Xenosaga Episode I Part 11: Black Betty, Business, and Bikinis

Previously on Xenosaga: Cherenkov died, Shion cried, chaos lied, Ziggy sighed, and KOS-MOS mystified. Allen, at best, survived.

We now resume our rescue already in progress. With KOS-MOS having obliterated the gnosis threat, THE BREWS have boarded Junior’s Durandal.

chaos seems to have a rapport with Junior, and Captain Matthews introduces Junior as Little Master, boss of the Elsa.

Turns out the Elsa is in pretty lousy shape after being chewed up and spit out by a space whale/planet, so we’re going to pop over to the Foundation for repairs. Didn’t we just leave another repair stop?

The Foundation is The Kukai Foundation, and Shion is super impressed.

Junior is nonchalant about the fact that he’s a… what would be the inflation here… quadrillionaire?

Allen immediately reminds us why we love him. “Shion, we can’t socialize with these filthy mutants!”

“Oh no! The mutant has mutant hearing powers! Or he was three feet away this entire time!”

Captain Matthews helpfully volunteers to shunt Allen out into space.

While Shion is zoning out, Allen begs chaos for help, but chaos is a “help thyself” kinda deity, so no assistance there.

The rest of the gang is now attempting to lure Allen into an airlock, but Junior noticed that Shion is a little… distant.

Shion apologizes for being such a rude guest ten minutes after watching someone die, and five minutes after watching her robot detonate a galaxy.

“Jr. Gaignun Jr. I got a real name, but let’s just leave it at that for now. Good to meet ya.”

Yeah, that’s not a completely weird thing to say at all!

They just grabbed the final emulator? How many Zohars do these guys have?

And, as the scene closes, it is revealed that the Durandal may have picked up a giant robot tail…

Incidentally, right here is that savepoint I noted from the finale of the previous post. Stuff happened, but not much stuff happened, and that post had to end.

We pick back up with Junior panicking in some kind of foggy death zone. You can tell it’s a bad place, because this is Xenosaga, and, look! Fire!

And I guess the sky is freaking out, too. Either that or someone is making steamed hams.

Junior shouts out “Gaignun” in a rather dramatic manner. Isn’t that his name?

Or that’s the name of a cat. Erm. Alright?

Junior is cradling a dead cat…

And then a dead person.

Hey, Junior, that kid kinda looks like you. Any relation?

I want to say this is the first his name is spoken aloud in game. Junior doesn’t seem all that happy to be saying it, either.

And then the poor guy is floating upside down in some kind of red nothingness. There’s also one of those purple floating things from when Cherenkov hulked out in the background there.

Whoops! All a dream! I’m sure that wasn’t a very specific flashback, either.

Yeah, I get upset whenever my Mark of the Beast is showing, too.

Junior is really… wait… what the hell? Junior has a framed picture of the Windows XP default wallpaper hanging in his room? He’s a quintillionaire, and he’s got mounted desktop backgrounds? How does that work? Like, in a future where computers can perfectly recreate structures from faulty human memories, maybe everything of importance throughout history was declared worthless, and now the only things that are valuable are accidents of the human unconscious, so this is a reproduction of a persistent 2000 year old racial memory. Somebody get me the phone we use to call the ghost of Philip K. Dick, I’ve got an idea he’ll love.

It’s nice that everyone got a little break after their… hike yesterday. Like, seriously, MOMO is supposed to be basically a child, how’s she dealing with that whole “watched the death throes of an entire missing planet” thing?

“This place” is the highly classified quarantine wing of the Durandal. Looks pretty rad, right?

And they each have names. You know these names if you hung out at Sunday School. chaos is quietly sighing about “memories” off in the corner.

And the center piece is called “Marienkind”.

Jesus Christ, it’s on the tip of my tongue. I think it means “child of Mary” or something, but in German, which is the official language of space mysteries.

“Got a bear taped to a shark ‘round back.”

And the protective covering is removed to reveal a room full of Zohars. Come on, guys, you should have guessed that one. What else is shaped like that?

“Sealed” in this case means… what, exactly? Like, I guess that you’re hiding them from gnosis attacks, but you just unlocked them to show off to a bunch of strangers, so I have the worst feeling that you’re maybe not sealing these things responsibly.

When asked, ya know,”Why!?” The only answer given is, “Hey, why not?”

Alright, the better excuse is that they’re helpful against the gnosis… Wait, no they’re not! They’re like gnosis bait! Gah!

It’s noted that the Durandal is kind of a floating fortress of destruction. What’s up with that?

Junior goes on to explain that their excuse is they were a government agency and…

Oh, screw that, let’s look at what’s behind door number two!

Yay! It’s a room where they’re keeping gnosis in tubes! And five feet from the Zohars, no less. This could not possibly go wrong!

Oh Lord, they have a J-E-N-O-V-A. If chaos pulls that woman out of her tube and burns the whole place down, I’m out of here.

Pretty much everybody is a little concerned by this place, but Shion is taking it particularly hard.

KOS-MOS has the right of it: this is a room full of people in various states of transforming into gnosis. Good thing Junior didn’t roll up ten minutes earlier during the last update, or Cherenkov could be under glass right now.

“Transformed bodies… I’ve only heard of them before…” this is either eventually retconned, or Ziggy doesn’t have the best observational skills. Wait a tick, he literally just watched Cherenkov transform yesterday. Ziggy, do you require maintenance?

You either turn to salt or a gnosis. No in-betweens.

Well, Betty is kind of in-between, but only because some maniac decided to stick her in a jar before she totally turned. How did that work, anyway? Cherenkov transformed in like a minute.

Gnosis equals dead to Junior.

Is she… mutating in the tube? That’s gross. Can we go now?

Shion is practically scared silent, Allen is asking this question about whether there’s a point to all this.

Reminder: we’ve got an inventory full of ‘em.

Turns out gnosis are made of… salt. You know, I was just thinking that the kids today don’t know squat about sodium.

I haven’t watched Full Metal Alchemist in a while, but I’m going to go ahead and say that the human body is made up of pretty mundane components, too. Granted, we can’t shoot lasers out of our eyes or… okay, when I say “we”, I’m not including chaos.

“No one really knows why those who survive Gnosis encounters always turn into one of them. Some people think they’re a new type of virus; other say they’re beings from another dimension who take on temporary forms in this one.”

I think that dimension theory probably has some merit, given the whole Hilbert Effect thing, but virus would make sense with the contact factor…

Oh, right, Shion was grabbed by a gnosis at one point, just like Cherenkov.

So Shion asks if anyone has ever survived gnosis contact without becoming a big salty alien. “Nope,” replies Junior. Great answer!

Junior continues his spiel, and Shion’s neck suddenly itches. Don’t think about it, don’t think about it, don’t think…

Allen never stops staring at Shion, so he immediately notices something is wrong.

Shion lies.

As I noted back when the gnosis were introduced, the idea behind these creatures is that they’ve been around forever, just falsely identified by primitive cultures as mythical creatures like minotaurs, unicorns, and manbearpigs. But they really started showing up in droves after…

Bum bum buuuuum. Yeah, the Miltian Conflict is basically Year Zero for Xenosaga.

And Junior specifically blames Joachim Mizrahi, father of MOMO, teacher of Kevin, and all-around mad scientist. He was an excellent chef, too, but no one ever mentions that.

Geez, dude, don’t take it personally.

Shion mentions, in passing, that the guy was kind of a genius who invented every damn thing in this universe (and founded U-TIC), but Junior isn’t having it.

At this point, it’s not quite clear if we’re supposed to take Junior seriously, or just wait until he claims Mizrahi is responsible for everything from JFK to stretch pants. Whatever the case, MOMO is not taking it well.

MOMO quietly walks away while Junior finally elaborates on the Kukai Foundation’s origins. Honestly, it’s a very “real” explanation: they were just a government committee founded (and funded) to investigate exactly what went wrong with (First/Old) Miltia, but, as time went on, people lost interest, and the Kukai Foundation kinda became an independent entity in an effort to keep food on the table.

And, as obliquely mentioned earlier, they were miraculously good with their investments, and now they’re basically the Apple of the Future (as a sort of counter to Vector’s Microsoft).

But who cares, because Junior just made a little Realian cry.

For the first time since Cherenkov’s boss room, we’ve got control again, and everyone but MOMO is just milling around the quarantine hangar. I don’t know about you guys, but whenever there’s mutant salt monsters floating around in tubes nearby, I do my best to leave the area.

Let’s take a brief moment to look at what just happened here. Between the last update (a planet and a fartknocker both transform into gnosis), and the more blunt explanation here, this is all we’re going to get on gnosis information for the game. Gnosis are “monsters” but there’s also a human component, though no one knows how that works. More importantly, we’ve set up a lovely ticking time bomb for our heroine. In more mundane terms, Shion just received a cancer diagnosis, and she’s not telling her friends, or, really, even fully admitting it to herself. Dramatic tension! Actually, considering how the gnosis are threat numero uno in this universe, this is practically a zombie story now, and Shion is that one character hiding a scratch until she gets a hankering for brains. While this thread is resolved… poorly (the “answer” is revealed in two games, and requires a very distinct reading coupled with remembering exactly what happened to Cherenkov), in the meanwhile, it’s an excellent source of pressure for the player/viewer (“When’s she gonna turn! Tell a friend, Shion! Write a will!”), and will also serve to explain some weirdness that Shion experiences through the rest of the series. Basically, this whole gnosis thing is an easy explanation for why Shion is so damn weird for the rest of the series, even though we’ll get a bonus explanation much, much later. Remember, she has been seeing Red since the Woglinde…

Anyway, I guess Ziggy is on cyborg break, so Shion and KOS-MOS venture forth to find MOMO, who just… train? We’re on a spaceship. There’s a train?

Yep! Train! The Durandal is friggen huge, so there’s a monorail/train system to aid your travel time. There’s a lot to explore, but we’ll handle that later, we’ve got to find MOMO!

We’ll check the Park, because if I was upset, I’d hit the place with the best chance of containing a puppy.

Looks like a pretty nice park. We’ve got night lighting (that can’t be good for the plants) and… fireflies? In space?

Aw, sad MOMO.

When I construct my robots, I always build in a kill switch that activates the minute they get existential.

Don’t worry, MOMO, Shion is here to save the day!

Seriously, if you can remember back to the Woglinde, Shion literally just wants to be a Realian psychiatrist when she grows up. The only reason she’s still at Vector is so she can nurture her beloved death-bot, and her bosses have already told her she’s off the case when she gets back home. Coupled with recent issues, Shion needs a win here.

And this is an easy one! Just lie! Sure, half the universe seems to blame your father for the destruction of the other half of the universe, and, yeah, if he is responsible for letting the gnosis loose, he’s got a death toll in the billions, and that’s even before we get into at least two dead planets… but… uh… where was I going with this?

This little nanite of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Alright, so they’re not just lightning bugs, they’re teeny tiny robots built to look like lightning bugs, and they oxygenate the air and clean up the place, and, yes, they were invented by Dr. Mizrahi. See, MOMO, these things are only responsible for, what, like 2% of universal deaths, tops, and your crazy dad made ‘em!

Shion, naturally, brings it all back to the idea that these “bugs” look like they belong here, and, even though they were invented within the last century, now we can’t live without them. This is, obviously, a stealth comment on how Shion sees all Realians and androids as “people”, and not things, because that was a long ass dungeon we just waded through, time to remind the audience what our characters are all about.

You’d think future folk would get away from using the phrase “in this world,” particularly when having a conversation on a spaceship.

“Despite universal evidence to the contrary, your dad was probably a pretty swell guy.”

KOS-MOS chimes in, and points out that Mizrahi’s research led to her own creation. If you’re really paying attention, I think this is supposed to be yet another clue as to the relationship between Kevin (KOS-MOS’s dad) and Mizrahi.

But all Shion notices is that KOS-MOS is being remotely sympathetic to sad MOMO, and Shion is on cloud nine at her favorite murderdroid’s sudden bout of empathy.

“Mom, don’t embarrass me. I’m just doing what I do.”

MOMO is amused… MISSION COMPLETE!

And Shion has to get in one of those damn mom-jabs. Mom, do you always have to insult me in front of my friends?

MOMO mentions that, while she wasn’t 100% activated/awake at the time, she remembers daddy talking about how she could become human by committing good deeds. Let’s… hope he was speaking metaphorically. I’m not sure I could deal with a visit from the Blue Fairy about now.

Speaking of trying to be a real human, here’s Allen!

“Aren’t you excited, boss?! We’re gonna go back to HQ, and you’re going to be separated from that robot you’re always doting on! Maybe we can get burgers!”

Shion lampshades the plot. Isn’t the fact that everybody is going to Second Miltia just a little too convenient?

Remember how Allen was whining about having to hang out with a bunch of mutants yesterday? Well now he’s totally stoked about the fact that his room has a hot tub. Dude is pretty much dancing in the aisles because someone upgraded his seat from coach.

There is some discussion on Allen being possibly sympathetic. There’s no question that, practically from his introduction, Allen is the toilet paper scraped against the filthy ass of the universe. However, I’m convinced it was the job of some Xenosaga plotter to make sure that, after a certain amount of time passes in the plot, we must all be reminded that Allen is a weak-willed weenie boy. This week: Allen is space-racist, but will love you if you offer complimentary soap. To be clear, I’m not saying this makes Allen unsympathetic, simply that I’m pretty sure it’s someone’s job to make sure you don’t start thinking he could ever be a real boy.

So that was the last “required” thing you have to do on the Durandal before advancing the plot. If you’d like, just walk Shion over to her (totally awesome, yes, thank you, Allen) room, take a nap, and move on to the next bit. But this is a brand new space-town, so let’s explore a little.

The Park area is happy and shiny and mostly has Realians and humans milling about doing nothing much. This friendly Realian notes that, while Realians are unique snowflakes, they have general personality settings for different sectors. That seems… kinda Orwellian.

Here’s the Hangar, which doubles as the armory. Here and a number of other places in the ship have random dudes and locks that bar you entry from places that are clearly hiding treasure. I wonder what that means…

This is the edge of the Hangar, which you may recognize as the spot where Junior and company disembarked to raid that U-TIC ship a couple updates back. We won’t be using this area like that ever again, but the save point is still there, and I wind up revisiting this area quite a bit because it’s the shortest monorail-to-save point access on the ship.

This is the Residential Area. Shion’s room is down this hallway, but we’re not going there quite yet. Not pictured: the robot that brags to Shion about watching her sleep.

There’s a complete casino in the Residential Area, and while you can’t just belly up to a craps table, you can grab this -Casino Passport- and then play around at a nearby save point. I won’t be doing that. Ever.

Talking to random Durandal NPCs… will make you wish you hadn’t.

Here’s the Bridge, complete with its staff of 100-Series Realians. Realians: an easy excuse not to model a hundred unique humans since the Woglinde.

And down at the Dock you can reboard the Elsa if you’d like. Wow, the Durandal is so big, the Elsa fits inside it like it’s nothing. BE IMPRESSED!

Alright, short of talking to every stupid NPC, that’s the ship. Let’s take a nap and move on.

The Durandal is now approaching… hm… appears to be the Metal Bender Kingdom. This explains why Lin is so on edge.

No, wait, it’s a bubble colony, and, specifically, the Kukai Foundation proper. It’s, like, a fake planet.

“Fake” in that this is what a septillion space bucks can buy you. “Land” isn’t really a concern when you can just construct your own titanic fishbowl.

Here comes the money shot, ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, it’s sped up, but this is the Durandal docking with the Kukai Foundation, where giant ship Durandal transforms into a gargantuan skyscraper. And I bet some Xenosaga nerd was responsible for writing a seventeen page essay on exactly how the gravity works during this sequence.

Mary, Shelly, and a new fellow are the welcoming committee.

Ziggy totally spends all his time off reading Space People Magazine.

Gaignun just won the “best dressed” award for the game.

Shion recognizes that this guy kinda looks like that other guy.

Everyone really needs to learn the definition of “within earshot.”

Gaignun extends a hand in friendship, and Shion distinctly notices that Junior isn’t the only dude around here that has been numbered for your convenience.

Shion is getting a weird vibe off this dude. Allen is threatened by the handsome, rich, inevitably hung like a horse mutant that is talking to his chief.

And Gaignun takes time out of his day to personally address lil’ Miss Macguffin.

I assure you, this statement is not nearly as creepy as this screenshot may make it appear. We’re saving that for Albedo.

MOMO has some concerns, and Gaignun… ignores them. “That’s right, little girl, your mother doesn’t give a damn. Where’s my brandy?”

On the way out, Gaignun takes a second to check out Allen’s pasty white butt. “That Summer we spent in Second Milan… no, that can’t be him…”

Scene change, now we’ve got Junior and Gaignun chilling in their posh office. They’re discussing KOS-MOS and that whole crazy space laser thing she pulled off a day or so back.

Gaignun is interested in Shion, presumably for completely platonic reasons. Incidentally, while Xenosaga didn’t need yet another cutscene, I kind of like this interaction here, as these two basically just met the RJWs, and, let’s be real, they’re a pretty weird lot. It humanizes the characters, and affirms that, yes, audience, odd stuff is happening. I wouldn’t mind a similar scene in, say, Final Fantasy 7 wherein Barrett and Red XIII discuss the fact that a dracula just crept out of a basement to join the party, and they’re supposed to be okay with this? I mean, I thought we’d draw the line at that ninja that tried mugging us back in the woods…

Anyway, yeah, within three seconds of your introduction, she pieced together that there might be something up with the two guys that look exactly the same and have eerie, glowy hand tattoos. She’s friggen Detective Conan here.

Junior is not very observant.

But he does know that Vector, and Shion by extension, are involved in a very classified project, one also involving a fellow named Helmer.

Ya know, there’s a whole lot of yakking about Zohars in this game, but we haven’t really seen them do anything. Well, except that bit where one disappeared an entire planet, but that wasn’t exactly intentional.

Junior suggests we all be a little nicer to our young robo guests.

Big Master sees right through Little Master.

Ah, that’s a fun thing to know.

There’s a little bit of debate on whether or not MOMO is right to hold an optimistic picture of her father. Legitimately, if you guys only met the dude upon his death, he probably wasn’t having a good day to begin with.

No, that isn’t a euphemism, Gaignun is basically saying Junior should just ask her out already. What’s the point of being rich if you can’t take your robo-girlfriend to your private beach?

Someone has a cruuuuuuuuush.

Gaignun considers he might be a little too hard on the little guy, so he forks over a gift.

Yay! Antique Guns! Perfect for a kid! Fun fact: due to a translation error, when Junior is using these guns in Episode 2, they’re misnamed “Makalov” guns.

Junior looks that gift horse right in the mouth.

“Remember when you nearly got our prize ship destroyed in a swarm of gnosis, but were saved at the absolute last moment by a literal deus ex machina? Good job.”

Is anyone surprised by this statement? Junior is actually older than Gaignun, and I can’t tell if Xenosaga expects you to be shocked, or if it’s a throwaway line, because, come on, we’re at least ten hours into this nonsense, you know everyone is hiding something, right? Speaking of which, we should probably take a look at…

Roger Smith performs a much needed job in a city of amnesia. Wait, no, thinking of something else…

Gaignun Kukai aka Nigredo aka URTV #669 aka billionaire industrialist Bruce Wayne is Batman.

Wait, no, wrong again. Gaignun is, bah, can we just get this out of the way? He’s another clone baby from the same batch as Junior and Albedo, thus, ya know, all their hair colors matching their “real” names, and the presence of a powerful telepathy between the trio (that was already mentioned by Mary). Gaignun appears to be the most successful clone, running/ruling the Kukai Foundation while Junior gallivants around the universe. Gaignun is generally helpful, and will assist the party quite a bit right up until the very moment it’s revealed that he’s secretly had yet another Xenosaga villain kicking around in his head this whole time. In the meanwhile, Gaignun is fiercely protective of his clone bro Junior, and kind of acts like… what’s that word where your lover gets all randomly jealous and mean when you mention your ex, even though there’s nothing to worry about? Albedo is the ex.

Anyway, back to Shion over in her quarters, seemingly depressed, but Allen is here to help out.

It’s nice that Allen cares about Shion enough to notice her overt depression. It’s not like Ziggy is swinging by to make sure everyone is alright.

Shion deflects, as usual.

Allen, gotta say, it’s nice to have a guy in a JRPG that is willing to sit down and listen and…

“WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT IN HERE, MOTHERFUCKERS? EMOTIONS? FUCK EMOTIONS! WE’RE GOING TO THE MOTHERFUCKING BEACH, MOTHERFUCKERS! *BUUUUUURP*”

We’re off to the beach! Ziggy and KOS-MOS both have excuses to not come out and play, because no one bothered to figure out how swimsuits would even work for these two. Don’t worry, that will be rectified in Episode 2.

This shuttle is right by the Elsa in the Dock, and it’s how we get down to the beach. Wooo! Spring Break!

Woo! Volleyball! Spring Break! … and I think Allen is drowning? Spring Break!

Shion takes this time to sit in a beach chair and flashback to happier, Kevin-related times. Aw, Kevin thinks KOS-MOS has a heart.

Ah, when Shion was young and naïve and could believe an android would have emotions.

Kevin is such a romantic. No wonder Shion is still daydreaming about this dude two years later.

I’m starting to wonder if the entire reason Shion looks like… Shion was so that when this girl is happy to hear something, you damn well know it. Shion is beaming at the thought of KOS-MOS being emotional.

Kevin doesn’t look as excited.

Head’s up: as mentioned before, Kevin is a complete maniac, but Shion only sees him through a thick lens of nostalgia and love. While this scene is framed to show a Kevin that seems to have the same delusions as Shion, in reality, this is much more like a guy who hates all of humanity realizing that he accidentally created a robot that is not only physically better than a human, but also, potentially, emotionally “better” as well. Take that, God, I’m better than everybody!

Anyway, Shion is quixotically searching for some hard data to confirm that KOS-MOS was being literally emotional when she “empathized” with MOMO back up on the park…

But, no dice. Hey, maybe spend less time looking for emotions during bot-bonding time and more when her eye color changed and she obliterated a gnosis fleet. Just a suggestion.

Allen… my God, Allen. Look, I’m no fashion plate. I own two pairs of pants, and I bought them randomly, incorrectly guessing at my proper size. I thought I was bigger? I don’t know. Half my wardrobe is funny t-shirts. I have no idea how hats are even supposed to work. And, all that said? Even I know that swimsuit is the worst idea ever. I mean, I guess it would work with a handlebar mustache and an exaggerated dumbbell accessory, but that’s about it.

MOMO perfectly sets up a “mom’s are tough” reference, but I’m going to just quietly lament the fact that I burned that one off randomly earlier in the LP.

Spent the last few years of their lives building a robot, and, whoops, turns out they have no idea how she works. If this sounds completely insane, well, yes, it is, but you’ve also probably never been an engineer that came in late to a project where the last three leads were either fired or quit while attempting to give security a wedgie. Documentation is for quitters.

Allen trails off here, because the last time Shion heard Kevin’s name from Allen’s lips, she threw scalding coffee at the Junior Chief’s face. He still has the scars…

Topic change, quick, before Allen is callously drowned.

MOMO reveals that she can read your DNA just by lookin’ at ya. Observational Realians continue to be equal parts adorable and frightening.

I look forward to a future where family units are even more confusing than today. “I’m my father’s step-mother’s sister’s clone-bot!” The Vision has nothing on these guys.

Oh, right, we’re still working on that “people can hear us” concept.

Junior shakes off the catty conversation about his genetics pretty quickly, and proceeds to brag about his swank beach and his ability to command the weather LIKE A GOD AMONG MEN.

Like a damn dick, Junior decides to literally rain on the parade.

Shion has… objections to this change.

Significant objections. This is actually kind of amusing if you consider that half of Shion’s techs are lightning-based. It’s less amusing when you remember that Shion is just a waddling homunculus of repressed memories.

chaos reminds us he’s still here by being concerned over Shion’s freakout. Hi, chaos!

Bye, chaos! Back at the Kukai office, we’ve got Gaignun talking to that Helmer fellow that was mentioned earlier.

I can’t tell you if this is insensitive or just annoying to someone like me that is terrible with names, but here’s the first black guy in the story, and he’s talking to Gaignun, who is also secretly known as Nigredo. I don’t have to explain why this is annoying, right?

Thank you, Gaignun. We’re on the same page.

For the record, Helmer is being nothing but nice here, he’s not some shadowy jerk like Margulis. Also, he’s voiced by Jet Black, so if you’ve never played Xenosaga, but have watched Cowboy Bebop, you should be able to hear this guy in your head easily.

Inferring from a scene or two back, it appears Helmer is on Second Miltia, and the package in question is the latest Zohar.

“We got twelve of them. Cool?” “Yep, cool.”

So, did the party tell anybody that they found Ariadne? Like, that had to be galactically important information, right? The Kukai Foundation seems to be pretty on the ball with their science, so they might have been able to figure it out, but I like to think chaos gave Junior a head’s up or something after that whole brouhaha last update. Anybody that had family on Ariadne deserves to know, but I don’t exactly see Ziggy issuing a press release.

Confirmation if it hasn’t been mentioned earlier: Mizrahi is the one who created these twelve Zohar Emulators, and he was the only one with the knowledge to pull that kind of sorcery off. Good thing he didn’t have an apprentice or anything!

“And we picked up a MOMO for giggles.”

For the second time in this update, someone points out how crazy plot-focused this crowd seems to be.

There’s a bit of discussion regarding U-TIC and whatever they’re up to, and Helmer volunteers to keep an eye on, basically, flight records to see where they’re going. If you think this practical and realistic idea will be helpful, you’ve never seen a JRPG plot before.

The odds are so good, in fact, we’ll see Margulis himself confirm this next update. Apparently U-TIC is also after…

U-DO, a little letter combination that will be super important soon enough.

U-DO sounds scary!

Anyway, let’s exchange pleasantries, close out this scene, and take a closer look at the two important characters introduced here.

Helmer is maybe the most helpful dude in the series. No, he unfortunately never joins the main party, but he’s constantly helping from behind the scenes, and, usually, if it looks like all is lost for our intrepid heroes, he’s the one with the plan that’s going to get everyone back to… well, “safety” is a relative term for anyone in Shion’s orbit… but Helmer will get them back to a place where there at least aren’t rifles immediately at their throats. Also, fairly miraculous for a character this good (“good” as in alignment, but he is also generally cool), Helmer will never reveal himself to have some secret, terrible agenda, and he actually survives the whole series. Go Helmer!

U-DO is… well, nobody knows. It’s the biggest mystery in Xenosaga. The only information we have for much of the series is that It was involved in the Miltian Conflict, Junior and his buddies were literally bred to kill It, and humanity has been suffering a whole heck of a lot of divine retribution ever since. Is U-DO related to the gnosis? Is U-DO related to the Zohars? U-DO could be anything, and our best scientists are baffled by the fact that, if you rearrange the O and D, and then rotate the U about 90 degrees, you get… Cod. Cod. What could that mean?

Back to the beach, and back to real clothes. Shion is apologizing for bringing everybody down when Junior offended his second special guest within 24 hours.

Once again, we’re given free reign to explore until calling it at a rest stop.

We can explore the beach area… but there’s literally no one around, and nothing to do here.

On the way out, Ziggy rejoins the party, now safe from the horrors of having to see Allen’s swimsuit.

Completely unceremoniously, Junior is now a member of the party. Like, he’s obviously been a focal character since we got away from Cathedral Ship, but this is the first he’s actually here on the status menu, and we can tinker with his skills and equips and whatnot at will now. We’ll look at him more in that regard when we hit our next battle scene. Note that KOS-MOS is back aboard the Elsa for diagnostics, and, spoilers, we won’t see her back with the group for a little while.

Incidentally, despite the fact that Junior has more money than U-DO, the party does not get a financial bump from Junior’s coffers. I guess Junior can’t be seen funding an “independent” group, but, without exaggeration, Shion will eventually be responsible for saving the entire universe and, distinctly, the Kukai Foundation (on two separate occasions!). But, no, we’re stuck trading in unicorn horns to scrape together enough dough to buy MOMO a helmet.

So here’s the Kukai Foundation, using Xenosaga Episode 1’s first and only “world map”. Landmarks are the beach in the northwest, the dock in the east, AGWS garage in the south, and Sector 27, the “town proper” in the center. There’s also some skyscrapers in the north, but they’re inaccessible, and just there for decoration, one supposes.

The AGWS garage is predominantly just a place to tune-up your AGWS, if you’re into that kind of thing. The only thing of value here is…

These stairs lead to Professor, a kooky old fellow that will, should you collect all the robot parts across the galaxy, grant Shion the most powerful ether in the game. It’s a game-long quest, and I’ll tackle it as its own update toward the end of the Episode 1 LP. It’s a fun quest, but given it has its own running narration, it will be covered when I don’t have to write “remember back during update x when…” more than I already do.

Here’s the dock, where you can hop on a shuttle back to the Durandal if you so desire.

This friendly woman will explain the “secret” of the Kukai Foundation that Allen was so worried about back on the Elsa. Basically, the whole place is swarming with gifted youngsters, mostly people “engineered” during the Life Recycling Act to have crazy, war-friendly superpowers. Unfortunately, despite this amazing premise (it’s like X-Men Disney World!), you never see anybody do anything interesting around here. Heck, I think the only mutants you see do anything remotely fun in this entire game are Junior, his bros, Mary, and Shelly.

Here’s Sector 27. Bad news, Xenosaga was released in 2002, so we’re not allowed to directly address the fact that the guy who owns this bar is a (shhhhhhh) homosexual.

Also, because it’s 2002, the not-gay bar is all about shirtless muscle dudes flexing for your enjoyment. Subtle, guys.

This poor lady lost her -Engagement Ring- at the beach. Welp, that looks like a sidequest. Been to the beach lately, Shion?

Gee, wonder why an enemy trap is just hanging out here on a perfectly safe city street. I sure hope that Xenosaga Episode 1 doesn’t pull yet another “here, explore a safe, town area, and later it will be swarming with enemies.” That would just be shocking.

Also, yes, this person is a jerk, so that way you don’t have to feel bad when you explode a poison canister in her face.

Thank you, Xenosaga, for basically including a Space Balls joke.

PAC-MAN PRESENCE CONFIRMED. KOS-MOS (Xenosaga) to Pac-Man (Pac-Man) to Mario (Super Smash Bros). Remember that for your next game of Six Degrees of Mario Mario.

So, remember that woman waaaaay back at the Dock Colony that was talking about her husband losing his -Fish Detector-? Well, here it is, presumably light years away, hidden in the coat pocket of a random suit at a laundry mat. There must be a NPC around here somewhere that gives you a clue to this location, but I haven’t seen him, so this seems almost completely “click A (circle) everywhere” random.

And with the Fish Detector, you can play a very lame fishing mini-game back at the beach. This might be the only fishing mini-game that is sub-Breath of Fire 1: all you do is run around in the ocean and hope you hit one of those “fish” markers on your radar. Come to think of it, it’s very similar to a certain scene in Final Fantasy 6.

Eventually, you’ll find a cold, clammy chunk of seafood with an engagement ring for Shion. But, wait, isn’t Allen back on the Elsa?

Yes, you can return the –Engagement Ring- to its owner and collect a door decoder that will eventually net you a robot piece. It pays to help completely random women in bars!

The Laundromat side of town is also dominated by the King Syndicate, a group of gangsters that are really bad at hiding their secret rooms. The game kinda toys with the idea that these guys might actually be plot relevant, but they’re mainly just here for the writers to mock “small time” heavies.

Here’s King himself, who shows off his amazing might by hammering a punching bag into oblivion…

And then daintily scampers off to chase his pet cat. Incidentally, “King” may be a Tekken reference, as there is a particularly strong fellow in that series named King who is also rather fond of cats. Or it could be a coincidence.

Anyway, I’m tired of this place, so it’s back to the inn so I can put Shion to bed.

There’s a giant safe at the inn that you’re not allowed to touch. This, and a number of other inaccessible locations around town pretty much confirm that this city will eventually catch the fiery dungeon bug.

I love that Shion could just take the shuttle up to her room on the Durandal, or sleep in her room on the Elsa (which is in the Durandal), but, no, Gaignun paid for Shion to have a room at the inn in town because I suppose it would be too much trouble to walk to the alternatives.

But, as Shion rests, I’m going to rest, too, and we’ll pick this back up next time. Whole lotta Kukai Foundation place setting this update, and now, in grand Xenosaga tradition, we have to blow it all to hell so we feel bad. Starting to understand why Shion is depressed?

Next time on Xenosaga:
Junior has a bullet just for you.

2 Responses »

  1. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode II Part 04: MOMO’s Big Day | Gogglebob.com

  2. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode II Part 05: Sympathy for the Devils | Gogglebob.com

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