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Guardian of the Description Thread
I've been mulling over doing another LP for some time. The consideration was boiled down to between Wild Arms 2 and Xenogears at one point. In case it was not obvious by now, I settled on...

Photo obtained via Wikipedia

...Xenogears. This game was made at about the same time as Final Fantasy 8. It includes a combat engine focusing on inputting strings of button combinations, blats that very largely overstay their welcome, reflections on racism, psychological subjects, cool anime cut-scenes, and even a bit of sex/nudity. The latter of which was heavily implied, or otherwise censored. This LP will make mention of such things, but will refrain from screenshotting them. Look them up yourself, if you are so inclined.

For my own part, I think I got this game back when we used to emulate PS1 games on our PC with Bleem. So, probably around mid-to-early 2000's? However, the emulator could only play up to a certain point in the game (which I will note when I get there), and never progressed beyond that. However, I have since played this on PS2 on several occasions, and on ePSXe at least once, to completion.

Since this is me, expect the use of CodeBreaker codes to alleviate/mitigate grinding. Related to that, this game has the equivalent of Stat Stones, and I will be using them. Also, for reference purposes, I will be using this playlist to get my music/soundtrack pulls from, and this playlist for the anime cut-scens, unless noted otherwise.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to put them in the thread!

Table of contents:
  • Disk 1
Session 1 - Error of Type: Yea Shall Be As Gods
Session 2 - I am not responsible for this entry except I am
Session 3 - 1-800-388-PIR8
Session 4 - Shootout Gear fight at the O.K. Corral
Session 5 - Fighting to get rid of the reason to fight
Session 6 - Life The party finds a way
Session 7 - Rescue Margie!
Session 8 - So many problems, so few answers
Session 9 - Go directly to Hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.
Session 10 - Gladiator Fei
Session 11 - Parts, the Clonus Terror from the Year 5000 That Died, and Became Mixed-Up Zombies
Session 12 - No time for losers, for we are the Champions... of the WORLD!
Session 13 - I believe Gears can bance fly! I believe they can touch the sky!
Session 14 - Drifting, Day 28
Session 15 - We are! Men! Of the sea!
Session 16 - Obligatory haunted ship level
Session 17 - Separation of church and from state
Session 18 - The Ethos dig site
Session 19 - Climbing Babel Tower
Session 20 - Siebzehn, Achtzehn, Neunzehn, Zwanzig
Session 21 - Fatima Dynasty Warriors Orochi - Xtreme Legends
Session 22 - The Two Towers Gates
Session 23 - Etrenank, Solaris
Session 24 - The fall of Solaris, and the truth of Id
  • Disk 2
Session 25 - A dream? To some. A nightmare to others!
Session 26 - Destroying the Soylent System, and it's aftermath
Session 27 - Two Anima Relic dungeons for the price of one!
Session 28 - Merkava, where "God" lives
Session 29 - Standing tall, and shaking the heavens
Guardian of the Description Thread
The "New Game" selection will present players with the first of many anime cut-scenes. You may watch the scene on Youtube, or whatever. I'm not linking it here. However, what was ingrained into me in this scene was the "error message" the crew was getting...

You shall be as gods!
You shall be as gods!
You shall be as gods!
You shall be as gods!

...which is where I take the session's title from. If you saw the video, and wondering what the hell just happened, that's fine. I was also confused the first time. Hell, maybe the second and third time too!

After that cut-scene concludes, we get one of Xenogears' infamous, long-winded blats...

...accompanied by this little ditty. I'm going to attempt to summarize, here, though I grant that I might be missing a few points.

So, this particular blat gives us a bit of context into the game-world, explaining that there's been a war between Kislev and Aveh that's been going on for centuries. At some point, the Ethos got involved with the excavation and maintenance of various ruins. This included Gears, the game's giant mechanized robots of death and destruction. Of course, the very nature of warfare changed with Gears.

Kislev gained the upper hand with the quantity and/or quality of their ruins. A group called Gebler contacted, and eventually aligned, with Aveh to re-balance the tide of battle. As part of the process reclaiming what was once theirs, a battle took place between Aveh/Gebler and Kislev in the border village of Lahan.

This queues up the next cut-scene, which introduces our main man, Fei Fong Wong, piloting a Gear. We get to see some fighting, but may not participate in it. Not yet!

The scene cuts to a great flame burning that slowly becomes a still painting. The camera zooms out, and we see Fei painting the picture. Spin the camera a bit, zoom out a bit more, get a comfy little ditty going...

...a bit more blat (of course), and we finally gain control of Fei! I find the Save Point in Lahan, and say hello to Lucca...

...though, I don't particularly feel a need to hear her lecture about Save Points. It's a cute inclusion, to be sure, but, the blat is unnecessary to me.

At this point, one can optionally talk to Dan about the upcoming wedding of his sister, Alice, and Timothy. To advance the plot, however, you visit Alice. She was going to have Dan get some equipment from Citan up on the mountain path, but, Fei, being the guy that he is, volunteers to do it. Alice wonders what would have happened if Fei was born in Lahan, and if they had known each other sooner. Misgivings on her wedding, perhaps, but, of course, in classic main-character-in-an-RPG fashion, Fei doesn't pick up on the hints she's dropping at all.

The road to Citan's house is riddled with monsters...

...where I gain a level or three. So, let's talk about this a bit. When you select "Attack", as mentioned, you can string button presses together to make a combo attack. Players start the game with 3 AP, with Cross attacks costing 3 AP, Square attacks costing 2 AP, and Triangle attacks costing 1 AP. The game also includes the concept of Deathblows, which are basically finishing strikes. Their inputs always end with a Cross, and need at least 4 AP (ie: Triangle, then Cross) to execute. Under normal circumstances, characters need to "learn" Deathblows by doing certain button combos (close to the actual combo has always been my assumption) and gaining levels to obtain up to 6 AP. However, I've got a cheat where I only need levels. So sue me.

Also, we are introduced to the game's platforming element. I totally forgot about the fact that you can jump until this point. So, yeah, there's a bridge that we need to cross to get to Citan's house, but, to get there, we have to do a running-jump across a gap. I'm using keyboard control, and my setup has some keyjamming issues in regards to this maneuver. Still, I manage... get to where I need to be. Yui, Citan's wife, tells me that doc's in the back, messing with a machine. Trust me, I looked before talking to her, and the event doesn't fire. A notable thing about Citan is that the man never uses a single contraction. Ever. Not a single "doesn't", "can't" "won't", or what-have you. It's always "does not", "can not", or "will not", and so forth. It's might start out cute (in it's own way) and may relay his vast intellect. However, ultimately, it's really just plain annoying sometimes.

Anyway, Citan asks Fei to go have a look-see at something he's dug up. It's basically an oversized music box, as it opens to play a sad melody...

...which Fei swears that he's heard before. Citan does a small-ish blat about the effect music can have on people before asking Fei what made him visit today. Fei had almost forgotten, but, relays the request. There's some preparations to be made, and Citan asks Fei to go ahead into the house and have dinner while he does what he can. The music box breaks, giving our good doctor a bad premonition, and us a bit of foreshadowing.

Now after supper, Fei thanks Yui for the meal, and prepares to leave. Citan will bring the equipment to town tomorrow, personally. He tells Fei to be careful, as the path is more dangerous at night. Unspoken is his premonition, but, I suppose he doesn't want to worry Fei. As I cross the bridge, I hear a bit of rumbling. The hell is that?

We see some Gears flying across the sky, moving to the general area of Lahan! Citan seems to think that they are from Kislev. An explosion is heard. Have they landed in Lahan, proper? No time to think. Just go. Well, hit the Save Point, and go. I mean, come on!

We get to Lahan, and, yes, it's burning to the ground. People are either running around like chickens without heads, or are stunned in shock. Practically right in front of us are the couple-to-be Alice and Timothy, who were stunned with shock before Citan called out to them. We eventually talk them into evacuating the village, and then get to evacuating as many as we can before ditching the town ourselves. Citan runs off, but, Fei doesn't make it very far before evading right into the Gear from the opening scene. Queue another anime cut-scene...

...and gets into the Gear, despite Citan's warnings against doing so. This places us pretty much where the game started.

The game gives us a thankfully short tutorial concerning fighting in Gears. It's similar to fighting on foot, in that you can choose the type of attack by way of button face. Fuel is used instead of AP, the costs are multiplied by ten for ease of memory. Fuel, however, is a resource that is constantly depleted and need to be recharged with it's own action that is very similar to the Guard command. Also, there is no method to initiate combos with Gears. At least, not yet.

Citan does not like this one bit...

Can't you say "This isn't good!", Citan? Geeze.

...and gives one the distinct impression that the guy knows a lot more than he lets on. Which is scary, 'cause the guy comes off as knowing quite a bit already.

Dan pops up out of nowhere, and we get a bit more blattage about how he couldn't stand to leave his sister's wedding dress behind. Then a bit of blat concerning Fei. While they do this, Timothy apparently decided to re-visit the village and sees Dan with Citan. He calls out to them, and is noticed by an enemy unit. Other units surround Fei, and their apparent leader gives the order to shoot. What happens next, well...

...yeah. That. Fei regains his consciousness, apparently in the mountain path. The Gear standing silently beside him. He asks where everyone is, and Dan bursts. He killed them. He killed them all.

Citan believes that putting the blame all on Fei isn't right. He could not be held responsible for the Gear's malfunctioning. Still, it's apparent Fei's no longer welcome to what's left of Lahan's community. Citan suggest crossing the Blackmoon Forest into Aveh proper to evade possible pursuit/scout units. He agrees. Dan's words echo in Fei's mind as he leaves.

Now on the overland map...

...I take the opportunity to save, and give the game a rest for the day.
Every misdeed has its own punishment, and every good deed has its reward.
That first picture was really, really reminding me of some Sonic.exe stuff. o_o

Other than that, that was yet another fine entry in your written LP. ^_^
...I don't normally post on forum threads like this, but I thought this was really interesting - Yeah, everyone should definitely replay Xenogears at some point. When I was younger, with all the media I was exposed to during the 90s - music, movies and excessive marketing, I always thought Xenogears was just some godhood-edgy-tryhard-jrpg. Like, the stuff you'd see on internet anime blogs during the 2000s, where fans would write about their favourite anime character and listen to nine inch nails songs - And to be fair, this is what Xenogears was to a lot of kids growing up, because that's what it was for them.

But upon replaying Xenogears recently, I noticed the game actually deals with a lot of mature themes in indirect ways, like substance abuse and mental illness. In other games, these themes are usually regulated to power ups for comedic effect, or visual effects used to psych out the player in horror games. But in Xenogears, they actually talk about these things, they make them part of the plot, in ways that feel really uncomfortable to play through, for a jrpg. But that's the point. You don't normally see video games talk about mental illness and substance abuse in this way. And that's kind of what makes Xenogears interesting and worth playing through today. Especially when you consider, how in 2000, JRPGs were finally just hitting their stride here in the west and we were finally getting fully translated JRPGS with much larger scripts than: "You Spoony Bard!"

Like, The forest scene that Marrend is about to play through in Xenogears is actually really important - usually what happens in a JRPG is that: guy saves girl, girl joins guy, and they both go on a merry adventure together - But you'll see from the dialogue, it's the most unusual exchange for a JRPG to have, and that these characters aren't what they seem on the surface. The reality is that Fei and Elly, are both incredibly flawed, they're broken and that's what the story is essentially about - How they learn to come to terms and grow past their vices.

In the manual, it says Fei is 18, but with all the hardships he goes through, he actually sounds much older than that, because you don't actually realize what these hardships are, until you experience them first hand, yourself, later on in life - and as fantastical as some of the stuff that happens in the game later on is, it felt reassuring to finally play a JRPG where the characters have gone through stuff that we've all been through at some point in our lives, instead of just gathering crystals and saving the world.

I mean, Xenogears is definitely not perfect, there are some parts where it feels a bit too much like an anime (...y-you'll see what I'm talking about) - But the story is really well done for what it is. The game was originally submitted as a proposal for Final Fantasy VII written by Tetsuya Takahashi and his wife Kaori Tanaka, which Square felt was too dark for FF7. But the duo's work, really shows in the writing. Like, the story's focus isn't just on Fei, it's on Elly too, who has her own set of problems she needs to work through as well, so you have this sort of dual perspective throughout the game. Terrific stuff! I just wish we could see more games like this. Just JRPGs that are willing to tell better stories. We're starting to see that now in stuff like Persona 5 and how it tries to tackle certain social issues, but I wish there was more of it and I wish it was in our rpgmaker games too.

Like, I really wanna play, an rpgmaker game, where you're just some 40 year old dude, who just lost his job and is scrambling to make this months rent, but somehow gets involved with the mafia, after his beloved guitar is replaced with a guitar case full of money - Like, there's an opportunity to tell really great stories here, but we just don't seem to be there yet.

But yeah, great stuff Marrend, looking forward to more of this!
...I feel like some of this stuff might've been lost in translation but I want to chime in on this carefully:

Dr.Citan isn't just some kung-fu inventor guy whose Fei's friend. He is actually Fei's psychiatrist and he's trying to teach Fei how to cope with this "illness" Fei has and learn how to keep it in check - That's why he's mostly there, with Fei. He's keeping an eye on him for this reason.

The game tries to make this clearer with how the player is introduced to Fei: In the opening scene, Fei is painting a picture - this is also a constructive hobby a lot of patients take up when trying to learn how to cope with an illness. But Fei is also painting things from his past, painting things he doesn't quite understand, but remembers. Fei actually went through a very traumatic experience and being able to live and start his life again in Lahan is part of that healing process - which unfortunately doesn't last.

There's a lot of nuances here that don't come across, quite as clear as they should, because a lot of the writing is mired in typical english translation jrpg tropes - but it's there.

I really want to know, what Xenogears would've sounded like if it had a proper English translation/localization.
Guardian of the Description Thread
First, let me note that I've pretty much been using this playlist for the anime cut-scenes. I will note if I use a diferent soruce.

Second, this world map theme...

...has been running in my head since the end of last session. It is so GOOD. However, our session pretty much starts in...

...Blackmoon Forest. Fei's level is 5 from that last battle, which means he has access to the Deathblow, Raijin.

Let's talk a little bit more about AP and Deathblows. As part of an attack, players can choose not to spend all their AP into an attack. We also have the option to press Circle to "cancel" at pretty much any point, so long as we haven't initiated a Deathblow, or used up our AP allotment. Any remaining AP goes into a reserve that lasts until the end of the fight.

Let's throw down some examples. Fei's got 4 AP. I can input a Triangle attack, then press Circle. This stores the remaining 3 AP into his reserve, and he still performs his attack action, such as it is. The point of putting AP into reserves is that you can access a special "Combo" command (I think you press right from the Attack command to get to it?). With enough AP reserved, you can put together a chain of Deathblows. The max AP reserve is 28 AP (I'll verify this later, but, sounds about right), we can chain together 7 Raijins.

A chain of Deathblows!!!

This special action grants the Deathblows slightly faster animation speeds than normal, which sometimes makes for some hilarious/interesting moments. To say the least, this tactic will be our main boss-slaying mechanic for a while. Against regular mooks, we can just do Raijin. I don't think I'll get enough levels for Senretsu or Hagan (Fei's 5 AP Deathblows) any time soon.

Rather than putz around like some kind of hero of Might and Magic, I go seeking out our plot-event. It involves getting another character in my party. Our meeting is, well, more than a little awkward... you can see. It's not a particularly warm/welcome greeting. I mean, she's got a gun trained on Fei, and is threatening to shoot him. While Fei has no weapons to put down, he nonetheless turns around on her order. He senses her nervousness. She speaks of Kislev soldiers out to get her, though, she realizes Fei no such person. Still, she has orders to kill all surface-dwellers, Lambs, she comes into contact with. The terminology is important, but, we'll get into that a bit later.

At any rate, the solider is looking for a way out of the forest. Figuring Fei to be a local, she asks him for a way out. Unfortunately for her, Fei doesn't know either. The two remain staring at each other in this awkward stale-mate until Fei speaks up again.

The soldier expresses understandable disbelief in what she just heard. Fei is despondent, and goes even further to say that his life is worthless, and that there is no point in him living.

So, wait, is Fei contemplating suicide? Does he really have some kind of death wish? This is a subject matter that is barely touched upon by games. I'm not even sure if I need to qualify that statement with "games of this era"? That's a subject that could be beyond the scope of this LP, though.

At any rate, the solider takes a few pop shots at Fei, missing either on purpose, or because she's unnerved by this guy's apparent lack of self-preservation instinct. She takes a few steps back, not really sure what to make of this guy, or this situation. She then finds herself being ambushed, and knocked out cold. Fei comes to rescue "Elly". Please remember that, while we, as players, might know that this solider is Elly (via the manual), Fei most certainly does not. Player knowledge versus character knowledge.

After the battle, the game fast-forwards a bit. Fei has set up camp, has tended to the solder's wounds as best he can, and she's just now regained consciousness. She does, eventually, thank him for tending to his wounds, but, she is understandably cautious towards him. She refuses to give Fei is name, but, Fei has a point about them needing to cooperate. At least until they manage to leave the forest. At this, she relents... giving her name. Of which, Fei has something of an aside about already "knowing" that. Fei has a weird dream that night...

...that may, or may not, make sense later. Elly wakes him up, and we can go on our merry way. I'm slightly more inclined to putz around, if only to get Elly 4 AP. Plot-wise, she doesn't stick around for very long. After hitting a Save Point, we cross a bridge, and Elly gets it into her head to ask Fei what he meant by saying that his life was worthless. Fei relays his story...

...with proper musical accompaniment to the event. Fei admits that he destroyed the village. He piloted the Gear without any kind of training, or experience, and the thing went haywire. He then focuses his anger on the enemy Gears. Elly has a flashback.

She was part of a detachment that stole that Gear that Fei used from Kislev. They were being perused by enemy Gears. Her Gear took shrapnel in the thrusters as part of their escape. She couldn't maintain altitude, and the unit had to make an emergency landing on the ground as part of their recoup effort. This emergency landing happened to be near/at Lahan, naturally. We see her depart from her damaged craft, with units landing near her. I think they are supposed to be her allies performing cover-fire, but, they could also be enemy units. Not quite sure. In the end, she was able to escape, and had to leave the stolen Gear behind.

Meanwhile, Fei's still focused on the Gears. Them! It's their fault for landing in Lahan! If it wasn't for that, there would be no temptation to pilot that Gear!

He's... not entirely wrong? Still, Elly's response to this is interesting. She calls him a coward for not taking responsibility for his involvement in the events at Lahan. She is perfectly aware of the reason why Gears landed in Lahan in the first place. However, if Fei focused on evacuating the villagers, rather than standing and fighting, maybe the village would still exist.

Maybe she's right. Maybe not. Either way, Fei lashes out, asking what Elly would know. All he can remember is Timothy getting shot, and the next thing he knows, he woke up, the screams of the fallen echoing from his hands as proof of what he has done.

Recall that he's not originally from Lahan. He came to the village, was accepted by them, and was treated as one of them for who knows how long. Now, he's destroyed it with his own hands, and has nowhere to go. He's a lost soul, searching for a place to belong.

Elly regrets her harsh words, but, Fei will have none of her pity. She walks off, leaving Fei alone in his misery, her own memories flooding from another time...

...which she, herself, was the cause of so much death. Where she had no control over her own actions. I'm not sure about the exact scale of that incident, but, she can actually relate to how he feels.

As Elly awakens from her reverie, she walks a bit further into the forest, only to come across a Rankar. The girl has no luck, I tell you. Fei hears the scream, and rushes into action.

A noble effort, to be sure. However, on foot, there's only so much Fei can do against the large beast. However, good ol' Citan flys by, and drops a certain Gear (yes, the same one that Elly stole!) to aid Fei. If Fei uses it, he stands more than a chance. Fei requests that Citan shoot him if he appears to malfunction.

This is it. This is literally the only time Citan uses a contraction.

Now that we're back in a Gear, and we have access to Deathblows, this means we also have access to Attack Levels in regards to Gear fights.

How this works is, your Attack Level starts at 0. Successfully landing a blow will increase it by one. As it happens, my maximum Attack Level is 1, but, as the game progress, it goes to 2, then 3, then INFINITY. Er, more on that when we get that far. Anyway, once we reach a non-zero Attack Level, there's a few options. We can attack as normal, use the Charge action (wherein there is a Fuel bonus according to Attack Level), or perform a "Gear Deathblow". Right now, Fei only has access to one, Raigeki, which is performed with two Triangle inputs.

As characters learn more Deathblows, their respective Gears can learn more Gear Deathblows. So, when Fei learns/earns the Senretsu Deathblow, his Gear will have access to a Gear Deathblow whose input is Triangle Square. The name of it escapes me at the moment.

In any event, we save Elly, again, and we don't seem to have experienced any malfunctions. I kinda feel like the game goes out of it's way to finally give out Weltall's name. Still, it makes my life (or life in general) a bit easier.

I keep getting side-tracked. Sorry. Anyway, the two wax about how a degree of strength is needed to protect oneself. If it wasn't for Weltall, both Fei and Elly would be lunch. Fei grants this. However, he believes that the kind of strength Weltall has goes far, far beyond what is nessessary.

The conversation doesn't really go anywhere, but, when they check up on Elly, she comes to. Takes her a bit before realizing what Citan brought. Citan notices that she recogizes it, and brushes off whatever she might have said with saying that they are merely borrowing what Kislev left behind.

We set up camp for the night, with Citan doing his best to repair Weltall. However, with what he has on-hand, it's just no good. He hops down, and finds Elly still awake. Apparently, he speaks whatever language she spoke initially. However, by doing so, he confirms his suspicions, which is something we already know: that the pilot whose Gear made an emergency landing at Lahan, and the girl lost in the woods are the same person! Yet another instance of player knowledge versus character knowledge.

Citan explains how to leave the forest, and asks Elly to leave before Fei wakes up. Better for her. Better for him. The tangs of guilt are still gnawing onto Elly, and she wants to apologize first. Yes, she called Fei a coward for running away from responsibility for Lahan, but, she's just as responsible, if not more so.

Citan's surprised. He didn't expect her to think that way towards a surface-dweller. To her people, they are as domesticated animals.

A bit more back and forth here concerning how Elly feels about Fei, how she realizes that thay aren't all the different. That they are "the same". This statement actually has another layer of meaning behind it, if not multiple layers. However, the only context we have right now is that of race/ethnicity.

Next morning, Fei and Citan have a bit of blat before we regain control. Even then, it's only for a little while before we hear a rumbling, and see a ship in the sky. Citan's assumption is that it's a battleship from Aveh. Or, rather, Gebler.

We, as players, know about Gebler from the beginning-of-game blat. However, Fei does not. So, Citan puts on his Department of Backstory cap, and relays about the war between Aveh and Kislev. That we've already heard.

Well, okay. I totally respect the boundary of player knowledge versus character knowledge this game has shown so far. However, that doesn't stop the fact that Citan summarizes in, like, three regular-sized textboxes what the intro was saying in it's, like, three or four screen-sizes textboxes. Citan left out the part about the Ethos, and Gears, though. Then again, Fei has expressed a disinterest in Gears, so, that could be why he left that part out. Still, it's tempting to ask: what the hell, game?

Anyway, we're out of the forest, back on the world map...

This is still running through my head! AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!

...with Dazil in sights. We can save on the overworld map. So, yeah, sounds like a good stopping point.
Guardian of the Description Thread
As mentioned last time, Dazil isn't too far from my current position. Citan's level is such that he has 4 AP, and can learn the Ukigumo Deathblow. Which I do in short order.

According to Citan, this town is the center for all excavations in Aveh. We might be able to find out what Kislev and Aveh is doing. Not to mention that there is an Ethos facility here that could have the parts we need to repair Weltall.

There's a bit of shopping I can do before all that, though. To be fair, I probably wouldn't be able to afford a lot of this stuff, as the fights I've been getting haven't been earning me money, nor a whole lot vendor trash to sell. Still, I have leftover units of Stat Stones to sell (that I can just cheat up later), which should tide me over regarding money over for a while.

Also of note is a scene in the tavern with Big Joe. He's something of a recurring character that we get to fight later. I think he's supposed to show up as a shop waaaaaaaay after that, but, I don't think I ever found the guy to verify? Maybe I just don't remember.

Citan requests the X-29 injection curcuit that he needs to fix Weltall, but, this shop doesn't have that in stock. Apparently, that's used in later, military-grade Gears, whereas this shop is focused more for the servicing of civilian Gears. We're told that we are to make a request to the Ethos headquarters if we want that part. Which sounds like it could take months of red tape alone.

After they leave the building, Fei takes the good doctor aside, and asks if they can't just leave Weltall as-is. Fei's more inclined to wait for things to cool down a little, and help rebuild Lahan. He believes it's the best thing he can do, after what he's done. Citan has no particular qualms with his plan, but, also believes that getting Weltall as far away from Lahan is also a good idea.

Citan's reasoning is that the abandoned Gear (that Elly piloted) must have been some kind of experimental Gear from Kislev, and a reason for the pursuit. Weltall probably being the other. The news of Gebler's failure must have reached the higher-ups by now, and a search for that Gear would be initiated. Naturally, Kislev has interest in that Gear too, and will be sending in their own team. Another battle will ensue, and, if Weltall is still in the vicinity, the winner will claim that prize too. All while Lahan continuing to be the battleground for this conflict.

We can't do a whole lot about the conflict, itself. However, if we can move Weltall, we might be able to reduce the friction in the area. Make Lahan less of a juicy target, as it were. While the Ethos in this town can't help us, Dazil is still the center of excavations in Aveh. We could probably find information about where we could get what we need.

On the north side of town, Citan notices a sand buggy, and gets an idea. We we can rent that buggy, we can use it to cross the desert to find the parts we need. Not that we have any information about where we're going, but, Citan asks us to leave it to him. Apparently, his plan relies on the battles between Aveh and Kislev that occur in the desert "all the time". There is probably wreckage of such battles that he might be able to extract our part from. Fei expresses his misgivings in this plan, but, Citan assures him, and scampers off.

The desert is not a hospitable place. I'm not just talking about the heat. There are these battles that Citan mentions that he could run into. It's also teeming with monsters. Not to mention a band of sand pirates that attack both Aveh and Kislev targets. We... really shouldn't have let him go out on his own!

So! Out to the desert we go! We shortly find a pair of Gears jumping across the desert. Who do those Gears belong to? Aveh? Kislev? Fei's certainly not as knowledgeable about such things as Citan, and decides to follow them as best he can. Unfortunately, Fei's on foot, and quickly looses sight of the Gears. He hears another rumbling, looks up, and sees this huge saucer in the sky. He spots another pair of Gears, possibly trying to follow the saucer. Let's try going after them!

Daylight fades as Fei continues his pursuit. He better find Citan before it gets too dark! Not that he knows where Citan is, but, he's gotta do something! A couple bikers pass by him. The hell is going on!? First, those groups of Gears, then the saucer, now these guys? How much trouble could Citan be in?

Maybe not the smartest thing to do, but, Fei puts himself in the path of one of the bikes. Luckily for Fei, the rider manages to evade him, and wipes out in the process. Fei apologizes, takes the bike, and rides it for, I dunno, six screens before he, himself, gets wiped out, finding himself surrounded by Gears.

They get shot up a bit by Citan, piloting Weltall. However, they are still very much capable of fighting back. Citan asks Fei to pilot the Gear, as he's the only one that can use it to it's full potential. Fei's not happy with the idea, but, goes along with it.

This isn't the first time we've heard this particular song, but, I thought I'd drop it here before I forget to drop it at all. Saying that, this fight isn't much of a challenge. A Reppu (Weltall's Triangle Square Deathblow) is enough to fell one of these guys, and they are sorted in short order.

After the fight, we get...

...another cut-scene, and are officially introduced to Grahf...

...who will be a thorn in our side for quite a bit of this game. There's a bit of exchange between these two that I prefer not to get into. Suffice it to say, Grahf needs Fei's latent powers to awaken to destroy god. Fei find this utterly foolish. However, Grahf knows what Fei is capable of, even if Fei, himself, does not.

A Gear-sized worm comes out of the ground (Dune reference?) to attack Fei. Which may have been summoned by our Seeker of Power, here. Either way, we fight, win, and get captured by Aveh forces.

Weltall's repairs were very much patchwork, and has broken down again. Even so, one can't help but to notice a certain despondency from Fei. As they ride as prisoners, Fei has another dream...

...after which, is an exchange between Fei and Citan, accompanied by...

...this song. Of course, Fei is disturbed by what Graph said about his father. However, more than that, it's that Grahf caused the events at Lahan to happen. He wanted Fei to pilot Weltall. He wanted Fei to destroy Lahan. And for what purpose? To acquire the power necessary to destroy god? Grahf seems to think Fei's got what it takes, though. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. I suppose we'll see.

For now, we're prisoners aboard this ship of Aveh's. I don't think they necessarily care about us. We'll probably be questioned, maybe put into jail for a while. Their interest is mostly in Weltall.

Fei decides to go back to sleep. There isn't much else he can do right now. Citan has a bit of flashback of his own, concerning the Time oF Gospel. The man Citan is speaking to in this flashback has this to say of it:

We are the people expelled from paradise, and forced to live on the cruel surface of the earth. We who fill this land will once again return to the presence of god in paradise and live there eternally. That is the -Time- of the -Gospel-. That -Time- is at hand. We, the Gazel, must find god's resting place by then, and resurrect him. That is our final prayer.
Our final prayer to escape from the -Fate- that was determined at our genesis.

Fade out. Fade in, the camera's now relaying a scanning device's output. Bingo! Just as the report said, an Aveh transport, and the Gear on top? A new Kislev model. Probably the stolen one that everyone's after. Even if that's not the Gear, we can't let that Shakhan have it!

We find ourselves on the bridge of a different ship. Now, maybe I'm going off of common tropes, but, if the captain has an eyepatch, and he does, this is probably those sand pirates. The captain raises up the periscope, and asks for a report from the gunner. Queue a bit of music...

...uh, not that one...

...this one. The gunner's report is good. Franz? No radar activity, outside of the flowing sand. Marseilles? The Gears are on standby on the catapults, ready to launch one minute after surfacing.

Let's do this! Red alert! Battle positions, everyone! Ingore that old fogey, and the first mate! We've got a Gear to steal!

Back to Fei and Citan, the camera is situated more or less as before, pointing toward a window. Citan notices some activity, and wonders what it is. The camera zooms toward the window, then we get an external shot of the sand-submarine surfacing. It must be those pirates!

We then see the sub's cannons rotate, and hear some explosions as they fire. Switch back to the pirate bridge, the captain is getting quite a kick out of this ("Awww yeah!"), and they continue that assault. Back on the Aveh transport...

Gee, whatever makes you say that?

...we'll sink within minutes. The door gives us a bit of trouble, but, we miraculously open it, and get the hell outta there.

Citan stays behind to operate a crane so that Fei can board Weltall, and survive. Fei pleads that he be right behind him. Fei manages to get in, and grabs Citan before lifting off, and landing a safe distance from the sinking craft. Whew!

Wait. We're not quite out of the woods yet. We're confronted by the sand pirates, who have mistaken us for Aveh soldiers. I can kinda understand why they might think that, and there's no reason for them to believe us when we try to tell them otherwise. So. Gear fight. Clearly.

Thankfully, Weltall's been repaired since last battle. Unfortunately, our opponent can perform a Gear Deathblow, Chain Whip, and it's Wild Smile reduces our accuracy and evasion. The battle takes it's own dramatic turn, as we eventually get engulfed by quicksand, and fall into a cavern underneath the desert. As Fei exists his Gear, the pirate, Bart, realizes his mistake, and apologizes. The ceiling's closed up, so, they gotta work together to find another way out.

On the topside of the pirate ship, we've a little scene among the survivors of the wreck, and the crew before it pans back to see an exchange between Citan and the first mate, Sigurd. One gets the impression they have meet before, somewhere. Indeed, Sigurd calls Citan "Hyuga", and that's it's own mystery!

Back to Fei and Bart, and their Gears. There's a nearby Save Point, that I use. Gonna call it here, 'cause next session is probably going to be a calamity!
Guardian of the Description Thread
Fei and Bart wander this cavern looking for a way back to the surface. A huge boulder blocks their path from the rest of the cave, which they manage to push with their Gears with some effort.

There's a bit of an exchange here between the two, but, I won't really get into it. After a bit of exploration, we come across a Gear that relays two bits of information to us.

Sand sensors have detected an abnormal amount of sand. The sand barrier south of 'Terrace Stones' has been sealed to prevent sand from entering excavation site.

There is a barrier wall in the southeast of 'Terrace Stones' that was built to stop the shifting of sand. Until the barrier reopens, please assemble at the shelter located to the east of the barrier wall.

Sounds like we need to get to this 'Terrace Stones' place to get out. We go south, and Bart notices some smoke coming out of a building? I mean, it's probably that shelter that info-Gear was telling us about, but, I doubt we expected any kind of occupancy! Inside, we meet...

...Balthazar, who prefers to be called Old Man Bal. This guy knows quite a bit about Gears. He can tell what's wrong with our just by the noises they make! He's also got a collection of fossils, which triggers it's own blat.

His display has a set of skulls, and all Bart can see is "old bones". Fei notices that there's a gap on the bottom shelf. Bal then points out that human fossils just don't appear until a period of time about 10,000 years ago. Bart mentions the theory of evolution, which is, interestingly enough, taught by the Ethos. Bal, then, waxes with a his "legend" that more or less describes the events of the Garden of Eden in the Book of Genesis. Maybe a bit of a twist on the Tower of Babil story too, though, I assume the "giants" he speaks of are actually Gears of some kind.

We talk to Bal again to talk about how to get outta here. To open the barrier wall, he suggests we deactivate the two Sand Sensors while he opens the barrier wall. I passed one such sensor near-ish to the info-Gear I mentioned before. The other one is elsewhere. Bal will also sell us parts and fuel for our Gears, as well as repairs.

For all the trouble Citan seemed to need to go through to fix Weltall before, Old Man Bal does it for 10 freaking Gil. Or maybe it's Gold? Whatever. At any rate, we do some shopping at Bal's before shoving off to find the sensors.

Fei learns his Hagan (Square Cross) Deathblow in the process, which gives Weltall access to Attack Level 2, and the Gear Deathblow Hazan (Square Triangle). As a side-note, Hazan cannot be used unless Attack Level 2 is achieved first, and, I should have mentioned this earlier, using a Gear Deathblow generally reduces your Attack Level by whatever level of Gear Deathblow you used. So, for example, if Weltall achieves Attack Level 2, you can either perform a Hazan, and be at AL 0 afterwards, or perform a Raigeki or Reppu, and be at AL 1 afterwards.

In any event, we report back to Old Man Bal, and he opens the barrier for us. Bart gets it into his head to ask the old man about a Gear that surpasses all other Gears. Naturally, he's heard legends of such a Gear, as spouts a few lines. If such a Gear, if an Onmigear actually exists, it would be capable of feats unheard of. It would rival the power of a thousand Gears, and all that jazz. One might imagine that Fei might be thinking "That kinda sounds like Weltall?" to all this talk. Bart and Fei talk among themselves about Gears, Onimgears, and Bal. Their conversation cuts short as they hear a noise from outside. Bal's surprise is palpable, and mutters, upon seeing Fei's Gear, that it's...

...The Host for the Spirit of the Slayer of God. Well! That certainly got Fei's attention! However, the old man absolutely refuses to speak more on the matter. I use the Save Point, and mosey on. 'Course, we gotta fight us a boss 'fore we can git outta here.

Calamity Jane takes it's good ol' time before gittin' to us. 'Prolly could have just skidattled while it was doin' it's stunts. Welp, ain't nothin' to it now, but to gun it down!

Feeble attempt at a Texan/Southern accent aside, Calamity falls from our beating, but, gets back up. Fei does... well... something! He's not really sure what it was, but, it destroyed Calamity for good, with no possibility of having it get up for round 3. Bart eventually lets the subject drop, and we finally get out of that cave! We let our eyes adjust to the blinding light of the sun before we go to the rendezvous point with Bart's ship, the Yggdrasil.

This one wasn't in the "normal" playlist.

...where we are formally introduced to Bart and Sigurd. Citan detects something is amiss with Fei, but, does not pry for now.

The Gear hanger of the Yggdrasil has a shop we can use (and use often), and old Maison runs a shop for characters. I do a bit of shopping in these locations before putting this down for the day.
Guardian of the Description Thread
We may have free reign of the Yddgrasil, and it's facilities, but, we are still very much locked in plot. Going to the bridge, and speaking with Sugurd, allows us to advance said plot, towards the pirate base. Rather than teleport, the game cuts to the world map...

...and auto-pilots the Yggdrasil. Arriving changes to the more elaborate "march" version of the Yggdrasil's theme...

...which is not this. I might pull this joke one more time to comply with the Rule of Three. However, yeah..'s this. At the hideout, Bart has a little welcoming cerimony. As he leaves, he suggests we have tea with Maison. Fei follows as far as going up the elevator, but, players gain control of him after that. I can probably explore later, so, I decide to follow them.

Masion lets slip that they used to live in the palace, and Citan wonders if that means they have some connection to the royal family. Masion initially denies it, but, when Citan comments about how Bart has a certain bearing, the man just cannot keep quiet. Bart is none other than Price Bartholomew Fatima, the crown price of Aveh!

There's probably 108 reasons (yes, I went there) why Bart needs to consort to piracy. However, the chief concerns are that Shakan's forces can easily overpower his. Also, excavating ruins takes more time, manpower, and capital than Bart currently has access to. If this was a Suikoden game, maybe the game would be about garnering said support, power, and resources. However, this is Xenogears.

The conversation between the two continues, with Citan merrily sipping away, with Fei more or less keeping to himself. Have I mentioned how much Citan knows about stuff in general? When Maison mentions that Shakan's men have kidnapped Margie, Citan's mind leaps toward the Great Mother of Nisan. Well, okay, Maison finishes his sentence, but, it's largely implied that Citan knows who she is. I suppose this Margie would likely to have been somebody important to have been kidnapped in the first place, so maybe that's not a big leap in logic? Still, it's unnerving how much stuff is stashed in that brain of his.

Anyway, the conversation turns to what, exactly, the "treasure of Aveh" is, which queues Bart's entrance into the scene. There is a supposition that the treasure in question is some kind of Gear, and Bart allows us to see one of the old picture-scrolls concerning the subject. Citan's interest is piqued. Fei follows the pair in a daze.

Well, that's not technically true. Players have control of Fei here as well, but, the game's not gonna move until we see this scroll. According to Bart, this 500-year-old scroll depicts...

This is King Fatima I... 'body cloaked in flames making a blood oath with giants'. They say he used the strength of the giants to found Aveh.

...of which Citan is amazed to see. First, that a scroll so old would be in such good condition. Second, that such a scroll is not held by the Ethos, who, among their other services, are caretakers of history. Apparently, these scrolls were a prized possession by Bart's father. Next up is...

After founding the country, Fatima forced the giants into slumber to protect his kingdom if needed in the future. But we don't know where they are hidden. In another record, one of the giants is called the 'Great Fatima Treasure'., yeah. A Gear. Maybe an Omnigear? Either way, the Jasper (of which Margie has half) is the key to get it, making her rescue come to the forefront of the game. Citan is willing to help with the effort if such pays for his room and board, then turns and asks Fei what he thinks, pointing out that he hasn't said much of anything lately. Bart relays that he would really appreciate Fei's help, seeing as he was a great help in the underground cave.

Fei gets triggered. He wants no part in this. Why is everybody trying to get him to fight?

The outburst leaves Bart utterly bewildered, while Citan is more understanding. Waaaaaaay too much stuff has happened to Fei, and he just needs some time to process it all.

Fei is on his lonesome again. He see some kids take the 'vadar down, saying they are going to service Gears. Not sure if they are serious, or playing some kind of game. Irrelevant to Fei, to be sure. There's a Save Point that we use before we do something stupid like advance the plot.

Fei makes his way to the Yggdrasil, about to go inside, when Bart pops out of the top hatch. Citan has relayed what's happed to Fei in the interim, and thinks it might to Fei some good to talk about it. Or, at least, apologize to Fei once more, and ask for his assistance. Which Fei declines again. He has no desire to fight, unlike Bart, and if Bart wants that Gear, he's welcome to it!

There's a bit of an exchange here, that brings up an important point about needing a reason to fight. As for Bart...

...he has his reasons, and believes Fei has a similar reason to fight. He believes Fei needs to fight to make amends with the people of Lahan. Saying that, Bart's aware that helping him may, or may not lead to that. He's not gonna force Fei to help him rescue Margie. This is his own problem. Even so, it's definitely better than running away, or doing nothing. Bart also relays that the Yggdrasil's mechanic wants to talk to Fei about Weltall. Even if he doesn't really care about the Gear, maybe he should listen. Sure. Why not. Nothing better to do right now.

Guy doesn't say all that much. Compliments the Gear for being well-balanced, and points out that there's a number of parts in it that he can't figure out what they do. Of course, Fei has no clue either, but, I suppose it's good info? I dunno, maybe it's me, but, the impression I got from Bart is that Fei was called down here to relay some kind of terrible news about Weltall. Seems to be in working order, though.

Citan and Sigurd find Fei, and ask him to come with them. There, at an edge of one of Yggdrasil's fore fins (I think it's the fore?) stands Bart, bemoaning his own cowardice, and powerlessness. Sigurd explains that he was asked to apologize for Bart. The young pirate-prince recognizes that he's not necessarily good at such things, and hopes that his first mate can do a better job. Of course, Sigurd asks Fei for his assistance. Fei'll think about it. Well, that's progress, at least! They'll be leaving tomorrow, so, we have until then. We can rest in the residential area, which also houses a Save Point.

That night, the pirate base is attacked!

The intruders? It's Gebler's special forces! There's 6 units in the Gear hanger, all hands are to report there! Non-combatants, retreat to the Yggdrasil!

Fei starts walking towards the Yggdrasil's hatch. That follows, given the recent conversations. But, at the same time, he doesn't enter the Yggdrasil either. He moves right past the hatch, up the stairs, toward the helm. Citan then calls out to him, asking him to board Wetall. Fei turns around and ignores the doctor. Well. If Fei won't do anything, maybe Citan will. Citan uses the elevator down to the Gear hanger, as Fei wonders who the heck he is. That old man called him the slayer of god. Well, no, that's not exactly what he said, but, still. Fei does not desire that kind of power.

Cut to the Gear hanger, Bart's in Brigandier, and he's fighting with two Deurmods (standard pirate Gears) against Sword Knight. After that's beaten, Citan gets into Heimdal (which, according to Sigurd, might not be "enough" for him), and faces off against Aegis Knight. It's been a couple years, but, Citan seems to recognize that these pilots are using Drive. This is a performance-enhancing drug that also dulls pain, among other senses. I'm not sure how such a drug would affect the Gears, but, the pilots are certainly still a factor here.

Next fight, Citan has joined up with Bart, and the two are facing a pair of Wand Knights. Next scene, we have Fei, finally entering the scene, facing off against Claw Knight. The three then join forces against Schpariel.

With the attack repelled, Bart thanks Fei for his assistance, as does Sigurd. Fei now agrees to help Bart. He's not sure if this is the path he should walk, but, maybe he can find that path my helping people. Thus, our next operation is to infiltrate the capital of Aveh, and rescue Marguerite, the Great Mother of Nisan! However, that task can be for another day.
Guardian of the Description Thread
I apologize for the delay. I choose to derp around in Aveh's desert before anything of real interest happened. I mean, we've been pretty much locked in plot since... the start of the game, now that I think about it? Also, the past couple of days in RL have been a bit rough.

If I needed another reason to derp in this game, it's because this is literally the first time in this game that we have had a full party of three. The game has done it's best to keep a party size of one or two up to now, though.

So, in the interim, Fei's level has risen to 22. This earns him Hoten, his first 6AP Deathblow (Triangle Triangle Triangle Cross), also unlocking the Ryuten Gear Deathblow (Square Triangle) for Weltall.

This isn't something one would notice on a normal playthrough. However, because I'm using CodeBreaker, it's interesting to note: A character's current experience has no attachment to their level whatsoever. I could drop literal billions of EXP on Fei, and it the game won't care. However, setting the "EXP to next Level" variable is something I can do that will effect the game-state. As such, it's not possible to gain multiple levels in a single battle in this game.

There is something of a sub-map for Bledavik, which is mostly irrelevant right now, because CUTSCENE!

We see a Gebler battleship on the horizon, and the focus of the game shifts to it's landing procedures. After they're complete, the game cuts to the bridge, and we meet Ramsus and Miang. Ramsus might look like the guy in charge, and he is. For the most part. However, don't discount Miang. She has her own agendia that she's following.

We also meet Shakhan, who Bart has spoken of a number of times by now. Ramsus isn't terribly impressed by him, and has some harsh words for Vanderkaum. I'm not exactly sure where Vanderkaum stands in regards to Shakhan. Ramsus is clearly above them both, though, that's for sure.

At any rate, Miang stays behind a bit, while Ramsus and Shakhan speak among themselves. Tomorrow is the 500th anniversary of Aveh's founding, and, of course, there is to be a dedication ceremony he would like Ramsus to attend. Ramsus doesn't outright decline, but, is more interested in a 500-year-old mobile weapon that has some relation to the Fatima Jasper.

It seems Shakhan has already obtained the half Margie has already, mentioning a "crest" in the process. Margie has refused to tell him anything about the other half, and Ramsus decides to make a personal visit.

With a title of "Great Mother of Nisan", one might expect Margie to be an old lady. Though, to be fair, Maison mentioned when having tea with Citan that she's Bart's cousin, and may have mentioned that they are pretty close age-wise. However, in the case players missed all that, they might be surprised to see...

...that, yes, she's a teenager. The camera movements, and sounds effects are a bit odd, but, then, it shifts to Shakhan's office. Seems he was peeking in. Not that Margie divulged anything new, but, she apparently talked more for Ramsus than himself, or his goons. Seems like Shakhan has his own plans concerning the Jasper. That info must have been leaked, but, from where? Find the leak, plug it up, and administer truth serum to Margie. Leave nothing to chance.

Meanwhile, back at the entrance to the capital...

...our immediate task is to find a way into the palace. Even if Bart's the crown prince, he can't just waltz in the front door. No, we gotta sneak in, somehow. But how?

The bazzar, proper, doesn't sell anything we can actually buy. There's a weapon shop and an armor shop that we can use, though. We also meet a person that's been doing laundry in the same place for 60 years. From what this person is saying, Shakhan wants the flow of that water to be shut off, but, the caretaker refuses to listen. Might just be our ticket in, if it wasn't locked.

At the hotel, we meet a nun from the Nisan sect. She's been sent to check up on Margie, and recognized Bart immediately. We can use her room in the hotel as a meeting spot, and discuss what leads we have to get Margie out. She lets us know that she's being held in the citadel, which is still good info to have, but, we still don't quite know how to infiltrate the palace.

It takes a bit of doing, but, we manage to obtain the well key. We can sneak into the castle's reservoir through the underground river that runs through the city. Citan suggests that we may be able to use the festivities to our advantage. Citan and Fei visit the entrance to the Aveh capital, to find that there is a martial arts tournament to be held as part of the festivities. Citan seems to think that if Fei causes enough of a stir, he will grab the attention of the guards, and make Bart's life even easier.

Why Fei, though? It's not like Citan can't fight. I suppose he just thinks Fei is the best person to pull this off? So, begrudgingly, Fei signs up, using a false name that players select from a list. The name, itself, does not matter, but, for the sake of this LP, I decided upon Wandering Youth. Go back into the hotel, hit that Save Point, aaaaannnddd... yeah, let's call it done for this session.
Guardian of the Description Thread
I absolutely hate this upcoming sequence. When players decide to rescue Margie, the game shifts focus between Fei and Bart. Story-wise, this makes sense, and is a solid idea. While Bart mucks around in the waterworks, Fei's facing off against varying opponents in the tournament. Gameplay wise, however, it's not at all fun.

With Bart, he generally swims against the current, and it's sometimes so strong, that, even when he's swimming as fast as he can, he makes zero progress. With Fei, the idea is for players to make the battles drag out to give Bart time to get into the castle, find Margie, and get her outta there.

Bart, I can only do so much for. For Fei, this is the one time I would use the "Active" option for ATB, as opposed to "Wait". However, this isn't a setting I can manipulate, so, I have to suffer through as Fei with an ATB permanently set to "Wait". I suppose I understand the reasoning behind that design decision, but, I think they could have designed this section around that decision better.

I've read that, if you delay as Fei enough, Bart will not run across any guards when he reaches the palace. I, however, have never been that patient. I don't think I've had Fei finish the tournament before Bart gets into the castle, though. Maybe with two or three fights complete out of the five (I think?) that you play through.

With this particular playthough...

Confirmation that the maximum AP that can be stored is 28. Among other things.

This is pretty cute, though.

...Fei only has the initial fight against Gonzalez before I get Bart into the castle. However, I make the mistake of talking to the old man there, rather than gunning for the Save Point. During the conversation, I get Fei's second fight against Big Joe, which is it's own level of annoying.

Big Joe's attacks are "Grrreat!" "And dynamic!" Well, that's what he likes to think. In reality, his fans are the real power here. They can either heal him, or throw stuff at me for more damage he does on his "combo". As much as I just want to defeat this guy quick, and show this showman up, I know I can't/shouldn't. After he does fall, and switches back to Bart, I hit the Save Point. The less I have to re-do, the better.

Back as Bart, he climbs the ladder, and deals with some guards, either by fighting or evading. I then find myself back with Fei, facing off against Scud. Their (I cannot determine this kid's gender, so, I will use this pronoun) attacks consist of tossing pills of varying effects. Some poison me, while others heal them, giving them haste, or increases their defense. They also toss daggers and bees at me for minimal damage.

Back to Bart, I fight maybe three pairs of guards before it switches back to Fei, facing off against Dan. Yeah, the same Dan whose sister was killed back in Lahan, and is blaming Fei for it. He's... not entirely wrong in blaming Fei, though? Saying that, the biggest threat he poses is a Kamehame Hadoken, worth about 20 damage.

Okay, what the hell, game? For full disclosure, I'm following a walkthrough in regards to Bart. However, my time as him has been pathetically short versus how much time I've been killing with Fei. Well, at least this is the last fight, even if it is, like, 90% cutscene. Wiseman does not attack me, and my own attacks miss Wiseman. The guy seems to know me, but, from where? For reasons we'll found out later, Wiseman ditches the ring. It's considered a forfeit, and Fei is proclaimed champion.

Back to Bart. He fights a guard or two before finding Margie. With her in tow, her makes his way out, only to face off against Miang and Ramsus.

Margie and Miang participate in this battle as support characters, kinda like Big Joe's fans. After about two Rythm Shocks from Bart (Square Cross), Fei drops by, uses Raijin on Ramsus, and joins the fray for round 2. That was freaking fast, Fei.

Ramsus has a flashback of his own before that, though. The Demon of Elru. A man in red taking out Gears with Raijin and/or Senrestsu like they were nothing then gets into a Gear and is even more unstoppable.

We beat down Ramsus again, and make for an elevator that a guard just came out of. We have no idea where it leads to, but, anywhere is better than here! We find ourselves in the hangar, with a bunch of Gebler troops coming in from Ramsus' battleship towards our general direction. There is one other exit that we rush for.

Cut to elsewhere in the base. Elly is making preparations for the red alert status. Three intruders have been detected. The men may be killed, but, the woman is to be confiscated. Her preparations complete, she leaves the room, rounds the corner, and...

...bumps right into said intruders. Guards enter the hall, and Elly lets us hide us in her room. Bart is exceptionally suspicious of her, as she's a Gebler officer. She nods, and gives her name and rank. She relays that she stole a new Kislev Gear, had to crash-land near Lahan, and so forth.

Fei and Elly have a bit of exchange here. She also lets us in on a bit of info. If we want outta here, our best bet is through the Gear launch doors. Bart's still suspicious of her, and considers her an enemy, but, Margie seems to want to trust her. Fei, no question, trusts Elly. Elly shows how trustworthy she is by going so far as to give us an escort. However, she goes no further than this. Of course, Fei wants her to come with us, but, she refuses. This is her "home". Where she "belongs". In fact, she promises that next time we meet, we will be enemies.

After we retreat, a contingent of solders stand in formation before Ramsus, ready to pursue. However, a messenger drops by with a report from "Hyu" (Recall that Sigurd called Citan "Hyu"), and the order is cancelled. Just what is "Hyu" doing down here?

Back on the topside of the Yggdrasil, Margie confesses that she heard a rumor of Nisan sisters being held captive in Aveh. A groundless rumor, it may be, but, she could not sit idly by. At any rate, we're going to give Margie an escort to her home in Nisan. The regular bridge seems blocked off by Margie's doll right now, so we'll have to ask her about that later. Like, next session later.
Guardian of the Description Thread
With Citan "missing", I don't feel particularly inclined to putz around, even if I could probably use the break from the story. Oh well.

There's an exchange between Sigurd and Citan when we access the secret road to Nisan. When the hell did he get back? And how is it that those two seem to know each other so well? They, themselves, mention being Elements, and Jugend. Not that we know what those things mean, naturally. At least, not quite yet.

As for the town, itself, there's trouble a-brewing. Of course there is. Word has come of an army advancing from the capital, and the Nisan sect's representatives are discussing what they can do. Right now, their priority is to bolster defenses. Saying that, there are a number of refugees going to the mountains for sanctuary/safety.

A bit more conversation with Margie, and we're on Nisan's sub-map.

Seems I can leave onto the world map without consequences. So, yeah, let me take a brief time out, and get Citan to 6AP.

Okay, back to business. We can peek in on the Nisan council chamber, but, I don't think we learn anything particularly new/interesting there. Margie went up ahead of us a bit, and we meet up with her, only for her to rush ahead to the cathedral that's further in.

Word of Margie's safety, and arrival have reached the sisters, and we enter as they sign a hymn...

...of praise and joy. They are all so overwhelmed that Sister Agnes (which I image to be a kind of Mother Superior in her own right) forgoes rebuking the errant Margie.

After the scene concludes, Margie has runs off again, even though she's promised to give us a tour. Then again, aside from going back to the sub-map, she's blocking the only other exit to this room. Convenient.

There's an exchange here, where Citan goes off on one of his tangents...

Citan: Yes, this is breathtaking! Light from outside shining through the stained glass of the cathedral's front. What a brilliant piece of artistry this is.
Margie: Did you notice that the two great angels only have one wing each? According to a legend handed down in Nisan, God could have created humans perfectly. But then, humans would not have helped each other. So that is what these great single-winged angles symbolizes. In order to fly, they are dependent on one another.
Citan: Ah, so that is the reason for it. On further inspection, the left angel looks somewhat masculine, while the right one looks somewhat feminine. Now that is an unusual feature, is it not? Usually these depictions are not gender-specific. But these angels are clearly distinguishable as having opposing genders. And the space between them is the path from where god advents. Or could it be the path leading to god? Well... I do not know, it could be either, or even both. Now I see! This all coincides with the teachings of Nisan.
Margie: Ha, ha, ha! Why Doctor Citan Uzuki! You are an amusing fellow!
Citan: Oh! Excuse me. It is a habit of mine.
Fei: The doc knows a lot about a lot of things. Sometimes I can't even understand what he's talking about.

...before we are escorted further, into the Room of Sophia. Inside there is a portrait of the founder of the Nisan religion. You know, there's something about this portrait that feels familiar.

I could have sworn I screen-capped a different image for this that didn't have a text-box. Sorry!

The coloration of the hair might be a bit off, but, doesn't she look a lot like Elly? Aside from that, Citan notices the brush techniques used in this painting are similar to Fei's. Fei argues that he's nowhere near this level, but, Citan persists, and goes off on another tangent.

Fei: First of all... I'm nowhere near as good an artist.
Citan: No... it is very similar to your style. But somehow I can sense an atmosphere of sadness in this picture. She is smiling, but in a way, gives the impression that she is anxious. Perhaps the picture is reflecting her inner self? Or perhaps it is the inner feelings of the artist being conveyed. Ahh. If you look closely you will notice that the painting is not completely finished. The artsist put his brushes down when it was near completion. ...Why is that?

Margie's grandmother might have known the answer to Citan's question. If she was still alive. Sister Agnes might know something. The others leave, and Fei hangs back for a bit. We have a flashback...

...where Fei's painting Sophia. Well, no, it's not Fei, per say. This happened ages and ages ago. The camera game changes angles to show Sophia sitting as he paints, the name "Lacan" is dropped...

...before the game shifts back to the present. Was that some kind of daydream? Maybe. We learn from Agnes that the portrait was painted some 500 years ago, and that Sophia founded the Nisan sect, and was it's first Great Mother, around then. Aside from legends surrounding her of sacrifice, there are apparently no historical records concerning her that have survived to this day. Sorry, Citan!

Back in town, I hit up the Save Point before finding out that Maison's hooked us up with some lodgings. Sigurd's waiting inside, and wants to have a word with Bart concerning our next move.

Before all that, Bart wants to know what connection Sigurd has with, and I quote, "that man". I assume he's referencing Ramsus, but, it could certainly be clearer. How does Sig seem to know so much about Gebler, anyway? Thus, we learn that both Citan and Sigurd came from Solarus, which is where Gebler is from. What Bart says about his relationship to Sigurd is a bit baffling...

...and makes me wonder how old, exactly, Sigurd is! After the initial explanation, Bart asks for a bit more detail on certain matters, and takes a sit-down. This is a kind of Show Choice. We, as players, already know about option 2 ("What are Lambs?") and option 3 ("Who is that man?"). However, option 3 allows us to learn about Jugend, which is approximately akin to West Point for the military of Solarus. Option 4 ("Why did you leave?") has a bit of info on Drive.

They weren't just using us Lambs for slave labor. They also selected some of us, like me, to be used as subject in experiments to refine their drugs. Drugs that change people's personalities, to make them more aggressive and to draw out their latent abilities. They were using us as human guinea pigs to test their psychological alteration drugs!

After selecting each option once, the game allows you to ask again, possibly sending you into a loop, or stopping there. I choose to stop here, and Bart asks Maison to reserve the town hall for us. We're gonna finish talking there. Seems like Bart needs some time to think stuff over.

We find Bart on the bridge overseeing the town. Another exchange, of course. There's how Sigurd couldn't talk about his past 'til now. There's how Bart doesn't have enough support for a war against Gebler, since they're the ones behind Shakan. There's his reclamation of the throne of Aveh. However, there is an immediate concern here. In town hall, we find Sigurd and Maison, ready to strategize our next move.

Gebler's a pretty big problem. That's for sure. Ramsus' rise in that organization, and his presence in Ignas, means bad news. We're in a terrible position, as our forces are pretty weak. However, if we can find a weak spot, and attack it will all our might, we might have some effect.

Even if we can just remove Shakhan from the equation, that might be enough. Gebler isn't likely going to stand still, though. A distraction, perhaps? We know of three separate units. One is the western guard. Another is the royal capital defense force. The last is the unit deployed at the front lines against Kislev.

The royal defense force and front-line solders are the biggest units by far. If we are to take the capital, we should draw out as many units as we can from the capital. We have a few Kislev Gears. We might be able to draw them out if we use them against the western guard. Especially so if Nisan appears to align with that unit. Shakhan is sensitive to the moves of Kislev and Nisan, so, he would probably form a response in that case. We loathe the idea of using Nisan as bait this way, but, if the situation warrants, we must be willing to go that far.

Then, there's the front-line unit. The main strength of that unit is the battleship, Kefeinzel. It's nicknamed the Invincible Fleet due to it's sheer firepower. However, even if that ship is drawn out, Citan doesn't seem to think it'll be an issue. See, the commander of that ship is an old-school fuddy-dutty who has not adapted to warfare after the advent of Gears. His name? Vanderkaum. Yes, the same Vanderkaum that Ramsus was yelling at, and was apparently a graduate of Jugend.

Anyway, now that we know what we're up against, we can figure out what we're actually going to do. We'll still send a unit to the western guards posing as Kislev forces, and all that good stuff. However, to prevent reinforcements coming from the Kislev border, we'll send a separate unit there. Citan suggests that Fei lead such a force. To which Fei agrees.

The plan is to be enacted tomorrow, and I have an opportunity to save. Let's use this opportunity, and close up the Gear shop for the day.
Every misdeed has its own punishment, and every good deed has its reward.
One thing I will say right now, Marrend-sama;

PewDiePie will never be as cool or as good at Let's Playing as you are. :P
Guardian of the Description Thread
Preparations are ready. The plan to recapture the capital is a go. We say our goodbyes, and depart on the Yggdrasil. Fei's team is then dropped off.

It's been a while since we had one of these, hasn't it? Still on the Yggdrasil, the game hands me control of Citan in the gunroom. Sure, I'll use the Save Point before talking to Maison. The exchange doesn't trigger an advance the plot, which is what I half-expected here. If not here, though, my next guess would be the bridge. If that fails (and it did), maybe it's topside.

It was topside. Citan evesdrops on a conversation between Sigurd and Bart. Bart knows that he's not particularly well-suited to be king, though, Sig thinks he'll get used to it. Bart's really not keen on the idea, as he says that it doesn't matter if he's king or not. He believes that all Aveh needs a symbol of hope, and that such doesn't have to be him. Sig goes off on a small tangent about how he was in Solaris, and that even they could not purge his thoughts about Bart and Margie. Not just simply as the royal family, but, as children.

Cut to a room in Bledavik. Well, that's where I assume this is. We see Ramsus' dream, which is more or less a repeat of the reminisce he had earlier, with a few added scenes to show exactly how much "up to eleven" his power is after getting into a Gear.

He wakes in a cold sweat. Miang, who was sleeping by his side, is awake, and detects his unease. He's apparently had the dream before, and denies having it again, and leaves. She detects a presence...

Miang: Peeping is not very becoming, you know?

...which is Grahf. He's not sure what she's planning, using her influence to be near Ramsus, but, she better stay out of his way.

Miang: As usual, you are the first to learn about everything. But don't worry. I won't steal your 'prized possession'. I'll cooperate. Besides, you and I go back a long way.

Back on the bridge of the Yggdrasil, Franz has detected something. Maybe. Thought he heard some unnatrual sounds. Not from the surface, but from the sand? This is the only sand cruiser in Aveh. Or, at least, it should be! Franz listens for it again, but, cannot confirm, or detect, the noise. Hrm.

Another report! An increase of the use of F-Band! That's the frequency the Royal Capital defense force uses! Franz detects sounds of anchors being weighed in, and engines being activated! The force is moving! We've also intercepted a transmission from the border patrol, requesting backup from the capital! Niiiiiice! Old Maison has a bad feeling about this, but, is Bart the kind of person to miss this opportunity? Hells to the no!

Bledavik basement. Elly and the Gebler Special Forces (the same unit that infiltrated Bart's base) are preparing to depart. They are none-to-happy to have a "little girl" be their commanding officer. Elly reprimands them for their commentary, but...

Vance: We don't care much about rank, and we don't care much about Renk either! has little effect. Elly sighs, then moves to her Gear, Vierge. When I first looked at that word, and for quite a number of years afterwards, I had no clue how to pronounce that word. I probably did the same for the pronunciation of Suikoden. However, it does help a little to know that it's latin for "virgin".

In any event, there's a bit more commentary before the game switches back to Fei and his gang. We can get into Gear fights here, but, only Fei participates in them. No help from the Deurmods this time. I cheat and give Fei enough levels to have him learn Tenbu (Character Deathblow: Triangle Square Cross) and Raibu (Gear Deathblow: Cross Triangle). At the end of the second screen, there is a repair bot, and a Save Point. Let's use 'em!

The screen after that is a Boss Battle rush mode, with the aforementioned Gebler Special Forces...

...which Fei beats handily. They don't take this defeat too well...

Vance: Why am I losing to a Lamb? Something's wrong... way wrong!!
Renk: Vance!! Get a hold of yourself!
Vance: Oh yeah!? I just need more! I need more 'Drive'!!

...before Elly makes her decision. She's exceptionally hesitant about it. We see more of her memories from before. She had never taken Drive before and the the personality-altering part of it is what "made" her kill all those people. Still, she knows she cannot fight Fei as-is. An "enemy" is before her. She "needs" to use it to be able to fight him.

It works wonders. Not only does Elly to fight Fei, she uses spams Aerods in the battle. She does a pretty good job on Welltall before the drug starts to wear out. Fei notices her lack of focus, and uses the opportunity to tackle the lieutenant's Gear, pinning her down so that she cannot move. Veirge tries to break free of Weltall's grasp, but, it's no good. Her speech pattern shifts between her more aggressive, Drive-induced rage and her normal self. Next thing I know, Vierge starts going haywire...

...and the fight concludes. Fei ejects from Weltall, and (I assume) helps Elly out of Vierge. One question comes to Fei's mind...

Fei: Elly, why?
Elly: I warned you. I said the next time we would meet we'd be... enemies.
Fei: But, there's no reason for you to do this to yourself just so you can fight. There's no reason for you and I to fight. None at all.
Elly: There... was no other choice. I'm a Solaris officer. I can't turn my back on my unit, the mission.
Fei: Why did you have to use the 'Drive'?
Elly: I didn't want to. When I use it, I change. I feel like I'm dominated by some unknown power that I never wanted. There's a power in me I don't want to admit. But, I want to protect my allies. So, I had no choice but to use... the 'Drive'.
Fei: Elly, you're the same as me.
Elly: The same? Probably. I felt I knew you ever since I first met you. Probably because our problems are so similar.

...and eventually returns to the front, with Elly apparently staying behind. And there you go, kids. Remeber! Winners don't use 'Drive'! They use... a ton of 'Drive'!

I'm not sure about the others in her unit, and I've no doubt Elly will suffer the consequences of her unit's failure. Still, I've no doubt see them all again. There's a repair-bot and Save Point nearby, which I use before continuing.

Cut to the gun room of the Yggdrasil. Bart's cup accidentally breaks, which Maison takes as an omen of things to come regarding his young charge. Cut to the castle reservoir. The plan is for Bart and Sig to make for Shakhan, while Citan opens the front gate for the rest of their forces to come in. The plan goes awry, as Shakhan's been expecting us, and Miang's with him!

According to Miang, Ramsus saw through our feint, and is decimating the Nisan forces as we speak. She leaves as guns are trained on us, ready to fire on Shakhan's command. However, Maison flies in with, I swear, the same damn machine Citan was tinkering with when we meet him on the mountain path. We're able to get away, just barely, as the machine breaks down mid-flight. The thing is somehow able to wall-jump (out of a lack of better term) out of the castle, which you really have to see to believe, and even then, it's unbelievable.

Cut to the gun room of the Yggdrasil. Bart thanks Maison for the rescue, but, we're not out of the woods yet. The capital defense force is returning, which makes this our cue to retreat.

Cut back to Fei. He's on a cliff overlooking the Kislev border patrol. One of the pirates notes that our job is to slow them down, and asks Fei how he wants to go about that. I imagine Fei shrugs, says, "Simple, we do this.", and boosts off into the distance. He make an aside that's incredibly spot-on...

Maitreya: He might even be more gung-ho than the young master.

...before giving an order...

Maitreya: Falkon! Follow the kid! The rest of you, stay with your unit but follow me! Don't fall behind the kid! We're going in too! advance of his own.

Cut to the bridge of the Kefeinzel. Bogeys incoming! Two groups, about 7 to 8 machines, distance 2000! Relay to all ships! Fire at will, begin evasive action! Don't let fire support collapse! More prep-talk before Vanderkaum interrupts. His orders are to pull back the anti-Gear gunners, and bait the enemy into the main gun's attack range. The first mate argues with him openly, but, he ignores his opinion, and sticks to his guns, literally.

The next section kinda feels like an auto-scroll level, as the background scrolls downward, and Weltall's animation is that of boosting, even when idling. However, it's more likely that it's akin to a parallax background, with a temporary sprite-change to Weltall. That's my RPG Maker experience talking.

It's a little hard to evade bullets, or enemies. I wouldn't call this a bullet hell, but, it's sometimes hard to see the bullets coming at me in the first place, and some enemies seem to track my movements. Still, I manage to get to my goal, the Kefeinzel itself, with 2198 HP out of 3000. There's three targets. Two smaller guns, and the larger cannon that has a countdown timer before going off. I take a hit from the thing before I take it out, but, doing so concludes the battle.

Orders are given to abandon the Kefeinzel. Vanderkaum remains alone on the ship, repeating "I still have that," as if whatever he's thinking will, somehow, miraculously, save him from expulsion from Gebler, if not worse.

Cut back to Fei. Slow down the boarder guard? Ha! We destroyed them utterly! We haven't heard from Bart, but, our comms equipment might not be very good. Fei detects something is amiss. Weltall stands up, and looks toward the smoking husk of the Kefeinzel. An explosion. Smoke and fire, from which emerges a Gear. So, obviously, we engage it.

Fei is supported by two Deurmods in this fight, which is a big help. Weltall's at about half-health, and there's no opportunity to restore damage or fuel. One of Dora's more interesting moves is to pick up one of the Deurmods as a makeshift weapon. I don't think I noticed any damage on them when it attacks with one in hand, nor when it tosses them back.

The Deurmods deal no damage to Dora until the cannon cover is blown off. We're at critical levels, but, we do beat the thing.

Sort of. Good, ol' Grahf decides to join the party...

...asking Vanderkaum if he wants "the power". Oh yes, he wants the power. Thus is our first instance of Grahf's speech, which I will quote here for posterity's sake.

Vanderkaum: I want it. I want the POWER!
Grahf: So be it! My fist is the divine breath! Blossom, o fallen seed, and draw upon they hidden powers!! Grant unto thee the power of the glorious 'Mother of Destruction'!

Cut to the bridge of the Yggdrasil. Bart approaches the helm with a heavy heart, and orders a return to Nisan. Both Sig and Maison believe that such is a useless gesture. Rasmus led the charge, and he made sure that it was a complete rout. Bart doesn't want to leave Margie, and the rest of them behind. That's why he's going back.

There's been no news from Fei's unit since the confirmation of the order to charge. Bart's spirits drop, then has a funny feeling of there being an enemy behind them. Turns out, he's right, because bad premonitions always turn true, without fail, in this game. Two torpedoes are incoming, and they manage to evade one of them, but not both.

Cut to the bridge of the enemy sand cruiser. Of course, Ramsus is at the helm. Of course he is. The Ygdrasil's fins were disabled, and their ability to stay submerged has been sharply reduced. Ramsus wonders what to do, and we see a brief scene of Sig retreating from Solarus god knows how many years ago. Shaking himself out of the memory, he gives orders to communicate for the Ygdrasil's surrender should they desire the safety of Nisan. Not taking any chances, he orders fire control to cease, but keep weapons at the ready.

Cut back to Fei. A pirate wonders what the hell just happened. Fei makes a brief response. Another picks up a distress signal from the Yggdrasil! Young master is in trouble! Let's ditch this idiot! A Deurmod takes a blast, which sends it flying. Maitreya orders Fei to retreat while his unit buys time before they, themselves, retreat. Fei thinks this is madness. There is no way he'll leave them to die! Sure enough, Dora tears them to pieces as Fei watches, pleading a stop to the senselessness of it all. The camera goes a bit wild with tints and angles before switching back to Bart.

Brigandier is topside, where there's apparently a Gear-sized helm to maneuver the Yggdrasil with. As if the normal-sized one that's there wasn't enough. I suppose it would be too dangerous for him to expose himself outside of his Gear, but, it's a little ridiculous that the Yggdrasil even has something like this.

That, and I swear it wasn't there before.

Anyway, the repairs aren't doing so good. Engine power can be pushed to about 70% it's regular maximum. Battle speed 3 is barely possible at this point. Ramsus has been quiet since his initial call for surrender. Bart gives this info a quick think, and makes the call to battle stations. Break through is planned for when the connectors are up and running. Bart figures that surrendering won't change Nisan's fate all that much. Maybe they'll lose the Yggdrasil in the process, but, he's determined to save both Aveh and Margie.

Connectors are up. Bart can use the engine as he sees fit. Cut back to Ramsus' ship. The maneuvers are reported, and evasive action has been taken. Miang laughs. Ramsus smirks, bemused himself, and orders a continuation of the attack. A report of attack preparations is made. Wait, something's wrong. Explosions along the perimeter confirmed via the noise of destruction. High-energy reactions detected. What is this Gear?

Miang asks them to keep calm, and put the enemy on screen. Ramsus recognizes it immediately...

...and dispatches to take it on personally.

The Gear floats just beyond the Yggdrasil, the pilot asking Bart over the comms channel if he's strong. The hell is up with this pilot? The Gear fires a round, which Bart evades, landing on the desert sand, with the red Gear right behind him. Ramsus and Miang interfere, and engage the Gear with disastrous results for Ramsus. Ramsus' Gear looses an arm and leg before the red Gear redirects it's attention to Bart. Miang uses this opportunity to evacuate Ramsus.

A Gear battle ensues, but, it's entirely unwinnable. The Gear pulls off a devastating attack...

...Kishin, the same one that Fei used to finish Calamity, by the way...

...and tears Brigandier into pieces. Back on the bridge of the Yggdrasil, Sig has been watching the fight. Seeing that Bart's in real trouble, he does something rash, for a change. His plan is go full speed, and use the Bernoulli effect on the surface of the wings to "jump". The Yddrgasil is nothing without Bart, is his argument. I dunno about that, and everything is in shambles after the move. They do pull it off, though, with Bart barely evading the ship, and complaining about how long the repairs will take. Ah, ha, ha! Seems like he's okay!

But the Gear.

The Gear isn't defeated.

It's still functional.

Not only is it still functional, it's totally unfazed, lifting the Yggdrasil with some kind of force field...

...and throws the Yggdrasil right at Brigandier.

They have Citan escape the craft in a pod that also contains Heimdal. Citan's escape from the Yggdrasil is shown via a short little FMV that was included in the last FMV, posted earlier this session. It lands on the border with Kislev, where Fei and the pirates fought. The good doctor surveys the damage, and what remains of Dora. Dora's condition is just like the ones "he" destroyed. As doc, himself, might say, this is not good!

Fade out, prompt to save. Oh yeah. I'll take that in a heartbeat.
I adore Xenogears (and all Xeno games without the number 2 in the title). I've seen people dismiss it as the epitome of that try-hard edgy anime where teenagers kill god like a poster above mentioned, but it's so much deeper than that. It's depth, use of subtext, and the way it delves into actual philosophical and psychological theories gives Xenogears a literary quality seldom seen in JRPGS. Sure, there's plenty anime-ness and the typical hallmarks of Japanese media are there as well, there's even some eyeroll-inducing instances of slapstick, but as a whole it's an incredible work.

As time passed, I think Takahashi learned how to tell more marketable stories that work better with games. The Xenoblade games, by comparison have a better sense of pacing and have a central narrative mechanic also function with the gameplay (Shulk's visions in 1 or the driver-blade partnership in 2).

Notably Shulk and Rex are quick to find motivation that will drive the plot at the beginning of their stories. In contrast, Fei wanders aimlessly contemplating suicide for a while before coming to a wishy-washy non-committal resolution that he'll help rebuild the village when tensions cool down. It isn't until they're making plans in Nissan when Fei agrees to partake in the border skirmish you could argue he has a goal, but even then it's just fulfilling what others want of him because he has nothing else. For a long time, Fei has no long term goal. He just wants something based on the circumstances at the moment. Most 'how to write a novel' guide you'd find around will tell you to do never do something like that, but the fact that Xenogears goes against practical writing advice is why I love it.

While Takahashi's newer stuff tells more marketable stories, and I enjoy Xenoblade as a game more than gears, it's how raw of a passion project Xenogears is that makes it Takahashi's best story. It's a messy yet inspirationally ambitious work about broken people picking themselves up and finding a way to move forward with philosophical musings on everything from substance abuse, mental illness, and the strength of family to organized religion and plenty of ontological musings that fascinate me endlessly. And on top of that, Mitsuda's soundtrack with some Celtic and Bulgarian inspirations is gorgeous ranging from warm and rustic to otherworldly and divine, the icing on the cake.

Unfortunately Kaori Tanaka (aka Soraya Saga) never really collaborated with her husband and Monolith Soft or wrote much for videogames in general after the first Xenosaga. Her only other credit afterward is Soma Bringer (Takahashi's DS game - it's Diablo 2 with a cheery anime skin) in 2008. I always assumed the difficulties of Xenosaga 2's development caused her to lose interest.

Anyways, I thought you or others enjoying your let's play might be interested in some supplemental material on Xenogears and it's development. There exists a website called the xenogears/xenosaga study guide that's extensively researched behind the scenes ongoing with Takahashi's work. They have a great write up on the history of Xenogears and saga:

in addition to some other interesting articles. The site went away for a while and recently came back a year or so ago with less stuff. I will say, the guy running it absolutely hates Xenoblade so if you like blade, be warned of the occasional trashtalking. Also, this Xenomira blog has been doing a lot translations for stuff regarding Takahashi and Monolithsoft. They have a collection of interviews for Xenogears, some as recent as 2018 with Takahashi and Mitsuda at the Xenogears 20th anniversary concert:

Reading all of your posts really make want to revisit this game now as it's been a few years. I do however have some gripes regarding the deathblow system and combat in general, it's one of the few games I like in spite of the combat.
Guardian of the Description Thread
I have a vague notion of some of the issues this game had with it's production. I might want to read up on it further, but, I recall reading elsewhere that it was supposed to be FF8 before Square switched Gears (welp, went there) to make what is now known as FF8. I've played both numerous times, and I kinda feel FF8 was a more complete game than this was? Like, they did not blatantly cut out gameplay from FF8, but, they clearly did in Xenogears. As we will see later on.

Anyway, back to your irregularly scheduled LP!

Kaiser Wilhelm Sigmud is playing the organ (or similar instrument)...

...while we get to listen in on a bit of exchange between him, and an aide. The report starts with the border fleet. They know an explosion occurred, and have their own theories about malfunctioning tech. As to the cause of said malfunction, they do not know.

Scouts have been sent to an unspecified area and found a certain stolen Gear. They found the unconscious pilot, and have transferred both to the capital. Which is a round about way of saying that Fei and Wetall were captured, but, they wouldn't necessarily know who Fei is.

They analyzed the machine to some degree, and were able to tell that Weltall had some connection to the pirates. Of course, the Kaiser knows that the pirates are headed by the young prince. Every freaking body knows that. It feels like such common knowledge that I don't know why anybody bothered to say he was dead in the first place.

Despite the opportunity presented to attack Aveh, Sigmud refuses to do so. They would use their resources for what? For Solarius to replace Shakhan with another puppet? To create an opening for Solaris to attack them in response? The Kaiser's more concerned with Nisan, but, is interrupted with another report. It's "them".

These are the same people that contributed Weltall to Kislev in the first place. The urn-shaped vessel docks, and out comes a masked woman, and her honor guard. A crate was lowered, which contains something that can "pass through the barrier". Whatever that means. Apparently, both the Kaiser, and this woman, are in cahoots with Grahf. They've dealt with each other before (else, Elly's unit could not have stolen Weltall from Kislev in the first place), but, the Seeker of Power is busy elsewhere, and she's acting as his representative in this matter.

Sigmud's curious about why they help them, and if they require some kind of recompense for their assistance. To the first question, there is a non-answer. Supposedly, they only wish to observe. I find that hard to believe. As for the second question, they want the Gear, and it's pilot, transferred to D-Block. Sigmud is baffled by this request, but, can't, exactly, turn it down either. Make it so!

Cut to Fei running. The screen is black, with a Nisan cross swinging like a pendulum. He laughs. The screen then cuts to a house. Given the music... must assume he's recalling something from his childhood.

This clip repeats a few times before a spotlight appears, with a child that looks like Fei in it's center. Where is this? Camera rotates, we see another Fei-like child, with his hair in front of his eyes, saying he doesn't belong here. Lights out. People disappear.

Cut to D-Block. A doctor comes in from the other room, letting us know we've been unconscious for four days, and was fearing for the worst. Naturally, Fei wants to know where he is, and who this person talking to him is. The latter, I have already relayed. As for the former, yes, this is Nortune, the capital of Kislev. More specifically, the detention area for criminals, also known as D-Block.

As the doctor explains these things, a group of no-good misfits comes into the room, and demands I follow them. The "Baptism Ceremony"!? This patient just woke up! Geeze, give him a break! They threaten the doctor. Fei might not 100% know what's going on, but, he'll go with them, and keep the doc out of this.

The Battlers (as the doctor called them) brings Fei before the Champ...

...Ricardo "Blatant Blanka Ripoff" Bandares. Or, as he (and the game) seems to prefer, Rico. We're brought outside, and into an alley with a Save Point. Rico explains, though it might not entirely be necessary now, that the "Baptism Ceremony" is a series of one-on-one fights to determine one's "rank" in D-Block. Having a higher rank means a greater amount of freedom in the Block. In other words, it's a form of elitism based on physical strength.

Anyway, yeah. Five one-on-one duels, where the last one (against Rico, no less) is scripted to be unwinnable.

When Fei wakes up, he finds himself wearing a new "necklace". This is an explosive collar, set to go off if a criminal tries to escape Nortune. Apparently, all criminals in D-Block get one of these. However, since Fei as able to defeat Rico's goon squad, they gave him the prestigious rank of 'A'. Which pretty much means he can go where he wants within D-Block. I give the Block a bit of exploration, and find that a guard prevents me from leaving the area. One can also visit the sewers, but, there is no need/desire to do so now.

As part of the exploration, I enter the bar. Stop. Hammer time!

Jokes aside, I really like this NPC. For the moment, he's our go-to for stuffs, and points it out in...

Hammer: Bro, doesn't it seem like there's something missing here in D Block? Something, or things, that you could find elsewhere, but can't find here? Yeah, yeah? Don't you think so, bro?
  • ...No, not really

  • ->Come to think of it

Hammer: Yeah, what's missing are the items shops, oh, and don't forget the weapon shop! Ya need anything, bro?

...the funniest way possible. This meeting triggers a different line from the guard, telling me that some kind of committee member is looking for me. I meet up with said committee member in the bar. For reasons she does not state, she requests that Fei joins the Battling tournament. Battling is basically an colosseum-style fighting tournament centered on Gears. Similar to the gladiatorial games of Rome, Gears can be pitted against other Gears, or can be pitted against monsters. Fights are generally done until one side is unable to fight. It doesn't have to be "to the death", though, in the case of monsters, I can't really see any other viable outcome.

Fei wants nothing to do with this junk. One, because he has no desire to fight recreationally. Two, he doesn't exactly have access to Weltall anymore. Or any Gear, for that matter. The committee is willing to provide Fei with a Gear, but, he continues to refuse. They leave, and Fei soon follows to go elsewhere, only for Hammer to butt in, and try to convince Fei in his own way.

Hammer is excited at the prospect of Fei being a Battler, but, Fei doesn't really get what's so damn big about it. Hammer does his best to relay that wining can mean freedom, but, apparently, Fei still seems uninterested? I dunno what the guy is thinking. Maybe he's thinking of finding another way out, though, I'm not sure what his options are on this point. Outside of what's been presented so far.

Back at the infirmary, I bump into Hammer again, this time, he's ranting about a new doctor that's come into town. While Hammer might have delusions of grandeur in his head about making under-the-table black market medical supply deals with this new doctor, he manages to convince Fei to at least say hi.

Of all the coincidences, this new doctor turns out to be none other than Citan. Of course, Citan is more concerned that Fei has taken no action to escape, and reminds Fei of his promise to Bart to take care of Margie should something untoward happen to him. Which it has, as we know. The Yggdrasil is as good as sunk. Citan does not extrapolate too much on Brigandier, but, we know it wasn't, exactly, in good shape after the Demon of Elru hacked at it.

So. Fei has a reason to escape sooner, rather than later. Seems like the best option here is through winning the Battling Tournament. You might think this would make Hammer happy, but, he's downright pessimistic. To win the Tournament, we are to defeat the three-year-running champion. Who is, of course, Rico. However, Fei's mind seems to be set. Hammer whisks off again, a bit more conversation between Fei and Citan concerning fighting in Gears (or fighting in general) before a cut to the Gazel Ministry.

These guys are annoying. They are exceptionally vague in everything they say, and only really make sense with two or three more plays. Subjects today seem to include Fei...

According to the memory cube, 'he' is currently in Nortune, the Imperial capital of Kislev.

...the Anima Relics...

The excavation of the 'Anima Relics' in each area is proceeding as planned.

...and attacking Nortune...

There is an ancient reactor in Nortune. We'll use that.

...that I probably should have grabbed more quotes for. Bit more info under the hide-tag.

Their stated/official stance on "purging" (ie: attacking) Nortune is to "clean the surface". However, it seems their real purpose is to destroy "him". Fei, presumably.

Let's put this into perspective a bit because I didn't grab the quotes. They are willing to set off a nuclear explosion, with a fallout of 1,000 years, and will make a large swath of land uninhabitable, just to take Fei out of the picture. That's insane.

Anyway, back to Fei. Hammer seems to have signed me up. The process was expedited, thanks to the Battling Committee. The guard to D-Block lets us pass, and we have access to Noctune's sub-map. To a degree. We only really have access to D-Block, and the Battling Arena. When I get there...

...I am greeted by the Committee, who show me to the Gear they've furnished for me.

Well, I'll be damned. Weltall. This can't be just a coincidence, could it? Indeed, Citan suspects that they furnished Fei with Weltall for the express purposes of gathering data. However, by doing so, our chances of escaping have increased dramatically, by furnishing Fei with a Gear he's used to piloting.

Battling, itself, is something of a mini-game...

...that has a certain fighting game feel to it. Jumping and boosting use the same controls as the main game, leaving Square and Cross as our attack buttons. Boosting and shooting Ether bolts generate heat, and if the gauge is too full, you'll need to cool down (either by waiting, or finding a body of water) before those abilities can be used again. The first fight is scripted, to a degree. I get the opponent down to about maybe a quarter of their health before they set off an explosion so that Weltall's system overloads. Fei is hospitalized for a third time.

Cut to the sewers. Two guys are putzing about. One of them was the pilot of the Gear we just faced, and being a total jerk about his victory. I'm not even sure why the heck they are even down here, but, the two split up. The camera goes into a POV mode, with the screen tainted red. It positions itself towards one of the Battlers, then rushes in. The sounds of murder are heard the camera cuts to the other Battler. He first runs towards the noise, then sees something before trying, and failing miserably, to retreat.

Cut back to the infirmary. It's been a day since the incident at the arena. Citan has come in with a friendly hello. Fei's a bit delirious, as one might expect. Fei can't remember what dream he had, but, he feels that he dreamed of something awful. Fei wants to get back to Battling right away. Doc understands why he wants to do that, but, advises that he not over-exert himself. Rest is important too! Which is a great way to segue into closing the session.
Guardian of the Description Thread
It seems some Battlers have dropped out. They spout some excuse about mechanical failure, but, as players, we know that it has nothing to do with the Gears, and everything to do with the pilots. Either way, Fei can fight on towards the championship. Round 2 consists of two fights. After they're done, we can rest in the infirmary, and move on to Day 3's bouts.

We'll have to hold off on Day 4's bouts, as Rico drops by. First, to apologize for his men sabotaging Weltall. They acted on their own, wholly intending to kill Fei. Second, to inform us that they have died. There is suspicion on Fei, as he has a motive, and the means for murder. As for opportunity, that's a bit harder to pin down, as Fei was likely unconscious during the time of the murders, but, that doesn't stop the rumors.

Five Battlers have been killed, all Rico's henchmen, and Fei as the main suspect for their deaths. If there is any truth to the rumors of a monster in the sewers, and it's strong enough to kill 5 Battlers, then, maybe, suspicion can be cast aside. Especially if we have Rico's confidence in the matter. Looks like we're dungeon-delving!

We hop down the sewers (literally), and get a short cut-scene in POV mode. This time, the screen-tint is green. Hrm.

I take a bit of time to level up, with the assistance of CodeBreaker. Fei hits level 40, with Citan and Rico being level 35. Rico learns a mess of Deathblows (he started two), while Citan and Fei learn one more than they already had. This should make the inevitable boss fight to come less of a hassle, to be sure.

On the first floor, we come across two murder sites. One had a message near it about a red monster. They also had this icky slime nearby, and also have pipe openings that had similar slime on them. The slime probably belongs to the critter.

Second floor has more murder sites. It's becoming clearer to us that the drainage pipes are being used for an escape route. There is a room where the pipes lead, but the door to that room is locked. One of Rico's men was supposed to have the key, but, it might be possible it was swept up by a cleaner-bot. That, and we keep hearing the sounds of bells. I dunno about the bells yet, but, at the moment, we need that key!

It takes some doing, but, I find the cleaner-bot, and extract the keys from it. However, we find that the critter is not occupying the room. There is a Bell Amulet in a chest, which we might use to lure it out, though. Citan suggests we review what we know about the thing first, and then proceeds to not compound any data. Which is both mildly annoying and mildly refreshing at the same time.

Okay, so, we can surmise that it uses drains to go in and out. It apparently uses a drain only once after a murder occurs there. So, to put it plainly, we're looking for a drain with sludge on it with no murder site nearby. With this in mind, we come face-to-face with Redrum.

I don't know if the The Shinging was actually the reference the original Japanese release was going for, or if it was the translation team's idea. Either way, I have to murder Redum. After the battle, the game heavily implies that the critter we just killed was originally human. Cut to the sewer entrance, where it's revealed that one of Rico's arms was injured during the fight. Then a cut to Emperor Cain's chamber...

...taking with Citan.

Citan notes that he's awakened thrice now. Why was he moved to a place like this? It was the council, hoping for more immediate removal. They apparently have a deep-seeded fear of him.

Given what the Council of Doom Gazel Ministry was saying in their last scene, we can infer that this conversation is about Fei, even if it's not stated outright. As to what it means for Fei to "awaken", we don't quite know. Not yet, at any rate.

...before we cut to a Gebler base, where Elly and the Gebler Special Forces are being briefed on the purge of Noctune. They are to escort the Hecht, but, the objective of the Hecht that it needs an escort for is classified. Orders will be relayed to the Hecht, proper, mid-mission. Seems a bit risky, but, nobody is in a position, or has the authority, to question further. The officer reminds us that the mission is a purge, blats about the "complete authority over the Lambs", and all that drivel. That could mean literally anything, though.

The power of the bombs equipped on the Hecht is known, and it doesn't take much for Elly to surmise that one can do a good job of purging the area. But eight? Her subordinates are 3rd class citizens, and have more of a foundation to care about those "down below", but Elly has no such foundation. Still, she has her misgivings, despite her 1st class status. However, she can't simply not follow orders. She's a soldier, after all. She'll escort the Hecht, but no more. Maybe that will back her into a corner, maybe it won't. Only time will tell.

Cut back to Fei. Rico is waiting on the first floor of the infirmary. As far as he's concerned, the murders have been solved, and our alliance is at an end. This is just a courtesy call. A reminder that next we meet, it will be as opposing Battlers! Fair enough.
Guardian of the Description Thread
The semi-final bouts aren't anything to write about. Finals League is tomorrow, which means we're gonna be facing off against Rico. Hammer suggests we tune up Weltall, and Fei gets it into his head to get Citan, and add another pair of eyes to the situation.

Even Hammer, with all his networking and backroom deals, can only obtain parts of suboptimal quality. Rico, on the other hand, has access to the best of the best, to say nothing about money as non-issue to him. Maybe, if we had access to better parts, our victory would be more assured.

A laugh is heard. Clearly, we have learned nothing. Wiseman? The guy that we faced as the final match in the Aveh Martial Arts Tournament? Yep. That guy. Decides to actually fight me this time, rather than just evade everything. Naturally, I can't win this fight either. After dealing enough damage, he executes something reminiscent of Raijin and knocks Fei over silly. Note that you don't actually see any damage numbers being displayed, but, I suppose that wasn't the point.

Wiseman's point is that fighting brute strength with brute strength is idiocy. The difference between his heavier build and Fei's lighter build, given the results of their fight, was evidence of this. For Fei to go head-on against a much larger opponent (Rico) would result in utter disaster. He seems to think that the approach of Weltall going head-on at Rico's Gear (Steir) would prove equally fatal.

The game seems to assume players know how bulky Steir is relative to Weltall, when they don't at this point in the game. It's very much implied that it's as bulky as it's pilot, and the strategy Wiseman suggests is to make one great strike at the opponent's core. Which isn't actually possible in the context of the Battling mini-game. If it was a Gear Battle, you could probably make a case for building up Attack Levels, and doing a high-level Gear Deathblow. That's not the case, though. So, I don't know what to make of that, outside of going in for some quick strikes, maybe throw a few Ether Bolts, then retreating. At least we learn that Wiseman was the one that dropped us off at Lahan, the name of Fei's parents (Khan and Karen), and that Fei was once under the custody of Grapf.

Wiseman blats more about Khan and Grapf. Sounds like there was some incident involving the two where both Fei and Khan were seriously wounded, but still managed to repel Grapf. Khan asked Wiseman to care for Fei in his stead. Wiseman was not under the impression that he was dead, but, if Grapf has been appearing before Fei, the chances of him still living aren't too great.

Anyway, Finals League. This bout's a best 3 out of 5 matches, as opposed to the best 2 out of 3 matches that we've been doing. Fei emerges victorious, of course. Rico's henchman protest. We must have cheated! Weltall's got parts that are in violation of Committee rules. Excuse me, WHAT?

I mean, okay. The thing has black boxes. We know that. I've a funny feeling the Committee knew that too. Still, it seems a ridiculous claim to make. Rico brushes them off, and goes to do whatever. Hammer is super-happy, and the screen fades while his textbox is still up.

Cut to the Gear paddock. Rico speaks to his Gear...

Rico: Steir. This is the last. Hang in there with me! ...Get him, myself...

...which doesn't, quite, sit well with me. Is Fei gonna get knocked out again? That'll be the fourth freaking time in Noctune alone if that happens.

Cut to Elly and Gebler Special Forces. The solders see the docks, and recognize that a good number of ships are Ether-Guided. Who's controlling them all? As if to answer, enter Dominia, a Jugend graduate (like everybody else who is important in Solarus Elly), who has achieved "Element" status. This is something of a play on words, as it both denotes a specialized officer, and by having skills/abilities of a particular element in the classic JRPG sense. As it happens, there are four Elements. Perhaps taking a page from Square's own Secret of Mana series, Gebler's Elements include Fire, Wind, Water, and Earth. Dominia, here, is our Earth Element.

At any rate, Dominia, will be piloting the Hecht, herself. Elly asks her what the target is. She must know! At first, Dominia says to get used to disappointment it's classified. However, ultimately decides to let the lieutenant (and us) know anyway.

Dominia: The electric generator in the eastern sector of Kislev's Imperial capital. The target is a reactor left there by an ancient civilization.
Elly: The reactor!? If you attack that, then, Kislev will...
Dominia: Probably, most of it will be destroyed. The rest will be uninhabitable for hundreds of years.
Elly: Why are you doing this?
Dominia: To purge, why else? You may know this already, Kislev has the Gatekeeper. The original gate is controlled by those vulgar Lambs. This land barrier was made by our predecessors. The Lambs are trying to destroy the gate. Are you going to allow that?

Elly continues questions their right to the action, but, Dominia is insistent. She was chosen by Ramsus, himself! Don't regard her in the same way as regular Lambs! She'll show the Shepards, the Abel, what she's capable of!

Scene shifts to the mini-map of Bledavik (I will never remember how to spell that, and will continue to look it up), where we see a few ships launch before cutting back to Rico's old room in Noctune. It's ours, now that we are the Battling Champion. What else is that Fei and Hammer are no longer wearing collars in their portraits. A nice touch, actually.

Still, Fei can't help but to worry about Rico, and his whereabouts. Apparently, his Gear went out of control, crashed into the Kaiser's seat, and was damaged. His whereabouts since then are not known to the Committee. However, we now have access to A-Block, the civilian section of town. The Kaiser, himself, seems to wish to see me as well. Hrm.

In any event, we can now focus our energies on ditching this popsicle stand. As much as we might like to, we can't just leave. Not without Weltall. Citan figures that it's safe to assume that it's been moved. We need to know where it's at. Sounds like a job for Hammer! With his information network, we'll have it located in a breeze!

The Champ's room is on the second floor of the tavern in D-Block. Hammer's left a message with one of the hostess that we can meet up at the Wildcat Bar in A-Block when we're ready. A breeze, indeed!

We have free reign of Noctune's mini-map, though, the D-Block guard tries to stop us one last time before recognizing us. We do some exploring in A-Block. There's a staircase that leads to a platform where we can jump down a chimney to land... in somebody's bathroom!? Not even kidding. Wish I were.

This house belongs to somebody we know. It's the former doctor of D-Block! She gets into something of a spate with Citan, as she thinks he's being irresponsible for leaving his post. We tell her to cool her head, and that our ultimate plan is to leave town. She agrees to return to look after D-Block again, and we even have access to a Save Point here. Might be a useful HQ!

As it happens, the Wildcat is right across the street from her house. I don't see Hammer right away, so, it's possible he pops out when I try to leave. Of note is a jukebox, whose disk is broken. If we ever get an M-Disk, we can come back here and listen to it. I don't quite remember exactly how much of the soundtrack we can listen to, but, if I recall, there's a lot of tracks to listen to. Wait a sec. I have CodeBreaker. Let's save state, UGE one in my inventory, and find out what's there!

Huh. No dice. Maybe this is a "later" thing? Oh well. I suppose we'll have to visit the Kaiser. We are escorted to the elevator. Rico enters soon afterward, noting the lax security. He thinks it's to lure Fei, but, for what purpose? Then again, I seem to recall being told that the Battling Champ is awarded a commission to the army, so, maybe it has something to do with that? I dunno. Rico's not exactly built to crawl through ventilation shafts, but, that seems to be his plan. What's he even doing here, anyway?

I feel no particular need, or desire, to explore this place. So! Up another elevator, and to the west is the Kaiser's room.

After introducing himself, he asks for my assistance. Rico decides to drop by, quite literally, falling flat on his face...

...before realizing where he is. The former Battling Champ books it outta there, decides not to use the elevator, running to a guarded room further down the hall. One half-expects Rico to slam these fools out of the park. However, he just walks up to them, and says the Kaiser is calling for them. They leave their post, with one of them saying that it's okay, the only people that can even enter this room is the Kaiser, or his wife anyway.

It opens for Rico.

There is something familiar about this room. This smell. Queue the reminiscing...

...of child-Rico, and his mother. I'm not sure if I wish to relay the scenes here. Let's assume the implication him being able to enter this room in the first place is that Rico is related by blood to Kaiser Sigmud in some way. This implication, and these scenes of his childhood, doesn't really matter to his character.

Let me go back on that a bit. I can appreciate that they are trying to develop Rico. Maybe, if the dev-team were given more resources (time and/or money), maybe this development would have gone somewhere, or have some impact on the game later. It does not, as far as I recall. Rico fails to go beyond being a gruff, mean ol' "Battling Champ". It's sad, unfortunate, and maybe even a little frustrating. However, we have no power over what has been done. We can only do what we can with what we are given.

Fei pounds at the door, and Rico lets him and Citan in. We exit the room, and Rico is arrested. We make our way back to the civilian district, where Hammer calls out to us, yapping about my Gear. For a guy that's all about having information, underground contacts and back-street deals, does he have no sense of what "privileged information" is? Cut to our HQ in A-Block. As Citan surmised, Weltall has been moved. Apparently, it's in an underground dock in D-Block. He might not know the exact location in the dock, but, he's learned of two routes we can use to get there. One is through the Battling Arena grounds. The other method is to use the supply trains.

Going by way of the Battling Arena seems like a death wish. Not that using the supply trains doesn't have it's own risks. However, it seems more doable. We'd need to know the days and times they run, and plan around that. Hammer is send out once again, and Citan suggests we return to D-Block.

Gonna take a break here because the next series of events is gonna be a doozy.
Guardian of the Description Thread
As we move towards our HQ in D-Block, we are intercepted by a group of Battlers, asking us to come with them. No, it's not another Baptism Ceremony. They want us to help Rico out. See, the former Champ has been charged, and found guilty of, attempted assassination of the Kaiser. His punishment is public execution in the Battling Arena.

There is a going theory concerning the Battling Committee. Some of it's members are of the Ethos, with Sigmud systematically removing said members with his own people/policies. They're using the incident with Rico and the Kaiser to mask their intentions of restoring their influence. Or some-such. I could be wrong on this point.

Hammer has gotten his info, and is somewhat reluctant to relay it. Somewhat inconsistent with his earlier action, and I don't take him as a person to learn stuff like that real quick. At any rate, there is a supply train that runs tonight. Hammer thinks this is too soon, that we need more time to formulate a more through plan. The situation has changed. We're not getting to Weltall via the supply train. We're talking the Battling Arena route. Though, it kinda sounds like we're hitting the train anyway, just the route we are taking is slightly different than was originally intended.

Let's take a Save, a short breather, and... let's go! Our point of entry is marked by a blue-haried Amazon on the infirmary's roof. Talking to her will trigger the train to approach. If I'm reading this walkthrough I have right, if you miss the train, the game will reset itself to just prior to the dialog with the Amazoness. Thankfully, we have state-saving to circumvent that a little bit.

The cars start to decouple themselves, and we run and jump to the locomotive. The next jump, the game does for us, landing into a big room with a Save Point. Yeah, let's use that before continuing.

We end up crawling through a bunch of ventilation shafts. It's a little hard to keep track of, since all the shafts are on the screen...

...and, as I hope I'm relaying through that screenshot, visibility can certainly be an issue. Every so often, you come across a grate that you can peek through to watch a little scene. Which brings to surface certain Chrono Trigger memories. I dunno if that is what they were aiming for, but, it's here for those that recall being captured by Dalton, and reacquiring the Epoch.

I find a room, and overhear a couple of solders talking about leaving the Master Key on the shelf, and going off to see the execution. Ummm... thanks for the key? I guess? Doc notices a part that that allows a Gear to restore a portion of it's frame at the cost of fuel. Usually large amounts of fuel, though, I think it's supposed to depend on how much frame it can restore? Anyway, this kind of part is pretty much required equipment for me at this point going forward.

Following the path leads us right back to where we came in, but, this is fine. This Master Key should unlock the door, which leads us to the Gear hangar, and Weltall.

There's a parts merchant here, and a Save Point. The game is totally not suggesting we should use these services, right? Because I do so before taking the elevator up.

Cut to Rico. He never expected to be Battling without a Gear, but, here he is, in the arena. His opponent is nowhere to be seen, and Rico has been wandering aimlessly. As he does, the game pulls something of a Jurassic Park on us, with the screen shaking and a bit of SFX. At first instance, Rico dismisses it as his imagination. On second instance, he realizes it's not his imagination. On third instance, his suspicions heighten even more. That's not the kind of vibration a Gear could make! On fourth instance, he finds the source of the noise. It's a Rankar!

Rico is in disbelief, and rightly so. There is no way he can win against such a beast! However, a certain black gear comes flying, and assaults the dino. Yep, it's Weltall, and this is a Gear fight.

The Rankar is no match for Weltall. Rico doesn't seem too happy to be rescued, though. Fei speaks of escaping the Empire, but, Rico will have none of it. Also, I think Fei might have forgotten that Rico still has his bomb-collar. Unless it's deactivated, and he wears it anyway as some kind of trophy and/or momento? Guess I never thought of it that way.

We hear another noise. No, it's not from the ground. It's from above! Aerial battleships from Gebler! One seems to be heading directly for the reactor? Wait, if they drop something on that, the results would be disastrous! Thankfully, Citan does cut to the chase, and does not babble on too much. Weltall flies off, while Citan moves to evacuate the citizens. Rico just kinda stands there like an idiot.

Cut to the Gebler Special Forces, assigned to escort the Hecht. Of course, they all recognize Weltall, and wonder how the hell it got here. Doesn't matter to Elly's supposed subordinates. They want a rematch, and engage, ignoring what little protesting Elly does. I don't know if her lack of protesting is because she knows they won't listen to her anyway, or because they are acting too fast for her to relay much more than a "Hey!".

After felling two opponents, the game cuts back to Noctune. Citan is doing what he can to evacuate the citizenry. Rico has apparently followed him somewhat, as people run past him. He overhears Citan speaking to Hammer about Fei's desire to save people, and to prevent the loss of the town, and other things that are important to them. A reference to Lahan, but, Rico wouldn't know that. He scoffs at the idea that the town is worth saving. That it's a crap town. The words that Fei spoke earlier seem to echo in his mind...

Fei: Even you must have things left to do here!

...before deciding that he's "crap" too, and runs off.

Back to Fei. He fells one more Gear before Rico, in Stier, comes by to help beat up the last two Gears. Now, the only thing left is to change the course of the ship heading for the reactor. But before we can do that, there is a small matter to take care of, and her name is Elly. Fei asks Rico to go on ahead. Elly doesn't really stop Rico, like she's probably supposed to.

She asks Fei to get out of her way. That it's her duty to escort the Hecht. Fei thinks she's being ridiculous. How can she do such a thing when she knows the outcome of what they are apparently trying to accomplish? Elly professes to know what she's doing, and that she has no choice in the matter.

Elly: I know! I do understand what I'm doing!
Fei: Then...
Elly: Change. How I wanted to change. I've thought of changing, but, I couldn't. I don't have the freedom like you do!
Fei: Freedom? Me?
Elly: Yes! Am I wrong? To be able to choose where you belong. To be able to fight alongside those tho believe in their own cause. Even if you have much more anguish to deal with. At least you have the freedom to choose your own path! Unlike me!
Fei: Then why don't you do that too, Elly?
Elly: If I could, I would already be doing it! But, I can't. This is my place. And that's how it is here! So, please. Understand.

Fei understand about as far as needing to find a place to belong. He's been a vagrant since the torching of Lahan, more or less. He doesn't really "belong" with Bart, but, he's provided the best home he's had since his departure from Lahan. However, he doesn't understand why Elly is forcing herself to do things she's against doing for the just sake of "belonging". Fei then grabs Elly, takes her down to Noctune, somehow gets her out of her Gear, and shows her a section of town. He shows her the death and destruction this attack is causing.

Fei: Does the word "duty" justify all of this? Does it!? Elly!
Elly: But that's all that was left!
Fei: You're still saying that?
*Fei raises his hand as if to slap her, can't bring himself to do it, puts it back down*

Fei: ...It's just not like you. If you don't want to then don't do it. You shouldn't have to force it just to have a place to belong.
Elly: ...
Fei: What was I fighting you for just now? You wanted to know? I don't really know. I know I was helping Bart and the others. But I still don't know what I should do. Maybe I'm just looking for a place to fit in. But, I think it's better to fight than do nothing. If fighting helps you or your friends, even a bit, then, it's worthwhile. That's... not nothing. It's something.

Fei starts moving off, but, Elly tries to talk him out of it. Dominia is not like the others. She's an Element. The elite of elite of Gebler soldiers. Fei is compelled to go, though. Citan and Hammer are doing all they can for Kislev. Even Rico, who hates the town and everything that's in it, is fighting. He can't let them down. That's why he has to go. That's why he can fight.

Fei gets back on Weltall, and takes off into the distance. Elly stays behind, pondering Fei's words, and what he's shown her. The game gives us an opportunity to save before continuing. Sounds like a good idea.

Dominia is kinda annoying. She counterattacks our every attack with a single-target Aerod attack. Stier brushes that off likes it's nothing (ie: takes 0 damage), but, Weltall isn't so lucky. She also calls forth a large Aerod cannon for massive damage. The cannon, itself, is a target, and it takes three or so total actions before firing. However, it retreats 'til it's summoned again. The big cannon makes even Rico sweat a little, but, we manage to disable the Gear, and can finally do the job of trying to redirect this ship.

Cut to Elly. Elly has been watching us from where Fei dropped her off. She notices a woman racing to a child, then races back to where the other citizens are being evacuated too. She then runs back to Vierge, the screen fading to black as we hear the noises of the Gear powering back up.

Cut back to Fei and Rico. The Hecht is proving too be too heavy for Weltall and Stier to mitigate it's inevitable decent. Vierge comes outta freaking nowhere, pushing Weltall out of the way. Or, maybe Fei's just surprised. In any event, Elly believes that two Gears might not be enough, but, with three, they might be able to manage a course change.

They succeed in steering the ship away from the power station. Which would be enough, if it's new course wasnt' headed straight for the residential district. We don't know how many people have been evacuated by doc and Hammer, but, we'd rather avoid the destruction of homes, if we can help it. Of course, Weltall and Stier have overheated, and their boosters have been cut off. They can't maintain their own altitude, much less steer the Hecht any more than they already have.

Elly stays behind to steer the Hecht, alone. Perhaps as a feeble attempt at penance, perhaps because she feels responsible for this mess. Fei calls to her over the comms channel. This is madness! If she keeps doing that, she'll only end up dying! To which Elly responds that her Gear will be fine (yeah, right), doing this should be able to reduce the damage, and besides, it's better than doing nothing. That last part might have struck a bit of a chord with Fei, as he calls out to her.

Elly prays that the Vierge holds together a bit longer. No sooner than she finishes, it's boosters cut off. Veirge goes into a slow-motion free-fall. All Fei and Rico can do is watch as Elly's machine drops to the surface. The Hecht crash-lands, explodes...

...and a mysterious Gear shields Elly. When she comes to, the Gear flies off. I should have taken a screencap of it standing in Elly's screen instead, because the thing is so damn reminiscent of Grapf's Gear, it's not even funny.

After it flies off, a familiar voice comes over the comms. Fei? Is he... crying? She apologizes, but, Fei professes it's not her fault. Well, if he says so, but, it also kinda is Elly's fault.

Back in A-Block, we're awaiting Hammer. Security has tightened, and they are out to get us, despite how much worse it could have been if we did nothing. Hammer's info is that our key to escape Kislev lies in their new airship, the Goliath. It's currently docked at a facility north of the capital. The location sounds familiar to Elly. That's where her mission that kick-started this whole mess of a game was at! If the rumors are true that the ship can destroy all of Aveh, we clearly want it in our possession before Kislev decides to use it in a counter-attack. Besides, airship!

After the conversation, the game gives us control over the party, which includes Fei, Citan, and Elly. Man, Elly was, like, level 5 when she left back in Blackmoon Forset. Now she's level 28. We can fix that later, but, for now, I check my supplies, equip Elly and Vierge (there has been rods for both in shops), and use the handy-dandy Save Point to call it a day.

However, before I do, I want to briefly address a point. I understand a lot of people point to this sequence as "proof" that Gears can fly, and if so, why the hell can we only make them jump during normal gameplay? There is a very particular place people might point to as a place where it would be very beneficial to fly! Or, at the very least, less annoying to navigate.

This is a point of gameplay and story segregation, to be sure. The only supposition I can make is that allowing Gears to fly could introduce elements of story-breaking that would need additional testing to sort out what would happen if players go to an area they might not otherwise be able to go. Like, if Gears could fly in dungeons, wouldn't that mean they'd be able to fly on the overworld map? You'd be able to circumvent the need to use the Yddgrasil to get to Nisan. Which might not be so bad. But, flying over the Aveh-Kislev border at a whim? I dunno.

Look, this answer may not be a good answer, but, it's an answer.
Guardian of the Description Thread
There is a round of conversation before I leave the A-Block HQ, which includes Hammer taking Elly aside to talk to her. We will never learn what he says to her.

Whatever. We're as prepped as we can be! Attempting to leave is kinda funny...

Guard A: ...Hey! Isn't he the guy in the 'wanted' poster... perhaps?
Guard B: ...Yeah, they say that everyone has two or three people that look exactly like them in this world. Besides, even if he was that 'wanted' guy, what chance would mere guards like us have against him? He's the ex-Battling Champ!
Guard A: Let sleeping does lie, huh?
Guard B: Exactly! So, even if we were to seem him here, then, we'd just pretend to we haven't seen him. Ok?
Guard C: Hey, that guy! He's the ex-Champ who broke out of the arena with his Gear and is now 'wanted'!
Gaurd B: Are you stupid!?
Fei: Damn! We're done for!

  • Run away for now.
  • ->Try to break through!

Fei: We've got to give it a try! Doc! Elly! Let's try and force our way through here!
Citan: ...So, it is the only thing we can do, right?
Elly: Wait a second! Do you really intend to do this?
Guard B: Oh no! They're serious!
Guard A: There's no way we can beat the Champion!!!
Guard C: Hahaa! You'll be our greatest achievement!

*Rico runs up, tackles the guards*

Guard A: Egads!
Guard B: D-din't I tell you that...
Guard C: Oh, our reputation!

...and it seems Rico will join us after all. However, the maximum party size is three. The game doesn't force a party-change, and I'm pretty happy with how things are, so, world map time!

Darigaaz. It feels like it's been forever since we've been outside. I take some time (and abuse Codebreaker) to get Elly's level up to snuff, and have her learn a mess of Deathblows before entering the facility.

This facility is a little too quiet for my liking. We find Hammer in a repair-Gear, and he sells us some parts, plus a refuel. Elly's Vierge was in desperate need of a new frame (it's starting frame had 1500 HP!), and Citan's Heimdal also had some upgrades to get.

The dungeon, itself, is a pretty straight-forward run. There's a few screens where the camera is locked, with enemies ambushing us, but, nothing else of real note. At the end of our route is the Fis-6. It most notable move is Shift Up, which increases it's attack, defense, and speed. However, with enough uses, it locks up, and needs to cool down. The first time it does this, four mechanics show up to help the process, and fix the Gear's frame while they are at it. These are pretty hardy mechanics, as they take more than a regular Cross attack to take down.

After beating that 'bot, cut to the bridge of the Goliath. There's a handy-dandy Save-Point here, as well as some prerequisite banter from the cast. Let's use that, take a short break, and continue.

We take our seats, and Citan manages to get the thing in the air.

Just as it seems like we can take a breather for a while, who shows up to ruin the party, but the Seeker of Power? Fei goes out to greet him in Weltall, with Rico and Elly following in their respective Gears. We get to fight him, and I think we beat him. In a technical sense. Weltall was critical, Stier was down for the count, but, Vierge was entirely unharmed.

Citan maneuvers the craft, and knocks both Grahf and his Gear off the wing. It doesn't take that long for Grahf to regain his Gear, and head straight for us. Citan has Hammer shoot the thing with the Goliath's gatling gun...

...which seems surprisingly effective. Elly is unnerved/confused about why she wasn't attacked, but, I don't really think we should argue the point too much. It is an important point, don't get me wrong, but, yeah, there's other things to worry about now. I go up to Citan, and Fei says he's got a bad feeling. At first, Citan thinks he's talking about Grahf. Fei clarifies that it's not quite that, but, an uneasy feeling. Citan also has a sense of deja-vu, with Fei relaying a strange feeling that they are being watched.

Cut to elsewhere. We are seeing through a green-tinted periscope, pointed at the sky. It centers on the Goliath. Bingo! The information was correct. It's Kislev's. The periscope zooms in, and the speaker identifies it as the Goliath. Undoubtedly out to get revenge, going straight to Bledavik on a bombing run.

Of course it's Bart and his crew. Of course it is. The damage to the Yggdrasil was pretty extensive, and I don't know how they managed to fix it that fast. Then again, I'm not sure how long, story-wise, we were contained in Noctune. Not the point this scene is trying to make. The point is, Bart's gonna attack. That's his shtick, after all.

He assumes, and maybe rightly so, that Kislev has sent out the Goliath to counter-attack their failed maneuver to take Bledavik. Naturally, Maison and Sigurd want to know what's going on. Well, maybe just Maison. Sigurd...

Sigurd: Young master! Again!?

...I image just faceplams.

A short cut-scene of the missile firing at the Goliath, then cut back to the bridge of said ship. Elly wants assurances that we'll be alright. This is a pretty big ship, after all, and they are bound to be seen. Citan tells her not to worry, and that he plotted a course over sea, thinking there would be no units in the area. Besides, a thing this size should be pretty tough.

Then the impact. Red alert sounds. Citan is as surprised as anyone else. Elly asks again if we're okay. Apparently, there is no way to avoid descending now. He requests the others to evacuate first, with him following later. After everybody else leaves the bridge, Citan focuses on the screen to assess the situation, and notices the design of a ship in the sea. He recognizes it immediately, and has a few words...

Citan: Sigurd, I think you need to rethink your method of disciplining. say.

The Goliath is in flames, it's descent inevitable. Bart is beside himself...

...until he realizes the thing is heading straight for his ship. The two ships collide, making a fantastic explosion, the ripples making their own waves across the ocean.

Cut to Ramsus' ship. They've picked up the explosion, naturally. The signal wasn't as big as Shvat's Aphel Aura, but it was certainly a larger-than-expected signal. Ramsus figures it must have been Kislev's. That last purge was incomplete.

Grapf comes out of nowhere, asking him if he shouldn't peruse.

Grahf: The one who caused you so much pain and grief is on that ship, and it's headed for Aquvy.

The Seeker of Power disappears, and Ramsus turns back around, ordering an attack on the Kislev ship. Miang makes her complaint, that they need clearance from HQ first, but, Ramsus doesn't seem to care. She leaves the bridge, and has her own talk with Grahf.

Miang: I'm just trying to help. Didn't I help get those 'shackles' off? Now, you know the 'vessel' will only respond to the chosen one. They don't know this, but, he's necessary for Khar. He's the very meaning of Khar's existence. Yes, I must thank you. After all, you did help me, didn't you?
Grahf: ...
Miang: Was it for me? Of for him? Or for yourself?

Cut to the mini-map of Bledavik, with Ramsus' ship launching. Then cut back to the bridge, a few notes about Kelvena and Dominia taking Hasino before the game cuts to our favorite Gazel ministry!

Let me attempt to summarize. There are complaints of Ramsus disobeying their order to excavate the Anima Relics in Ignas. They know 'he' (Fei, as previously referenced) was on the transferred ship, and that Ramsus was probably after 'him'. It also appears that Krellian is in/near the Aquvy region, and has found a 4,000 year-old legacy from Zeboim. It's molecular engineering. Nanotechnology. There might be more info in here, but, just reading these lines is dizzying, much less trying to make sense of them. Even if I more or less know what's going to happen. For that, I apologize.

Fade to black. Fade in to Elly, lying face down on a wreckage. Probably the Goliath. Seems she's adrift, and hears a rattling on the other side of the platform. She opens the door, and Fei jumps out. He reports that they have about two days worth of food, and considers trying to catch some fish. Elly asks where everyone else is. Fei assures her that they're okay. Not that he knows-knows, but, given their situation, it's probably more an ease-of-mind thing. For both of them, possibly.

Cut to the Yggdrasil, Rico and Hammer have just regained consciousness. Doc's there to tell them where they are, and Rico wants to say "Hi". Though, he tackles the young pirate when he finds out that he was responsible for the disaster in the first place, but, I really can't blame Rico for doing that. Funnily enough, before I go Bart, I went to the Gear hanger, and mess with my Gears, including Weltall and Vierge. I'm pretty sure we learn, next time we're with Fei and Elly, that those Gears are with them. Which is a little inconsistent story-wise, but, I'm not going to argue story-and-gameplay segregation more than I already have.

Speaking of, after Rico tackles Bart, we're back with Fei and Elly.Look at that. Right off the bat, Elly's talking about how she felt they were floating kinda odd, and that it's probably due to Weltall and Veirge being submerged below decks. What did I tell you?

Jokes aside, there are certain similarities to Illusion of Gaia here. Both couples (Will/Kara for IoG, Fei/Elly here) grow closer together, and players get to know them a bit better too. Also, both Kara and Elly initially refuse to eat fish. Kara eventually agrees to it, though, she drifts with Will for... three weeks? I think it was three weeks before Will succumbs to scurvy. I have no idea how long Fei and Elly drift. I don't specifically remember if Fei gets sick or not, but, he doesn't succumb to scurvy.

For now, though, Fei manages to catch a fish, and goes to find something to cook it with. I doubt he'll find anything, and Elly's none-to-pleased with the idea, warning that they might get sick if they try to eat it. I don't think this kind of comment is coming from her Solarian background. That everything "on the surface" is unclean/unfit. Part of it might be that, but, I don't feel it's entirely that.

Anyway, as Fei looks for cooking equipment (and fails to find), Elly notices a UFO, and gets Fei's attention (and the camera's) to it. This is the same UFO that Fei saw in the desert. Elly identifies it as belonging to Shevat, and the two talk a bit about it.

Cut back to the topside of the Yddgrasil. Man, I remember there being more of a focus on Fei and Elly while they drifted rather than this back-and-forth. Was I actually thinking about Illusion of Gaia?

Anyway, Bart's shrugging off Rico's tackle from earlier, wondering where Fei and Elly are, and complaining about the sea air, in... not quite that order, but, whatever. Gets it into his head to apologize again. We're in control of Bart, and can probably do things, but, let's go find Citan and Rico so that we can get back to Fei and Elly. It's not like there's anything important being relayed here, outside of Rico joining the party on an official basis, which... I kinda feel could have been relayed later? I dunno.

Night as fallen on Fei and Elly. One mentions how far they've drifted. The game doesn't explicitly say who's talking, but, my current guess is Elly. Would would mean that Fei responds by saying that constantly drifting sounds like him right now. Cue the musicbox...

...and excuse the huge-ass quote-block!

Fei?: I've just been drifting around, being lead by circumstances.
Elly?: No, that's not right. In Aveh, you helped Bart when he needed it. And in Kislev, you gave your all to defend. To save everyone. You've even shown concern for me many times.
Fei: No, I'm just no good.
Elly: Why?
Fei: Probably, deep inside, I'm not really trying to help. Somehow, I get the feeling that all I've done I did because I wanted to be needed. That if I did something for them, then, maybe, I'd have a place to belong. There's a side of me that comforts itself like that. That doesn't mean I don't want to help, but, that doesn't mean I really want to help either. It might not be 'nothing', but, is sure isn't the 'whole' either. I'd been drifting, led around, until I met you, Elly. Now we're stranded out on the ocean. I'm sorry I got you involved.
Elly: It's okay. Don't worry about me. I've been thinking about why I'm here. I could've just gone back, but, for some reason, I didn't. Probably because you said it's better to do something than nothing. I think that's why I felt I had to do something. It's okay not to feel 'whole'. Even if you only feel partly complete, if you repeat that enough, eventually, it'll be 'whole'. A part... is better than zero.
Fei: You're right. I'm sorry.

*portraits start showing up as per usual at this point*

Fei: If we're saved... will you go back?
Elly: I probably won't go back to my squad. Right now, I really don't want to be there. Besides, I could probably do something else. I don't have to be in the army. So, I'm thinking of going back to my country.
Fei: Is that possible? What about the army?
Elly: It's not like anyone knows what I did. They've probably already classified me as MIA.
Fei: Hmm. I hope at least you'll survive. I'm sure you'll find what you want to do in your life.
Elly: You said something about... being comforted?
Fei: Yes.
Elly: Don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone wants to be needed at times. All of us want to give something inside ourselves to others to be accepted. Even me. Remember how you forced yourself to eat those emergency rations?

*cut-scene to earlier, showing exactly this, omitting that conversation from the LP*

Elly: You forced yourself to eat those rations earlier, didn't you? For me to survive, it would have been better not to share them. But, watching you eat it, even though it tasted bad, comforted me. I felt glad that I shared them with you. It made me feel a little better.
Fei: For your own sake?
Elly: Yes, for my own sake. Selfish, I admit. I think it's okay to be that way at first. But, little by little, you learn about your own happiness, and someday, you are able to share that important part of you with someone else. Some... day. Ah...
Fei: What's up?
Elly; Nothing. It just felt as though I've told you the same thing long ago. It must be my imagination. I couldn't have said it to you before because we've only just met! Haven't we? Yes. It's probably just my imagination.

Next day, Fei's up early, and calls out to Elly. She jumps out of the cabin, and Fei directs her attention (and the camera's) to the ship on the horizon.

A claw grabs the wreckage, and hoists it up. Fei and Elly find themselves talking to one of the crew members. Elly thanks him, but, is directed to give her thanks to the captain of this ship, called the Thames. They're also cleaning and repairing our Gears, at said captain's orders. Sounds like we owe this captain a big thanks, and a guy we wanna visit. However, let's hit a Save Point, and do that next session!
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