Super Robot Wars/OGs/Story
Before we get into the game events, let's go over the setting and background a bit. There's more than this, of course, but I'm only going to hit the basic notes of the background timeline that are the most immediately relevant for primer purposes.
The Double Impact and the Network Inferno
In 2012 AD, two meteors appear seemingly out of nowhere in satellite orbit over Earth. The first, Meteor-1, hits Manhattan, destroying both New York City and Washington, DC. The second, Meteor-2, hits Moscow and destroys it. (For the record, these meteors are assumed for all intents and purposes to be natural objects, unlike the next meteor centuries later.) This event would later be referred to as the Double Impact. In the aftermath of the Double Impact, information technology regresses back to 1980s levels. This so-called Network Inferno throws the world into a global depression with widespread regional conflicts. In 2015, the Earth Federation Government establishes the New Common Era (NCE), starting the calendar over from year 1.
Establishment of the Earth Sphere
In NCE 75, after years of advancements into space, humanity builds its first closed-off space colony, Elpis. Almost immediately, there is civil unrest due to botched environmental adaptation procedures performed on the first wave of colonists. As the years march on, there are continual movements for colonial independence, with ensuing violence from all sides. Eventually, a century or so later, these movements for independence get a face in the form of Brian Midcrid, a charismatic politician pushing for autonomy through peaceful means. In NCE 160 he founds NID4, the peaceful colonial liberation movement, and when the ten colonies gain independence in NCE 184, they elect Brian Midcrid to be the first president of the newly formed United Colonies.
During this time, the Earth Federation has been expanding outward and setting up operations on the moon, Mars, and Jupiter. The area encompassing the Earth, its immediate surrounding colonies, and the moon, comes to be known collectively as the Earth Sphere.
Meteor-3 and the Aerogators
In NCE 179, a third meteor hits the Earth, specifically Aidoneus Island... except it's less of a hit and more of a gentle love tap, with none of the tidal waves or other ensuing damage one might expect from a giant mass falling through the Earth's atmosphere and impacting the ocean. Dr. Bian Zoldak leads a body of scientists that investigates this object they call Meteor-3, and he confirms what they suspected going in, that Meteor-3 actually decelerated before impact. What's more, they discover completely alien materials and technologies contained inside of it. These materials and technology are collectively referred to as EOT, or Extra Over Technology.
Also in NCE 179, the Hiryu, humanity's first deep space exploration vessel, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Daitetsu Minase and his XO Sean Webley, goes on its doomed maiden voyage beyond Pluto's orbit. Almost immediately, it comes under attack by swarms upon swarms of small quadripedal alien weapons codenamed Bugs. They don't respond to hails, and they don't stop coming when destroyed. The Hiryu is forced to pull back and escape, and humanity is confronted for the first time with hard resistance from unknown life beyond their planet. These alien entities are dubbed "Aerogators" (a coined word, likely a combination of "aero" (void) and "rogator" (emissary)).
In NCE 180, the Federation Government forms an EOT Council comprised of its highest officials to oversee matters related to EOT, and this council appoints Dr. Bian Zoldak to run the Extra Over Technology Inquiry (EOTI) Organization, an assembly of people carrying out research of Meteor-3's EOT on Aidoneus Island in absolute secrecy. Among their findings, they discover plans for articulated mobile weapons around 10 meters tall. Bian is alarmed at this, hypothesizing that this technology was deliberately sent to Earth by intelligent extraterrestrial life, and that Meteor-3's landing was the first step in an alien plan that will eventually culminate in an alien invasion of the Earth.
Bian sounds the alarm with both the Earth Federation Government and the Earth Federation Military (EFM). Major General Normal Slay of the EFM takes Bian's warning seriously and proposes the Earth Sphere Defense Plan to defend the Earth Sphere against this impending extraterrestrial attack. One cornerstone of this plan is the development of humanoid mobile weapons called "personal troopers" (PTs), robots designed to be able to go up against alien weapons in the event of a war. However, the government is inexplicably skeptical of these claims. The EOT Council continually undermines the EFM's efforts to produce PTs through logistical string-pulling and budget manipulation, and the EFM finds itself being actively stymied in mass-producing its main workhorse, the Gespenst Mk. II.
You got all that? Great! That's where OG1 starts.
Original Generations 1: Divine Wars
OG1 is the first game in the series, and it can be divided up into two major arcs involving a small handful of factions. The DC War is split into the Ryusei route and Kyosuke route, which cover different events in the same timeframe.
NCE 186 - The Antarctic Incident
On November 3, 186, a top secret diplomatic conference is held at a remote Federation base in Antarctica, in which a plenipotentiary reporting to the EOT Council is to negotiate in secret with a fleet of aliens called the Guests. The EOT Council has its own corrupt agenda, which involves effectively selling out the Earth and handing it over to the Guests in return for cushy deals for their own members. The conference is interrupted when Dr. Shu Shirakawa, the recognized representative of the EOTI Organization, abruptly uses his Granzon to open fire on the aliens and wipe out the base. In the immediate aftermath, Dr. Bian Zoldak announces that the EOTI Organization is now the Divine Crusaders, an organization bent on conquest in the name of unifying the world to face the alien threat. This incident and declaration spark what would later be known as the DC War.
NCE 186-187 - The DC War
This is the first half of OG1. The Federation is caught flat-footed by the Divine Crusaders' uprising. The DC is fully outfitted with entire squadrons of flight-capable mobile weapons called armored modules (AMs), while the Federation Military barely has a handful of ground PTs to its name due to government meddling.
On the ground, DC forces are overtaking EFM bases at every turn due to their overwhelming air superiority. The EFM's jets, tanks, and static cannon emplacements are no match for the DC's Lions, which fly freely around, armed with high-powered railguns. The Federation's only hope of turning the tides is the Hagane, a Space Noah-class battleship designed for revolutionary ISA tactics. (ISA stands for integrated synchronized attacks; basically, it's a fancy term for "boats that carry super robots".) While the DC forces are steadily advancing on the Federation's seat of power in Geneva, the Hagane, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Daitetsu Minase and XO Captain Tetsuya Onodera, launches a last-ditch thrust at the heart of the DC, Aidoneus Island in the South Pacific. There, Dr. Bian Zoldak makes a last stand in person, piloting his ultimate creation, the Valsion. When he dies, his last words are a lament that he couldn't see his daughter one last time. This campaign also served as a proving grounds for the newly-formed SRX Team, which served in the Hagane's strike team roster.
At the same time as the DC launches its revolt on Earth, the United Colony Corps (UCC) launches a revolt in space (The UCC is what the Federation's former spacefleet and colony garrisons were formed into when the colonies gained independence in NCE 184). Supreme Commander Maier V. Branstein's first move is to bring the Federation's satellites in space offline, solidifying the UCC's space superiority and hampering efforts to track the DC planetside. The Hiryu Custom, now captained by Lieutenant Colonel Lefina Enfield with Sean Webley continuing to serve as XO, makes a daring launch into space, where it ventures alone into enemy territory, restores the EFM's satellite communications, rescues the deposed President Brian Midcrid, and pushes to Elpis, the seat of the United Colonies' power. Ultimately, Maier V. Branstein chooses to go down with the Macht, the flagship of the UCC, in a defeat once again perfectly coinciding with the defeat of Bian Zoldak on the ground. This campaign puts the Hiryu's main strike force, the newly-formed ATX Team, on the map as a force to be reckoned with.
Both during the war and after, Kyosuke Nambu of the ATX Team couldn't shake the feeling that the entire scenario was too contrived and forced for his liking. It turns out that he was right—Bian and Maier orchestrated events so that either the world would unify against the DC+UCC and overcome them, thus proving that they were in fighting shape for the alien invasion, or barring that, the DC+UCC would take over and establish a military dictatorship to fight the aliens. Once it was clear that the Federation was winning, Bian and Maier both welcomed their defeat with open arms and ensured that they wouldn't live to be symbols to rally around. This ultimately ends up being a complete abdication of responsibility on Bian and Maier's part in retrospect, as proven by the continued persistence of DC and Neo DC remnants even going as far as Moon Dwellers. Their "noble" decision to step down from the stage of history meant avoiding cleaning up the giant mess they made by starting a civil war without telling anyone it didn't matter who won.
NCE 187 - The DC War Aftermath
Following Bian and Maier's demise, a widespread notice is issued to the entire DC and UCC forces, instructing them to lay down arms and surrender immediately. Many do, but many also blatantly ignore it as it suits them. Dr. Adler Koch, being a firm member of the latter camp, deserts Aidoneus during the final engagement and takes it upon himself to muster the remnants of the DC and UCC's forces and consolidate them within the Earth Cradle, a base of operations well-suited for a prolonged conflict. He then leverages his mole in the Federation Military, Lieutenant Colonel Hans Viper, to abduct Princess Shine Hausen, the sovereign of the Principality of Riksent, and he also arranges for the Earth Cradle's facilities to produce fresh Valsion models called Valsion Customs.
Adler seeks to use his newly-completed Geim System to turn the Valsion Customs' pilots into perfect weapons under the control of their own systems, the first of many mind control plots in this setting. The DC remnants eventually get crushed by the combined might of the Hagane and Hiryu (referred to as the Steel Dragons for ease of reference), and Dr. Sophia Nate, the head administrator of the Earth Cradle, kicks the remainder out and turns them over to the Federation before submerging the facility in order to remove it from the conflict entirely.
The L5 Campaign
In the summer of 187, a giant alien planetoid 40 kilometers in diameter suddenly appears in the Lagrange 5 region of space, kicking off the war that would later called the L5 Campaign. From their fortress of Nevi'im (codenamed the White Star by the Federation), the Aerogators launch devastating attacks on major population centers and destroy the Federation's capital of Geneva, and with it, much of the Federation's top leadership.
In the middle of active combat fending off Aerogators attacking Beijing, the head of the SRX Team, Major Ingram Plissken, shoots his team in the back at a critical juncture, disrupting operations and leaving one team member, Aya Kobayashi, critically wounded, before defecting to the Aerogators' side. It is revealed that Ingram was a mole working for aliens the entire time, a revelation that brings the Steel Dragons face to face with the harsh reality that the enemy probably knows their military as well as they do. Despite this, the fallout from the defection is relatively small, and the Aerogator forces continually avoid hitting military installations to an eyebrow-raising degree.
Eventually, the Steel Dragons discover that the Aerogators' goal is mass weaponization of the Earth's populace. By providing the Earth with the technology in Meteor-3, giving them time to develop it, and attacking with obvious provocations, the Aerogators expect to stimulate the Earthlings' combat instincts and drive in order to bring out their true potential. Once this is done, fully cultivated subjects (which they call Gib'ol class specimens) can be captured and recorded into what's basically personality templates that can then be applied to the rest of the population as desired. The Aerogators demonstrated the ability to replicate people and machinery both.
More disturbingly, they realize that out of the Aerogators' masses upon masses of unmanned machines, the tiny handful of human pilots leading the Aerogators are all captured Earthlings reconditioned into completely different personas than what they originally had. Even Ingram turns out to be under the control of someone else. He speaks of his shackles being released and his nephesh finally being free of a fake body. While nobody stops to ask what a nephesh is, the larger point is that in this entire alien attack, they did not fight a single actual alien, just a bunch of hapless brainwashed victims.
Foremost among these hapless victims is Levi Torah, AKA Mai Kobayashi, a test subject of the Advanced Neuroscience Institute that was reconditioned into the leader of the Aerogators and the "priestess" of the Judecca, a mobile weapon that doubles as the Nevi'im's control core. Several people, including Mai's sister Aya, have suspicions about Levi's true identity, but they are unable to free her from the Judecca's shackles. The Judecca (or as the Federation calls it, the White Death Cross), gets blown apart in the final engagement of Operation SRW and goes plummeting into the atmosphere... which triggers the real final boss.
It turns out that Meteor-3 had a failsafe: If human civilization levels pass a certain baseline, Meteor-3 activates and commences mass assimilation of the planet via Zehirut Crystal, an alien mineral capable of regeneration and propagation. The true final battle of the L5 Campaign takes place on Aidoneus Island, where the Steel Dragons have a race against time to destroy Meteor-3 for good before it grows beyond any possibility of stopping it.
Ultimately, Meteor-3 is destroyed, the Judecca is blown up, all of the Aerogators' human pilots are gone, and the White Star is left just floating in space for lack of anything better to do with a giant 40 kilometer object. So ends the plot of OG1.
Incidentally, during Operation SRW (the operation to lead an assault on the White Star), a strange giant robot with distinctive metal moustache-like protrusions jutting out of its face is also sighted doing battle against Aerogator forces in the midst of the chaos. The EFM doesn't have any record of it in their databanks and failed in efforts to track it after the fact, so it gets codenamed the Moustacheman and is promptly forgotten about. It's probably not important anyway.
Faction and Character Primer
The OG1 overview is painted in broad strokes, with only a few key players mentioned by name. However, there's a lot of important people that I didn't name or give distinction to, and they deserve a bit of expositing. Starting in OG2, the plot becomes much more character-driven in general, so there will be a lot more name-dropping. With that in mind, I'm going to do a quick post-OG1, pre-OG2 overview of who to know.
The Earth Federation Government
The unified governing body that rules over Earth and the moon. It consists of an assembly of representatives and a president. After the Federation's capital in Geneva is destroyed, they build a new capital in Paris, where they appoint Brian Midcrid to be interim president following the L5 Campaign.
- Brian Midcrid - Remember this guy? The president of the United Colonies who got deposed when Maier took over? Yeah, he's back as president of the Earth Federation this time. He makes no bones about his role as a figurehead, however. He knows that the real power lies with his advisor, Graien Grassman, and he has few illusions about the nature of his chief aide, Nibhal Mubhal. At Graien's urging, the figurehead president makes the Tokyo Proclamation, the Federation's official acknowledgement that aliens are real and very hostile. This serves as setup for a later power play by Graien.
- Graien Grassman - AKA the Wizard, President Midcrid's chief advisor. He's plotting in league with DC remnants to turn the Federation into a military dictatorship under his rule, a plot that ultimately succeeds in OG2.
- Nibhal Mubhal - A secretive man with many friends in high places. Before the Antarctic Incident, he was the main liaison between the EOT Council and the Guests. Now he sticks around as an aide to whoever's in charge on the Earth Federation side, while secretly furthering the agenda of a certain Mr. Steinbeck who won't come up for a long while.
The Principality of Riksent
A tiny Mediterranean monarchy granted special autonomous status by the Federation Government, whose impressive stores of gold make it an early target of the DC remnants in their invasion of Europe. It is ruled by Princess Shine Hausen, who took on the duties of head of state at a young age following the deaths of her parents. Shine carries her family's hereditary gift of precognition, something that makes her a target of Adler Koch in his efforts to push his Advanced Children project. After getting rescued from a Valsion Custom where she was subjected to the Geim System's control, Shine returns home safely, where she quietly places a special order with Mao Industries.
The EOT Council
Ostensibly a council of ranking officials overseeing matters related to EOT, this group is actually a cabal of the most powerful figures in the Earth Federation Government. In OG1, they were effectively shadow oligarchs manipulating events behind the scenes to further their own interests. Starting with the Antarctic Incident, they experience a massive number of setbacks, eventually culminating in them attempting to take the Shirogane, a Space Noah-class vessel, to approach the Aerogators in hopes of selling out the Earth to save their own skins once more. This turns out to be a fatal mistake, however, when Viletta Badim leads an Aerogator force and personally destroys the Shirogane's bridge to eliminate them.
- Karl Stresemann - The chairman of the EOT Council and the architect of the Elpis Incident, a calculating man who is always looking out for #1. He dies when the Shirogane's primary bridge is destroyed during an attempt to flee the Earth.
- Albert Grey - The ambassador appointed as plenipotentiary for the purposes of negotiating with the Guests. He and several other EOT councilmen get abandoned and left to die during a DC remnants attack on Geneva, while Karl gets away.
- Renji Isurugi - An associate and friend of the EOT Council and the head of Isurugi Industries, one of the main arms of the DC's military-industrial machine. He dies with Karl when the Shirogane's primary bridge is destroyed.
The Earth Federation Military
The military arm of the Federation Government. It does not have separate army, navy, or air force branches, instead putting everything under one big EFM umbrella. For that reason, I default to mostly air force rankings for the translations of Japanese military ranks in this hierarchy. The different regions where the military is stationed are referred to as "Branches" in OG1, and "Brigades" in OG2 and all subsequent titles. We'll go over some of the key commanding officers here, then go into the smaller key groups. I'm leaving out some minor groups like the Octo Team because they don't meet my criteria for relevance.
- Major General Norman Slay - The architect behind the Earth Sphere Defense Plan that prioritized manufacturing giant robots as the new workhorse of the military. Killed in action during Operation SRW.
- Major General Greg Pastral - Commander of Langley Base in the EFM North American Branch. He goes down with the base when Langley is attacked by the DC.
- Commander Laker Randolf - The man in charge of Izu Base in the EFM Far East Branch, a mild-mannered and capable old man.
- Lieutenant Colonel Hans Viper - A commander at Izu Base, a cutthroat officer who makes it his personal mission to screw over anyone who crosses him. He is responsible for an incident where he ordered Kyosuke Nambu to pilot the Wildraubtier and transform it even though its transformation mechanism hadn't yet been perfected, a deliberate ploy to wreck the machine in order to gain leverage over its manufacturer, Mao Industries. The Wildraubtier crashed and burned, but Kyosuke miraculously survived, earning him a permanent spot on Hans's bad side. As it turns out, Hans was an agent working for the DC all along, and he defects in spectacular fashion by abducting Shine Hausen and bringing her to Adler Koch at the Earth Cradle. After that, he is killed in action when Kyosuke destroys the ship he is commanding.
- Major General Kenneth Garret - The new commander of Langley Base, a loudmouthed and egotistical officer who is secretly in league with Graien Grassman's faction.
- Lieutenant Colonel Daitetsu Minase - A veteran ship captain, currently in command of the Hagane. A pragmatic officer who is often willing to look the other way and indulge the quirks of the Hagane's very eclectic crew. Keeps a stash of contraband sake in his ship quarters.
- Captain Tetsuya Onodera - A military rank captain, not actual ship captain (we'll get to that), who serves as Daitetsu's XO aboard the Hagane.
- Lieutenant Colonel Lefina Enfield - An inexperienced ship captain newly appointed to command the Hiryu Custom, she quickly proves why she graduated top of her class at the Astro-Military Academy and earns distinction for herself and her crew during the DC War and the L5 Campaign.
- Major Sean Webley - Currently Lefina's executive officer on board the Hiryu Custom, he also served on the same ship with Daitetsu Minase years prior, back before its overhaul. He masks his appreciation for women only thinly behind a high-brow demeanor.
- Lieutenant Colonel Lee Linjun - The newly appointed hotshot captain of the Shirogane. He is a stickler for adhering to regulations and respecting military authority, and his favorite catchphrase is "Do X, at the cost of your life if need be." He graduated the Astro-Military Academy summa cum laude (top of the class) in the same class as Tetsuya Onodera, who graduated magna cum laude (second place). He holds a bitter grudge against Daitetsu and Tetsuya because of the Hagane's failure to defend Beijing from alien attack, resulting in the deaths of Lee's family and his SO, Cynthia.
The SRX Team
One of the two central protagonist teams in early OG, and the central focus of OG1. While they were mentioned only in passing in the OG1 overview, much of the story takes place from their perspective. The SRX Team is the product of Project SRX, a top secret military project to develop mobile weapons that heavily utilize EOT. In particular, Project SRX emphasizes the use of pilots gifted with natural powers of telekinesis, and the culmination of the project is a massive combiner robot called the SRX that brings together the power of telekinesis and tronium, an EOT metal capable of generating incredible amounts of energy. Note for the Moon Dwellers crowd: Any time you see "Nendo" in MD, pretend it says "Telekinesis" or just "TK". You're welcome.
- Master Sergeant Ryusei Date - A civilian scouted for Project SRX through a popular mecha fighting game called Burning PT. As it turns out, Burning PT's controls are suspiciously similar to those of a Gespenst, and Burning PT itself is a secret recruiting tool for people with piloting aptitude. Ever see the Last Starfighter? It's like that. Ryusei thinks this form of scouting is incredibly messed up on several levels, but he grudgingly agrees to join the team when Ingram promises to cover his hospitalized mother's medical bills. He turns out to have tremendous natural telekinetic aptitude, and he becomes the designated main pilot of the R-1 and later the SRX. He's also a mecha anime nerd who likes to spice up his attacks with made-up names. Later promoted to second lieutenant following the L5 Campaign.
- Second Lieutenant Raidiese F. Branstein - The youngest of Maier V. Branstein's two sons and the only non-telekinetic member of the SRX Team, he left his family in bitterness following the death of Cattleya, his sister-in-law who was like a real sister to him. He changed his middle name to Fujiwara, Cattleya's maiden name, in her honor. He lost an arm in an incident while test piloting a Hückebein, so now he's got an artificial hand like Luke Skywalker.
- Captain Aya Kobayashi - Kenzo's daughter, a potent telekinetic and key member of the SRX Team. She openly admits that her rank of captain is mainly there for security clearance purposes, with the amount of secret project information she handles. She had a thing for Ingram, and his betrayal hit her extremely hard. She used to be Kenzo's test subject at the Advanced Neuroscience Institute, and she's still coming to grips with her past, but she and Kenzo have a caring relationship.
- Major Ingram Plissken - One of the founding members of Project SRX, formerly commander of the PTX Team. He assembles the SRX Team himself and leads them from the front, taking the field with them in battle. During the L5 Campaign, he betrays the team and leaves with the enemy, revealing himself to be one of them. He is killed in action during Operation SRW, where he makes cryptic remarks about his nephesh being freed from this fake body. Don't worry about it.
- Captain Viletta Badim - The new commander of the SRX Team that signs on after the L5 Campaign. She comes in from working in the private sector at Mao Industries, but she was actually an Aerogator double agent before her enlistment. She is a female clone of Ingram, and she served as his closest confidante and right hand. She's chosen to pick up where Ingram left off and nurture the SRX Team's development.
- Dr. Kirk Hamill - The lead developer of the Hückebein series of EOT mechs and a contributor to Project SRX. He is also the ex-husband of Dr. Marion Radom, and the two of them often butt heads when they work together.
- Dr. Robert Ohmiya - The lead developer of the R-Series, a set of three machines that combine into the SRX. It's no secret that he's a mecha anime nerd just like Ryusei is, and they bond over their favorite anime, Burnblade 3.
- Dr. Kenzo Kobayashi - A leading researcher of the phenomenon of telekinesis. He has taken in two test subjects as his own daughters, Aya and Mai. While he has a history of extremely unethical research, he's had a change of heart in the past several years, and he's been working to make things right by contributing to the SRX Team and helping his daughter.
- Master Sergeant Kusuha Mizuha - A childhood friend of Ryusei Date who doesn't really get the appeal of super robots. Originally a civilian like Ryusei, she gets "hospitalized for observation" following the attack where Ryusei is first forced to pilot a Gespenst, and during this stay, she is identified as a strong telekinetic. Ingram arranges things so that she gets encouraged to volunteer with the Federation as a student medic, after which she gets diverted into a piloting program, the true end goal. Despite some setbacks like being captured and mind-controlled, she comes into her own and flourishes as a super robot pilot. She's a caring and kindhearted girl with a steely determination to do what's right. She's also obsessed with health fads and brews health drinks so gross that they make most people pass out. Later promoted to second lieutenant following the L5 Campaign.
- Mai Kobayashi - Formerly Levi Torah, priestess of the Judecca and penultimate boss of OG1. Parts of the "White Death Cross" (the Federation's codename for the Judecca) do not burn up entirely in the atmosphere, and its core is located on the ocean floor near Aidoneus Island. Kenzo Kobayashi oversees its excavation and examination, and what they find inside is Mai Kobayashi, partially replicated from the Judecca's systems. Since the replication was never fully completed, she has none of her old memories except fragments that manifest in nightmares. Kenzo and Aya are quick to treat her as family and help her to recover from a trauma she doesn't fully understand. She goes on to become a full-fledged member of the SRX Team in OG2, striking up a friendship and slight crush on Ryusei.
The ATX Team
One of the two central protagonist teams in early OG. While they take a back seat to the SRX Team in OG1, they take center stage in OG2. The ATX Team is the product of Project ATX, a project to develop assault-oriented mobile weapons and test out special weapons sent in from other places like the Tesla Lab. While Project SRX emphasizes gifted pilots and supertechnology, Project ATX focuses on Earth-based weaponry that can be used by anyone and doesn't utilize shady alien tech.
- Second Lieutenant Kyosuke Nambu - A career soldier and test pilot who gets recommended for recruitment into the ATX Team when it's first being formed. His taciturn attitude belies his emotional depth, keen insight, and most importantly for the ATX Team, his sense of humor. He was referred to the team by teammate Excellen Browning, who has some history with him that we'll be exploring in OG2. He can carry a grudge like nobody's business, which Hans Viper learns firsthand, but his conduct is largely professional. He takes over as commander of the ATX Team following Sänger's defection, he is appointed field commander of the main White Star strike team during Operation SRW, and he is later promoted to first lieutenant following the L5 Campaign. He is a naturally lucky guy who has survived multiple near-fatal incidents, but he's a terrible gambler who goes bust every time.
- Second Lieutenant Excellen Browning - An upbeat career soldier and moodmaker, and the ATX Team's resident jokester. Despite her antics, she's quite mature, observant, and good at reading a room, and she acts as a supportive big sister figure to many of the younger pilots. She constantly flirts with Kyosuke, who she referred to the team, and they have a close relationship despite their frequent verbal sparring. In the late game Kyosuke route of OG1, she gets captured by the Aerogators and studied as a specimen, and the Aerogators find that her body is comprised of 70% foreign non-human material, a finding that baffles them. When the Aerogators demand answers, Ingram basically says don't worry about it. Eventually she gets brainwashed and subsequently rescued, and everybody forgets the whole thing and never speaks of it again because it's technically non-canon. It's fine, I'm sure that'll never come up again.
- Second Lieutenant Brooklyn "Bullet" Luckfield - The youngest member of the ATX Team and the most frequent target of Excellen's teasing. In his free time, Bullet studies Jigen-ryu with Sänger Sombold and later Rishu Togo. He develops a huge crush on Kusuha Mizuha over the course of OG1 and ends up going out with her. He's also a giant weeb who loves Japanese culture and samurais.
- Major Sänger Sombold - AKA the Sword That Cleaves Evil (as he is quick to let bad guys know), he is the original leader of the ATX Team and a swordsman studying Jigen-ryu under the tutelage of Rishu Togo. He is known for piloting robots that wield giant swords. He defects from the EFM to the DC when his best friend Elzam invites him over, and he chooses to be a wall for the ATX Team to surmount. Following the DC War and its aftermath, he disappears along with Elzam, though they turn up again briefly to assist the Steel Dragons in Operation SRW.
- Dr. Marion Radom - The lead developer of new Project ATX machines, a snippy engineer who has little patience for people who can't keep up, and even less patience for machinery that runs on what she sees as bullshit alien technology. She is a sticker for purely conventional tech and refuses to come within ten feet of EOT when it comes to developing her machines. She competes with her ex-husband Dr. Kirk Hamill to develop the next main workhorse of the Federation, a competition that she eventually loses when the Federation picks Kirk's mass production Hückebein Mk. II over her candidates, the Gespenst Mk. III and the Gespenst Mk. II Custom, AKA the Alteisen and the Weissritter. This might have something to do with the fact that the Alteisen is a very off-balance machine that can only be handled by a pilot of Kyosuke's calibre. She's quick to take a shine to aggressive, melee-centric pilots.
The PTX Team
The specifics of this team aren't terribly important. Suffice to say that it was a team that existed a few years back and it was commanded by Ingram Plissken.
- First Lieutenant Irmgard Kazahara - A playboy who hits on pretty much anything female with a pulse. He's the son of Jonathan Kazahara, a leading super robot scientist and the head of the Tesla Lab. He's an item with Ring Mao, but they're currently on the outs after Ring caught him having tea with a female employee at Mao Industries. They patch things up in OG2.
- Ring Mao - A former pilot on the PTX Team, currently the CEO of Mao Industries, one of the key robot developers and manufacturers for the Earth Federation Military (and ONLY the EFM, unlike some competitors).
The Special Tactical Fighter Training Squad, generally referred to as the Aggressors, was the first group of robot pilots. Their test runs with Gespensts and other models early in the development of humanoid mobile weapons formed the basis for the motion patterns that went on to become widely adopted in many machines.
As a brief aside, MOTION PATTERNS are the series of inputs and movements required to go through specific maneuvers, including firing guns, attacking with sabers, punching with fists, and swerving to evade fire. These are prerecorded sequences that pilots select in their cockpit interface, instead of manually going through every single motion, making them effectively a canonized reason why robots have the same combat animations no matter who's piloting them. This is why people in the setting make a big deal about times when robots with certain pilots have distinctive movements, because it's much more noticeable when they're supposed to always move the same way.
The Aggressors themselves disbanded in NCE 184 after an "undisclosed incident". The incident in question was likely the time that their commander, Colonel Kar-Wai Lau, disappeared during a field exercise.
- Colonel Kar-Wai Lau - The leader of the Aggressors, he was abducted by aliens and reconditioned into an Aerogator soldier.
- Major Elzam V. Branstein - See the Branstein Family entry.
- Major Sänger Sombold - See the ATX Team entry.
- Major Tempest Hawker- See the Divine Crusaders.
- Major Kai Kitamura - An EFM major who goes from a bit character in the OG1 Kyosuke route to a major leading protagonist figure in OG2 onward. He goes on to form the second incarnation of the Aggressors in OG2 and onward. We'll get into that later. He's got a wife and teenage daughter, and he acts as a gruff father figure to many of the younger pilots under his command.
- Major Gilliam Jaeger - An agent in the EFM's intelligence division and dodgeball aficionado. He's got some history and some personal stuff going on. Don't worry about it.
The Divine Crusaders
The group that the EOTI Organization morphed into when its leader, Dr. Bian Zoldak, saw that the Earth Federation Government's leadership was ready to sell the people of Earth out to aliens without giving them a chance to fight. Bian brought in pretty much anybody who was halfway capable without regard to their personal ethics or track record, assumedly because he was planning on being defeated. This mix of unprincipled leadership and zealous followers was a recipe for disaster, as DC remnants have persisted long after Bian's fall, cynically claiming to carry on his will.
- Dr. Bian Zoldak - The commander of the DC, a tragically short-sighted visionary who was killed in action at Aidoneus Island in the final stages of the DC War. He has a daughter named Lüne.
- Dr. Adler Koch - Bian's right-hand man. See the School section for details.
- Dr. Shu Shirakawa - Bian's friend and close confidante. The Cliff's Notes version is that he has a double-digit number of PhDs, he has his hands in a LOT of cookie jars, and he hates aliens almost as much as Masaki Andoh hates his guts. Why? Don't worry about it.
- Major Tempest Hawker - A DC major who swore vengeance on the Federation after losing his family in the Hope Incident, another black mark in colonial history I'm not going to get into. Killed in action piloting a Valsion Custom in the DC War aftermath.
- Tenzan Nakajima - A competitive gamer who beat Ryusei Date in a national Burning PT tournament. He gets scouted by Adler and taken under his wing. He's a cocky gamer stereotype with a bad attitude only made worse by the fact that as a direct report of Adler, he's not subject to the authority of anyone else. Killed in action once piloting a Valsion Custom in the DC War aftermath, then recovered and reconditioned into an Aerogator soldier and killed in action again during the L5 Campaign.
- Ryoto Hikawa - A competitive Burning PT player who also gets scouted by Adler. He is treated as a disposable pawn when his Lion gets rigged with a bomb meant to destroy the Hagane. Following his capture by the Hagane and his disillusionment with the DC, he signs on with the EFM as a pilot. However, his considerable piloting skill isn't where he truly shines. He turns out to be a mechanical genius, and he cobbles together a miniaturized Tesla Drive from spare parts lying around the Hagane's hangar. Dr. Robert Ohmiya is so impressed with his design proposals that he brings Ryoto on board his engineering team, and after the L5 Campaign, Ryoto goes on to work for Mao Industries in the private sector.
- Dr. Wilhelm von Jürgen - An incidental figure that comes up in the Ryusei route of OG1, PS2 version. Development on his ODE System under the DC is suspended after a test where all twelve pilots using it end up killing each other, a setup devised by Adler to ensure that the ODE System's development gets sidelined in favor of Adler's Geim System. He goes on to lose his wife and son in an Aerogator attack during the L5 Campaign, and he disappears, assumedly never to be seen again.
- Colonel Van Vat Tran - A DC commander who distinguishes himself in the North American theater of operations. He is completely offscreen for the entirety of OG1 other than a single back-patting video call with Bian, but he definitely exists and is a person.
The main mobile weapon manufacturer of the DC, formerly headed by CEO Renji Isurugi. After Renji's untimely death (see the EOT Council section), his daughter Mitsuko Isurugi takes over. Unlike Ring Mao, she doesn't let herself be tied down by little things like moral principles. If there's a market, she's ready to make a sale, regardless of who the client is. In addition to dealings with the DC and the Federation, Isurugi's weapons shipments keep getting suspiciously diverted over to DC remnants.
The United Colony Corps
The Federation Spacefleet was restructured into the United Colony Corps following the independence of the colonies in NCE 184. This group is led by Maier V. Branstein, who works in league with Bian Zoldak to present a trial for the Earth Sphere to collectively overcome. There's a handful of notable faces here, but they aren't relevant to the larger narrative, as the UCC and the colonies in general are largely forgotten following OG1. So this section's characters will be omitted. However, we will be talking about the Bransteins below.
The Branstein Family
The Bransteins are a family of influential aristocrats whose family tree goes back centuries. While there is technically no aristocratic class in the United Colonies, they are still revered by the populace as popular upstanding figures, and there are entire branch families devoted to serving them.
- Maier V. Branstein - The patriarch of the family and supreme commander of the United Colony Corps when it launched its revolt. Mainly distinguished by being voiced by Norio Wakamoto. Killed in action at the end of the DC War.
- Elzam V. Branstein - AKA the Black Tornado, the eldest of Maier's two sons, a major in the UCC and former Aggressor. He was involved in the Elpis Incident, in which a group of paid mercenaries posing as terrorists launched a biochemical attack on Elpis that forced Elzam to blow up a docking bay while his wife Cattleya was in it. He and Sänger both side with the DC and disappear following the DC War, but occasionally show up to help out the good guys in times of crisis.
- Raidiese F. Branstein - See the SRX Team.
- Cattleya Fujiwara Branstein - Elzam's late wife, a caring and gentle woman loved by all. Killed during the Elpis Incident.
- Trombe - Elzam's favorite horse, a steed with black hair and a white mane. Elzam customizes all of his personal mechs with a black color scheme and calls them Trombe in his horse's honor.
- Leona Garstein - A second lieutenant in the UCC's elite all-female Treue Unit and member of a Branstein branch family who is captured by the EFM and later enlists with them following the UCC's demise.
The Elpis Incident
Let's take a step back to look at one of the many tragedies that occurred in the history of the colonies leading up to their independence. This one was cut for relevance in the OG1 overview, but it will be relevant in OG2.
In the year NCE 184, the same year as the colonies achieved independence, the EOT Council is trying their best to antagonize the colonies into starting a war that they can use as a pretext to roll over them militarily. Karl Stresemann, the chairman of the EOT Council, hires a team of mercenaries led by Archibald Grims, a member of an aristocratic family that had long since fallen on hard times. The Grims family has a vendetta against the Bransteins that goes back centuries (long story), and Archibald jumps at the chance to hit them where it hurts, their home colony of Elpis.
Archibald takes over a docking bay in Elpis and takes Cattleya Branstein hostage. While using the hostage situation to stall for time, they set up a fast-acting virus designed to flow from the docking bay to the rest of Elpis, then they lock the bulkheads in the open position so that the bay can't be sealed off. Elzam is the leader of the forces scrambled to stop the terrorists, and he is forced to make the terrible decision to fire on the docking bay with Cattleya still inside and destroy it before the virus can reach the rest of the colony, a decision that will haunt him and his family for the rest of their lives. Archibald gets away scot-free while this is going on, never to be seen again until OG2.
A now-shuttered Federation research facility whose leaders decided that Kenzo Kobayashi and the Advanced Neuroscience Institute were too limp-wristed and caring with their subjects, so they left and formed their own facility, where they doubled down on unethical human experimentation. This particular facility was devoted to trying to cultivate the perfect soldier from child test subjects. Dozens of children (possibly more) were subjected to surgical enhancement procedures, drug therapy, and brainwashing. The products of this project were called Boosted Children. Eventually, the full horrors of the facility came to light, and the Federation swiftly acted to shut it down, but by that point only a handful of surviving test subjects were left.
- Dr. Adler Koch - One of the two head researchers, who later went on to become Dr. Bian Zoldak's right-hand man at the EOTI Organization (and later, the Divine Crusaders). He gave up on the Boosted Children project, instead opting for a new avenue of research during the DC War, where he focused on recruiting naturally skilled gamers like Ryoto Hikawa and Tenzan Nakajima, recruits that he termed Advanced Children. He prized these subjects for their natural combat potential that required low amounts of investment in training. Killed in action during the DC War aftermath.
- Dr. Águila Setme - The other of the two head researchers, she is fully invested in the Boosted Children project even after the School's closure. She believes that the best way to produce a capable pilot is through brainwashing and emotional manipulation, asserting that heightened emotions are what trigger fight-or-flight responses that push humans beyond their normal limitations. She also believes subjects should be given numbers, not names, to avoid developing any pesky attachments.
- Cuervo Cerro - An assistant researcher at the School who feels kind of squeamish about putting children through horrific experiments, so he gives them real names and humanizes them, assumedly to help himself sleep at night.
- Latune Subbota - AKA Latune 11, a former Latune-class test subject (Latune is Russian for brass, and she is the only survivor of her class) who was discovered by Garnet Sunday and Giada Venerdì after a flight test accident. They take her under their wing and treat her like a daughter, giving her a real name (Subbota is Russian for Saturday) and a nurturing and caring environment to help her recover from her trauma. She starts out withdrawn and afraid of people, but over the course of OG1, she comes out of her shell and is able to confront Adler and her own past. She also develops a close friendship and rapport with Shine Hausen while serving as her bodyguard (Remember, she's still an enhanced supersoldier).
- Ouka Nagisa - AKA Aurum 1, the first of the Aurum class and the older sister figure to all the other test subjects. She often looks out for Latune 11, Bronzo 27, and Bronzo 28, frequently undergoing terrible treatments so that they don't have to.
- Seolla Schweizer - AKA Bronzo 27. The Bronzo class of test subjects is designed to function in pairs, and she is paired up with Bronzo 28, Arado Balanga. Covered more in OG2.
- Arado Balanga - AKA Bronzo 28. The Bronzo class of test subjects is designed to function in pairs, and he is paired up with Bronzo 27, Seolla Schweizer. Covered more in OG2.
The Tesla Reich Institute
Named after inventor Nikola Tesla and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, this private facility originally founded by Dr. Bian Zoldak is the place where many of the big super robots get developed, such as the Grungust series. Called the Tesla Lab for short.
- Dr. Jonathan Kazahara - The head of the Tesla Lab and father of Irmgard Kazahara, he's almost as bad a womanizer as his own son. He is the man responsible for the Grungust series of super robots with cool swords and chest beams.
- Rishu Togo - An old, experienced swordmaster who teaches Jigen-ryu to Sänger and Bullet. He works at the Tesla Lab and provides motion pattern data for many of the sword attacks that the lab's super robots use. He's also a descendant of the Togo line which has connections to Chinese robot lore, but that's neither here nor there.
- Major Filio Presti - A former DC developer, the man behind the Lion series. He now works for the Tesla Lab doing development on Project TD, his pet project to develop a small fighter-sized cruiser capable of interstellar travel.
- Sleigh Presti - AKA the Crimson Comet, Filio's younger sister, a former Treue Unit candidate who turned down a spot to join Project TD instead.
- Ibis Douglas - A former DC pilot who is now a member of Team TD. Dubbed the Silver Shooting Star by Sleigh for her penchant for crashing and burning spectacularly.
The Earth Cradle
Part of Project Ark, a secret government project to preserve the seeds of humanity in the event of an earth-shattering disaster. This facility is a heavily armored dome capable of burrowing underground, and it has its own life support systems and production facilities for machinery and mobile weapons to serve as defenses. It is run by Dr. Sophia Nate, an altruistic scientist with a distaste for human conflicts, and her right-hand man, Dr. Egret Fehu, a far less altruistic scientist on friendly terms with the DC remnants. Sophia submerges the Earth Cradle following the last resistance of the DC Remnants before the L5 Campaign, going into artificial hibernation for the indefinite future. The indefinite future will last about 5 minutes before Egret backstabs her in OG2.
These people don't fit well in other categories but are worth a quick mention.
- Masaki Andoh - The pilot of Cybaster, a teenager with a fiery attitude and a woefully bad sense of direction. He has two cat familiars named Kuro and Shiro, and he really hates Shu Shirakawa. There's a bunch of Masoukishin story stuff with him, but it mostly happens offscreen and isn't really relevant to OG.
- Lüne Zoldak - Bian Zoldak's daughter, who comes back to the Earth Sphere from Jupiter following the death of her father. She challenges the Steel Dragons to fight her in her Valsione (a girly-looking machine that is a Valsion in substance), gets her ass kicked, then immediately turns around and goes "Ahh, that's much better!" and offers to join them. Turns out she never agreed with her father's vision, but she had to vent her grief somehow. She moves on from this and becomes a mainstay helping the Steel Dragons out. She also has an obvious crush on Masaki and bickers with him constantly. Her distinguishing feature is that she is secretly Domon Kasshu; She uses a knockoff mobile trace system called DML (direct motion link), and she can deflect bullets with her hands (she wears specially reinforced weighted wristbands for just this purpose).
I think that just about covers who to know, for now. There are certainly many other characters that exist, some of them even people that get key scenes like Tasuku, but this isn't an exhaustive guide, and it's already too big as it is. Strap in next time as I start unpacking OG2's plot, which is considerably more expansive than OG1's.
Original Generations 2: The Inspector
This is gonna be big, and it's gonna cover a lot of names and factions. I hope you at least skimmed through the character/faction overview in part 1.5 to have a feel for who's who at the start of OG2. If not, uh, good luck I guess. The events of OG2 are collectively referred to as the Inspector Incident, an overly broad appellation that doesn't do justice to the sheer amount of stuff going on. I'm going to do my best to highlight key events without going into a stage-by-stage synopsis. Buckle up, and away we go!
NCE 187 - Project Aegis
After the L5 Campaign, Brian Midcrid reveals the existence of aliens in dramatic fashion to the full Federation Assembly and general populace in the publicly broadcasted Tokyo Proclamation. This speech leads into the announcement of Project Aegis, a massive restructuring and expansion of the Earth Federation Military. With no more EOT Council to stymie them, the military expands rapidly and pours resources into manufacturing the mass-production Hückebein Mk. II, the new workhorse to replace the Gespenst Mk. II. Project ATX and Project SRX were both suspended at the end of OG1, but with Project Aegis in high gear and some string-pulling from Nibhal Mubhal, they both get reinstated.
The DC Remnants
The EFM suffered major losses during Operation SRW, the final battle of the L5 Campaign. The time they spend recovering from these losses and restructuring under Project Aegis provides the DC remnants with a perfect window to consolidate and muster their forces—forces which are oddly well-furnished and never seem to run out of supplies or robots despite their parent organizations having collapsed months ago. Reorganized, the DC remnants begin launching a fresh wave of attacks on Federation facilities, particularly facilities housing state-of-the-art prototypes and new mass-production models. These attacks tend to follow a pattern: DC remnants show up out of nowhere, launch a smash-and-grab attack with suspiciously surgical precision, then ditch and vanish off the radar before reinforcements can arrive. There's definitely a mole feeding them intel, but who?
It's in the midst of this conflict that Lamia Loveless crash lands in the woods near Langley in her Angelg.
\record scratch\ Wait, who?
That's about the same reaction that the ATX Team has after they rescue her from attack by the DC remnants.
Lamia is a central character to the series who is certainly worth talking about, but to explain her deal, we have to talk about Shadow Mirror, the first of the factions new to OG2, one with ties that go as far as Moon Dwellers.
Shadow Mirror is a Federation special forces unit from a parallel Earth that is currently providing material support to the DC remnants on the sly. Their commander, Vindel Mauser, saw that the world was becoming increasingly corrupted, and he (erroneously) blamed peacetime for it and embarked on a quest to create a world of perpetual wartime, in order to keep the world clean and honest, so to speak. Basically he wants Outer Heaven. One of his two top officers is a scientist named Lemon Browning, who develops the W-Series, synthetic humans with artificial minds designed to be ideal soldiers capable of both independent thought and unconditional adherence to orders. Lamia is W17, the 17th in the W-Series line of bioroids, and she is an agent of Shadow Mirror on an assignment to infiltrate this world's Earth Federation and locate some key persons named Beowulf and Helios Olympus.
\record scratch\ Wait, who?
Don't worry about it.
Back on topic, Lamia misses the mark on her landing, and something about the jump from the other side and her subsequent crash landing causes her linguistic systems to become a teensy bit scrambled, giving her a quirky speech tic that raises a few eyebrows but doesn't otherwise impede her ability to communicate. The speech tic only manifests when she's speaking in polite form, and she does perfectly fine when using blunt, plain language.
When the Federation runs an ID check on her, they turn up an entry for her as a test pilot with good ol' trusty Isurugi Industries. An official at Isurugi asks Captain Lee Linjun to take her aboard the Shirogane with the rest of the ATX Team to serve as an active-duty test pilot, and Lee straight-up refuses because the whole thing stinks to high heaven. Not even five minutes later, Lee's upper command intercedes for some reason and mandates that Lamia join the team, the first of many bitter pills Lee has to swallow.
Langley Base is currently under the command of Major General Kenneth Garret, who takes an immediate dislike to the ATX Team and runs them ragged with long hours and few breaks. Eventually, he dumps them on Lee when he dispatches Lee to root out the DC remnants' suspected base of operations at the Mexican Plateau, an expedition that ends in failure when the DC remnants flee across the Pacific ahead of their arrival. The Shirogane continues aggressively pursuing the DC remnants across the Pacific, and they make it just in time to catch the tail end of an attack on Hickam Base.
The School, the Earth Cradle, and Shadow Mirror
At Hickam Base in Hawaii, Kai Kitamura has assembled the beginnings of a new team of Aggressors that will serve as test pilots and crafters of motion data. The team is a work in progress, and his only recruits so far are Rai and Latune. They've just been delivered a shiny new prototype to test, when DC remnants launch yet another perfectly timed pinpoint smash-and-grab. In this attack, Latune's prototype Wildfalken is hijacked by a pilot who turns out to be her old Schoolmate, Seolla Schweizer. Latune is deeply disturbed to see Seolla active and working for the DC, and Seolla is similarly disturbed to discover Latune alive and working for the EFM.
As it turns out, all three surviving Schoolchildren are currently aligned with the DC remnants. Ouka is back at the Earth Cradle with Águila, while Arado and Seolla are on active duty working under Major Archibald Grims. Seolla has had loyalty to the DC retrofitted into her head, and she regularly spouts lines about fulfilling Bian's dying wish and restoring the DC to its rightful glory, which Arado just finds weird. The two of them have more clashes with the EFM forces, culminating in an attack on a base where Arado takes one for the team and knocks Seolla clear of an attack, only to eat the attack and crash. Arado is left for dead by the DC remnants and gets taken prisoner by the EFM. Meanwhile, Seolla gets brought back to the Earth Cradle for some reprogramming in the wake of Arado's supposed death.
Wait, didn't the Earth Cradle submerge last game?
Turns out Dr. Egret Fehu is a master of takesies-backsies. After the Earth Cradle submerges, he subdues his boss, Dr. Sophia Nate, and hooks her up to the Earth Cradle's master computer, Magus, to serve as the living central computer core. With Sophia thus safely out of the way, Egret is left as the sole person in charge, and he's quick to welcome in some new guests: Shadow Mirror, Águila and the Boosted Children, and Colonel Van Vat Tran's DC remnants. Águila provides Egret with data that is invaluable to his own pet project, the Machinery Children, and Vindel lets Egret in on Shadow Mirror's plans from the start so that they can more easily share high-end technology and roll out Shadow Mirror's mobile weapons on the Earth Cradle's production lines.
Speaking of production lines, when Ouka shows up to attack EFM forces while Seolla's out of commission, Ouka pilots a mass production R-Blade that shouldn't exist. As in, this model that Mao calls the R-Schneide only exists on paper, and the frame for it hasn't even been fully assembled yet. There's no reason for this machine to have been produced, yet here it is, up and running and perfectly functional. This machine's very existence has Irm totally baffled, as someone familiar with Mao insider info. No leak could have possibly produced this, which makes Ryoto seriously wonder if they're fighting time-travelers. That's the magic of Shadow Mirror—They field machines that were in production back on their parallel Earth, many of which don't have analogues in this version of Earth due to differences in background history.
The DC remnants get more than just Ouka for ace pilot backup. Shadow Mirror's W15, Wodan Ymir, takes the field in his distinctive Sladegelmir with a giant liquid metal sword that makes him eerily reminiscent of another German weeb swordsman whose initials are Sänger Sombold, and even the Shirogane and the ATX Team are forced to retreat from his path initially.
The Neo DC
All of this is leading up to the moment when Van Vat Tran, firmly secure in his position in the Earth Cradle, issues a proclamation to the world announcing the formation of the Neo DC. His pitch to the world is that what they need is not an Aegis shield but a harpe sickle, and that the do-nothing Federation Government has kicked the can down the road for too long with regards to the impending alien invasion, a claim that rings all too true after Brian Midcrid's Tokyo Proclamation. Thus begins the long nightmare of the Neo DC and its own remnants that never really go away in the rest of the OG franchise.
But then something else happens in the winter to cap off NCE 187—an emergency so great that it immediately diverts the spotlight away from the newly-christened Neo DC in their moment of triumph.
NCE 187-188 - The Inspector Incident
Finally, we're getting to the subtitle of the game. It only took 21 stages to get there!
The Hiryu has been busy up in space while the Hagane and Shirogane are fighting the DC remnants planetside. It's currently with the fleet of Federation ships stationed at the White Star, where it's been investigating some mysterious disappearances in space among the Federation's forces. However, it only has a handful of mobile weapons and pilots presently on board due to everyone else being dispatched elsewhere or otherwise indisposed.
The White Star suddenly comes under all-out attack by aliens. Aliens that aren't Aerogators. The three-man team of Gilliam, Viletta, and Lüne fend off the unmanned weapons for a little while with support from the Hiryu, but then four boss units show up together. The so-called "Inspectors" start out with funny banter, but the laughter is quickly cut short when Mekibos wipes out the entire White Star garrison fleet with a single well-placed Thunder Crash MAP weapon from his Greytarkin. After that, it's a desperate struggle for the Hiryu to get the hell out of there before getting completely overwhelmed. (Either that, or the Hiryu and its strike team park on the White Star and exploit its regeneration and defense bonuses to kill the bosses for some nice secrets and THEN get the hell out of there once they've given the bosses a black eye. I'll let you decide which version of events you like better.)
Regardless, the White Star (which the Inspectors refer to as the Nevi'im, like the Aerogators did) is swiftly occupied by the Inspectors, who turn it into their beachhead for a full invasion of Earth and the moon. Their leader, Mekibos's younger brother Wendolo, is nonplussed but unsurprised when he finds out that the Nevi'im's production facilities have been rendered permanently inoperable. "I guess even the Earthlings aren't THAT stupid." Not to worry, though—They've secured a fallback production facility called the Skullhead. What's the Skullhead? Don't worry about it.
Let's talk about the Inspectors and their MO. They are a small group of aliens coming from the Zuvork collective, and they report to a higher administrative body called the Privy Council. Their job is to inspect foreign civilizations and judge whether they will become seriously problematic in the long run. It's heavily implied that this is to avoid another group like the Balmar surfacing (the Ze Balmary Empire is the parent organization of the Aerogators). They are led by Wendolo, the chief foreign civilization inspector, who has passed judgment on the Earthlings and deemed them too collectively immature as a species to handle the dangerous technologies they've been developing. He characterizes the people of Earth as toddlers with handguns. They're also not the first Zuvork group to interact with the Earth—Wendolo's predecessors, the Guests, were the ones present for the breakdown in negotiations that was the Antarctic Incident.
What do you do with a civilization that's heavily armed and dangerous and needs to be curtailed before its expansion into space spirals out of control? You invade and occupy, of course. But you wouldn't want to inadvertently arm them with even more advanced technology by bringing stuff from home that they can analyze. No, the Inspectors make a point out of using purely local technology, which is what most of their command units and unmanned drones are built from (This is why EFM units were disappearing in the months leading up to the invasion, for capture and analysis). Ergo, they need local production plants to facilitate their occupation. There's also the matter of unit transportation. They have a teleporter that they've installed in the Nevi'im, one capable of sending mobile weapons to other locations, but it's the only such device they have, and it's not small enough or energy-efficient enough to be able to install on individual machines. Meaning they can only send things one way, so they also need local bases of operation on the ground.
The Inspectors Occupy North America
The first targets of Inspector occupation are Mao Industries on the moon and the Tesla Lab on Earth. The Inspectors hit them hard and fast, leaving retreat as the only viable option.
On the moon, Ryoto Hikawa covers the top Mao executives' last-minute evacuation in dramatic fashion by activating the Hückebein Mk. III. Arado, who by this point has been dropped off at Mao for some medical examinations, also comes through with some help. However, the aliens successfully occupy both Mao Industries and the Moon Cradle, the moon's equivalent of the Earth Cradle, meaning that they get both production facilities AND a really nice defensive outpost.
On the Earth, Team TD manages to escape the Tesla Lab before it gets occupied, but the scientists and Rishu all remain behind in the aliens' clutches. In the process of escaping, Sleigh Presti discovers to her dismay that the Alpha prototype, the lead unit in Team TD's arsenal, is painted silver. She's supposed to be the top dog pilot for Team TD, yet the lead unit is painted in Ibis's colors? This, combined with being forced to abandon her brother at the Tesla Lab, infuriates her so badly that she leaves the team. She eventually goes to hang out with the Neo DC and their remnants in hopes of rescuing her brother and retaking the Tesla Lab after the EFM gives up on liberating North America any time soon. See you in two games, Sleigh.
What follows for North America's EFM forces is a running retreat, as the Inspectors sweep eastward from the Tesla Lab in Colorado all the way to the east coast. It's a catastrophic loss in military terms, but the Inspectors focus on military strongholds and production facilities to the exclusion of all else, leaving population centers generally unharassed.
Mid-Game Faction Recap
Let's recap the factions in play real quick.
- The Neo DC - Newly formed from DC remnants. Led by Colonel Van Vat Tran, who wants to depose the corrupt Earth Federation Government and take over running the world with a military regime.
- Shadow Mirror - A special forces unit from a parallel Earth with their own mass production units, super robots, and synth supersoldiers. Led by Vindel Mauser, who wants a soldier's paradise. At this point they're still just a mystery group operating in the shadows.
- The School - A facility to create the perfect child soldier. Led by Águila Setme, who just loves producing child soldiers I guess.
- The Earth Cradle - A self-sufficient fortress with its own assembly lines. Run by Dr. Egret Fehu, who's advancing research on machine cells and his Machinery Children project. He's eventually angling for the Machinery Children to displace humanity entirely. For now, they're chipping in with Shadow Mirror.
- The Inspectors - Aliens who think the Earth needs to be subdued and occupied before their warring consumes the rest of the galaxy. Led by Wendolo, a young man whose self-righteousness is only matched by his ruthlessness.
- The Earth Federation Government - An entity on the brink of an internal coup. Led by President Brian Midcrid, but not for long.
- Isurugi Industries - A war merchant with ties to the Neo DC, Shadow Mirror, and the Earth Federation Government. Run by Mitsuko Isurugi, who is currently angling to get the Inspectors as a new client.
- The Einst -
\record scratch\ Wait, who?
You thought this was gonna be all civil wars and alien invasions? Wrong! While all the rest of this war history stuff is going on, there's another low-key element in play. Strange beings of bone, plant matter, and metal that show up in odd places. Before we proceed too far ahead, let's go back for a moment to when the Shirogane and the Hagane were pursuing DC remnants across the Pacific, before the DC made it to the Earth Cradle in Kenya.
Major Archibald Grims of the DC remnants gets a hot tip that there's some excavation work going on in China at a place called Chiyou Mound. This is of particular interest to him, because according to his own family archives, it's supposed to be the resting place of some ancient Chinese superweapons called Chokijin. That's a whole other thing worth a few paragraphs of its own, but we're not talking about them now. Archibald orders his forces to open fire on the civilians doing excavation work even though it's a complete waste of ammo, because as it turns out, he just LOVES gunning down defenseless civilians.
Archibald's fun is interrupted, however, by both the timely arrival of the Hagane, and the warping in of a bunch of giant skeleton-things. He calls it a wash and bails, leaving the Hagane to deal with the spooky skeletons. The psychics on the Hagane's strike team are getting very cold and disturbing vibes from these things and can't explain why. They're also not giving off any of the typical heat readings associated with the drives that power mobile weapons.
It gets weirder.
Soon enough, the Shirogane's crew and the ATX Team start running into these things attacking various military bases. And while nobody else can make heads or tails of the things, Kyosuke and Excellen both hear voices from them. Why? They're as puzzled as anyone else. Are they secretly psychic? Definitely not, because the EFM ran are-you-psychic tests on every crew member in between OG1 and OG2, and theirs came back negative. What's more, while most of them are barely communicative inhuman monsters, one appears to be a mobile weapon of some sort piloted by a weird girl who chats with them in an amicable, if cryptic, manner.
They're called Einst (German for "once", as in "I was once a man"), and the girl calls herself Einst Alchemie. With the civil war and alien invasion as their backdrop, the Einst are attacking key locations with no rhyme or reason and more or less doing their own thing on Earth.
The Second Liberation of Riksent
Riksent is still a very tiny, very resource-rich Mediterranean country located around the area of Greece, making it an ideal beachhead in every way for an army from Africa looking to invade Europe and reach Paris, which happens to be a perfect description of the Neo DC right now. It was only a matter of time before Riksent came under attack again, and this time its ruler Princess Shine has come prepared.
You see, in the interim between OG1 and OG2, Shine put in a special commission with Mao Industries that's been getting produced at their Orleans plant. Mao enlisted the aid of the Tesla Lab's most brilliant minds to design it and develop proper motion patterns for it so that they could roll it out fast. Jonathan Kazahara and Filio Presti put in some serious overtime, especially on the motion patterns, and what they finally produced was a set of twin mechs called the Fairlions. They use the W³NK System, a special tandem coordination system that allows one unit to be controlled remotely by the other. This is why Shine and Latune have a pair of twin units that do coordinated dancing moves together. Latune does all of the real controlling while Shine rides it out with her precognition to aid her. Shine goes on to be a mainstay pilot in the rest of the series, but only in that specific machine.
Archibald happens to be the one occupying Riksent on behalf of the Neo DC, and Rai and Leona quickly jump at the chance to get back at him. A concerted group effort from the Steel Dragons drives the Neo DC out of Riksent and liberates it once more. This is the last time Riksent will ever be relevant.
The Dragon and the Tiger Awaken
While Riksent is being liberated, another group from the Steel Dragons is en route to Izu Base, the center of command for the EFM's Far East Brigade. As they cross the Asian continent to reach Japan, another incident arises at Chiyou Mound that requires their attention. The Einst are attacking it again, being led by Alchemie this time. She wants to unearth what's there and claim it for the Einst.
What lies beneath Chiyou Mound are two ancient Chinese sentient robots (Chokijin) called RyuOhKi and KoOhKi, a dragon and a tiger respectively. They combine into beings called RyuKoOh and KoRyuOh, and they require two "Sthenopsyches" (強念者, strong psychics) to make their wu xing vessel rotate. Translation: They run on psychic power, and as bearers of that, Kusuha and Bullet fit the bill perfectly. The two humans bond with the two ancient Chinese robots, and RyuKoOh integrates their Grungust Type 3's parts to restore its own broken bits.
The group that was excavating RyuKoOh previously is led by Dr. Eri Anzai of the LTR (Lost Technology Research) Institute, a leading researcher in the field of OOPArts, or out-of-place artifacts, things excavated from ancient civilizations that look too advanced to be from that civilization's level of technology. She helps to translate some of RyuKoOh's cryptic explanatory remarks about the "Hundred Evils" and other related keywords: "Hundred Evils" is a catch-all term for the demons and yokai that existed in the ancient Chinese time period the robots are from. The basic summary is that ominous signs are on the horizon and RyuKoOh and KoRyuOh are ready to fight the forces of evil (especially the Einst) with Kusuha and Bullet's help. They're completely on board for that.
We're not going to go into the Chokijin's history or family tree for a while. Maybe in a couple of games when it's more front and center.
Shadow Mirror Steps Out of the Shadows
While the Neo DC is marching across Africa and the Mediterranean, Shadow Mirror's off doing its own thing. At one point while the Steel Dragons are fighting a losing war against the Neo DC in Africa, the Shirogane spots suspicious activity and goes to pursue it. Captain Lee Linjun essentially outsmarts himself by assuming that no trap would be that obvious, so he walks right into the trap and gets the bridge occupied by W16, Echidna Issaki.
For Lee's part, while in captivity, he's impressed by Shadow Mirror's bioroid forces, and he's enamoured of the idea of extremely competent, extremely loyal soldiers who just do the job and don't backsass or ask questions. He likes Vindel's style and would love to subscribe to his newsletter. So Shadow Mirror gets both a shiny new flagship AND a captain to command it. Score!
There's another major development that happens once Shadow Mirror grows more active—Axel Almer, the third key member of Shadow Mirror, joins back up.
Much like Lamia had a rough jump with a crash landing, Axel had one of his own. Only Axel's arrival was around six months ago, back around the time of the L5 Campaign. His jump had some special circumstances involved—he had one last showdown with Beowulf for the road, then made the jump with the jump device rigged to blow once he was through it. The machine he jumped in, the Soulgain, wound up around the L5 sector, and it got caught up in the fighting during Operation SRW, meaning that the mysterious Moustacheman was Shadow Mirror all along. It fought against the Aerogators' unmanned drones and ended up making reentry to Earth on its own. The reentry and subsequent crash landing were so damaging that the Soulgain's internal recovery systems took months to restore it to even basic functionality.
If Vindel Mauser is the leader and Lemon Browning is the brains, Axel Almer is the brawn, the point man and ace pilot who gets sent out to fix problems and get results. With his arrival, Shadow Mirror's forces are finally fully assembled, and they can now kick into high gear and proceed with the next phase of their plan: Capturing the Steel Dragons.
Their sleeper agent on the ATX Team, Lamia Loveless, finally gets the signal that it's go time. She takes the Angelg and holds the Hagane's bridge hostage. Shadow Mirror shows up seemingly out of nowhere (they're still using ASRS to great effect) in full force, and Vindel comes out personally to demand the Steel Dragons' surrender. However, Lamia has a change of heart and decides that based on what she's seen of this world, there's no place for Shadow Mirror in it. She launches herself in the Angelg at Vindel and Lemon's command units and triggers the bioroid self destruct, Code ATA (Ash to Ash). The resulting explosion does severe damage to the Zweizergain, forcing Vindel and Lemon to retreat while other Shadow Mirror forces cover them from the Steel Dragons' assault. Lemon picks up a little souvenir on the way out, the Angelg's miraculously intact cockpit.
Major General Kenneth Garret, that thorn in the ATX Team's side, now orders the Steel Dragons to pursue the Shirogane when it flees. They're confused about why Kenneth is suddenly giving orders and not Commander Laker. Turns out there's been a coup taking place at the same time that all of this has been happening, and Laker's now effectively a hostage being kept in confinement on base.
Lamia wakes up at a Shadow Mirror base, where Lemon has fixed her up. The speech tic is still there, because according to Lemon, fixing that would require removing chunks of her memory and nerve system, and that would compromise who Lamia is at this point, which is the last thing Lemon wants. Lemon is pleased as punch to find that one of her bioroid creations has finally discovered the holy grail of self-determination, and she tells Lamia to just do what she wants. So Lamia busts out. Axel is there to stop her, but she gets some unexpected help in the form of Sänger, Gilliam, and their good friend Rätsel Feinschmecker, a thinly disguised Elzam. They're using the Kurogane, a Space Noah-class warship that I like to term "the fugitive boat" since it's where all the ex-DC people hang out. Laker made sure it made its way into Elzam's hands just before the coup took place, and all of its ex-DC crew were allowed to stay with the ship.
Gilliam has his own connection to Shadow Mirror, as it happens. Helios Olympus, the person they're after, is the alias that he went by in the parallel world that Shadow Mirror's from (calling it the SM-verse for ease of reference), and they want him in order to perfect their dimension jumping device, System XN. He and Lamia rejoin the Steel Dragons and give them a full plot dump. Well... almost full. There are two aspects of the SM-verse that Gilliam and Lamia were never made privy to, things that come to light over the course of the game.
First, Beowulf. Lamia knows that Beowulf is the callsign of Kyosuke Nambu, and that Beowulf's squadron, the Beowulves, has power on par with that of this world's Steel Dragons. That group is singlehandedly responsible for torpedoing Shadow Mirror's prospects in the SM-verse, and they're the reason why Shadow Mirror made the jump. However, there's a set of dots that Shadow Mirror never fully connects. The peacetime corrupting the world? That was the Einst. Beowulf's suspicious tendency to show up to every encounter more powerful than in the last? His unexplained regenerative capabilities? All Einst. But Shadow Mirror never knew the Einst existed. All they know is that Beowulf is a dangerous, inhuman monster. That's why Beowulf is a priority target in their database to monitor, and it's why Axel is so fixated on Kyosuke, because Beowulf and his Gespenst Mk. III made his life a living hell in the world he's from.
Second, the Timeflow Engine.
The Timeflow Engine
In the SM-verse, a pair of scientists developed an engine that runs on an invisible form of energy called chronoparticles, basically a representation of the flow of time. Since their passing, their children have taken up the mantle of their research. Those children are Raul Gloeden, his sister Fiona Gloeden, their partner Raj Montoya, and their support specialist Mizuho Saiki. Two prominent scientists in their world express an interest in their research: Lemon Browning and Helios Olympus.
Before his own jump from the SM-verse, Axel tries to force them to hand over their machines, the Excellences, but something goes wrong when a mysterious otherworldly being shows up and causes their Timeflow Engines to go haywire. They all disappear, and Raul, Raj, and Mizuho end up jumping to our setting around this timeframe. They don't do anything of note in this game other than yell at Axel, though. We'll revisit them in OG Gaiden.
So to recap, we've got A) a civil war in Africa and Europe, B) an alien invasion in North America, C) a group of jumpers from a parallel world actively sowing chaos, and D) a coup that just happened and the heroes can't do anything but dance to the new administration's tune, and to top it off, we've got E) otherworldly horrors randomly popping up in places and putting voices in Kyosuke and Excellen's heads. Something's gotta give. Since there's been a recent coup in the EFM, and the orchestrators of the coup were in cahoots with the Neo DC, they quickly call a truce and strike up an agreement to launch a coordinated sweep attack called Operation Plantagenet to drive the aliens back off the planet.
The plan goes like this: The Steel Dragons hit the west coast at California and start sweeping their way east with the full amassed might of their special forces, liberating the Tesla Lab and other key facilities along the way. They converge with the Neo DC's forces coming in from the east across the Atlantic, and they launch a pincer attack to retake Langley Base, the headquarters of the EFM's North American Brigade, located in Virginia on the east coast. It's a very lopsided operation that involves the Steel Dragons doing the lion's share of the work crossing the country, while the Neo DC sweeps in just in time for the big final showdown.
The Dynamic General Guardians
Back at the Tesla Lab, Jonathan and Filio have been stalling the Inspectors for weeks now. They continue making excuses to drag their feet exporting data in a usable format. But the Inspectors' patience is wearing dangerously thin, and they've holding a lot of lab personnel hostage.
Team Double Umlaut, Sänger and Rätsel, come to the rescue, with a bit of surprise help from Wodan Ymir. When it's clear that their Grungust Type 3 and Hückebein Mk. III Trombe won't cut it, the Tesla Lab scientists launch a daring bid to unlock a super secret hangar they'd been keeping hidden from the aliens, one containing what they call Bian's legacy, the Double Gs. As it turns out, Bian spearheaded the development of four Dynamic General Guardian units back in the DC days. Two of them were intended for Sänger and Elzam (and since Elzam's not around, they'll have to make do with Rätsel), and it's these two that Shu drops off at the Tesla Lab offscreen sometime after the DC War. Don't worry about the other two.
Sänger renames the Dynamic General Guardian to the Dygenguar in a play on his own name that only works in Japanese. Rätsel calls his the Aussenseiter. The Dygenguar's original weapons systems aren't finished or operational, and Filio has to rewrite the woefully incomplete OS on the fly, but once Wodan throws the Dygenguar the Type 3's Zankanto, Sänger has matters well in hand and manages to drive out the Inspectors. Later, Sänger opts to just keep using the Zankanto instead of taking the Dygenguar offline for weeks to get its proper weapons up and running.
Kyosuke Nambu's No Good, Very Bad Day
Operation Plantagenet has a lot of momentum behind it now. The Steel Dragons have made it to the east coast and the Manhattan meteor crater. All that's left is the final push on Langley, and they'll have liberated all of North America from the hands of the Inspectors.
Colonel Van Vat Tran is leading the Neo DC's charge on Langley personally, with Trusty Archibald Grims sitting back in reserve. The Steel Dragons show up and join in the fight alongside the Neo DC to destroy the alien weapons. Everything's great and it's looking like they're on track clear out all the alien weapons in the base—that is, until Archibald's completely unforeseen betrayal from within. Without warning, Archibald's Rhinoceros landship suddenly opens fire on Van's own landship, critically damaging it. Then Shadow Mirror warps in.
There's a pretty big web of interconnections at play here for a huge set of sudden face/heel turns, so let's take a second to unravel it before proceeding any further.
1) The Earth Federation Military was against the Neo DC previously. Now the EFM has had a coup, and they're presently aligned with the Neo DC. 2) Shadow Mirror was aligned with the Neo DC previously. Now Shadow Mirror has turned against them and taken Archibald along for the ride. (Since the Neo DC has face-turned and struck a truce with the EFM, they are no longer a continual source of chaos in the Earth Sphere. This means they have outlived their usefulness to Shadow Mirror.) 3) The Inspectors were opposed to the EFM and the Neo DC+Shadow Mirror combined group. Now that Shadow Mirror has split off, they have aligned with the Inspectors. (They each have something the other wants.)
You got all that? Long story short, Shadow Mirror and the Inspectors have waited for just the right moment to crush the Steel Dragons, and this is it.
Remember how we offhandedly mentioned Wodan showed up for the retaking of the Tesla Lab for no adequately explained reason? Yeah, he's here together with all of Shadow Mirror's heaviest hitters, and Axel's Soulgain is also here and back in prime condition. For Archibald's part, he's forced to retreat when Mekibos steps out from hiding with another Thunder Crash to wipe out the remainder of the Neo DC's forces. He happens to hit a few "friendlies" in the process. Nothing personal, just a pointed message that is well taken by the Inspectors' new allies.
The Steel Dragons are exhausted and battered from nonstop fighting just getting here, and now Shadow Mirror is pummeling them with a fresh wave of high-end weapons. It's not a good day for them. Lee and the Shirogane open fire on the Hagane and score a direct hit to the upper bridge. Most of the crew survives, but Captain Daitetsu Minase doesn't make it through the day alive. Tetsuya is forced to take emergency command of a damaged ship while the whole bridge crew is in bad shape. It's time to sound the call to retreat.
As the Steel Dragons start to fall back, Axel decides it's time to eliminate Beowulf once and for all. With his Soulgain, he delivers an overwhelming full FMV beatdown of Kyosuke's much tinier and squishier Alteisen. He systematically rips off each one of the Alt's limbs to ensure that the Alt is well and truly crippled, then rears back to deliver the finishing blow to the Alt's cockpit just to be on the safe side. But something else stops him before he can finish the job.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, hordes upon hordes of Einst start warping into Langley Base. Just endless waves of the things. They overrun the base in short order, forcing all sides out—The EFM, Shadow Mirror, and the Inspectors. Soon after that, the Einst draw out Excellen with remote mind control and abduct her while Kyosuke's getting emergency medical treatment and nobody else is in any shape to stop her.
And so Operation Plantagenet ends in a complete trainwreck for everybody involved.
NCE 188 - Endgame of the Inspector Incident
The Neo DC is now dead and gone. All that's left of it now are Archibald's soldiers and a couple of lieutenants named Yuuki and Carla who stuck with the Steel Dragons following the Langley catastrophe.
Due to the loss of Langley, Shadow Mirror's forces are forced to split off and retreat. Half of them led by Archibald return to the safety of the Earth Cradle. The other half, led by Vindel on board the Shirogane, launch into space and head up to the White Star to convene with the Inspectors and set up shop. The Einst are hounding both split sides the whole way to their destinations, and they seem to take a particular interest in the Earth Cradle.
The Inspectors are forced to retreat to the White Star. They've lost North America and the moon, leaving them holed up in the White Star surrounded by more hordes of Einst appearing in space to harass them at every turn. They just will not leave the White Star alone for some reason.
Adding to all of this, the Einst now have two human ace units, Alchemie and a mind-controlled Excellen. Excellen's Weissritter has gotten souped up into a beefy boss unit called the Rein Weissritter. Langley was only the start, too. The Einst have been pushing aggressively against EFM bases like never before.
The Earth Cradle's Collapse
The Hagane and Hiryu split up their teams to hit the Earth Cradle and the Moon Cradle respectively. Only now, since the Hagane's out of commission, they're going to be using the Kurogane for a while instead. It's a good choice, since the Kurogane's giant rotating ram bow (a bigass drill at the front of the boat) is perfectly suited for burrowing underground and getting close undetected. We're going to omit the moon split because none of it's terribly relevant to the larger plot, but a lot of things happen in the Earth Cradle that are worth mentioning.
Sänger has his final showdown with Wodan Ymir, in which Wodan's mask finally breaks, revealing that he is in fact a bioroid designed to be a copy of the version of Sänger from the SM-verse. While they're having their duel, the others advance into the Earth Cradle through its elevator. Inside, they come up against Archibald, Águila and her Boosted Children (by this point, just down to Ouka since Arado eventually won Seolla over), and Dr. Egret Fehu's Machinery Children.
Rai and Rätsel finally get some satisfactory closure to the Elpis Incident by blowing Archibald to smithereens. Ouka by this point has had her mind written and rewritten so many times that she's starting to mentally short-circuit. It's so bad she literally starts spouting error lines. Cuervo Cerro, Águila's assistant, finally decides to do something right and releases Ouka's programming, allowing Ouka to go after Águila, her real enemy.
I'm going to touch briefly on the Machinery Children here. The Machinery Children are synthetic beings created to be the basis for a superior new human race to supplant the old warmongering human race. They're built on Adler and Águila's Boosted Children research, and their bodies are largely based on Águila's Bronzo 28 specimen, Arado Balanga, who has remarkable durability and natural regeneration. There are 15 in total—The ones named are Uruz (1), Ansuz (2), Thurisaz (3), and Algiz (15). Uruz is the originator, and the others are given different personalities for different purposes. Egret has plans to mass produce them, and he also speaks of plans for the "Ing series". They use machine cell enhanced mobile weapons called Bergelmirs that are effectively souped-up Hückebein Mk. IIs.
As Egret realizes that Ansuz and Thurisaz are fighting a losing battle, he calls in Uruz and the other Machinery Children, then he calls on Magus to perform a mass conversion of everything within the Earth Cradle using machine cells. Dr. Sophia Nate's primary field of research is machine cells, nanomachines designed to repair and propagate in order to facilitate restoration of the Earth's environment. They're knockoff DG cells, basically.
The Steel Dragons notice the scenery in the Earth Cradle's core block starting to physically warp. The walls are bending. Some of the broken machinery is becoming reanimated, including Águila's machine. She cackles about machine cells making her immortal. Ouka, knowing that she's not going to live much longer as it is due to her incredibly messed up mind and body, launches a self-destruct attack on Águila to ensure that she's completely and fully blown to smithereens. As the others struggle to cope with machine cells immobilizing them, Sänger and Wodan come crashing in through the ceiling. A dying Wodan cleaves through all of the remaining Machinery Children with his ultimate technique, the Star Reaver Sword, and Sänger rushes to get Sophia separated from Magus. This buys the Steel Dragons enough of a reprieve to overboost out of there and drill their way out before the whole place collapses on them.
There goes the Earth Cradle and Dr. Egret Fehu, never to be seen again.
The Kurogane leaves in a hurry to reconvene for a push on the White Star. They don't have time to deal with the aftermath or the Einst cleanup.
Guess who DOES have time for the aftermath and Einst cleanup?
There's a much less well-known Earth Federation Military task force called the Crywolves that's currently operating in the Steel Dragons' shadow, doing post-operation cleanup work at the Earth Cradle at the behest of a Federation lab group called the Tsentr Project. The Crywolves' leader is Albero Est, and his two main wingmen are Hugo Medio and Albero's son Foglia Est. They get dispatched to the wreckage of the Earth Cradle to go on an Einst hunt. The Einst are still milling about for some reason (later explained that they're interested in machine cells), and the Crywolves have a specific objective in mind: A Head.
The Einst are given codenames for easy reference in the Federation's databanks. The skeletons (Knochen) are called Bones, the vine ones (Glied) are called Grasses, the animated armor suits (Gemüt) are called Armors, and the big boss ones (Regisseur) are called Heads. The Heads are enormous creatures with innate regeneration and a lot of destructive power, so capturing one alive is a tall order. However, the Crywolves came prepared. Extremely trustworthy scientist Dr. Mitar Zapad of the Tsentr Project provided Albero with a freezing warhead for this op that, when fired, freezes over the entire Head. It's not a permanent solution, but it lasts long enough for a Federation transport to roll in and carry it off to the Tsentr Project's base of operations, Pillbox 1.
Sophia is alive and well and trying to sort the mess at the Earth Cradle out, so she's understandably not happy to see the Tsentr Project roll in, take over her clean-up work, and kick her out of her home. She goes to crash on her best friend Eri's couch at the Tesla Reich Institute, where Eri's set up shop doing support work for the Chokijin.
The Kurogane and Hiryu reconvene in space and embark on a decisive push toward the White Star. On their way there, the Einst launch a decisive attack of their own. Excellen locks down the ships with their hangar bay doors still closed, and no one can breach the field to get out of them, leaving Kyosuke as the only capable non-ship fighter (he scrambled early without leave when he sensed the Einst). Excellen musters enough will to tell Kyosuke to get the job done, and Kyosuke manages to close in and pierce the red crystal acting as a conduit for whatever being is controlling her. He makes brief contact with the being and gets a few answers about why Excellen is being controlled and he isn't.
Kyosuke and Excellen were both in a shuttle crash years ago, back in their academy days. Kyosuke came out of it badly wounded and hospitalized for months. Excellen, however, came out of it perfectly pristine. The reason for that was that Excellen actually died in the shuttle crash. The Einst attacked the shuttle and crashed it, and they integrated into Excellen's body to revive her as one of them. They tried to do the same with Kyosuke, but it didn't work, because through some incredible miracle, Kyosuke was still clinging to life without their help. That explains why Kyosuke can commune with them like Excellen can, but only Excellen responds to their control.
What about Alchemie? Well, she's the Einst's attempt at creating a new life of their own based on Excellen. That explains why she takes after a lot of Excellen's mannerisms. She's been fixated on Kyosuke because of that, but she's not even sure if those feelings are her own.
The Einst's goal is a tranquil universe. Humans are disruptive to tranquillity, so they need to be removed. The Einst want to open a "door", erase the "other root", and plant a "new seed". They talk in very deliberately cryptic ways using keywords like this all the time, and it's equally infuriating to readers and characters in-setting.
In summary, Kyosuke breaks the orb controlling Excellen, which has the effect of lowering the field around the ships so that more units can scramble to get rid of the rest of the Einst. When Excellen goes in for a medical exam afterward, she gets assured that she's not subject to any more control. The Rein Weissritter is still operational, and it's more of a rebirth than an upgrade as the technicians describe it. Well, it's an ex-boss unit with cool attacks, and Excellen's attached to her Weissy, so she'll take it.
The Push Into the White Star
Once they're past the Einst, the only thing standing between the Steel Dragons and the White Star is a boatload of Shadow Mirror bioroid soldiers and Inspector drones. Captain Lee Linjun makes his final stand here in the Shirogane, having a showdown with Tetsuya. Lee has the Shirogane make a charge at Tetsuya's Kurogane. Tetsuya's response: "Have you forgotten what our ship has on its bow?!" Lee is quickly on the receiving end of a massive drill. He somehow survives and runs like hell, never to be seen again.
Once in the White Star, the Steel Dragons have their final showdowns with Axel Almer and the Inspectors. Axel has some poignant final moments with Lamia—All the time he spent belittling Lemon's "puppets" was envy on his part, envy that he couldn't turn off his own useless emotions and just live purely for war. He accepts his defeat as his due and goes out with a warrior's grace.
Wendolo isn't going to accept defeat lying down, though. He's ready to warp out and go back home for a while to regroup—except he finds that he can't. His warp device has been sabotaged, and his brother Mekibos is quick to show up and take the credit for it. He's had a change of heart and is starting to think that his boss and little brother Wendolo isn't giving these Earthlings enough credit for their spirit and ingenuity. He's starting to question if the Inspectors have any business being here at all. Wendolo is unimpressed, however, and just as quickly turns on his brother and blasts him into nothing. Wendolo falls to the Steel Dragons and perishes in turn, and Mekibos is gone, never to be seen again.
They've won now, right? Not quite.
The scenery warps, and the neat panel lines of the White Star are replaced with a strange pinkish fleshy environment. The Einst have warped in, and they're here in full force being led by Alchemie. The last of the Shadow Mirror forces also warp in here, since this is the best shot they're going to get at nabbing Gilliam. The Steel Dragons are finally able to confront Vindel and Lemon. When Lemon dies, she shares a story with Excellen.
Back in the SM-verse, Excellen died in the shuttle crash and didn't get brought back to life. Her parents were involved with a certain military project to create mobile weapons and synths to control them. When Excellen died, they took her remains and integrated project material into the corpse in an effort to bring her back to life. It sort of worked, except that they didn't get Excellen's full personality and memories back. Instead they got Lemon Browning, so named because she was a failed project, a defect.
Lemon bids Excellen and Lamia both a gentle farewell when her robot explodes. Vindel is undeterred, and when it becomes apparent that he's losing, he decides it's time to leave and start fresh somewhere else. He says screw it and moves to open the dimensional door, with or without Gilliam's help. Gilliam rushes in, not to stop him, but to hijack System XN and use it himself, claiming that he'll take Vindel beyond the causality horizon. Lamia joins them, suggesting despite Gilliam's protests that such a jump would be more reliable with more energy to fuel it.
The debate quickly becomes moot, however, when Alchemie hijacks the dimensional door for the Einst.
The Steel Dragons are warped to a pocket dimension with the Einst and their true leader, the Neuer Sternregisseur. The Sternregisseur has merged with the White Star itself, becoming a 40 kilometer titan. Buckle up, because ol' Stern's got some exposition for us.
The Neuer Sternregisseur calls itself the Einst and the Zukunft (what once was, and what will be), and explains that it is an inspector who inspects the seeds of life born from the "land of beginnings" (Earth) and spread throughout the universe. It watches and corrects distortions and errors. When asked if the stuff about seeds from the land of beginnings means the Earthlings and Inspectors and Balmarians all share the same root, it clarifies only by saying the following:
"There is more than one root. There is a being which bestows intelligence, power, and trials upon you. One that stimulates your evolution. There are some of its blood who seek to open the gate and contact the ancient records."
To the Sternregisseur, Man is a lifeform that ate the fruit of knowledge and multiplied, unrepentant. Man disrupts the universe's tranquility and voluntarily shortens the lifespan of the universe itself. Since the seeds of life spread too far, too chaotically, their advancement has gone beyond the Regisseur's power to control. So the Sternregisseur's goal is to "correct the distortion from the land of beginnings". Or as Kyosuke puts it: "So basically, now that we're too much for you to handle, you want to hit the reset button."
Naturally, the Steel Dragons aren't impressed with any of this claptrap, and they point out the flaw in this logic: That if this so-called "Inspector" really could have passed judgment on them at any point, why are they here having a final battle with it at all?
Alchemie sort of has a change of heart during this, too. When she realizes that the Sternregisseur's goal is to blot out ALL life, including her own, she asserts that no, she wants to live and see what happens next. She sides with Kyosuke and Excellen against her creator.
In the end, the Steel Dragons overcome the Neuer Sternregisseur, and Gilliam harnesses the power of System XN one last time to get them out of the collapsing pocket dimension.
Back on Earth, with the fall of the Sternregisseur, all Einst in the Earth Sphere immediately fall apart and collapse into dust, bringing an abrupt end to the nonstop Einst assaults on Federation bases. Alchemie's Persönlichkeit suffers the same fate, and it turns out that the reason they've never seen her outside of it is because it's the only life support system sustaining her. She thanks Kyosuke and Excellen for accepting her, then quietly passes away with her mech.
The Crywolves Come Back For More
While the Steel Dragons are having their confrontation with Shadow Mirror, the Crywolves have been dispatched into the White Star to pick up after them. This time the dispatcher is Dr. Eric Wang of the Tsentr Project, a friendly and quirky old man who would very much like it if they could retrieve the Zweizergain's wreckage for him. While they're venturing in and fighting their way past Inspector drones, they get a bunch of dangerous warp readings. Albero immediately aborts the op, and they hightail it the hell out of there just as the White Star warps out of existence. The shockwave sends them flying out. By the time they recover, they get news that the Steel Dragons are back and the Inspectors and Shadow Mirror are gone.
Also sent flying out by the White Star's warp shockwave is the wreckage of the Soulgain. Axel isn't quite as dead as he wanted or expected to be, but he's definitely mortally wounded and dying quietly in his cockpit. He grimaces and grouses about not even getting granted a warrior's death, but hey, maybe the quiet's not so bad. He passes out, and a spirit drifts to his cockpit.
The Crywolves didn't accomplish their objective of retrieving the Zweizergain, but when they stumble across the Soulgain's wreckage, they haul it in to examine it. What they discover inside is Axel Almer, unconscious, fully pristine, and naked as the day he was born, with his clothes folded in a neat stack in front of him. Eric takes custody of the Soulgain and takes charge of Axel's medical treatment and monitoring at Pillbox 1. This is all kept super hush-hush by the Tsentr Project, of course.
NCE 188 - Epilogue
- The Neo DC is gone, except for all the remnants that will persist forever.
- The Inspectors are gone to a man. Their old production base the Skullhead is still floating around in space, now occupied by the Federation.
- Shadow Mirror is fully gone, except for Lamia. Lamia thinks it's for the best that ALL of Shadow Mirror and the W Series is gone for good, so she quietly takes the Angelg out one day, not planning to come back. However, the Steel Dragons show up and talk her down from self-destructing, and when Lamia says there's no place for her in this world, Kyosuke promises to keep one there for her. She relents and decides to stick around.
- The Einst are gone, except for Excellen, who is part human. She's not displaying any weird symptoms or getting sick, but she's still afraid of the possibility of regression. Kyosuke assures her that if it came to that, he'd kill her himself. She teases him about being a ladykiller, and just like that, they're back to normal. She remarks that if they ever have kids, she'd like to have twin daughters and name them Lemon and Alchemie. Kyosuke likes that idea.
- The Earth Federation is now under the rule of President Graien Grassman following his successful coup.
- The Tsentr Project, a highly shady government-funded group of scientists ranging from quirky to insane, continues to get funding and support from Graien's aide Nibhal Mubhal. Nibhal is providing backing to the Tsentr Project on behalf of a certain Mr. Steinbeck, who is very exacting in his demands for them to produce results and deliverables.
- Mitsuko gets off scot-free in her dealings with aliens and the Neo DC, considering that Graien was in on her scheming. In fact, Isurugi Industries is currently arranging a curious new acquisition, a little-known industrial equipment manufacturer called Wong Heavy Industries, based in Dalian, China.
- The Steel Dragons are scattered to the winds again, with the ATX Team being sent off to a remote base in Russia for a while. They've lost Lamia, who got scouted by Kai for his new Aggressors, but they've gained Kusuha, who's now inseparable from Bullet. RyuKoOh and KoRyuOh have gone to sleep at the Tesla Reich Institute to rest up for coming dangers, so Kusuha and Bullet will be piloting a two-man Grungust Type 3 for a while.
- Kai had to let Rai go since the SRX Project got unfrozen, but he's got a whole new assembly of people for his new Aggressors: Latune, Arado, Seolla, and Lamia. Since the Schoolchildren don't have anywhere better to go, Kai's going to take them under his wing. He's not the only surrogate father figure they have, either—Giada and Garnet retired from the military months ago to settle down and have kids, but they still treat Latune as a daughter, and they welcome Arado and Seolla as more family.
And so the Inspector Incident winds down to its conclusion, while some other plot threads start to pick up steam.
See you next time for Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2.5: Unified Wisdom.
Original Generations 2.5: Unified Wisdom
- Details the battles of the Steel Dragon Squadron against the remnants of the Neo DC Remnants at Hellgate, as well as the beginning of the Shura Turbulence, setting into motion the events of OG Gaiden.