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The AfterWORDS are thoughts, explanations and little essays about each set of comics. This can point out hidden things, explain meanings or just provide further commentary. Opinions appear in green. Old is at the top, newest is at the bottom of the page.

Title: Crossing 3084

The title refers to the year that Pioneer 2 reached Ragol. Also, it is at this point that the paths of all the people start crossing eachother, giving the interactions that are to come in all the following sets of comics. It also refers to time crossing that particular year so it's a logical title.

This is basically just an intro type deal. Everything is short and very simple. It introduces the types of people and some of the arguements/misconceptions that were found in those days. (The whole HU vs FO thing, and can't forget the wackos, of which there are always plenty) At this point, fighting is hard enough, and enough of a novelty along with plot exploration to keep things running.

This also introduces the concept that there's more then 1 of every boss or that they have infinite capacity to keep coming back. (In the case of Falz) This way there's no 'crossing over' of the comic into 'serious game plot-point activity' which would break down the continuity for everyone else. The comics also will not explore NPC activity that EVERYone basically has to explore for themselves.

The real substance comic of this set is Evil's Quiet Start. The real "Quiet Start" was the dawn of Hacking, and not just Falz so it had dual meanings. PSO was not hacked the first day it came out, but Jet only showed up a month or so into it, where people already had a bit of a leg-up with duping. Of course, at this point no one actually KNEW what Razor was up to. We just thought he was really good.


Title: Who You'll Meet

With this set of comics, all the main characters for the next few arcs are finally introduced. Chibi ChuChu and Skyy are "The other memory cards", and not actual other players of PSO. This set gets into the different sorts of friends and foes available on PSO.

Chibi Is: A Small and Sticky Discovery
Chibi was meant to be the total opposite of Jet. Trusting, ever-happy, tiny, total-magic, not much for fighting with a tendancy for wackyness--she succeeds. The meeting was a total plot-device (it had to be). The explanation of Androids is just an illustration/elaboration of what PSO plot already says.

**I hate cribbing, parodying, and ref-ing when it is done blatantly/inappropriatly in a serious comic. Example: in the Knuckles comic book, a few panels show people riding in Luke Skywalkers' desert speeder (from Tatooine). It's supposed to be a gimmic/ref, but it comes off as lazy because they didn't want to think up a new vehicle, and the SW one has no place in a Sonic the Hedgehog property.
**There IS a ref in this comic but it's almost impossible to spot, and will not distract or detract from anything. The woman protester says half a line from Terminator 2, and is straggly looking, somewhat like Sara Conner. Nearly no one would know, without being told, though.

*The big prototype HUcast has the symbol from a Garanz on it.
*There is a sniper on the roof.
*There had to be some sort of "ill effect" for using up all your TP. A great strain can sometimes produce a bloody nose so...it was logical enough.
*Chibi's happy-go-lucky attitude really is nice to act out.
*Her slippers are supposed to be scary. Are they?

With the Mines Mystery: Of course, it never gets solved.
This is just one of the things Sonic Team doesn't explain but is handy to make the area a more difficult run through. Still, it was fun to contemplate at the time. The other mystery in the mines is, of course, Skyy. Skyy is a kind and polite, if rather shy boy. Far younger than he looks, there's a lot behind his mask.

Yes, the horn does have tiny feet in 'Bumper Sticker'.
Niu finally figured out what Razor was up to. The fact that we didn't ACTUALLY know this thru the whole time-period of this arc and the previous one just made it really sweet and dramatic for the comic-book-ization.
I actually only have a problem with people who hack/cheat/etc and then claim it's their own merit. If they come foreward and say 'yea its hax' I don't have a problem. The other philosophy introduced is that on Dreamcast, rares were TOO rare. I only ever actually found one "Rare" on DC, despite over 1000 hours. What was it? Alive Aqhu, negative 15% to beast.
Of course, the whole "Leveling Apparatus" had to be more impressive then some stupid CD....and it had to foreshadow.

The Big Find: Yes the Spread Needle is HUGE. Did you ever measure it?
Contains an element that's great: personal life. Bringing 'personal life' TO life makes everyone seem that much more real and personable. Civillian clothes, a look at passions and hobbies, and the fun of friendship outside of just 'lets go whack something'.
Death's Angel was one of those people who hacked right away, rather than learning anything. He wasn't all that bright when he met Chibi, and thought she could use the needle. He did like her, though.

The Covetor: A first incident with real, open, maliciousness
The 'innocent bystanders' were just that little bit over anonimity to make you care that she died, but not ultra-guilty that Jet couldn't save her. The whole incident took place within literally...7 minutes or less of game time. It happened so quickly, it required thinking over later to put the pieces together. The most meaningful piece, of course, being the wolves...


A Rare Understanding:
This is a cool look at culture. The value of being able to play a videogame with international people is higher then anyone can imagine--IF it's done correctly. Which, at this point, it mostly was.

Miako is Japanese. However, she had to be incomprehensible to ANY reader of the comic for it to be effective--so she speaks an illegible font. Also, since everyone's from Coral, you can't use Earth countries or language references, so they were all anonamized into "Island nation" and "Our language".
The flower dropping meseta was "Funny" this time, but after about the 5th one that gave meseta or a Knight/Power it was becoming really ludacris and maddening. IT IS HARD ENOUGH TO SEE A NAR. FORCE IT TO DROP SOMETHING GOOD. Sonic Team failed to comprehend that hundreds of hours of work/play with no reward JUST when you think you're going to get one leads to discontent and cheating.
It worked out really well that Jet & Niu put that much effort into trying to convey for Miako to hit the flower and get EXP. We only later learned that the whole JP way to play involved a bunch of sharing and no glory-hogging or fronting. Just being all-around-nice is quite excellent.

The Caduceus

This comic may be a bit perplexing without the context of the following comics. It isn't exciting at all, and does not really seem to have much of a point or a lesson. It is actually an introduction for some important characters later on. Without this seemingly mundane chapter, some later events would lose a lot of authenticity.
Plus, PSO was not always about 100% drama, feuds, carnage, conspiracy or life/death battles to the finish. It was also calm times with good friends, playing for countless hours and just having a total blast. Getting a 'signature wep' out of it was just icing on the cake.

The First End

A bit of a shock for this one. As it should be.
But, you'll notice two more hexagons in the navigation plate, so everything can't be over just yet. How did this REALLY happen?
Back in 'the day' before everyone figured out that the 4X memory cards were a "kiss of death" for PSO saves, I had one. It let me get all the way to 100, with about 300+ hours of gameplay before failing all of a sudden upon a disconnect one night after a ruins run. I didn't even know when it happened. Acted like a normal D/C...only the next day when I tried to load up, did I discover the tragedy.
The comic is rather short, to add to the sudden feel of the story. The plot at this point is actually literally cut off and needs to be left hanging.

Revival

I had a very breif debate about quitting after putting in all the hard work, only to have it wiped out. Even called Sega only to find "Nothing we can do if its not our brand" --which it wasn't. The problem was, there were no real 3rd party warnings from anyone.
The plot handles this as a government teleportation error.

*When things are really teleported, they are atomized somehow and sent as molicules through space great distances, so understandably, this going wrong would be rare, but devastating.*

However since the government computers keep a blue-print of everyone, ("Government" means SonicTeam in most cases, and in this one, SonicTeam allows you to create another char if one is deleted) you could be 'put back together' based upon it. However to prevent cheating, you're stripped of all your stuff.

This is a more thoughtful comic, especially the 'essay' at the end. Being deleted really makes you think about stuff. The words surround the pannel, like thoughts that are piling up. You've seen the fish before too...it was introduced so it would be familiar here, and make the gesture seem more complete. I have a great liking for the professional air of introducing things, and then bringing them in again later to fulfill a plot point. It gives the story flow, and readers something to look for. It can also be used for shock or even comedy, to enhance it.

Hopefully, this comic will introduce a slightly new style to the series, with more pannels, more expressions and somewhat more complexity to the art.

A Change of Plans

Frusterating times, aren't they? To watch your last best weapon slip away due to a bad circumstance like a single inopportune disconnect. Your last best chance at remaking your precious empire of fun, and now it too, is gone. Needless to say, that was not a good week for PSO.
The disconnect here is explained as "a signal from P2" which technically the modem is a signal, and when that is lost, you get a D/c. These were much more frequent in the days of DCPSO, if you remember, regardless of your equipment. So now it's Skyy's turn to have a go at being the main, as by now, ultimate is only about 2 months away from a USA release. Ultimate/Ver.2 DCPSO is explained here as the government letting hunters into newly discovered areas with a "Special Pass" which is seen as the "Mystical Disk" in the tiny panel as Balkrye imagines it.
The style continues, hopefully with noticably more panels for each scene to look at. This will continue to improve/move up. Jet's inventory is done in the PSO font and says "Scape Doll" if you can't read it. It's only logical that everything be in that font, as it is in that world, even though it would of been obnoxious in-game. The armor plating still being "on" the Garanz was caused by lag. They weren't showing the damage, but they were ACTING it with the missiles--which killed him.
Also to note: one instance of ChibiChuChu in here was totally drawn in the computer, but you can't tell which one. This has never been done before.

The Uninvited Guest

What a nice surprise!
Isn't this a one-inna-million situation! What REALLY happened, you say?
I was seriously in a bad mood that day, and made a game called "I hunt alone!", with a gibberish password, because I didn't want to be near anyone, or have any conversations. So this Sephiroth guy breaks into my game before I can really get going with it, and basically what's said in the comic insues. This was one of the first instances where I actually *wrote stuff down* soon after it happened, making this one pretty accurate.

With regards to hacking, this was the only pass-break I ever experienced. It was patched by ST in fairly short order--one of the few things they were ever able to fix. Also, not a whole lot was available now to do you serious damage--so while it was scary it wasn't actually life-threatening. He asked what the pass was, and I admitted it was gibberish because I was mad. He broke in because he knew I was mad, (and wanted to see what I would do) and the game title was a bit of a challenge for him. Part of it is set in Skyy's home, to give it a more personal feel of "invasion" and also to gloss over the plot device of "individual game naming" when everyone was supposed to be running around the same area of the planet at once.

Yes, his name was changed. Who knows what happened to him after that, never saw him again. He was really just "Sephiroth" but he had that straggly red hair, so I added "red" onto the end. Why? Because there's about a billion Sephiroths, and this one should be distinguished somehow. He was actually in before the whole name thing really took off to insane levels though, but for current reference it had to be done.

The way he spoke was also memorable, he did keep calling Skyy "Dear Boy" for whatever reason. I let him. Call me whatever so long as you give me something. Brag anything you want, and I'll be impressed. But know this...I may be happier. Perhaps it's all a thrill for both parties. A hacked weapon is still a weapon, and at this point I didn't care. This guy really was a serious break-in breakthrough.

Color appears again!
This time red. Well, it has to be obvious he's not snotting/has a cold, for one. Also in Japanese culture a bloody nose (that sprays!) is an indication of 'turned on'. This is not the case here (duh) it is because he was killed with that DeathResta down on Ragol. It has to be shown to do you serious harm, but also be something you fully recover from (because you do). Bleeding afterward from the bodily/harm/stress would be really likely.
If you are really observant here, you can tell some more about Skyy. Spacifically what he's NOT.

Rol Killa

This was not one I wanted to do. At all. This is one of the few, few times I've been truly MAD in PSO. Death Reverser was still so very new, as to be a rumor, in most parts of the game. It was totally unexpected, unlike in the later days, where you couldn't equip hardly anything, for fear of getting whacked, and if you played with strangers, might as well just give up everything. This was sort of the end of a free-er time.
Also, I was very against even drawing the moron that did it. I forget her/his name, and they really didn't talk much, if at all. I'll never forget what it looked like, though. However, as with all experiences, it's recorded now.

Angel/Luck

This is a rather curious comic, and the last story before Ultimate Mode opens up. Of course, there was tons of buzz about ult, and Japan got it first. If you had their edition of the game, you could go on there ahead of everyone else. The nature of the upgrade was that you could transfer your character (one way street) to that game, but still be able to interact with people who didn't have it. You could play in their games (but they couldn't go in yours).
The weapon data for the new things on ult was simply NOT present on the Ver1 disk (of course) so their unusual items would look like a common item--it was indeed a type of illusion! The "Red Weapons" reference in here is just to gloss over the technical difficulty part that the disks provided with some plot-logic.
The guy turning up with Angel/Luck (a slot item that increased your LCK stat by about 10 or so) was just icing on the cake for excitement. It was a fascinating thing to show off. Hackers never bothered with it on Ver 1--but it was a fairly common drop in the forests of ultimate. Who knows what it dropped from in Ver 1, but whatever it is, had to be super rare, because no one had heard of it before now.

See AfterWORDS 2 for the Ultimate Series Comics
Go back to PSO Comic Series Home Page.

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