(part thirty-three)

When we last saw our hapless hero and heroine, they had slipped into Solaris through the slave quarters, broken through several levels of security, and gotten a minor character killed so they could stand around and listen to the Emperor recite propaganda. Good work, crew!

Elly? Are you falling asleep?

Oh my god, this guy is SO BORING

Fortunately, the Emperor is done talking. He is joined onstage by Krelian.

Oh, hey, it's Krelian, the secret power behind the puppethead Emperor!

Funny, you don't see him in public much.

That sort of follows, doesn't it?

Wait a second, Krelian? He seems familiar.

He has been mentioned a couple of times.

No, I mean really familiar! Like--

Uh oh.

Fei blacks out! Oh no, it's been like forever since he's had an inexplicable flashback! It's a shame Square RPG protagonists can't pencil these for their free days, as inexplicable flashbacks always kick in with the worst timing. Or... the best timing?!

Oh boy.

It sure is great to be back in Nisan! Lacan, Sophia told me you went back home to get paint so you could finish that portrait!

Krelian! You're here, too!

I came back from the front line in our war with Solaris last night. Let's wander around old timey Nisan and catch up.

Old timey Nisan, as it turns out, looks exactly like modern Nisan. All their architects died in the war. Krelian brags to Lacan about having learned how to read, and how he totally reads all the time now! Books are great! He reads like three a day! He says he's studying under a teacher named Melchior, in which Lacan expresses polite but clearly fake interest.

Your little paintings are nice, too, of course.



Fei is awake now!

...okay, neither of us are doing well today.

Are you lost? Do you need me to translate?


Okay, so apparently everyone has been speaking in random punctuation all this time? And Elly has just been translating everything since they got here? And no one has found that weird or suspicious, this guy who needs everything relayed to him in surface-dwellerese? Because that is totally normal and it's not like they are trying to blend in or anything? Whatever. Fei does not tell Elly that he just had a trippy flashback to five-hundred-years-ago-Nisan and that Krelian was there, but that's not really the kind of thing you tell a girl on the first date.

Our holy empire has been defiled by the feet of these surface-dwelling usurpers!


This game does not even pretend to care about the tertiary characters.

Not so loud! Krelian hasn't said what they are going to do to them yet!

...yeah, okay, he says they're going to be executed day after tomorrow, by way of Soylent System.

What's a Soylent System?

What's a Soylent System? Ha ha. This is the thing about cultural references in video games: in Japanese, the term 'soylent' was likely kind of obscure. The American localization team could have done themselves a big favor by calling the Soylent System... anything other than Soylent System.

I dunno, something.

Good enough for me. Let's hurry and save them!

We can't just rush in, they'll take us prisoner too!

Let's save them... at a measured pace?

This stupid argument unfortunately draws the attention of some guards, so Elly and Fei leap into a convenient sewer dungeon (?!) and get away. They stick to this plan for a while, and then emerge in front of a house in the first class citizen area.

This is my house!

Sewer dungeon-front property! Nice!

They go inside, where they run to Elly's mother. Awkward!

Elly! Goodness, the army said you were dead. I guess I'll have to move the elliptical back out of your bedroom.

Hello, mother! This is Fei! He's from the Special Forces, too!

Isn't that right, Fei.

No. I mean... no!

I mean... I don't speak random punctuation!

They are apparently not speaking random punctuation here, though, in this first class Solarian home. Look, if you are going to introduce a language issue, you ought to stick to it.

We're just going to go up to my bedroom now and take showers.

All right, dear, have fun.

They go up to Elly's room, which is taken up entirely by the shower and the coffee maker.

Don't you have a TV or anything?

Who needs television when you have a giant transparent shower stall?

It may be time to rethink my hatred of Solaris.

Now that Elly is back in the only place in the world where her uniform doesn't make her stick out like a flashing neon sign, it is time to GET NAKED. ...What do you mean, you want a screenshot? You just had a screenshot.


What were you expecting? This game was made in like 1973.

oh my god

So, uhhhh

That was your mom, huh?


I guess you must look a lot like your dad! I mean, red hair is a recessive trait and all, and you do... seem to be natural.

Actually, no. I'm my father's illegitimate daughter by our former housekeeper, who was a surface dweller.

Oh. And your mother never asked for a maternity test?

That's not how it works, Fei.

Good thing. I bet she'd be really pissed off!

Elly finishes her shower, and now it's Fei's turn! Fei is afraid of this Solarian shower witchcraft, but Elly makes him get in, since he probably hasn't had a bath since Ramsus drowned him in his own robot. She gawks at him like a big ol' red-headed perv, and Fei shrieks like a girl. This relationship just might work.

Ah, antics. Okay, now what?


It is indeed hacking time! Elly's dad is a government bigwig, and she figures that if they can crack his CompuServe account then they can find out where the rest of the party is being held prisoner. The sewer dungeon must not have a stop on the government prison line. They sneak into his office and start fussing with his terminal.

Oh, it wants a password. Let's see.


Hm, nope. We've got some serious security on this thing.


Got it!

Phew, that was some tense hacking.

Elly goes to MapQuest and finds a route to the prison that goes through a trash chute back in the third class area. So now they have to go all the way to where they started! Isn't that always the way, having to go mucking through the sewers right after you take a shower.



Your mother said you used up all the hot water!

I'm sorry, dear, you know how he hates that.

He is also mad at her for breaking into his terminal. With a surface dweller, no less! The only kind of surface dweller he likes are hot red-headed housekeeping surface dwellers!

I'm calling security!

If you're going to shoot Fei, you'll have to shoot me too!

...I didn't say anything about--

You're going to shoot me? Fine, shoot! But I don't go down easy!

What are you--

How does it feel having a traitor for a daughter? Shot down like a dog?

Oh, forget it, just go.

I have to stay behind, Fei! Save everyone without me!

Don't worry, Elly! This is a land dweller problem now! I'll be fine all on my own!

Our daughter certainly has interesting friends.

Fei runs away! He makes it back to the second class shopping mall area, where everyone is now speaking random punctuation at him. Even the little guard robots that were attacking them before if they even saw them! There are some pluses to monolingualism. But not many! Stay in school.

Now what am I supposed to do? I can't get back through the security scanner!

A guard overhears Fei muttering to himself and recognizes him as one of those kids having that stupid argument from earlier. He is arrested.

Oh. That works.