Xenosaga Episode III Part 09: Shion Through the Ages

Previously on Xenosaga: Is it the 50’s? Or 1999? Nope, it’s fifteen years ago, and The Brews have inadvertently time traveled back to Old Miltia shortly before its destruction. Now Allen’s favorite onesie store won’t be open for another decade!

Picking this back up in the women’s dorm. Shion just awoke from a remarkably well-timed dream about her own past of fifteen years/minutes ago.

KOS-MOS is effectively dead, MOMO is chilling, and Shion just woke up. So the boys decided to have a big ol’ wang party?

Finally! Some new weapons are available in the shop. We won’t be using a single one this update, but it’s always good to get new stuff.

Scoot down to that gunroom and… Oh no! Something happened! (?)

“A little bit of a problem” is misplacing your Wawa Hoagie Card. This is losing the engine for your hulking war machines.

“We traveled through time. How can anything happen?!”

Oh, what’s the worst that could happen? Noted time travel documentary Time Cop made time travel seem pretty okay.

You mean this world specifically, or this time/space coordinate?

Matter cannot be created or destroyed. Plop some extra Shions into the wrong epoch and… the universe explodes. Yes, okay, I suppose that is worse than losing a random robot relic.

Oh, not the whole universe, just an entire galaxy or so? Well… uh… huh. That’s… still pretty bad!

Time travel is based entirely on bubbles? Now it is the beginning of a fantastic story!

Welp! Guess we’re screwed! Let’s just hope that when we detonate our younger selves, a paradox is created so we never went back in time in the first place. This… might sting.

Shion decides to go cry to her robot about this whole end of the universe thing.

“I mean, we’ve got a lot of scientists on the team, but are any of them physicists? I’m not sure we should be listening to a guy that runs a ‘Robot Academy’…”

So don’t buy any Miltian real estate? Got it.

Oh, Allen, anything you do will never have a dramatic effect on anything.

“Like that time you forgot to shower for three weeks, and everyone started calling you Assy Allen? Would you want to change that?”

We have a lot of fun at Allen’s expense here at the Xenosaga LP, but I have to say, I would probably be Allen in this situation. “We’ve gone back in time? Oh my God, don’t anybody touch anything!”

“Chief, you’re probably already crazy.” Also, reminder, she just woke up.

Yeah, that sounds like a good… Wait, no!

Shion has gotten to this point in her life almost exclusively by listening to Allen’s advice… and then doing the exact opposite. Let’s kick that space time continuum right in the ass!

Allen trails Shion for two hallways whining about what new brain things Shion’s tampering could create, but (here’s a shock) she isn’t hearing it.

Reminder: this entire planet is a literal war zone.

“Oh, go tell it to some elf.”

Anti-gnosis weapon capable of destroying entire planets > Assistant #2

So, yes, our “battle party” is exclusively Shion, and Allen is tagging along.

There is an extremely convenient path from the Elsa Cave back to the city. This means that, had we navigated the city just the tiniest bit, we could have avoided that whole stupid mine. Mrgrgr.

There are actually a few neat treasures to find on this world map, but some are roped off at the moment, so we’ll look at them all simultaneously in the sidequest update.

Almost to the city, but there’s a little interlude to cover.

Oh, now you don’t want to interact with the past. Whatever.

It wasn’t until this very moment that I realized how conspicuous Allen must be wearing his Vector uniform all over the galaxy for three games.

Anyway, looks like Federation Forces attacked this U-TIC transport and killed everybody. I’d make some comment about war being hell, but I’m pretty sure our party has killed more random soldiers than the clap.

And, hey, Suou Uzuki is helping with the investigation. We’re a little over an hour into the past, and Shion has encountered practically everyone she knows.

The “subjects” are clearly Realians. Virgil isn’t the only Federation Trooper in favor of Realian genocide.

Suou… doesn’t seem quite as caring as his daughter.

Really, U-TIC? You guys just leave your departed friends/property hanging out on some road, and assume the cleanup crew is going to swing by later?

Shion is a JRPG heroine, so she knows it’s her job to loot some corpses. U-TIC ID get!

Dress-up!

Did Shion grab the glasses again to record valuable data, or just because it makes her look more science-y? Anyway, Allen, we’re just gonna indulge in some light espionage in an enemy base. Your services are no longer needed.

Allen isn’t going anywhere, and Shion confesses she suspected Suou must have had some connection to U-TIC. Shion suspected this because Doctus told her that yesterday. So, new goal, time to infiltrate U-TIC and investigate daddy.

Beyond the U-TIC van is the city proper. I appreciate that someone bothered to stick The Song of Nephilim “top” within range of Shion’s mom’s hospital, so that one flashback in XS1 continues to make sense. There is a surprising amount of attention to detail in this series.

Anyway, here’s where the “real” town starts.

We’ve only ever seen Old Miltia completely wrecked, so here it is happy and operating. Looks kind of like Fifth Jerusalem.

Just a little more of a U-TIC presence.

Hey, don’t worry about it. Just because we’ve fought countless U-TIC soldiers doesn’t mean we have to fight these U-TIC soldiers.

I like that the Federation apparently predominantly uses an “artificial” army. Realians are weak to The Song of Nephilim, so normal types like Virgil have to be deployed.

And Shion elaborates that the reason there’s somehow a ground war in the age of interstellar giant robots is that civilians and the Zohar are too valuable to destroy… probably not in that order.

We’ve got our first official town since back on Fifth Jerusalem. Like the capital city, we will not be able to return to this area during its peaceful phase, so enjoy it while you can. Incidentally, you get two passes at this city area, so if I miss anything in this update, don’t worry, I’m saving it for the next trip (and not just because I forgot).

Aw, it’s an ice cream truck. Ice cream is a purchasable healing item, and the only disadvantage it has compared to med kits is that it goes straight to your thighs.

Ah ha ha, what jolly good fun. We can press that shiny button on the side and close the shutters on the ice cream truck. If you want, you may leave the poor vendor trapped in his truck, but we’re not horrible people, so we’ll open it up again. I’m sure that’s the right thing to do.

There’s also a lottery vendor across the street, but using future knowledge to cheat on the lottery would be wrong.

Further insane XS1 references: you probably don’t recall at all “Linda”, a woman waiting around on the highway during the encephalon dive complaining about her boyfriend being late. Then she turned into a gnosis. It didn’t have an impact on a damn thing, but here’s Piquet, waiting in the wrong spot for a woman doomed to become a gnosis. Or maybe Linda got it wrong. Whatever, it’s tragic or something.

Speaking of tragedy, here’s a bridge overlooking the opening playground area of that same encephalon dive.

And Kiddy Shion is chilling on that swing set Nephilim once used. I like how these little details make the whole situation seem more… ominous.

It’s a town, so there are a number of NPCs milling about with their scripted opinions. U-TIC is treated as a bunch of thugs…

Or absolute heroes. Guess that’s how war goes.

There are also delightful references to Jin’s beastliness during the war. If you see a green AMWS, run away!

There’s a clue to a sidequest here. Just remember to check the trashcans.

Labyrinthos doesn’t look so bad when it isn’t exploding or dropping corpses.

Wow, that’s a really profound thing to say… Dike? Your name is Dike? Hahaha, loser.

They should build a wall!

Okay, here’s the first Federal Report. This is explained a little later, but some mysterious Federation Soldier that is totally not Jin hid reports all over the city, and it’s your job to collect them. This one is pretty much in plain sight if you turn down the right street, and the kids earlier were providing a hint to another one, but most of the rest will be discovered when Old Miltia is a little more… hectic. You need to find all eight to complete a sidequest, so we’ll see if I remember to cap ‘em as I find ‘em.

City ends, big circular building begins.

This is the Acute Neurosis Treatment Facility. You will recall from the previous shot that it wraps around Labyrinthos proper, which should tell you everything you need to know about who’s running the place.

I guess identity theft isn’t really a thing in 4,000 years.

Nobody ever questions the woman no one has ever seen before that is blowing up cars in the parking lot.

I’m sure that won’t be relevant at all!

I guess there is a little bit of questioning. Luckily, Allen knows how to sound as nonthreatening as possible.

I know those names!

Here we are, inside the ANTF aka Shion’s mom’s “hospital”.

“You are not allowed to use traps here, even though this place will so obviously be a dungeon soon.”

I’d point out that Allen saw like one hallway of that hospital during the flashback, so how the heck did he correctly identify this building? On the other hand, I have no doubt that Allen has an eidetic memory when it comes to a certain female engineer.

I guess we’re referencing A Missing Year here, though Shion may have gotten the deets from Doctus at some point.

Wow! You figured out the building that is literally tied to Labyrinthos is tied to Labyrinthos. What’s your next case, Sherlock?

Feel free to explore the first floor and maybe blow some stuff up even though you were expressly told not to and are maybe destroying all of space and time.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I found this weird tile that shoves Shion aside. No idea what’s going on there.

Here is a stairwell. We’re not allowed to use it. Yet.

May as well use the elevator.

Shion oddly does not go immediately to the floor holding her mom. But I do!

But all we can access is a hallway and some Realians complaining about other Realians getting sent to Proto Merkabah and maybe filling in that plot blank on those weird readouts in the final XS1 dungeon.

Floors 2 and 3 are also restricted. Lame. Guess that leaves the plot and Floor 4.

Put all the experiments on the fifth floor, but management is on Floor 4? This isn’t a real building!

Random NPC Cecilia suggests that U-TIC and Labyrinthos are taking advantage of the number of Immigrant Fleet “test subjects” on this planet (and specifically in this city). I guess Cecilia is the only woman on the planet paying any attention.

A flashing console will reveal a password for a treasure on the world map. Yay, treasure!

Dr. Mizrahi’s office contains our next round of dialogue boxes.

“Hey! I hang out with your daughter all the time! No, not the dead one. Wait, is she dead yet?”

I can’t help but wonder if they set up Shion’s Realian mechanical skills (and not just empathy) in XS1 for this exact scene. Because Shion actually could do the job of a U-TIC Realian engineer, she immediately falls into line for Dr. Mizrahi.

And Shion compensates for any irregularities by claiming it’s her first day. Next she’s going to blame Tibor.

So the “subjects” here are being tested for their compatibility with Vessels of Anima.

Guess this explains what this building is being used for, and where we can get new (old) Vessels of Anima. Score!

Oh, silly Allen. Didn’t you know that our giant robots are powered by the very thing that lets man communicate with God? The manual was in the glove box!

So… Dr. Mizrahi is Sinestro? Well, that’s a twist.

And a complete lack of twist: Shion’s mom is a test subject. So Shion figured out that this was some kind of testing facility, and that her mom was specifically here, but she didn’t realize her mother might be a test subject? That’s… peculiar.

God, I’m glad he said his assistant’s name. I hate being at a new job, and your boss is like, “Get the file clerk”, and you don’t who that is, but you’re afraid to ask, and you wind up talking to the receptionist, and then you’re afraid that it looks like you’re not doing anything, and then… Wait… Kevin?

Mizrahi drone Macy notes that Kevin is a little on the weird side. Does he parade around in a flowing, red cloak? Constantly talk about building his own robot woman?

Elsewhere on the floor is a treasure chest under glass that is completely inaccessible. Gee, wonder what that means.

To maybe ease the “retcon” and Shion’s faulty memory, Allen comments that he’s never heard of Kevin’s previous employment under the head mad scientist of the galaxy. You really think that would warrant a mention.

They were this close to married, but the fact that they were both on the same planet at the same city in the same building with the same friends at the exact same time never came up.

“What did you do before you worked at Vector?”
“Eh, I dunno. Stuff.”

“You could have seen me naked! You have to wait another decade for that!”

I guess this is about where Shion gets it. Young Kevin just assumes she’s some doofy broad.

Young Kevin is kind of a jerk, but he seems fairly obedient towards Mizrahi. This will turn out to be a complete farce shortly.

Again, we have to throw a few bones to “why the hell didn’t Shion recognize him the first time”.

At this point, we’re about ten minutes from finding out Shion’s dog was involved with U-TIC. … I take that back, Shion is obviously a cat person. “Shion, I need to be cleaned, meow.”

Speaking of temperamental creatures…

Check it out! Young Kevin is already working on KOS-MOS!

This is exactly why I keep a USB drive on my keychain.

Shion recognizes that they might not be able to kidnap Young Kevin to repair KOS-MOS (though I’m sure she was thinking about it), but downloading KOS-MOS’s creator’s data is a fine consolation prize. This trip to break the timeline has been surprisingly fruitful!

Allen is forced to run interference.

Shion finishes up just as Kevin is reaching his Allen tolerance point. Kevin will remember that.

You guys really need to come up with codenames. How about “Red” and “Soiled Shorts”?

“Welp, we found the Vessels of Anima and a way to repair KOS-MOS, but I’ve still got daddy issues.”

Mizrahi thanks Shion for going next door and bugging his assistant, and the next job is to go upstairs and deliver some data. Science is bureaucracy!

Fifth floor. It still looks like we can’t go anywhere.

But if you talk to the door instead of the guard, you’ll trigger a scene that will move things along. Not very intuitive.

But it’s here because…

Squint a little bit, and you’ll see a Vessel of Anima.

Well, we knew they were in the building, now we know exactly where. Want to guess our next dungeon?

There’s an elevator going down to that secret basement here. Given what you just saw, you might think this is the way to those Vessels of Anima, but that would be too convenient. We will see this elevator again much later, and just in time for Fun Times™, too.

Random room, random psycho that claims to be protecting the area from Shion’s usual destructive tendencies. Glad someone is doing it.

Hiding in the corner of that same room is a woman that will reward you if you find all the Federal Reports scattered about Miltia. For right now, just remember she’s here. Find all eight later, and she’ll fork over a door decoder.

Ya know, you’re rewarded for finding all the Update Files, but they’re always “hidden” in plain sight. I can’t figure out if that’s a bad thing.


Search the right console, and you’ll get the full download on Tethlla Magus, Mai’s father. Apparently U-TIC faked his death at the mines, dragged him back here, and then actually (and accidentally) killed him. Note that since the whole Zohar/Anima connection thing is genetic, this means Mai is probably anima-sympathetic, too.

… This would be relevant if the story was interested in doing anything with Mai at all.

After checking this console, if you revisit Mai at any point, she’ll thank you for the information and hand over a door decoder. And that’s the full extent of Mai’s impact on Xenosaga.

Props to Xenosaga and its rigid policy on visual continuity. This hallway always makes me anxious.

Here we are, a completely bright and sunny hospital room where nothing will ever go wrong. That window has such a lovely view of The Song of Nephilim.

Subtle, Shion. Subtle.

Shion is… not just talking to herself here.

Shion! Timeline!

Shion is pissed off, and Suou completely ignores this woman that looks a lot like his wife and daughter that is mysteriously freaking out. I know most people wouldn’t assume time travel first thing, but I’d at least believe this is a long lost sister or something.

Suou justifies whatever is happening here with “she’s fine.” Shion, don’t you understand being fine?

“Young lady, go to your room!”

Had to go through like six security checkpoints in this building, but Kiddy Shion is cool to wander around wherever.

“Wow, Chief, you were adorable as a kid.”
“Allen, shut up.”

Shion, cantankerous U-TIC employee that Suou just met, volunteers to take lil’ Shion home. Eh, whatever gets her out of his hair. … Either “her”.

Shion does what she does best: lie to herself.

“I just happen to know this. You’re eight, don’t ask questions.”

Kiddy Shion wants to go back and see Virgil and Feb at the church, though.

No problem! Shion lives to indulge her younger self (and no one modeled the Uzuki residence).

On the way back through the lobby, Shion decides to blow up a chandelier for no damn reason.

Oh, wow, who would have guessed? Kiddy Shion is the little girl that waters the flowers in front of the facility.

I wonder if Kiddy Shion always wearing a white dress is a sign that Suou is a lousy father. Her chief activity seems to be playing in dirt, so… stain resistant future clothes?

There’s probably some deliberate parallel here with Feb giving Shion seeds to plant, and Shion later helping Luty with seeds during a couple of sidequests, but Luty doesn’t show up in this game, so whatever.

Have I mentioned before that, while I am currently single, one of my greatest fears is a lover somehow encountering my teenage self? I was such an asshole!

This scene is kind of incidentally important. If you haven’t noticed yet, Shion has Kevin blinders: she basically transforms into a mewling kitten every time he shows up in flashbacks or even gets mentioned in the present. Not that I blame her, mind you, I’m all about romanticizing dead (kinda) loved ones. Here, even if it’s just a jerkass teenage Kevin, Shion is taking her first steps to acknowledging that Kevin is this jerkass just as much as he’s eventually the mature, genocidal adult she fell in love with. Also, don’t diss gardening around Shion.

But we see that same parallel we saw with adult Shion and Kevin in their engagement flashback. Kevin naturally believes in war and fighting robots, Shion believes in planting gardens and loving every non-Allen creature in the galaxy.

Though Shion doesn’t quite get it yet.

Scene over, moving along.

And just to make things a little easier, Kiddy Shion reveals a shortcut behind the ice cream vendor for accessing the church. Good. Didn’t want to go through that mine again. This isn’t The After Years.

Quick walk through the woods…

Ah, looks like Shion wasn’t the only Uzuki with wanderlust. Then again, Jin left to check on an experimental surgery patient, and Shion just wanted to yell at her dad.

Virgil puts the patient in patient.

Jin, who has been a professional spy off and on for years, is a surprisingly terrible liar. I’m pretty sure this is the truth!

THE WORLD MUST NEVER KNOW THERE ARE TWO WOMEN NAMED SHION ON THIS PLANET.

D’aww.

Virgil objects to cute at first, but eventually accepts. Ya big softie.

Virgil’s entire character arc is plainly stated… now.

When he was bleeding out on the ground, sniffing Realians on the Woglinde, or fifteen years ago that is right now?

And Feb is doing fine, too! She’s perfectly healthy… with such plentiful organs!

Virgil rather starkly attempts to repel Feb’s kindness with “ya know, I kill Realians, right?” Feb takes it in stride.

Virgil is suicidal at the prospect of all this compassion. If Kiddie Shion fires up an episode of My Little Gnosis, he’s going to keel over right here.

Does Virgil even have a “content” face portrait?

Feb wants everyone to live in peace. Good for her! She also makes reference to Cecily and Cathe, the two most doomed Realians on a planet full of ‘em.

There’s something important here that we’ll cover in a minute.

Shion tries to give Feb hope for the future. Ya know, Shion is all about breaking time and space for some parental abuse, but she’s tight lipped about maybe giving Feb a hand with her… everything.

Alright, here’s the thing: I feel like this is one of the most subtly religious things in gaming. Like, okay, this is a JRPG, and, nine times out of ten, that means you’re going to be slaying “god” by the end of the game. It’s a pretty common trope, and its corollary is that if there’s a religion in a JRPG, odds are it’s completely terrible and trying to kill everybody.

You may recall that we’ve already had Space Pope and Ormus/The Immigrant Fleet literally trying to kill the universe with something that looked a lot like Catholicism. And, as it continues, Margulis is a “true believer”, and apparently in the same(ish) boat as Pope Jackhole. That said, as we move forward, we’ll get the other side of religion with chaos, a devout Christian that is only ever trying to help the universe, and Shion, who is an unending fountain of empathy when she’s not having a bad day. And, while it’s still kind of a nebulous “JRPG vaguely Western religion” at the moment, there will be no question that this is and has been Christianity by the time Jesus friggen Christ shows up. That kind of clinches it.

But here we have Feb. Feb, when she’s not participating in horrendous experiments, appears to be the only person maintaining this derelict church. Feb cares for the sick, even if they are enemies. Feb prays at the altar. Feb hopes for a better world where everyone can live in peace. Feb shares her faith with local children. In short, Feb is the model Christian, and, as I joked before, practically a nun.

And ya don’t program an experimental Realian to be a nun.

So I keep coming back to the fact that Feb, an artificial biological life form preprogrammed for one particular purpose, is religious. She may have been programmed for empathy, or to be helpful, but that good ol’ fashioned religion seems like a lot of unnecessary code. Which means that Feb came to religion on her own (and it seems like at least one of her handlers isn’t much of a believer), which means that, independent of the God delusion that is theoretically part of human DNA, she decided, “Yes, this God thing seems legit. Let us pray.”

I’m neither praising nor bemoaning this decision, but it seems unnaturally (for a JRPG) religion-positive that the most overtly “good Christian” in this franchise is effectively an AI. One way or another, that was a premeditated story beat from somewhere.

Either that, or Mizrahi was just completely insane. There is evidence for that…

But in the meanwhile, just keep this in mind for later when I inevitably write the post “And I’m his friend Jesus: Xenosaga and Religion”.

Now back to mocking Xenosaga for believing in anything. So, what’re we praying about?

Alright, before Jin and Shion have a sadgasm, it’s time to change the scene.

Hey! I know this place! This is the Proto Omega room where the party first met Space Pope during XS2. Guess we’re deep in Labyrinthos.

And an unscarred Margulis is chatting with an up-and-walking Sellers. And, hey, fun fact, it was Kevin that decided to preemptively frame Mizrahi for the fall of Old Miltia. Welp, guess that answers that question (“Is Kevin a dick?”).

Cecily and Cathe are a little easier to stomach from a distance, but this is still a pair of dudes casually chatting over mutilated children.

You know that whole “End of Miltia” thing that is going to lead to the deaths of billions? Well, these guys know it’s coming, and they’re just making sure their own dudes make it off the planet alive. If you want to feel better about the situation, recall that they won’t make it off with their precious Zohar or Proto Omega, even though it’s clearly in a position that they should be able to hang onto.

Sellers reveals that Mizrahi maybe knows what’s coming, and is staying tight lipped on anything truly important. It’s cool, I wouldn’t trust Sellers, either.

Hey, guess what’s actually going to happen!

And that’s the chapter, folks. Aw, Feb, don’t look so sad.

Another chapter that lasted just about an hour down. You’ll note that there was a complete lack of combat this entire update, and, even if you wanted to explore old dungeons, your entire party was Shion, so I don’t think that would end well. That said, this chapter isn’t terrible, as it lets you explore Old, Doomed Miltia, and there’s always that kind of macabre joy in exploring a town on the cusp of destruction. Or maybe I’m a psychopath. Regardless, this chapter was almost entirely just laying pipe for what comes next, so let’s get ready to crumble!

Next time on Xenosaga: Retcontinue?

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  1. Pingback: Xenosaga Episode III Part 12: Another Stupid War | Gogglebob.com

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