Enga’s on his ear phone in Hitsugi’s dorm room (As it is private, and close to the track area where the portal card ended up at). EG can’t contact ARKS. We don’t even know where it went, how are we supposed to return? Damn it all. He has put Hitsugi on her bed. Hitsugi beings to sparkle. Is ether cascading out of control? What is this? You raise a hand to her and sparkle too, then suddenly flash into her computer screen. Enga is shocked and runs over, but he can’t do anything.
Now, Hitsugi is still in her water area.
Hitsugi is sick of being alone, she doesn’t want to lose everything. She’s still lamenting in her water. Aru’s voice says he’s here too, she shouldn’t cry. Not just him, Enga and you are there too. Can you feel us here? She closes her eyes and golden light shines on her. She says its warm, is this everyone? She stands now and Aru says she’s not alone, she’s not wrong. She claims to not have motives, she even lost to Kohri. She's sick of being in pain and afraid, suffering and struggles, all of it. She’s just tired of it. Aru appears behind her and says he’ll take all of her burdens. She turns to him, he’s in his causals now, and tells her not to cry he doesn’t want to see her….like that time she rescued him, so open her, yes face forward, and smile. But he sparkles and fades. She tries to follow him, but he says he’ll always be by her side. He fades into a flash of light an she runs to grab it.
Aratron is clashing with Matoi and Ophiel is helping him, but as she’s about to be struck you fend off Aratron. Ophiel says it’s impossible, you should’ve been isolated onto Earth. Aratron assumes Och & Phul were defeated, it’s unexpected and will make the plan deviate. They cube up and vanish into the air.
1550 / A Co-occurance
Hitsugi is dumped into the room with Mother, Xiera and the controls. Mother is holding up Aru with one hand who says he’s so glad she’s here. She dissolves him though, into herself in a halo of dots. She’ll take some getting used to, but no matter she’ll learn how to use it soon. Hitsugi demands "where’s Aru," Mother says she saw it herself (meaning that Hitsugi witnessed Mother dissolve him right here and now) so she absorbed the Catalyst. Now, mother crackels with some odd energy and blue dots.
She’s glad she woke up though, because combined with the escape from the moon, the access here through pso2 shows great promise but it was too late. Hitsugi speculates that Aru is inside Mother, so Mother asks what of it. Hitsugi laughs, but mother calls it cold and unpleasant. There’s a lot to being a girl, cowardice frustration and anger but with all mixed, now all she can do is laugh. Mother says to go to sleep once more the next time she wakes all will be finished. She summons a big red sword and chops her. Hitsugi blocks with her katana which sends her skidding back . She knows what she must do. She was an idiot in the past, carless reckless, acting without thinking and crying. But now she’s experienced it all already: she’ll never act like that again. She hates those feelings but most of all , she hates being alone. Her katana sends off cubes. She doesn’t want to lose anyone anymore. No one disspaars! She’ll protect all that matters to her. It’s right its natural an the place she belongs is where she is right now. She wont deceive herself anymore.
She unsheathe the sword, spins, and gets a very fancy red outfit with a big fake braid added to her hair. It’s white and woven in at the bottom of her usual ponytail. There are white fins all around the tail. The outfit has heels for the knee-high boots, a floral theme, and big wide sleeves. The katana she makes has changed too, the blade is a pinkish and it has a long handle. The scabbard is wound in floaty ribbons and is white.
So, yes, this is strait up magical-girl nonsense where if someone just believes in themself enough they can twirl their way into a prettygirl-frou-frou fun outfit with the magical friend power to beat the boss! Woo! It's not like that is BAD PER SE....however it has a PLACE (in magical girl stories where it is expected, welcomed, and belongs) and the place probably shouldn't be in the scifi-space-opera that is Phantasy Star.
Mother says there’s no record of the armor, the appearance within her. Kohri says its "Ame-No-Sword of the gods". (She has been standing around this entire time, but done nothing) Hitsugi says she’ll save everyone, so call her greedy if you must, it’s the decision we made together.
Mother! I’ll defeat you and take Aru back! It’s her only goal.
Mother calls upon Kohri to attack Hitsugi. She does, but Gram hits her new sword, and gets struck. Mother says the wavering has gone from Hitsugi. Xiera gets up. She says everyone’s doing their best. Xiera can’t give up either. (Yes she 3rd persons here) The power of Xiera type (of which there is only one, like tiggers...who also does third person) can’t be underestimated! She takes back the controls, and creates a dome over herself of some type of energy. Xiera is offended that Mother would say 'a flustered child' to her. But the controls are her limit. Further assistance is impossible.
Mother had wanted to destroy the ship, but said that time’s against them, so she tells Ophiel to activate the shield. Kohri protests that Hitsugi will be left, but Mother says worry later. Kohri promises to come back and get her, but leaves along side Mother.
Matoi and you arrive, asking is everyone ok.
Xiera is so upset she couldn’t protect Aru. Matoi greets Hitsugi.
It Must Have Been Painful
If you say It Must Have Been Painful Hitsugi says it was, but it’s over so it doesn’t matter now. She’s sorry because she was hesitant they took Aru. She’ll save everyone, not just him, that’s what she’s chosen. No matter how selfish she will be because she’s decided. After all, it’s big sisters’ job to save little brother, so just wait Aru, she’s coming.
Not a terrible chapter at all.
The time gimmick where you were repeating the clown/zombie sequence was genuinely confusing. It's also something that's very fitting with those characters: it's something they'd do. The Maxwell gimmick was another good one, because it fits with characters of any level & you have to figure it out.
You don't know if Och & Phul kill themselves successfully
Aru was absorbed by Mother, but you can bet he didn't dissolve
It didn't open up a pile of plot holes, which is remarkable for this area of the story. It was pretty straightforward, which was nice, and everyone was on their own motivation/true to character.
Maybe Enga learned something and maybe he didn't
This 'battle' sort of 'humanizes' Xiera a little bit. It's VERY doubtful that her fretting & going 3rd person is an act put on by a true sociopathic entity. (Her earlier 'stupid dialoge & acting emotions makes people do what's needed easily' line which roused suspicion.)
Reunion With Matoi
You find Matoi in the lobby, and she tells you she woke earlier than you & they’ve been moving her everywhere since then, it feels like forever! It’s been too long a time, so she feels lost on what to talk about first. She says current events first, so thanks for rescuing her, at the time she was the only one who could fight, so the truth is she was a bit scared.
It’s Thanks To Hitsugi
You Did A Good Job
What is the first option? What’s thanks to her? That one doesn’t make sense. If you say You Did A Good Job , she says she did her best and we made it because everyone worked together, you & Hitsugi too, she’s glad to see you all back. She wanted to encourage Hitsugi but it seems to have backfired so she was worried. But she came back and now has determination in her eyes, so from now on we’ll have to properly support her so she won’t handle everything alone. You hand on hip, seem to contemplate this, so Matoi says you looked her way, and thought about the old her? She promises not to get lost again, if something happens, she’ll rely on you. She’ll never forget she’s not alone any more.
Aru’s True Identity
241 4/19 at 1100
On the bridge, Xiera says her head is pounding as she covers her face. (How is that possible? She’s a robot, remember…has no one fixed her / can’t fix self?)
Are You Really Ok?
Shouldn’t You Still Rest?
If you ask Shouldn’t You Still Rest? She says no no its ok, Xiera can move again. And this isn’t the situation where she can just lie in bed. Hitsugi thinks for a little bit, then apologizes for causing so much trouble. Xiera says no, she didn’t do anything wrong, the ones causing all the destruction are the ones to blame. She still thinks its her fault it happened, so she wants to apologize properly to Aru… This reminds Xiera though, so she wants to inform everyone of the damage caused by the recent attacks. The ship only was temporarily taken control over, so all systems are back to normal now. It also returned to being near Earth. They finished all countermeasures against it ever happening again. Casualties though…it’s a relatively small number. Because the limiter was also exploited, the majority of ARKS were unable to fight intruders so it was a good call to evacuate instead of battling. But Aru was…
Hitsugi now is the one with some good news, saying to not let it worry her, she knows because she was connected to him, that he was absorbed by Mother. Yes…he was the one by her side cheering her on every time she was down, but the connection is now very weak. But, it hasn’t vanished so that’s why she’ll take him back from Mother no matter what.
Enga now appears to ask why she would do that?
(How did he get to the ship? He was stranded in her dorm room when last we saw him. Maybe the ship being back near Earth made...whatever anyone does to 'go there', to work again? There's no explanation.)
AND HE WOULD ASK WHY SAVE A FREIND?
Then NO Enga has learned NOTHING this entire time. What is Enga, even? He doesn't know why someone would want to save their friend? Has he ever had a friend? Does he know what empathy is? This is just bad writing for him. Make him ask something at least a teensy bit logical....
Xiera says the best place to start is by defining what Aru & Mother really are.
Ardem now calls in, saying there’s a passage about her in the EG Records. If it’s like their legends, was an entity that arrived on earth in ancient times. (Oh boy here we go again ripening up the plot holes) The entity from a different universe (as if anyone could ever actually KNOW that) has awakened recently and began to move.
Xira chips in to enhance the story, it was a problem of ARKS doing. She reminds everyone that MOTHER is a copy of ‘Akashic Record Xion”, the very first model. Although she was created successfully, it was uncontrollable and abandoned in subspace. (This still checks out with previous accounts of what happenedthough ‘subspace’ is still that ill-defined MacGuffinthe other chapters were never FREE of plot holes but they made a heck of a lot more sense. But the Subspace MacGuffin was always of ‘MacGuffin’ status because nobody explained what it was, why she could be shoved there, how she couldn’t get out, and how they jammed her in there.
The Xion copy the photoners made was bad because everyone was having nasty emotions and anger/murder/whatever around it and they didn’t do a good job in making it. Xion opened her own plot hole with it because if she could time travel to a degree / peek into other eras, she knew full well the thing would go wrong and try to kill her. Even if she didn’t know the exact events would create Luther = Loser, the body-snatching weirdo and her biggest foe that eventually kills her while he tries to know everything there is to be known. Did you know that knowing all there is to be known includes what it feels like to have a 2 inch cockroach drink the tears from the edge of your eye while you lie down? It also includes other "fun facts" like what it's like to drown in a septic tank. Remember: all the knowledge includes ALL the knowledge. And it sure is all in there...so be careful what to wish for.
It ended up arriving on Earth and became Mother. That’s why Ether and Photons are so similar, they were originally the same thing. Ardem says to not let the chain of events bother you, ARKS. (Let’s let it bother everyone here then: bring forth the Devils Trailer semi-truck to drive though the plot hole created by “oh it just ended up on Earth”. How’s that for the world’s largest hand-wave? She might as well have said “It went there because I said so”. Cross dimension how? Learn about other dimension even existing how? Able to still exist in other dimension….and not be a planet….how??? You can’t even ask questions at this point because it’s all so much piles of contrived nonsense and hand-waves to get this stupid thing to happen at all.
Regardless of how Mother was born, she still led Earth civilization to a new evolution of technology. The series of events is something the people of Earth must overcome, this wall is now blocking our evolution. (They are mis-using the term evolution here, they mean advancement of society) More importantly though, we should focus on Aru. Xiera has some info on that though. We gained enough data during the recovery of Hitsugi and during Aru’s absorbtion to reveal what he really is.
In accordance with your character awakening, (after the big Matoi battle) a mass of darkness was trying to regain form. He’s a Falz! (So THAT’s why his outfit was so Falz-ey when he auto-generated it out of nothing on the bridge.) Hitsugi is shocked, a Dark Falz is the absolute enemy of ARKS! Yes, Xiera confirms a fragment of PD, and an entity that controls darkers, it’s a Dark Falz by its very definition. A DF is a powerful darker, it chooses a host to attempt to take over, and then materialize. (As you saw with Afin's sister, Gettemhart & Loser too)
This causes Hitsugi to remember the time when she had Aru as a character in the game and a sudden weird darkness came over it (right-right at the very start of this episode you can page back to the event) and ‘wrecked her game’. Xiera says that it was a new DF that tried to capture Hitsugi as its host. (Because anything in the PSO dimension is fair game-----aaaaaand nobody ever explains how PSO2 works!) The host was instead an avatar made of Ether, Hitsugi was forced to log out and the influence of your character’s power (Remember, you tried to save the Aru-avatar thing thinking it was a person when it wasn’t.) With all the factors miraculously overlapping, Aru didn’t take form as a Dark Falz, but as Aru, a person.
When Mother confronted him (on the bridge) she called him “A Fusion of Ether & Photons.” He was born from your own photons, and Hitsugi’s ether. Enga feels it’s too much to be a coincidence, is it even possible? Aru did say that the people who guided him through the darkness were you & Hitsugi. If the ‘darkness’ means DF, that’s got to be what he meant. Enga thinks its an absurd hybrid, but Xiera thinks that since it was a DF, the only reason it became a hybrid was because your char repressed the darkness. The situation will get worse though, because the darker elements in Aru were always kept in check by your char photons being near by. But Mother absorbed him, went far away, and both connections to Aru are now very weak. Once the photons run out…what’s left inside of Aru?
Suddenly, a red alarm screen pops up in front of Xiera.
She’s startled and angry because she was in the middle of something. There’s a huge phantom outbreak on Earth Las Vegas, so you & Enga make a run for the door. Enga explains that whatever it is they’d have to fight it anyway to get it out of the way so why not just go now. He tells Hitsugi to get ready because she’s surely coming too. After a pause, she nods and all 3 run off.
An interesting bit.
It's still difficult because the whole 'avatar mechanic' is still unexplained. However, it seems to be that the 'fake arks characters' that the PSO2 somehow makes are just puppets for their users like Hitsugi. Hitsugi was then 'kicked out of' her Aru shaped puppet by the dark-blob. But, because she was a good person, you are a good strong person, the dark blob got into her Aru Puppet and then promptly failed. He was a blank slate, but could talk. His basic personality was friendly, but based on a female (Hitsugi). So her puppet became a sentient person thanks to the dark blob, but instead of becoming evil like Gettemhart, he became friendly/neutral. He is able to stay a normal person thanks to everyone feeding him positivity photons / ether by hanging out with him.
But now, all he has is evil Mother ether and distance surrounding him, so he could easily just die because the body is a puppet created by a game (huge plot hole) and the personality only worked by feeding off others.