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  -Part 1 :: [07.21.03]
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  -Part 5 :: [07.14.04]
  -Part 6 :: [08.05.04]
  -Part 7 :: [10.12.04]
  -Part 8 :: [01.23.05]
  -Part 9 :: [05.24.05]
  -Part 10 :: [01.20.06]
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  -Part 12 :: [06.30.11]
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"Jowy thanks Barry for buying it anyway, and promises to 'pay [him] back sometime' for it. That also becomes important later, although it doesn't lead to any steamy yaoi scenes. I'm getting screwed, here."
     -Sam, Suikoden II Part 2

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Xenosaga : Part 9
By Sam
Posted 05.24.05
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6
Before I begin the recap, I just want to say thanks to everyone who submitted a poem for the Durandal Poetry Contest. In the coming hours of recapping, your wonderful metered witticisms will remind me that there's good in the world and will keep me from committing seppuku with the dullest butter knife I can find.

Onto the recap. Game? Check. Keyboard? Check. Stiff drink? Check and double check.

Last time, you'll recall, we all got to meet Little Master Jailbait and the Hooker Twins. Sadly (for me), they're long gone and we pick back up with Shion and the others, ready to leave Space!Mos Eisley. As soon as the Elsa leaves port, we cut to a dark cabin inside the ship, where Commander Jerkinov is sleeping fitfully. He moans like Shion a whiny baby because his nightmares are scaaaaaaaary. Said nightmares seem to feature him stumbling around in a drunken daze, but the brief cuts are all whitewashed for "artistic" effect so I really have no idea what's going on. Jerkinov wakes up in a cold sweat, then goes to get a hot drink from the machine in the galley.

But this is Xenosaga, so even something as mundane and simple as getting a cup of coffee has to be a big dramatic production. As Jerkinov pushes the button on the machine, his breath becomes foggy and his hands start shaking, the precursor to a fit that leaves him in a heap on the floor. I think he'd better make that drink decaf. Shakily, Jerkinov examines his right hand, only to see it disappear before his eyes, la Marty McFly at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. Hurry, Jerkinov, make sure your parents share their first kiss!

Jerkinov groans some more at his horrible fate and then, one way or another, loses this bullet-shaped thing in his pocket. I can't tell if he drops it or chucks it, but it rolls across the floor out of his reach. More moaning. I could really do without that, by the way. Now the Commander's vision gets wonky and he has another washed-out vision, this time of one of the Golden Penis Plates. Is there anyone in this game who isn't obsessed with those things?

Elsewhere, Shion is sleeping sitting up on a couch, her vibrating multipurpose digital gadget still in her hand. That Shion, such a workaholic. Or she was watching the dancing hamsters. As she's sleeping, a female voice calls patiently to her to wake up. After about four tries, I expect the voice to be all, "Wake UP, bitch!!!" But no. Instead, the voice whisks her off to the now-familiar grayscale dreamland. Red, the owner of the voice, tells Shion, "It may already be too late..." Shion, typically, has no clue what's going on, but for once I can't blame her, because I'm fucking confused too. "Ultimately, the choice is up to him..." Red whispers. "But you... You may be able to understand him in his final moments." That's expecting a lot of Shion, considering how rarely she understands anyone or anything. But asking this of someone else would mean it wouldn't be All About Shion. And we can't have that.

Not that. I hope.

With that, the dream ends and Shion wakes up. She stands up just in time to almost fall over as the whole ship takes an almighty lurch. Yes, this means I get to look at her hunched over with her classic knees-together slut stance and her boobs in full view. I'm so happy. Shion runs to the bridge as fast as her little booty can shake, to find everyone waiting on her for the plot to move forward. KOS-MOS explains to Shion that the Elsa is being sucked out of hyperspace by something. I will resist the easy joke here, as Shion does have an alibi. Suddenly MOMO's Spidey Sense starts tingling, and so do her hands--they're glowing bright purple. Then Shion's dirty, sinful hands follow suit, and then the entire ship. And just like that, the Elsa is out of hyperspace, and in the middle of seventy fucktillion Gnosis. Crap. Even Matthews looks like he's going to pee himself.

Shion, for once, pulls her head out of her ass long enough to do something about their situation. "KOS-MOS! Ultra Wide-Range Hilbert Effect!" she cries, and KOS-MOS immediately complies, flipping her weird visor over her face. The blast of her Gnosis-solidifying wave is friggin' huge, according to MOMO: "That's amazing... Even an amplified system should only achieve a range of a hundred kilometers." Yeah, it's that big. I fully expect Shion to snit something about KOS-MOS being property of Vector and Vector being awesome and making everything better, but she doesn't. Alas, if only the non-wankiness could last.

Tony shrills at Captain Matthews that he's lost control of the Elsa. He sounds scared but keeps himself from abandoning his post to cower in CHAOS!!!'s impressive lap. CHAOS!!! announces that the Elsa is being pulled in. To what, I don't know. Well, I do know. I just want to pretend otherwise. It makes it hurt a little less. The Elsa is slowly sucked into the gravitational field of a rather large, bulbous, blue-and-white thing--like a planet, but a planet that's really let itself go at the midsection.

'In my pants.'

Following a blackout, Shion wakes up to find herself in a dark, creepy place. Ooh, maybe she died and this is Hell. Unfortunately, the other four playable characters are nearby, and I know MOMO is too fucking pure-hearted to be in Hell. No one, even Omniscient Quizmaster CHAOS!!!, seems to know where they are, but MOMO, freshly awoken from her own Mary Sue fainting spell, senses that the gang is "inside a Gnosis." There's a fanfic I never, ever want to read.

Shion balks in a disturbingly Tidus-esque way at the idea of this huge place being a Gnosis's inner plumbing, but KOS-MOS has the relevant facts at the ready: "This Gnosis is nearly 16,000 kilometers in diameter. To date, the only Gnosis of this size on record is the one named Cathedral Ship." Gee, I bet this is a totally different Gnosis. Not the same one or anything. "Does that mean...we were eaten?" Shion asks. I know it's a role reversal for you, honey, but try and roll with it. MOMO senses that the Gnosis outside this place aren't really doing anything but floating around in a daze, so that's good news. Well, it would be, but who fucking cares when you've already been eaten by this one? Also, how long does the Hilbert Effect last? Because it would really suck if it just wore off and they ran out of air. Of course, that's assuming that there's breathable air in here in the first place. And really, that doesn't make sense, but that's just me trying to find reasons why Shion shouldn't be alive right now. Sorry. (Shion Cheats Death Count: 9)

*kills self*

The question of the Elsa and everyone else's whereabouts comes up, at which point KOS-MOS receives a signal from the Elsa, some ten kilometers from the party's current position. No explanation for the party's separation from the Elsa is ever given, other than "These people are playable and these ones aren't." Let's not worry about it. Even more "intriguing" than the presence of the Elsa, though, is something else in its vicinity: a Golden Penis Plate--the same one, according to KOS-MOS, that was on the Hoglinde.

"Stay here or find the Elsa," Shion repeats for the under-50-IQ set playing the game. She adds, "I'm worried about [Corey] and the others..." So not buying that one. Nevertheless, the group agrees that going to find the Elsa (and the shiny penis) is better than sitting here doing nothing. Though I have to argue that watching the group sit around on the squishy ground and pick their asses would be an improvement over what is to follow.

Speaking of things I just love, it's time for another cut-scene with Commander Jerkinov. Turns out he was also separated from the Elsa, and he's stumbling around stupidly elsewhere, feeling his way along the pulsating walls. He's engulfed in a white light, which turns out to be coming from a Golden Penis Plate. And this one is apparently the original, because it has the pretty blue jewel piercing in the middle instead of the red stamp tattoo. I don't really know what to make of that, because there's no way the original GPP was the one on Ariadne. Oops, there I go, caring about the plot of this game and its relative consistency. Anyway. As the GPP goes all wacky before Jerkinov's wide eyes, he sobs, "Ariadne vanished when the [GPP] went out of control..." We get to watch as that exact event plays out, only for Jerkinov to find himself, post-flashback, standing in the middle of a throng of what I presume are citizens of Ariadne. As Jerkinov looks around his vision blurs a bit, and that, combined with the obvious fakeness of the scenery, drop a slight hint that he's crazy and hallucinating. Jerkinov spots some girl in the crowd and goes striding after her, but she and all the other mirage people disappear and are replaced by a door unattached to any wall. Christ, the last thing I need right now is a reference to fucking Kingdom Hearts. Don't do this to me, game designers. Hell, I'm already inside a space whale.

Jerkinov grabs the knob and yanks the door open, treating himself to a view of much gunfire and carnage. Soon the whitewash flashes leave him standing in the midst of this fiery warzone, looking about helplessly and desperately. He isn't even saying anything, and I still want him to shut the hell up.

Cut to the Durandick. Oh, thank you, God. Somewhere inside the red space phallus, a dark room with several penis-shaped monoliths gets an ominous quick cut. On the bridge, a Realian alerts Jailbait to a problem in Sector D, the "quarantine hangar." They have penises under quarantine? Cool. Jailbait tingles in anticipation. "Sector D? Is it the [Golden Penis Plate]?" There's a lot of technobabble, the gist of which is that Jailbait found the GPP he was previously looking for, and now he's going to track it down and make it feel very, very small.

And now we're back to controlling Shion and the others. Seems like a weird place to transition back to the gameplay, but I think I've been playing this game so much that I start expecting cut-scenes when none are really necessary. So here begins the hellish twenty-year four-hour odyssey that is Cathedral Ship. I'll still be a gibbering idiot by the end, but I am employing booze and the Katamari Damacy OST to help me retain my sanity. And if anything from that game is keeping me on the sane side of the fence, that should tell you something about how horrible this experience is.

Other music recommendations for surviving Cathedral Ship:
Anything by Ronnie James Dio
Wing sings the Carpenters
Scandinavian death metal
Toby Keith's greatest hits


Shion makes use of the save point two yards away, I arrange the party to my Gnosis-obliterating, level-building liking (KOS-MOS, CHAOS!!! and--sigh--Shion), and we're on our way. The first few random battles are against tiny, one-headed dog Gnosis pretentiously named Cerberus. They're not too bad, and I'm helped in my quest to smash them all to bits by a few of those explodable fire or lightning canisters. What in the fuck they're doing here, I don't even want to guess. But if I'm going to question the canisters, I also have to question the treasure chests, and I like those.

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