Xenosaga : Part 10
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After recapping several hours of nothing but sailing and reading charts, am I ever ready to tackle some real character and plot development. Unfortunately, the next game on my list was Xenosaga. Oh, well. Maybe next time.
In the last recap, the dimwit brigade bumbled its way through Cathedral Ship, Jerkinov lost his mind and then his life, KOS-MOS sucked a galaxy's worth of Gnosis into her tummy vagina, and I contemplated suicide at least twenty times. But being a big brave girl and perservering through to the end paid off, as Jailbait has now joined the party and has welcomed the group aboard his fanatastic space dildo, the Durandick. Jailbait makes everything better.
Speaking of Jailbait, we pick up with him, in an obvious dream sequence, running through some flaming, smoking, ruined buildings. The sky above the destruction is a rainbow haze, exactly like the sky in Jerkinov's pre-death delusional flashbacks. As Jailbait runs he's breathing very hard and grunting--let's just say that without the visual, the audio sounds extremely dirty. Finally, Jailbait stops and screams, "Gaignuuuun!" This, following all that moaning? Let the fanfiction derby begin.
All of a sudden, though there are no clouds in the shroom-tripping sky, it begins to rain. Game designers really need to knock it off with the rain for emotional effect thing. All these videogame characters are going to start thinking they're Rain Gods, if rain keeps pouring from the sky every time they feel close to tears. Anyway, Jailbait stands, shoulders slumped, in the rain as he stares at a dead cat a few feet away. He murmurs "Gaignun" again as we get a close-up on the cat and its collar, which has "Gaignun" printed on it in neat block letters. Jailbait stoops and embraces the cat's body. As if the Gaignun/Jailbait ship wasn't disturbing enough before.
Cut to a different setting--an outdoor area with red girder platforms arranged in a hexagon--where we see Jailbait holding a young boy like himself in his arms. In fact, the other boy looks exactly like Jailbait, except that his hair is black, not red, and he doesn't have a gay earring. Obviously, this other boy is Gaignun--hey, I know a parallel when I'm hit over the head with it. "Don't say anything..." Jailbait cries. "It's all over...everything..." When a bright white light bursts out from behind Jailbait and his nearly identical butt buddy, Jailbait is all, "Al...bedo..." in the usual "This is significant!" fashion. The light consumes the entire screen, and then Jailbait falls into a sea of red and screams as his body is attacked by streaks of ultraviolet light. This is the cue for him to wake up from his nightmare and for me to suppress any thoughts about what kind of clothing he sleeps in.
Well, he's ditched his trenchcoat for his little nap, but otherwise he is fully dressed.
Dammit Good. As he was in his dream, he is still groaning and panting. He glances at his right palm, which is imprinted in red with the number 666 (!!!!!!). He angrily says "Damn it," as if he's pissed off about something. I guess he's less than happy with his Mark of the Beast rub-on tattoo, then?
|An Iron Maiden reference! Cool!
We leave Jailbait and segue to his ship penetrating space. The text at the bottom of the screen lets us know a day has passed. I'm not sure why we need to know this--with the pacing problems in this game, I can't say I have any clear idea of how much time has passed since the beginning of the story. So knowing that one day has gone by since Shion climbed aboard the Durandick? Not really helpful. At all.
Jailbait is in the middle of showing the other party members around a very special room inside the ship. Along the walls of this massive chamber stand thirteen vaguely penis-shaped monoliths. MOMO takes one look around the room and announces that "the environmental controls seem extremely strict." Well, gotta keep those penises nice and comfy, duh. And of course, Shion is the one to blurt out in wonder, "They're so big..." Her inner ho comes clawing to the surface. Again.
Shion goes on, "Six to each side, with one directly across..." Ziggy finishes for her, "Thirteen in all." I would mock Ziggy here for shouting out the answer to a simple addition problem, but I figure he's probably just telling Shion the correct sum before she runs out of fingers and confuses herself. Ziggy also points out that each one of them has a name written on it. Shion turns around and smiles at him. "You've got great eyesight!" she says. Then she whips back around and starts reading the names off of the penises. Was that a backhanded compliment? "Wow, good eye, spotting those names up there! Now, I, the only person here wearing glasses, will read those names myself"? Either Shion's a bitch, or the writers just did not think about that exchange at all.
Shion begins listing: "Peter...Andrew...Boanerges...Thomas...John..." When she and her eyesight fail to see the rest, KOS-MOS reads them for us: "Philip, Matthew, Bartholomew, James, Thaddaeus, Simon, Judas." Now, don't smugly congratulate yourself if you read these names and said, "Aha! Those are the twelve apostles from the Bible!" because we've all figured it out. I like, though, how they had to throw Boanerges in there, so 1) they could throw off the non-Bible scholar contingent playing this game and make them go "Oooh, I don't get it, so it must be deep," and 2) they could avoid having two penis apostles named James. Each phallus must be unique! This is very important.
That really was quite enough Bible-whacking on my skull for one scene, but we have one more penis on the wall to discuss. The last one, KOS-MOS says, is labeled "Marienkind." Shion's all, "I think I've heard that somewhere..." which gives the writers the excuse they need to belabor the point. Oh boy. Busty, standing next to Jailbait, explains that "Marienkind" means "the child of Mary." Oh my GOD, Mary's child was JESUS! My mind has been blown all the way to Tonga, let me tell you.
|'So...your sister gave birth to a penis?'
Jailbait says that this room in the Durandick is where they keep their high-level security shit. "Stuff like this..." he says, pressing a button on a nearby console. And with that, the twelve penis apostles lift away from the wall and separate to reveal what they've been containing: twelve Golden Penis Plates. Shion shrieks out what they are, like there is a single person in the room who didn't know already. Jailbait clarifies that they are actually Faux!GPPs, which Shion and everyone else should also already know. Jailbait adds that all the GPPs in the room have been "sealed," whatever that means. Because big wall-mounted containers engraved with Biblical names? That is airtight security.
Shion still sounds like she's having a panic attack. "Why are the [Golden Penis Plates] here...?" she asks breathlessly. "Well, our corporation does dabble a little in everything," Jailbait answers--oh, wait, that answers nothing. But do go on, you cute little scamp. "Besides, these days," he says, "you can't get by without having something to deal with the Gnosis. And we definitely can't wait around for the Federation to get off its lazy butt." I can't say I understand how the Golden Penis Plates help them deal with the Gnosis--I would think, if anything, they would just attract them--but whatever. And a second whatever to what he said about the Federation. Get off its butt to do what? I can only hope that these things will be among the ten percent of the total introduced plot threads that the writers actually bother to explain by the end of the series.
MOMO, perhaps sensing a change in subject is necessary, before Jailbait gets into a full-blown rant about those clowns running the government, asks what's in the room across from where they are. "Nothing pleasant, I'll tell you that much," Jailbait replies. He barely has a chance to breathe before Shion's asking him whether or not he intends to show them the room. Nosy much, girl? Jeez Louise. Jailbait hesitates, and Shion, rather than pushing to see the room, reverts back to the discussion of Jailbait's business enterprises. "Even if we were to consider the diversity of your businesses," she says, "you're still a foundation, right? I mean, the weaponry on this ship far outclass those on any warship..." Ah, the heart of the matter: Shion wants to know more about the bullets this baby is packing. I am so surprised. Then, channeling Corey, she asks in her accusatory voice, "Who are you people, anyway...?" Doesn't she know who they are? She was only soaking her panties over those awesome Kukai Foundation people earlier, and was even scolding Corey for daring to speak badly of them. So really, she was just as ignorant about them until now as Corey was? Just add that to the list of things for which she owes Corey an apology.
Jailbait tells Shion that, until recently, the Kukai Foundation was "more or less a government agency." Then, to get her to shut up, he consents to showing the group the next room. The music tinkles in suspense as Jailbait ushers them through the door. The group enters a dimly lit room, on a catwalk surrounded by several large glass tubes. The cylinders to the sides of the catwalk all appear to have body parts or the like floating in them, but the one at the end contains a nearly intact humanoid body. Shion, all calm and collected, examines the thing at eye level. She asks, "What is this?" before turning her head up slightly to look at the whole thing. We get a shot of the thing's face--it appears to be female--before Shion gasps in fright and turns away. I don't see how inclining her head an inch somehow made the thing freakier than it already was. God, Shion, it's a scaly human body floating in disinfectant. The face is not the freaky part.
Jailbait's all, "Told you it was icky, stupid," while KOS-MOS exposits that all the bodies and body fragments in this room are "humans whose bodies turned into Gnosis." As KOS-MOS is saying this, the camera continues to focus on Shion's terrified blowjob face with the glassy, tennis ball-sized eyes. I find the whole thing a little insulting--we all know she's not actually going to turn into a Gnosis, but I still have to put up with her angsting about it. It's like getting on The Price Is Right and never getting out of Contestant's Row, and having to listen to the old lady in the "Tulsa Bridge Club loves Bob" T-shirt who won thirty thousand dollars on Plinko bitching about not getting the showcase with the new Buick.
Ziggy says he's never seen a human turned to a Gnosis before, only heard of them. Jailbait explains that, while most of the people touched by a Gnosis just go all chalky and die immediately, some people end up like this fine-lookin' woman here. "We've named this one Betty, for now," Jailbait says of her. "It's hard to look straight at them. But I don't want to refer to them by some code name or number. It's just not right to treat the dead like mere objects." Because "Betty" is so personal. You may as well call her "Jane Doe."
|And what a lady.
When MOMO, Shion's new apprentice in the fine art of asking stupid questions, asks if Betty here is a lady, Jailbait says, "She was a little girl...the last time we saw her." No explanation of that is forthcoming, so let's just assume he said it to freak out MOMO and move on. We get a long shot of Shion looking depressed again as Corey asks what Jailbait knows about these human-to-Gnosis transformations. Jailbait basically answers "I don't know shit" in about five different ways. But he does say that Gnosis are composed of sodium chloride--"plain old salt," he adds. Thanks for clearing that up, hon. When they're in translucent ghost form, he continues, they're a mix of water and sodium hydroxide. "How can ordinary compouds like that form creatures like them?" he wonders, sounding in the process like he's reading off a teleprompter. "No one really knows why those who survive Gnosis encounters always turn into one of them." He blathers on about theories on the origins of Gnosis, speculating that they could be a new virus or beings from another dimension. Shion's only half-listening--she's too busy reliving getting squeezed to near-death by the Penis Head Gnosis to bother giving Jailbait her full attention. Suddenly, she asks, "Always...? No exceptions?" which means she's about twenty seconds behind the conversation. Go Shion. Jailbait tells her he doesn't know of any exceptions. More angsty staring into space from Shion, with a bonus flashback to the Golden Penis Plate from the Hoglinde. Where did that come from?
Corey is still stuck on this "another dimension" business. "Wouldn't that mean that their true forms might exist somewhere else...?" he asks Jailbait, who has already said, and repeats to Corey again here, that he doesn't really know much about their origins himself. Seriously, I understand that the writers are trying to get across how no one knows anything about the Gnosis and how they're all Mysterious and Shit, but I think I managed to grasp that particular wrinkle in the Xenosaga universe, oh, about fifteen freaking hours ago. "All that's certain," Jailbait throws in, "is that they're hostile to humans." You think so, huh, champ? I hadn't noticed any hostility.
One character in this game who doesn't constantly engage in stating the painfully obvious. Is that really so much to ask?
While Jailbait is indulging himself in other profoundly shocking statements like "The sky is blue" and "Tidus isn't very intelligent," Shion is still staring into space, and swaying slightly, like she's punch-drunk. Corey finally notices that she's been goggling at a wall for ten minutes, and asks if there's something wrong with her. "No, don't worry..." she breathes. "It's nothing..." Of course, her delivery positively screams, "WORRY. IT IS SOMETHING." I expect someone in the room to immediately begin needling her about her problems, since nobody in this group can physically function if Shion so much as coughs, but they all leave her alone. Perhaps they're getting as annoyed by her melodrama as I've been since the beginning of the damn game.
Her voice still in "Someone, please give me an excuse to pour out my feelings" mode, Shion asks Jailbait when "all this" started. Whoa, tone it down there with the specifics, Shion. Jailbait answers, "Unofficially, phenomena like this have been occuring periodically for the past few centuries. But...after a certain incident, the Gnosis leapt into the forefront of history..." Shion looks on with her "Oh, that" face as MOMO says, "A certain incident?" Jailbait clarifies that he meant the Miltian Conflict without resorting to screaming, "DURRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!! DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!" in her face. Jesus Christ engraved on a Penis Plate, MOMO.