home alive. We have a home, where our friends are. I'm just saying, let's be positive about things.

: Heh heh…That's right. You can't live without me.

: Cage!

: Ha, ha, ha...

: It's the last one; let's do our best.

: Yes.

The screen fades out as Cage and Pharsti resume their tracking.

: Yes. Testament and Iblis run on different system versions but the basic internal structure of both frames is almost identitcal. Even at this point, the vibrations of the other frame, while distant, can be detected. But even without this detection, it would not have been difficult to track them down.

: What?

: Just as you said, he...Mr. Ares wants to be stopped. By you.

: A trail has been left. A signal that only we would notice...

Suddenly, Pharsti’s communicator beeps…

: Wh-Who...?!

This should read, ‘Pharsti’.

Music: Sudden Assault

:…close friends…

: Death will come too soon…but until then…!

: What?! Who are…

: Your destruction of Zephyrs was perfect. We are all very relieved by this turn of events. The only unexpected accident was that Ms. Pharsti sent the new model Animus back, but since it is in front of my eyes now I shall not complain.

:…controlling Ares!

: What a terrible thing to say. Please, call us sponsors. We provide the OF’s and LEV’s – a thankless job, really.

: Listen to yourself! Thankless job?! Have you given any thought as to how many people have been victimized because of you?!

: No, it does not concern me. Business is business, and mixing business with emotion is complete nonsense. Perhaps you need to learn a bit about business yourself…

: Y-you…

: Myona!

: Stop! My name is Pharsti! I’m no one else!

: That’s not true. To me, you are Myona.

: Cage…please…please don’t hurt me any more…

:…business is how you treat ladies. You should be more chivalrous. Now, Miss Pharsti. Please do it perfectly this time.

:...Yes sir.

: Wait!! What are you trying to accomplish?!

: Freedom on Mars, of course.

: Heh heh...Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. Freedom must be won. Why don't you try to win you own also? Well, I must get going...

Jimmer leaves.

: Darn!!

: Myona...what's gotten into you? What is Ares trying to do?

: Farther this way is Zephyrs' lab...The land that bore this tragedy, as well as the prototypes of the Animus...

: What...?

: There is no such record.

: That's right. It no longer exists in this world. That's where he is...along with Marlblanke Dite.

: The Metatron mining grounds...And the Marlblanke beam, using that enormous deposit as its fuel...

: I cannot imagine that something that large can be managed, regardless of the alterations that may be made...

:...True. There is no way to do it safely, at least.

: What?!

:…of defending ourselves...It will go off and all the energy will spread throughout the planet, attacking all 12 spheres and its surroundings. Destroying all the domes in its wake...

: Why...Myona! That is wrong! Why would you want to do that?!

: You were the ones who drove him to do this...although I do think that it would have happened to him eventually regardless.

: We will never be able to forgive Mars or Earth. I remembered everything. The Martians are to blame as well, for never acting for themselves. There is a need for a show of force.

: would never be able to do something so evil! Myona! You're...

: I'll say it one more time. I am not Myona...In fact, she is only a hated facet of me. If you keep reminding me of her this way, I will destroy you so that she will cease to exist!

: Cage, I have detected very weak interference. Her mind control is not complete. You may still have success in talking some sense into her. I fully believe that your feelings will get through to her.

: Please be careful. I have sensed numerous frames coming in this direction!

: What?!

: Th-there are so many...

: They are approaching!

: This is the end…

Music: Onward to Victory

: H-How did you know where I was?

: WELL! That would be because...

: H-Hey! What was THAT for huh, punk?

:…enemies! You'd think that at least your BRAIN would mature.

: Razma...

: Heh heh, why are you always running away from us? That's so cold. We're friends, aren't we?

: Sorry, but...

: Whuut!? You're part of my crew, aren't you, Ace? You gotta watch out for that cat, ain't no way you'll get anywhere hangin' with him! If he even touches you, scrub yourself down with soap! I'll betcha he's got loser germs or somethin'...

:…be spending too much time with microscopic organisms.

: Oh yeah?! Perfect, why don't you show me what you're made of, then!

: Fine! Exactly what I've been wanting to do! Just with this one finger, I could...

Unfortunately, Semyl and Razma’s bickering distracts them from the Raptors sneaking up on them…

: Dang!

: Mr. Yukito! And Mr. Warren!

: Oh my. What are we to do when our team is about to fall apart before we even go into battle? That calls for 200 solid hours of training for you two as soon as we get back. That should deter you from bickering, no?

Orcrist, Calibur, and Vjaya also appear.

: I, too threw away my life once. But because you people saved me, I stand here now. If you want to persuade her, you must do so quickly. While you still have a chance.

: Ms. Nadia...

: Everyone!

: Not now, Cage. We are not in the best situation right now. Let's get out of here.

: Heh, heh! You just want to take all these guys out and save Myona, right?

: If they're on the ground, there's no place for them to hide. Time to give them a little attitude adjustment.

: Everyone, I...

: Yadda yadda...Will ya just go already? You already know what you gotta do, dontcha?

: I did tell you to take responsibility for your own actions. You have to understand that all of us are here of our own will, too. That means we'll take care of our part. Your job is to take care of yours.

: Thank you...all of you...

: Go on.

The game gives us control here.

Player Phase Music: Onward to Victory
Enemy Phase Music: Atrocity

Mission Map:

This is a pretty big map, and the vast empty space beneath our character’s starting positions may make you think enemy reinforcements are coming from there. Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen. Even so, the enemy has set itself up in a pretty nasty defensive screen which is going to be difficult to punch through. The enemy units do advance…but the distance between us and them isn’t enough for the slower units to get strung out. The best option is probably to attack the right flank first and take out the melee-less Mummy Heads before the Grafficanes can engage.

Double Action in…uh…action. Vjaya has already used it and is the reason why it’s so far out.

Moving right also lets our LEV’s use the rough terrain for defensive bonuses, though I’m not sure how helpful they’ll be.

The enemy moves down and maintains their formation. For some reason the AI takes long pauses in between moving units, around 5 – 7 seconds, which is annoying since it drags out their turn.

Nadia hits one enemy for decent damage, but her Double Action lets her move again so…

Now Cage can finish those two off in the same way.

Cage also scores a critical on the second Mummy, funnily enough.

Razma starts chipping away at the nearest Grafficane. We’ve got one more free turn before the clusterfuck begins.

…Or not, because I manage to screw up the movement ranges yet again.

Ugh, what a pain.

Okay, new plan – ignore the Mummies, focus fire on the Grafficanes.

Yukito, do your thing.

At least these guys give out good experience. At 260 exp and 2,000 cash it’s worth the effort of taking them out. Particularly since this is the last chance we’ll ever have to scrounge up some upgrade money before the final mission.

Alright, let’s keep the pain train running.

God bless Double Action.

See above.

It looks like the enemy can target the Calibur no matter how I try to help Razma, so…

Wing and a prayer, I guess!

Okay, that went better than I thought.

Okay, that didn’t.

Neither did that!

This happens once more and misses once again. God bless the crappiness of their ranged attacks.

Of course, if you get careless bad things can happen to you.

Sometimes it happens even when you’re not careless.

Okay, this actually looks a lot worse than it is since Double Action is so lethal.

I was going to keep the Calibur on repair duty, but this matchup is so perfect damage-wise I’m going to risk the shot.

Nice – Robin earns enough exp for three consecutive levels along with the usual 2,000 cash.

Now there are only three Grafficanes left, but those other enemies are also shaping up to be threats, particularly the Cyclopses. So…

I get rid of them.

This map would be an order of magnitude longer and harder without Double Action.

Vjaya’s pretty beat up so I use its second turn to move it out of the firing zone.

Today was not Warren’s day.

Goddamn Grafficanes. The only consolation is that I can probably get rid of them all next turn and Myona is still a fair distance away.

Losing Warren is a pain in that regard, but Double Action makes it still possible.

I mean, Cage can kill at least one enemy every turn with it, and so can the Vjaya if Nadia gets lucky.

Okay, time for more Double Action goodness…

Consecutive criticals are the best criticals. They would be even best-er if they actually killed the thing.

Finally! Now it’s just one damaged Mummy Head between us and Myona.

Okay, now it’s time to repair and resupply before facing down Myona’s Nerokerubina.

A bit of offscreen preparation later and we’re ready to take the fight to her.

Shock Hi-Low deals colossal damage on criticals, enough to hit the damage cap of 9,999 on certain foes.

And the best part is we can use it immediately again due to Double Action and Resupply shenanigans.

Even regular damage from it is enough to blow a huge hole in Myona’s machine. Let’s speed up time a little bit…



…So yeah, you’re not actually meant to destroy Myona’s unit.

Unlike all the other times you defeat a boss for real, blowing up the Nerokerubina will give you a Game Over. To really progress you have to move Testament next to Myona’s unit. Hope you were paying attention to the Goal screen!

: O-okay!

: Myona! Can you hear me? You can’t do this! Come here!

: Uuuuhh…stop…my name…isn’t Myona! I’m…I’m…!

Myona’s unit disappears from the map!

And three identical Neros spawn in the north!

…What? You didn’t really think it’d be that easy, did you?

: I would expect that the human calling himself Jimmer prepared these fakes to give himself more time…Scanning is impossible due to the frame materials. Unfortunately I am unable to differentiate the AI’s from Miss Myona…I am sorry, Cage.

: Nothing to be sorry about. I’ll just get closer and talk to them!

…Huh. Well that makes for kind of a change.

Okay, so we have three Nerokerubinas, but only one is the correct one. The other two are decoys who will happily murder us. The real Myona will also happily murder us too, so the only way to proceed is to have Cage move next to each one in turn. None of the Neros will move until you get in range of them, so we’re free to do whatever preparations we need before moving up to them. In other words, the hard part of the mission is pretty much over.

Let’s start with the left-hand one.

: Unable To Read Target Objective…Strategy Compatible, Proceeding With Attack Command.

: This isn’t the one…

: Stay calm!

Welp, looks like it’s a fake.

So let’s skip ahead and blow it up. How about the middle one?

: *Bzzzzt* Target, Capture, Attack.

: Tsk! Again!

: Cage, relax. Now we know which Frame she must be on.

: That’s true. Okay, I’m ready!

It’s not that one either, so let’s blow it up as well.

This means the sole remaining Nero, the one on the right, is the one we’re looking for. Protip – the mech containing the real Myona isn’t randomized. It’s always the one on the right.

So let’s move Cage next to her and get ready for a very long scene.

Music: Reunion Song (You should definitely listen to this. It’s not in the game’s Sound Room and only plays in this one scene. Have it playing in the background as you read.)

: There is no mistake! It is her!

: I told you, I will destroy you!

:…Myona, you’re not being controlled right now, are you? Or have you become ‘Pharsti’ completely? Does ‘Myona’ no longer exist?

: Cage…right now I am neither Myona nor Pharsti. I remember everything about the experiments and the incidents at the lab.

:…day…my friends who walked through those doors and never came back out…I can’t allow myself to be the only one who escapes! I can’t allow myself to have feelings for you!!


: Always...It was your voice I heard...Why? Why do you call my name? As long as I was being controlled, I didn't suffer. I didn't have a single thought...Why do you make me suffer? Why?!

:...That's your answer?

: Phil and Mr. Deckson, and all those Martian people...They're all dead...and it's all my fault. It's too late now...

: Lock on detected!


: Hey, Myona...We've been through a lot, huh.


: The reason why I am here right now is because you saved me that day on the ship. You gave me this life.


: But if you regret what you did that day...And all that you did every day since then...

: I'm here, Myona. You led me here from the Bonaparte. Now you can take back my life with your own hands. That will end everything.

:...D-Don't flatter yourself. You think that's being heroic? A martyr? How much do you think your life is worth, anyway?

: Yeah, and what about yours?


: Is your life to be lived being controlled by someone else? Is that what you want? I find that hard to believe.

: I used to think that way. I used to think that I couldn't make a difference no matter how hard I tried...

: But Ares was the first one to show me how wrong I was. And you were the one who saved my life and kept me on track.


:...Why...How can you say that...

: I came to fulfill a promise.

: A promise?

: One was with Phil. He asked me to look after you. The other is...this.

: That's...

Cage switches on the button.

: Yeah. The message you left for me.

: Th...that thing...I forgot all about it...It's just a remnant of the past...for me...

:...It made me really happy. It made me think that I wasn't alone.


:…once you hear this...


: Um, if you don't have any concrete plans, would you like to travel around space with me? Maybe you don't really want to do it together with me, but I think that of you go to different places, and meet lots of different people, maybe you'll be able to figure out what you want to do. It sounds like a good idea to me, you are going to love it. A nice, relaxing vacation. So, keep your chin up, Cage! Ha ha ha...So er...anyway, I'm looking forward to your response. I'll wait as long as you need to decide, until you feel good enough to think about it...Something may happen, and maybe I won't be me anymore, but if that does happen...


:...I no longer deserve to be saved by you...

: Myona, if what you are doing right now is truly what you want, you should go ahead and take the shot. But, if that's not what you want...If you are suffering...Myona, let's go together to find our lives. This time I'll support you...and I'll continue to support you until you tell me to stop!


: I came to save you. You're my saviour...You're so important to me...

: Uuuuhh...

: Uuuuuhhhh...Cage...

On the map screen, Myona’s unit vanishes…

…then reappears in the colours of a friendly unit!

: Cage...thank you…You're everything to me too...

: Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.

:...It's okay. I...Myona...? Yes, I am Myona. I'm Myona, right?

: Yup. You're Myona.

: Myona...?

: My hands are forever stained with blood...I don't deserve to have somebody care about me...


: C-Cage...What are you...Cage?!

Cage opens Testament’s cockpit hatch!



: No!!


Myona pushes him back in with a diving save!

: Tsk! Why would you do something like that?!

: Well...

: No, not well! We're not in a dome, all you have to do is try to breathe, and you’ll die!

: But we're safe. Both of us.

: That's right. You should really keep an eye on me, who knows what I'll do next.


: Please don't say that nobody needs you...Myona, I need you. I can't be without you. It can't be anybody else.


:...Cage...Sorry...I'm so sorry...

: Welcome back.

:'s good to be home.

And with that, Myona finally returns to BIS!

Music: Pulse

: Semyl, I…I’m sorry…

Semyl slaps Myona!

: Ow!

: Jerk! If you gonna come back sane and all, at least have the decency to look psyched!

: Semy…

: All I’ve done is cause trouble…I don’t even deserve to be welcomed back like this…

: Myona, in this world, beings don’t have ‘worth’. For a lot of people, being deserving of something is often only about whether that person is handy to have around or not. Stop giving yourself a hard time. If you still feel bad, make up for it by living hard.

: Living…hard?

: Both the Boss and Phil found something more important to them than themselves. You’re one of those things. There’s no need to feel any pressure to impress. It means much more for you to continue to live, and be true to yourself. That was what they fought to protect. That is what they wanted, more than anything else.

: Those who fight in battles for themselves do live longer than those who fight for something else. But once they die, there won’t be anything left of them. They never gave themselves to anyone, or anything.

: They saved you. And they saved many more people too…I know that they are happy, and don’t regret anything.

: Yeah, so stop beatin’ yourself up over it. Alls you gotta do is remember all this and keep livin’.

: Okay, now its Ares’ turn! Come on, let’s get to it!

: Yes, we need to hurry if this information is indeed accurate…

: What information?

:…The existence of Zephyrs’ secret laboratory, which is located farther up this way, and intelligence regarding the large-scale beam have become known. In less than an hour, I have no doubt that the UNSF will have bombed the area.

: They’re probably planning on shooting a missile into the thing. The entire area will be destroyed.

: Oh no!

: My brother!

The screen fades out as the mission ends…

We don’t get any goodies this time, it’s straight to the intermission screen. After some emotionally charged scenes Myona is finally back, and this time she’s here to stay. Now it’s just Ares and Jimmer left to take care of, but will we get there before the UNSF finally does the pragmatic thing? It’s been a long journey, but events are drawing to a close, and the next mission is the final one for this story route. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!