Saga: Intimidator Arc
Prerequisites: Completion of previous missions in Arc
Psi awakes to the sound of the Intimidator WMD firing. Given that the shot didn't completely destroy the building it was aimed at, Psi considers it Artemis' definition of a "warning shot". He returns to the Intimidator HQ to sort things out, only to find that it has been recently attacked, and that the Intimidators have turned on him. Psi fights through all opposition to find Artemis about to murder Aku execution style, and manages to stop him at the last second. In the events that follow, Artemis is revealed to be a human being, and during the ensuing boss fight between him and Psi, he uses his interpretation of his race's fate to gradually manipulate him into turning his anger towards Aku instead, allowing him to toy around with the WMD while the player's attention is focused on a different boss fight. By the time Aku finally snaps Psi out of it, Artemis has already set the WMD to a catastrophic self-destruct sequence, and takes advantage of it to escape while Psi and Aku attempts to disarm it. With the timer counting dangerously close and with no other options to think of, Psi simply tears the overloading generator from the WMD and hurls it high into the sky, causing it to explode out of reach of the nearby town and everyone in it.
Aku is convinced the events that just happened are exactly what the prophet that assigned him was talking about, and comes clean with everything he had to lie about beforehand now that there's no percieved risk at hand. He then leaves Psi for the moment to take care of some personal unfinished businiess, with the promise he'll return someday - leaving Psi to continue in pursuit of the remainder of his lost past, and the various bouts of heroism in between.
[Rather than the usual fade-in from black screen, the scene instantly switches as the sound of Artemis's WMD firing is heard, waking Psi up back to the sight of Courage's flat. Shortly afterwards, an explosion and the sounds of screaming is heard as the neighbourhood erupts into chaos.]
Psi: Oh god, did Artemis fire that thing already?
Synn: Relax. Knowing him, it was probably just a warning shot.
Psi: That doesn't make things much better!
[Psi rushes outside to find a building in the background had been clipped on the side by the WMD's blast, with various pieces of debris still falling from the holes.]
Psi: Damn it... I really need to find Aku and--- wait a minute. He's still in the HQ! He could be in danger!
[The player makes his way to the HQ on his own. All of the existing NPCs in addition to a few new ones are running back and forth in a panicked state and won't respond to the player at all. Wherever a visible TV appears in the background, Artemis's masked face is pictured on it, playing back a looped message:]
Artemis: Greetings, citizens of South City. You may not know who I am - that's not terribly important. All you need to know is that I am the leader of the Intimidators, the organisation that has kept your streets free of crime, unlike the lazy, corrupt law officials that are paid to do the same. It seems, however, that even our efforts don't last for long, so here is the last resort, and I'm going to put it simply so even the illiterate among you can understand. As I have so aptly demonstrated, I have a really, really big gun in my possession. Every hour I fail to see a noticable change in your community's crime level, I will fire this gun at a populated area of my choosing. The criminals can turn themselves in for the better of their law-abiding peers, or the innocent can take the law into their own hands and escort them to jail themselves. It makes little difference to me as long as the outcome is the same. I expect a positive turnout once an hour. Hop to it. Or else something or someone you know will explode. On that you can count on.
[Once the player reaches the HQ area, Psi discovers a massive hole where the cannon fired through to reach the city from the previous "warning shot". It has since self-sealed itself with collapsed rubble, making it unusable as an entry point.]
Psi: He fired that thing from underground...? Is he trying to get himself buried alive?
[After entering the Intimidator HQ through the normal entrance, a pair of Intimidators guarding it from inside spot Psi.]
Intimidator: There he is! Shoot him!
Psi: Shoot me!? What in the--
[Gameplay begins abruptly, interrupting Psi in mid-dialogue. It continues as normal while Psi is forced to take down his own former companions, until the player reaches the hall in which the WMD is located. Artemis is holding a sidearm to Aku's head, and is about to pull the trigger when Psi knocks it out of his hands with a Deception blow.]
Aku: Oh thank god. I thought you would never have shown up. There is so much death and pain going on right now that I don't think I could've taken him alone.
Artemis: You again. I honestly believed you'd arrive at a time less inconvenient to me.
[He shakes his hand idly from the impact as he casually walks over and retrieves his fallen weapon.]
Artemis: Well? Have you seen the folly of your little tantrum? Have you decided to rejoin us at a most crucial time?
Psi: Actually, I came back to unmask the true nature of your scheme, you little scumbag. For all of the good-willed Intimidators here to see.
Artemis: I see. That's a pity. Your delusions and conspiracy theories will be the death of you. Quite literally, as you'll soon find.
[A character VS screen appears. The fight between Psi and Artemis continues as normal until Artemis reaches about 50% health, apon which another dialogue starts.]
Artemis: You know, considering you came here to uncover some unbelievable betrayal, you're not doing a whole lot of uncovering.
<Mind Reading>Psi: Actually, I was just waiting for you to bring it into your memory again so I could read your mind for it. Thanks for that.
Artemis: I, er-- what!?
Psi: Yep, that's what I thought. This man plans to use the gun no matter what the city does in response. Hell, right now he's charging it up to destroy the entirety of South City in a single shot. Go ahead, one of you guys check for that, I'll wait.
Intimidator: [after a short delay] He's right! This thing's locked for a maximum power shot! I can't even override it!
[Without even looking, Artemis kills the Intimidator in question with a single headshot. The remainder of them in the room gasp and make distance, unsure what to expect next. Artemis sighs to himself before he continues.]
Artemis: You couldn't have just let things go according to plan, could you? Does it even matter to you why I'm doing this anymore?
[Before Artemis can continue, Aku abruptly butterfly-kicks him across the room, knocking his facemask off.]
Aku: Don't you even think about playing the victim here! Nothing you've gone through could even remotely compare to wiping an entire city off the map!
Artemis: Oh? You sound so sure of yourself.
Psi: Wait... something's not right here. How does he know--
Artemis: Tell me, Akumaryu. How does the annihilation of a single city compare to the near-genocide of an entire species?
[A brief flashback plays, consisting exclusively of humans dying by various sources - mostly gunfire at first, then escalating to more exotic powers before being cut short by Psi's outburst.]
Psi: Who are you, really? How did you know about that!?
Artemis: About what? The extermination of the human race? Of our kind?
[As strings in the background build up to a crecendo, Artemis removes his hood, revealing the human face that was previously obscured by his facemask, abruptly silencing the BGM. Aku simply stands shocked to silence - Psi on the other hand, remains bitterly confrontational.]
Psi: Answer me! What happened to us!?
Artemis: ...wait a minute. Did you just say "us"?
Aku: What are you doing, Jean!? We have to stop him now before this thing fires and kills everyone!
Artemis: "Jean"? THAT Jean? As in... ha. Yes, I can see it now. Hahahahaha!
[Artemis continues to laugh maniacally in the background, until Psi throws a Deception attack his way. Even then, Artemis still maintains the odd chuckle.]
Psi: I'm not going to ask you again! What are you talking about? How do you know my damn name!?
Artemis: Oh wow, this is fantastic. You don't remember at all, do you? You're the reason the human race is in this mess in the first place.
[A flashback occurs, with an image of Jean firing at something offscreen. He is holding the purple Gem of Chaos in his other hand. It does not fade during Artemis' dialogue.]
Artemis: There was a war going on. Not just any old war - the biggest kind of war you could possibly imagine. The inter-racial kind. And the outcome of that war hinged on which side held all the Gems of Chaos...
[Jean's gem shines brightly on cue, drawing attention to it. The other six show up in the direction Jean is firing apon.]
Artemis: By the time you were ever a factor, every gem was already in the hands of a human...
[The figures of human beings appear around the gems, clutching them.]
Artemis: Victory had practically already been assured! But then you came in. Rather than support us, you abandoned your own race to steal all the gems from us, and giving them to these... things...
[A number of Denuon warriors appear flanking Psi, helping him attack the humans holding the remaining gems.]
Artemis: And once we no longer had the gems to support us, our race was slowly diminished from a mighty flame to a smoldering flicker, and our world as we knew it... was destroyed.
[The flashback fades to black, returning the scene back to the confrontation at the Intimidator hall.]
Artemis: And now here you are again, in a world so alien to you, in a body befitting the race you allied yourself with! I couldn't have thought of a more fitting, ironic punishment myself! Hahahahaha!
Aku: Psi, none of this is true! He's lying!
Artemis: Am I? You're the mind reader, Psi - you tell me.
<Mind Reading>Psi: He's... telling the truth. All of it is true. The whole thing... it's gone.
[Psi assumes an extremely depressed posture. Aku approaches slowly in hopes of comforting him, but the two are seperated when Psi abruptly knocks him back with a TK shield.]
Psi: You knew this all along, didn't you?
[Aku looks immediately horrified by the implications this is leading to. He tries to explain himself, but Psi cuts him off.]
Aku: Psi... I didn't--
Psi: All this time, you have kept me going on a false hope! For all that I know, you could be in the same camp that ruined the whole damn planet!
Aku: But that's not how it--
Psi: Shut up! You said it yourself - the whole reason you're here is to ensure that I'm not a threat. A threat to what? The omnipresence of your kind?
Psi: [through clenched teeth] Don't you even start. You are a monster among monsters, and I want nothing to do with you.
Artemis: Psi. Do you not see what I am trying to accomplish here? I did so under a vicious, dirty ruse, that much I will not doubt, but everything that you see here was done as a measure to balance our few remaining numbers back out. Now in some distant life, you were a traitor to our race, but we acknowledge you have already paid enough of a price as is without invoking our wrath a second time. If you truly want our forgiveness, I only ask one thing of you - to remove this planet's inhabitants so we can claim Denou as our own.
[Artemis gestures towards Aku]
Artemis: Starting with him. We cannot fix your body, but do this, and I can personally assure you will be treated as one of us again.
[A long silence follows. Eventually, Psi turns back towards Aku and assumes his default fighting stance, without saying a word.]
Aku: [Sighs] She warned me there would be no convincing you in the end...
[Aku assumes his own stance]
Aku: I had hoped to fix this without harming you... but if you can't say the same, then you leave me no choice.
[Gameplay resumes as normal, only the player fights Aku instead of Artemis. The latter disappears as soon as he's out of frame (which given Aku's playstyle, should be the second he starts a reasonable combo - if not, he walks out of frame himself after a set delay). Once Aku's health reaches a certain extent, Artemis re-appears in the background, sneaking up to the WMD with its blueprints in tow, then tinkering with the attached generator. Once Aku's health reaches a low point, Artemis finishes what he started, beginning a chain reaction that catches everyone's attention with a bright outburst. Artemis removes his Gem of Chaos from the generator and unholsters his grapple gun as Psi and Aku take notice.]
Psi: You... what did you do!?
Artemis: Oh, just set the generator to self-destruct. See, even at the maximum charge a single shot just won't destroy enough of the surrounding land to capitalize on. Sorry that you won't be escaping alive from this, but I'll make sure everyone remembers you for holding everyone else off. Tata!
Psi: Hey! Get back here!
[Artemis grapples offscreen towards the usual exit to the HQ, and Psi quickly follows. Once he gets outside, Artemis is seen grappling to the underside of a strange gunship, which promptly escapes with him to a safe distance into the night sky. Aku emerges not long after.]
Aku: He got away, didn't he?
Aku: Even I can't get away from here that fast... we need to do something about this generator before it kills everyone!
Psi: Why should I? They'll all just want me dead all the same.
Aku: Damn it Psi, now's not the time to be judgemental! Do you think they won't be grateful if you save all their lives!? Help me out here!
[Aku sprints back inside. Psi remains where he is for a few moments in silence before slowly turning around and running back inside himself. Gameplay resumes back at the opening part of the HQ interior. Back in the main hall Aku is trying to pry the generator loose from the WMD, without success - after the player attacks it a few times, it falls to the ground.]
Psi: [pointing towards the rubble created from the WMD's first shot] The rubble! Get it out of the way!
[without interfering with gameplay, Aku nods and casts Denkou Kaiten, removing the rubble and clearing Psi's path. The player is instructed to grab the generator with Psi's telekinesis and drag it outside, apon which a cutscene plays in which Psi, with great effort, hurls the generator high into the night sky until it disappears from sight with a small twinkle. A small, anticlimactic burst is seen in the sky as it detonates... then after a brief delay, it abruptly expands into an explosion of gargantuan proportions, knocking back Psi and the surrounding flora with the resulting shockwave and turning the sky bright blue as if the sun itself lit it. Besides lots of shattered windows and other glassware, however, the city and the surrounding area remains undamaged.
The scene cuts to a while later, as Psi looks over the city he just saved as the sun rises in the horizon. Aku approaches from behind to console him once more - Psi glances back just long enough to acknowledge his presence, then turns his attention back to the city again.]
Psi: You lied to me, didn't you?
Aku: Yes. Yes I did, and I feel terrible for having to do so. Understand that I did it only to protect you, though, because I knew you wouldn't be ready for it. And I had a pretty strong suspicion it would be the cause of what Destiny warned me about... some good that did, huh?
Psi: So then Artemis was telling the truth? Earth is gone?
Aku: Well... yes. And no.
Psi: ...what? What's that supposed to mean?
Aku: Artemis twisted most of the truth to get you on his side. A war between my kind and yours did happen, and it ended up taking an unspeakable toll on the human race, on that there is no doubt. But Earth was never actually destroyed outright. Truth be told, you're still standing on it.
Psi: But-- how... this clearly isn't...
Aku: No, it isn't. Because it's been several millennia since those events took place.
Psi: ...So that's it, then? I can't go back?
Aku: To put it bluntly? No. But I don't believe anything that's transpired so far was a coincidence. How you've come back doesn't matter - what matters is that you're back for a reason, and that's something you'll have to figure out on your own for the time being.
Psi: Wait, you're leaving?
Aku: For the moment, yes. We just prevented destruction on a cataclysmic scale, so I think it's safe to say I've prevented Destiny's prophecy for the time being. There is another pressing matter that really needs to be attended to on my end... but I promise you, as soon as I resolve it, I'll be back to help out again. Besides, you can take care of yourself now, right?
Synn: If he can't, I can.
Aku: That'll do. Stay safe, Psi. We may have averted disaster today, but I feel the worst is still yet to come.
[Aku begins to walk into the forest as the screen fades to black, ending the mission.]