The following page comprises the full verbal transcript of Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-.

Notes
  • This transcript contains cutscene dialogue from Story and Arcade Mode.
  • Transcriptions of battle dialogue and arcade quotes are found on character's individual quote lists.
  • Dialogue is sorted by chapter name, or by character name.

Arcade Mode

Opening

Narrator: A world separate from our own, yet somehow controlling it -- The Backyard. Hidden behind its gates are the eternal truths. Of good... and of evil. Of creation and destruction. Or chaos the likes of which mankind has never seen. In a time long past, a philosopher entered this other realm. He returned, and through shuddering breaths, he spoke... "No evil should touch this place." This philosopher sealed all that the Backyard was into a single tome. His hope was that mankind would never stumble upon its power. With that, the path to the Backyard was forever barred, and peace once again blessed our world. But what followed, the ancient sage could never have predicted. For evil came not from a human who discovered the book... but from inside the Backyard itself.
October 21, 2187 at 12:12 Japan
Ramlethal: My name is Ramlethal Valentine. With this, I declare war on all the world... All those unworthy to stand upon it will be destroyed. The future of humanity... is the past.

Epilogue

Chronus: [only his glowing eyes can be seen, and gradually the rest becomes visible] Well then...shall we begin? It's time to take over the world.

Story Mode

Devastation A

October 21, 2187 The Tearoom
Ramlethal: It's time. Are you prepared?
Chronus: All aspects of our plans are proceeding accordingly. Now all we can do is wait.
Ramlethal: No. I meant are you prepared. Mentally.
Axus: Mentally...? You were the last person I ever expected to hear that from.
Ramlethal: True. I do not understand the human mind well. However, if you are having second thoughts, that would be a problem.
Chronus: You needn't waste your time worrying. In fact, I would think YOU might be having issues with...mental preparedness.
Ramlethal: We Valentines have no emotion. We do not seek meaning in our actions, or even to understand them. We do what must be done, as anyone would desire of a cog in a larger machine.
Chronus: The same cannot be said for your sister though, I think.
Ramlethal: ...
Chronus: Why?
Ramlethal: That was Mother's idea. It is not my business to ask why.
Chronus: Indeed, and it would be a problem for US should there be a similarly weak link in this plan. We have invested a great deal. It MUST succeed.
Ramlethal: She was faulty, and could not fulfill her duty. She does not possess sufficient information to sabotage this operation, regardless of her failings.
Chronus: Hmph. I definitely hope that is the truth.
Libraria: I confess I still have doubts. The projected casualty count alone...
Axus: This AGAIN? We have all agreed. If we miss this opportunity, who knows when the next might be upon us? ...Assuming the world can last that long. I fear we do not have the time required to make humankind understand why this is necessary...
Libraria: ...I understand. We exist because of what we intend to do today.
Chronus: Precisely, and we must act before That Man has an opportunity to undermine us.
Ramlethal: ...Are you done?
Chronus: Yes. As for you Ramlethal, are you certain you can defeat Sol Badguy?
Ramlethal: I am only a pawn in a much larger scheme. I don't need to defeat him. Activating the Cradle is our common goal, and that's all I need to do.
Axus: Hmph.
Chronus: Very well, then. Let's begin. ...The Last Dawn.
[Episode title. The Cradle appears over Babylon and a red expansion wave consumes its inhabitants.]
October 28, 2187 Illyria Castle -- War Room
Leo: What's happened?!
Operator 1*(Anders): Still don't know the cause, sir, but...we're getting readings from the center of Babylon showing strong vibration and shockwaves.
Leo: Is it Ramlethal!?
Operator 2*(Trey): Sonar results are in! We've located a very large...object. It seems to be the source of the vibration and shockwaves, sir.
Leo: But can you tell me what in the hell it IS?!
Operator 2: Matter analysis can't keep up, sir, and all our local contacts aren't responding.
Leo: Son of a bitch! Send in search and rescue, NOW!
Operator 2: R-Right away!
Leo: Get me that damn damage report! We need to get evac notices to all nearby cities. I want national leaders online now, we'll need to cooperate on this one!
Operator 3*(Ellsworth): Yes, sir!
Operator 1: The press line won't stop ringing, sir!
Leo: Later! Let the 3rd Division handle it!
Operator 3: Sir, we have an incoming transmission from His Majesty!
Leo: Put it through!
Operator 3: Yes sir!
Ky: Leo!
Leo: Ky! What in the hell is going on in Babylon? Does it have anything to do with Japan?!
Ky: Most likely yes. We're still trying to determine how to deal with...all of this, but the situation is bad. I'm going to need your approval.
Leo: What? What the hell do you need ME to approve?
Ky: I'm going to release Elphelt. Temporarily.
Leo: WHAT?! Have you lost your goddamn mind?! You know I can't sign off on that, especially with what's just happened!
Ky: No, this is exactly why we must release her. We must subdue Ramlethal and take her into custody to control this situation. And to do that...we need Elphelt.
Leo: Did she suggest that? ...No, I can't. What if this only makes it worse?! She can't be trusted. What if she's just stringing you along?
Ky: ...I thought as much. Then I've no choice but to act on my own.
Leo: What?! H-Hey! Damnit, Bambino!
Operator 3: Sir!
Leo: NOW WHAT?!
Royal Fleet One -- Special Quarters
Computer: Initiating bio-security scan... Identity confirmed as Ky Kiske, King of Illyria. Executing contingency 8. Releasing level 2 restrictions.
Ky: Elphelt... Can you hear me?
Elphelt: ...Yes.
Ky: Everything you predicted has taken place, just as you said it would. What I'm about to propose may seem too convenient, but...
Elphelt: You needn't worry. I knew this would happen as well.
Ky: Can you stop her?
Elphelt: My sister and I possess the same control restraints. I will stop her.
Computer: Final bindings deactivated. Elphelt Valentine is now released.
Elphelt: I hope my dress doesn't get too dirty...
Japan
Ramlethal: [grabbing Sol's neck, throwing him backwards, about to self-destruct] Our plan has proven successful, Sol Badguy. However... I've determined that you may eventually become an obstacle.
Sol: Rgh--!
Ramlethal: You spell trouble for my Mother. That's bad. Die.
Sin: Old man!
Sol: (Shit...)
Ramlethal: Huh? Why...? [Her control restraint is activated by Elphelt.]
Ramlethal: El...?
Sin: What?!
Ky: Thank goodness. We got her here in time...
Sol: I'm not saying it again. Whatever's going on in Babylon, stop it, now!
Ramlethal: Impossible. I couldn't even if I wanted to. No one can stop it. Not me, not you.
Sol: Huh. Well, don't see much point to you, then--
Ky: Sol, wait! We're taking Ramlethal into custody. We have far too little information about the situation. This is the wisest course of action.
Sol: Nngh...
[The Cradle disappears.]
Illyria Castle -- Operation Headquarters
Operator 1: We-We're losing the target...! I-It disappeared!
Leo: Dis...appeared...?
Operator 1: S-Sir, we're not getting anything on sonar or on the residual magic scanner. I can't see anything!
Leo: What the hell could make something that huge disappear?!
Operator 1: B-But... What should we do...?
Leo: ...We can't let people panic. Remind all divisions to maintain total media blackout. Activate the military and local law enforcement-- we need patrols running 24/7.
Operator 1: Understood.
Leo: Damnit, we don't have time to wait... Send all the intel we've got to the Department of Defense for analysis. The Royal University too!
Operator 1: Sir!
Leo: What's the status on those hotlines?!
Operator 2: They're all connected!
Leo: Good, patch them through. I'm heading in for a meeting.
Operator 3: Wait, hold on! We're receiving a transmission from His Majesty. He...he's saying they've captured Ramlethal!
Leo: What?! Are you sure!?
Operator 3: I'll put him on.
Leo: Before you do that, make sure you tell him he's a son of a bitch.
November 13, 2014 Research Lab -- Courtyard
Aria: Hey... Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a bird?
Frederick: What...? Uh, no.
Aria: Really? Not even once?
Frederick: What's the point? The human mind is so different from a bird's we couldn't even comprehend their reality anyway. C'mon, you're an adult, act like it.
Aria: Aww, what, you don't have dreams?
Frederick: I guess it would be cool to be able to fly.
Aria: That's the same thing!
Frederick: No, it's not. You don't have to be a bird to fly.
Aria: Uh, that's not what I meant...
Frederick: All right then, have you ever thought about becoming a cockroach?
Aria: Ugh, definitely not.
Frederick: Why not?
Aria: Because they're creepy!
Frederick: You sure? You never know, you might enjoy it.
Aria: You've got to be kidding me.
Frederick: None of the socio-political bullshit, no real natural enemies... Plus, you're next to impossible to kill. Doesn't that sound like a pretty nice life?
Aria: B-But you'd be gross...
Frederick: I doubt the roaches think they're gross.
Aria: Well, true, I guess they probably don't...
Frederick: No guessing about it. Why would they? You and I see everything through the lens of being human. Transforming into something else entirely isn't that much different than death. This whole world could be one big lie.
???*(That Man): That seems a little narrow-minded...
Aria: Right? No romance with him. Just nitpicking...
Frederick: This is science, not romance. All I'm saying is that our values are informed by our experiences and the stimuli we have at our disposal. So the only logical thing to do is to live our lives to the fullest, in the moment.
Aria: Ugh, philosophy...
???: Frederick, we may be scientists, but we're humans too. Don't you think your perspective is a little...lonely?
Frederick: What?
???: Let's take your past, for example. Is that a memory for you? Or just a sequence of events?
Frederick: Seriously? You're going to try and critique my philosophy with sentimentality?
???: Let me rephrase, then... If the world was going to disappear tomorrow... What would you do today?
Frederick: What kind of a question is that? Stop whatever's ending the world or die trying.
Aria: ...You mean "spend it with someone you love"?
Frederick: ...
Aria: All right, break's over. I'm going back, and you two should too. Just because Vince gave the order doesn't mean you get to be late.
???: ... Well, you definitely made HER feel lonely. You really do like to get lost in your own little world, don't you?
Frederick: Yeah, yeah, I picked the wrong answer. Rub it in.
???: That's not what I mean, Frederick. She's worried about you.
Frederick: What? Why would she do that?
???: Well...
Frederick: Well what?
???: Your world is very small, and whatever you do, you do it alone. Even in the laboratory, all you have are enemies.
Frederick: What, so I should be kissing ass so I can play with the cool kids? I've got you and Aria. That isn't enough?
October 28, 2187 A Dream
Bedman: Sol Badguy... The Flame of Corruption. A hybrid of Gear and human cells, built by That Man. But even with all that power, you can't escape your humanity... Still, you're one hell of a scientist. You figure out a way to keep your real power under wraps so people still think you're human... But the truth...the truth is something else. Heh heh heh.
???*(Ariels): What is it? You seem much more cheerful than usual.
Bedman: Yes. Yes, this is wonderful... He's the perfect protagonist for our story. If he were art, even a third-rate curator would be able to see there was something special about him. And your life's work...destruction of the Gears, and revenge on That Man... A fascinating contradiction, and such passion... Ha! This has to be fate. Eventually it will become part of the mythology of the world we'll create... A world of absolutes!
???: He he. Before we do, however, the Conclave must act.
Bedman: Ah, yes, of course. Ramlethal, unstable though she is, turned out better than expected.
???: He he. Then you shall continue to direct our little farce on the silver screen.

Devastation B

Anchor: This is Kate Walther. Local time is 3:15 PM. We're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming for breaking news. We have just received word that Ramlethal Valentine has been captured by the Knights of Illyria, only a week after her declaration of war. Details on her capture are scarce, but it appears to be related to the massive earthquake in Babylon yesterday. Now, for an update from Babylon, we go to our man on the scene, Mr. Kadooki.
October 28, 2187 Babylon Airspace
Kadooki: Thanks Kate, this is Kadooki, reporting live. The scene here is unbelievable... Strange gray ash is raining from the sky, and this once-bustling city is a deserted wasteland. According to investigators, no survivors have been found. Somehow, yesterday's earthquake resulted in the disappearance of all Babylon's citizens. Unfortunately, at this point all we're left with are more questions.
Anchor: Can you elaborate...?
Kadooki: Well, according to the official statement, all life in the area has disappeared, but structures seem unharmed, ruling out an explosion.
Anchor: So whatever this was, it only affected animals and people?
Kadooki: That appears to be correct. Investigators are attempting to determine the composition of the ash as we speak, in hopes that it may shed some light.
Anchor: Does it appear that this phenomenon is in some way connected to Ramlethal?
Kadooki: The government is proceeding on that assumption, yes, although some believe that it has something to do with a change in St. Elmo's Fire.
Anchor: St. Elmo's Fire...? The Thanks-Giving festival is still some time off, but the timing seems a little close to be a coincidence.
Kadooki: Our sources also tell us the UN is holding emergency meetings to discuss deploying Opus units into actual combat.
Anchor: Could you explain to the viewers at home what exactly an Opus is?
Kadooki: Of course.
Anchor: The Opuses are man-made super-soldiers, built under the instruction of the Sanctus Populi, with Illyria leading development. During Baptisma 13, the Illyrian Army--even armed with magic--was easily overwhelmed by the attacking forces, and suffered heavy casualties. The Opuses were developed to give mankind the ability to contend with future possible Valentine attacks. Maximus Ariels has been praised for championing rapid development of Anti-Valentine defense systems.
Anchor: Thank you. That was Mr. Kadooki, reporting live from Babylon. What could have possibly caused thousands of humans and animals to disappear? We'll continue reporting as this situation develops, but our hearts go out to the victims of this tragedy and their families.
Royal Fleet One -- Command Deck
Sol: Looks like the media finally got a hold of the story...
Sin: Hey! They don't even MENTION us!
Sol: Obviously.
Sin: Why not?!
Sol: How're we supposed to explain we used another Valentine to get Ramlethal?
Ky: If the media were to get wind of that, it would be...unfortunate. It's more convenient to allow the Illyrian Army to take the credit.
Sol: Besides, not everybody loves your dear old dad. All that crusading for justice means he's pissed in more than his share of cornflakes.
Ky: Th-That's not the point.
Sin: Ugh...politics is bullshit.
Sol: Heh. Well, as long as I get paid, I don't really give a damn.
Sin: A cool mil, right? Man, I wonder how much filet mignon that would get us...
Sol: Do the math. ...Wait, shit, I haven't taught you to divide yet, have I?
Ky: ... ...Ahem.
Sol: In any event, both Valentines are the key to solving this mystery. Once they've woken up, we'll need to ask some questions.
Sol: We don't really have time to wait around. If they aren't awake yet, I got some ideas about how to get 'em up...
Ky: W-Wait! Yes, they may be Valentines, but they still need to recover!
Sol: ...Fine, whatever.
Sin: So what were they talking about? That St. Elmo thing or whatever it was?
Sol: It's a big-ass lightning bolt.
Sin: What?! Why are we supposed to care about that?!
Ky: Ugh... Can't you ever actually EXPLAIN anything?
Sol: I thought we agreed you didn't get to tell me how to raise this kid.
Ky: *Sigh* St. Elmo's Fire is a bolt of lightning that strikes every thirteen years. There is no meteorological explanation, but it always comes in the autumn.
Sin: Oh...
Ky: During the Crusades, it saved several members of the Holy Order when it struck a group of Gears. The Fire gave the Crusaders the advantage, and ultimately allowed mankind to triumph. Since then humanity has taken to celebrating its arrival.
Sin: So...you're saying Babylon got toasted by this lightning?
Sol: No. Ramlethal clearly knew about it before it happened, so I think we can rule out "natural disaster" on this one.
Ky: Correct. In the unlikely event that St. Elmo's Fire were to fall on populated area, the casualties would be tremendous. In truth, it could easily destroy an entire city. That is why mankind has built a lightning rod to attract it.
Sin: What...?
Ky: Illyria Castle is that lightning rod.
Sin: O-Oh...
Sol: Make sense?
Sin: Y-Yeah, I guess so. So basically...it's a big-ass lightning bolt.
Sol: Exactly.
Ky: ... (I fear for his future...)
Illyria Castle -- Leo's Office
Leo: I apologize for the sudden call, Mr. President.
Vernon: [via comm] Don't worry about it. We're both short on time, though. Why don't you get down to business?
Leo: Thanks for understanding.
Vernon: So. What's happening in your neck of the woods?
Leo: At the moment, we've managed to maintain order, and people seem relatively calm. I admit, I'm a little surprised...
Vernon: Illyria's a big place. People on one side probably don't think something on the other side is going to be a danger to them.
Leo: Perhaps, but the media has shown no restraint. It could be a blessing, but I'm still concerned. No one seems to understand the gravity of the situation.
Vernon: People rarely show much concern for anything that doesn't affect their day-to-day lives.
Leo: Is that really what you think?
Vernon: Yes. A long time ago, human civilization used science to propel itself to dizzying heights, but sacrificed the most basic connections between people. Perhaps now we're headed down that same path, but with sorcery in place of technology.
Leo: I hope you're joking... Anyway, how are things on your end?
Vernon: We're regaining some stability as well. Ramlethal's declaration caused some unrest at first, but that's died down. The press team got out ahead of it, which helped a good deal.
Leo: No doubt those speeches from the former President helped as well.
Vernon: I certainly hope so. However, that leaves us with our most pressing problem... the massive creature that attacked Babylon. We're still not sure what it is.
Leo: According to the High King's report, Ramlethal called it the "Cradle."
Vernon: Then we can be certain it's connected to her somehow. Can we assume it won't reappear, now that she's been captured?
Leo: I wish I could tell you yes, but...the truth is, that may not be the case.
Vernon: Oh?
Leo: Evidently, Ramlethal's worldwide declaration was just to distract us from what was really happening at Babylon. A diversion...
Vernon: And we fell right into her trap... So we have a bigger problem than we thought, and someone else is pulling the strings?
Leo: Yes. Unfortunately...
Vernon: Developing a countermeasure for this Cradle and figuring out who's actually behind all this isn't going to be easy. If there's anything we can do to help, please, don't hesitate to ask.
Leo: Thanks.
Vernon: Which reminds me... What's the story with the other Valentine?
Leo: Her name is Elphelt Valentine.
Vernon: We can't learn anything from her?
Leo: Unfortunately not. We don't know why, but she'll only talk to the High King. We'd like to bring her to the Capitol for questioning, but it's too dangerous to have her near such a densely populated area. So we're just going to have to hope His Majesty can handle it.
Vernon: I see. Well, I have to admit I was a little concerned when I heard he'd released, ah, Elphelt. We were lucky this time that it worked out in our favor, but I shudder to think what might have happened if it had turned out to be the wrong call.
Leo: Believe me, I share your sentiment, Mr. President.
Vernon: I first noticed it during the International Press Conference, but... Lately the High King's actions have gotten more and more unpredictable.
Leo: Sir, if you looked up "problem child" in my dictionary, you'd see a picture of Ky Kiske.
Illyria -- Deserted Wasteland
Slayer: Shall we recap? We have discovered vital and disturbing information regarding the Cradle, which could alter the course of mankind...in the right hands. I understand time is short, so... What do you believe we should do in this time of crisis?
Millia: *Sigh* Why are you doing this?
Slayer: Is something the matter?
Millia: You already know exactly what you want to do, right? So you're just testing us, to see if we agree with you. I don't like it.
Slayer: Ah, always so difficult to please.
Venom: Millia. Be that as it may, we have an obligation to deliver this information to the appropriate party. Even an assassin does not want the world to end. And...above all else, I know that is what Lord Zato would do.
Slayer: But we are a guild of assassins. The ending of life is our profession. As such, though we have powerful allies, we have powerful foes, making it difficult to simply knock upon Illyria's door.
Millia: ...
Venom: What of Lord Mining, in the Post-War Administration Bureau? He still wields a good deal of power in Illyria.
Sayer: You forget so soon? The Bureau reports directly to the Conclave. Lord Mining may be a friend, but that is a very risky play.
Venom: Hm... The Conclave does have eyes and ears in councils and boardrooms across the world. Even those we trust could be compromised. Which leaves... America, or the Federation of China.
Millia: Okay, THAT is out of the question. The moment we leave Illyria, we're going to be wanted criminals.
Venom: We don't have a choice. I wish it could be avoided, but... Then again... The High King, Ky Kiske... His views are often at odds with the Conclave's...
Slayer: Hm... Not a bad suggestion at all. We must contact him at once!
Venom: Yes sir!
Millia: Hm...
Slayer: Yes?
Millia: The Conclave hired us so they wouldn't get their hands dirty, but that got us close to them, or at least closer than anyone else. So...why bother telling the King at all? Why not just deal with this ourselves?
Slayer: A clever deduction, but there's a great deal we still don't know. I don't wish to act in haste.
Millia: ...You're not going to make us go straight over this, are you?
Slayer: Am I?
Millia: The Illyrians aren't the kind of people to gloss over the things we've done for one juicy piece of information.
Slayer: "We"? I don't believe you're in the Guild.
Millia: *Sigh* ...You really like to poke us to see how we squirm, don't you. Is this some part of your "Dandyism"?
Slayer: I have no comment on that inquiry, which you may interpret as you will. However, on the subject of dandyism--
Millia: Forget it. And if I hear you even START to say "milady," I just might have to stab you.
Slayer: A terrifying thought indeed. My lips are sealed.
Millia: ...It is a mystery, though. What does the Conclave plan to do with all that power? Hopefully not start a war just because they're old and bored...
Venom: Who goes there?!
Crowd: !!!
Bedman: ...
Venom: If you have no business with us, I must ask that you remove yourself.
Bedman: ...
Millia: Too slow--!
Slayer: [as Bedman shoots a beam at them] This is bad!

Struggle A

Unknown Date, 2015 Labortory -- Experiment Room
Frederick: We're finally done.
???*(That Man): Yes.
Frederick: Stabilized Gear cells infused with magic... This means no more human illness.
???: I never could have done this without you and Aria.
Frederick: Don't try to be modest. You're about to win every achievement award they've got, and get your name in the history books.
???: I'm...not really interested in that.
Frederick: Have a little pride, man. Although...this could flip the healthcare system on its head. You're going to face some resistance...
???: I'm not concerned about that, actually...
Frederick: ... You're afraid someone's going to weaponize them.
???: Yes. I have decided I will turn over all of my research on Gear cells, and the theory behind them, to the state.
Frederick: You've gotta be kidding me.
???: Only if they can meet four conditions.
Frederick: Which are?
???: One... Any benefits derived from this research may only be used to further peace in the world. Two... Everyone involved in further research must have their physical and financial well-being guaranteed. Three... The current staff will retain their jobs, and with a significant budget increase to keep this facility intact. And lastly... These conditions must be publicly announced, to prevent the state from going back on them once they have been agreed.
Frederick: ... All right, what if they don't go for it? I hate to say it, but you should probably be prepared for the worst.
???: If and when that happens, I'll have to put a contingency plan in place to destroy all of our research material.
Frederick: Heh heh heh... Well, that would be a huge waste of our best years.
???: Not necessarily. Even if our research never sees the light of day, I believe it can...
Frederick: ...?
???: ... Frederick, listen to me. This is about Aria...
Aria: Ah ha! I was wondering where you two were! And of course you're here in the lab!
Frederick: I thought you went home.
Aria: I'm working tonight! Unlike SOME people, these cells are very delicate. They might die if someone doesn't keep an eye on them.
???: Actually, I believe the Gear cells are quite resilient...
Aria: Hush! I'm not just cultivating Gear cells! Besides, tomorrow's an important day for both of you. Go get some sleep! Gah...!
Frederick: What's wrong?
Aria: N-Nothing, just a stitch in my side. I must have run here too fast...
Frederick: What the hell...
???: (Aria...)
October 29, 2187 Royal Fleet One -- Guest Quarters
Elphelt: Elphelt Valentine... Eliminate all redundancies, with extreme prejudice!
Sol: Finally up?
Elphelt: Wh-What?
Sol: You say some pretty freaky shit in your sleep, lady.
Elphelt: O-Oh, um, that's just something I was programmed to say when-- W-Wait, what?! H-How long have you been there?!
Sin: Hey! I'm Sin. Nice to meet you!
Elphelt: Uh, okay...
Sol: Hey! What is this?! You two friends now?!
Sin: C'mon, don't be so hard on her...
Elphelt: Ky? You wanna explain?
Ky: Of course. She appeared nearly a month ago and told me... Actually, perhaps you should explain, Miss Valentine.
Elphelt: Oh...ah...um...
Ky: You needn't worry. I trust all of them.
Elphelt: ...All right. My name is Elphelt Valentine. Ram and I are kind of twins. This "event" was supposed to have been ignited by both of us.
Sol: I'm guessing something went wrong.
Elphelt: I...fell short, I suppose you could say.
Sol: What?
Elphelt: Mother had ordered me to marry a death metal singer, but...at the wedding I, um...
Sol: C'mon, I'm not getting any younger.
Elphelt: D-Don't rush me! This isn't easy, you know... U-Um, anyway, the party got pretty rowdy, people were getting excited, I was flirting with him... and then my head went blank. Oh this is embarrassing... Uh...
Sol: ...
Elphelt: A-Anyway, I think that was when my "self" awakened, or something, and I couldn't be a Valentine anymore.
Sol: Are there any more of you? No. My fiance ran away too... I'm all alone now.
Sol: ... ...So why are you here again?
Elphelt: Oh, well, I though it would be awful to kill all the humans, so I came here to stop Ram. Ramlethal, I mean. My sister. He he... So I kept trying to explain myself to people, but nobody would believe that I was a "Valentine." They kept saying they "didn't have time for this" or telling me where the hospital was. Isn't that super mean?! So I thought it might just be quicker if I talked to somebody important, and who's more important than the king?! And what do you know, it worked out! I've got some kind of mysterious power that helps me locate Mr. Kiske!
Sol: Ky, you know what high blood pressure is, right? If this conversation doesn't end, oh, I don't know, RIGHT NOW, mine's gonna give me an aneurysm.
Ky: I understand, but please, contain that anger just a moment longer.
Sol: I think this is the first time I've ever actually respected you. What kinda training lets you just sit through this bullcrap?
Ky: You needn't look at me that way. We did every bioscan we could conceive of. She is definitely not human, which is why I chose to listen.
Sol: Son of a...
Sin: I'm not sure I'm really getting all this but...you're pretty hot shit, right? Like Ramlethal?
Elphelt: Wh-What...? O-Oh! Yes! Hot shit! Very hot!
Sin: Whoa! Really?! Awesome!
Elphelt: He he he...
Sin: Ha ha ha ha...
Sol: ...I'm sorry, Ky. There's a small chance I may have failed as a mentor and guardian.
Ky: ("Small"...?)
Elphelt: Usually we're programmed to just carry out our missions, and defying that program is basically impossible... But on the day of the wedding I think all the excitement just overloaded my...my womanhood, and it broke my programming!
Sin: What's that mean...?
Sol: ...So, suddenly you were overcome with guilt, and decided to betray Ramlethal?
Elphelt: Betray?! That...that sounds so mean...
Sol: Just drop this human act, all right? Nothing good's going to come from your kind having a conscience.
Elphelt: I-It's not an act! My mission was to infiltrate human society... I've been programmed to handle a lot of, um, human situations without causing trouble. The first generation Valentine lost because she didn't understand human emotions. I think I was created in response to that failure. And I think Ramlethal has emotions too.
Sin: ...
Ky: Now, down to business.
Sol: Business?
Ky: There is a reason we took her from Illyria and put her in my custody. Our security has been compromised, and our cabinet is in league with our enemies.
Sol: What?
Ky: I will be blunt, then. The Cradle that attacked Babylon? It is being controlled by the Conclave.
Sol: Seriously...? Why?
Elphelt: They're trying to use it to take over the world!
Sol: Ha. How imaginative.
Elphelt: Wh-Why's that funny?!
Sol: Well, I always thought those old turds were up to something. The Conclave controls most of the damn world already, what the hell else would they want to "take over"?
Elphelt: Th-That's all I know, really... That's just what they were saying...
Sol: Who was saying? Are you telling me you talked to the Conclave?!
Elphelt: Yes.
Sol: Rrrgh. Then why the hell don't you KNOW MORE?!
Sin: Hey! Stop it!
Sol: Ow!
Sin: You're scaring her!
Sol: I'm...? What, now you're best pals?!
Sin: Of course! My heart always has, and always will be, open to all. Besides, she saved your ass. Doesn't seem nice to return the favor by being a jerk.
Sol: Fine. Let's try this, then: What are the Valentines after? What're you going to get out of helping the Conclave?!
Elphelt: Our mission was to activate the Cradle, no matter what. Beyond that, they didn't tell us anything...
Sol: You seriously expect me to believe this bullshit?!
Ky: You've seen what she can do! Without her, you might not be alive right now! If she had been lying to us, she could have easily joined forces with Ramlethal and killed you instantly.
Sol: That's the best reason you've got to trust her? Some king you are.
Ky: That isn't what I said. I just don't think it could hurt to analyze the situation calmly.
Elphelt: I wished you'd just trusted me sooner... Maybe we could have saved all the people in Babylon...
Swordsman: Your Majesty! I-It's Ramlethal!
Royal Fleet One -- Interrogation Room
Ky: What's going on?! What?!
Ramlethal: You called those restraints? You should have done your research.
Sol: You really want to pick a fight with us? Now?!
Ramlethal: No. There is no need to fight.
Sol: What?!
Ramlethal: We're thirty-four thousand feet up. If this ship goes down, I doubt anyone will survive.
Ky: No... She's attacking the ship!
Ramlethal: ...Huh?
Elphelt: There's no point. As long as I'm here, you can't use your power, Ram.
Ramlethal: ...Why did you betray me?
Elphelt: Why do you want to exterminate humanity?
Ramlethal: I don't understand the question.
Elphelt: You have emotions too, don't you? Isn't our mission horrifying?!
Ramlethal: It's not, and I don't have emotions. A tool doesn't need emotions. Are you not proud to be one of Mother's tools...? [to herself] I don't understand. Why did you create her, Mother? Or...am I the one who has failed to fulfill my role?
Sol: Hey! We're asking the questions here!
Ramlethal: And I'm not answering them.
Sol: Fine. You can die instead.
Ramlethal: My mission has been completed. I have no further purpose. Kill me if you want.
Elphelt: W-Wait, please! Ram...
Ramlethal: ...
Elphelt: You were much more involved than I was... Do you know what's going to happen next?
Ramlethal: ...
Elphelt: Tell us.
Ramlethal: ...
Ky: ...Sol, you're not doing us any good here, stand down. Let us see how this plays out.
Sol: We don't have time to sit on our hands, kid.
Ky: Perhaps, but the way you're handling this could ruin everything. I need to get a proper interrogator in here...
Sin: Hey! Old man! You think I could try talking to her?
Sol: What? And what the hell is an idiot like you gonna get out of her? This isn't a game!
Sin: I can't really explain it, but...I feel like we're... close somehow.
Sol: ...Hmph. Fine. Suit yourself.
A Dream
Bedman: Heh heh heh...
???*(Ariels): You seem to be having fun...
Bedman: I'm actually rather excited at the moment. You see? Even I begin to feel the rush of adrenaline when fighting numerous skilled opponents.
???: He he he. That smile...like you don't have a care in the world. It reminds me of your sister.
Bedman: ...
???: My apologies. Was that inappropriate?
Bedman: It doesn't matter to me. I was surprised you even cared about Delilah.
???: Isn't that the force that drives you?
Bedman: Indeed. That is why I must turn this world into an absolute one.
???: That world is almost within our grasp.
Bedman: Yes. One chapter at a time, the story will unfold, and just the way we want it to. Maybe not quickly, but it's moving in the right direction. In any event, the cast this time is very pleasant. The director should feel lucky. Well, it's time for phase two. I should be going.
???: Good luck and Godspeed.
Illyrian War Room
Operation 1*(Anders): Massive heat source detected! It's at 40.036011 by 41.904083! It's north of the Black Sea... Something's coming in...!
Operation 2*(Trey): Particle analysis complete... It's a 93.2% match! There's no mistaking it--that's the Cradle, sir!
Leo: What's the nearest division? Are they aware of the situation?!
Operation 1: Nearest would be the Middle East Unit. There aren't any populated areas in a 20km radius. Wait, hold on... I have an incoming transmission!
Major Lyle: [via comm] Sire! This is Major Lyle of the Istanbul Battalion! The Cyprus Platoon is here supporting us!
Leo: Ah, you're the unit en route to Babylon.
Major Lyle: Yes sir! And we've encountered the Cradle!
Leo: Good. We need more information about it. What's your situation?
Major Lyle: The Cradle is approximately 3 klicks away, and visible to the naked eye!
Leo: We're going to need more detail than that... Major Lyle, I want you to advance on the enemy, but do it slowly, we don't want to provoke it...
Major Lyle: Increasing threat level to Red Alert. Beginning attack!
Leo: What?! No! Major, do NOT attack that thing until we've analyzed it, that is an order! Remain at a safe distance and report your findings!
Major Lyle: Respectfully sir, if we let this chance slip through our fingers, more people could die! We have three ships, air support, and the Opus. We cannot allow it to leave! All hands, prepare for assault! Battle stations!
Leo: Stand down, you idiot!
Operator 4: Target acquired. Ready to fire at any time, sir!
Major Lyle: Good. Fire! [The Cradle in unharmed.] Damnit...!
Leo: Not good... Back off! We need to analyze the situation!
Major Lyle: All vessels, full speed ahead! Air and ground units, prepare to attack! Damnit... We can't get through?! This... Impossible! How could...?! That's an Absolute Defense: Felion. We can't penetrate it with physical OR magical attacks!
Leo: Retreat, soldier! That's an order!
Operation 1: High energy levels detected around the Cradle! ...These are the same as the readings from Babylon!
Leo: Do you hear that, Major Lyle?! The Cradle is charging up! The odds are good it's preparing to use the same weapon that destroyed an entire city! You need to retreat, immediately!
Major Lyle: Deploy the Opus! Deploy everything! If nothing else, then perhaps we can discover this thing's weakness!
Leo: No!
Operator 1: ...The Cradle has disappeared, sir. I'm not receiving any further transmission from Major Lyle...
Leo: GodDAMNIT! ...Deploy a team to the site. We need to see if there are any survivors. And see if you can find...anything that will tell us about that thing. ...Shit! Were you recording all that?
Operator 1: Y-Yes, sir...
Leo: Good. Give me the file, then wipe everything.
Operator 1: Wh-What? Sir...?
Leo: Are you questioning my orders?! Just do it, unless you want to end up in front of a court-martial!
Illyria Castle -- Royal Chambers
Leo: You've seen the report?
Ky: [via comm] Yes, just now. It's a disaster...
Leo: What about the Valentines? Have they told you anything useful?
Ky: Sadly, no, I have nothing to report.
Leo: ...Major Lyle's unit was under your direct command. They also served during the Baptisma 13 campaign.
Ky: Yes, I remember. He and his unit were both brave and skilled.
Leo: I don't mean to speak ill of the dead, but I can't help but feel their insubordination and eradication was a result of your influence.
Ky: ...
Leo: ...Forget it. Please, though, don't hide anything from me. Although we do not command equal power, we are both kings.
Ky: I apologize. I do not keep anything from you without thought. We cannot speak on this line. It could place you in danger... I need time to assess the situation.
Leo: ... I've acquired some very interesting data, something worthy of an inquisition. A recording from the most recent encounter...
Ky: A recording? Of what?
Leo: I haven't given it to anyone else yet. Some of what's in here you may already know...
Ky: Understood. Send it over, and I will look. Anything else?
Leo: I want you to contact Zepp.
Ky: Zepp?!
Leo: Once you hear this, you'll understand. We will require President Gabriel's full cooperation.
Ky: Very well. Thank you.
Leo: Good luck. [to himself] This is not a repeat of Baptisma 13... Whatever this is, it is no mere invasion... Heh. Perhaps I should take a page from Ky's book... Time for a risky bet.
Operator 1: Sir!
Leo: What is it?!
Operator 1: We've received a transmission from Major Lyle's unit!
Leo: What?!
Operator 1: There are survivors!
Leo: They're alive...?

Struggle B

Royal Fleet One -- Interrogation Room
Sin: Bang!
Ramlethal: ...
Sin: Starting today, I'll be your interrogator.
Ramlethal: ...
Sin: C'mon. I know you've got some emotions in there, right?
Ramlethal: I'm just Mother's tool. I have no such thing.
Sin: I think you do. And I can prove it! Bleeeeeaaaah! Idiot! Dork! Madam, would you care to join me for a pas de deux? A chicken and a cat walk into a bar...
Ramlethal: ... I don't think I should be the one telling you this but... You're a terrible interrogator.
Sin: Huh? Well, of course. I'm not really here to get information out of you anyway.
Ramlethal: What...
Sin: Uh... Man, how do I put this? It feels weird to just SAY it... I was hoping I could make you laugh.
Ramlethal: ...You're odd.
Sin: Oh! Right! Almost forgot... Ta-da!
Ramlethal: ?
Sin: Awww, isn't he cute? He's a magehound, but really, he's not that different from a real dog. Their personality depends on how you raise them!
Magehound: Woof! Woof!
Ramlethal: Ugh. Stop that.
Sin: Why don't you pet him? Ow... Stupid animal...
Sin: C'mon, that can't hurt THAT much. He's just playing with you!
Ramlethal: Mmm...
Sin: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! [leaves the room] Hey.
Sol: Well? Get anything?
Sin: Hm? Oh, no, not really.
Sol: Then why don't you call it quits?
Sin: Why should I?
Sol: Doesn't matter how much they look like us, those things ain't human.
Sin: So? What's wrong with that?
Sol: What...?
Sin: I don't see why being created by somebody or being different from us makes them bad.
Sol: ... ...You'd roll over for anyone who said two nice words to you. What if Elphelt betrays us?
Sin: Huh? C'mon, now you're just being paranoid! If that happens, we'll worry about it when it happens! As long as we understand each other we can keep trying!
Sol: You really think that bleeding heart bullshit's gonna work on her?
Sin: C'mon... It almost sounds like you're telling me I shouldn't trust anybody, or just go be a grumpy, lonely bounty hunter.
Sol: ...
Sin: Your world must be real small. You could at least TRY and make some friends. I think you'd like it, honestly. Aaaaaanyway, I'm hungry. Time to get something to eat. [runs away]
Ky: Is this what they call being "owned"?
Sol: ...He said the same thing...
Ky: Mm?
Sol: Am I just trying to turn him into me...?
Ky: Don't worry. Sin understands you.
Sol: ...
September 10, 2016 Somewhere inside the Laboratory
Aria: ... Ugh...
Frederick: Why didn't you tell me you were sick?!
Aria: ...I was worried. If I told you, I knew you'd drop everything until you found a cure.
Frederick: Obviously.
Aria: ...If you did that, I'd be alone again. I didn't want that...
Frederick: So?! Once I'd figured out how to cure you, we'd have all the time in world!
Aria: No, you don't understand...
Frederick: ?
Aria: It's a TP infection. I don't have much time left.
Frederick: ...No.
Aria: I wanted to enjoy the time I had left. With you.
Frederick: Stop it! There has to be a way to fix this! I'll think of something...! ...Of course! We'll put you in cryosleep! Maybe we can't cure you right now, but some day...
Aria: He he. Maybe, but then I'd just be alone again. Not dying isn't the same as living. Being alive is about having new experiences... It would be like dying to not be able to see my friends anymore... Especially you... So I want you there in the end, to see me off... That is what would make me happy.
Frederick: No! You can find a new life in the future! You just have to live!
Aria: He he.
Frederick: ?
Aria: Do you remember our conversation? About wanting to be a bird? Didn't you say that turning into something else would be the same as dying?
Frederick: ...!
Aria: Like you said, this world is where I belong. I'm the hero of my own story, so you're not allowed to tell me what to do.
Frederick: ...No. This isn't okay. This can't be how it ends!
Aria: Don't be so selfish. Try and listen to someone else, for once.
Frederick: No! YOU'RE being selfish!
Aria: ...Please.
Frederick: No! I refuse! My world is the one where you exist! I won't let ANYBODY take that away from me! I'll fight for my world until I'm dead! I'm not giving up, and I'm sure as hell not listening to you!
Aria: But that world is coming to an end...
Frederick: ...
Aria: ...I don't have any family, and I was always kind of a bookworm. It's not like I enjoyed studying, I was just desperate not to be left behind... I thought that if I kept to myself and didn't trust anyone, then I couldn't ever be hurt. But that made my world cold, small, and dark. I never felt alive there... I didn't even have any friends until I went to college. Can you believe that? But them I met you, and xxxxxx... I even fell in love! For the first time in my life, I found something I wanted to care about. I was happy...
Frederick: Aria, I...
Aria: But once I'm gone, I'm worried you'll be alone too...
Frederick: ...
Aria: So please, promise me. Frederick. Promise me you won't be alone.
October 29, 2187 The Tearoom
Libraria: Our pursuers do not seem to have appeared yet.
Axus: It was wise to pull Ky Kiske away from the Capitol. The government is having difficulty responding to us, just as predicted.
Libraria: I doubt this game of cat-and-mouse will last long.
Axus: Agents of Zato, as well as the King, are drawing closer to us.
Chronus: Who knows what, is of little consequence now. Should this plan fail, however, it will mean the end of humanity as we know it. We must be successful, whatever the cost.
Libraria: Can we meet the demands of the Universal Will this time...?
Chronus: Worrying will not get us through tomorrow.
Libraria: But we've taken that tomorrow away from countless innocent souls. Can God forgive us for our sins?
Chronus: ... A plant forms from a seed to bear fruit...and when the time comes, it drops that fruit to the ground. The fruit provides sustenance to the seeds, creating new life where there had been none.
Libraria: ...
Chronus: Humans have refused to leave their branch. Desperately, they cling to it... I fear that our fruit will rot on the tree, never allowed to plant its seeds. The greatest sin is that the people failed to see this truth. The Universal Will has deemed them unfit. Perhaps that is why it has created...something else. Humans, however, have earned the right to escape this process of elimination. Perhaps we are fighting against gods, but nothing will stand in our way.
October 24, 2187 Illyria -- A small village in Eastern Europe
Johnny: Finally... Heh. Place like this seems like the last place somebody would find a guy like you.
Faust: Oh...?
Johnny: Johnny, at your service. Boss of the Jellyfish Pirates too, if that turns your crank.
Faust: I know who you are, but I am still rather shocked. This is the first time a human I do not already know has come to speak with me.
Johnny: Let me tell you, finding you was NOT easy. I'd heard you moved around a lot, but...
Faust: What can I do for you today?
Johnny: I'd...like you to treat someone. If that's possible.
Faust: Ah... I apologize if I seem rude, but I'm in something of a hurry. If your friend is ill, might I recommend visiting your local doctor?
Johnny: Whoa there, bucko... Who the hell do you think we are?! You're talking about the Jellyfish Pirates. We can make a grown man cry! ...With laughter. Plus, there's the fans, and the paparazzi...
Faust: So you are wanted in nearly every country on the globe.
Johnny: Or, yeah, you could put it that way, I suppose. Sorry, but a normal hospital's not gonna cut it. Not for what we need.
Faust: Which is why you sought out a less reputable doctor--to wit, me? Very well. You may explain the details on the way.
October 29, 2187 China, Western Region -- Foothills
Chipp: (Where the hell did she go?)
Answer: [via comm] My lord!
Chipp: I'm not your "lord!" How many times do I have to tell you?! PRES-I-DENT! President!
Answer: I've finished my report on the Cradle. I thought you might want to see it.
Chipp: I'm kind of busy right now. I'll look at it later. Babylon is a disaster zone right now. Whatever this business of your is, it must be awfully important.
Chipp: Answer... What is our manifesto?
Answer: Never ignore the suffering in front of us. I see. Well, in that case, I will await further contact from you.
Chipp: Right. Do that. (Rrgh... Smartass...)
October 24, 2187 Illyria -- A small village in Eastern Europe
Faust: May is Japanese?! You're certain?
Johnny: As a man can be, Doc.
Faust: You needn't address me like that. Please. I'm no longer worthy of that title.
Johnny: She's been having strange headaches lately... I decided we couldn't ignore the symptoms any longer.
Faust: Hm. This is a difficult problem. If you are correct, then we should attempt to synthesize a cure as soon as possible.
Johnny: I'd like her to stay with us...
Faust: I'm afraid I can't advise it. We should take her to the colony. At the moment it may only be a mild headache... but if untreated, more symptoms may present, and in the worst case--
Johnny: I know! But they say once you go into that place, you don't ever leave. I can't imagine how she'd feel locked up in a cage like that. She'd cry, that's for sure.
Faust: What's more important? Her tears, or her life?
Johnny: ... Yeah, you're right. Just being selfish, I guess. I didn't want her out of my sight.
Faust: Oh?
Johnny: ...She's family.
Faust: ...Well, that's surprisingly sweet.
Johnny: ?
Faust: I like your answer. Very well! I confess this is not my area of expertise, but I shall have a look.
Johnny: Really?
Faust: Yes. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I HAVE treated nearly every ailment under the sun.
Johnny: Then I can tell her there's nothing to worry about?
Faust: Not a problem. Please, bring her here as soon as you can.
Johnny: Sure thing! I owe you one. [leaves]
Faust: Let's see here... A quick look-through of the patient's records, and the literature concerning colony residents... Here we are. Hm... Oh, this is rather peculiar... This IS odd...for symptoms like this, a simple Rank B treatment should do the trick... No, no, this is only a stopgap measure... Oh?! Wh-What the devil is this?! Since when did... How long has this been going on?!

Threat A

October 29, 2187 May Ship II
Johnny: I'm home!
April: Hey, Johnny!
Johnny: Hey, ladies. Have you all been good girls while I was out? Ah, the sky is just a PERFECT blue today, isn't it? Where's Leap? I think it's time for a feast...
April: We've got bigger things to worry about!
Johnny: What?! May ran away?!
April: She heard about the "Japanese" thing from Ramlethal, and then she heard her disease might be really rare, and she got scared...
Johnny: Ramlethal?! She fought that monster on her own?!
April: S-Sorry...
Johnny: Where did she go?!
April: That's the thing... We have no idea. We stopped to restock, and when we realized she was gone... Chipp's out looking for her right now, but... Oh jeez, what should we do? She was afraid she'd make all of us sick...
Johnny: Gah! That idiot! ...No, no this is all my fault. Damnit! All right, here's what's going to happen. We're going to split up, and we're going to find her!
Suspension Bridge in the (Uighur) Mountains
May: I'm so hungry... Ah... [chocolate falls off] Oh man... Johnny...guys... *Sniff* [A plank breaks and she falls.] Waaaaaaa! [Chipp catches her by the hand.]
Chipp: Gah! You little jerk! [Sometime later, they built a fire.] I can't be wasting my time like this! I've got important stuff to do! And why the hell are you out in a creepy forest like this anyway?! You're lucky my ninja senses are in top form or you'd have been lost forever!
May: Wh-What are you doing here...?
Chipp: Your friends asked me to help you! Obviously!
May: No, not that, I mean... I thought you were going to Babylon.
Chipp: What?! There's only one of me. How am I supposed to be in two places at once? Hm? HMMM?!
Chipp: Th-That's not what I...! ...You know what, never mind. Thank you.
Chipp: Good. Now, I don't have time to ask you why you ran off, but you should really be getting back to your friends.
May: I can't! Ramlethal said I was a disease--a, an infection! I don't want to get them sick too!
Chipp: What?! Look, I donno what she told you, but that's not your problem to solve. Not alone, anyway.
May: What...?
Chipp: While we're wasting time here, your friends are probably out frantically looking for you. In fact, I KNOW they are.
May: But--!
Chipp: Don't "but" me! Think about it. If I hadn't found you, you think their lives would just go on, like nothing happened? You're underestimating the power of friendship!
May: What should I do then? I can't get them involved in whatever's wrong with me! That'd be selfish! A-And... what if it affects the whole world...?
Chipp: The whole world?! Listen, I believe no choice is without consequences, so just stop worrying about other people and be a little selfish for a change.
May: But I--
Chipp: For example! Let's say you had to sacrifice someone, one person, to save the whole world.
May: ...Huh?
Chipp: If you're a world leader, or somebody with tons of responsibility, you might do it without a second thought. And you might not be wrong... But the world of that leader and the world of the person they're sacrificing are pretty different. All their memories--the people they loved, the food they ate... Those experiences are their world. Even if they knew their sacrifice could save so many people, could you REALLY blame them if they refused to go through with it?
May: Um...
Chipp: So tell me, what's YOUR world?
May: M-My world...?
Chipp: Exactly. What is it you love the most? All my friends... Johnny, April...all the Jellyfish Pirates!
Chipp: Is that more important to you than some important guy's world?!
May: Yeah!
Chipp: There you go. Each of your friends has a world like yours, and you're a part of each one of those. That means there's always a place for you.
May: R-Really...?
Chipp: Gah, you're still a kid... Why don't you try thinking about stuff a little, huh? Figure out whether or not people are lying to you. Now get out of here! Go home!
May: Okay! But...I'm not a kid, you know.
Chipp: Fine fine... How old ARE you then?
May: Um... *Mumble* *Mumble*
Chipp: WHAT?! N-Not possible...
Near the Uighur Mountains
Johnny: May!
April: Johnny!
Johnny: Did you find her, April?
April: No... I went to all the nearby villages, but nobody had seen her. This doesn't make sense... Why can't we find her? We've looked everywhere!
Johnny: Damnit... Maybe she went into the mountains... It's getting dark. You kids should be getting back to the ship.
April: What about you?
Johnny: I'm going into the mountains.
April: No! You have to rest too! You've been looking all day.
Johnny: Now, don't worry about me. I'm fine.
April: You're pushing yourself too hard...
Johnny: Then I'll keep going till I collapse!
April: Stop it--! [sees May and Chipp] What...?
Johnny: Hm?
Chipp: Go...
April: May...
Johnny: You...
May: Guys... She said I was a disease... I thought I might be contagious... I didn't want you guys to get sick... You could all die! Th-The world could end! But I don't wanna leave you! So...please...help me...
Johnny: YOU BIG IDIOT!
Faust: Oh ho ho ho, thank goodness. The gang's all here!
Johnny: Doctor!
Faust: [moments later] There! That ought to do the trick.
Johnny: You're pretty lucky, May. And you, Doctor. Your timing is impeccable. I thought we were supposed to come to you, though.
Faust: Ah, yes. About that... Johnny, do you have a moment?
Johnny: Sure Doc.
Faust: I don't have much time. First, take this...
Johnny: What is it?
Faust: Her treatment. Give it to May in small doses, periodically. Here, this is the dosage schedule.
Johnny: Okay...
Faust: Also, take this. It's a prescription. Should the worst happen, take this to any competent doctor, and they can mix you the drugs you need.
Johnny: Wait...why does she have to keep taking it?
Faust: Unfortunately even I am unable to determine the root cause of her condition, so I was forced to develop a rather rushed stopgap treatment...
Johnny: Rushed? Hey now, hold on a minute here, you're actually pretty nervous. Just what the hell's going on?
Faust: ...I cannot say any more.
Johnny: Don't you trust me?! I owe you for this, I want to help!
Faust: Your gratitude is appreciated, but I cannot accept your help. Telling you any more would put you in danger. The Japanese have a secret far beyond what anyone suspects.
Johnny: What...?
Faust: I am on my way to meet...someone, in hopes that he might help me further my understanding of this secret. If anyone asks what I told you, do not attempt to cover for me. Simply tell the truth, that I refused to answer.
Johnny: ...
Faust: There is one last thing. One very important thing. Do not, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES let May near the colony!
[Bedman appears.]

Threat B

Chipp: I can feel you hatin' from all the way over here! Who the hell are you?!
Slayer: Run away! The child is here for you! You cannot defeat him! Beware!
Faust: A-Ah... [is knocked out]
Johnny: Huh.
Chipp: Some kind of hypnosis...? [They attack Bedman.] You. Take the girls and get out of here.
Johnny: Whoa, whoa, don't tell me you're planning to stay here and hog all the glory?
Chipp: Uh, YEAH, of course. I'm President. I donno who this guy is, but I'm sure I don't have to tell you we--
Johnny: Yeah, he's bad news. Far as I can tell, he's beyond either of us. I'm not sure we could win even if we both took him on.
Chipp: Whoa, what're you talking about? I'm more than enough to shut down this nerd. But who's winning and losing isn't important right now. You need to get your girls to safety! Plus I, uh, have ZERO idea where your ship is.
Johnny: ... Back on the ship, ladies! On the double! [takes Faust over his shoulder]
Chipp: He's got a teleportation technique I don't recognize. I'm not sure what the range is on it, but whatever you do, don't let him figure out where your ship is.
Johnny: You're starting a country, right? Make sure you don't die before I get a chance to vote for you!
Chipp: You're gonna have to get in line for a green card before you have to worry about voting! [intercepts Bedman as the Jellyfish Pirates flee] Answer, can you hear me?
Answer: [via comm] ...Yes.
Chipp: The North Star is straight ahead, about 26 degrees above the horizon. The Floyd Rose Tower is at one hour, thirty-eight minutes.
Answer: ...I've got you.
Chipp: A couple people are down. I want you to send somebody over.
Answer: Understood. And you, sir?
Chipp: I'm fighting some monster I've never seen before.
Answer: Can you describe it?
Chipp: Looks human, or at least humanoid, but he's strapped to a person-shaped bed. Looks to be in the mid-to-late teens--the kid, not the bed. Caucasian, short purple hair, glasses. He's sleeping, but the bed's walking around. Too dark to tell eye color. He's wearing what appears to be a hospital gown... Getting anything?
Answer: Zero hits on "person-shaped bed" but I've got 128 items that match the boy's description. Anything else?
Chipp: Fighting now! Kinda hard to look--gah!
Answer: Sir!
Chipp: Rrrgh... I'm fine. He's got some kind of tattoo over most of his body. Simple design, looks like thorns... [Bedman grabs him by the neck] Guh...gack!
Answer: Sir...? Boss?! Listen you little bastard... I know what you look like. We're going to find you, wherever you try and hide. And if ANYTHING happens to the boss, we'll kill you before you know we're coming. [Bedman is about to impale Chipp, but a shadow stops him.]
Zato: Once you see past the smoke and mirrors, it isn't difficult to counter. I know your secret.
Bedman: Zato-ONE. Is it too much to ask you to just...go back to being dead? I can't believe this. The Conclave really needs to be more careful with its toys. This could be a huge problem...
Zato: A problem...? To be frank, your mission does not concern me. But you have hurt the one thing that matters to me...Millia. You've awoken the anger of a dead man, child, and I will not hesitate to erase you from this world.
???*(Ariels): Return, Bedman.
Bedman: [in dream] Oh? Are you worried about me? Heh, that's touching, but you needn't. I have this situation completely under control.
???: No. There's been a shift in our priorities.
Bedman: Excuse me?
???: Our mission has changed.
Bedman: Zato knows far too much--more than anyone else. We should terminate him now, before we lose control of the situation. And I need the entertainment...
???: Someone in Illyria has figured out the truth of the Cradle.
Bedman: Oh? That was quicker than expected. You're right then. We've no time to waste on Zato.
???: Exactly. We cannot allow anyone to interfere with the Cradle's emergence.
Bedman: ...Understood. [teleports away]
Zato: ...He's gone.
Slayer: Zato... I must apologize for that unsightly display.
Zato: No need. Had you understood the slight-of-hand behind his attacks, you would never have been taken unawares.
Slayer: I would love to hear more... However, there are far more urgent matters to which we must attend. We had meant to go directly to the King.
Zato: Yes... Ky Kiske, the ruler of Illyria. I see we thought along similar lines.
Slayer: Great minds, as they say.
Zato: Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate him.
Slayer: I see.
Zato: I'm surprised, I had thought you would be in Illyria with Millia and Venom.
Slayer: Yes, well, that young fellow you just saw managed to drag us out here. ...Wait, if you're here, then that must mean...
Zato: Yes. We're near Uighur.
Slayer: So far...
Zato: I cannot sense its true form, but that boy clearly possesses mysterious power that transcends our understanding of logic. I cannot help but feel that he is somehow similar to me, as I was when I wandered the underworld.
Venom: Impossible! How could he possibly be at all akin to you, Lord Zato?!
Millia: Unless you're talking about their terrible taste...
Slayer: Please!
Zato: You've awoken?
Venom: Sir, I...I apologize. I failed in my mission.
Zato: You are not to blame, if he was your opponent. I am relieved to see that you appear unharmed.
Venom: My lord...!
Millia: *Sigh* Do you think we'll see that kid again? It didn't look like he backed off out of the kindness of his heart.
Venom: ...Perhaps it's up to us.
Millia: Please, enlighten me.
Zato: Go on.
Venom: While we fought, I noticed he never spoke, but occasionally his behavior suggested someone elsewhere was giving him orders. He also appeared the moment we decided to pass our information to the King. In other words, someone has ears and eyes everywhere, and is manipulating the flow of information, destroying anyone who impedes them.
Slayer: Hm... A well-reasoned argument. I think you are correct.
Zato: Are we fighting the Conclave?
Venom: Unfortunately, I was unable to determine that. I apologize.
Millia: If this is a war of information, then the enemy has the upper hand. Every moment we sit here twiddling our thumbs, things just get worse.
Zato: If only we could learn where the King is hiding...
Millia: This far out, our magic coms are useless... We need to move.
Slayer: In that case, perhaps I can offer some insight.
Zato: Please explain.
Slayer: If I know the King as well as I believe I do, he will avoid any place where the Conclave is particularly strong, and that greatly limits his options.
Zato: Of course...! If we are fortunate, we may even encounter him by chance. I will handle this, Lord Slayer.
A Dream
Bedman: We've deviated from the script quite a bit... I'm feeling rather tired.
???*(Ariels): Yes, well done.
Bedman: I don't really mind a little ad lib, but if this keeps up, one body's not going to be enough for me to handle all of it... But I must created my absolute world...
???: OUR absolute world, Bedman. Don't forget about me.
Bedman: ...Of course. My apologies. You ARE a curious little creature though, aren't you? Sol Badguy, and his awakening, should be your only concern in this equation, correct?
???: Ah, but I'm never satisfied with 100%. I don't feel as though something's done until it's 200% complete.
Bedman: ... Delilah and I were born with this curse... As a result, since the day I was born I've never had any friends... In the real world, or dreams. For the first time, though, I feel like I'm beginning to understand friendship... But that's enough of that. It's embarrassing.
???: You honor me.
Bedman: The truth is, when I met you, I already had my plan laid out, down to the smallest detail. I could have easily executed it on my own.
???: ...Huh?
Bedman: He he... Although, it would have required me to risk everything--even my life! Since we're working together, though, I don't need to bet that much, so please, apply any of my surplus to your 200%.
???: ...For our absolute world.
Bedman: For our absolute world.

Kaleidoscope A

October 28, 2187 at 18:02 Royal Fleet One -- Office
Ky: [listening to Leo's recording] This...
Swordsman: Is something the matter, sir?
Ky: Leo suspects collaboration between the Conclave and whomever's behind the Cradle.
Swordsman: Has his recording shed any light on the situation?
Ky: Yes, this part... "Absolute Defense: Felion." I've listened to it several times. I'm sure.
Swordsman: What does it mean...?
Ky: Felion is an extremely specialized technique used by the Sanctus Populi. It can only be activated in the presence of the Maximus or a Conclave member.
Swordsman: I see...
Ky: No doubt that is why Leo did not wish to tell me this directly... And why told me to speak with Zepp, where the Conclave has no eyes or ears. We must hurry. Do we have a line to Zepp?
Swordsman: Yes, sir.
Ky: We must double back, but we have no choice. Bring us around, and take the engines up to full.
October 29, 2187 The Backyard
Axl: Whooooooa! Where the heck am I?!
I-No: The Backyard.
Axl: Ahh! You again?! H-Hold on a tick... The "Backyard" you say? Uh...where's that again? It sounds a bit familiar... Ugh... Blimey, my body feels heavy and my... my head feels weird...
I-No: We're inside of a field That Man developed that allows us to be here in the flesh. I know it hurts, but for God's sake just grow a pair.
Axl: Huh? O-Oh, okay... If you don't mind my asking...what exactly am I doing here?
I-No: You wanted to meet him, right? Said you had something to tell him?
Axl: Right, right... W-Wait, you mean That Man's actually HERE?!
I-No: Yes. And you should feel really special, because not a lot of people get to talk to him face-to-face.
Axl: Oh my goodness, you-you're not pissing around, are you? Wh-Why do I feel so nervous?
I-No: This is a new one...
Axl: Wait, but...didn't I already deliver the message to you?
I-No: Unfortunately, what you said can't exactly be...said by anybody but you. So much as I'd like to, I can't carry it to him myself.
Axl: Uh, I-I'm sorry, but I'm not following you here...
I-No: Arg! Just shut your hole and c'mon. We have to move!
Axl: R-Right! Coming!
That Man: You've returned.
I-No: Thanks for waiting. Here he is.
That Man: Thank you, I-No.
Axl: (Th-This is the bloke...?) U-Um, are you...?
That Man: It's a pleasure to meet you, Axl Low. I apologize for making you come so far.
Axl: U-Uh, it's nice to meet you too...
That Man: I already know a great deal about you. You've broken many laws of physics.
Axl: O-Oh, that so, huh?
That Man: I hate to be blunt, but would you mind telling me?
Axl: Huh?
That Man: Don't you have a message from the Original?
Axl: Ooooh! That's right! I do!
I-No: Are you sure you're okay?
Axl: Heh heh, sorry... Just got a little carried away, nothing to worry about. Ahem! Here goes... ■●△▼●■●△●■●△××■■●△▼●■●△●■●△××■■●△●■●△●■●△××■■××■●△●■●△●■●△××■■××●■●△××■■●△●■●△●■ (Wh-What in the bloody hell was that?!)
I-No: I thought so. Even with a third party present, only the person the message is for can actually hear it.
That Man: ... I see. So it's true, then...
I-No: Do you know what the Conclave's after now?
That Man: Yes... Everything makes sense. Even the little farce, the Second Holy Order Selection Tournament. Although unfortunately we've fallen a bit behind... Chronus... This time I will stop you.
Axl: Um...sorry to interrupt, but...
That Man: Yes, of course. I've received your message quite clearly.
Axl: Then, uh...I can go home now?
That Man: Naturally. But please, I insist you allow me to show you my gratitude.
Axl: Ooooooooooh no no no no no! Really, it's quite all right! I'm actually in a bit of a hurry! Cheerio!
That Man: That's a shame. I had thought, at the very least, perhaps some sweets to go with your tea? I had them made right here, in the Backyard. In fact, I believe the only place you can enjoy this taste is, well, here. Perhaps you could take some?
Axl: ... Can...can I ask you a quick question? You ARE the same fellow who created the Gear called "Justice" and pretty well started the Crusades, right?
That Man: ... Yes, that would be me.
Axl: Don't take this the wrong way now, but...you really don't strike me as the villainous sort.
That Man: ...
Axl: Ah! Oh no! I'm so sorry! Please, just forget I said that! Forget everything! Thank you for the sweets! Thank you very much! Good-bye! WHERE THE HELL IS THE EXIT?!
I-No: ... Uh, you know, you might want to consider being a little...scarier.
That Man: Really...?
October 30, 2187 Royal Fleet One -- Guest Quarters
Elphelt: [wakes up] Elphelt Valentine... Eliminate all redundancies, with extreme prejudice! [notices Sin] Oh...
Sin: I think I said this already, but you must have some pretty brutal dreams.
Elphelt: Y-You heard me...?
Sin: Yeah.
Elphelt: Oh jeez, that's embarrassing...
Sin: What? How?
Elphelt: W-Well, I mean, um, for a woman, it's...uh...
Sin: I don't follow...
Elphelt: Oh just forget it! Why are you here?
Sin: Uh...no reason, I guess.
Elphelt: So you don't even having a reason for sneaking in here and watching me sleep?!
Sin: Nope...
Elphelt: Y-You've got problems, mister! No sense of decency at all!
Sin: What's the big deal? It's not like I hurt you or anything.
Elphelt: Oh, oh, but you DID! My self-esteem, for instance, has been destroyed! And what if I get used to people seeing me when I'm all...all...GROSS I might just give up on looking good! That would hurt! That would hurt a lot! Not to mention all the sleep I'm going to lose from reliving this horrible moment! M-My face must have been so...so...
Sin: ?
Elphelt: W-Was I...drooling...?
Sin: No?
Elphelt: Thank God...
Sin: Ha ha ha!
Elphelt: This is nothing to laugh about!
Sin: Nah, I was just thinking. You've got a pretty wide range of emotion. Nothing like the last Valentine.
Elphelt: ...Then you believe me? That I have emotions?
Sin: Well, I mean it's kinda hard not to. Somebody without emotions wouldn't throw that huge fit.
Elphelt: I'm a little surprised... I thought that after Mr. Badguy said they were just an act you'd...well...
Sin: Yeah, well, sometimes I feel like he's so smart he's actually dumb. He gets all grumpy whenever he can't explain something with logic.
Elphelt: ...Really?
Sol: Sure is easy to talk shit about people when they aren't around.
Elphelt: Ah!
Sin: What? It's not talking shit if it's true.
Sol: Do you ever think about something for more than five seconds? "Self-preservation" mean anything to you?
Sin: Don't sweat it, El wouldn't do anything to me. Would you?
Elphelt: N-No, of course not.
Sin: See?
Sol: That's good enough for you? Besides... I could tell you the same thing, Elphelt. If you're trying to get anything out of Sin, just give up. The only thing that comes out of his mouth is a steady stream of bullshit.
Sin: I-I don't have any rebuttal for that... All right, fine, what about you, old man? You figured out anything about the Cradle?
Sol: Government war rooms across the world are talking themselves in circles because they don't have enough information. Ours might help, but...
Sin: Why don't we give it to them?
Sol: Because the Conclave's behind this, and they've got eyes and ears everywhere. The more people we tell, the higher the chance of telling the wrong person.
Sin: Then...why don't you just throw all the people working for the Conclave into a jail somewhere?
Sol: You listening? They've got people all over the world. Assuming they didn't all book it once the arrests started, there aren't enough cells to hold them all.
Sin: Damn. That sounds like a pain in the ass.
Sol: No shit. If we could figure out what the Cradle's up to maybe we could do something, but otherwise...
Sin: You sure you don't know anything, El?
Elphelt: S-Sorry...
Sol: Hnn. [leaves the room]
Ky: There you are, Sol. We may have found a powerful ally.
Sin: Ky.
Elphelt: ...?
Sol: Explain.
Ky: Leo has begun to doubt the Conclave as well. I know it means doubling back, but we've decided to head to Zepp.
Sol: Zepp?!
Ky: Leo has his own line to them. Their communications system is extremely advanced. Our technology can't crack it. I suspect they intend to use that secure line.
Sol: Zepp never joined the UN, and they're not allied with the Conclave. And a floating continent can avoid other countries pretty easily... Hm. I guess there's still a few people with a head on their shoulders in Illyria, huh?
Ky: Yes. I would like to speak with you before we arrive in Zepp. If you would follow me...
Sin: ... Damn, old man... You sure are stubborn.
Elphelt: Sin...?
Sin: Hm?
Elphelt: Why do you call Sol "old man" all the time? You two seem so close...
Sin: Yeah... I guess we've been asking all these questions, but we haven't really told you about us, have we? All right, go ahead, ask me whatever you want.
Elphelt: Okay... Well, you said you were Mr. Kiske's kid, right?
Sin: Sol's been raising me since I was little. We spent a lot of time traveling together so yeah, I guess we're pretty close.
Elphelt: Oh... What about Mr. Kiske then?
Sin: Uh... Ha ha, um, that's a tough one... Little embarrassing, actually.
Elphelt: Oh, good.
Sin: Good?
Elphelt: Well, whenever you talk to him you always seem so distant. I thought it was because you hated him. I'm glad it's not!
Sin: ... Yeah, I don't hate him. Well, not any more...
Elphelt: What?
Sin: Well, my mom's a Gear. Gears aren't exactly, uh, popular, so we had to live in hiding. That's the way the wind blows, but... When I was a kid, I kept wondering how long we'd have to keep doing that, and whose fault it was... In the end, I blamed Ky.
Elphelt: ...
Sin: ...I was wrong, though. He was fighting as hard as he could for a world where Gears and humans could live together, happily. It wasn't an easy fight. My mom's kind of stuck in Illyria right now, but Ky's been...well, amazing. He saved her right when she was about to die, and--
Elphelt: Waaaaaaaah!
Sin: Wh-What the hell?! Y-You're crying! And...wait, is that a nosebleed?!
Elphelt: That's true love! Oh, what a wonderful story. Forbidden love that transcends all boundaries! Aw man, when's that gonna happen to me?
Sin: I-Is that really how it works...?
Elphelt: But, but Sin!
Sin: ?
Elphelt: You don't hate him anymore, right? Then why don't you call Mr. Kiske "dad"?
Sin: What?
Elphelt: Don't give me that! You don't have to do it right away, but...I think eventually you'll want to. So just...promise me you will, okay?
Sin: You really think that's going to happen? Hey, actually, that reminds me... What's the deal with the "Mother" you and Ram keep talking about? She...doesn't actually exist.
Sin: Huh?
Elphelt: Well, it's kind of hard to explain. She...doesn't really have a physical body. Valentines are asked to run errands, and given orders and rules to follow, that kind of stuff... But all of that's just implanted as memories before we're born. Nobody ever TELLS us to do it. So Ram and I have never touched or seen our Mother...
Sin: Sorry, I didn't mean to bring up something uncomfortable.
Elphelt: No, no no no, it's fine! Honestly, I'm happy to finally be able to talk about this with somebody! Maybe that's why I...I've always wanted to be part of a real family!
Sin: Interesting. Well, good luck with the true love thing, then!
Elphelt: ...
Sin: What's wrong?
Elphelt: (Unfortunately for me...that's forbidden.)
Sin: Huh?
Elphelt: N-Nothing! But...the next time you go see Ram, do you think I could come too?

Kaleidoscope B

Unknown Date, 2074 United States of America -- Research Facility
Woman*(Aria): Aaaah!
Deputy Director: What is it? What happened!?
Lab Tech 1*(Cecile): We can't confirm physical contact, but... It appears something from the Backyard is attempting to make contact with Justice!
Lab Tech 2: These levels are too high for our probes! Recalculate with the Demi-huma Method. There are over forty trillion per second!
???*(That Man): Aria. Aria! Can you hear me? What happened?!
Aria: Aaaaaaah!
???: Calm down!
Lab Tech 1: The test subject's conscious topology readings are all over the place... Is this thing trying to give itself life using Justice?!
Deputy Director: An intervention from INSIDE the Backyard?! That's impossible!
Lab Tech 1: What should we do?!
???: Terminate the experiment and retrieve Justice immediately! That's our top priority!
Deputy Director: What the hell is happening...? Justice's information density is equivalent to a galaxy cluster. Could the energy of a single organism exceed that of systematically networked life form?
Lab Tech 1: Something's found the test subject's DNA data... It's multiplying!
Deputy Director: What?! It is self-aware...?
???: It's conscious...? (C-Could this be the Universal Will...?) Calm down, we need to analyze this rationally. We'll assign the variable X to this phenomenon. All new information will be collected in series!
Lab Tech 3: X will materialize in the real world in T-minus 453 seconds. I can't believe how fast it's eroding!
Deputy Director: We have to stop it, no matter the cost! Our world would be destroyed by the influx of information! S-Sir...could we terminate Justice's activity entirely...?
???: It wouldn't work. Gear cells can serve as a conduit to the Backyard regardless of whether the subject's alive or dead. Aria...listen to me. Something is going to attempt contact with you from inside the Backyard. We need you to resist. Can you do that for us?
Aria: Ah--AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
???: You can do this... I believe in you. You're our only hope! Don't you want to see Frederick again?!
Lab Tech 3: We've punched in a V2 report. We've managed to cut the flow of information from our world...
Lab Tech 2: It's not working! The test subject's DNA data is bridging the link! X2...X3... We've confirmed two bodies! Retrieving coordinates... Latitude 35 degrees, 40 minutes, 51 seconds... Longitude 139 degrees, 46 minutes...
???: Japan?!
Lab Tech 1: That's outside our jurisdiction, and way too far away to do anything! Both bodies are going to materialize in the real world in...T-minus 183 seconds!
???: We have to use the Saint Oratorio... Disengage the Outrage Armor!
Lab Tech 1: But if we do that, the radiation levels--we could face sanctions--!
Deputy Director: I don't really give a shit about that right now! Use the prototype catapult if you have to!
Lab Tech 3: Saint Oratorio charging! ETA until full charge... 640 seconds, sir...
Deputy Director: Damnit! We need more time!
Lab Tech 2: We're getting readings on the modulation... Now receiving visual on X2 and X3.
Crowd: Aaaah!
Deputy Director: What the hell is that? It's got...eyes? And ears?
Lab Tech 2: The link-jump reaction is exponentially multiplying... Now registering up to X388!
???: It's happening all over again... ...This is just like the Dawn of Revival in 1999...
Deputy Director: I thought that only affected electronic devices?!
???: How is this happening...? In an hour the Earth will no longer be a human world... Damnit. Aria... ...Switch Justice over to manual override!
Aria: Wh-What's happening. My...my body...my mind is... What are you doing?!
???: Entering coordinates, zone 8-81. Target locked. ...Prepare the gamma ray! Maximum output + 40!
Lab Tech 1: Are you serious?! You'll vaporize Japan!
???: Fire, Cecile.
Lab Tech 1: I...I can't...
???: I'm sorry, I should never have asked you. I'll do it.
Lab Tech 1: Sir...!
???: Firing gamma ray. Aria, I'm sorry!
Aria: What are you doing?! What's this light-- Wh-What did I just do?!
That Man: [current day] Just a little longer, Aria. I'll be there to free you, very soon...
November 1, 2187 Royal Fleet -- Office
Ky: We've almost reached our destination. This might give us a way to fight the Cradle, but until then we need to organize the information we have on hand.
Sol: Easiest way to do that is squeeze the Valentines. How much longer are you planning to let Sin play house?
Ky: Zepp has qualified interrogators. Let's turn our prisoners over to them.
Sol: ...You're kidding.
Ky: ... Sol, are you only accompanying us so that you can exact your revenge on That Man?
Sol: Why the sudden curiosity?
Ky: I want to know if you sincerely don't care what happens to the rest of the world.
Sol: That's a dumb question.
Ky: It is not! Yes, he took away some of what makes you human, but that doesn't mean he altered your mind or your soul.
Sol: So what?
Ky: I want to believe that you'll fight for the people of this world.
Sol: Are we seriously having this conversation? Look, kid. I'm a monster. I'm here to do two things: Destroy That Man, and kill all the other Gears. If the world's in trouble I'll bust some asses, sure, but only 'cause I need it around to do my job. Not too different from the Valentines in that sense. Now if you've got it in your head that we're gonna be best pals, rethink that. I've got my own shit to take care of.
Ky: Then why do you care about Dizzy?
Sol: ...What?
Ky: My wife. You saved her, and she's a Gear. My son, Sin, is a half Gear. You said you wanted to destroy ALL Gears. Why are they any different?
Sol: ... This conversation is over, and we're never having it again.
Ky: Wait! Damnit, you can't run away from the truth, Sol!
Sol: Shut the hell up Ky, or I'm gonna pound the shit out of you!
Ky: Try.
Sol: Now we're talkin'...
Ky: Tell me Sol... Just what will happen after you've taken your revenge?
Sol: I don't really think that far ahead.
Ky: Will you go hide from the world like Sin said you would?
Sol: ...
Ky: I don't know your history. I don't know if you had friends once, or if you fell in love, or why you burn with such hatred for That Man and the Gears... I don't even know your real name.
Sol: ...
Ky: But I do know a great deal about a man named Sol Badguy. Blinded by vengeance, he lost sight of himself, and now he runs from the truth that frightens him.
Sol: ...Say that again.
Ky: Tomorrow always comes, Sol.
Sol: ...!
Ky: If tomorrow promises to be cold and dark, I cannot stand idly by...even if I know my efforts will come to nothing.
Sin: ...The self-righteous apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Ky: I don't expect the world to change tomorrow, but I do hope that, today, perhaps my words will reach you. Sol... I'll be waiting for you. We'll all be waiting for you. Sin, Dizzy... Once all this is over...come home.
Sol: ... You're making me sick. Sure you didn't hit your head or something?
Ky: Ha ha. Who knows? I took Dizzy, Justice's child, as my wife. Perhaps only a man slightly mad would do such a thing, eh?
Sol: Justice... Hey!
Ky: What?
Sol: About three months ago, I got in a fight with the Conclave over the Sacred Treasures.
Ky: Whatever you do, you always push yourself too far. If you'd spoken to me, we could have found a peaceful solution.
Sol: No, that's what I'm talking about. They were REAL protective of them.
Ky: What are you trying to say? I've no doubt they'd be protective of them if ANYONE attacked, not just you.
Sol: Exactly.
Ky: ?
Sol: What if the Conclave wasn't afraid of me, they were afraid of the Treasures themselves?
Ky: N-No...!
Swordsman: Your Majesty, we will be arriving at Zepp momentarily.
Royal Fleet One -- Interrogation Room
Sin: Hey!
Ramlethal: You're back again? It seems strange you can come in here so easily. Ow.
Sin: Everybody here knows me. I can pretty much go where I want.
Ramlethal: Your level of security seems inadequate, honestly. Don't you have more important things to do than this?
Sin: Everybody's off meeting with some big shot from Zepp, so I thought that'd give us a little time to talk to each other.
Ramlethal: Ouch.
Sin: Besides, if I went along I'd just end up pissing everyone off, and then nothing would get done.
Ramlethal: You're that perceptive? That's unexpected... So, what is she doing here?
Elphelt: He he. Sorry.
Ramlethal: You're in my way. Ow.
Sin: We're gonna make you laugh!
Ramlethal: Pointless. I don't have any emotions. But, if that's what it will take to make you leave, fine. I'll laugh.
Sin: That's not really what we meant...
Elphelt: Right! We want to see you smile, for real!
Ramlethal: This is ridiculous. Tools don't need emotions.
Elphelt: All right, then explain why you're still sticking to Mother's rules even though we've finished our mission?
Ramlethal: Because...
Elphelt: Because you don't FEEL like you want to betray her, right?
Ramlethal: No. This is my duty.
Sin: Okay, I think that's enough interrogation for one day. If it doesn't have anything to do with the plan, you can answer some questions, right?
Ramlethal: That...shouldn't be a problem.
Sin: I bought you something REALLY tasty... A hamburger from Danny Missiles!
Ramlethal: What...?
Sin: It's delicious!
Ramlethal: I don't care how food tastes. All that matters is that it provides the correct nutrients in the correct amounts.
Sin: Okay, okay, I get it... Can you at least tell me what you think about this piece of nourishment?
Ramlethal: ...I suppose. [takes a bite]
Sin: ...Well?
Ramlethal: Any opinion of mine would be purely subjective. If I were to analyze this food from a more objective point of view, however, I would conclude that--
Sin: No! That's not what I'm talking about! Just give me the first word that came to mind when you ate it.
Ramlethal: ...Salty. [Sin and Elphelt play cards, Elphelt attempts to swap outfits with Ramlethal, they look at birds outside the window, Sin makes Ramlethal eat extra-spicy pizza, Ramlethal puts the magehound to sleep then makes Sin's pasta extra spicy, as "Birthday Train" plays.]
Ramlethal: You must be really bored. Maybe now you can answer my question, El.
Elphelt: Huh?
Ramlethal: Why did you betray us?
Elphelt: Oh come on, does that even matter anymore?
Ramlethal: Do you have something better to talk about?
Elphelt: Well, I just don't really like talking about it, but... ...I can't love anybody. I don't know why but, it was one of the rules Mother created me with. During the wedding I felt this huge rift form between myself and that rule.
Ramlethal: ...Then you were just defective. But what's the reason for a rule like that?
Elphelt: You don't have it?
Ramlethal: No.
Sin: Heh heh. You're just full of mysteries, aren't you El? Didn't you say you got here using some weird special power?
Elphelt: Yes, but I really have no idea how that happened. Well, my power is only supposed to react to people with the right code... So I thought I'd see Sol, or you, when I showed up. I was pretty surprised when it was Mr. Kiske. Still, everything turned out okay, right?
Sin: Yeah, but that's a pretty amazing power. It means no matter where I am, you can find me, right?
Elphelt: Not really. I can't exactly tell who is where...
Ramlethal: ... I have no such vain, pointless functionality. Therefore I am more complete. Ow... [Sin and Elphelt leave the room.]
Elphelt: Thanks.
Sin: Huh? For what?
Elphelt: I've never seen her having so much fun.
Sin: THAT was her having fun?!
Elphelt: Yup, I can tell. Uh, can I ask you something?
Sin: Sure.
Elphelt: Why are you being nice to her? Isn't she your enemy?
Sin: I've been thinking about that myself... You know how she keeps saying she's a tool or whatever? I used to think she was just some kind of machine or something, but after a while I started questioning that. It seemed like she was really just afraid that if she didn't act like an emotionless machine, whoever or whatever she cares about would abandon her.
Elphelt: Oh...
Sin: Yeah. I've...been through something kind of like that.
Elphelt: ... Um, Sin?
Sin: Yeah?
Elphelt: Once all this is over... What do you think is gonna happen to me and Ramlethal?
Sin: Heh. Honestly, I don't really know. But we're friends now, right?
Elphelt: Really...?
Sin: Yeah. I'm sure Ky'll figure something out for us.
Elphelt: Friends...friends!
Sin: Are you okay...?
Elphelt: Yeah, I just felt...really happy.
Sin: You're weird.

Sign A

November 1, 2187 Zepp -- President's Office
Gabriel: Welcome to Zepp.
Ky: Thank you, Mr. President. This is--
Gabriel: No need for introductions. It's good to see you, Sol.
Sol: Hrmph.
Ky: ...
Gabriel: Leo has briefed me on the situation. Only a few members of my inner circle have been told of your arrival. Under better circumstances, I would've liked to give you the proper royal treatment, but unfortunately that is a luxury we cannot currently afford.
Ky: The gesture is nonetheless appreciated.
Gabriel: Now, to business... I actually have another guest. who arrived shortly before you. He arrived shortly before you and I think you may find him...interesting.
Ky: What...?
Gabriel: He's been waiting. Apparently, he has an message for you. I believe it pertains to the subject you came here to discuss. Regardless, he is no ordinary guest and with your permission, I would like to be present for your conversation.
Ky: Of course.
[At Gabriel's office proper.]
Zato: Your Majesty.
Ky: Z-Zato-ONE?! No, this is... I thought you were dead!
Zato: I was, for a time. Now I have returned, through the machinations of the Conclave.
Sol: Figures.
Zato: As a result, I possess information that is very valuable to them. ...Their objective.
Gabriel: Well, there you have it. Zato was revived by the Conclave, and knows the details of this "Cradle" incident. He has been waiting here, so that he could relay that information to you.
Sol: Do all your men have their heads up their asses, or is it just these ones?
Gabriel: What?
Sol: If they knew who he was, why in the hell did they let him in?!
Gabriel: We were, of course, aware of his identity, but decided to let him in anyway. While we're on the subject, however, I think your presence here is much more questionable. We only granted an audience to the King and his servants.
Sol: That's not my problem.
Ky: Sol!
Sol: Can you prove you're not working for the Conclave?
Zato: No, I cannot. Might I point out, however, that we do not know when their plan will be complete. Perhaps your questions for me can wait?
Gabriel: We have confirmed that the Conclave has been researching the art of resurrection for some time, but we do not know why they chose Zato-ONE.
Ky: Sol, please, let's just hear them out.
Zato: I would like to avoid confusion, so allow me to be frank. The Conclave controls the Cradle, which they intend to use to conquer the world. And inside of the Cradle... Is Justice, the God of Destruction.
Sol: !!
Gabriel: You mean THE Justice?!
Zato: You don't look particularly surprised. Perhaps you do not need further explanation?
Gabriel: No, I think we do. You can't just tell us Justice is in that thing and then stop! Is the Conclave attempting to start another Crusade?!
Zato: A reasonable question. Why would the Conclave, who control nearly the entire world, albeit covertly, resort to using Justice for further conquest?
Gabriel: Exactly.
Zato: The answer is rather simple. The world they wish to create cannot exist in one that allows free thought.
Gabriel: I don't follow...
Zato: They intend to standardize the entire world.
Ky: They...what?
Zato: Culture will be unable to advance beyond a certain point. In short, the Conclave wants to restrict all human freedom. To accomplish that, they need Justice's incredible power and omnipresence.
Ky: This is absurd. You're talking about creating a dystopia...
Gabriel: Before we go there... Wasn't Justice utterly destroyed?
Zato: Yes, Justice was destroyed--or, I suppose you could say, died. Sol Badguy knows that much better than any of us.
Sol: ... That's why they needed the art of resurrection. You just happened to be their guinea pig.
Zato: Precisely. The resurrection you are thinking of is perhaps slightly different. The TRUE nature of resurrection is not the recreation of soul and flesh.
Gabriel: What?
Zato: It is the art of binding a soul to an object. As you know, I died several years ago. However... I was not the sole owner of my enchanted body. After my death, Eddie's soul inhabited my flesh. Once the Conclave discovered this, it did not take them long to determine it might be possible to bind a soul to a vessel. I was returned to life to test this theory.
Gabriel: So... You're suggesting the Conclave is trying to bind a new soul to Justice's body?
Zato: That is correct. That is the reason they hosted the Second Knight of the Holy Order Selection Tournament. When you destroyed Justice, Sol Badguy, you left nothing but an empty shell behind.
Sol: ...
Ky: That's not possible!
Zato: The Conclave means to write a new chapter of human history--one that casts them as its gods.
Gabriel: Everyone in this room is more than familiar with what Justice is capable of, and the threat she poses. What you are suggesting is frighteningly possible.
Sol: Hold on... Even if Zato's right, how do the Valentines play into all of this? They're just trying to annihilate humanity, right?
Zato: Likely they believe Justice's revival will lead to humanity's demise. I have no way of knowing how far their plans extend, though.
Sol: No. It's still impossible...
[The room shakes.]
Zepp Soldier 1: Red alert! Damage and fires reported in West D Sector!
Gabriel: Give me a full report!
Zepp Soldier 1: We appear to be under attack, sir... But not from the outside. The enemy is already inside! They appear to be moving through the ship, destroying everything in their path--Th-They've disappeared, sir!
Gabriel: How many are there!? Where are they from!?
Zepp Soldier 1: They...they're alone! It's a single soldier, sir! Analyzing security footage...we have a hit! The target matches the description of "Bedman" in our database! H-He's moving towards the residential block! Our weapons have no effect! We can't stop him!
Gabriel: Alone! Who the hell does he think he is?!
Zato: We will assist you.
Gabriel: It would be a damn shame if Zepp was forced to ask for a guest's help to capture a single man. Please, enjoy your tea while I deal with this matter.
Ky: What are you going to do?!
Gabriel: Enjoy the hunt.
Zepp -- Corridor
Gabriel: [running] Where is the target currently located?
Zepp Soldier 1: [via comm] The barracks in Sector C! The special task force (forces) is trying to hold him back. They don't stand a chance! (couldn't subdue him!) How could our elite soldiers be defeated so easily?!
Gabriel: Bedman... This must be the child Potemkin mentioned in his report. I have little doubt now that he is working with the Conclave... Is he here hoping to interrupt our meeting with the king? Too little, too late. (The timing is off...) Mm?! [sees Bedman and stops in front of him] There you are. You've made quite a mess of my home! Tell me... Where should I send the invoice for all this damage. The Conclave? Valentine, perhaps? Are you too sleepy to talk, young man? That's unfortunate, it's time for you to rise and shine! (wake up.) [attacks] Huh? Ah, your teleportation... I read about it in the report.
Bedman: ...
Gabriel: Very well, I shall no longer rely on my eyes. The attack you are about to witness will pulverize any living creature within 8 meters, no matter how fast they move, or how well they guard themselves... I call it... AGNI X! HRRRRAGH!
Bedman: [in dream] Impossible! This is the world's first 8th-generation reinforced high-density bed frame! How could you stop it with your bare hands?
Gabriel: I see... You can dodge (block) a blow from my ultimate punch (attack)... No wonder Potemkin couldn't defeat you.
Bedman: Gabriel...!
???*(Ariels): That's quite enough. Your time's up.
Bedman: Quite right. I shall take my leave. [tries to flee, but Gabriel grabs him and slam his bedframe to the ground] Whoa--!
Gabriel: Fool! Did you think I'd let you escape so easily?!
[Sometime later, in an interrogation room.]
Potemkin: State your name and age.
Bedman: ...
Potemkin: Who do you work for?
Bedman: ...
Gabriel: Heh. Perhaps the most futile interrogation in all of history.

Sign B

Zepp -- President's Office
Ky: Can you hear me, Leo?
Leo: [via comm] Loud and clear, Ky. If you're calling me on this line, then I assume you figured out what I was getting at.
Ky: Yes.
Leo: Then, the Conclave is behind the tragedy of Babylon after all?
Ky: Yes, there is no other way to see the facts (explanation).
Leo: All right. Tell me the details.
Ky: Ha...ha ha ha...
Leo: Wh-What's wrong?
Ky: My apologies. Our intelligence on this situation has grown exponentially in a very short period. Frankly, I just feel grateful that I can finally tell someone about it.
Leo: I understand how you must feel, but right now we need to keep this quiet. Don't let your guard down.
Ky: Actually... I think it's time we stepped into the light.
Leo: What do you mean?
Ky: I'm glad you're in Illyria, Leo. I need someone there I can trust.
Leo: I don't see where you're going with this.
Ky: I have a favor to ask you, and it is...not an easy one. I need you to release someone to my authority. They may be able to help us fight the Cradle.
Leo: ...?
A Dream
Bedman: Well well... I was planning to sow a little dissent out here and visit you while they were distracted, which, ahem, didn't go quite according to plan... Then again, we're talking alone now, so perhaps I've succeeded after all!
Ramlethal: You are...?
Bedman: It's a pleasure to meet you. Again.
Ramlethal: This is...
Bedman: Inside your dream. I was able to enter it because we're close. Physically, I mean. Then again, since I've taken it over, I guess this is MY dream now.
Ramlethal: ...Who are you?
Bedman: Mmmm why don't you call me "Bedman." Your mother has asked me to run a few errands.
Ramlethal: Mother...? No one told me anything.
Bedman: Of course not. I'm what you might call your superior. I'm overseeing this entire operation, so naturally I know everything. Even how it ends.
Ramlethal: Mother would never trust one of them...
Bedman: He he he he. Oh, I'm special.
Ramlethal: You can't be. Redundancies are just redundant. No exceptions.
Bedman: You don't exactly have an open mind, do you? If you ask me, you're a lot closer to being "redundant" than I'll ever be. I suppose that doesn't really matter now, though. In the end you were just a tool in this operation, and ultimately disposable.
Ramlethal: Yes, I am a tool. Mother only loves useful tools.
Bedman: Love...? Ha ha ha. That doesn't sound like the right word for you.
Ramlethal: I know...but Mother doesn't need anyone who won't do what they're supposed to do.
Bedman: Then let me ask... Why didn't you self-destruct?
Ramlethal: ...?
Bedman: Judging from what I've seen here, you undoubtedly had ample opportunities. Your role is finished, isn't it?
Ramlethal: El is restricting my powers.
Bedman: El? Oh, right, right... Your little sister. Interesting... So you can restrict each others' power? Goodness, that's convenient AND annoying.
Ramlethal: ... You know about El... Does that mean you're really one of Mother's allies?
Bedman: Hmm... Now you've put me in a tough spot. I'm here because you need to be, ah, taken care of.
Ramlethal: Is that Mother's desire?
Bedman: It is. You know what the Cradle is up to (made for)...and if that information falls into enemy hands, all my careful calculations will be worth approximately jack shit.
Ramlethal: There's no need to worry. I won't talk. You can trust me.
Bedman: Trust? Ha ha ha ha ha... (Right.) I'm afraid you're using that one wrong too. You see, "trust" is something friends have for each other.
Ramlethal: Friends...?
Bedman: Yes, you see, in a group of friends, every person is unique, just like me! You, on the other hand, are just a copy of something else: A tool. There's nothing to set you apart.
Ramlethal: So I...need something to set me apart?
Bedman: ...!
Ramlethal: Tools only need to perform their function at the correct time. Mother said so.
Bedman: Perhaps your comprehensive faculties (cognitive abilities) are...a little underdeveloped.
Ramlethal: I'm not unique? Is it impossible to be unique without emotions?
Bedman: (Wh-What the hell am I doing....?)*((Trying to argue this nonsense...)) Never mind. I apologize, but this conversation is over. ...This is Mother's will. Remember that.
Ramlethal: ... All right then, take care of me. But I have one last request...
Bedman: What is it?
Ramlethal: Can I take the dog with me?
Magehound: *Cute puppy sounds*
Bedman: ...! You...! What the hell happened to you here?! Now you really ARE just like a human! You have emotions! How did this... How can you ask me to kill this little girl?! ! Someone's coming! Time for me to hide...
Royal Fleet One -- Interrogation Room
Sin: He he, I'm back.
Ramlethal: ...
Sin: What...? Oh, you were asleep? Sorry about that.
Ramlethal: ...Sin.
Sin: Yeah?
Ramlethal: Why do you keep coming here?
Sin: C'mon, don't make me repeat myself. To make you laugh, obviously.
Ramlethal: Why? Making me laugh will not benefit you.
Sin: It's not really about benefits, I just like...I want to see you laugh.
Ramlethal: I'm a tool. I only have value when I carry out the tasks I was assigned. That's why I can't understand these "feelings" that drive you to take apparently meaningless actions. If they benefit no one, why do them?
Sin: Wow that's, uh, that's a pretty deep question. Are you asking me to explain every action I take?
Ramlethal: I need to know what the right thing to do is. If I don't know that, then I can't take the correct action, and taking an incorrect action is pointless.
Sin: Well, c'mon, what does "right" even mean anyway? (what do you call "right"?) Let's say Ky and the old man think something tastes bad, but I like it. Does that make me wrong? In a way everybody's right, see? They're right to say it tastes bad, and I'm right to say it tastes good.
Ramlethal: I don't understand your example.
Sin: Arg... How do I say this... Oh, got it! Do you believe in God?
Ramlethal: God? I acknowledge that the concept exists, and people find value in it, but without further evidence, I can't authoritatively state whether or not--
Sin: No, I'm asking you how YOU feel about it! Remember when you ate that hamburger? You had an opinion on it, YOUR opinion. Like that...
Ramlethal: I...I don't know...
Sin: You're impossible! All right, let's try something else. Look out that window.
Ramlethal: ?
Sin: [looking at the starry sky] He he. This is the real reason I'm here. Doesn't that look pretty?
Ramlethal: ...I don't know.
Sin: I think you just don't have the words to describe how you feel. See, I think that's suuuuuuuuuuuuuper pretty.
Ramlethal: Um...? (Suuuuuuper?)
Sin: To me, that's enough. The way I feel, the way this looks... I don't want somebody trying to explain that to me with big words or fancy ideas. I just like the explanation "This sky looks beautiful because God made it that way." So to me, that would be a good reason for God to exist. Do you think that's the right answer?
Ramlethal: That's just what you WANT. It doesn't make anything real.
Sin: Maybe, but I don't think everything needs to be black and white. You don't need to shove yourself into a corner and tell yourself you have to be something.
Ramlethal: But...if I don't I...won't be a good tool.
Sin: You're wrong, Ram, you're not a tool.
Ramlethal: Wrong?
Magehound: Aoouu--!
Sin: ! Y-You bastard! When did you--?!
Ramlethal: Wait! (Sin,) Bedman's only here for me (to dispose of me). I asked if I could take the dog with me, that's why he killed it. He won't hurt you.
Sin: What are you talking about?! Stay back! [Bedman lets the two in his dream] ? Wh-What?!
Bedman: I'm sorry about the dog, but... I thought this would be the easiest way for her to understand. I see you're beginning to develop emotions, so I'm going to teach you the meaning of "replacement."
Ramlethal: What...? (Replacement?)
Bedman: There are 682 known dog--or Canis lupus familiaris--breeds, and in Illyria alone, there are over 31 million dogs. [recreates the magehound] We could create a magehound exactly like this one. (Of course with magic I can create the exact same dog that sat here.) It is, in other words, replaceable.
Ramlethal: [the magehound doesn't bite her] No... No, this isn't it... Why...? It's the same dog, but...something's different!
Bedman: Exactly. This is a replacement. You liked the last dog, but not this one. You see...?
Ramlethal: Everyone is...unique...? [with tears in her eyes] Am...am I unique too...?
Sin: Ram...?
A Dream
???*(Ariels): Explain why you failed to dispose of Ramlethal.
Bedman: How about YOU explain to ME what the hell you were thinking?! You know I won't lay a finger on a young woman...
???: ...
Bedman: Why did you give them emotions?! This is horribly miscast...it's all your fault! Or, if this is your not-so-subtle way of telling me I'm no longer needed, fine, enjoy the rest of this show on your own.
???: ... ...Very well, I admit I was wrong. Now please, calm down. I need you to create our absolute world.
Bedman: ...I apologize for my outburst.
???: Considering how the chips have fallen, we should prepare ourselves for an eventuality in which the Cradle's destination is discovered.
Bedman: Yes.
???: Do you have any way to halt their progress?
Bedman: I haven't been doing this for fun, you know. I'll make sure that the absolute world comes to be, even if it costs me my life.
???: Good. Carry on, then.

Philosopher A

Illyria Castle -- Sealed Area, Hallway
Guard: P-Please, wait! We cannot open these doors without the Conclave's approval!
Leo: I think we can. I have a key.
Guard: Th-That's not what I--!
Leo: Corporal.
Guard: Sir?
Leo: I am one of the kings of Illyria, am I not?
Guard: Yes, sir.
Leo: Which makes me VERY important.
Guard: O-Of course, sir!
Leo: Glad we cleared that up. Now shut up and stand aside!
Guard: B-But sir--!
[Leo opens the doors.]
???*(Paradigm): A wise decision, Second King Leo Whitefang. You are far more capable a human being than I initially suspected.
Illyria Castle -- War Room
Leo: Hey! Enough chit-chat! I'm here to introduce the man who's going to get us out of this: Dr. Paradigm.
Vernon: [via comm] Explain yourself, Leo.
Leo: Dr. Paradigm is one of the heroes who saved us from extinction during the Baptisma 13 incident.
Vernon: He appears to be a Gear. Do you mean to tell me this is the "collaborator" Ky mentioned during the UN conference?
Leo: That is correct, Mr. President. I'll explain the details later. I'm afraid we don't have much time.
Vernon: R-Right...
Leo: Right now our top priority is to locate the Cradle and destroy it. To do that, we need the good doctor's assistance.
Vernon: The assistance of this...bird?
Paradigm: I am a dragon, sir, not a bird! As this is a state of emergency I will let your insult pass, but I hope I will not hear you make the same mistake in the future.
Leo: Paradigm's knowledge and throughput exceeds that of our entire operations department. I suggest you listen to what he has to say.
Vernon: A-All right...
Paradigm: I see you're all here. Good. Now, please pay close attention. I assume you have all seen King Ky's report regarding the Cradle. Specifically, you know that the Conclave is behind it. They are working in concert with the Valentines, and we believe that their objective is to unleash Justice, who is within the Cradle.
Vernon: I still can't believe the Conclave would do this...
Paradigm: Yes, there is much cause for concern, but first we must investigate where the Cradle appears, and how we can destroy it.
Vernon: A-And you know the answer to this?
Leo: Just hear him out.
Paradigm: The first incident occurred around noon on the 28th, when the Cradle appeared above Babylon. All living organisms in the city were obliterated, but inanimate objects were left unharmed. Then, the Cradle disappeared.
Vernon: Right.
Paradigm: Then, at approximately 20:00 hours on the next day, the Cradle reappeared near the Black Sea. Major Lyle's forces engaged it, but were defeated.
Leo: ...
Paradigm: There are several important facts here. First: Where did the Cradle disappear to? Second: Why was only living matter affected? Third: How is it possible that some members of Major Lyle's unit survived?
Vernon: Hm...
Paradigm: If we examine this information, we can see that the Cradle is not only a vessel for Justice, but also for the Conclave.
Vernon: Now just wait a minute there, Doctor. You're suggesting the Cradle is...is some kind of...ship for the Conclave? That wasn't in the report...
Paradigm: We know that there are living organisms inside of the Cradle. My hunch is that they are human.
Vernon: Every nation on Earth is currently analyzing the data we have, but so far I've seen nothing to corroborate your argument.
Paradigm: That's because your probes are only designed to detect life, and your analysis tools are not designed for this sort of data. Filter out the noise, and you'll see signals that indicate life, even if you can't spot the occupants themselves.
Vernon: Even so, that's not enough to draw a conclusion.
Paradigm: I was going to address this later, but...since you've asked perhaps I can adjust my presentation.
Vernon: Please.
Paradigm: The core issue here is how the Cradle attacked Babylon. As I considered it, I began to suspect that it was not an attack at all... But rather a mode of transportation.
Vernon: I'm sorry, but could you please elaborate on that?
Paradigm: Very well. First, it was initially theorized that the Cradle disappeared, in order to avoid pursuit, but that makes us ask: Was that, in fact, teleportation?
Vernon: Wh-What else would it be?
Leo: True teleportation would require the object to reappear elsewhere almost immediately... but the Cradle was gone for nearly 26 hours.
Paradigm: Moreover, there is no known process which can teleport such a large object.
Vernon: Then where the hell did it go?
Paradigm: The Backyard.
Vernon: It really exists, then...?
Paradigm: I do not blame you for doubting its existence, but I can assure you it does: I have, in fact, entered the Backyard.
Vernon: I thought the Backyard was just a theory; an academic exercise... Why would the Cradle go there?!
Leo: The answer to that is simple: Even with the doctor's knowledge, it would be nearly impossible for us to enter the Backyard.
Vernon: I see...
Paradigm: That said, travel to the Backyard is actually quite simple--at least theoretically. First, one must "exchange" a portion of the real world with a corresponding area inside the Backyard. Then place the Cradle within the borrowed portion of the Backyard. And finally, simply return both areas to their original worlds. The "sphere" we saw that appeared to be an attack was in fact the rapid expansion of Backyard space into our own realm.
Vernon: That doesn't explain the disappearance of all the residents of Babylon.
Paradigm: This brings us to my second point. Are you aware of what happens to a normal life form when it enters the Backyard?
Vernon: Oh no...
Paradigm: Oh yes. They turn to dust. The Backyard is composed of high-density information. It governs all of creation. Any normal creature is immediately crushed by that wealth of data. That said, it has no effect on any non-living matter. Which is why only living creatures in Babylon were affected... That is why I believe said sphere was an intrusion of the Backyard into our realm. Now, on to my third point... Major Lyle's unit was initially assumed to have been utterly destroyed, but in fact proved to have survivors. The Opus Anti-Valentine units that had been deployed for the attack also survived the sphere.
Leo: According to the testimonies of the survivors, they were touched by the sphere, but able to escape it. We did a little research, and discovered that every single one of them had something in common.
Vernon: Wh-What was it?
Leo: Every one of them fought alongside Ky Kiske during the Baptisma 13 incident.
Vernon: ...?
Paradigm: When the first-generation Valentine attacked Illyria, all our defenses were useless against her. Why? Because their Divine Steps, and their magic, were too foreign. They belonged only to those who dwelt in the Backyard. The High King was able to grasp this, and eventually lead his men to victory. To protect them, soldiers under his immediate command were given a unique blessing.
Vernon: And it worked?
Paradigm: Quite well. Then the Opus are also under this blessing?
Leo: We suspect that to be the case.
Paradigm: Hm? Oh, ah, not exactly. We've done a little research on our own, and the Opus are mostly Gears.
Leo: What?!
Vernon: What the?!
Paradigm: We Gears also fought against Valentine, and were able to resist her power even without a special blessing. No doubt the Sanctus Populi noticed this.
Vernon: B-But research on Gear cells has been banned by the UN! This is an enormous problem!
Leo: Mr. President, please. This is a serious issue, and something we must carefully investigate, but for now perhaps we should keep it a secret?
Paradigm: Perhaps you should both calm down. The Opus have been dispatched across the world to help. I doubt we'll feel much scrutiny immediately.
Vernon: Even so!
Leo: I think this means I'll have to bump "it's not you, it's me" down to number two on my list of things I wish I hadn't heard...
Paradigm: I'm afraid that sort of thing is beyond my expertise. You will need to figure out the details among yourselves once we've overcome this crisis.
Vernon: Rrrrgh...
Paradigm: We've gotten a bit sidetracked, but I believe we can state that the mode of transport for the Cradle caused the casualties at Babylon. Returning to my original point... If it is true that people can board the Cradle, then this hypothesis seems even more likely.
Vernon: ...Tell us everything you know.
Paradigm: As I've explained, subjects that have been properly prepared can survive in the Backyard for a period of time. But it is akin to--for example--space, or the deep ocean: You could survive for a time, but not indefinitely. Eventually, everyone must come back for a "breath."
Vernon: I get it! That's why the Cradle reappeared! It all makes sense...
Paradigm: Well done.
Vernon: A-Amazing...! This is the Gear King Ky told us wished to co-exist... I fear I may have criticized him prematurely, without seeing the whole picture...
Leo: Don't be too hard on yourself. I did the same thing.
Vernon: What do we do now?
Paradigm: Mm?
Vernon: As long as the Cradle is in the Backyard, we're at a loss.
Paradigm: That is not necessarily true. Do you recall King Leo's words when we began? Our end-game is the destruction of the Cradle. Therefore we must change the way in which we approach this problem: They have removed our avenues of attack because they FEAR an attack. Now is the time for us to turn the tables!
Illyria Castle -- Mission Preparation Dept.
Paradigm: Unfortunately, with our current weapons and lack of time, we cannot touch the Cradle once it begins to move--er, when it begins to enter the Backyard. Therefore we must assume that the next time it comes up for air will be our last chance to strike. With that in mind, allow me to lay out our operation. We have narrowed down the next location where the Cradle is likely to surface...as well as when. We will surround this point with elite teams from every nation. The moment it surfaces, we tighten the circle and launch the attack. Our goal is to destroy Justice, who is within the Cradle.
Crowd: Ah!
Leo: Amazing, Doctor... After two defeats, morale was at an all-time low, but your insight has given us new hope.
Paradigm: Ha ha, you flatter me. My ability to rally your men was only possible because you have encouraged acceptance of other species.
Leo: Damn... Well, I'll be sure to double my support for coexistence at the next UN hearing.
Paradigm: Heh.
Leo: We don't have much time, though. If Ky and his team can make it, they'd be a powerful asset, but I don't know if they can get here fast enough.
Paradigm: We've no choice. No doubt Ramlethal's diversions took into account the locations of Frederick, the High King, and the Cradle.
Leo: Our biggest problem now is the Absolute Defense: Felion. If we can't take that shield down, all of our firepower will be useless.
Paradigm: I've already devised a countermeasure for that. They're in for an exciting surprise...
Leo: You seem prepared for everything. In fact, you seemed to know an awful lot before I came to release you. How did that happen?
Paradigm: Ah, yes... Before you came, I had another visitor who filled me in on all the details.
Leo: But...the room is impregnable. I've got the only key.
Paradigm: Perhaps it is impregnable to any normal person, but my visitor is in fact my trump card for the Cradle. Though I worry how Frederick will react...
Operator 1*(Anders): Doctor Paradigm, we have a President Vernon on the line!
Paradigm: Excellent.
Vernon: [via comm] We've prepared the old beacon, just like you asked... We just need to place it at the coordinates you gave us, correct?
Paradigm: Yes. They will be placed at 10km intervals, with the projected entrance point at the center. Be sure to deploy them all.
Vernon: We're happy to do everything we can, of course, but...are you certain this plan will work?
Paradigm: We will MAKE it work. Our projected entrance point has a nice view, but there are no landmarks to speak of. Additionally, we expect it will take approximately 22 minutes for the, ah...special delivery to arrive. We cannot sit and wait for the Cradle to appear.
Vernon: Understood. We're requesting all nations relinquish their airspace to us. They aren't pleased, but once Zepp is in position, we should be ready.
Paradigm: Excellent. Thank you.
Leo: D-Doctor... Just what are you planning?
Zepp -- Hangar
Sol: Stupid bird must be out of his goddamn mind...
Sin: You really gonna do this?
Sol: This job's got my name all over it, and hell, it could be worse. Just chafes my ass that he's not telling us what his trump card is.
Zepp Soldier 1: This is what you'll be taking tomorrow, sir.
Sol: Right. Might as well enjoy my trip through the sky, I guess.

Philosopher B

Narrator: From the memoirs of Eripmavs D Yraid.
1999 A.D. "The Dawn of Revival"
For several strange hours, the entire planet experiences a phenomenon that appears to be a form of life. Humanity knows they have felt the divine will. An investigation shows that the creature had attempted to manifest itself through electronic circuitry. The UN immediately bans all such devices.
Despite requiring an overhaul of nearly every industry, few object to the changes: Such was the effect of the Dawn of Revival on the human soul.
Human culture began to deteriorate, and the framework of society began to collapse.
That same year, a band of mages calling themselves "Apostles" appeared, and set to work restoring human civilization and culture.
Their magic did not require material resources, and they were not frugal: The Apostles taught magic to the people, and halted the social collapse.
Faith in these Apostles grew, and in 2008 they formed what would become known as the Sanctus Populi.
Their disciples began to travel the world, spreading their teachings with the Conclave's blessing. In Europe they found an especially devoted following.
In 2010, the UN declared sorcery and magic the new standard, and called for all nations to dismantle their "traditional" weapons and technology.
Allowances of a new all-purpose resource called "Zeal" were issued to each household. This ended one war, but created another.
In early 2014, a team of scientists under Vince MacDonell completed their theoretical assessment of Gear cells.
Through the application of magic, they could fuse these cells to the material world, allowing them to reproduce and become at least semi-permanent.
This concerned me.
Following a successful negotiation, the research data was turned over to the United States of America for more thorough study.
In 2016, and experiment with Gear cells went awry, and several core team members died or disappeared.
Following this incident, research became more difficult, and all projects were frozen. All related data was classified Rank A+.
In 2042, the military and political influence of the US began to decline, and they reopened the files on Gear cell research, with an eye for military use.
In 2045, the first Gear was activated, but it was of little military use: It was ineffective in combat, and difficult to control.
After several more tests, the first combat-ready Gear was unveiled in 2065. Mass production began, and the US deployed their Gears to allies across the globe.
Then, in the year 2073...
A scientist now known only as "That Man" creates Justice, a Gear that can command its kin. Before long, however, Justice turns her wrath on humanity.
With little documentation of the truth of his research, That Man was labeled a war criminal who had intentionally turned Justice against humanity.
As 2074 progressed, Justice took control of Gears one after the other, and soon war engulfed the entire planet.
Humanity had no weapons capable of resisting the Gears, and under Justice's command they crushed human resistance with ease during the Crusades.
In my old age, I have taken an interest in this violent, pitiful chapter of our history.
After the accident in 2016, one young man was reported dead, but had somehow managed to survive.
I thought, perhaps, that tracking him down might satiate my thirst for knowledge.
His name was Frederick...although he does not use that one any more.
His passion shone like the sun to illuminate my path, and so I wanted to bestow upon him a name that reflected that bright light...
I hope he approves of it...
Leo: [closes book] Justice, the God of Destruction... She wasn't supposed to have a mind of her own, but suddenly she became self-aware, took control of Gears across the world, and led a rebellion... That rebellion pushed humanity to the brink of destruction. The Tower of Babel, as designed by That Man. It was humankind's arrogance and prosperity that brought down God's hammer. If that happened again...would we stand a chance? No. We have to win. We have to do whatever it takes to win!

Showdown A

November 2, 2187 Zepp -- Outer District
Zepp Soldier 2: All 420 targeting beacons have been placed. ID Code and link bridge verification, complete. Setting temporary target location to A-1.
Zepp Soldier 3: Bunker level... Magic shielding density, cleared.
Zepp Soldier 1: Ground-to-ground ICBM "Vagilanda" armed and ready to fire!
Gabriel: Sol, can you hear me?
Sol: [via comm] Yeah.
Gabriel: The Vagilanda flies horizontally--a perfect marriage of magic and our technology. Its cruising speed is around 5.2km/s. We're approximately 9,200km from our target, so we estimate around 22 minutes to impact. It starts relatively slowly, which should give you enough time to, ah, board, but this isn't exactly something any human could actually do. We've removed the payload, but that won't make the impact of the missile any less deadly for you.
Sol: Done with the lecture? Let's get this show on the road.
Gabriel: Hrmph. Just don't forget what I've told you. Your superhuman nature is the key to all of this. We're counting on you.
Sol: ...
Gabriel: ... Begin approach! Vagilanda... FIRE!
Sin: Holy shit! That's awesome!
Ky: Good luck, Sol.
Sin: Huh...? Hey, where's El?
Northern Black Sea -- Projected Target Area
Paradigm: The armies of each nation are gathering...
Leo: Illyria, the United States... even the Federation of China. This is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing. I still can't believe it...
Paradigm: Mm.
Leo: ...Do you think we'll make it in time?
Paradigm: The ability to band together in the face of a crisis is humankind's greatest strength. I believe our allies will all do their part.
The Tearoom
Libraria: They appear to have set up an ambush surrounding our next surface point.
Chronus: They managed to develop a countermeasure and deploy it extremely quickly. I sense Dr. Paradigm in this...
Axus: We've made a mistake. Our plans were based on intel that there wasn't anyone who could stop us... Regardless, we still have Absolute Defense: Felion. Nothing they can throw at the Cradle will even scratch it.
Chronus: Indeed. Let us fight, Dr. Paradigm!
Northern Black Sea -- Projected Target Area
Leo: This is better than I thought. A real masterpiece...
Paradigm: Indeed. The hard work of our allies has paid off.
Leo: Now we sit back and pray that everything goes according to plan. Prayers will not be necessary. True, we may not know the exact location, but we have narrowed the possibilities down considerably. Once the beacons determine its true location, we will converge on it and be able to detect exactly where Frederick lands.
Leo: I heard Sol was already on his way. Do you think he can make it in time?
Paradigm: Do you ever cease worrying? Your body may be strong as steel, but your nerves certainly aren't.
Leo: Sorry for doing my job. If you wish to do something, perhaps remind your troops that they must NOT move until I give the order.
Leo: Understood.
Paradigm: Oh, relax! Please... The plan is perfect! [beacon explodes]
Leo: What's happening?!
Operator 1*(Anders): We're under attack! S-Someone's destroying the beacons!
Paradigm: What?! Who could it be?!
Leo: [sees Bedman] Hm... Looks like the guy from Ky's report!
Operator 1: [via comm] Beacons A-1 through 7 have been destroyed!
Paradigm: What?! Who could it be?!
Zepp -- Outer District
Gabriel: What's wrong?
Zepp Soldier 1: Our target beacon just disappeared! We're losing them!
Gabriel: How is this possible...?
Paradigm: [via comm] We've got trouble!
Gabriel: We're losing beacons left and right. What's going on?
Paradigm: A strange foe by the name of Bedman is destroying them... We've already lost several.
Gabriel: Bedman!?
Paradigm: If he succeeds, he could ruin our entire operation... Is there any way to steer the Vagilanda?
Gabriel: Technically yes, but we don't have time to reprogram it, and we've got a bigger problem!
Paradigm: Oh?
Gabriel: When it loses its target, safety protocols redirect the missile into space.
Paradigm: What?!
Gabriel: For now, we're redirecting to an active beacon.
Zepp Soldier 1: Target reassigned to S-2!
The Vagilanda
Sol: Son of a... This is worse than a hangover!

Showdown B

Northern Black Sea -- Projected Target Area
Leo: That's enough! I've heard about you... Badman or Birdman or whatever you call yourself, I'm not going to let you compromise this operation!
Bedman: ...
Leo: Gah! Haaah!
Bedman: [in dream] Oh...? Not bad, King Leo.
Leo: Don't patronize me!
[Scene changes.]
Paradigm: This is bad... We've lost a lot of beacons. If the Cradle surfaces in the wrong place, we may not be able to target an area nearby.
Vernon: [via comm] Excuse me!
Paradigm: President Vernon?
Vernon: I happened to overhear. Do you think it would be possible to target a vessel floating in midair?
Gabriel: [via comm] No, it's too dangerous to lower the altitude like that. We'd be putting friendlies in the line of fire.
Paradigm: In any event, the Cradle momentarily teleports a portion of the real world in the Backyard. Get too close, and you'll be sucked in.
Vernon: Damnit... Is it time for our trump card?
[Scene changes.]
Leo: Son of a--teleportation?! I can't keep up with this...
Bedman: [in dream] I'm not interested in wasting my time with you... My only goal here is to destroy these ridiculous beacons.
Operator 1*(Anders): [via comm] We're detecting heat signatures consistent with the Cradle. It should be phase shifting in 120 seconds!
Leo: Where's the closest beacon?
Operator 1: The closest beacon is... S-Sixty kilometers away...
Leo: Damnit... We were so close...
Bedman: Sorry, but we reeeeally can't have you destroying the Cradle right now. What...?
[The May Ship II flies over them.]
May Ship II
Faust: Please, just a little closer! Then I'll be able to use my own teleportation!
April: Roger!
Projected Target Area
Bedman: Don't tell me--!
Johnny: Keep your eyes on the prize, son.
Bedman: Gnh!
Johnny: Good to see you again, buddy! ["Storyteller" starts playing.]
Bedman: Worthless vulture!
Leo: Hah!
Johnny: Hmph! I guess it won't be that easy.
Leo: Are you the leader of the Jellyfish Pirates?!
Johnny: Hey, uh...how 'bout we save that for later, hm?
Leo: No! ...Well...fine, we have a job for your ...special skills.
Johnny: Lay it on me.
Bedman: [in dream] Aaaah, I see, you're trying to move the beacon directly on top of the target. [Leo lunges towards him.] Oh? You don't know what I can do, do you? I'm feeling rather tired. [Johnny jumps behind Leo and uses Mist Finer.] ?!
Leo: I've figured you out, kid. The further you're going to teleport, the longer the wind-up is! So... Why don't you try your little trick again? My swords are getting thirsty...
Bedman: Damnit--!
May Ship II
May: Well?
Faust: I can do this, but please, you must bring me closer!
May: April! Slow down and bring the ship as close to the ground as you can! As soon as we pick up the doctor we're getting the heck out of here!
April: Got it!
Projected Target Area
Bedman: Heh heh heh...
Leo: Damnit... That didn't work?
Johnny: No, I think it did.
Bedman: The damage is getting worse?! Damnit!
Faust: [uses his door and sets the beacon] Hrrrrrgh! [door fall on him and teleports]
Paradigm: Well done. Switch targets, lock on to beacon X-3!
Bedman: No--!
Leo: Damnit, he got away! ...Are we going to make it in time? ["Storyteller" stops.]
Paradigm: The missile had to be redirected, which set us back a bit, but we should be on schedule.
Operator 1*(Anders): The Cradle is appearing!
Leo: Here it comes!
[The Cradle appears, surrounded by the airship fleet.]
The Tearoom
Chronus: Brilliant... Hm? What's that...?
Projected Target Area
Leo: It's here! Where the hell is Sol?!
Paradigm: Quiet! Just watch... It's already begun.
Leo: Wha...what in the world...? [That Man teleports in front of the Cradle.] Is that your trump card?! He shouldn't be standing there, it's dangerous!
Paradigm: He's not what you might call a normal person. I wouldn't worry.
Leo: Wh-What the hell is going on...?
Paradigm: I suppose this is as good a time as any. That is the Gear Maker. You like to refer to him as "That Man."
Leo: Wh...what?!
That Man: It's nice to see you too, Chronus, although this wasn't exactly how I imagined us meeting.
The Cradle
Chronus: What the hell are you doing here?!
Axus: Artillery! Shoot him down!
That Man: Please, don't waste your time.
Chronus: Rgh... The Cradle isn't equipped for combat. We won't be able to hurt him. But you're just as helpless! Even the Gear Maker can't penetrate--what?! [Vagilanda collides on the Cradle's rear.]
That Man: True... Even I cannot dispel Absolute Defense: Felion. I do, however, think we can destroy it. Me...and HIM. [Sol is expelled and falls right beside That Man, and casts Float.]
Chronus: Sol Badguy!
Sol: You son of a bitch! ["Dice" starts playing.]
That Man: Frederick, kindly focus on the matter at hand.
Sol: Nngh. Yeah, yeah, I'm already on it!
Leo: What's happening?!
That Man: Magic draws power directly from the Backyard, and I'm serving as an intermediary. Frederick's fist will carry more energy than anything on this planet is capable of producing. I convert that energy into matter, and we contain that within a pocket dimension using the Schwarzschild radial limit. We then destroy the physical space occupied by the barrier, creating a spontaneous microverse. The rest is simple--we need only to take measures to ensure the world isn't destroyed in the process.
Paradigm: Simple? Well, you certainly make it sound that way.
Sol: UOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH! [The Cradle's barrier is destroyed.]
Chronus: But...but that's impossible!
Sol: Guh... *Pant* *Pant*
Paradigm: King Leo! Now!
Leo: ALL UNITS, FIRE EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT! ALL I WANT TO SEE OF THAT THING WHEN YOU'RE DONE IS A SMOKING CRATER!
Chronus: Rrrrrrgh!
Leo: Did it work? You've done it now, Gear Maker... I always knew you would be our worst enemy... But we've survived your attack, which means we win!
Leo: J-Justice!
That Man: You won't escape! [Bedman teleports and kidnaps him.] Guh?!
Sol: Bastard! [is too tired to stand up] Damnit!
Paradigm: Get out of there, Frederick! You'll be swallowed by the Backyard!
Sol: I-I know that... Just have to...!
Paradigm: Frederick!?
Sol: No... I can still function in there! I'm going to follow them!
Paradigm: You fool! You can't, not in your condition!
[The information wave is about to reach him but Elphelt grabs him and flies away.]
Sol: What the hell are you doing?! Let go of me!
Elphelt: [with tears in her eyes] NO! Sol! Even if you beat Justice, you'll be stuck! You don't know how to get out! I can't let you do that!
Sol: Let me GO!
Elphelt: No! I won't!
Sol: You little shit!
Elphelt: I told you, I'm not letting go! If you do this, you'll never see your friends again!
Sol: ...

Hope A

November 3, 2187 Illyria Castle -- War Room
Leo: Everyone's here, Doctor.
Paradigm: Mm. Very well. Let us begin. Unfortunately, the operation was a failure. We're back to square one.
Vernon: ...
Leo: Well, there's no point in being depressed about it. We know how they travel, all we have to do is try again--
Paradigm: No, this was an ambush. It won't work a second time. They need only to adjust their timing slightly, and we would be left high and dry. Besides, we'll never be able to gather that many beacons again.
Leo: No...
Vernon: Doctor. I have no doubt, that WAS Justice. She looked exactly the same as the last time I saw her...during the Crusades. Where the hell is the Conclave planning to activate that monster?
Paradigm: I've been pondering that same question. As far as I can tell, she has not yet been activated. I suspect that means they must first move her to a facility which is capable of activating her.
Sol: Not to mention they're gonna need a whole lotta juice to power her up.
Paradigm: Are you feeling better, Sol (Frederick)?
Sol: I ain't made of glass. If you hadn't stopped me, I could've destroyed Justice in the Backyard!
Elphelt: S-Sorry...
Sin: Uh, maybe tone it down? El saved your life. Why the hell do you have to be such a jerk?!
Sol: Hrmph. I wasn't totally sold on all this until I saw Justice myself. But if they've found a way to revive her, reactivating a bio-weapon requires a shitload of energy, and a facility to harness it.
Leo: Wait... Doesn't that make this easy, then? The facility they intend to use has to be within the radius of their maximum movement, so we just identify it and wait for them to show up.
Paradigm: No, the amount of energy we're speaking of far exceeds what anything in this era can generate...
Sin: Then how they hell are they gonna turn Justice on?
[Pause.]
Sin: They've gotta have a plan, it can't be this easy...
Elphelt: ... [is leaving]
Sol: Where do you think you're going?
Elphelt: I'm going to have a chat with Ram.
Sol: That gonna work?
Elphelt: I don't know... But if I don't try, then it might actually be the end of the world!
Sol: The world, huh... What exactly does that mean to you?
Elphelt: What...?
Sol: You were just born. How the hell could you know anything about this world?
Sin: Hey, c'mon--
Sol: Shut it! I didn't ask you a question, I asked her!
Elphelt: U-Um... You're right, I might not really be able to say what the world's really like... But my world is Ram, and a-all of you guys... I don't want to lose that. I mean...nobody's ever said I was their friend before!
Sol: ... Hmph. Good enough.
Illyria Castle -- Interrogation Room
Elphelt: Ram...
Ramlethal: ...
Elphelt: Please... can you just tell me where Justice is going? We're running out of time...
Ramlethal: Do you like these things?
Elphelt: Huh? Um...yeah, I do.
Ramlethal: What does it feel like... to like someone?
Elphelt: ... The first feeling I felt after I got feelings was that I wanted to do something good. That's the personality I was programmed with, after all... But humans had complete freedom... They could be close, or they could push each other away. I couldn't even understand what THEY wanted. People can do the right thing or the wrong thing... They can love each other or hate each other... It was horrible to see them hurt each other, but even that was a freedom they had that I didn't. So I started to wonder... was there anything good about all of this? I couldn't find an answer I could put into words, but... ...There was one thing I was sure about.
Ramlethal: ...
Elphelt: Everybody has the ability to smile.
Ramlethal: What...?
Elphelt: And I realized I wanted to see lots of smiles. I think that's what it feel like to like someone.
Ramlethal: ...I want to see myself smile. Does that mean I like myself?
Elphelt: Yeah, I think so!
Ramlethal: The act of liking yourself is called "narcissism" and is only practiced by especially pathetic humans. Are you sure this is okay?
Elphelt: Yes! It's totally fine!
Ramlethal: Sin said he wanted to see me smile... Does that mean he likes me?
Elphelt: Yeah, he definitely likes you. When you like somebody you want them to be happy.
Ramlethal: Is that the same as being unique?
Elphelt: He he...yeah, I guess so, in a way. If you really want to make somebody smile, then that means you like them.
Ramlethal: I wanted Mother to think I was unique... But now...
Illyria Castle -- War Room
Ky: What is the Conclave trying to do?! The scars of the Crusades are still fresh in the minds of the people. You need only look to see them... We were fixing that, though. With magic we could improve our condition, and wars over resources were almost unheard of. Following one's dreams no longer had to come at the expense of another...
Sol: Heh. I don't know what they're thinking, if that's what you're getting at. But to me, this world doesn't look all that hot.
Ky: What?
Ky: Good stuff is good...but bad shit's bad. Yeah, things are stable, and you're getting closer to your endgame every day. People have nice lives, but that comes at the cost of their freedom of choice.
Ky: So you advocate for anarchy and chaos?
Sol: No. But right now nobody has to work for anything: You just give it to 'em. Eventually, they're gonna go from appreciating that to expecting it. And deep down, eventually they get scared of losing it. Do you think that's how we should live?
Ky: Not all people have the strength to stand on their own.
Sol: ...
Ky: If only life were simple, and the right path was laid out before each of us... But even then some would leave it, and some would struggle with walking it. Such is human nature... The truth is that no path will ever be "right" for all people. Each of us must find the one we are meant to walk --and sometimes that is where none exists. That is what I learned from you. When I look at you, Sol, I see a man who is afraid.
Sol: ...What?
Ky: It became clear when I watched you caring for Sin. You work very hard to keep everyone at arm's length.
Sol: ... I got Gear blood in my veins, and it ain't friendly. It's always there in the back of my head, whispering that I oughta just destroy all of this. The only way I'm gonna get some closure is tracking down That Man and beating some answers out of him. And if he doesn't have 'em... Then maybe there really isn't a good way to live.
Ky: That's why you close your heart off. I think it's a bit too late to protest, though, considering your relationship with Sin and myself...
Sol: Thanks for reminding me of the hell I'm stuck in.
Swordsman: Your Majesty!
[Sometime later, Ramlethal is standing behind Ky.]
Ramlethal: ...
Leo: Ky! Have you--?! Aaah, yelling at you's not gonna solve anything now anyway.
Ky: Please, go on.
Ramlethal: ... You already have the answer, or at least you've gotten close. Justice isn't awake yet, and she needs a lot of energy to wake up.
Sin: You're talking to us...?
Sol: Damn... Sin's touchy-feely bullshit actually worked...? Well? Where're they going? We can't think of any place that can generate the kind of juice you need. Maybe That Man's lab, but...
Ramlethal: We aren't going to generate anything. We're going to harness an existing source. It's simple, really. Just think. What time is it?
Sol: You little...! "What time is it"?! I'm sick of your-- Wait... St. Elmo's Fire!
Leo: What...?
Paradigm: My goodness! Yes, St. Elmo's Fire would definitely have enough energy to activate Justice!
Ky: Interesting... But how would it be done?
Paradigm: Mmm, it would require an impressive facility just to capture the energy and channel it into Justice...
Sin: You mean like Illyria Castle?
Paradigm: What?
Sin: Well isn't it like a lightning rod or something? I didn't really know what that was all about, but...

Hope B

November 4, 2187 Illyria Castle -- Downtown
Leo: I want you to evacuate ALL citizens and personnel! Empty the castle and the city. Just leave the Opuses here. We don't know how far this might spread. I don't care if it causes a panic, just get moving! ...What? I don't care where you take them, just get them out!
Paradigm: Listen closely. This will be our last chance. Ramlethal has told us that their energy-conversion equipment is in the west section of the castle. That is likely where Justice will appear.
Sin: Cool. So we just smash that tower to bits. Good plan, I like it.
Paradigm: No, Sin, it's not that simple... Yes, we could destroy the tower, but that would destroy the system that protects the country from St. Elmo's Fire. It would only create more problems.
Sin: Aw man...
Ky: Then can we simply destroy the system siphoning power into Justice?
Paradigm: No, that would have the same issues. If we damage the system that dissipates the lightning, we put ourselves at risk.
Sin: Then what the hell ARE we gonna do?
Paradigm: I intended to forgo stopping Justice's physical reactivation.
Ky: WHAT?!
Paradigm: Please, Your Majesty, calm down. Chronus's ultimate goal is to activate Justice, and then bind his soul to that vessel. This sort of binding also requires a great deal of energy, so they will likely try to do them both at once. Chronus's body is already within Justice.
Sol: Makes sense.
Paradigm: Exactly. Therefore I propose we amplify the energy From St. Elmo's strike, and overload the system!
Sin: What does he mean?
Paradigm: He means we're gonna barbeque the Conclave. Heh.
Illyria Castle -- Downtown
Anchor: The clock has struck midnight, making this officially the first of November. We're bringing you breaking news from Mr. Kadooki, live on the scene.
Kadooki: Thank you, Kate. This is Kadooki, live on the scene. We've just learned the Cradle's final destination is here, within the walls of Illyria Castle. As Illyria prepares for St. Elmo's Fire, the weather has gotten worse--as you can see! Nonetheless, the entire city is being evacuated! Unlike the previous operation, this one will be undertaken by a small, elite group. How elite? Well, the commander is none other than High King Ky Kiske himself! We don't have all the information, but it sure seems like our backs are against the wall! How does the King plan to get us out of this one?! You have my word that whatever happens we will report it to you live, so don't change that channel!
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Sol: Look birdbrain, if you're trying to amp up St. Elmo's Fire, you gotta generate that extra um ph somehow, and you and me know I'm the man for that job.
Paradigm: Would that I had the luxury, but then I would have no one capable of removing Chronus from Justice. That is something only you can do.
Sol: Fine. What's your plan, then?
Paradigm: About that...
Sol: ?
Paradigm: I had hoped we might meet again, but not under these circumstances...
Illyria Castle -- ???
Ky: I see. The seal is already broken, then?
Dizzy: Yes. I was hoping our reunion wouldn't be, well, like this...
[The hug each other.]
Ky: The circumstances are of no consequence. What matters to me is that we were able to see one another...perhaps for the last time.
Dizzy: Your hair's gotten so long...
Ky: Yes, well... Lately it just keeps growing, no matter how much I cut it.
Sin: Seriously?! This is the best you can do?! You haven't seen each other in HOW long, again?
Dizzy: Sin...? Is that really you...?
Sin: ...Uh, yeah. Don't recognize me, huh? I mean, I have grown like three feet in the last two years.
Dizzy: You've grown into such a man... Come here, let me take a look at you.
Sin: ...I'd rather not.
Dizzy: What...?
Sin: I'm gonna beat this thing, I'm gonna beat this thing, no matter what! I'm not gonna let this be the last time we see each other, Mom. So why don't you let Ky--oh! Heh... I guess this is that moment El was talking about, huh...
Ky: ?
Sin: Why don't you let Dad take care of you this time? ...Dad.
Ky: Sin...

Maelstorm A

Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Paradigm: Good. Is everyone at their posts? We haven't much time, so I'll explain the details of our operation quickly. First, Dizzy, Elphelt, and myself will go to the control room in the basement, to prepare our amplification procedure. Frederick has already taken his position at the top of the tower. Everyone else, I need you to defend the areas between the entrance and the west tower. If anyone attempts to obstruct us, eliminate them.
Ky: Understood!
Leo: Will do.
Sin: On it!
Sin: Wait, are you fighting too, El?
Paradigm: No. She is our insurance plan, in the event that all does not go according to our calculations. She may provide some very unique insight.
Elphelt: I-I'll do whatever I can!
Paradigm: And last but not least...
Sin: ?
Paradigm: Illyria Castle is not built to withstand an amplified strike from St. Elmo's Fire. There is a chance this operation may cause the building to explode.
Sin: What?!
Paradigm: Godspeed! We haven't much time before the lightning falls! Hurry!
The Tearoom
Chronus: At last the moment has arrived.
Axus: Though our plans have been in motion for some time, these past five days have seemed like the longest.
Chronus: New experiences are what give life depth and meaning--this task has made that very clear to me. But if we have come this far, nothing can stand in our way, regardless of what Paradigm has up his sleeve.
Axus: Are you actually declaring victory? I've never seen that happen before...
Chronus: This operation has fallbacks on top of fallbacks, and contingencies at every level. And if, somehow, those fail, we have one final card to play.
Axus: Quite true. Then I suppose we should assist with the final preparations...to ensure our coming victory.
Chronus: Yes, please do.
Axus: Chronus.
Chronus: Yes?
Axus: If I am to die here, I want to ask your forgiveness... For leaving this responsibility on your shoulders, and finding peace before you.
Chronus: We have all taken an oath, and are prepared. Please, enjoy some tea with Baldias in the beyond on our behalf.
Libraria: Axus...
Axus: Libraria. I haven't always been the best comrade to you either. I apologize for making you bear witness to...everything.
Libraria: No... I too am an Apostle. Perhaps not the best one, but I have prepared myself.
Chronus: Let us meet in the next life.
Libraria: Yes. In the next life.
Axus: The next life!
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Operator 1*(Anders): [via comm] Heat source detected. There's a phase shift occurring...directly above us! Justice is materializing now!
Paradigm: Impossible! This is far sooner than I predicted!
Operator 1: Justice is approaching the west tower.
Paradigm: Rrrgh!
Chronus: [centers him self on a DNA-shaped device] Haaaaaaaargh!
Paradigm: They're already beginning to collect energy...? What's happening-- Of course! They've stored it in a capacitor! Frederick, I apologize... I was terribly mistaken! Chronus plans to bind their souls to Justice BEFORE activating her!
Sol: ...Figures.
Illyria Castle -- Plaza
Ky: Our enemies have moved sooner than we anticipated.
Leo: I guess the only thing left for us to do is trust in the Doctor, then. And try to stay calm...
Ky: Indeed.
Leo: Heh... Never thought I'd be standing next to you on the battlefield again, honestly.
Ky: Very true. Since the Crusades came to an end, our paths have seldom crossed, yet here we are again, shoulder to shoulder against the wind.
Leo: Would you say that's fate? Or just us not knowing how to grow up?
Ky: You raise a good point.
Sin: Hey...are you two friends?
Leo: Friends...? No, he's more like an...inspiration.
Ky: ...What?
Leo: When I was a kid, I was always the best. At everything. Magic or swordsmanship, nobody stood a chance against me. Until I met this guy... I didn't know what was going on. The idea that somebody, anybody could be better than me was... And he wouldn't shut up about being just and right... I was a self-centered little shit, always ready to write off anybody I thought was inferior--which, by the way, was everyone. But this guy...this guy! You know what he did? Definitely not give me the brush-off, like I would have done, no: It was all "Let us hone our skills together!" Little bastard... Yeah, it pissed me off! I'm sure he thought he was just being friendly, but to me...man, it felt like he was just rubbing salt in the wound.
Ky: R-Really...?
Leo: Damn right! So I had to do something to cheer myself up... Which ended up being writing down Ky's name next to the entry for "bambino" in my dictionary.
Sin: (His dictionary...?)
Ky: Only now, a decade later, do I learn the origins of that nickname...?
Leo: Heh. I can't exactly call you that any more, though. I tried, I tried real hard... I trained all the time, I worked on bettering myself... And before I realized it, I was a pretty decent guy. A decent guy who can compliment himself. That's okay, right?
Ky: Leo...
Leo: Still, if I had to grade myself, I'd probably say C, C-.
Sin: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Leo: Ha ha ha ha ha--hm?
Ky: What's wrong?
Leo: You said the Conclave were bonding with Justice before activating it, right?
Ky: Yes.
Leo: Then does that mean the Conclave's will...becomes Justice's?
Ky: Y-Yes, I suppose-- Oh no!
Sin: What? What is it?! Justice is able to control all other Gears through her willpower alone... Or more accurately, any beings that have been engineered from Gear cells.
Leo: A-And...just how many Opus are there in the Capitol? In Illyria?
Ky: Nearly 1,200... Eighty percent of the world has Opus units deployed to it... Illyria was the first.
[The Opus close in on them.]

Maelstrom B

Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Paradigm: The Opus were the Sanctus Populi's idea... Of course...of course! It would be impossible for even Justice to single-handedly subjugate the entire world. Why didn't I realize this sooner?! Here it comes! Man your stations!
Illyria Castle -- Plaza
Leo: Haaaaaaaah!
Ky: There!
Sin: What the hell?! They just keep coming!
Ky: We have to split up! We need to block all avenues the Opus might take.
Leo: All right. Who goes where?
Ky: Leo, hold you ground here. Sin, to the plaza! I will stop anything that attempts to come through the East Gate.
Sin: Will do!
Paradigm: [via comm] You must hold on! We still have some time before St. Elmo's Fire is scheduled to fall.
Leo: Yeah, we get it! Now hurry up and do your job!
Paradigm: R-Right!
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Elphelt: ...Mr. Paradigm.
Paradigm: What is it?
Elphelt: I'm going to go too.
Paradigm: B-But you-- I know, but if I don't do something, this whole plan is going to fall apart!
Paradigm: No! Wait!
Illyria Castle -- Plaza
Elphelt: I'm here to back you up.
Leo: What? You can fight?
Elphelt: Well, I am a Valentine...
Leo: ...All right, good enough for me. Let's go!
Elphelt: Yes! [attacking] Haiyah!
Leo: What...?
Elphelt: Take that--! ...Huh? No...no! [programming activates]
Leo: ...Is something wrong?
Elphelt: NO! Please, don't! I-I don't want to--!
A Dream
???*(Ariels): Just as planned.
Bedman: Yes. More than a few twists and turns on the way there, but Justice is awakening, the Opus will be activating soon... I'd say things are looking good.
???: Very soon now, St. Elmo's Fire will ignite...
Illyria Castle -- Center Plaza
Leo: [via comm] Gah--!
Ky: Leo? What's wrong?! We've lost contact with Leo. I'm going to go check on him!
Paradigm: [via comm] Leo has Elphelt right now. Focus on your own mission!
Ky: I've taken care of all the hostiles in this area.
Paradigm: Heh. I should have known. Very well then, go see what he's up to.
Ky: Thank you! [ends call] Whew... [is shot in the chest] ...Huh? Guh...! [falls down after three other shots]
Axus: I see not even the High King of Illyria is prepared to be shot in the back.
Ky: Y-You--!
Axus: It pains me to kill you... But a new world is about to begin, and you would be a great threat to that new world. This is nothing personal, we simply need you out of the way. For the greater good. [one last shot]
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Dizzy: Ah!
Paradigm: What is it?
Dizzy: I-I don't know, but I...I have a very bad feeling...
Paradigm: Is it time?! Frederick... Get ready. It's coming.

Resolution A

Illyria Castle -- Center Plaza
Axus: Credit where credit's due, though. Your nation has fallen for your talk of justice and fairness hook, line, and sinker. [starts to leave]
Ky: That's not true... [stands up and ties his hair]
Axus: N-No! This is impossible! I shot you! You died--!
Ky: They know... that my idealistic dreams are only that--they can never come true. What my people expect from me is not a perfect and just ruler... It is something more. Now matter what monsters and demons stand in our way...I have sworn never to give in. THAT is what my people believe. [reveals a crimson eye]
Axus: Crimson...? No..no! Impossible! How could you be--?!
Ky: My promise to my people is that I will never bow to evil...no matter what it may cost me!
Ky: HAAAAAAAAAAAA! [uses Rising Force]
Axus: G-Gaaaah--!
Ky: ... Hold on, Leo.
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Paradigm: Frederick, the lightning is about to strike! Pull Chronus apart as soon as I give the signal!
Sol: [pushed an Opus] Just hurry up, damnit!
Paradigm: Three...two...one...now! [St. Elmo strikes.]
Justice: GUUUUOOOOOOOH!
The Tearoom
Chronus: Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Finally! Victory is ours! Do you see this, Universal Will?! And you, Gear Maker! All that you've demanded will be done, by our hands! Whatever you may think, ultimate power is now ours! HA HA HA HA HA! What?!
Illyria Castle West Tower -- Control Room
Paradigm: Now!
Dizzy: Right! HaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
The Tearoom
Chronus: N-No! Gaaaaah! What is this...?! No! It's too much! Too much! D-Damn you...Paradigm...! Guuuh... ...Is this it? The end...?
Libraria: We've been defeated. It's over. I hate to think that we were wrong, but...in the end, we must reap what we sow. This is retribution.
Chronus: Ha. Retribution...? We have no choice. Only the Gear Maker can prevail now.
Libraria: We should have talked more...
Chronus: You must escape. Find the Gear Maker, and preserve the future of humanity.
Libraria: No! That's your duty!
Chronus: Wait, Libraria, what are you trying to-- No!
Illyria Castle West Tower
Paradigm: Frederick. NOW!
Sol: Finally! [jumps off the tower and strikes Justice]
Justice: Grrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! [falls over]
Paradigm: We did it! It worked! Aaah! I-It's collapsing... Brace for impact!
Ky: Gah!
Sin: Whoa! I'm falling--!
[Justice destroys the tower in two and falls to the side.]
Kadooki: J-Justice has stopped... Does this mean she's been defeated...? Aaaaaa! Th-The castle! It's falling apart! Ineed to get out of here now.

Resolution B

Central Organ Tower
Sin: Owwww...
Ky: Sin, are you all right?
Sin: Y-Yeah... Where's Mom? ["Coming Home" starts playing.]
Ky: She's lost consciousness, but she is fine. Please, look to the others.
Sin: Right! On it! Hey! Guys! If you're okay, say something! Old man! El! Paradigm and Leo! You there? C'mon, somebody, say something! OLD MAN!
Sol: SHUT UP!
Sin: Hey!
Ky: Sol!
Paradigm: Thank goodness. You made it, I see.
Ky: And you as well, Doctor. Is everything well?
Paradigm: Where are the others...?
Sin: We're just looking for El and Leo... Maybe we should split up...? Hey! El! You okay...?
Leo: Gah! Wait! ["Coming Home" stops.] That's not the Elphelt you know!
Sin: What...? What the--?!
Ky: What are you doing?
Sin: ...El?
Elphelt: ... With Justice's awakening, my mission is complete.
Sol: Heh. Figured.
Sin: Wh-What're you...? C'mon El, what's going on?!
Sol: She can't hear you. Just drop it.
Sin: What the hell's that supposed to mean?! Why won't anybody tell me what's happening?!
Elphelt: It's not that difficult. I've completed my objective.
Sin: Stop screwing around! It's not funny anymore!
Elphelt: It's not a joke. My original directive was to monitor Sol Badguy. I stayed close to you to stay close to Sol. We had to make sure he wouldn't interfere with our plans.
Sol: Oh yeah?
Elphelt: Yes. We couldn't have you destroying Justice. We also wanted to ensure YOU did not wake up. Ever.
Sol: ...Heh. Of course.
Sin: No...this is impossible!
Elphelt: You have no reason to believe me now.
Sin: Then was...was everything you said a lie?
Elphelt: Not precisely. My true mission was concealed from myself until now, to make sure I didn't activate too early.
Sol: Hrm...
Sin: So are you saying we don't mean anything to you now? Is that it?!
Sol: ...
Elphelt: Everything I've experienced has been recorded...recorded. A very important piece...of the puzzle...
Sin: El...?
Elphelt: But it's only a record... Only...record...record...
Sin: El?!
Elphelt: How...how can this...be good?! Gnnn! Ahh!
Sin: Yes! You can do it! You can resist it! Sol (Old man), don't!
Sol: [gets close to her] GET BACK HERE!
Sin: Huh?
Sol: All the Valentines had emotions, even I'm not gonna try and say they didn't. So why don't you PROVE IT TO ME?!
Elphelt: I-I'm... I'M--! GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! Pointless. I cannot disobey a direct order. Elphelt Valentine. Eliminate all redundancies. Without exception. [transforms]
Sol: ...Lemme ask you one more thing. Is there ANY Elphelt left in there?
Elphelt: In...? I am and always have been myself. All of my memories are intact, so the apparent answer would be "yes."
Sol: Good. Now, bring her back.
Elphelt: My behavior now is in accordance with my will, and I am Elphelt. Therefore your demand is pointless: She is already here.
Sol: No, I don't mean this thing. Maybe you've got her memories, but you're definitely something different.
Elphelt: Are you suggesting newer memories or experiences are somehow invalid? By that logic, no person would remain the same individual from moment to moment. At the very least I can assure you that biologically speaking, I am the only Elphelt.
Sol: I already know that, you idiot. If we're gonna go by YOUR logic that we can't draw lines anywhere, then there's no difference between Earth and space.
Elphelt: Without a clear boundary, I see no problem with that worldview.
Sol: But there IS a line, it's just hard one to draw. There's a line in you too, and on one side of it is the person we know as Elphelt.
Elphelt: ... Your words poison my mind. Mother's orders prevent me from destroying you, but I must ask you to be quiet for a while. ["Marionette" starts playing.]
Sol: Right.
Elphelt: Rain of Judgment! [attacks Sol, but he slashes through]
A Dream
???*(Ariels): Well, this is probably as good a time as any. Although I have to admit, a part of me wanted to see Sol's awakening. But I suppose it's still a bit too soon. We may still be able to use him, though...
Bedman: Definitely... Well, I'll get started on the next phase, then. Heh heh heh...
Central Organ Tower
["Lily" starts playing. Justice disappears, and Elphelt kneels]
Sol: No!
Sin: Elphelt!
Sol: Damnit!
Elphelt: [floats, and Sol punches the barrier separating them] There's no point in trying. This is Absolute Defense: Felion. You can't break through it.
Sol: Shut UP!
Elphelt: Stop it! You should know better than anybody else, this is pointless!
Sol: Me? What the hell do I know. All I'm trying to hit is one of those memories you seem to have forgotten.
Elphelt: A memory...?
Sol: Heh. You really know how to get on my nerves, don't you? Nobody tells me something's impossible. When I tried to go into the Backyard after Justice, you stopped me. Now, I figure that was part of your plan.
Elphelt: ...
Sol: But the reason you gave me...something about how people shouldn't be alone. If that's not a lie... PROVE IT TO ME!
Elphelt: ... Thank you. [de-transforms] I'd love nothing more than to do that...
???*(Ariels): [in dream] What? Her emotions...!
Sin: El...? A-Are you back...?
Elphelt: I'm sorry, but... I can't fight Mother's will.
Sin: N-No, don't tell me you--
Elphelt: I'm sorry. I really, really did love making friends with you. With all of you! And I'm going to prove I wasn't lying.
Sin: H-Hey, you're not gonna self-destruct, are you?!
Elphelt: This is the only freedom I have left...
Sol: You goddamn idiot!
???: [in dream] No! Don't! Elphelt, you can't--!
Elphelt: If this was how it was going to end...I wish I'd never been given emotions... If this is all they lead to... ...Why did I have to have feelings anyway?!
Elphelt: ...Huh? Ram?
Ramlethal: Emotions are very important. I understand that now.
Elphelt: What...?
Ramlethal: Mother is mistaken. You and I are not tools. You are unique to me. And to Sin. So I'm going to save you. I promise. I'm coming! Hold on!
Elphelt: Oh-Okay! I will! I will! I'll wait! As long as it takes! [disappears]
Sol: ...
Ky: Sol?
Sol: What? Bunch of touchy-feely bullshit...
Sin: Wh-What...?
Sol: What the hell are you standing there for? We gotta go get her back. I'm not losing anybody else...
Central Organ Tower (post-credits)
Chronus: Then in the end...only I survived...?
Faust: Where will you go now, sir?
Chronus: You...?
Faust: I have a lot of questions.
Chronus: Ha. What could you possibly want to know? The battle is over.
Faust: Lying is bad for your body, you know.
Chronus: ? If you're here for atonement or revenge, do whatever you wish. Alone as I am, I can hardly fight back...
Faust: Ah, do you have a death wish? I would humbly suggest you deal with that on your own time, but before you do, I really must ask some questions.
Chronus: ...
Faust: What do you plan to do with the colony? With the Japanese?
Chronus: The Japanese? What the hell are you talking about?
Faust: Feigning ignorance? After what you've just been through, I'd have expected a little more forthrightness.
Chronus: No, I swear, I don't know. All I know about the colony is that they give appropriate medical treatment to the Japanese.
Faust: You...you really don't know? Those orders came from the highest levels... Which would mean there is someone who outranks even you. Who could that be?
Chronus: Someone...with more power than us...?
A Dream
Bedman: Ha ha ha... Well, that was definitely exciting. I'm glad to see it all ended well, though.
???*(Ariels): Just as we planned it. And with only a small number of deviations.
Bedman: Are we finally ready to begin creating our absolute world?
???: Yes. And now, I must return to my own affairs.
Bedman: Buh-bye.
???
Anchor: For the third time, humanity faced an invasion from a wholly inhuman enemy. Nonetheless, we took a stand, and we prevailed! In the face of the trials God has placed before us, we stood united, and overcame them! Why? Belief. The hope burning in millions of hearts bound us together! Piety became our fulcrum in this time of peril. We did not cast aside hope, and we did not give in! For this, we must thank our glorious leader... Now I welcome our one and only Sanctus Maximus Populi... Ariels!


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