Also as a new feature, here's a table of contents so you can skip past the Plot Summary and get to the quick stuff, rather than ignoring the whole thing because obviously nobody's gonna go down there otherwise.
- Plot Summary
- Plot Analysis
- Word Map
- Top 10% Logs of this Cycle
- Cast (In order of Appearance)
- Final Notes
He went to do the same when it came to rebuilding Westopolis. He wanted Westopolis to be a 'clean shaven' town where people wouldn't be criminals. But Julian popped up and wouldn't have this. Julian preferred to ally with the gangs of Westopolis, and then worked with them to plot the downfall of Team Rocket and Giovanni. He also made a deal with them to build a Casino and a Stadium. But the other Questers didn't like this one bit.
The Questers then flew to Capital City of all places, wishing to get some equipment and help for rebuilding their Stadium. Marley pointed them in the direction of the BLU team--a group of mercenaries from Team Fortress 2, only of course they were on Alsa. Long story short, the Questers helped BLU defeat RED, then Garrick blew ten gaskets screaming incoherently about how the world wasn't a game despite having just participated in what was obviously a game-like battle. Then Flaeyn said some snarky remarks and suddenly half the Questers were at eachother's throats, with Julian egging Deloth on and hoping Flaeyn would just be murdered for questioning Garrick's beliefs.
No such murder occurred, so instead Julian reassured Garrick with fantasies of building an amazing Stadium and living the high life, without any clear explanation as to how that would come to pass. It was just assumed it would be that way 'soon enough.' Julian made sure to also insult Kenku on his way out to get a sandwich, as if that was really needed.
Meanwhile, the unnecessarily dense amount of references to Team Fortress 2 continued, as the Questers got their new Stadium planned out with the Engineer's help. Attempts were made to try to repair Aribar's arm that was missing, but the TF2 people figured it 'gave him character' to be missing an arm. So long story short, the Questers went to Westopolis, and camped out for a moment while Team Rocket tried to 'take' the area they had under their control. Naturally, Team Rocket got exploded in short order. Even Giovanni: his Nidoking mecha was no match for the assembled group of Questers and TF2 BLU Mercenaries. The only thing that was left was for Panzer to argue with Garrick, but that was par for the course.
More discussion occurred the next day. This time, it was about who should lead the Questers. Garrick mooted himself as the leader, while a rainbow house of lords wig made by Red Text incinerated Oushi--the infamous son of Keikyoku. It was because Oushi was a dimensional anomaly--in any case, the Questers settled on a path: to attempt to straighten up the Stadium and make it work. They asked Robotnik for help, because he was the only person they could conveniently ask.
Then a mysterious presence threatened the Questers with death, and caused magnetic anomalies to rip pieces off of the already destroyed Quester ship. Nobody knew who it was, though--not even Red Text. Robotnik then showed up, and discovered that the Engineer's 11 PHDs outranked his--although Eggman's one PHD in Electronics Engineering seemed to do a lot more for him than the Engineer's "11 hard science PHDs" that seemed entirely redundant. As much as he COULD bring buildings out of thin air...
Red Text terrorized Panzer by haunting her inside her own mind (he had infected her with a virus earlier) while Garrick and Julian told Eggman that, no, he couldn't consider the city he built for the Questers to be 'his.'
(Also at this point I began to tune out mentally as far as reading these logs, several of these early ones are just... too long and Kafka-esque for me to waste time trying to pick apart arguments about whether the Stadium is a hopeful one or a cynical one when it doesn't end well regardless, so if the summary gets a bit patchy here... well, nobody cares anyway.)
Blah blah blah, Garrick and Julian try to set up the Stadium by getting The TF2 people to join his Stadium as Smashers (think official fighters for a battling league), then also adds in Mario and Peach, and also X and Zero, along the way Panzer's Red-Text virus is removed and people argue about whether or not she's a Quester.
The Questers then cleared out some haunted pipes by going through a really convoluted obstacle course, creating a shortcut path between the Mushroom Kingdom and the Maverick Continent. Then they got lost in some area controlled by Mavericks, got yelled at by X, and then heard about how Panzer sent a garbled radio transmission that somehow saved the Maverick Hunters while at the same time hearing that Robotnik was more interested in eating lunch than helping them deal with the Mavericks. So the Questers got BLU to help them. They blew up Vile, recovered Panzer (who had been blown up trying to solo-attack Vile earlier), and rebuilt her, and then more meaningless arguments about Panzer being with or not with the Questers ensued after the Maverick Castle thing blew up.
Then the Questers stole the infamous zombie golden statues from Jack and gave them to Dr. Robotnik. Further wackiness ensued as somehow Red Text got Panzer's other body (the one that had been blown up by the Mavericks) and took it over, and Panzer dubbed it 'Schatze.' Oh, and a weird static interdimensional person-like entity appeared and said a bunch of weird gibberish nobody understood.
The Questers got a mission computer built for them by the Engineer, and then got option paralysis from the sheer number of missions they could pick. Then they got a new space drive from the Galactic Federation so they could potentially go to the Moon. The group picked up a 'peace package' from Carrington Institute to take to the moon, and then... Garrick failed to pilot the ship and it nearly landed on the ocean.
Digi flew the ship to the Moon, where the Questers met the X-nauts, and used a key from Carrington's package to open a door. The door was to a Chozo temple, which contained something two Time Cops wanted. The Time Cops took off in their teleporting interdimensional ship of doom, and thus Red Text/Schatze was denied a chance to investigate the object they took with them. Someone named Lyx sent these two Time Cops--Ael and Pandora--to get the device there, solely to find "Abberrant being 32.' And as the Questers were beginning to figure out what was going on, Space Pirates attacked the base and they fled back to the planet, leaving the X to fend for themselves and causing Carrington to be disappointed (though they gave him the package he requested.)
Then there was a distress call. Eggman had built a giant antenna out of the golden statues, only to find the antenna missing--because he'd just been attacked by the Time Cops, Pandora and Ael. The Questers chased off the Time Cops, but failed to prevent the stealing of his antenna. And thus, the identity of Abberrant being 32 remained a mystery, for the moment. Robotnik wasn't about to give up, though. He made the Questers go to the abandoned power plant of Continia, from which they stole a dangerous power source and ignored a being named 'Porky.' They also had to beat up a mysterious man who followed them back to Eggman's lair.
Of course, it wasn't that easy. Ael cast a spell to prevent the Questers from continuing, and then threatened them with death if they tried to get past him. He was interrupted when the Mysterious Masked Man came back to life and attacked, and was considerably more powerful than either Time Cop was expecting. The Questers managed to give the weird power source from the Power Plant to Eggman in the confusion as the static-abberration man also attacked the Time Cops at the same time.
But it wasn't of any use, because the being they wanted to contact was too busy fighting the Time Cops to reply at the moment... and when the Time Cops finally used their powers, out popped Metal Man. Well, not the Metal Man most people knew. He called himself Xavier Ridgecrest and was possessed by The Book. At least until the Questers beat sense into him. Then he explained further how he needed to kill the Time Cops, and all was... mostly good.
Except that the Time Cops were on the moon, and they needed punching. The Questers flew to the moon, only to forget oxygen tanks for their radiation suits (which doubled as space suits, somehow), thus having no means of surviving on the Moon's surface.
Then Garrick goes nuts after seeing Xavier and interrupts attempts to help Carrington save the moon aliens to scream at Metal. The group flies the ship back to Carrington's base to get air tanks, while Garrick continually attacks Xavier until he is restrained. Garrick then does nothing but plot Metal's death while the group casually gets air tanks, flies back to the moon and searches for the X-aliens Carrington was speaking about. There, they encounter Ael and Pandora, who they fight. Pandora gets blown to bits while Ael was left alone, at least until a later confrontation was to occur.
Speaking of confrontations, Xavier fought Garrick after Garrick forgot the plot of SSQ 1 and decided that Xavier somehow did everything evil in it by himself, disregarding that Garrick had warped back in time to screw over Julian once and had additionally created a lot of the sideplots that helped drive The Book insane. Xavier beat Garrick senseless with a giant wrench, then healed his unconscious body. And thus... Alex Fender showed up and was obnoxious. But at least he wasn't attacking Xavier.
The group in the base went to leave said base with the X-aliens. Then they argued with Ael, who was quite certain Xavier had blown up a dimension by causing causality problems with time travel. Xavier said the charges were fake, then later left so as to not 'accidentally have the Time Cops attack the Questers' by thinking the Questers were with him. Then the group used some coins Xavier gave them to buy upgrades from the Galactic Federation, then they had to go put out a metaphorical fire with the Mavericks attacking the Maverick Hunters, again.
So then the Questers helped beat two Maverick Commanders and tricked the Zero Virus by giving it data from the destroyed Nintendus world in exchange for it backing off. All in all, an excellent deal, if fringed with peril based on whethere or not the virus could replicate the old Dr. Wily's tricks. X then smithed some weapons using the weird magic crystals the Questers had.
After that, the group went to the Mushroom Kingdom and participated in a bizarre, messed up Go-Kart race in which various people's karts were exploded from the violent attacks being thrown around. At the end, Dragoshi won, mostly because Panzer and Julian spent more time attacking eachother than racing.
After that, the Questers had a horrifying hallucination that involved running from a horde of cannibalistic (can they really be cannibalistic if they eat humans but aren't human?) Oompa Loompas with vorpal swords and involving Perry Mason, the Green Power Ranger, and a lot of LSD. It turned out the entire thing was caused by an evil Shadow Siren hallucination box that had been sent by Jack as revenge for the Questers making him fight Ael. The Questers threw the box over the side and never spoke of the madness again.
The Questers returned to base, where they got mail. One letter was Jack reminding them how much he hated them, the other was Metal sending in a crude drawing of the world to help the Questers figure out where to go next. The group first went to Mario Land and found nothing, then went to the Koopa Desert and found a temple full of traps that went FWOOOOOSH. At the end of the death course was Raphael the Raven, who was an Aristotelian philosopher that went on about knowing nothing as being wise. Of course, knowing nothing didn't tell Deloth anything he could use. To that lack of information, Deloth had the perfect retort: "JUST TELL ME WHAT THE HELL I AM!"
The crow pretty much literally had no useful information, other than to go to a dark island, and then the Questers went to the Mushroom Kingdom. Julian learned some martial arts from The Master of The Dojo, while Aribar got some info from Merlon. Specifically, where a bunch of magical books were. One set of the books was on an evil cursed island. What was once Koholint was now a darkened island full of mask-wearing freaks and evil cone-headed owls. The group ventured there, refused the suggestion of a metal chameleon-helmet wearing freak to start killing people, then went back home, empty-handed.
Then the group went to the Maverick Continent to help X again. Blah blah blah weird building, bunch of Megaman X robots, blah blah exploding robots. Blah blah blah Zero Virus again, threatening everyone, is unbeatable and wants to send Wilroids at everyone (whaaaaat who cares it's just some dumb Wily-Reploid fusion), beats up Deloth and then everyone retreats back to base.
The group ran in circles some more, trying to get Jack's help in identifying a tube that once had Metal Sonic in it that Schatze/Red Text tricked the Questers into retrieving. But like the previous session, nothing important actually came of any of this nonsense.
Then Jack realized he was missing five of his gems and the Questers had just given him five more. While he boggled over that, Vylch appeared out of nowhere and stole the remaining five gems, then ran away after discovering "Caldon Bell" wasn't there. (Sort of a subtle hint at reality slippage--Xavier had lied when he called himself Caldon Bell before. Now with the different name, he had made it harder for Vylch to ever find him.) The Questers then killed some time helping BLU get control over part of an island, though not without some failure in the process--they caused a castle on the island to blow up, costing them some coins. Then they were called to YET AGAIN deal with the Zero Virus SOME MORE ARGH WHY MUST THAT KEEP HAPPENING.
The continued nonsense continued, as the group fought more Maverick robots, then eventually fought Magma Dragoon, then made their way back to base, where Zero refused to pay for the ship damage Magma Dragoon made. Then the group went once more into the breach and fought it out with The Claw--a weird hastily built fake Reploid. Meanwhile Panzer found a rebuilt Storm Eagle and fled with him to a secret base where the TRUE leader of the uprising--Serges--hung out.
The Questers went in, fought more Zero Virus, then finally killed the Zero Virus. (Thank God! I was getting tired of hearing about him!) Then the Questers made the good move of talking to the Termina Observatory Mask Salesman, who told them the story of how the planet they were on was a world of happiness... and dark madness. Then he gave the Questers a mission: to find the culprit that stole his mask. He sent the group to Green Greens on a nearby island to find such out.
The Questers cornered Meta Marx in a museum, but he convinced them that the Mask Salesman was an evil soul stealing ghoul bent on ruling all the worlds with an army of soul-slaves. The Questers went to argue with the Mask Salesman, who was then highly evasive as to whether or not this was the case, taking out masks that suggested maybe he was in fact doing that. Of course, the presence of the real Meta Knight asking for his mask back from Marx resolved the issue pretty quickly.. or did it? Nobody ever settled whether or not the Mask Salesman stole souls, after all.
Meta Marx realized he had been foiled and flew away, forcing the Questers to chase him. Well, after they rested a bit, anyway. As they rested, a mysterious man named Zalman began taking photos for no good reason. The Stadium then came under attack by a purple ship with distorted radio transmissions coming from it. The Questers tried to fight it with their own ship, only to be shot down!
The ship rammed the crashed Quester ship for good measure, then flew off. It tried to attack HQ, but also got chased off by HQ's defenses. The Questers eventually got Meta Knight and the Halberd to help take them to a Popstar-like factory full of DO NOT ENTER areas that Digi and Kenku made sure to enter and get exploded by. Then they encountered Meta Marx near a bunch of snow outside the factory, but Kenku swung his sword too early and Meta Marx began to hide about.
The group finally attacked Meta Marx together and defeated him, retrieving the mask. Meta Knight repaired the ship (into a weird franken-ship) and told them about how there were hardly any Knights left. Then the Questers got some masks from the Mask Salesman, and went on another of Red Text/Schatze's wild goose chases: going deep underground into one of Eggman's former bases, his former planned 'capital of the world', to get some more parts for whatever evil thing Schatze was planning. The group went deep inside the wreckage and then knocked out the power, leaving them in the dark and underground, surrounded by hostile Eggrobos.
The Questers fought and fled, eventually re-energizing the power generator and using Dr. Light's virus to turn the robots good. However as they looted the parts they needed for Schatze, the base went dark from being attacked by the mysterious purple space ship the Questers had been chased by a while back. The Questers ended up doing a variety of things, but ultimately only got rid of it by blowing it up with missiles. Even then, it, and its pilot, Vile, got away.
Then the Questers went back to HQ and called all over the world. They discovered many things, including the existence of a Glitz Pit arena, the Megaton Stadium fighters, Cray Z.'s weird mushrooms, the fact some of Trevelyan's goons still exist, Al's Everything Superstore still existed, The Dojo and its ancient 'The Master' were around, and such. Essentially they were trying to create Julian's tournament for him, out of whoever they could get to come over, and there were a couple takers, for certain.
More errands occurred. A mask was sold to The Master in the Mushroom Kingdom, Kenku bought a cellphone, the group went back to the Mask Salesman and managed to un-curse Deloth of the Cubi curse, although he then basically used the mask to hand it around and let other people try out his abilities... ...later on, the group split up, with one group continuing to shop while the other one went around to a Repliforce Air Base trying to deal with, yes, more Mavericks. (Why won't that stop happening? Ahhhhh!!!!)
Digi wrote some theories about paralell universes on a piece of paper while Julian attracted the ire of Repliforce Mavericks by slamming a door open. Then eventually the Questers muddled through it and didn't 100% succeed in finding Colonel's remains (which were what Panzer wanted, for whatever reason.) After that disappointment, a GUN Commander named Sergeant Levis showed up and threatened the Questers over how they had taken over Westopolis for no reason and allowed a horrible gang-run casino project and underground fighting ring to be built there.
Julian's only counterargument was that somehow, by building a giant thug-run casino and the fighting arena, he was 'fixing up the area', not noticing the obvious contradiction in terms: building up undesirable things would not repair the overall lack of quality to Westopolis' ambience. Julian believed in his project such that he walked, unarmed, after Sergeant Levis, only to be captured. Soon the battle began, and in a flash, armored bulldozers destroyed the Alsan Questers' Stadium.
The battle continued, only getting worse until Digi and Deloth missiled the Casino to bits. In one giant explosion, any traces of the Thugs and their Casino were gone, leaving Julian completely irate and in disbelief that his potential retirement plans had been destroyed. Sergeant Levis escaped intact, despite all the missiles that were fired. Julian proceeded to beat up Digi and berate him.
More information was discovered. Levis was a part of an infamous rogue tank division. Marley allied with the Questers now that the Thug faction had died out. He sent Colonel Berge (or Berges, depending on whatever one wants to call him), a bird mobian who helped coordinate the repair efforts. The Questers meanwhile focused on destroying Sergeant Levis in vengeance for what had happened. They also picked up some spells when a library opened, and Aribar's spellbooks miraculously had survived the Stadium exploding. Also Panzer and Julian bickered endlessly to no avail about leadership and who was the leader.
The Questers finally made up a plan, creating a tank out of wreckage that would be useful to infiltrate Sergeant Levis' division with. The Questers all crammed into it and then sneakily drove it into the forest trails used by Levis' tanks. Well, after a lot of long exposition and explaining via Panzer, but I'm certain anyone reading this long in the summary doesn't want even more white noise to read through.
Panzer and the group eventually made it to Levis and fought him and his mega-giganto radioactive tank. Or at least, Panzer fought the tank while the other Questers just kept "STANDING THERE." Eventually Panzer self-destructed and irradiated the tank, which had five engines. The tank fired a huge laser at Capital City, only to then die, due to Sergeant Levis being killed by the radiation.
With the death of Levis, the Questers got some aid from Capital City. (They chose to overlook the crimes against Westopolis since the Thug Faction remained dead and Levis was now destroyed.) Then Julian started up the tournament that was intended to happen. It happened in the ruins of the Stadium instead of the finished Stadium, but, well, what can one do? The first match was Julian vs. Kenku. Despite Julian's constant victory streak in the past, he was shockingly defeated by Kenku. This was followed by the Glitz Pit's veteran fighter, Craw Daddy, defeating Dragoshi handily.
Panzer then fought the lower ranked Glitz Pit fighters: The Iron Adonises. They lasted a long time, but eventually went down to withering sniper rifle fire. The next battle was Raena vs. the Megaton Fighter. The Megaton fighter used his planet-shattering punches to defeat Raena, although it took a while. Craw Daddy then barely defeated Kenku in the next round, using his spear to defeat Kenku's sword. Panzer nearly killed the Megaton Fighter, but was unable to shoot fast enough and was defeated. Then in the final battle, Megaton Fighter smashed Craw Daddy and won, proving the Dreamlanders had the most strength. So much for Julian's tournament giving the Questers a chance to win, though! (Julian left the picture after all of this, making his ignominious defeat the last time the character was seen.)
The next day, Ael was called up by Panzer. Ael was threatening more destruction on the Questers' house for presumed dark deeds. But after Panzer discussed it with him, it seemed more like a third party was using Quester-related assistance to attack Ael. Panzer decided to help investigate further. Ael mentioned his 'agent Zalman' who had checked out the Stadium, too. After more discussion, Ael figured it was a third party and gave up on threatening, although he noted if the "Time Bandit" was not destroyed in a timely fashion, the Time Cops would try to destroy/erase the realm.
All was not well though, with Jack threatening to kill the Questers over Vylch stealing his anti-Ael device. (Gee, what a mouthful.) The Questers got ready to... fly around, but Marley showed up and reassured them he would help deal with Jack. So Marley showed up, and so did Jack, and Jack tried to kill Marley. At first Marley had the upper hand, but it turned out Jack had done favors for the evil chameleon helmeted guy from the island and now had all the evil magic he could ever use. As such, he could freeze time and do other delightful lethal things. The fighting took a darker turn as Jack tried to kill everybody with his newfound wealth and spells.
It took a huge amount of fighting to defeat Jack, but all that could be done was breaking his staff. Jack was still alive despite being blasted over the horizon with a tank shell. The Questers shrugged and played around with magic, while Panzer creepily threatened an innocent soldier. Then the next day came about and everyone looked in the mail, saw the letter from the Mask Salesman about selling masks and figured they should go to Capital City to sell some masks. Oh, and the Stadium's rebuilding by GUN was complete. Small miracle, that.
The Questers soon visited Capital City, and landed on the GUN building, which had been cut in half earlier. As such, Marley's office had been moved to the top floor--with the landing pads and all the noise--as punishment for him believing Levis was dead. How waaacky! Then to add to horrible tonal shifts, Panzer went into a nearby building to the 40th floor and began randomly sniping at innocent people. Thankfully, GUN's robo-squad managed to apprehend Panzer, and then Marley used some Judgment Mask magic to help make sure Panzer couldn't go rogue like that again. (Destroying her probably would have been more effective but given all the other nutcases running about, Marley figured having it set so she could only shoot evil humans would work out better.)
Schatze surmised that Panzer was probably also behind the robot attacks. Meanwhile, Dragoshi discovered his go-kart package and the plane it'd been on had been stolen by Trevelyan's goons. Then the Questers went and sold the Miner mask to a skeptical miner, helping Deloth get his mask selling quota complete (with an assist from Raena.) The Questers tried to go get the kart back, but Trevelyan's forces fired missiles at the Quester ship and kept them away. And then the Questers just flew back home to avert any more problems. Kenku tried to get the Engineer to expand the Stadium to 1000 seats, but nobody had the cash to bankroll such a thing, so that went nowhere.
More discussions occurred in HQ and Aribar noted of a job to go to a dangerous island for Silph Co, so the Questers went there while Panzer fumed about having been disabled by Marley's anti-evil chip. On the island, there was a bunch of locked buildings and dead trees. It soon became apparent Silph Co. was trying to use the undead as a source of power. Such evil could only be countered by Panzer freeing Darkrai, the lead 'ghost', and thus allowing the evil mind control on the ghosts to stop. Much to the dismay of the Silph Co. Scientist, who could only whine and threaten with weak 'storm troopers' but not stop the Questers from doing any of this. The Questers obtained the main item relevant to all of this--a shadow orb--...and then used it to do silly things like create shadowy energy cat eles.
Then the Questers went back to HQ and got some info about the "Neo Repliforce" reploids taking over the "Western Islands" of Mobius. And then they went to the Mask Salesman and got the "Mo' Money Mask" to sell. They tried to talk directly to the reploids, but the reploids weren't having it, so they talked to Tails, who informed them about the situation. Then Tails got to work on a reploid-pacification virus, while Panzer and the Questers didn't like this and were then kicked out of Tails' house for disagreeing. Schatze, the Red-Text Controlled Panzer-clone-ish person, then rambled on about Ael being weak to prismatic energy.
Schatze went ever more crazy, rambling about conspiracies and Royal Flushes and such while Panzer simply asked why he ignored questions about his conduct and seemed to be there every time Panzer had supposedly been attacking Ael. The Questers visited Ael, to try and tell him of this, but it turned out to be a trap. While Ael was trying to figure out what was going on, Metal Sonic, Vylch, and Schatze KO'd Ael using some weird anti-Ael field.
Panzer took Ael's KO'd body while Schatze equipped Ael's Time Device. He went on and on about how he had everything under control. Then Schatze KO'd himself by trying to use the device, after disregarding Ael's warning that the Time Cops would come for him. Red Text then returned using Vylch's body as a secondary body and took the Time Device, running off, and in the process it became clear it was Red Text who had framed Panzer by attacking the Time Cops earlier with the reploid-junk robots and Schatze. (Ael had good reason to think it was Panzer, given Schatze was an old body of Panzer's.)
A long argument ensued that eventually resulted in Ael being re-KO'd and Red Text's various proxies being defeated, the 20-foot Red Text mech that resulted being blown to bits and the Schatze being destroyed while the Time Device was warped away and lost. With that, the Questers dumped Ael's body on the ground and fled. They were wary of Time Cop counterattacks for what had befallen Ael, anyway. A bunch of convolution in which the Questers precision-healed and warped Schatze away after putting the device on him in the plane of earth dimension and then warping back, chasing Schatze and running away from Ael then occurred.
Deloth ran away, having placed the device in his chest cavity after obtaining it from said elemental plane. Ael got angry and told everyone on the planet there was a bounty on Deloth, resulting in Deloth running towards the Maverick Hunter HQ while being chased by Vile and Jack. Deloth gave the device to Xavier, who then ran away while being attacked by the hordes of people who were after the device. After delaying Ael and the others with a lot of fighting, the Questers managed to help Xavier to escape with the Time Device (which was discovered to be broken, on top of all of that), ending the chaos for the time being.
After all that, the next day began with Digi noticing the Neo Repliforce vs. GUN problem had settled down peacefully. Xavier had also finished working on the Time Device some, making it 75% functional. Xavier/Metal Man then explained why all of this convolution had gone down: "To cut to the chase, there's this long running, insane history that I'm not going to try to explain, but there's these guys above Ael who want me to use this device to escape into another realm, thus making me in trouble for stealing and using another Time Cop's device. Which would then free funds for them to send their highest stuff after me."
The Questers were busy treading water on the whole situation when Ael forced their ship down with magic and then tried to threaten the Questers into giving up Xavier. The Questers refused while Aribar lectured Ael about how his plans were illogical, including casting light on a key logic hole: if the Time Cops were omnipotent, why were they so unable to deal with Xavier? Ael tried to win the argument by threatening to turn Aribar to stone, but another Time Cop, 'Gray', took over by warping Ael out of the realm and went to kill Xavier the moment Xavier showed up. However, the Questers launched Gray into space by ramming him with their space ship, and then a subsequent portal to summon more Time Cops got blocked by a Maverick Hunter space ship.
The Questers then prepared for outright war against the Time Cops, figuring there was no more negotiation to be had. Time Cops tried to go through the portal but were blocked and killed by walls of earth Aribar made. However, the end eventually came: Time Coordinator Lyx, the head of the attack, broke through. The sturdy Uranium elemental made out of tubes of said element (and formed millions of years ago in the ground, apparently) went on the attack.
Screws and magnetic energy flew everywhere while Lyx tried to kill everyone while blathering on about honor and how the Questers were evil, tainted 'brigands.' He fought on and on and on, but his big 'kill everyone and destroy reality' attack was blocked by Red Text. And so, the Questers beat him up until his right arm flew off. He was very close to destroying the world, you see, but his world destroying arm had flown off. ...Yeah, that's pretty silly, isn't it? Anyway, Lyx erased Alsa from the Time Cop org's official map, and warned of 'someone higher up in the hierarchy' making pronouncements, then decided to rest rather than fight anyone anymore. In conclusion, as one of Deloth's homunculi, Doodle, drew on the ground, "RAGTAG BUNCH OF MISFITS VERSUS DIMENSIONAL POLICE: WE'LL CALL IT A TIE."
So anyway, enough blathering, I'll get to what I can see. The first patterns are plain as day: this is the Cycle where the old Quester lack of humility died in a fire. You can see it with how Garrick and Julian act like Gods and try to shape the planet to their wills. They initially get somewhere, only for their inability to empathize with anyone blowing them to bits. Julian's need to be the ultimate warrior just makes him look like a deranged asshole while Garrick's own inane need to kill Xavier without a reason screams of his wish to be the one true protagonist. Which is weird, because Xavier is only seen in some logs in this season. Killing him wouldn't have elevated Garrick to his presumed 'star' status. Of the two, Garrick was more out to lunch and faded out much faster, since he clearly just didn't fit in Alsa. He kept trying to roll-play away problems without even checking his dice before rolling. Granted, the system had some serious problems, but why... why didn't he at least check first?
Julian is more complex. Or I should say, his stark shallowness that destroyed him is simple but the stuff behind it is much more complex. He was originally an up and rising Quester who utilized holes in the system to become unstoppable. Once unstoppable, all he could see before him was total mastery of the entire game. As such, anything that set him back a notch at this point was unforgivable: he was certain he had already done all he needed to with Season 6 and beyond, so this world was nothing more than his personal oyster to change as he wanted. So he got greatly offended when characters in it actually wanted to protect it from his influence, and even more upset when other Questers doubted his mission.
So he took it very personally when the Casino was destroyed by two Questers who feigned ignorance but most likely destroyed it on purpose, and then let the last blow where he was defeated by a 'lower level' Quester be taken as a middle finger to his very existence. And so he left forever, OOCly called me (the GM) names, and then never spoke to me again. A rather absurd and childish reaction to events I didn't even fully control.
In fact, the game had been set up to try and give him another chance, a 'redemption' arc, especially since the destruction that occurred had incidentally opened up a new path for Julian to do exactly what he wanted--just sans the evil faction he'd brought in. While narrative choice is a big thing in SSQ^2, he never really adequetely defended his 'evil' allies, so he shouldn't have been surprised when they were wiped out. In fact, that was just a wakeup call to show if he wanted this, he'd have to try it again, and harder than the first time. But I guess, it was a bit too much of a feature to try and foist on a player who had been given victory after victory by the system being broken and my Monty Haul GMing. So I cannot be too surprised to see that things ended that way, in the end. After all, he was the player of SkyHigh, who had taken a poke in the eye as the ultimate offense (even though his character had a visor that should have blocked the poke).
In any case, had to note that first because that took up a great deal of the first third of the season. Anything else in that time was really just secondary to the drama playing out ICly and OOCly with the players at that time. Indeed, Garrick's ongoing feud with the dice, the reality of the game, and the OOC reality of the game were so distracting that my main plot never took off until he faded away, and then it stalled until Julian vanished. (Though I had begun to adapt to what Julian wanted, it was too little, too late.)
So with that in mind, the next part of the cycle involves Panzer. Panzer was a great force for good and for evil. The player bounced between trolling the hell out of everything to... figuring stuff out very effectively. So I both like and dislike what they did, and... that seems to have been the player's intent, since they were busy trying to pick and pry at the very edges of Alsa--helping me to define many things I'd never thought I'd need to deal with. ...And bringing in Maverick stuff over and over again, and over and over again, until I became very tired of it. (Look forward to when I get so tired of it, it gets exploded off the planet. Heh.)
Then there's the actual non-player related themes. That one is mostly about what heroism is, and whether or not people with 'designated hero' status truly deserve it. Based on how bleak the outlook of this season ended up being, the obvious answer is "no." Several puzzles are placed before the Questers, who fail to understand them. Soon they are degraded to nothing more than people who wander through dangerous areas pushing buttons. And they never really look at it too hard--they just do it. Even when Julian and Garrick were still involved, they didn't really notice this happening--rather they just complained rather than actually trying to change their fate.
Also, this was the first 'modern' SSQ cycle/season/whatever. Metal Man reveals his name as Xavier Ridgecrest, the Time Cops show up, and there's no more focus on video gamey things other than as a background thing. As such, this Cycle may be primitive by modern standards, but it's the first where I can say it's a fairly easy thing to connect to every other part of the story. Since this cycle did the setup for the Time Cop arc, explained a little about Xavier and also made it clear that the Questers were not the only force for good in the universe (and that they would have to re-earn their place after making such a mess of Nintendus.)
Things got a bit repetitive with all the missions--I sorta screwed up by having the players control the entire plot and everything. I think if I had to redo it, I would have taken some executive control to reduce the stupidity and repetitive nature of things. But of course, I considered SSQ^2 an 'experiment', so... I guess that would have not been in the spirit of things. Then again, unlike my beaming Cycle 1 log, I have gotten older and no longer see SSQ^2 as this amazing wonderful super-thing. It's more of an early work that had some serious issues.
My main other complaint is it gets too dense with random factoids. Does anyone care about the Mavericks? No. Do we really need a complex backstory behind every action Ael and Red Text does? Nope. It's just too much. After there having been too little plot in the past, Cycle 2 shows what happens when every little item suddenly needs thousands of lines of text explaining its every niche and crevice. And don't get me started on all the ink spilled between the Questers about whether they were good or evil. After a point they should have just gone, "Meh, we're here, let's just do what we want to do" even if it meant ignoring a million quandries. Since ironically, they ignored a lot of the plot hooks for trying to control their destiny due to... obsessing over whether anything they did was good or evil. Yeah... ironic much?
The main other thing is this was the "Spec Ops: The Line" of SSQ Cycles. This is where it was all deconstructed and destroyed, and put back together again. Unfortunately most of its content was lost on the players, so instead of there being some sort of realization... the Questers, or Alsan Questers as they would be called, would just keep doing the same destruction, inane things, and otherwise destroying the planet they were supposed to try to work with. Alas, all but too common in a game where the players have no real rails or plot suggestions to try and move them in the right direction. How can they know? Maybe they could try to know, but it's unlikely they could easily figure it out when given NO instructions.
Also I didn't really do an analysis of the main plot so here's that: The first part is where the Questers are building their Stadium and trying to hold a fighting tournament. It's screwed up by Julian allying with evil dudes, Garrick being really condescending and mean, and the Questers doing little to protect their Stadium. The next middle-third is just doing various chores to help the people of Alsa and fighting the Zero Virus/Mavericks over and over again. Then the final bit is about Time Cops and dealing with the Time Cops' irrational belief that they have to destroy the entire planet just to ensure Xavier dies. (And in fact, deconstructing that any of that is even needed.)
My final note for this analysis is that it may be a while before I analyze more SSQ^2. It's liable to get rather repetitive due to all of this. I don't think much changes, Quester-wise, until the very end, and even then it's just them being defeated by outraged enemies on the planet as they sort of continue to fail to understand what's going on due to a lack of concise explanation. As such, a ton of walls of text pile up for me to process, but they aren't the most interesting. Oh well...
Word Map (Made by Wordle)
Ah, finally something that doesn't take too long to make! Well, this one obviously isn't subtle. Ships and Panzer are central to this season, which by extension is due to Panzer doing so much off the wall stuff people do nothing but talk about her. In the background is also Deloth, who went borderline insane over all the things that happened. As we look further in the background, Metal, Ael, Digi, and Aribar and Julian are out there, sorta hanging out and observing things. In the distance is the other major NPCs such as Jack, Zero, Dr. Robotnik and such. Then there's even more Questers further in the distance. Non-Quester, non-NPC things such as the term "Maverick" (brought up relentlessly due to all the Maverick Hunter missions) as well as flying, fire, masks, kill, opening things, "world", etc, are there. And hidden in the background is even the first curse word that I've seen show up in these. Geez. That must have been a lot of f@#kin' cursing.
It's pretty clear anyway, when you look at all of this, that this season was definitely 'darker and edgier', since all the death and even some curse words got into this one. Then of course there's the more normal words like device and time (time devices were mentioned a lot) plus... fires, weapons... running, pointing... "whataver" and nothing. Very nihilistic and active cycle, if you go by the words showing up here. Anyway, the image speaks for itself beyond that. Only other thing I can say is it took the combined efforts of Julian, Deloth, Garrick, Dragoshi, and Panzer to get that sole curse word in there--it's unlikely to show up again since the next cycles don't have so much cursing in them, heh.
Number 3: Chapter 69: The Casino is Falling
For the longest time, Julian was certain that he was #1. That he was Always Right. His Golden Rule involved both not talking to crazies and him being infallible. And so, like anything, what goes up must come down. In this case, Julian neglected his fellow Questers and forgot how to defend himself. He had become so enmeshed with his need to be the best that he forgot HOW to be the best. And so, his hubris led him to be defeated by a loss of trust from his own teammates (Digi and Deloth) while also being horrible at figuring out external threats (a bunch of people with guns and tanks are definitely more powerful than one man with fists.) As such, this log deserves its #3 space, even if it is rather bitter.
Number 2: Chapter 53: Madness Returns
For the longest time, Metal Man was a badly defined character. He was completely random without any real backstory. In fact, his backstory just kept changing. This here, however, is the first time the REAL Metal Man, Xavier Ridgecrest, appears. While I don't want to be too self-aggrandizing here, what I can say is it's also much less annoying for everyone else: Xavier quits being just a random nuisance and actually has some backstory, allowing the plot to actually advance. Most of the future stuff that's going on now was based on this, and as such, it was quite an important milestone for SSQ as a whole. Without this, we'd still be... dealing with Metal Man's Plot of the Week, with his name constantly changing. Oh, and this chapter also thoroughly dissects what was wrong with the SSQ 1 Questers via 'Book Man', to put a final nail into that ancient coffin. (Although it'd take until chapter 69 to fully stomp out those beliefs.) ...Also Ael and Pandora are there and a lot of the main plot of this Cycle shows up, so, I have to say, it's pretty important.
Number 1: Chapter 78: Threats from Ael
Aribar breaks the central problem with the Time Cops in this one: "You've chased after Metal for a very long time. He's a horribly slippery, and insane, individual. Lately, I've been trying to think about why omnipotent Time Cops who could be anywhere and anywhere couldn't solve this simple case." The Questers actually outsmart the Time Cops, launch one into space to get rid of him, stop another bunch with a portal of corrosive acid... basically this is the one log where the Questers are doing well, and you can generally thank Aribar for that. It's more what the Cycle wishes it had been--a combination of plot followed by the Questers actually getting somewhere. As a result, it's best to read this one if you want to know what the 'intended' way of doing things in this Cycle was supposed to look like.
Dr. Robotnik - Eggman Empire's Emperor - Villainous Helper
Digifanatic - Quester - Casino Destroyer
Garrick - Quester? - PTSD Sufferer
Red Text - Red Text Satellite Operator - Evil Genius Manipulator
Aribar - Quester - Only Sane Elf
Deloth - Quester - Raena's #1 Fan
Kenku - Quester - Only Quester to Defeat Julian
Dragoshi - Quester - Doesn't Want To Touch Any Of This :x
Man - Westopolis Resident - Alone and Abandoned
Thug, Thug 2, Thug 3 - Westopolis Thugs - Generic Progenitors of the Thugocalypse
Julian - Quester? - Would-be Supreme Dictator of Westopolis Who Failed
Art - Westopolis Thug Operator - Exposition Machine
Rinith - Quester - Fuzzy Philosopher
Marley - GUN Commander / Mad Man - Opportunistic Ally
Andrew - Quester - Ill-Fated Fourth Waller
Receptionist - Capital City Hospital Worker - Theory Tester
Doctor - Capital City Hospital Worker - Anti-Crazy
Guy - Capital City Hospital Patient - Prescription Getter
Flaeyn - Quester? - Aggravating Asshole
BLU Engineer - BLU Team Member - So Many PHDs, So Little Time...
BLU Scout - BLU Team Member - Slow Losers Suck!
BLU Pyro - BLU Team Member - MMMMMPH
Evil Woman Voice - Team Fortress Announcer - TO THE ELEVATOR!
BLU Heavy - BLU Team Member - Gun Hugger
RED Sniper - RED Team Member - Dies In An Instant
RED Engineer - RED Team Member - Sneaky Sentry Gunner
BLU Medic - BLU Team Member - Wary Doctor
RED Spy - RED Team Member - Epic Quester Ship Attacker
Computer - Missile System Diagnostic - Warns of Oxygen
Panzer - Original Quester - Guerilla Repliforce Militant
BLU Demoman - BLU Team Member - Alchohol Connosseuir
BLU Sniper - BLU Team Member - More Similar to Alsan Questers than he would Admit
Rocket, Rocket 2 - Team Rocket Grunts - Doomed Cannon Fodder
Giovanni - Team Rocket Leader - Helicopter Controller
Rocket Soldier - Team Rocket Soldier - Hey, They Didn't Have Those In The Games!
Thugs - Westopolis Thugs - Even More of Them!
BLU Spy - BLU Team Member - Survived being Blown to Pieces
Oushi - Quester? - Destroyed by Rainbow House of Lords Wig
Toad - Mushroom Kingdom Retainer - Door Opener
Peach - Mushroom Kingdom Princess - Plot Explainer
Mario - Mushroom Kingdom... Hero? - Unstable Defender
X - Maverick Hunter - War Hater
Zero - Maverick Hunter - Destroyer of Dumbness
Sign - Mushroom Kingdom Billboard - Warns of Doom
Claw - Fake Maverick Reploid - Some Weird Guy's Science Experiment
Henchreploid - Maverick - Punching Bag
Vile - Maverick Commander - HE WILL NEVER LEAVE
Note - Maverick Piece of Paper - Warns of Panzer
Jack - Mad Man - Deathly Deathray Doom Dealer
Vylch - Anachronistic Hunter of Caldon Bell - Another Reality's Failed Idea
RotPanzer aka "Schatze" - Maverick Red Text-Inspired Panzer Clone - Deranged Anti-Time Cop Wacko
COMPUTER - BLU Engineer's Mission Computer - USED A COUPLE TIMES STOP
Guard - Galactic Federation Guard - Space Ship Councilor
Mechanic - Galactic Federation Mechanic - Spaaaace Instructor
Carrington - Carrington Foundation Chairman - Disappointed in your lack of pro-Alien Sentiments
Pandora - Time Cop Trainee - OH MY GOD! YOU PEOPLE LIKE TOTALLY SUCK!
Ael - Time Cop - Exasperated at Everything
Interpreter - Porky's Empire Agent - Ignored by Everybody
Masked Man - Porky's Empire Agent - Deadly And Silent
Metal Man aka "Xavier Ridgecrest" - Former Quester Leader - Anti-Time Cop, Pro-Old-Quester
Book Man - The Book's Last? Stand - Really Wishes This Was SSQ 1
Smash Dex - Former Quester Tool - Defies Destruction, Time, Everything
X Leader - X Leader - X-tra Weak
Alex Fender - Quester? - Weaksauce FLCL Reference Bucket
GF Operator(s) - Galactic Federation Operator - Out of the Questers' Price Range
GF Guy - Galactic Federation Person - Ditto
Zero Virus - Dr. Wily-Created Maverick Phantasm - Oh My God Just Make It Go Away
Waluigi - Mushroom Kingdom Weirdo - NUMBAR WAN TO DA EEENNND
Luigi - Mushroom Kingdom Hero - AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!
Yoshi - Mushroom Kingdom Hero - *Ear-splitting screech noise here*
Willy Wonka - Hallucination - Irresponsible Factory Owner
Oompa Loompa 1 - Hallucination - Beyond the Pale
Oompa Loompa 2 - Hallucination - Buff and Deadly
Perry Mason - Hallucination - Grounded to Reality Even Here
Miles Edgeworth - Hallucination - Desperate to Win
Sam McGillicudy - Hallucination - MacGuyver's Less Popular Megaman Battle Network RPG Non-Brother
Eli Vance - Hallucination - Deserved Better in Half-Life 2
Oompa Loompas - Hallucinations - Even More Deadly
Green Ranger - Hallucination - Rita Repulsa's Secret Weapon
Sky High - Hallucination - Quester Bro
White Ranger - Hallucination - Helpful Per--BONK
Mr. Freeze - Hallucination - Ice To Annoy You
Will Smith - Hallucination - Rejection of Absurdity
Mailman - Zelda Setpiece - AOL's Lesser Cousin
Raphael - Yoshi's Island Raven - Aristotle's Feathered Successor
Master - Toad Town Dojo Master - Failed Mentor of Julian
Merlon - Toad Town Seer - Prophesizes Overpowered Magic
Weird. O - Toad Town Shop Person - Rip Cheato Fanatic
Mush aka Cray. Z - Toad Town Shop Person - Cannibalistic Maniac
Shield T. - Town Town Shop Person - Hates Smoke
Tarin - Koholint Inhabitant - Curses At Darkness
Marin - Koholint Inhabitant - Huh?
Nurse - Angel Island Hospital Worker - Healing Books Manager
Magma Dragoon - Maverick - SHORYUKEN!
Storm Eagle - Maverick - The Smart One
Serges - Maverick Leader - The Even Smarter One
Mask Salesman - Terminian Shop Man - Creepy Soul Stealer
Mask Sigma - Terminian Shop Man Disguise - Creepier Soul Stealer
Waddle Dee - Innocent Dreamlander - Victim of Meta Marx
Knight, Knight2, Knight3 - Knights of Meta Marx - Bad Puns Bump In The Nigh...t
Meta Knight - Knight of Dreamland - Very Shy Without his Mask
Meta Marx - Enemy of Dreamland - META MARX WILL RISE AGAIN!
Natalie - Quester - Digimon Trainer
Raena - Quester - Violent Renamon
Zalman - Time Cop - Inside Man
Eggrobo - Eggman Empire Base Defender - Perimeter Enforcer
Eggrobo2, Eggrobo3 - Eggman Empire Base Defenders - Reprogrammed Perimeter Enforcers
Megaton Fighter - Dreamlander Tournament Battler - ULTIMATE WARRIOR YEAHHH
Macho Grubba - Glitz Pit Leader - Scummy
Al - Al's Store Proprietor - Still Bitter
Tails - Mobius Hero - Skeptical of Questers
Find Y. - Toad Town Shop Finder - Finder, But Not Keeper
Office Person - Toad Town Shopkeep - Aisle 50
Register Person - Toad Town Shopkeep - Generic Register Ringer-Upper
Cellphone Man - Toad Town Shopkeep - Has a Plan (Full of caveats) for Everyone
Smithy - Toad Town Shopkeep - Not Violent in This Game
Ad Person - Toad Town Shopkeep - Gives A Lot of Options
Echidna, Echidna2, Librarian - Angel Island Inhabitants - Informative Helpers
Repliforce Drones - Repliforce Remnants - Reprogrammed by Panzer
Crazy Drone - Repliforce Remnant - Colonel Believer
A Zillion Other Drones - Repliforce Remnants - There Are Too Many Of These!
Sergeant Levis - Rogue GUN Sergeant - Julian's Worst Nightmare
Metool - Panzer's Pet - Scared by Schatze
Colonel Berge - GUN Colonel - Marley's Left-Wing Man
Craw Daddy - Upper Glitz Pit Division Fighter - Spear of Almost-Victory
Iron Adonis - Lower Glitz Pit Division Fighter - Brain Damaged
GUN robot, GUN robot 2 - GUN Robots - Defeated Panzer
Mine Guy - Mining Operation Supervisor - Skeptical
Scientist - Silph Co. Scientist - Evil Scientist!
Ghost Man - Silph Co. Victim - Wants to Go Away
Pokedex - Useless Tool - NATIONAL DEX REQUIRED
Darkrai - Godlike Pokemon - Cursed Silph Co for their Deeds
Eggbot1 - Eggman Empire Soldier - Even Eggman Wants a Time Device
Mercenary Man - Hapless Merc - Blows Up
Gray - Time Cop - Blasted Away
Signas - Maverick Hunter - Gives The Situation
LifeSaver - Maverick Hunter - Bad News Deliverer
Lyx - Time Cop Coordinator - Poetically Dysfunctional
I guess the other factor is as I age and these events become further ago, they both become more and less intriguing to me. It's been seen many times now what happened here--I've just been finishing it off so that I can keep a hold of it for future reference. But I have to wonder what it'll be like even further in the future. Since what this ended and what this established are both gone already, and a new world is going on now... this is a far cry from the attitude I had when I did the Cycle 1 summary anyway.
The world changes and fluctuates, and it's hard to say where it'll go at any specific time, but in conclusion, this Cycle showed what happened when the hubris of GMs and players collide in a space without many rules. Hopefully the next time something like this happens, though, I am more self aware and handle it better. Garrick and Julian really shouldn't have even been allowed to do anything after it became clear they weren't going to actually play the game so much as attempt to godmod what they wanted into it, and others like Oushi should have been prevented from joining at the time (it was fairly obvious after Keikyoku that the player wasn't ready yet.)