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"Some very flashy electricity appears and the Chancellor reverts to Yakra. There is even a little text box that pops up to alert us to this change, as if we can't tell the difference between a big slug monster and a man in a funny hat."
     -Ryan, Chrono Trigger Part 1

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Suikoden IV : Part 3
By Sam
Posted 02.17.06
Pg. 1 : 2 : 3
Last time we saw Marvy, I'm sure you all remember, his life started to suck in a big way. As he floats now on a lifeboat with his unattractive friends and an unnerving cat in a Cliff Huxtable sweater, Marvy contemplates the death and destruction that will now haunt his life due to his new True Rune. But, for God's sake, no one ever said anything about him getting dumped! Thanks a fucking million, Rune of Punishment.

The S.S. Life Is Pain floats aimlessly through the water--its occupants have no map, no compass and pretty much no hope of ever finding dry land again. But, after two random battles which helped Chiepoo gain six levels but which were pointless for everyone else, Paula says she sees a light, coming from an approaching ship. Keneth tells everybody to stay alert, in case it's a pirate ship. Because pirates are bad. Don't worry if you forget that point--the writers will be sure to bring it up now and again. Marvy, for his part, wouldn't mind meeting some pirates. Maybe they'd take him on as a deckhand and he could help them attack and burn Razril to the ground, killing any back-stabbing prettyboys or shrewish, latex-wearing bitches who happened to be there at the time. But Marvy really hasn't been in a good mood for the past few days. For some reason.

Aboard the mystery ship, a "merchant" runs up to an older man with white hair and an immaculate white mustache (his age making him an exception to the White Hair Equals Automatic Villain Rule) and an exceedingly generic dark-haired heartthrob type. Seriously, is this guy's name Joe Bishounen? Well, if it wasn't before, it is now. Anyway, the "merchant" informs the gentlemen that "A small suspicious vessel has been spotted on the port side." Old Man River, in his gruff, "I invoke images of Jack Palance" voice, wonders aloud if the boat is an enemy scout ship. The man answers that the boat is actually adrift, so they're pretty lame scouts if that's the case. Old Man River decides they should keep an eye on the boat for now, in case they need to "defend [themselves]." From an adrift ship. Right.

After the "merchant" leaves to pass on these orders, Joe Bishounen paces a bit, noting to Old Man River, "This is surprisingly well-armed for just a 'merchant ship.'" His voice is generically appealing, too. Just saying. OMR protests that he was just being "prudent," going on unnecessarily, "I have been assertive since the day I was born. If that offended you, Captain, please forgive me." Offended him? It's a boat. Calm down.

Joe B. sees that the little boat is now headed for them and lays out the plan, giving us OMR's real name in the process. "Listen to me, Colton. Keep acting like a merchant for a little while longer." He adds that he'll take command in combat if it comes to that. These two have to be the most paranoid fuckers on the seven seas. I'd hate to see how much they freak out if they see a ship that actually poses a threat to them.

Back on the ship that is surely about to be nuked from existence, Keneth breathes a sigh of relief. "Thank goodness it's only a merchant ship," he says. Oh, irony. L-O-L. Chiepoo, on his quest to become The World's Greatest Merchant, wonders if they'll take him onboard to start his new life. Paula's all "Maybe" like she didn't hear a word he just said. There are, to be fair, slightly more important things occupying everyone's attention, like the fact that the "merchant" ship just sideswiped them. But a cut later, everyone's fine, their boat is fine, and they're chatting with Old Man River. I guess running into other boats is how you hit the brakes on the sea? I don't know. OMR starts out with his crazy tinhat paranoia, ready to grill them for military secrets, but he remembers Joe B.'s orders about staying incognito and softens his tone, asking instead what such nice people are doing adrift in the ocean "at this hour." Does the time really matter? They're adrift. It's not like you are set adrift at sea until dinnertime, and then you go home.

Chiepoo answers Old Man River's question with another question, asking where this ship is headed. Keneth also fails to answer OMR's question, instead thanking him for rescuing them. Paula blurts out, "Do you have a chart?" Chiepoo's hungry and not holding back his whining. Et cetera. After about ten seconds of their babbling Old Man River can't take it anymore and shouts at all of them to shut the hell up. They all flinch at his yelling, including Marvy, who hadn't actually said a word yet (but we all know what a blabbermouth he is once he gets going). OMR promises to hear them all out, later, but asks them to rest--in silence!--for now.

Old Man River stalks off to pop a few Aleve--dude, I feel you--leaving Marvy to explore this small ship. The "merchant" NPCs onboard spin a bunch of dirty lies about being new to the trade route and being here to meet up with another "merchant" ship. Marvy pilfers a treasure map from the cabin, right under Old Man River's nose, and then goes to talk to Joe Bishounen, who will no doubt make me regret labeling him as generic, and will prove to be a deep, fascinating character. Joe is staring pensively out at the water, where he spots another approaching ship. "They're here early," he says, right as Marvy and Keneth come into earshot.

'...Fangirls. Shit.'

Turning around, Joe basically pretends he never said anything, telling Keneth and Marvy to go get some rest. Frankly, Marvy is plenty rested, considering he's had nothing to do but lie on a boat, cry, and starve half to death for the past several days. But there isn't really much to do on this boat, either. Resting it is, then. Old Man River tucks them in, adding that he'll be up on deck while they nap. Doing "merchant" business. Now, either they're up to something sinister, or there's an orgy in the works on the deck. Either way, Marvy is damn well going to check it out.

With Chiepoo tailing him like a creepy furry shadow, Marvy peers around the walls of the cabin to see who Joe and Old Man River are talking to. It's another "merchant," who explains why he's arrived early for their meeting: "Sir, there was a disturbance at a nearby island and we came to report it." OMR outs himself to the eavesdroppers (including, now, Keneth and Paula) as a military man, asking the informant if the island is in "enemy territory." The informant affirms, "A group of pirates apparently attacked the Knights at the village of Razril in Gaien..." Hearing this, Keneth shoots bolt upright--not in that way--and makes a crapload of noise. OMR and Joe hear it and demand that they come out of hiding. Smooth move, Ex-Lax. At the exact time they might have reason to suspect you of something, you go and get caught doing something suspicious.

Now the party stands before both OMR and Joe, having just confessed that they are all Knights of Gaien, Chiepoo excepted. He makes sure to point this out, too, which is probably smart at this point. Keneth also clarifies that they used to be Knights of Gaien. "After all...we cannot return..." Paula helpfully adds. Not. By now, I don't think Old Man River even cares who they are--he's just so sick of them talking that he wants to shut them up the hard way. I fully support this stance, by the way. Joe takes this "Whatever, we were probably gonna kill 'em anyway" attitude and whips out his sword, signaling the start of the battle.

Such as it is. Of course, this is not a battle Marvy and his cronies are intended to win, which translates to Joe and OMR being so overpowered that either of them can kill any of my guys deader than dead in one shot. It takes all of two rounds for them to kick my party's sorry collective ass. Beaten down, Keneth and Paula take turns stating the obvious about their current situation, and then all four of them run away at a snail's pace. Old Man River's all, "Come back here so we can finish pulverizing you!" but Joe holds him back from pursuing them. "It doesn't matter. Let them go," he says calmly. "Besides, we shouldn't waste our time with these amateurs." Ooh. Ouch.


Old Man River wants to kill these yammering fucking kids, and badly. He protests, "But...Sir Troy...!" Yes, Joe Bishounen is that guy, the one Commander Scruffy likened to a Greek god on the battlefield, the man who was his obsession, his passion. I can't blame Scruffy there. I'd do him, too. Joe goes on, hoping Marvy might hear these comments, "Ultimately, they're just weaklings who cannot show their faces in their homeland. Forget about them. The sea will decide their fate." This is probably the most dickheaded display of kindness and mercy I've ever seen. Old Man River grumbles, after Joe stalks off, that his commanding officer is "spineless." Or he read the script. You might want to try that, too. Though you're probably not going to like what it says about you.

Back to Marvy, who is still standing in the middle of the damn deck with his thumb up his butt. The party is immediately thrown into two consecutive random battles, thankfully against guys much lower than Joe and OMR on the assrape scale. After their lame Earth Rune-using asses are dead, our heroes jump aboard their little ship and row the hell out of Dodge. From his ship, Joe Bishounen looks down at Marvy, pity and disgust written all over his face. It's pretty much the same stink-eye look Katarina was giving Marvy when she exiled him, and (spoiler!) the same look Marvy will give Slowe a million times before the game is over. Really, this game is basically a series of shots of one character in a big ship glaring down at another character in a little ship, loosely strung together with random battles and mini-games.

'I'm posing for you, ladies. Memorialize me on DeviantART.'

Old Man River shouts at the disappearing boat, "You'll all die at sea, anyway! You've got nowhere to go!" While this is true, it's not like they need to hear it. But the next bit is more interesting: "Had you been able to return to Gaien, you would have been killed by us!!" Or...they would have been killed by the Rune of Punishment. The worst Marvy would suffer is a fainting spell, and we all know it.

A good distance away, Paula feels the need to inform the group that they are not being followed by the entirely stationary boat behind them. Thanks, Paula. I'm sure everyone here values your crucial and thought-provoking contributions to the discourse. In retrospect, Jewel and Meathead are looking pretty good right now. Meanwhile, Keneth somehow managed to overhear one whispered name drop and is reflecting on it: "[Joe Bishounen]... That's the [Joe Bishounen] the Commander spoke about." Yes. At great length. But now, I hope these former Knights of Gaien appreciate Scruffy's obsession with young Joe: yeah, he's generic as all get out, but he kicked their asses like ass-kickings were going out of style.

Suddenly, out of the cut scene, it's gone from nighttime to daytime. That was one drawn-out black screen. The crew of the H.M.S. My Soul Bleeds Through My Wrists is now more downtrodden than ever, after that tease of a non-rescue. Chiepoo has lost the will to move, even, so Keneth yells at him to collect rainwater for drinking instead of lying there like a mopey Cure fan. The black screen interrupts before we have to see Chiepoo sobbing pathetically into his bowtie.

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