Suikoden IV : Part 2
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Finally, Marvy pays a token visit to the "Equipment Shop," which is really the item shop, which is freaking confusing since the "Equipment" sub-section of the main menu is, in this game, and has been in every other Suikoden game, the armor menu. Damn translators. Anyway, after browsing the wares and buying nothing, Marvy talks to Chiepoo the Nay-Kobold (sigh), who we find out is a part-time worker in the shop. This is our first clue that Chiepoo has grandiose dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Normally I'd be all, "Oh, if only he could find a place to open a shop of his own!" but we'll see how that pans out later on.
Without any other means of killing time, Marvy heads back to the Knights' Hall entrance to meet with Slowe, who is waiting patiently in his Squally Stance. Slowe joins the party and the boys return to the meeting room to fetch Ramada and begin their mission. During which no calamity will befall them. Scout's honor.
Before they leave, Katarina reminds Slowe that if anything bad happens--not like it will!--he should send something called a nasel bird. "To communicate, I know," Slowe replies, obviously bristling at her giving him pointers like he's
Marvy some plebian. "Have faith in me. I will not disappoint you." Ramada, meanwhile, takes interest in the mention of the nasel bird. Scruffy basically tells him it's none of his business, and with that, Marvy, Slowe and Ramada take their leave.
|The hearts stand for their level of love. Aww!
Out on the ocean, I pull up the sea chart to see where this Iluya place is. And I thought it took a long time to sail to Middleport. Iluya is in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen, an area I will be labeling Buttfuck Egypt because it's ridiculously far away from everything else, even when the whole map is opened up. All that said, it's a good thing the trip is halted less than a third of the way there for Important Story Events. Otherwise known as the Shit Hitting the Fan.
On the starboard side of the deck, Slowe talks about navigation stuff for our benefit. Either that, or he takes Marvy for an unqualified idiot. Which he probably does. The two of them stare at the flat ocean for a moment, and then Slowe changes the subject. "Hey..." he ventures, "That Mr. Ramada, he said that his cargo was spices, didn't he?" Why yes, Slowe, he did. Why would you ask? The Oboe of Suspicion and Treachery cues up as Slowe goes on, "Actually...I managed to catch a glimpse of Mr. Ramada's cargo before we departed from the port. There were containers of Rune Cannon ammunition. Really big ones at that." They had to be huge, if Slowe was so impressed by them. And it sounds like Slowe was getting in some forced foreshadowing of his own while Marvy eavesdropped on Akaghi and Mizuki. Slowe continues, awe in his voice, "I've never seen anything like them. They had to be at leave five to ten times larger than the ones we use." Then Slowe leans back against the railing, arching his back seductively. "Can you imagine?" he breathes. "If you got hit by something like that… Even a single shot could sink a galleon." We get it, honey. They were mind-blowingly large. You want to touch them. We know.
Slowe asks Marvy if he thinks they're going to be okay. Marvy looks at the sky, at the sea, anywhere but at Slowe. Which is clearly a testament to Marvy's confidence in Slowe's considerable leadership qualities. Ouch.
Back in Razril, Scruffy is in the middle of chewing out Katarina for daring to mention nasel birds "in the presence of an outsider." You'd think she just gave away all his credit card numbers for how pissed off he is. "Please excuse me…" Katarina murmurs. "So, Commander, what do you make of the communique?" Scruffy grunts, "I read it…" like a lying kid in a high school English class. But he goes on, to show his comprehension of the material, "Considering the ship's course, we cannot ignore the potential threat it poses to that Orark marine transport." Katarina adds, "According to the report, the ship in question has 6 masts." This means it could belong to the previously name-dropped Pirate Brandeau, which could be a problem. Also--and, admittedly, my knowledge of ships and pirates amounts to playing Pirates of the Spanish Main and reading Treasure Island in sixth grade--isn't a six-mast ship, well, really fucking big? The lame little galleon Slowe and Marvy are on would be shamed out of the water if it was confronted with something that long and impressive.
|She's a quick study.
Scruffy is Very Worried™. "He said he had no important cargo," he thinks aloud, "so I saw no problem in naming [Slowe] the captain, but…" Katarina puts two and two together and realizes Scruffy doesn't think Slowe's got the chops to handle what could become a difficult mission. "Our Lord is also the owner of the Marines Academy," Scruffy says. "There will be times when I cannot gainsay him." Wait. Slowe's dad, the jowly Lord Fingerbang, owns the fucking knights? Now I feel all dirty from posing that question about who Slowe had to blow to be a captain. Ew.
On the other hand, Scruffy feels that Marvy should be able to handle things, and pats himself on the back for sending Marvy along for the ride. Nevertheless, Scruffy asks Katarina to prepare a ship for him so he can pursue Slowe's ship and help out. "I have a vaguely bad feeling about this," he says, ignoring the chorus of thousands of gamers' voices shouting "YOU FUCKING THINK SO, HUH?!" And he adds, "I hope my worries are all for naught." Scruffy's a cool guy and all, but clearly he is a newb in the ways of RPG Tragedy.
Back to the ship and Marvy, who seizes this scant opportunity to use the save point and to chat up the ranks of identical Gaien Knights on board. Which raises another question: yeah, I know that Slowe's daddy is in charge and all, but really. There are any number of other knights on this ship with more experience than both Slowe and Marvy (evidenced by their possession of real uniforms). Shouldn't one of them be the captain? Were Marvy, Slowe and their friends actually in the officers' program? Shouldn't the knights with more experience have rioted at the idea of Slowe Fingerbang, Silver Spoon Wankrat, bossing them around?
Whatever. It only gets dumber from here. When Marvy's done fucking around he talks to Slowe again, at the very moment Slowe notices an approaching ship with six masts. I wonder if there's a bumper sticker on the hull that says, "Pirates do it with six masts." That would make my day. Slowe's blowjob face snaps on as the ship fires on them. He shrieks, "That's not a merchant ship! Gunports on the starboard side!" Seriously, his voice even changes, like he's going through puberty.
Marvy and Slowe are both knocked down, but Marvy gets up immediately to check on his man, who is sprawled on the deck. Marvy holds Slowe lovingly in his arms--no, for real--as Slowe comes to. "Wh-What happened?" he asks, not really troubling to get out of Marvy's embrace. This is so awesome. It's like Recapper's Christmas.
As Marvy helps Slowe get up--hee--Slowe takes a couple shaky steps and then groans, "Oh, m-my arm!" Marvy immediately attends to Slowe's INJURED ARM like the lovestruck handmaiden he is. Two Gaien Knights choose this moment to run over and ask Slowe for orders. By now Slowe is squinting from the sheer agony of his INJURED ARM, and basically doesn't even hear the knights. "The pain! I can't--I can't move my arm!" And while he's still grimacing and generally being a giant baby, the pirate ship fires on them again and everybody takes a header.
Slowe scrambles on his back for a moment--legs spread, the tease--and then wails, "…R-Return to port! Go to full speed!!!! Quickly!!!!" He sounds like Screech from Saved by the Bell right now. Jesus. One of the knights points out, "B-But Captain! If we do that, the Orark trade ship will sink for certain!!" While that would certainly be a horrible tragedy, since the Orark folks were obviously so very nice, Slowe just can't bring himself to die in their defense. "Please, just steer us to port!" he cries. "I can't…I can't take this anymore!" If we lump all of his post-graduate sailing and captain experience together, and even if we assume that all that time was comprised of terrible hardships on Slowe's part, we're still talking about half an hour, tops. Can't take it anymore? Shut up, Slowe.
The knight is aghast. "Are you saying we're going to flee and abandon our mission?" he snaps, like it wasn't abundantly clear that that was exactly what Slowe was saying. But the disgusted underling turns his head to Marvy, trying to appeal to our boy's bravery and good sense. And, well, for one thing, Marvy isn't a snivelling baby. For another, those pirates hurt his boyfriend's ARM! Bitches gotta pay!
Once Marvy says they should stay and fight, the knight leaps up and salutes him. "Wh-What are you saying?" Slowe Screeches again. "I'm the captain here! You must follow my orders!" And really, let's be honest: Slowe has a point. However gutless he is, and however unfair it is that he has such a high rank in the first place, he's still the captain and they're supposed to do what he says. Last time I checked, you don't ignore the orders of your commanding officer just because you don't like them, and you certainly don't appeal to his buddy (is Marvy first mate, or is he on the same level as these other guys?) until you get an order you're more comfortable following. This is essentially a mutiny, and if the following events went a little differently, Marvy and all the other knights on board would probably be in deep shit for it, especially considering that Slowe's dad owns the military.
All that said, Slowe's just pissed because he's not used to people not bending over backward (forward?) to do his bidding. And he's even more hurt that it's Marvy--sweet, spineless Marvy--overruling him. He says as much to Marvy to make him feel bad, before running off, holding his INJURED ARM and moaning wankily the whole way. With his Teary Voice and Despair Face on--seriously, barely ninety minutes into this game and Slowe has more emotive avatars than Jowy--Slowe cries that the ship is going to sink. God, there's handling stress poorly, and then there's this. It's on a whole new plateau of falling apart. Slowe's wide, frightened eyes narrow in determination when he spots the lifeboat hanging from the side of the ship. I'm sure we'll see some heroic act of bravery out of Captain Slowe any minute now.
...Yup. Any time.
While Slowe determines how best to help his crew and his boyfriend--and certainly doesn't even consider running away--we go to the ship battle screen to face off against Pirate Brandeau. Marvy is informed that the enemy ship, in addition to its six manly masts, has a lightning rune cannon, while the sidekick enemy ship is sporting a fire rune cannon. Now, if both of these elements were on the same ship, there would be some guesswork involved in which element to use at what time. But since we always know which ship will be firing what, Marvy slaps two knights with earth and water runes on cannon duty and that's that. This game is really pushing me to my mental limits, here.
Interim Captain Marvy and his crew sink Brandeau's ship and the other ship with virtually no trouble at all, making Slowe's freakout that much more pathetic and funny. But the poor boy was probably delirious, what with that stunning blow to his…ARM. But even though I just watched two enemy ships sink to the briny deep, a Gaien Knight reports to Marvy that the big one is on fire and headed straight for them. Let me make sure I have this right. The ship full of butt pirates that has six phallic masts is now flaming and getting ready to ram them?
I love this job.