Xenosaga Episode I Part 12: Hero’s Journey (to Jail)

Previously on Xenosaga: Junior offends a party member, beach party, Junior offends a party member.

We resume with Shion awakening from a quick nap at Our Treasure, a lovely little B&B in town. Time to stretch our legs and work on the robot.

Over at the port, the Durandal is only ever a cable car away.

And now we’re back on the Elsa, itself inside the Durandal. Russian nesting doll saga.

A nice snooze is all that’s necessary to overcome years of repressed childhood trauma.

Meanwhile, back at U-TIC base…

All Margulis does when he’s not kidnapping little girls is Skype with various bad guys. Here’s Dr. Strangelove reporting on the latest evil science news.

I believe it was Dr. Mrs. Mizrahi and her gang that were talking about using the Y-Data to open a way to Old Miltia, and, potentially, “Lost Jerusalem”. Here’s U-TIC trying to brute force it. It’s not working.

Margulis is not pleased, and Pellegri seems vaguely amused by the situation. Business as usual.

Scientist envy.

Reminder: U-TIC was basically founded by Mizrahi… but nobody seems to think he was anything but a mad scientist. I guess they’d know…

“Donkey brains sure knew how to use a Zohar.”

Gasp! Mysterious things are happening!

Ah, it appears U-TIC knows MOMO’s exact location and situation… even though she’s only been there a day.

“Don’t break the MOMO.”

Margulis says he has his best crazygonuts on the job, and Strangelove replies that he’s not a fan of Albedo’s absolute insanity.

I believe this is the first Margulis mentions reporting to his boss. If you thought Margulis was in charge of U-TIC, nope, there’s a bigger shark in this food chain. Additionally, as we already know, U-TIC is manipulating the space government.

Oh, here’s crazypants in his crazy mech.

Albedo is told to chill with his Realian copilot, but if things go south for U-TIC, Albedo has orders to use…

BUM BUM BUUUUUUM.

Of course, we get no additional information on what the Song of Nephilim actually is. Though, I suppose this means that it’s Albedo that is the bard class.

Whatever it is, Margulis finds it… unsavory. I guess this guy is a religious extremist, so he probably has the same reaction to fornication and canned soup.

Albedo shows mutual disdain for his “superior”. Ally? Well wisher?

Pellegri finally officially names Albedo, and calls him a URTV, which is also the first we’ve heard that term (in game, at least). She doesn’t elaborate too much about what that means, but she does mention that URTVs were a result of the Life Recycling Act…

Pellegri doesn’t miss an opportunity to rub gnosis in the wound. Or point out that LRA survivors might not be the most reliable underlings. Or both.

But Margulis isn’t worried… because Albedo is a Time Lord? The hell?

Pellegri is concerned about this whole song thing, though. I bet it’s one of those that really gets stuck in your head…

Guess Albedo is going to have company. And on that ominous note, we leave U-TIC for…

Yay! More KOS-MOS diagnostics!

Shion is dreading her return to Second Miltia. Oh, Shion, you have nothing to worry about, you’ve still got half a game in front of you.

Allen is concerned about Shion’s mental state, but she shrugs it off and keeps working on KOS-MOS. That’s actually KOS talking there, mimicking her mother’s ability to deflect. They grow up so fast…

Allen performs his best pose for the cover of Sad, Boring Romance Tales #1.

Back to the bridge of the Durandal where there’s at least the possibility of something happening, here’s Mary steering the whole damn Kukai Foundation “planet bubble” toward Second Miltia.

Simultaneously, Junior is checking on MOMO over in the Residential Area.

Oh! Oh! He wants her space number!

Junior has a gift for MOMO. A really, really inappropriate gift.

Junior, I know you like your guns and… geez… do you think maybe the metaphor here is a little… on the nose? A bullet? For Lil’ Miss Constantly Kidnapped? I mean, I know it’s an “old” bullet, but this poor gal spent an entire day getting shot at back at U-TIC HQ.

And it’s inscribed with Junior’s favorite victory phrase. Junior… couldn’t you have gotten her Card Captor Sakura DVDs or something she might actually already like?

MOMO is just happy to get a gift at all, I suppose. Real talk: while Ziggy absolutely cares about MOMO, he’s not the most… emotive cyborg. We already know MOMO’s adoptive mother barely wants to talk to the poor bot, and daddy is dead/insane. This, really, might be the most affectionate thing anyone has done for MOMO for, like, years. Kind of sad…

But Junior takes it back for a moment to uses some crazy Junior magic ether on it, and…

Turns the bullet into a wrist charm? That’s a really weird super power you have there, Junior.

Again, MOMO is just happy to be included.

She won’t be happy in about five seconds, though, when an entire fleet of military cruisers descend upon the Kukai Foundation.

Yep, it’s the government, and they brought an epic army. Break out the beef jerky, guys, this might take a while.

Let’s see what that government has to say.

Welp, they’re claiming Junior and company did something pretty bad.

Apparently, there’s some recording of the Durandal doing… something, and the Kukai Foundation and Second Miltia are being blamed.

The only valid response involves sending every ship in the galaxy to surround our heroes right the hell now.

And already it’s pretty clear that this little coup came together so effectively because there’s more than a little jealousy aimed at Junior “I have my own private planet/beach” and company.

And apparently they know about the Zohar projects, too, and there’s concern there. Personally, I don’t blame them. I would barely trust most companies with a length of string, left alone a series of gigantic spiritual artifacts.

A more level head points out that, come on, this is like accusing Las Vegas of attempting to take over South Dakota or something.

And one dude outright says what we’re all thinking.

Dr. Mrs. Mizrahi pops in to point out that everyone is being crazy, so shut-up.

“Have you forgotten that it was Miltia that produced the lunatic that summoned the Gnosis and tried to destroy the Federation?”

“Think you I would forget such a thing? No, but neither do I seek revenge against them.”

“Baby, let me mansplain this whole thing to your feeble lady brain…”

In one of the few bits of Xenosaga that isn’t subtitled, the whole room erupts into a cacophony of random shouting… just like real politics! Eventually everyone is told to shut it.

And Helmer takes the floor! Helmer will make it all better…

Probably. In the meanwhile, THE BREWS are back at the Durandal getting arrested.

Allen, for once, speaks for the group.

And now we know what’s going on. Apparently someone sympathetic to U-TIC doctored the footage of the Durandal destroying the U-TIC ships (back during Junior’s introductory chapter) to appear as if the Durandal destroyed… the Woglinde!

Woglinde Survivor is confused. Incidentally, it’s really clever of Xenosaga’s writers to, almost retroactively, sew together everyone’s separate origin stories into one cohesive “gotcha” that screws the present, combined party.

Junior recognizes the exact last time he used his laser barrage.

Ziggy is concerned. Gaignun seems like he merely lost a challenging game of chess. He basically did.

Shion was literally on the Woglinde, though, right? Surely she can…

Oh, yeah, I guess it is convenient that Shion and Allen were immediately rescued by a Kukai-owned ship. And wasn’t there another federation soldier with you at the time of pickup? What happened to him, hm? An accident, you say?

Allen reduces the possible destruction of an entire multi-galactic company/government and millions of people to “do you think my boss is mad at me?”

Finally! Lapis gets a spotlight episode! I’ve been waiting for this ever since the first half of Season 1… wait… what? Oh, I’m thinking of something else. This is Captain Lapis Roman of Space Government, no relation to any other spacefaring Lapis.

“By the power vested in me by these pigtails, I place you all under arrest!”

Allen, try to show at least a token amount of resistance.

Come to think of it, they don’t even try to fudge together some charges for Ziggy… who is working on an official government mission.

Shion reacts to this exactly as you’d expect: really concerned they’ll take away her baby, but, like everything in her life, she just pushes it all down into her seventeenth ulcer.

And since we all know this is pretty much a secret U-TIC operation, MOMO is targeted and dragged away screaming.

Alright, I should be making a crack about how detaining the JRPG party in close proximity to each other always works out well for villains, but we’ll see that this is very deliberate in a moment.

Despite Junior attempting to fight off an entire army with just his itty bitty baby hands, the party is officially arrested and hauled away.

Back in their cell (which is just a random Durandal room), a handcuffed Ziggy comments that this whole thing is a little too efficient.

This is a really chill group of prisoners.

“As a neutral territory, Second Miltia was invested with a whole bunch of rights and legal privileges after the Miltian Conflict. There are a whole lot of folks who still have problems with that, even outside of the U-TIC Organization.”

Alright, yes, people are jealous of the Space 1%, we get it.

And it all comes together that Ziggy’s infiltration of U-TIC was maybe a little too easy. If Ziggy failed, then U-TIC retained MOMO; if Ziggy succeeded, then MOMO would eventually wind up at Second Miltia, and U-TIC would get to take a swing at Miltia/Kukai, and all their sweet Zohars. Pretty good plan, aside from all those U-TIC soldiers Ziggy slaughtered.

I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what Ziggy just postulated.

Allen, having learned absolutely nothing from Junior’s ability to offend MOMO last update, says the exact weeniest thing.

Not pictured: Shion then immediately chastises Allen, and Allen slumps over like a sad labrador.

Meanwhile, Lapis hands Gaignun a box. Intrigue!

And the box contains a cell phone with a direct line to none other than Helmer.

Helmer saves!

Turns out Lapis does work for the government, but she’s also one of Helmer’s agents. Space Government is pretty much wall to wall double agents.

Gaignun gets the word to cooperate and all will be well. Good thing she’s not a triple agent, because Gaignun now trusts her implicitly.

Oh, looks like Helmer has to take another call now. Also looks like Helmer somehow is using a 1920’s rotary phone receiver despite it being the year 4400 or so.

I want to say this is the first Wilhelm is identified as the CEO of Vector, and not just some random shadowy dude that converses with cloaked schemers.

Wilhelm is here to help!

Wilhelm is not only going to put in a good word for Second Miltia with the bigwigs, he’s also throwing his own warship into the mix. Surely that won’t escalate the situation.

U-TIC’s plans are so “covert” that they’re detectable galaxies away. Well, alright, Wilhelm (of course) has an inside man this time, but if Shion could figure this one out, it’s still a valid observation.

And what could that be, Helmer?

Oh yeah, that’s the stuff. Looks like U-DO is… some kind of malevolent o-zone layer? Alright, sure.

Is Wilhelm a bad guy? Well, he just called KOS-MOS “it”…

“Him” in this case is Gaignun, whom Wilhelm coyly notes must be in contact with Helmer.

And then Wilhelm subtly reverts to calling KOS-MOS “she”. What do you know, Willy?

When asked why he’s being so generous, Wilhelm gives the slick answer of, “ya know, we are a bunch of scientists.”

And here’s the genesis of that infamous sound bite as we close the scene. Major U-DO concerns.

Confirmed angel (wait, not literally) Lapis shows up for interrogation.

And drops the ruse almost instantly. Sorry, but it was still too late for this pair of Allen pants.

“Ya know, that soldier without a name. Him. He’s mute.”

“So, let’s review. You’re in jail. You know that part, right?”

MOMO is still the macguffin of the game.

“You guys seem pretty on the ball. Could you maybe solve this problem without me having to get up?”

Incidentally, it’s a tiny thing, but Shion takes point with this idea and the idea that will eventually save the day. Even though Helmer is ultimately responsible for the benevolent “conspiracy” that will keep everyone safe, it is the actual heroine of the piece that does the most immediately accessible heroic work here, so good on Xenosaga for not just creating a problem and then banishing it just as easily with a deus ex machina. Well, a different deus ex machina.

Anyway, Woglinde log is a no-go.

Reminder: Junior is a violent idiot.

And the Durandal’s own logs are too easy to modify, so that one’s out. Considering we’ve already seen Mary and Shelly use their capability to directly plug computers into their brains, I can see why there’d be suspicion.

So the crew needs a more… precise data recorder. Uh… aren’t at least two party members half computer to begin with? And one…

… Is just a walking computer built to record all the data ever for the number one science firm in the galaxy.

Yep, she’ll work.

Allen objects, because he would rather keep his job secure than see the child that is standing right there be handed over to terrorists.

But we don’t need permission if we just hop into VR and replay the logs! Yay!

Waaaaaaah!

Shion, I checked, and you’ve been beholden to protocol once this entire adventure. It was back when you were doing dishes, and you were using it as an excuse to hang out with KOS-MOS more. Other than that, you’ve been terrible at following the rules, and probably only still have a job because your boss and coworkers seem to be afraid of you yelling. But, yeah, sure, this is you breaking the rules for the first time.

But we still have to actually reach KOS-MOS to complete this plan, so Lapis sets the inmates free. I guess she can’t just escort them over there with some kind of evidence gathering pretense? Aren’t Shion and Allen officially just witnesses anyway?

Lapis is all in on this crazy plan.

Ziggy is elected chief lady puncher on account of the fact that the rest of the room’s combined weight is equal to Ziggy’s left thigh. This… Ziggy scanning the room and acknowledging he’s the only one that can throw a punch… might be my favorite moment in the game.

Ziggy knocks out Lapis, and incidentally knocks out No Name. Ziggy takes no pleasure in violence.

Junior is a dick.

But there are other, less cooperative guards. The party doesn’t have their weapons, and while Ziggy might be able to throw a haymaker, nobody animated his battle moves without his weaponry, so the only combatant left is the one that naturally attacks with his bare (not bare) hands, chaos. Remember how I said you could make it through a lot of this game without ever using chaos? Well, here’s the first battle in the game that absolutely requires chaos’s participation.

And it is maybe Xenosaga’s most subtle gameplay/plot fusion. For this battle, and this battle only, chaos is absolutely invincible. Every shot fired by the enemy will miss, and chaos will land his blows with no problem. It’s a wonderful concession made to everyone that never used chaos prior to this battle, and subtly indicates that chaos might be holding back a tweak during the day to day activities of the party.

Anyway, the battle is closed in about a minute, and kind, gentle chaos explodes a pair of soldiers into showers of blood.

So we’re now free to roam, but we don’t have our weapons back yet, so we’re kind of stuck in one hallway at the moment.

Yes, right, thank you, chaos.

I like that MOMO takes a moment to affirm Lapis is fine. Ziggy reassures her that he didn’t go all out, and I’m sure the reason we barely see Lapis from this point on is only because she’s a minor character, and not because cyborg knuckles capable of exploding U-TIC soldiers might cause irreparable harm to a skull.

The items/weapons are in one single chest approximately twenty feet from the party. There’s also a shop here, so if you want to stock up for the dungeon(s) ahead, feel free. It’s probably a good idea.

The Durandal at large is now a dungeon with soldiers patrolling the halls. Your goal is to make it over to the Elsa (and KOS-MOS). Given you already had to explore all the “required” areas of this trip previously, you should know exactly where you need to go, and there’s little reason to deviate from the path. It’s a pretty straightforward, easy “mini” dungeon. A stark contrast from Cathedral Ship (and what’s coming next).

Since this is the first dungeon where Junior is part of the real party, I slid him in there to play with a few techs. Seems Junior has a Tech Attack that allows him to hit all enemies as a matter of course. Where were you during the last dungeon when I needed you!?

The Durandal’s casino is still open for business during the governmental siege. It’s a good place to rest if you’re somehow having trouble with the soldiers. You probably won’t, though, as this whole area is basically a test drive for your current party members (not unlike the siege of the Elsa back when Ziggy and MOMO joined).

Soldier enemies are even lame runners compared to gnosis enemies. Shion can easily outpace these guys if you don’t feel like battling.

MOMO hasn’t seen combat since practically the U-TIC base, so here she is, calling down meteors or whatever. Gogo did it better than MOMO.

A previously inaccessible area (in Shion’s Durandal room, incidentally) is now available and hiding the Armory Key.

You can wait until things calm down, or you can scoot over there immediately and pick up some goodies (and a door decoder) from the Durandal Armory. Geez, you’d think that would be the first place the cops would lock down…

After a few trifling battles and a few more hallways, we find the Elsa… locked. Dammit, Allen, I’m blaming you for this!

But there’s a “hidden” staircase that will lead all the way around and…

You can board the cargo elevator that KOS-MOS used as a weapons platform a couple updates back. It’s the elevator that keeps on giving!

The Elsa is empty (guess that lock worked out), so finding KOS-MOS is just a matter of remembering where her maintenance bay actually lies from back during curry delivery time. You have another opportunity to shop with Elsa Bots on the way over… and it might be a good idea to stock up on healing items.

And there. Time to VR up some data and call this mission a success.

This should be pretty straightforward, just like our first VRventure back on the Woglinde. Shion hops into Virtual KOS-MOS World while Allen works the console and occasionally sweats through the floor.

Allen, that’s sweet, but this is like reassuring someone before they hit the ATM. “I’m going to be right here with you, even if you forget your pin and we have to wait for you to remember, I’m not going anywhere!”

Shion’s equipped with her Virtual Boy, and the rest of the party is milling about. Maybe we’ll have a boss battle where Shion and KOS-MOS have to be protected by the reserve members? I don’t know, this should be pretty easy.

Nope! All of reality breaks down for some damn reason! Sorry guys, no easy data grab for you!

And Shion is transported… somewhere not good?

Wait, no, now she’s… at a playground? That looks… nicer? Who’s that on the swing set?

Oh, it’s a younger version of Shion. Alright, yes, reality is well and truly done for today.

And Daddy’s home!

Yep. This is why nobody wants to adopt virtual reality, way too much potential for mind-breaking time travel.

We’ll break here for the day, because coming up is the signature Xenosaga TMI Data Dump and Dungeon, so get ready for another big ‘un next update. This update was just the tail-end of the post-Cathedral Ship vacation, now it’s back to work straight through to the finale (of the episode). Worlds will live! Worlds will die! Shion will only be responsible for a couple of ‘em!

Next time on Xenosaga: They fuck you up, your mum and dad.

2 Responses »

  1. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode II Part 02: Crosstown Traffic | Gogglebob.com

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