Part 65: The Future Starts With You (Synchro)

Stack those sandbags! Do whatever it takes to keep the flood out! Worst case scenario, we shut the bulkheads!

Pvt. Sasuga: We still need the approval of two more MPs! Right now we only have three!

I'm not going to let us all die! Not here, not now! If you don't wanna die, move those sandbags!

Oh no... the roof is starting to leak all over the place!

Settle down. The flood's going to hit the upper floors first. The living space underground should remain secure for a while longer.


The fact that you're chiming in makes me more worried!

It's okay. We'll make it in time. Won't we, Kirino?

If anyone can, it's you guys. We all believe in you!

Y'know, no pressure or anything.

The Mori Tower 45th floor includes such tenants as corporate offices of Goldman Sachs.

Say, Chisa. Which path would you say there are fewer Dragons on?

If we turn left here.

Right, then.

!! A tentacle of Oceanus!

Well, I did say 'fewer'.

Be careful, you guys!

Koron, if you would please burn it to your heart's content?

You're speaking my language, Richter.

...Was I not before? Has my mastery of Japanese faltered?


I'm kidding.


Oh! Hahaha. Good one.

Koron, these tentacles don't have any ranged attacks. Could you place a veil on Youka?

Thank you, Koron. Youka, would you?

You got it!

Alright, we've got this handled! Let's keep going until it's defeated!

Man, that barely even tickles!

And that's a wrap!

For a creature with such terrifying power, its appendages are hardly more than child's play.

Oh, be careful about bolstering my ego. I'm told it can be quite troublesome at times.

The main body is still above. Keep heading in for now!

It appears to be time to jump up ahead. Please be ready, everyone!

No problem!

Okay that was actually a lot of jumping but I'm fine.

I'm beginning to think my instincts actually led us down the more problematic path.

This path is broken down.

Man, I'm glad we have Kirino.

!! We're going to need to be very careful here, everyone!

Ehhhh, I think I got this one.

Piece of shit!

We need to ensure Youka stays standing! Thankfully, I don't believe it has another volley of that remaining yet!

I'd rather try and ensure we all stay standing, personally. She can take it with just this.



Yes, yes. There you are, Youka. Please enjoy yourself.

While Dragons' AI is generally less predictable, Little Dragons still use the 'Gnaw the highest HP character' strategy on their first turn in the fight, so with Fang Breaker in place...

Later, loser!

Youka's fist crumpled the little dragon's skeleton from its face to its rear, like an accordion.

And I haven't forgotten about you, big guy!

It just does normal bonks for the rest of this fight, so we handle this nice and clean.

Bye bye, Invader!

I'd forgotten for a moment just how good she was at dealing with the puppies.

Let's see, another split in the path...

Ah, there's the connection.

Ah! That's an elevator to the fifty-fourth floor!


...Still. We had better take care of these Dragons. I would hate for one of them to leap into the fray in the middle of the fight.

Huh. I hadn't thought about that.

Richter is now just barely sturdy enough to survive getting slimed in the face twice in one turn!

...why is it always him.

Anyway, the Tower Dragons have Fang-type basic attacks. This man's entire soul is eviscerated by Youka's fists in short order.

If we just hurry... argh, to be availed of Sumie's speed!

Yes! Got you!

I love luvshock. I luv loveshock.


Kinda wish there was more though.

Are we sure this isn't acid?

You think they would've bottled the acid?

That does seem unlikely. Still, I should probably check it before we use it.

Anyway then my fool ass runs all the way back to the beginning of the floor

Gets into a fight with a Monkfish where I try to Auto it and it doesn't die in one turn

Causing the Dragon to come in

but Youka is so sturdy against physical attacks that this guy can't do anything noteworthy outside of Venom Breath and I wrap the fight up pretty quick.

This should be the last one on this floor.

We're almost through!

This guy bonks Koron twice in a row and kills her, but that's the most noteworthy thing that happens here.



Would that we could all take such joy in the simple things.

Alright! Let's head for the top!

I'm reading the Imperial just above you! Please be careful!

The 53rd floor of the Mori Tower is home to the Mori Art Museum, centerpiece of the Mori Arts Center which takes up the 49th through 54th floors.

Doesn't look like that way's any good.




For our trouble we get two Heal Aero 3s and a Venom Guard. Thanks guys

Up there.


That's a good attitude, kiddo!

And that's the Roppongi Acidfall done and dusted but for the big guy!

It appears we've got one more bout of jumping. Ready, everyone!

One more present for you, Sumie.

i'm vibrating out of my skin with glee at all the beloved treasures

And finally, the open air roof deck on the 54th floor of the Mori Tower.

Seems we've reached our final stop.

So we have.

The beast which would melt Tokyo to nothing, the Imperial Dragon Oceanus—its wings sparkled with the light of the acid it sent down to the earth, its body one long funnel to create its caustic fluids.

Okay, Koron. Important. What is this?

It's a leviathan.

Whatever it is, it can expel the acid rain from its wings, so be careful!

That seems likely to me.

So it was our own water to begin with, was it? What a cruel trick.

However it managed it, this beast is the source of the acid rain. Are you all ready?

The beautiful Satsuki, ready for your backrow support!

I mean I sure hope I'm ready or else we might all die

Don't think about it that way, would be my advice.

I'll beat this thing all the way back down the tower if that's what it wants!

Great idea! I think I might help.

To enjoy the battlefield as your home... that's the calling of young soldiers like myself. But I simply can't live that way.

As an agent of Unit 13, I fought to create a place I could call home. And now I fight to protect that home from you and your ilk!

I will not falter here! It's you who will die here today, not us!

It's Oceanus, baby! 4956 HP, weak to Fire and Aerial but immune to Ice. Oh and, stunningly, really shockingly here, it's immune to Poison.

Oceanus isn't nearly as brutal relative to the point we're at as Tiamat was, but that hardly means it's easy. It's a strong enemy with a number of skills and ways to blonk your donk.

I barely remember this fight beyond the broad strokes, honestly. Oceanus is a huge dip in difficulty after Tiamat. Out of every boss in the 2020s, it has the weakest focused ailment (poison), which means there's little need to burn equipment slots on poison resistance if you don't mind a bit of extra danger. As far as direct damage goes, it lacks a skill that can kill in one hit, ala Dimensional Tear, so that's nice.

My other notes are that I tried to hit this thing with Blizzard Assault to freeze it, and I got 2 damage and no freeze for my trouble. Also, for some reason, Oceanus makes electric zapping noises during the start-of-battle camera pan.

Please prepare to burn the Imperial!

You got it!


What the fuck, man?

Water Wings is a physical attack that lowers your physical defense for an overall 30% buff to Oceanus bonking you.


What the fuck, man?!

Acid Ball is a ranged magical attack that has a 90% chance to inflict a 23-damage Poison.

Yes, Richter just got beaned in the face twice while Youka had Counter Stance up. Yes, I was a little annoyed. Moving on.

I said Oceanus lacked a specific skill that can kill in one hit. I did not say it was unable to one-round someone.

Okay, get up. You aren't going to take that lying down, are you?


What the fuck, man, I'm right here!

What a beautiful Duwang. chew

It's just a strong physical.

Oceanus needs a skill to even come close to what Tiamat could do with a regular attack.

Am I not large enough for you? HEY! HEY, ASSHOLE! OVER HERE!

...Yeah, it just completely ignored Youka with Counter Stance up for two straight turns. Thanks. Thanks, Oceanus.

Well, that's one way for Oceanus to actually be challenging, I guess.

Alright! Let's try this one more time!

Hey, fuckhead!

Much better!

Now it's behaving!

I'd used Richter's Exhaust on this Trojan, and it did some solid damage. Boy I wish it had gotten to do more, because this is when it ran out. Thanks Oceanus.

I'm helping! Whapow!

Gonna have to try harder than that!

Gah! What the hell is that sound?

It's disrupting our resistances! Be careful!

Rain Prayer is a pretty nasty skill—it debuffs your party's magical defense by 30% and makes you 50% more likely to be inflicted with status ailments.

Piss off!

It's taken serious damage! Everyone—!

Watch out!

From its maw burst forth a volley of the acid rain, strong enough at its inception to tear through the nanocoating.


Damn it! Piss off, asshole!

Acid Rain, as you can see, ain't fun! It's barely weaker than Acid Ball, and while its odds are lower to inflict Poison, the Poison is much stronger at 43 damage, plus Oceanus will usually use it to follow up Rain Prayer.

I've been talking trash about Oceanus all fight, but Acid Rain is no joke. On its own the skill isn't terribly impressive, but as a follow-up to Rain Prayer it's pretty nasty.

I have said "why is it always Richter" IRL multiple times as Kinu has been going through the Acidfall and she recounts how much the game seems to hate Richter. I feel this is an apropos anecdote at this moment.

Will you cut that the fuck out?!

I... g-guh...


Wasting your time there, damned fool!

I damaged Oceanus enough to transition it into its third phase of the fight, so it sort of wasted its time here with a successive Rain Prayer. I'm not complaining.

I'm kinda surprised there's no check for the Rain Prayer debuffs already being active.

...Is checking player debuffs even an AI function enemies have? I don't think so.

You gotta get up! C'mon!

You're... thinking about this the wrong way, Sumie.


Every time I get hit... every time they focus on me over anyone else... that's one more strike the others won't take!

Hit me with your worst, Imperial Dragon! You couldn't kill me if you tried!

Yoru no sukima ni iro no nai boku wa tokete
(My pale body melts into the night)

Namida ochite wa kanashimi chirabaru kara
(As my tears fall, they scatter sadness)

Toita nazo dake atarashii keshiki no naka
(With every mystery I solve, I find a new landscape)

Chiisana kodou ima kizandeku hajimari tsugete
(A new heartbeat announces the beginning inside me)

It's flagging!

Hitori koboreta tameiki boku wa sukutte
(Alone, I catch myself letting sighs overflow)

Kawakii yasenai kokoro wa chirakaru dake
(My soul, cracking from dryness, lies scattered

Everyone! Be careful—

Watch out!

Koron! Youka!

Tasogarete wa surechigai miushinau chigaeta kyori
(We pass in the twilight, losing sight of each other's paths,)

Hanarete tatte yakusoku wa tsunagatekku kawaranai kizuna no ato
(but though we're far apart, the promise of our eternal bond remains strong)


You aren't going to defeat us.

Nanomachine 119! High-Speed Ignite Mode!

Terashita hikari ga nagareru hoshi ni nari
(The light that shone on me became a shooting star)

Oikaketa SPEED wa shirazu ni kasoku shiteku
(We tried to catch it, but it kept getting faster)


Hurry and finish it!

Sayonara hira hira sugiteku setsunai hi de
(It flutters away as the bittersweet days pass)

Fuck off already!

Kasanatteku IMAGE wo egaite SYNCHRO no tochuu
(All these images synchronize as they go)

And at long last, under the force of one last strike from Youka, Oceanus let out a scream...

...and fell to the floor, motionless.

Zutto kesanaide yo
(Please, don't let this end)

What the hell was that?! Acting like the hero?

It's not my fault that it was tactically appropriate to serve as a decoy against an Imperial Dragon that inexplicably hated me!

You're cursed, man! I swear you're cursed!

We won! We won!

Tojita hitomi de modorenai keshiki sagashi
(I close my eyes, searching for the scenes I can't get back)

Itami uzuita kizuguchi uso de fusagu
(I cover my scars and my pain with lies)

Alright... we've done it. What's the situation?

Hakanasa shitta ayamachi ni yugande kususanda machi
(This city is distorted by naive mistakes)

Kakaete kita yakusoku to shinjiteku tsuyosa wo mune ni
(I'll take our promise and the strength to believe, and keep them in my heart)

"Arms Fabrication" is available at HQ!
"Res Ward C" is available at HQ!
"Research Ward Lv. 2" is available at HQ!

Bokura ikue mo hagureta nemurenai yoru koete
(Over all these sleepless nights, we've went off track again and again)

Togireteta LOGIC ga kimi to no kotae ni naru
(My answer to you is my broken logic)

The rain... stopped?

Sgt. Makita: Those bastards did it... They really did it!

Megutte wa shira shira somatteku kisetsu ni mo
(The seasons come and go, turning and turning,)

Nagareteku PHRASE wa nijinda shirokuro no sora
(and these phrases in the air blur like a cloudy sky.)

Nobody was more exhausted by the end of our fight than Richter, who'd taken a seat on the roof's helipad, his skin and clothes burnt from being pelted with the acid.

There's really no need to worry about me so much... ow.

Yes there is! Idiot! You're hurt!

You really must be cursed, man.


Ahahaha. Well, if that curse is tactically useful, it can't be that bad, can it?

...Maybe that's what that means to me. Maybe that's what it means to be me.

Dareka ja nai boku to shite irareru you ni
("I need to be myself, and not somebody else,)

"Nanika de iraretara boku de aru" toka ja naku
("but it's not so much that I need to find something that makes me myself)

"Nanika wo nakushitara boku ja nai" to kidzukanakya
("so much as me not being myself if I lose something.")

We won! We won! WE WON!

Unit 13...

...No. I think this calls for being more direct. Richter. Thank you for everything.

I hardly did anything, sir.

Oh, go stuff it with that. You deserve thanks for everything.

Tachidomari riyuu mo imi mo mienaku nari sou dakedo
(In the moments I feel cornered, and like I've lost my reason and meaning,)

Tomerarenai jikan matataku chiribameta kirameki tsukandeku kara
(I'll grasp at the light that twinkles in the corner of my eyes)

Things were as bad as they could get, but you endured and persevered. This victory belongs to you—a victory I thought unattainable.

It seems you've been blessed with quite an assistant, Kirino.

Don't I know it. Everyone else... make sure he knows it, too.

Will do.

I've really hardly done anything, though...

Oh, yeah, you only led everyone through one of the worst crises the Dragon Wars have ever had, by yourself, and saved the day through a heroic sacrifice.

You dork! Accept the congratulations!

Everyone! We're all waiting for your return! Please get the specimen and return home!

Toki ni wa subete ga muimi ni omoete mo
(Even though sometimes, everything seems meaningless,)

Nokosareta TRACE ga itsuka no chizu ni kawaru
(the traces we leave behind will one day become a map)

Sayonara kira kira sugoshita mabushii hi ni
(The happy days I've spent wave a sparkling goodbye)

Kasaneteta IMAGE wa ima mo SYNCHRO shiteku
(All these overlapping images will continue to synchronize,)

Zutto kesanai you ni
(so they can continue to stay with me forever.)


A few notes now that I'm not so rudely interrupting myself. One, yeah, that was the Candy Bar I got from the file imports. And two, Oceanus has another skill, Venomous Ball, which is a projectile that has a Venom Boost effect, but because of some really weird requirements for it to be used, it's very hard to actually get it on screen.

Giving an enemy skill a Venom Boost effect seems wildly unnecessary to me, even if Venomous Ball wasn't in practice extremely rare.

Ah. Hello, gentlemen.

Fred: We owe you one.

Will: Hey, uh... heard you beat that Dragon. Nice work. Izumi's gonna be pissed as hell again, but that's okay.

I'm sure you know this already, but my name is Richter Esslinger. It's nice to meet you, Will.

Will: Hey, so... Why'd you quit?


Will: The German army. Why'd you quit? I mean, it seems like the pay was damn good, you'd landed a job doing what you love... I don't get it.

Let me ask you, then. Would you feel satisfied doing what you love no matter the circumstances? If you were sent into battle for a cause you knew was unjust, that you personally disagreed with, would you be able to enjoy the battlefield?

Will: ...I'm not sure. I've never really thought about it.

For me, the answer is no. I can't fight unless it's for something, for somewhere, for someone, that I can feel proud of fighting for. I didn't feel that way in Germany as a boy. I feel that way now.

That's why, and you must forgive me for saying, if you and I—or any other member of SECT11—have reason to enter battle, I will not hesitate. What I have now is something that is far more important to me than simply enjoying the battlefield.

But today, you were a guest at the Diet Building. Go in peace, soldier.

Will: Thanks. See you again.

You're way more polite to those assholes than they deserve, you know that?

He had a genuine question, and I answered that. I think that's just normal.

Seems that SECT11 has continued to monitor our activities. As if the Dragons weren't enough to contend with, our own species sabotaging us... Still, Kirino's recovery has considerably lightened the load you must shoulder. You still bear a heavy responsibility—

We know.

What's that supposed to mean?

If you come up here blathering about what we're going to do tomorrow, we won't have time to be proud of what we did today. So you mind canning it for a bit?

...Heh. Sure. Alright. I blush to admit it, but I'm rather relieved myself. Get to resting, then. I'll just have to work you twice as hard tomorrow.


When we checked in at HQ for the last time that day, Kirino had taken up position next to the Navis. Jeanne was very visibly about to pass out from all the stress, and after this conversation I went and grabbed her a blanket so she could crash.

You guys...

We wanted to say thank you again. We couldn't have done it without you.

I just wanted to... I just—I hadn't measured up so far. I still don't feel like I have. That's why I'll still be letting Emille take the lead until I... well, get used to this.

Take all the time you need, buddy.

Would that I had it, right? And, Richter, I know I already said it, but... I couldn't have come back if I didn't know I had you to rely on.

Always, Kirino.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to ensure my Gauntlet still works properly after all that acid rain.

Ah, yeah. Right. Another rough day tomorrow, huh?

It'll simply be the way of things until we've defeated Fomalhaut, I suppose.

Hey, we're just headed to Shibuya, right? Compared to that it'll be a walk in the park.

Wait. No. I take that back that might jinx it pretend I didn't say that

Have a good night, you all. Glad to be back.

That was the end of our battle with Oceanus, and September 13th with it. The crisis which faced the Diet Building came to an end, and for the first time in the Second Dragon War, Unit 13 had once again truly become heroes.

—Richter was by no means done proving himself. As capable as he already was, Richter's greatest feat of heroism was yet to come. But even so, in the battle against Oceanus, for the first time, I think I fully understood what drove him.

His burning drive to find reason in all things—his determination to protect the home that let him be his fullest self—his keen insight that led to miraculous paths forward nobody else could find—

Unit 13's 'Hacker'—those were what made up his will to fight.

Next time, we go visit our loyal sidekicks.

The Administrator is not displeased with your work, Richter.

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