The Let's Play Archive

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars

by Scintilla

Part 31: Episode 18 - Hearts In Harmony, Hearts In Strife

Chapter Eighteen: Hearts In Harmony, Hearts In Strife

Music: Intermission

Welcome back. It’s been a while since the last update, but that’s to be expected since I now have far more transcription to do. We’re heading off into the unknown now, so let’s dive in headfirst and experience the new content.

Music: Tension

:…satisfy your own personal agenda?

: Er…I apologize. I decided that the action was not important enough to trouble you with…I came to the conclusion that it would be most beneficial for me to take care of the issues on an individual basis…

: You don’t seem to understand your position. I have warned you about this.

: Yes, but I…

Despite managing to hold onto his job, Zephyrs’s activities still wind up making Jaeger suspicious. The man’s had the good doctor pegged as a lunatic from the very start, and things are about to get very bad indeed for Space Mengele as a result of that.


: W-why? Has there been some sort of problem?

Jaeger slams the desk in a manner that would make Phoenix Wright proud.

:…developed by NUT called an ‘OF’, no?

: But…even if it is in the same category, there will not be a problem if it is high quality!

: High quality? Just for that, you buried all of those children who were test subjects for your experiments?! I can appreciate the concept of organic modules, but you have taken it too far! Besides, what were you thinking, keeping all of this from me? You can’t trust me? Hmm?

: You…cannot be serious…experimenting on little children…?

And so once again Jaeger makes the wholly correct decision to get rid of Zephyrs, partially because he plagiarised NUT’s products but mostly because he’s a freaking nutjob who butchered children for science. It’s nice to see that the Earth forces aren’t all puppy-kicking psychos. But this begs the question; how did Jaeger know about what Zephyrs was doing in Marleblank Dite?

A door hisses open.

:…those items from me for personal reasons. Had I not reported it to the good Lieutenant, I would have been named as a co-conspirator in your massive weapons smuggling case.

: R-Ryan! You…! You betrayed me!!

That’s how Jaeger knew – Ryan got tired of Zephyrs flailing around and not delivering on his promises, so decided to put his money where his mouth was and sold his old partner out.

:…for it. That’s all I have to say.

: Rrrggh…

: What you have been planning in secret goes way beyond the parameters of a personal endeavour. It has shaken Earth.

:…beginning, I would have handled the situation as such…

: You are implying you don’t mind people knowing about it? I thought you killed all the survivors of that commercial ship just so that wouldn’t happen.

: That is a mistake! I was framed by the terrorists…

Zephyrs is still blustering and trying to bluff his way out, but there’s one final nail left to be driven into his coffin.

: Irving! Even you…

: Just give it up. It was never something that could be concealed.

Upon hearing what Ryan had to say, Jaeger probably undertook his own covert investigation and started asking around. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that Irving broke pretty quickly; he’s been jumpy and guilt-stricken in every scene we’ve seen him in.

:…done. It’s unfortunate, but you have reached your personal limits. Zephyrs, I had thought you might be special. I see now that I was terribly, terribly mistaken.

: Aarrrgghh!

: What are you doing? Stop that!

Zephyrs snaps, pulls a gun and shoots Jaeger!

Music: Danger

: I…I am a genius! What would you know?! You wouldn’t even give the OF its due credit, and yet you flaunt your unfounded sense of superiority! It’s because of people like you that the Martians do not take us seriously. My limits? You’re the one who has reached his limits!

: *Gasp* Lieutenant!

: Zephyrs, stop!

: You’re next…

Zephyrs shoots Irving!

: Tsk! Guard! Hey! Is there any security out there?!

On cue, the door opens to admit someone very special…

: You’re late! What have you been doing?! The Lieutenant and the others have been shot-

The familiar shadow produces a gun and shoots Ryan!

:…Sleep tight, Mr. President.

: Who…are you?

: My name is Lance Jimmer. Delighted. Now, shall we?

: Where are we going?


: You are hardly one to end like this. Would you really prefer that I leave you here, to answer for your crimes?

:…I answer to no one.

: As you wish.

Well, that was a surprise. Jimmer shows up to haul Zephyrs out of the fire, ensuring he can keep making trouble despite having lost his job again. And unlike with the Earth forces, BAHRAM has both the materials and the enthusiasm for OF-related technology that Zephyrs so craved. One wonders what he could do with such resources at his disposal.

Such pondering will have to wait, though, because it’s time to check up on how BIS are doing.

Music: Every Day

: My first worries are if she is safe, and where she has gone.

: Hey! No clues inside Testament?

: It seems that she moved the OF without actually starting Pharsti up. So there’s nothing…

:…it without starting the AI up is like using a computer that has no OS.

There’s actually a scene in Zone of the Enders: The Second Runner where we’re shown exactly what trying to move an OF without the onboard AI would be like. The answer is that unless you can interpret dozens of raw datastreams with no levels of interpretation in real time and react accordingly you aren’t going anywhere, so Yukito isn’t kidding here.

: When Pharsti was rebooted, there was no longer any sign of Myona. The location was right here.

: North of the Hellespontos mountain range. What could possibly…?

A communicator beeps.

: Oh! It’s a communication from Mr. Yukito’s father!

: My dad?!

: Is something the matter?

: Yes. All over the country armed civilians have been causing riots.

: Riots? They’re still continuing?

: At the core of this is the fact that somebody has donated military-class LEV’s to citizens with heightened anti-Earth sentiments.

:…LEV’s. Who could have donated them?

: The government has judged the situation to be grave, and has decided to send troops and LEV’s from Malgalityfel via the trans-Mars railway. The problem, though, is that the armed civilians are targeting that railway.

: The trans-Mars railway is an important transportation route. If there is a battle, it would place civilian passengers at great risk.

: But if we relay this information to the military there would be massive bloodshed regardless, between the army and the armed civilians.

:…this situation somehow. Apparently this is the point at which the armed civilians are planning to strike…

: But we’re also in the middle of looking for Myona…

: (Countless casualties…violence…blood…If Myona were here, she would…)

: Let’s go, Mr. Deckson.

: Yes.

: Hey, you’re the one most worried about her! Are you sure this is okay?

: It’s on the way to the area where Pharsti woke up. And…if we don’t go now, she’ll be really angry with me later. So…

: True. She would never let this kinda stuff go down…

: Dad, don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of all that, but will you do whatever you can to find information on Myona? She’s missing.

: Ah, that young lady. Of course, I will ask my reliable sources.

: (The security on military intelligence shouldn’t be this lax…armed civilians may be prepared to go into battle, but they are just amateurs. Something feels wrong…)

: What?

: Then, I will set the destination location now. Would that be alright?

: Please.

: Cage, it’s okay. Miss Myona would be really proud.

: Cage…how do you feel about Miss Myona?

: Hunh? What?

: Um, never mind! Let’s go!


In this route Ares isn’t around in the background to help facilitate Phil’s betrayal, and Cage is much nicer to him as well. As a result, unlike in the previous route Phil is going to remain firmly on the side of BIS for the rest of the story.

This should read, ‘Hearts in Harmony, Hearts in Strife’.

Music: Counterattack

The Saoshyant appears, disgorges the BIS mechs, then retreats.

:…ago, it’s like a king’s throne!

Deckson will be piloting the Vjaya for the next few missions. Sadly he’s not a great pilot but the Vjaya’s inherent nimbleness should protect him for the time being.

: Tsk. How old was that LEV anyway? You’re still just starting to get better, so please don’t overexert yourself, boss!

: Hmph! Sure, there was a short lapse, but I’m still in my prime! I haven’t skipped any pilot training either, so have a little faith!

:…complaining about aches and pains in a few days time.

:…In that case, I’ll take care of it.

: Hm? R-really?

: Huh. Phil, your machine seems really…different.

:…some custom options. It’s called ‘Calibur’. Let me know if you ever need any maintenance or other work.

See my previous comments about Phil. Far from raging about his unglamorous duties, this time Phil learns to embrace his role as the team’s mechanic. He’ll be piloting the Calibur instead of Robin in this route.

: What I wanna know is, are we in the right place? I don’t see so much as a shadow of them armed civilian peeps.

: I sense that they are here…It must be the stealth. I see…in that case, it is not difficult for even amateurs to carry out an attack.

:…saving our lives right now.

: The sender is someone we all know very well. I don’t know where he is at the moment, but we will have to thank him at some point.

Before Deckson can elaborate one of the armed civilians shows up.

:…come to fight together with us?

: Unfortunately no. Do not attack the train. We cannot allow bloodshed to be caused by your emotions. I can appreciate how you feel, but doing this will only place you and other innocents at risk.

: Hmm. You certainly don’t sound hurt…are you sure you were actually injured?

: Hey, stop picking on me.

:…before, too. You cowardly posers! If you don’t have the courage to take responsibility for a few crimes in exchange for Martian benefit, you should just stand back and shut up!

:…It’s easy to commit a crime. That’s not the important thing here.

: Hmph! Trying to be a voice of reason? Is your ‘reason’ going to change Mars?

: How much time before the train arrives?

: Um…t-ten minutes!

: There’s not enough time…but it can’t be helped. Sorry, but we’re going to have to stop you here.

The armed civilian vanishes, then the screen shifts over to the railway bridge.

Three glowing squares appear on the bridge.

: Can we disarm it?

: Yes. Please leave it up to me. Manoeuvre to the sites and stop directly over them.

: Okay! Everyone! Pharsti and I are going to disarm the bombs!

: All right. Be careful.

The game gives us control here.

Mission Map:

Player Phase Music: Counterattack
Enemy Phase Music: Impact

A new map at last! Our objective this time is to move Testament over those glowing squares on the bridge so that Pharsti can disarm the bombs. Unfortunately every single enemy on the map starts out cloaked, so we can expect a series of ambushes on our way there.

Annoyingly our progress is impeded by this mountain. Our OF’s can simply fly over it, but the regular LEV’s will have to take the long way around.

Approaching the bridge causes seven enemy LEV’s to reveal themselves. They’re all really weak, with most being only Level 21 whereas our units range from Level 23 – 28, apart from Deckson who is still Level 15.

These guys will go down quickly but I’m slowing down my advance to give Deckson a chance to score some experience from them.

In fact they’re so easy even Phil can effortlessly dodge their attacks.

Yukito helps Deckson get his first Vjaya kill, earning a ludicrous 616 experience points in the process.

Semyl, Razma and Phil take out the remaining southern LEV. Now the five northern ones are all that remain.

Scratch that, four enemies.

Testament can’t quite oneshot the last guy, but eh.

Also, moving Testament even closer to the bridge causes eight more enemies to appear on the bridge itself. These guys are tougher at Level 24, but ultimately they’re still just timewasters designed to get in the way and make you waste your precious turns. Moreso since they don’t move and you have to kill some them to reach the bomb sites.

The weaker LEV’s flail incompetently, as if begging to be put out of their misery.

I oblige them, starting with the southernmost foe.

Yukito again helps Deckson destroy an enemy. Deckson has already almost achieved parity with the rest of our units.

Now all of the fodder LEV’s are dead, but it took four turns out of the allotted ten to do it.

The next turn is mostly spent moving our other units up, but Mebius and Cage manage to get a kill.

Deckson takes a couple of hits on the enemy phase. Mebius and Yukito are also targeted but manage to evade.

On the sixth turn this message pops up, indicating you need to kick things into high gear.

Cage has unlocked his Burst Attacks so he can now take down these guys in one hit. Also his move path took him over the green square, so we can disarm the bomb at the same time.

: Roger. I am rendering the fuse ineffective.


: The bomb has successfully been destroyed.

After that it’s a matter of healing up Deckson and then going to town on the remaining enemies.

These guys aren’t technically in the way but it’s annoying to have to dodge their shots.

Deckson once again gets a lot of experience from this, and levels up to Level 24.

Warren and Mebius both take a hit, but at this point it’s only a matter of time before the enemy is completely eliminated.

Mebius avoids two subsequent hits and then it’s our turn again.

Mebius and Yukito dispatch an enemy, with the added benefit of moving the Orcrist off the bomb panel.

: Internal scan executed…fuse destroyed.

: Good going! Now for the last one!

The mission is pretty much won at this point.

Phil dodges twice, then it’s our turn again. Time to finish things off.

Phil gets a measure of revenge.

: You…!

The last remaining enemy will give out boss experience and say a line before exploding.

: (‘Is your reason going to change Mars?!’ Be it good or evil, reason is where everything starts. Once they lose their ability to reason, they will only drag people into suffering with them. Hatred solves nothing…Answers are not meant to be that easy. People have to think and keep asking questions!)

: Mr. Deckson?

: It’s nothing. All right, clear up the bombs!

Now all we have to do is move Testament over the final bomb site.

:…Bomb destroyed.

: Yes! Alright, we made it!

: Just in case, let us watch the train from a place where we will not be found.

: Agreed.

All our units move back to their starting positions.

: Here comes the train!

: (I have no intention of supporting the army, but there’s no point in hurting each other. Why can’t we do such a simple thing? If only everyone would calm down a little bit…)

Music: Tension

Unfortunately, the armed civilians aren’t done yet!

: No! It’s not over yet!

: What?! Why would they do that?!

: (Damn, there’s not enough time!)

The screen blacks out, and the sound of a futuristic train whistle can be heard. Steel grinds against steel as the train tries to slow down…

And somehow manages to stop just in time!

: H-huh?

: What? It stopped? How did that happen?!

: No!

: There is no way that such a large train would be able to stop so quickly on command. They must have been able to stop because they knew about the ambush!

: What?!

Music: Enemy Mine

Right on cue, twelve army LEV’s disembark from the train cars!

: Heh heh heh…just as our sources told us.

: W-what?!

Before the armed civilians can react, the lead LEV shoots the suicide bomber!

: Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!

: Fools! As if you could conceal your plans from us!

: Rrghh…We’re not going to sit back and watch this happen…

Six more armed civilians show up!

: There’s that many more?!

: I have orders to stop this train from going any further, whatever the cost! Don’t let them cross the bridge!

:…I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the day. All frames! Show the Enders how inferior they are to us!

: Lieutenant! Please look at the TV! The leader of these armed civilians is making a speech!

: A speech? Hmph, how entertaining! I wouldn’t mind hearing a bit of the rubbish he’s saying before we pulverize his men.

: Cage, Mr. Ares is on the TV! Here is the footage!

:…boundaries that divide this land are the direct results of Earth’s territorial struggles.

Yep, Ares is still kicking in this continuity, though his absence until now has severely weakened the armed civilian faction. Presumably his injuries at the hands of Zephyrs have prevented many of his schemes from working.

: It’s Ares! Hah ha! He’s really alive!

Music: Tragedy

:…is not a progressive, modern society. It’s nothing but a mouldy board game with archaic rules; discrimination, oppression, tyranny and violence, all hidden by the cloak of national interest. We, the inhabitants of Mars, have been tolerating this reality until today. But why?

: A…res? Pharsti, what is Ares saying?

: Cage…he is the leader…of the armed civilian faction. That is the way it is for the time being.

: No…!

:…people!’ Is what Earthlings say, sneering. ‘Even if they came back to Earth, they wouldn’t have a chance at life, because they’re so weak.’

: But who made us that way to begin with? None other than the Earthlings! They call anyone different to themselves ‘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!

: Ares…I don’t believe it…why?!

: The origin of the broadcast…seems to be very close to here.

: Huh?

A Nerokerubina appears to the east.

: W-what? I’ve never seen a frame like that before…could it be?

: Ares! Is it really you, Ares?!

: Comrades! Fellow fighters for justice, unite!

: It’s Mr. Vale! Come, everybody!

All of the red LEV’s retreat.

: Hmph. I don’t know what you think you can do with one frame…but go ahead and show us what you’ve got! In our ranks there are numerous members of the Mars Security Forces…in other words, there are many Martians among us! If you attack us, you are also attacking your own kind!

Music: Danger

:...front of us!

: Freedom to Mars!

: Watch out!

: What?!

The beam utterly eradicates all traces of the Security Forces and the train.

: Everyone…disappeared…it’s not possible! Ares! How could you do this? Why?! How could you?!


Ares says nothing and simply retreats.

: Go after them, Pharsti!

Testament flies over to the bridge, but before Cage can get more than halfway across…

: Who is it?!

: You should take this opportunity to experience firsthand the wonder of the Marlblanke beam, Cage! Unless you have something better to do…

: Oh God…it’s…

:…gatekeeper to the underworld…

: Y-you! Bolozof! You’re still alive…?!

: *Cackle* I can’t let you go the same route as your little friend did.

: What’s going on? How can you be on the side of the armed civilians? Aren’t you from the Earth military?!

:…lifts my spirits just thinking about it! You agree with me too, don’t you…Nadia?

: Ms. Nadia?! Why are you with him? He abandoned you! And…what happened to Mr. Frazer?

: Shameful…you were the ones who manipulated him and stole the anti-stealth!

: What do you mean? We…that’s not true! Who has been feeding you these lies?

C’mon, Cage, he’s right in front of you.

:…he has taught me that my real purpose in life is to fight! I have been wrong all this time.

:…A soldier doesn’t need anything! All that I need to do is fight!

Unfortunately in this route Nadia has gone full battered girlfriend on us and has gone back to the man who treated her like dirt. Whether through manipulation or brainwashing or just plain despair she’s going to be an opponent to us once again.

:…light close-range. You will not be able to come after us. Our plan is complete. Come, Nadia.

: Yes, Sir! You were fortunate this time…but next time, I will have your head! For Frazer’s sake!

Nadia and Bolozof withdraw.

:…retreating at once.

: We couldn’t save the train…it was right in front of us, and yet…we couldn’t do anything…


: What was I supposed to do…what do they even want?! Dammit!!

Cage and the rest of BIS withdraw from the field.

Music: Tragedy

:…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.

: That guy has gone completely nuts! He really is trying to start a war against Earth…it’s impossible!

: It's not as crazy as you think. At this point, it's certainly 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. I am sure that there will be more people like those armed civilians we fought today who will be joining his ranks in the future.

:…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, ‘he’ has established contact with us. I will connect you.

:…you personally...You will return Testament. I need it. I could have just taken it, but…I had my followers retreat before it could be done. I’d like for you to listen to what I have to say, and co-operate with me.

: Ares…You…are you the one who sank the Bonaparte?! And even that train earlier! There were so many innocent people on board both…How could you do this?! Why are you doing this?!

: Heh heh…Cage? You really are such a child. Your self-righteous garbage is incredible! How is it any different from what BIS has done? Can you honestly say that there have been no innocent casualties as a result of anything you’ve done? Really?


:…weapons and locked onto our targets…I regret no victims as long as they lead to results in the end. The only difference is that I am not some weakling who has to convince myself that I am a good person in order to go on…that is all!

: Ares…

: 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 me, through hyperalignment with the OF.

: Right now it's just me, but I 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! Is that really how you feel about things?!

:…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?!

: We’ll be at the Oxygen Plant on the water. I would suggest you come out and there. We’ll be sure to entertain you. Oh, and Myona is there too.

: Heh heh heh…I’m looking forward to a positive reply…

: Ares, wait!!

Ares signs off without waiting for Cage to finish.

Music: Sadness

: Shoot! What are we going to do, boss?


: Yes...?

: 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.

A lot of new stuff happened in this update. Ares is back, though he’s not nearly as organized and influential as he was before. He also piloted a Nero instead of Iblis, so presumably his old frame is still undergoing repairs after Zephyrs trashed it. Speaking of Zephyrs, I can’t imagine Ares will be happy with Jimmer bringing the doctor along. Regardless, it seems our destination is the Oxygen Plant once again, but something tells me things are going to go massively off the rails this time…