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Xenosaga : Part 12
By Sam
Posted 06.30.11
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3 : 4 : 5 : 6 : 7 : 8 : 9
In part 11, Shion, Jailbait, and their friends with less emotional baggage experienced the second of four mega-dungeons, Encephalon. It took for-goddamn-ever. But in an effort to up the ante on how much of this game I can stomach in one sitting, and more importantly, to try to finish recapping this game before I'm in the ground, I played through the next 11 hours for this recap. It is possible this will be the longest recap I will ever write, and that by the time I'm done I will need to be institutionalized. But that's probably what I get for waiting three and a half years to do this.

When we last left Shion, she was experiencing some unfamiliar feelings--namely, pity for Corey and regret for mistreating him. She'll get over it, don't worry. To make herself feel better, Shion leaves her bedroom--ignoring the line of men with cash in their hands queuing at the door--and heads over to the shuttle to the Kukai Foundation. On the way, she receives an email from Vector First R&D, providing her with a new weapon for KOS-MOS, F-RSHOT. This email also unlocks her new tech, X-CLITORIS, which we didn't get to use at all in the last dungeon since KOS-MOS was too busy being a confusing Jesus stand-in. The email laboriously explains how to download the digital F-RSHOT attachment and physically install it on KOS-MOS, which makes no sense, but we are way too far down that rabbit hole for me to even worry about it anymore.


A second email arrives five seconds later, this one from Snake Charmer. In case you are not super-cool and have not reserved room in your brain for the details of Shion's battle of wits with this hacker: last time they talked, Girl Genius Shion solved a riddle about nanomachines on the Durandick. This email--actually from Snake Charmer's sister, but whatever--acknowledges Shion's correct answer. "It appears that I've lost," Snake Charmer II admits. "The deadly nanomachine program in the bio filtration system has been zero cleared as promised. But sorry, I won't surrender myself." I literally could not care less what either Snake Charmer does at this point, but I press on anyway. "I'm destined to die anyway," she continues. "I am going to be killed on the grounds that I stole Vector Industries' confidential, highly classified case file. Vector was desperate to capture Lev so that classified file wouldn't get out. Hacking the machine cluster meant nothing to him. He was just using it as bait to get you." First, I don't understand why Snake Charmer II would be in the shit when it was the other Snake Charmer who actually stole this file. (I barely even remember that this is what the hacking was about in the first place, so this is fascinating stuff, by the way.) Second, it was just bait to get Shion? For what? All she's been doing is reading fucking emails. You sure got her good, lady. "Vector N.S.S. is probably going through your emails and must know about me now," she goes on. I feel sorry for the Vector security person in charge of reading Shion's inbox, I truly do. "It's just a matter of time before Vector's assassin units make their way here." Vector assassins? I wonder if they wear all-black unitards and slutty black miniskirts.

Snake Charmer II promises to take Shion down with her, like Shion would survive her trek through Monstro the Gnosis Whale only to be killed by a hacker through the Internet. But she doesn't actually mean to kill Shion herself, because that would be too awesome, even if it were a failed attempt. No, Snake Charmer II would rather exposit at incredible length about the contents of that stolen file, making it so Shion knows too much and also becomes a target of Vector assassins. The short of it is that I get to read like 10 paragraphs about Vector's corporate espionage and their conspiracy to corner the market on developing and selling A.I. by basically creating a hostile, human-killing A.I. so everybody else would be too afraid to try and profit from them. The A.I.'s name, just so we're up to date on Xenosaga pretentiousness, is Panspelmia. That should actually be Panspermia, and I have no idea if that's just a translation error or if the English translation team was concerned about the name containing the word "sperm"--you know, in this game with hundreds upon hundreds of phallic images and a robot with a monster-eating vagina in her stomach. Still: hee, "sperm." While I'm looking all this up so I can pretend to know what I'm talking about, the email from Snake Charmer II is still going. Jesus. "I don't know what Vector would do to staff like you who have confidential information," she says. "There's no doubt that you've been dragged into something complicated." I know that feeling. "You may be killed or your memory erased. Or, it could be even worse than that. I got the last laugh didn't I?" Come on, lady--this is the same Shion Uzuki that already works on classified projects and just handed over a tape from KOS-MOS's encrypted memory to the government without so much as asking for permission, and she hasn't even been suspended. They're totally not going to give a shit. Shion and Bunnie pretty much agree that "Fuck it" is the correct attitude to adopt in this situation.

What kind of fairy tales are YOU reading?

Did I just write over 500 words about a single email? Christ, I hate myself. Thankfully, Shion's inbox is done violating me and we can move on with the story. Or not. Putting off talking to Corey as long as possible, Shion wanders around Sectors 26 and 27, talking to anybody she missed the first time around, re-familiarizing herself with the layout of the neighborhood (for no reason, I assure you), and taking care of any remaining sidequests. At the dry cleaner's, she finds another robot part behind a Segment Address door, but Professor Hobo shows no interest in this one, making me wonder if he'll only discuss the construction of Shion's future robot slave with Jailbait. I mean, I wouldn't want to talk to Shion either, but it's a little silly.

Inside the IRON MAN, Shion comes across a young woman blubbering into a cocktail napkin. This woman lost her engagement ring--excuse me, "Engagement Ring"--and, in her words, "I'm sure he'll be so upset that he'll toss me out like garbage." Wow, what a catch this guy must be, right ladies? Even Shion, who is personally setting back gender relations about five decades just by existing, probably thinks this girl can do better, but she decides to help find the ring. The girl gets weirdly specific about how she lost it: "If only I hadn't dropped the ring on the beach. If only the fish hadn't taken the ring I dropped in its mouth. If only the fish with the ring hadn't escaped to Director Gaignun's private beach..." I mean, with that much information she should be able to find the damn thing herself. But if Shion isn't helping people, she isn't getting adulation for helping people, and we can't have that.

Finally, something Shion can do.

I neglected to mention this last time, but during the last visit to the city, Jailbait found a Fish Detector. I probably didn't bring it up because it is only good for one thing, which is this sidequest. Shion takes this item to Gaignun's beach and immediately spots several green arrows in the water on the minimap. Treading out into the water--thankfully without changing into her bikini and motherfucking matching garter belt--she approaches a few of these fish and flails around ineffectually until she finds the one that swallowed the girl's engagement ring. I have no idea how she is searching the innards of these fish so quickly, and I'm sure I don't want to know.

"?!" the girl, uh, says when Shion returns. "T-this 'Engagement Ring'! You went and found it for me?!" She's extremely relieved because now she can go and face her man without getting socked in the jaw. To thank Shion, she hands over a decoder for a Segment Address door on the Elsa. Why does she have keys to doors on the Elsa? Now I'm concerned that her fiancé is known woman-hater Captain Matthews. I may have to engage this bitch in a knife fight.

Shion finds Corey on the other side of the bar, posing with the Iron 3 superfan. I shouldn't have to tell you that he looks fucking ridiculous, but I think it's great that, after all these trysts with CHAOS!!!, he's getting over Shion and embracing his inner gay. "Hey mister," the superfan tells Corey, "you've got some muscle there. [No, he doesn't.] But you don't have your fundamentals right. The fundamental of the Iron 3 is lots of muscle! It's not cool to have a scrawny body." I would say the "fundamental" of the Iron 3 is enjoying sex with other men, but who am I to argue with Pauly D here?

'Trying to get laid for once.'

Shion interrupts the bizarre mating ritual going on between Pauly D and Corey to ask him what in the hell he thinks he's doing. "Oh, Chief!" he squeaks, his sad feigned machismo thrown out the window in an instant. "What's the matter? Weren't you resting in your room?" Shion says she got tired of lying there with her legs spread and being emo. Corey takes a minute to show her his pose again. "I look pretty cool, don't I?" he asks, knowing the answer in his heart. "I really hit it off with this person!" he goes on, pretty much confirming my above theory. "He's teaching me right now." Shion says she's just relieved he's okay, but she's obviously annoyed that he might stop following her around like a lovesick puppy, and says she's going back to the Durandick. "What? Chief?!" he cries. "What's the matter? What are you so mad about?!" And after all that progress. Dammit, Corey.

We'll get back to Shion and Corey in a minute. Right now it's time to catch up with Mad Libs Margulis and Albedo. "The vermin have eluded the trap..." Margulis is saying. "Prepare yourself for the Rapture. Don't forget to bring a towel." Lest we forget that Margulis and U-GEE were behind the plan to screw over the Kukai Foundation and Second Miltia. Albedo, cradling one of his MOMO-clone Kirschwassers, chuckles, I guess because Margulis is such a joke. "So, we'll finally hear it..." he responds. Dropping the dead Kirschwasser, he shouts, "The Song! I can't wait...for that wonderful song!" He giggles maniacally some more as we fade out, ending on a shot of an elongated inverted pyramid structure floating in the middle of space.

Cut to the Elsa, where the Wang is doing his trig homework or something. I guess we're supposed to think he's doing his duties for Captain Matthews, but does he even have a job on the Elsa anymore? Did he ever, really? Anyway. CHAOS!!! pauses in his work when he hears the beginning strains of a song that will become entrenched in my head over the next several hours. It's the same song, in fact, from Jailbait's excursion to past!Miltia inside Encephalon. Imagine a young girl--say, Nephilim--standing next to your ear and whispering, "Whoooooooooooh, I'm a scary ghoooooost!" and you have the gist of it. The song is not to CHAOS!!!'s liking, and I can't say I blame him. In Gaignun's room, Gaignun and Jailbait can hear it as well. They, too, obviously know what it is, even though they don't want to believe it. "It can't be..." Gaignun breathes. "The Song of Nephilim...?" Back on the Elsa, CHAOS!!! shouts, "No!" causing Matthews, Tony, and Hammer to look at him like he's a crazy person. This is the first clue that not everybody can hear it. I wish I were one of those people. "That Song," CHAOS!!! yells. "They mustn't allow it to play..." Somewhere in the Kukai Foundation, an innocent DJ doesn't realize he's about to get fired.

After a shot of the bottles on Corey's minibar rattling and falling to the ground, we see Wilhelm playing space chess with a masked man in a red cloak, the same man he was exchanging exposition with all the way back in part four, and, yes, also the mysterious man from Jerkinov's flashback, but who is totally not Kevin, you guys. Naturally, Wilhelm and the Man in Red can hear the song, and Wilhelm is totally unsurprised at its presence because he's the one person in the entire universe that knows what the fuck is going on in this game. I'm not sure if that would be a nice feeling or not....

Back at the Kukai Foundation, the Federation ships that hadn't yet moved out of their blockade are caught in a surprise attack and barraged with Gnosis fireballs. Yeah, the Gnosis have fireballs now. Don't look at me. The MOMO clones on the Durandick's bridge start technobabbling like crazy. "The U.M.N. geodesic structure is being forcibly replaced!" one yells, like she or anyone else has any goddamn idea what that means. MOMO, Jailbait, and Gaignun watch slack-jawed as space whales and space centipedes and all kinds of other ugly-ass Gnosis start materializing around the Foundation. As all of this is happening, Shion arrives on the bridge, all ready to repeat words back to people in a questioning tone in this time of crisis. One of the MOMO clones says the Gnosis will enter the Foundation in four minutes, leading Busty to request an evacuation of its citizens onto the Durandick in case they have to bail. Jailbait agrees to her request as he plays with the balls on his console. Hee hee. An air siren sounds across the Foundation and we get a shot of citizens boarding the Durandick's shuttles. Come, citizens--the Durandick is big enough for everyone!

Shion asks Corey where KOS-MOS is, since she could use the Hilbert Effect. On cue, she too arrives on the bridge, asking Shion what the hell she wants. Even though time is somewhat precious here, Shion takes the time to ask KOS-MOS if she is ready, and KOS-MOS slowly replies that she is indeed ready. While both of them stand there and have a staring contest, several of the larger Gnosis take advantage of their dallying and swim right through the Foundation's walls. By the time everybody's done announcing their plans and KOS-MOS flips down her visor to activate the Hilbert Effect, there are already a bunch of Gnosis floating around above the buildings of the Foundation. "This should keep them from materializing inside the colony," Shion says, right after the MOMO clones report a bunch of Gnosis materializing inside the colony. Ziggy is standing right behind her, but he doesn't hear my psychic pleas to kick her in the kidneys.

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