(part twenty-six)

So it seems that while the surface dwellers live in a constant state of lack of historical context, aside from the occasional slide-show, Shevat totally knows all about history! A never-ending stream of weirdly dressed NPCs want to enlighten you via a series of mind-numbing lectures!

Oh my god, do we have to?

Many of which involve Roni Fatima, the founder of Aveh and Bart's great-great-etc-grandfather!


This is going to be a very long day.

TO WIT: Once upon a time, Solaris and the Gazel ministry basically ruled the world! And life sucked for everyone who was not Solaris or the Gazel ministry, which was pretty much everyone, statistically speaking. And so, as has been stated many times, war broke out between Solaris and Shevat about five hundred years ago. Shevat was helped out by a rebel army on the surface led by one Roni Fatima and his gang of lovable psychotic misfits, about whom we will probably not ever hear more about, as there is no way they could possibly be relevant to life today. They would have to be immortal or something! Anyway, the good guys finally got a hit in on Solaris's citadel and put a stop to their attacks, but almost immediately another set of enemies came along and killed pretty much everyone everywhere. These were the Diabolos, who will never be adequately explained. But no matter: they were all due to that man!


And then Roni Fatima destroyed them all in his giant robot, because Roni Fatima was just awesomeness on a stick, apparently. As was his giant robot! It was a previously mentioned plot device called an Omnigear, and it's now the treasure of the royal family of Aveh.

I knew it! I knew both those things! So where is it?

Alas, the NPC is only programmed with three screens of dialogue and does not take questions.

Ugh, it's like a goddamn cocktail party in here.

Anyway, Solaris is still essentially in control of everything, and they implant limiters in surface dwellers to make them magically forget that Solaris exists. Handy! And now they and Shevat use something called gates to separate themselves from the surface and each other, which is a technology developed by Krelian, the de facto ruler of Solaris. Krelian used to be a surface dweller soldier, but he earned enough JP to switch to the molecular scientist job class, and now he lives to make everyone else miserable. Solaris is pretty much thumbs up on that anyway, so cool for them.


There's more, but this narration is bored now. Onward!

So are you going to help us?

Well, it's not like our calendar's full or anything.

Suddenly, the ground starts shaking!


But we're in the sky!


Maria and an engineer come running in and breathlessly tell the party that there's an intruder in the giant robot dock and the gate generator has been destroyed!

Is that bad?


We're on it!

Fei and company head out to see what the hell is going on, but not before Maria joins the party. Didn't quite dodge that bullet. Maria has a nicely tricked out giant robot, but it's in the giant robot dock that's been invaded. She is unfortunately useless on foot, as she is literally a twelve year old girl.

Maybe we won't have to do any on foot fighting. The giant robot dock is just down a bit on the elevator, right?

The elevator is out of service.

That's bad!

But there's an emergency shaft!

That's good!

The emergency shaft is a dungeon.


That's bad.

Why is the emergency shaft a dungeon?

...Huh. I never really thought about it.

Ha ha, oh, Shevat. It is also a boring dungeon, planted there purely to waste precious time in an emergency, so we are just going to skip it and the many glorious battles found within. There are bitches in our giant robot dock!

Okay, just one bitch.

You guys again?

Haven't we killed you like twice now?

No. Anyway, Seibzhen is Solaris's and I'm taking it. It beats the hell out of a pink dolphin.

But Seibzhen is my giant robot!

Say, aren't you Nikolai's daughter?

That's me!

You should probably know that this giant robot is cursed.


That's bad.

Domina has a story to tell! Solaris is pretty big on giant robots, but there's always been the problem of that pesky pilot fucking things up and hitting the wrong buttons or falling asleep or whatever. The obvious solution would be to scrap the giant robots entirely and start funding a program for better guns, and maybe go into cybernetics if you are feeling fancy. Unsurprisingly Solaris did the exact opposite and kidnapped Nikolai -- who is apparently a brain surgeon or something and not a giant robot engineer at all -- and forced him to think up ways to merge a pilot with a giant robot. So you could have giant robots with thoughts and feelings and maybe an internal organ or two! God, this really is a Michael Bay movie.

That's a lie! And really gross!

I haven't even gotten to the part about zombies yet!

Yeah, remember those zombies? Supposedly the reason that Solaris has been mass producing zombies and dumping them on the surface is to do test runs on specific mutations, see which ones work best for... eating people? and then taking those back to Solaris, slicing them up, and implanting bits of them into giant robots as their "nerve circuits."

Seibzhen was the prototype! Hundreds of people died so you could have your giant robot! You still want it?

...That depends. Do they still eat people?

I hear the unmistakable high-pitched buzz of girls talking in here!

It's Jesiah! What is he doing here?

This was supposed to be my character arc, remember? Abandoning my wife to die and my kids to get eaten by Catholics so I could find the creepy giant robot?

Anyway, Dominia, Maria is the only person who can operate Seibzhen, so scram.

Well, I took out the gate, so I'm done here. Later, fags!

Dominia escapes by unspecified means, and Maria sulks over these new revelations about her father. Jesiah tells her to forget everything the bad guy told her. That is the same line he gave Billy and it didn't work then, but he figures he'll eventually come across a grieving child gullible enough for it. Suddenly, the plot alarm goes off!

Well, sounds like there are intruders upstairs now.

But it took us so long to get downstairs!

Quit your bitchin', Fei! The party goes back upstairs. The news is grim!

Dominia weakened the gate output, and now there are Solarian giant robots on a high speed intercept course to destroy Shevat's four gate generators. We have put together a defense, but it would seem that Shevat's military force has lately consisted of Maria, so nobody knows anything about giant robot fights.

We know all about giant robot fights!

You're hired.

Nobody is particularly crazy about the idea of fighting freelance, but it's not like they're busy.

Chu-Chu's going chu help too!

OH GOD when did that get here

In all the bustle she just sort of slipped out.

Well, slip it back in!

Nope, I'm going to help chu! And hit on chu relentlessly! I thought I knew, the magic of chu, and the chu kissed me...

Fei, leave the pink thing alone, we need to discuss our plan.

There are four units approaching to take out all four of Shevat's gates, so we are going to have to break up into four groups. However, they have a giant robot as back up that we do not have any information on.


That's Achtzhen! Seibzhen's sister model! It was the second giant robot my father built!

You guys could have gone for a more accurate naming scheme, you know.

But he never finished it! And he said he destroyed the plans! Hmm, maybe it isn't Achtzhen.



This is Achtzhen!

Why is my father piloting Achtzhen?

Calm down, Maria. I'm sure there's a logical, heavily foreshadowed explanation for this.


This narration is beginning to think that running joke was established in haste.