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PSO2 NGS Story Guide
The story of PSO2 NGS will likely be complex and long.
This isn't meant to be a substitute for the game, or as a transcript of the entire script/plot, but rather a way to understand, read-up-on, speculate, analyze & get a really good idea of what's going on in the game. It has some game-play hints & will point out ways of approaching story aspects, but it's not really a gameplay guide to get anyone unstuck either.
For online-only games like this, it is important to preserve their plot and characters somewhere that's infinitely stable (unlike youtube or something where the videos get taken away randomly or whatever)
Color key
Green Text: Speculation or opinions
What You Do/The official "Party Line" appears in RED TEXT
Bold Text: Important information
Choice Options: Blue Text
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So Manon Went to…?
Is Manon on Leciel?

Get to the point with Is Manon on Leciel? He says it’s likely based on what we know but there’s no way to prove it because we can’t get up there. Also getting up there would take a long time, and we have no idea how she got up there unless there was some previously unknown teleporter system to it. Even Crawford is shocked at these events. Aina never could have guessed what was on her mind…and Crawford laments not paying more attention to her and the situation. All he can do is analyze the data to figure out how she did it…but Ran says Dolls will soon attack Retem City and calls an alert. Nadereh calls for support to the area because it’s even more (dolls coming) than the Renus Retem attack. There’s a Meteorn Pod that crashed in the attack area though, so Crawford will send the appropriate people. Aina suspects it might have something to do with the Manon Mystery.

Let’s go Aina!
What Should We Do Aina?

If you want to Let’s Go Aina! She agrees, but Crawford stops you. She doesn’t care if she’s wrong, we need to do something…so he says be careful out there, and does release you to go. Aina wants to hurry to retem as fast as possible, so you have to meet her at Sagan Mountain Road.

Clearly Manon figured a way up there, and then did a data dump from the computer she accessed first after sneaking onto the Leciel Floating Construct. Remember, all the computers here are liable to be compatible, no-matter when they were made or where they’re located because everything came from the same source, uses the same code & probably even has the same OS: whoever built the planet. Is the Meteorn Pod going to be empty because it’s what Manon used to blast off to get up there?

You can find Aina at the entrance to Sagan Mountain Road to start

A Stranger In The Desert

She’s ready to head out on a sunny day in Retem. There’s smoke coming from the distance toward Alnothe/the rock arch, and Dozer stops you so that he can come too. He’s coming from the Sagan Mountain Road area, and is also headed toward the smoke.

As you run toward it, you can see Nadereh and Moshen fighting Dezer Swords and Dezer Guns in the distance. Aina calls out to help them, but just about every enemy native to Retem comes out to get in your way. Rows of Tinos, Rorons, and more will just keep going. This is, of course, expected because Crawford & Nadereh conversation in the command room “tons of dolls are appearing”. Aina is very enthusiastic about getting rid of the dolls here, and will charge ahead willingly after bosses. She’s very upbeat, saying “we can get them!” and such, so this is a confidence booster.
As you get closer to the Nadereh fighting area, a Fortos Launcher will come out. This seems to have an elevated amount of HP compared to the other enemies in the area that preceded it. Defeating this will make more enemies come, and a Storm Trial will appear with many tornados and the usual blastisigne in them. Be sure to leave 1 monster alone after using the blastisignes to set off attacks, so that you’ll have the Photon Blast ready to set off again after this trial…because there are more enemies to go now that you’re with Hadi, Nadereh, Dozer and Moshen.

Renus Retem Vera comes out:
The long worm/snake is up to its usual missile launching tricks, so you have to go after it like any boss, though it is a bit tougher than the one at the bottom of Rwh Maquead. The NPCs will do the usual like getting stuck away from its weak point, but they do distract the missiles and lasers. It does not seem to be enough to kill or seriously harm any of the NPCs.

If you can defeat the Renus Vera, you do reach the pod, but Aina’s not sure how to open it. She yells at who’s in there, (You can grayish-ly see thru the dull glass of the pod window that it is indeed inhabited by a sleeping person of some kind) pulls on something (unseen in the clip because the pod probably does not have an opening animation nor rigging) and a white hair person is revealed to be inside. It’s a youngish looking woman (could be Manon age or around there) with long grayish white hair who calls out for Manon. Aina starts yanking on her, but she falls over and collapses to the sand. Nadereh says to calm down we have help her. Aina explains to Nadereh that Crawford thinks Leciel, the Floating Island that’s where she went, so we have to get up there. Nadereh doesn’t understand trying to go up there…but first take care of the girl, so Dozer should take her to Central because their facilities are better.

Nadereh says that she’d still be trapped “in the pit” (This means probably the pits of depression because her song didn’t work like the other people’s—remember it took Manon looking it up and also her own discovery by accident at the Grave Yard to figure out that it does work, just differently) if it wasn’t for the Trio…and for Manon, so she feels in her debt, and her spirit will be with you. The Retem ARKS will be there for you, and that’s a promise! Dozer gets her loaded up, and Nedereh is now onto clean up around here, but as soon as it’s done, the Retem troops could help you out too. Your char and Aina go off with the medical ship that will go to central.

What happened:
The Dolls KNEW that this person was coming down in this area and so they set up a big attack probably trying to bust into the pod. But how’d they know? Who is telling them?

A Mysterious Girl

You follow the medical ship to Central, where a cut scene begins so Aina can tell you that the girl is in the medical bay. Crawford is there too, trying to find out about Manon once she gets up. Aina wonders if that’s where Manon came from…does that mean Manon is an enemy?

That Couldn’t Be...
Manon is just Manon

If you say That Couldn’t Be (Why would it? No one knows if Leciel is good OR bad, AND it’s also dumb because why would Dolls try to kill a “Doll Friend” from Dolls Land IF Leciel IS Dolls-land?? They wouldn’t try to bust one of their own/it makes no sense that Manon would be a foe because dolls always attack her.) She thinks it over and says not likely that Manon would be an enemy…but if she’s really on the island, she must have gone up there for the benefit of Halpha, we have to believe in her because if we don’t who will? Right? You nod at her.

Ran calls on a video mag screen, and says the girl woke up. Aina is so glad, but Ran’s having a problem, could you 2 come here? You hurry off with her to the command room to meet with Ran. Glen is interrogating the girl and getting in her face for creating the Dolls and murdering all friends and family and conducting an experiment since before we were all born? She doesn’t say anything. He’s really fixing to punch her or start a fight here. That is expected, that’s how Glen is, and the girl doing him the silent treatment and just looking gloomy isn’t helping things. (So, you were summoned to help stop Glen from battling the sick new Meteorn girl who just woke up.)

Crawford asks Pharia to continue. Now, she has a name. She confesses that “they” really DID make the dolls and send them down to Halpha. so Glen demands as to why. She says that it’s to “prepare for the day of Judgment, to create Stronger ARKS.”

(Your char could never see or know this next part, it is part of the plot that is shown here) Meanwhile, Manon pants as she runs around in a strange area. It looks about like the interior of the Neusen Plant or somewhere ‘base like’ that the Nils Stia was/etc. You have to assume she really did get up to Leciel. Pettas appear before her, but they repel her attacks and a Pettas Axe blasts her back. She creates a shield orb around herself and is able to defeat them with her twin swords. She marvels that they somehow ‘adapted that fast’.  After defeating them, she calls out for Zephetto, who she knows is watching.

A blue video screen appears in the air above her and a weird pixilated half-skull graphic/image appears on the screen and asks her about 909. This screen image has a male voice. She stares at it and  it asks about RA9G3T909. She thinks about this for a little while and then remembers, which shows the back of your character. It was to be Defender Prime, so what happened to it? (It seems this Zepheto wasn’t expecting Manon up there, it was expecting your character instead?) Among other 3rd Gen specimens it was the best one. Manon asks if it was all part of the plan? She can’t continue to ruin people’s lives like this…it doesn’t matter, and she’ll end the experiment herself! He wonders how will you do it? She works up more determination, thinks about it and then says “She’ll just have to defeat Zephetto!”

Defeat your own father? The voice asks, somewhat surprised. So she shoots back “Is that who you think you are? You created us, nothing more and nothing less…” It says she’s made herself clear, and then we’ll have to wait for your friends to arrive, both you and me right up here. She asks what it’s talking about, but the screen vanishes. She looks behind herself, and says no, then runs onward across a bridge like structure. The meanwhile scene ends.

Back in the Command Room, Crawford asks Pharia if she’s here to deal with Manon, and the Resurgent ARKS. She confirms this, that they created Dolls AND Meteorn people and then set them to fight each other down here on Halpha. Crawford can hardly believe it, but it does match the data…unless it’s a hoax of some kind. Pharia says nothing, so he says she did it all from Leciel? (Pharia doesn't respond well or quickly to questions, she seems 'out of it') Glen says it’s not complicated, we’ll end all the fighting if we destroy Leciel. Crawford counters him, and brings up more data on his globe and his screens. He explains that its not that simple, Leciel regulates the planet (probably the weather, the energy, etc) so we can’t just destroy it…This upsets Glen, naturally. He demands: What’s the plan then?

Aina doesn’t know what to make of any of it, but Manon IS up there now fighting something, or someone. And that means, I’ve got to help her! Pharia says that’s why she came, so Aina asks how to get up there…and she does. In lost Central there’s a Teleporter, and it can get you up there.

You can absolutely see Glen’s frustration here: He can’t explosion away Neusen nor any other DOLLS plant in Stia because their power reactors do something for everyone, and now he can’t explosion away Leciel either for fear of apocalypisng the planet. Everything is too tied together. It's incredibly difficult for him to suffer a confessed 'bad guy' in the midst and not be able to do anything about their nefarious plans himself.
So Zephetto is a guy who is in charge of Leciel and is doing unethical “Trial By Fire” of everyone down on Halpha trying to train people to be stronger…but to what end? What does he NEED “better Arks” for? (And who does he think is going to cooperate with him and do what he wants after he sent weird dolls to murder them? A dumb plan—but very typically villainous) And everybody down on Halpha, are they ALL meteorns and meteor-spawned people? So like 1st gen of Halphans would all have been Meteorns, then forgot…..because reasons…  

Does he send down DF when people get too uppity? (Ex. Kvaris’s Lost Central) What does he think about everyone pooling up to get Central Cannons working again? Could you use it to shoot down Leciel? Normally the curvature of a planet (of any sufficient size to have the gravity this one does) might prevent that, but because this joint is somehow super small, it would work.

You can meet Aina at the entrance to Lost Central. (The big door in the cave that is one way to get in there) Pharia is also there when you arrive. Ilma is already inside, he says ‘sup everybody’, and greets normally. He approaches Pharia, but she still just doesn’t…do anything. Ilma meets her, but she just stares at him and doesn’t say anything. He asks her to help get up there, and she agrees. She messes with some settings on a counter top computer with its floating screens. However, one turns red and she declares it ‘not working’. Your character gestures at them

What’s Going On?
Is There A Problem?

If you ask What’s Going on? She "…s " at everyone and says initialization failed, its locked. Ilma pushes up his glasses and says its his turn to give it a try while everyone else watches and gestures. He never guessed it was controlling the whole planet while sending everyone down to duke it out. It’s almost too crazy to believe. Aina asks if its ok to say something, which is that Pharia reminds her of Manon when she first met her. Pharia just says ok. Aina says that’s it exactly. (What she means is that the person seems to have very little social skills and is terrible at conversation, almost like a dumb-chatbot, even though its clearly a human) So while Manon seems quiet/reserved, she at least grew a personality while being down on Halpha for as long as she was. Pharia here, has not yet so she's basically a social failure.

What’s her relationship to Manon? Pharia is her backup, she monitors activities, and provides support for her problems. Has she been watched the whole time by Pharia up on Leciel? Yes. (It's VERY good to see characters actually asking intellgent plot-relevent questions like this.) Ilma then cuts in, guessing that "A problem happened", and Pharia came down here to fix it. What was Manon doing on Halpha though? She tells him that her job was to document the war vs DF in person.

Did She Know All of This?
Was She The Cause of the War?

If you ask Did She Know All of This? (Because you already know Manon DIDN’T cause the war, it was Zephetto up in Leciel because he already confessed.) She says no, because info for everyone is on a need to know basis. You seem skeptical and about to interrupt them, but…Ilma confirms that Pharia monitors the plan, not affecting it. Mannon was just to watch all of us, as many meteorn, and keeping a distance. But..she was so enthusiastic in participating in everything everyone was doing. This triggers a flashback of photos of Manon helping Ilma with the computers in Lost Central, doing various fights with The Trio. Maybe…she had a change of heart? Aina thinks about this, but you gesture.

Why Did She Go Back To Leciel?
Is There Anyone Else on Leciel?

We already know that the key guy "Zephetto" is who else is up there so it’s more important to ask Why Did She Go Back to Leciel? This stops her. She says to put a stop to Zephetto…to which Aina asks well who is that all of a sudden. He is the general of Resurgent ARKS. He’s the one who started the experiments. Pharia says yes according to records. He’s what created us like a father or perhaps a mother even. Aina gets sad so you comfort her at this strange new news. Ilma doubts its like a typical family. But if he’s in charge…if we stop him thru diplomacy or force…we could fix Halpha. But how long has he been in action? 300 years is the experiment?? This is shocking news for everyone. (Really, this same guy is THAT old, 300 years and he still has that edgelord skull icon for his handle/screen presence?) Ilma is sad. Aina realizes an untold number of Arks will have died for this 'plan' of his. Pharia just dots about it. But what causes Manon to decide to confront him now? Pharia doesn’t know…but a powerful anger reading is in her data lately. Ilma and Pharia assume its all at Zephetto. Aina says that’s pretty crazy…but Pharia?

The conversation is interrupted by a success at the consoles. Together though, they initialize it and everyone runs to go see, leaving Pharia at the console. The teleporter rings pop up and it looks like it will work. She follows everyone else a beat or two later. Aina inspects it curiously, and Ilma says it looks like a short range unit instead. Pharia says its 100x more powerful, even without stabilization…it just looks normal. Ilma wants to round everyone up for a trip there. Crawford calls in on a mag to say put a momentary hold on it because Dolls are attacking everywhere on Halpha and that they did evade the early warning system. A bot rolls up with the data for Kvaris, showing that what Crawford said is really happening. Crawford has notified Ilma’s family and the troops are ready to roll out to assist in Kvaris. Ilma asks will you go back to Aelio?

Aina thinks about it for a second, and says no…we have to go to Leciel, everyone else has to defend their own region. Ok Crawford? He hesitates but gives his blessing for you 2, because we can’t abandon Manon, but come back if that place is trouble. Aina agrees, ilma itches his head, and Pharia declares she’ll go too but nearly falls over in running to make good on it. Aina catches her and you gesture at her

You’re Not in Any Shape To Do it
Take Care Of Her Please Ilma

If you say You’re Not In Any Shape To Do It, Aina agrees and asks her to wait here while she looks gloomy and tired. She asks Ilma to help, and he agrees but she shakes her head at him and then gives Aina’s mag a map of Leciel. Manon was on her way to the DOLLS production facility. Communication is impossible right now though between anywhere on Leciel and Halpha. But please help her…Ilma promises to come help after this, and wishes everyone luck.

The Scene Ends

So, Pharia does seem sincere about helping Manon and likely to be on our side, as Manon probably also was all along. She turned against the whole experiment, and that's why the DOLLS are always looking to kill her. Because Pharia went rogue too, that's why her pod was under attack. The rage readings are probably from seeing df again after the demise of Garoa, and not wanting to lose any more friends. Also having to keep it a secret that the whole planet is a "life or death trial" is also bad for the consience.

Breaching Leciel

Talking to Aina again will initiate the new objective: get up there. After TPing up, she tries to call Crawford, but as they were told, all Comms are blocked and no mag can do anything. There’s only 1 thing to do, go forward from the TP room and find this guy on foot. The map has no data, and an area with weird trees growing in it is ahead. Aina is shocked. This area looks like someone was trying to build Aelio region in a warehouse of some kind. There's dirt and grass on some of the floor, and a few aginis are flying around.

If you try to cross it, a new enemy will appear: The Marioness. This is by far the creepiest DOLLS, inspired by a skull and obviously a 'marionette' puppet, it has a 'halo like' structure behind it like a marionette strings control type thing, no lower body and long arms. Like a creeping corpse.It also has tons of HP and can teleport. It is not, however, a miniboss. It's more like a quite tough pettax-whatever. You'll also have to face a crag bear and garongoes. Leave the brankle for last because it is very annoying but the faster enemies are a greater problem.

The 'room' that the Aelio type terrain is in, isn't that big. Moving on, now it looks like Retem, and a tall structured area/marioness and others with transovres. A tranmizer will also appear if you can destroy all the transovres. A big door with a tp in front of it is ahead once you beat all of the problems in the area.

Once inside you get to that weird bridge area Manon seemed to be at earlier (in the meanwhile segment). There’s tons of DOLLS jars from Halpha underground too. But there’s so many, it’s floors and floors of them. Aina knows this is the production facility. She uses her mag to call to Manon, but all screens show red, then nothing. So, the blocking of communications is still active. Of course, this isn't a surprise. Zephetto's special hovering flat-screen appears, and Aina draws down on his screen. He says 909 Congrats, and a 2nd gen too? She demands of him where’s Manon? So his skull icon disappears and he shows she is tied up somewhere with long photonic strings, and he just says "We’ll be waiting" and his screen vanishes. Aina frets and you can say

I Don’t Know
Let’s Just keep Moving Forward

If you say I Don’t Know she says of course we can’t know, we must just keep moving, to which you can agree and go forward with her across the bridge. Now, she asks are you ready to keep going?

I’m Going Back to Lost Central

Why is that 2nd one even there? Because it's not a REAL plot option. It's for if you used all your /signs or need to re-supply or go do an emergency quest or something. This is allowing you out of the story/to pause the story for your own needs. The only real way forward is Yes. So, the next door reveals a Kvaris like cold area. Aina encourages you go left up some boxy ‘cliffs’ to avoid enemies and go faster. These 'areas' aren't really graded (as a quest) it seems, so skipping whatever probably doesn't matter. Toward the end of this area the Quartz Skodin will appear. This is clearly a smaller, powered-down version of the Quartz Dragon. (Of course, it is not, and never was a person, unlike the Quartz Dragons in PSO2)

Another TP later, and now you’re in an area with pods that probably have people in them. Aina says it feels different, so she looks inside a pod, as they are semi-transparent but dark inside so you have to get pretty close to see what's up.

Better Not Touch Anything
An ARKS Research Lab?

If you ask An ARKS Lab? She was gonna touch it but gets surprised and says what? While walking around a bit. What might be going on here?

There’s No Way To Know…
That’s Not Important Right Now.

Well…2 is true but…there ARE signs for what IS going on here, like pictures of a person on a screen, a DNA strand on a different screen, and various blinking numbers. If you try to prompt with There’s No Way To Know… she’ll agree, but spot another room at the end of the hall…so we’ve got to check it out. (After all, no one is there, not even Manon.)

In the room there are people so she gets shocked but you stop her from exclaiming. No one in this room cares that you are there. (Odd--they look like control support team, and you're obviously hostile invaders but they do nothing) They all appear to be humans/normal enough people in the 18 to 25 age range. She asks a short hair person working on a computer what’s going on here? But it ignores her. The people here have different hair colors, but are all dressed like Pharia, so it's some kind of uniform probably. You can now ask

Do You Know Manon?
Was Manon Here?

If you ask Was Manon Here? In order to see if they’ll respond to you, the person (a man I guess) says there’s no such person here and goes back to work. Aina asks a blue hair girl where is Zephetto? He’s in the control tower ahead. She wants to ask another question, but the girl just goes back to work. You both shrug about this, and Aina assumes there’s not much else to be had with the people in this room…so we have to go ahead. (Why don't they care about not letting 'bad guys' near their big boss?) Aina looks at them for a moment, as they work on their tasks at the computers. They seem fake or like automatons.

Now, Zephetto will be right ahead through this teleporter. When you agree, she says lets’ do this and you warp into a dark room with glowing blue walls. Manon is strung up by cords of light in the middle. This is very obviously a trap. Aina runs up to her despite it being ver trap like. You cut her down with a sword vs the light straps. Aina explains that Pharia helped, she just knew it. But why are you here for her? Asks Manon. She was lying the whole time? So why? She staggers, so Aina says because it’s you and we all care about you, she’ll never abandon her no matter what, we’d stick together! That’s what hurts, that she didn’t stick together! More than that she lied…we were supposed to be sticking together.

I couldn’t Have Said It Better Myself!
Tell Us What happened!

If you encourage them with I Couldn’t Have Said it Better , Manon will agree to say, and has been working on ARKS R&D the whole time, but had no idea that the Halpha experiment is so awful. "The old me never cared about any but herself, she just did what made her happy and didn’t care." So, she was told the experiment was safe…and believed it. She didn’t think it through. She went to Aelio town, and met you 2. She cries. DF was introduced that very day, and everyone in town died. She cries more. She wanted to tell everyone everything then, but couldn’t. But even so it wouldn’t have changed anything. She didn’t want them to hate her…so she apologizes for not doing and cries more. Aina hugs her while she clasps her hands and cries a lot.
Remember: Manon had been living in Aelio town a good while before your character pod ever showed up. Everyone was so nice and hospitible to her, that she really loved the town and learned how to be friends with others from Aina.

Aina says she should’ve paid more attention to her, and also apologizes.

But, a voice says well done. A cast appears! It floats down from the ceiling (where he was probably lurking and listening)  With a fancy head! It has a glowing triangle in the black/transparent face plate. The top of the head is ornate, with a crossbar that goes horizontally. He is all black plate with gray accents and blue glows. His shape is such that there can’t be a human inside/it’s not armor, this probably has to be either a DOLLS or a real CAST person.

So This is Zephetto?
Aina, Quick Grab Your Weapon!

Manon’s already got a wep out, so pester him by asking This is Zephetto? Aina wants to let him talk. Manon asks why, he’s who’s responsible for pitting dolls vs arks and ruining the town. Aina NEEDS to know why someone would do it all. She stares up at him and approaches.
In this case, he’ll tell you but first, he wants to "know how strong you are, so you must first defeat the most advanced DF ever!" He vanishes and up from the floor ries a weird wing thing, like a suit of armor with no head part, and he goes into a area in the chest where he kind of merges into blue dolls goo with his head sticking out still. Manon says that he completed it finally. (So he is calling his suit a "Dark Falz", even though it isn't, it's just basically a big battle-mech that he can enter and control) He casts down attacks and explosion crystals and Manon twirls her staff to block it but gets knocked down. The crystals go all over, Aina asks if we have to do it

It Looks Like It
We Have No Choice

If you say It Looks Like It (because this guy is crazy) he’ll agree and say excellent, then make the suit shake and open it wings.

Zephetto suit is called Venogia. When in it, he is "Zephetto Venogia"

He equips various enemy attacks to the hands like Pettas's Sword, & the twirling nose cone from Stia. The shoulders have the 'heads' of the Proctys Ael, the wings and tail are Nex Aelio's and other enemy strategies are encorporated. So it feels like he's 'blending all the dolls' to get 'the ultimate doll' and then piloting it. It's a pretty tough boss, but if your armor is good enough the attacks aren't strong enough to have even close to OHKO. It has a good variety of attacks, big AOE things, and he's always on the move. He can do charges, drill charges, stomp attacks, rain fire from above, and various 'hand to hand' things but this thing is like 20+ feet tall so.

If you can beat it, you can swipe it with the sword and he’ll fall out of the control area/goo area. This may have damaged his face plate (the glossy glass with glowing blue triangle) It reveals that his face is a …blue skull? Indeed, a softly glowing blue half-skull (no lower jaw, no teeth) is inside the head. The rest of the head has a "king like" crown around the skull, and the parts behind him are clearly meant to evoke 'halo type' imagry. The shoulders he uses also have small 'angel wing like' fins/spikes. He was either designed as a "messaiah type" or he VIEWS himself as "angelic messiah" and has thus designed himself this way. These are very deliberate design choices. Hopefully we get to find out which it is! Interestingly this also proves that he's not an edgelord with a skull icon: that thing was his actual face.

All he has to say for himself, he calls out to no one in particular (meaning he's yelling into his comms to his Ops humans back in the other room) Photon sensitivity? 100% bursts in excess of 100 ,analyzing data now. Transcribe the results to experimental to 4th clone data DNA. He is satisfied and the experiment declared over. Everyone readies their weapons at him anyway.

What Are You Talking About?
At An End?

If you demand What Are You Talking About? The day of judgment approaches, so we shouldered completing the experiment before it was too late. Aina sas that Pharia said about this Judgement thing, so what is it? He says it was for all of humanity to restore ARKS to its former might and glory of 1000 years past.

ARKS Glory & Might?
1000 Years?

If you ask him 1000 Years? It’s true that Might was lost through apathy and disuse, were it not lost, the tragedy wouldn’t have befallen us. 500 years ago, he shows you a screen of the The Starless who destroyed all our research ships. They travel galaxies destroying everything. Their name is derived from malevolence.

50 star systems, and 700 billion souls were all claimed by the Starless. The ARKS, atrophied for a long period of peace we were powerless to this type of threat. Millions of our soldiers died in vain against it. The human races were destined for extinction, but that couldn’t be our fate. One day the Starless all simply vanished without a trace like they never existed. Time passed and everyone forgot we were visited by the horror. But some didn’t forget. Foreseeing the Starless Return/Judgement Day, the Resurgent ARKS had to prepare to restore The ARKS to its former might, and now it is just in time. He explains. Aina knows that’s why we were forced to battle. We could never withstand the dreaded day without the Trio’s power.

You’ve Been Using Us As Pawns in Your Game?
You’re Insane!

Both of these answers, interestingly, DON’T believe him about this “Starless Threat”. It’s true he’s very…odd looking, without the mask on his head/face, his head IS a blue skull in a crown like structure.  The cross piece behind it is likely to attempt to resemble a bit of a halo, and the setting for the skull is clearly meant to be regal. His design is very good, as he is someone who designed himself as royalty/the king piece in his experiment, or, if he was made by ARKS Generals 300 or whatever years ago, they did it that way on purpose..

If you say Using As Pawns? Angrily, he says it had to be done in order for everyone to survive, there was no other choice. Every other experiment ended in failure. Other training methods illicit little or no improvement in photon sensitivity. The first experiment resulted in everyone’s death. The 2nd was better but not enough sensitivity appeared. He turns his back on everyone, as he says the 3rd had the result we hoped for, for 300 very long years. He gestures at his mech suit and Manon scowls at him. Aina’s gun shakes in her hands and she tells him how sad.

It’s all you’ve been doing for so many years? You’re a pawn in your own game! He dots at her because he thinks about it. A siren blares and red lights flash in the room. Everyone looks around. Even he doesn’t know. His computer says the Center Zone has 1000 objects in it. The day has come early…he runs away.

Where Are You Going?
We’re Not Done Talking Here!

If you demand of him Where Are You Going? He says his wish is already fulfilled, so the rest will be up to you. This confuses Aina, so he says the future is yours, re enters his suit, and blasts off up out the top of the Leciel area. He charges the pink things, but some of them fall anyway and create explosions. Aina goes to run after him to ask him more but pink things rain down. He appears to create a giant explosion up at pink thing area, Manon says it’s too dangerous to stay here.

We Need To Tell Everyone About This!

If you say We Need to Tell she’ll dot at you, and agree, we have to get down from here. More explosions set off as the trio has to run away from whatever is going on here. They are targeting Leciel’s exterior with more pink explosions.

The scene ends. Aina wants to make a report to ‘father’ (Garoa), Manon asks if it’s ok that she goes too, and Aina says of course to her going too. So, you have to go to the ruin of Aelio Town.

So…did…all Zephetto’s workers NOT believe him about Judgment Day?
As a CAST, IS he actually all the 300 to 500 years old really, JUST him, conscious this whole time?
If they DID believe him, why did no one try to come up with something better experiment?
His humans on his Leciel area are all super robotic and fake sounding…so they’re anti-creative, is that his fault, or is it something else?
After 300 years, you’d have to be really, really stupid (or not paying attention at all) to not have figured out that it’s the creativity and adaptability of humans that is the strong point and best bet to win anything.
You have to wonder what went wrong in Experiments 1 and 2:
What did he do that killed everybody on 1? What did 2 do that DIDN’T increase photon sensitivity? What is ACTUALLY increasing it here?
Did Zephetto actually die when he went up there vs the Starless in his mech suit? If he did, it’s a good bet we’ll never get the answers to any of these questions.

A better way?
Wouldn’t it have been better to just like TELL everybody what’s going on with the Starless? “Look gang, big threat, coming back in 500 years, we’ve got to figure out what photon sensitivity is and how to increase it in all people or they’re going to murder everyone here, me included. So hop to it!”

How does everyone keep “Forgetting” all this really-really important stuff?
In history it’s obvious when there’s no recording devices (Ie. No writing) but they’ve had computers here since the dawn of everything: what’s wiping everything out? Why Kvaris wipe? Even something as obvious as word of MOUTH would have beat it if Zephetto just kept hacking in and wiping out everyone’s hard drives of history books. It’s not like Grandpa & Grandma didn’t live for 70+ years on the planet. 300 years? That’s barely over THREE lifetimes! Even oral tradition would have held up in the face of that where “there’s a guy up there and he needs us to do X or else he's gonna keep sending dolls down”.

It IS entirely possible that the ARKS, after beating Shiva & her nasties 1000+ years ago just went normally about their space exploration business and didn’t train up tons more fighters. HOWEVER, he does emphasize that The Starless Threat somehow just rolls in and vaporizes everything in an instant so ‘sword guy deluxe’ was never going to do anything, even if you like threw Matoi at it or something.

So now: we have our new antagonist item The Starless

Zephetto turned out to be a tragic character. Notice how his name sounds similar to Jepetto, and his Marioness enemies fit right in with that Pinocchio Puppet vibe. So, he is the tragic puppet master, conducting people's lives and dolls like marionettes down on Halpha, a place/stage of his own making. However, you get the sense that he's not completely amoral, he's just doing his job that he was (likely literally made) to do. If he did live through the initial attack, it seems likely he'd be a character that hates themselves for what they've had to do for so long / he is living a hellish existance, committing 1000s of good people to die so that society won't go extinct in the future.

An Update for Garoa

As you approach the grave ‘a few days later’ on a sunny day, you meet with Aina and Manon. She tells him we did it, we finally beat it…but we have another problem before it’s peaceful again. Can he wait just a little longer, she’ll make it all stop. Manon and everyone places hand over heart at this. (It's their version of a type of salute) Aina says Crawford’s waiting, so we’ve got to go. But Manon holds the gesture longer, she’s clearly thinking really hard about the situation. Maybe silently thinking at him. She sings a bar of a song, and birds fly by. The scene ends.

It shows you the island where your own meteorn pod landed (it’s still there) how the town used to look with its colorful banners and square concrete dwellings. This leads to the credits for the whole game going by, because it is the end of this “Set of chapters” or “part 1” of the plot or whatever they’re going to end up calling it to separate the ‘episodes’. (Obviously this will be announced/titled off whenever new news comes out for the game) “To Be Continued” are the last words of this episode.