ZEGAPAIN – 14
In space, a Gards-orm orbital platform sends a Core down onto Earth, creating another Deutera Area. Commander Isola reports that even if they can hold off the Gards-orm’s growth, they can’t stop the creation of these areas as long as the Gards-orm’s orbital bases are not destroyed. The crew of the Oceanus meanwhile is reviewing the recording from the day of the Altair’s disastrous mission. Specifically, they are interested in the Gards-orm’s new weapon that cancels out their Light Armor. Shizuno says that this is the Anti-Zegapain weapon that the Gards-orm have been developing, but she also thinks that the Gards-orm were after her. Lu Sheng hears her say this and asks why, but Shizuno doesn’t answer him. Finished with the video, Shima gives the Altair’s repairs maximum priority and wants everyone to help analyze the enemy weapon. Kyo returns to the server world in a daze, feeling that everything around him is passing him by. He sees phantoms of Ryoko in his head, even though he knows she’s gone. Neither Tomigai nor Mizuki have seen Ryoko lately when Kyo goes to ask them, and so Kyo finds himself looking at the door of the video club’s room. He feels like this is a movie where the main character loses his lover and wanders around aimlessly. Standing on the bridge at the edge of the world, Kyo thinks that he’s not sad. He feels that Ryoko will soon be again riding on his back.
Kyo returns back home that night, but visits Ryoko’s apartment first and finds her little brother playing the PAIN of ZEGA game. Kouji tells Kyo that Ryoko’s room isn’t being used by anyone, making Kyo realizes that Kouji’s memories have been altered and that Shima must be watching him at this very moment. Indeed, Shima and Minato are watching, though Shima gets called away to a meeting with the commanders of the other mother-ships. He orders Minato to use whatever is necessary to get Kyo through this. Kyo meanwhile enters Ryoko’s room and turns on her computer. He sees all the videos of him and then notices the one made by Kanou Tooru. Ryoko, however, had attached a Voice Memo onto the video. Her message explains what the video is, noting that the world preserved is somehow different from the world now. Only after it is gone does one understand the importance of the world. Ryoko sees living as something sparkling, but says that she had taken living for granted and had not been thankful or happy for it. These words make Kyo start to cry and call out Ryoko’s name.
However, Kyo’s tears are interrupted by Kouji standing outside the room and asking him why he’s crying. Is it because the world has been destroyed? Why has the human race fallen? Why do we fight with the Zegapains, what are the Gards-orm, and why do the Gards-orm attack? All these questions are actually coming from Minato on the Oceanus, who is now directly controlling Kouji. Behind her, Tarbo wonders if they’re not being too coercive, but Lemures explains that Kyo needs to get through the process of turning his sadness to anger and hatred when he has nowhere to vent it. Having overheard all this, Lu Sheng contacts Chris, who is out on the Hraesvelg, and asks him to help Kyo. But Chris rejects this request because he feels that wounds are healed by not by licking them, but by bleeding and enduring the pain. In the Altair – which is still being repaired – a desperate looking Shizuno is going through all the raw combat data looking for something. Back in the server world, Kyo has gone to the school library and is now searching for why the fall of mankind came about. He comes across a file that tells him the reason is because of something called the “Olm Virus.”
Onboard the Oceanus, Shima is briefing the other Commanders about the Anti-Zega. Isola explains that the Zegapain was created with photon transmission technology. The high density of photons forms the Light Armor that can’t be destroyed and also the Light Spear. The Zegapain was a soldier of light to which damage was unknown. But now the Gards-orm have undermined that by creating a soldier of darkness, the Anti-Zega Quatrique. Minato interrupts the meeting by showing Shima video of Kyo poring over books and of Lu Sheng walking towards him at school. Shima thinks that this is ok. Kyo is currently reading about how a virus spread through the world and wiped out mankind. He finds two books called “The Threat of Olm Virus” and “The Recommendation of Data Preservation,” both written by a man name Naaga. Just as he’s wondering who Naaga is, Lu Sheng enters the library. Lu Sheng promises to pass on all the information that he knows – that would be faster than Kyo reading all the books in front of him.
In the beginning, Naaga was a researcher working on quantum computers, and he became the CEO of iAL, a huge company that did everything from biotechnology to the military industries. Naaga constructed a single quantum computer that was as powerful as all the other computers on the planet put together, able to fit an entire city and it’s people’s memories into a virtual space. He proposed that the infinite evolution of mankind could occur inside these quantum computers. The infinite evolution would be because man would exist forever as an apparition able to pursue evolution – all for the happiness of man. The entire world became excited by his invention, but then a period of disaster came. The Olm Virus spread throughout the world with a fatality rate of 98%. Even for the humans that survived, the virus destroyed all their genetic information. They thought that it would take only three years to make mankind extinct. For that reason, humanity had to take up residence inside the quantum computers. Becoming an apparition was the only way to save people, but there were lots of people who didn’t want to become apparitions; the world was in chaos. Furthermore, there was suspicion between countries about the Olm Virus being a biological weapon, and so wars broke out in many places. In only one year, the number of humans decreased from 7.5 billion to a number around the level of the early 18th century (around 600 million). By the end of the second year, humans had disappeared from the surface of Earth. The only people left existed as data in servers around the world.
Although there is no evidence, it is said that Naaga himself was the one who created the Olm Virus. An amazed Kyo asks why Naaga would spread the virus like that. Lu Sheng suggests that it was for the sake of the utopia that Naaga wanted, so that humans would have to go into quantum servers and become experiments in infinite evolution. Kyo becomes angry that someone would go that far for his purposes. He asks Lu Sheng what happened to Naaga after all this. Lu Sheng replies that if they knew, they wouldn’t be having such a hard time. He thinks that perhaps Naaga made himself into an apparition and is on a server somewhere. Kyo figures out that the Gards-orm must then be the army that Naaga controls. Lu Sheng confirms this, saying that the iAL’s machines started operations on the ground where mankind died out, attempting to make Earth into experimental grounds. The Gards-orm continue to invade and are expanding the experimental grounds. With the way things are going, sooner or later the entire Earth will get taken over. But Lu Sheng also says that the fight started. The experimental subjects began to resist because even data humans have thoughts and a self-defense instinct. In other words, Celebrants appeared. Lu Sheng concludes by saying that to live as a soldier is to be able to live by their purpose.
During all this discussion, Minato had stopped listening in from the bridge of the Oceanus and had gone to take a shower. As she turns off the water, it is clear that her legs are disappearing. Kyo, meanwhile, is growing angrier because he believes that Ryoko wasn’t a soldier – she was the one he was supposed to protect. Remembering his time in the Altair with Ryoko, Kyo claims that she’s different from Arque. Lu Sheng counters by saying that Kyo was able to be together with the person he loved, which makes Kyo furious because of the implication that everything he has gone through has been part of a pre-established harmony. Feeling that Lu Sheng doesn’t understand and at a loss for what he wants to do from now, Kyo runs out of the school and into the rain. He reaffirms to himself that Ryoko was not data inserted as part of the pre-established harmony, but rather an actual living being. Right as Kyo is having these thoughts, Shizuno hears Ryoko calling out for Kyo in the middle of the data that she’s sifting through. Shizuno finds a compressed file which Fosetta identifies as impossible-to-decode backup data. Using her own powers, Shizuno takes the data into her own body and starts screaming from the pain. An image of Ryoko calling for help briefly appears before Shizuno realizes that she’s found it. All over the Oceanus, Fosetta reports to the elated crew that Ryoko’s compressed data is in the memory area of the Altair – Ryoko is alive! In the Maihama server world where the weather has cleared up, Kyo simply utters “Kaminagi” in disbelief.
Shizuno found Ryoko’s data! Ok, so it wasn’t that unexpected, but I still liked the end of the episode. It would be too meaningless for them to have killed her off just to bring her back exactly like she was, so I’m heavily leaning towards the theory that Ryoko won’t be the same Ryoko that Kyo knew before she “died.” And it all seems a bit too easy, with Shizuno conveniently finding Ryoko’s data inside the Altair. Maybe the process of recovering Ryoko won’t be so simple…though next episode’s title is “Reincarnation.”
They spent a lot of time this episode talking about the past and Naaga. I had thought the Gards-orm were alien invaders or something, but Lu Sheng says that it’s all Naaga’s doing. Naaga’s motives still aren’t that clear to me, but maybe they’ll be explained when Naaga finally makes an appearance. Which leads to the question of where Naaga is now, just like Kyo asked. Since Lu Sheng said that Naaga was probably in a server somewhere, the possibility arises that maybe Naaga is in Maihama server and is one of the characters we already know. Yea, that’s far-fetched, but it’s possible – I could see it as a plot twist. The other interesting thing from all this is how Shizuno felt that the Gards-orm were targeting her. They haven’t really gone into Shizuno’s past, but perhaps she’s got connections to Naaga somehow.
Oh and we can’t forget to mention that Minato’s legs appear to be damaged. Looks like she’s going to die like Arque sometime in the near future perhaps. I wonder if Shima knows or if Minato is hiding it from him.
Next week, “Reincarnation” :)