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PSO2 Story Guide Holiday Side Stories
The story of PSO2 has many chapters & is very 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.
This section is for Chapter5 ONLY. For all the plot before this, see the Story Hub. Because the game is divided up over these sections, the plot will be as well.
Character Guide
Planets/Areas Guide
Special Quest Mission Write Ups
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
Dates & Times (Story is time travel related) Purple Text
Story Guide HUB
Holiday Side Stories: Explanation
These aren't super consequential to the plot, but there eventually got to be large enough ones that it did help fill in a few things or continue to show character traits for important in-game characters. The section will likely never be 100% complete because really old (like years past from 2020) quests are gone for good, never to be repeated and....their dialogue was never translated because they were temporary, lasting a few weeks at most.
However: Don't worry about missing out on lore from it. Old quests like this Valentines Day or White Day etc. would always follow the same general format: NPCs would appear as E-Trial 'helpers' on Code: Unite or another similar one, and would enter the MPA while doing a few simple related phrases. Like for White Day Ohza would show up and start talking to Marlu who would also appear in the quest. They would have general White Day banter & then the etrial would end/they go away. All of the early ones were like that format/no-matter which holiday so it wasn't a big deal. Sometimes they'd be given holiday outfits, like Matoi dressing as a witch for Halloween or other things like that.

Holiday Phantoms:
The annoying Episode Earth introduced the concept of "Phantoms Embodiments". The energy MacGuffin/Plot-Device (like photons are here) "Ether" from that dimension obviously got into the dimension of the universe of ARKS when it crossed over. This allows for people who aren't real to be manifested by the collective thoughts/emotions/stweing-up feelings of lots of people on the ship. The manifestations are called "Phantoms" (not to be confused with phantom class fighter) and they're basically 1 dimensional-type personality portraits of someone. They act somewhat how a 'ghost' would, in that they are always seeking a type of resolve, in order to feel completed. Once they do, they disappear. It is literally their quest to dissappear though so it's not like you're off killing them or helping them suicide. These Embodiments can talk, give quests, give you actual objects, move around and even accompany you onto the play field. Sometimes the Embodiment knows what it is, and sometimes they don't.

By combining the Phantom Embodiment concept with 'basically can be created by any amount of people thinking too hard about someone' you have the perfect in-game in-plot excuse to have literally any past character (dead or alive...or fictional!) show up on deck to be interacted with, give out quests and prizes. Then, when the event ends the convenient excuse of "oh they were satisfied and vanished yay" comes into play perfectly wrapping up all loose ends.

Neon Genesis Evangelion Crossover
Neon Genesis Evangelion is an anime TV show & several movies which has been regarded as 'somewhat confusing' and also 'somewhat depressing'. However, it was popular. So popular in fact, that it was regarded right into Episode Earth as a thing that 'everyone was watching'...and so of course someone recorded it and brought it onto the ARKS ship and then everyone there got watching it also and then many people thinking about the show embodied up some phantoms of:

The Angel Ramiel
Shinji, Asuka, Rei and their handler woman.
Because the TV show the 'angels' are usually immense kaiju size somewhat abstract very destructive things, this is, of course, a Very Bad Thing. Ramiel is a smooth faceted navy-blue or black polygon in the shape of a pyramid/reflected pyramid. So it is 8 sided. It has a 'drill' at the tip that is (I guess infinitely long?), which it will use to drill through a city ship into the power core to take the power for itself and kill everyone unless it is stopped. It can defend itself with a force field, it hovers in the air above the skyscraper buildings while drilling and it does not move. It manifests energy attacks like murder cubes, pink rays that do harm and spin & other such things. It attempts to work its way up to shooting a massive beam to murder a tower on the other side of the city.
The only way to fight it, is to use the AIS units (which can default fly) to shoot down its shield-maker nodes with bullets and missiles until the core is attackable. Do this enough times, and Shinji the main character of the show can use his EVA unit (A giant, kaiju sized robot because of course it is) to shoot a really huge gun that's also attached to the ship's power supply to blast and destroy the Angel Ramiel. This portion of it featured as an EQ that would appear during the event, but it could also drop cards that would let you run the EQ long after the event had passed.

The Characters:
All 3 of the main characters are teenagers of some kind. Shinji is shy and receeding, Rei seems studious and level-headed, Asuka is outspoken, does not like Shinji and is the boldest. The woman is likely a trainer or handler. They have been trained to operate giant mech-suits to fight off the Angels and try to save the Earth in the tv show.

Christmas 2020 Phantoms Event

Christmas of 2020 is the last one of solo pso2. As Pso2 NGS will release in 2021, PSO2 itself is unlikely to get any more plot content because the new game is a combination of both that you can swap between versions freely. (Don't abandon one to get the other--but the old will likely just become a static/archive) For it's likely final holiday season it gets 3 phantoms to deal with at Christmas.

Phantoms of Christmas:
Elmir, Shiva & Mother. Now, 3 bad guy embodiments have appeared for Christmas 2020. Xiera comes out with the usual warning that shady characters have appeared in the lobby, but Xiao’s study of them has proven they are harmless embodiments. However, as usual, these need to be investigated.

Elmir feels they’re in trouble, so please talk to Shiva. Mother is sorry to bother you but, please ask Shiva for details. Mother’s outfit is (of course) holiday themed, but it has her swirl pattern in a sort of short cape on her back. She has a snowflake crown, little stars in her hair, and pink eye-edge makeup. Talking to Shiva though, causes her to be annoyed because it’s clearly another gawper looking for a photo because we are not cosplayers or whatever that’s called. You clearly tell her no, but that you heard there was trouble to see what you could do, and she’s rather bothered that you’re here to help.

Mother is similarly nonplussed, she does not think that fulfilling our wishes will make the troublesome situation to go away. Elmir laughs at this, saying your timing is convenient, we’re all trying to remember who we are and what we are doing in this lobby. (Yeah and why this guy’s dressed full-on as a court jester) Shiva then concedes that all she remembers is her name is Shiva and she’s in some sort of trouble, so can you help?

This will open a client order from her Travelling Meeting. In this, she acknowledges that all 3 of them have some sort of a wish, but it’s so busy here can we go somewhere quiet to remember what’s going on? Can you take us somewhere? To do it, you have to finish Marathon Training Naberius with all 3 of them as NPCs. Taking it, they will tell you they’re glad to go, and that talking among each other has revealed that there’s something important that we each want to do. Elmir thinks it was something fun, but he can’t concentrate. Mother thinks a quiet place and a change of surroundings would help. Shiva figures out partner cards and hands all 3 over.

The actual order is the Forest 2nd TACO. Handing it in, Elmir feels the wish could be coming true already. Shiva thinks that all 3 have a better idea now. Mother thinks it’s still vague, so it would be difficult for the 3 of them to accomplish it by themselves, so could you lend your aid. Shiva regrets imposing on you, but could you stay with them a little longer. She also hands out the next order “Mistake Unmake”, which is to deliver a Tunnels Sea Snail, which is something you can only get while gathering (not an enemy drop) She thinks she can remember what her wish is: that someone or something made a mistake that she feels she had to fix, but what it was, she can’t remember. (And somehow a literal snail will help her to do this? How?)

When you go to look for it though, Xiera will cut in again (on the camp ship) thanking you for checking in on the phantoms who were embodied out of Ether by someone’s strong feelings. She thinks now that it could be herself that did it. She was taking care of the end of year filing, heard a Christmas song and started thinking of people celebrating. She had been organizing the battle data of those 3, so her daydream could have gotten mixed up in that. She’ll keep monitoring, you keep doing.
Giving her the Tunnels Sea Snail surprises her with how fast you were able to do it. She thought it would be difficult to find. She wonders what it could be, and you apparently tell her its one of nature’s mistakes. (Really? It’s just described as a sea snail with rainbow spiky shell. There has never been anything odd or 'mutant' about this item. It literally has no backstory as to why it could be somehow 'a mistake' in any way.)
She says its slimy & totally revolting. She laughs at how terrible it is, but how could you present her something like this with keeping a straight face? But, laughing at it makes things not so bad, was she the one making a mistake all along? She’ll cherish asking for this mistake forever, so sincerely thank you. (What happens to mr. snail?) This causes Elmir to get a quest which is Amazing Erasing. His wish seems to be to erase something, but what and how? He doesn’t know so he’ll send you to Coastal Conservation. He calls you Comrade, but doesn’t know why…however when he sees your face it just feels right.

Turning in Elmir’s order, he feels that defeating shell flowers that set off explosions like fireworks is the right thing to do. (Why?) He says it’s great you did it but he’d understand if you hadn’t wanted to help a suspicious looking guy like him. This gives you the next order which is Mother who has Arrange Revenge. It’s a chat order to talk to Hans, Koffie and Io. She thinks its disturbing but some kind of revenge was once her desire. It may be all she needs to settle her heart, would you consider what kind of revenge to take and who to take it on?

She wants to get back at someone for something, it’s a powerful, burning feeling. She has no idea at all if it would work. You clearly tell her you can manage that somehow. She doesn’t understand but will look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Talking to Hans: He asks about paying someone back with a Christmas present? Why would you ask him such a thing, killer? (That’s his pet name for you after you become better friends with him by doing lots of his COs) He says you should know he hasn’t got the nerve for that type of thing. But, he’ll try to think of something…and his answer is Jerkey. It’s good to have in battle because it is a snack if you have a good drink to go with it. Practical and delicious is a good result, right? So, Hans interperates 'payback' to mean 'reciprocity' in the form of a gift. It's normal to think along the lines of that at this season.

Talking to Koffe: She tells you you’ve been doing well out there, but a Christmas present to pay someone back? She’s clearly confused. Koffe has like…I think literally never been involved in a story piece before so yes it makes sense she’s confused. She tells you of course she’s no experience with this sort of thing but…In this season she sees many cold ARKS, so winter clothing might do? She has recently enjoyed a scene in a story she was reading where a woman gave a long hand-knit scarf to her lover. Buuut maybe she should keep that to herself, she doesn’t know if it’ll help, but it’s all she can suggest.

Talking to Io: Io thinks that…no way, you don’t mean her? No of course not, you’re probably helping someone out like usual. How about a cute strap to attach to a mobile terminal? It’s always nice to get something to carry around with you. If you buy it for yourself at the same time, then wear them together so maybe it’ll bring you closer together…But forget about that last part! Merry Christmas!

Io is actually thoughtful and charming here. It would feel sad in not getting her something after this. Turning in the order to Mother, you first (apparently) explain to her that to wait until your children or partner has fallen asleep, then leave presents for them—what a strange tradition. And that Santa is an old man with a large white beard. She feels she might know someone who meets the description already but it must be her imagination.

She asks how did you do? You think she should look for a different kind of payback like, paying someone back for a gift they received? Can you provide an example? She lists off the ideas. She doesn’t understand them exactly but if you’re right, thinking about people to which she feels she owes something, and giving them something in return would clear her heart. Then, she’ll also pay you back by using all the strength she can muster to…but you shake your head at her. She asks why, and gives you the funny cartoon rainbow weapon camo Reindeer Tackt Snow. And, another order: White Bright Christmas.

The White Bright Christmas is just to beat the holiday EQ quest. This one says thanks for making all of our wishes come true. Now, we can consider our surroundings, like what is the meaning of this outfit? She thinks all three outfits are stylish, and has had people tell her to ‘say cheese’ and pointing flashing machines at her all day. Shiva chimes in saying there’s a Christmas event on, and it’s main symbol is a man who wears clothes like these. (Not like Shiva’s he doesn’t….!) Mother feels hers is a bit too light for winter but have all 3 wishes come true? Shiva asks you, what about you? Yours is clearly ‘you want to train in VR so everyone can enjoy the event with peace of mind?’ Then by all means go to it we can’t have unpleasant thoughts looming over the event, ARKS is lucky to have you in it. It relates to an event bringing happiness to people, and your wish is to train people to defend it?

Their wishes are now come true, but they don’t feel likely to disappear. What else could we try, wonders Elmir? Shiva wonders at nothing to do? Could this world have such peace. Its because you went to the trouble to help us? Maybe it’s time we got into the spirit as well, you deserve a present. Mother then chips in that Santa brings all the good children of the world a gift. She didn’t understand before, but you guided us out of the bewilderment, so here, please take this. May it bring you joy a plenty, Merry Christmas.

Xiera cuts in as you move into the lower lobby (away from those npcs) and says thanks for solving the Phantoms’ problems, she owes you for that. You showed those hate filled people how to enjoy Christmas peacefully, she’s impressed. Xiao now also cuts in at the same time and says Christmas is time for miracles, so looks like Xiera has been up to some fun. She says yea…but wait, Xiao?? (He has suprised her by cutting in as well, as usually he does not) He says it was her fault this time too? He’s looking forward to the full incident report by tomorrow please. Xiera says there goes her Christmas, can she join your Celebration instead? The event ends.

Xiera clearly has some kind of special power for these things. Why doe Xiao not try to harness this somehow? Why just be rotten to her about it? Get her to think up a mass of disposable phantoms and throw them at foes instead of risking real people. She's unique in all the ship at being able to help these things manifiest AND stay manifested all by herself. Try to work with her about her ability to do it, to get it into control and use it to benefit the ships.
Xiao is cutting in as revenge here, for her accidentally causing these guys to appear, he ruins her holiday on purpose asking for the incident report to punish her for her mistake of manifesting. She can't say anything back to him either about it, which is kind of sad and feels unfair on purpose