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Episode 10: Total Recall

 

Review by Dustin Corallo

June 13, 2006

 

Summary

As the Ender approaches Kudoshu, Dolores destroys a beam cannon that had attacked her and then drops one of her wires into the asteroid through a crack in the outer shell. James asks what they’re doing, and Leon explains that the base’s defense systems are still active even though they’re fifty years old. Through his laptop, he manages to hotwire the base’s guidance lasers online and the main bay doors to open. Both the Ender and Dolores then enter the docking bay, and Noel marvels at how large it is, to which Leon explains it was designed to hold warship-grade spacecraft. James soon lands the Ender at a repair dock and then disembarks from the ship, as do Leon and Noel from Dolores, and they all group together at the foot of the ship. Leon checks a nearby terminal and while James explains to them that after the Urenbeck Catapult became a norm for space transportation, there was a splinter faction in the military that opposed the idea of space compression navigation, so they made Kudoshu as a way station in case the catapult failed. Leon tells them that despite the age of the terminal, it’s still usable, so James leaves him and Dolores to check the asteroid’s database while he and Noel search around. The father and daughter come across a food storage area, and as they look around James comes across a case full of freshly preserved beer. He decides to leave Noel in charge of re-supplying the ship while he checks out the control room. When he enters the control room, he finds that the base is intercepting a communications channel between a very distraught Baan and his superior. Now that the Links family has moved out of the Earth’s sphere, they are effectively out of WIRED’s operational range, thus relegating Baan to beg his superiors for permission to pursue the family to Mars. James sits back with a beer can in hand and watches to his amusement as Baan gets more frantic, James even commenting on how Baan should be using a secured military channel instead of open broadband. After being informed that the UNSF’s Martian garrison would be put in charge of tracking the Links family, Baan quips about how useless Deimos was five years ago when a single LEV practically annihilated the Space Force there. This catches James’ attention, especially from hearing the words “five years ago” and “Deimos.” At Deimos Base, Sir Yan reports to his superior that there is no evidence the Links family had arrived at Mars yet, even though their ETA had past by two days. However, he hasn’t discounted the idea that the family had already infiltrated Mars, so the superior orders him to keep up the investigation. As Sir Yans signs off, another black sedan pulls up next to his with two regular Yans in the back seat. One of them informs Sir Yans that the Kudoshu asteroid basin has strangely become active again. Sir Yans wonders if Isis is there, and then orders the two Yans to deploy. Back at Kudoshu, Noel and Leon the control room and sees James watching video footage of the Deimos Incident. The siblings wonder what it is, and James explains it’s communication records from five years ago, in which during a military exercise an accident had occurred, causing the bulk of the UNSF’s LEV forces and a portion of Deimos to be destroyed. James also reminds them that Rachel had been reported dead during that incident, and that for the last five years he had been trying to find out what had happened at Deimos, but never got any leads until now. Leon wonders if there are any records regarding Rachel, so he pushes James aside and takes the terminal himself. After some typing, he comes across a sound file from the Deimos recovery team trying to get Rachel Links out of the Deimos bay before it collapses, followed by a video file displaying footage of the recovery effort. Rachel’s face is shown as she is recovered, but the footage is soon cut. James prompts Leon to go further, and Leon soon comes up with a list of injured people recovered from Deimos. They find Rachel is on that list, having been transported to Vascilia County Army Hospital for a concussion, and James immediately cries out in joy at the discovery. As Dolores, who is still in the docking bay, wonders why everyone is late for dinner, James explains to the siblings that the Deimos Incident was supposedly about a prototype LEV going AWOL. Noel wonders why there was so much fuss about one LEV, and James states it wasn’t just a LEV, then telling Leon to bring up the video record of the incident. The siblings watch astounded as several UNSF Phantomas are destroyed by the orbital frame Idolo while it was in its berserker state, and Noel immediately recognizes the design similarities to Dolores. James tells them both that there is a strong chance that Dolores and the white frame were both made by Rachel, and that the Martian military put up a fake mortality report to keep it secret. Leon questions why Rachel sent Dolores over to James as footage of BAHRAM Phantomas blasting Idolo with their beam cannons plays out. James jokes that Rachel put them all in a troublesome situation, just as Dolores overhears them and takes it seriously. Ignoring James’ explanations, Dolores runs off in a fit, going deeper into Kudoshu.

 

Trying to find her, Leon brings up a schematic of the asteroid, saying he wasn’t sure Dolores had gone outside. James asks about the base’s sensors, but Leon reminds him that Dolores destroyed several of them so the Ender could approach the base, thus causing a blind spot. Noel comes in and says that if she was still inside the asteroid, then it wouldn’t be too much trouble to find her, so James tries to get everyone to help him look for her. However, Leon and Noel both get up and leave the room, stating they still had repairing and re-supplying to do, thus leaving the search for Dolores to James. Before she leaves, Noel informs him now that they know Rachel is alive, Dolores is their only link to her, so James better not lose her. James simply quips about children always rebelling against their parents before he starts his search. After searching several areas, James picks up his How to be a Daddy book and flips through it, but the only advice it gives him in regards to a missing child is to ask the police. During his continued search, James comes across a floating cargo container while Dolores sulks in a LEV hangar bay. She reminisces on the video of Idolo being destroyed and wonders if she’ll end up with the same fate. In outer space, the two Yans approach Kudoshu in a BAHRAM shuttle. One of them quips that the Links aren’t even being vigilant about hiding their position and that it’ll be all the more easier, but the other tells him not to rush things. They both deploy in their Raptors, both of which have been fitted with special armor and weapons, and fit an explosive over Kudoshu’s bay doors. In the hangar bay, James finishes fitting the cargo container onto the Ender’s port side, balancing the ship again. When Noel asks him about Dolores, he tells her he hasn’t found her yet, and Leon informs him departure preparations are almost complete so James should hurry. Just then the asteroid is rocked by an explosion, and Dolores, from the LEV hangar, has another unsettling feeling from the Raptors’ proximity. As the two Raptors enter the asteroid, Leon scrambles over the computer terminal and detects that the bay doors had been blown open. James demands to know why Leon hadn’t detected them before, and Leon reminds him about the sensor blind spot. Without many options, James orders the siblings to get the Ender ready for take off while he goes to find Dolores. Before any of them can act though, the Raptors blast two holes into the side of the bay, exposing it to the vacuum. Back in the LEV hangar, Dolores detects James struggle and resonates. Grabbing hold of the Ender’s cargo container, James and the siblings barely keep themselves from getting sucked into space. Seeing this, one of the Raptors fires more beams into the wall, expanding the hole. As a result, the vacuum’s strength increases, and James is ripped off of the Ender as a result. One of the Yans laughs at James’ luck finally running out, but then a warning alarm sounds in his cockpit. Both Yans realize it’s Isis, but they don’t see her approach, and one wonders if she is hiding. Before they can figure it out, Dolores bursts from the floor and reaches out to James, grabbing him just as he is about to go into space and putting him in her cockpit. James manages to recuperate and smirks that Dolores finally came out. Dolores apologizes for being nothing but trouble for James, but James explains what he said earlier was a figure of speech. With Dolores in front of them, the Raptors launch wires from their armor and entangle her, the lead Yans stating to aim only for the cockpit. With the proximity of the Raptors, Dolores resonates and feels her consciousness fading out. James yells at her to get ahold of herself and remembers Isis wiping out the WIRED LEV force at Zalgas. Dolores’ cockpit soon blacks out, and she forcibly rips herself from the wires. The Yans observe as Dolores seems to struggle uncontrollably, until the twin prongs of an energy cannon emerge from her armor. Although she doesn’t turn into Isis this time, the same AI system takes over and charges the cannon. Dolores is then forced to turn around by an unknown force, despite her cries, and fires the cannon at Kudoshu. The whole basin is shaken as Dolores draws the beam down across the asteroid toward the Raptors. The Raptors dodge the blast, but the bay doors are obliterated, with the Ender caught in the shockwave. James commands Dolores to stop, but she continues to slowly succumb to her darker half. James asks if Dolores really wants to become troublesome, and just when she’s about to fade, he tells Dolores to sing Rachel’s song. However, Dolores can’t remember the song, so James sings it for her. After a few verses, Dolores starts to sing along with James, and manages to disengage the cannon. With the cannon no longer a threat, the Yans their Raptors reposition for an attack, so James takes control of Dolores while she continues to sing. Dodging energy blasts from the first Raptor, he activates Dolores’ right arm blade and makes several swipes at the Raptor. He manages to get the Raptor into a corner, but then Dolores blurts out a warning as the second Raptor moves in with its own beam swords activated. James deflects the blow and flies away when the first Raptor fires its beam cannons at him. Both Yans are confused with Dolores’ actions and are unsure how to proceed. Before they can make another attack, the docking bay doors open with a cloud of smoke bellowing out. Both frames dodge as the Ender almost rams into them, and the first Raptor fires its beam cannons into the port side cargo container. Responding to the attack, Leon unlatches the container and lets it drop in front of the Raptor, sending thousands of beer cans flying into the area. James winces as his secret stash floats into the open, but the second Raptor moves in again with its beam swords. James asks if Dolores can use the cannon again, and Dolores replies she can, so James tells her to fire it at minimal power. Dolores informs James that at minimal power, the cannon would only have the force of a microwave oven, but James tells her to do it anyway. Dolores fires the cannon, and although the blast does not affect the Raptor, it does cause all the floating beer cans to explode into a giant cloud of foam. James tells Leon and Noel to take this chance to run, but Noel remembers she forgot Pete. This creates an argument with Leon, until Pete enters the bridge and jumps into Noel’s arms. In the second Raptor, the Yans cannot detect Dolores through the foam cloud, but the other Yans tells him Dolores is to his right. With that information, the Yans whips the Raptor around and makes an upward slash at Dolores, but she evades it. To the Yans’ great shock and confusion, he ends up cutting his comrade’s Raptor in half. The other Yans calls out to him just before his Raptor explodes. Dolores uses the explosion to escape from the bay and rendezvous with the escaping Ender, and the explosion itself causes a chain reaction that engulfs Kudoshu entirely. As James watches the asteroid basin get destroyed from within, he asks Dolores how she is feeling. Dolores replies that she doesn’t feel well, and wonders if a hangover feels this way. James quips that his chances of having a hangover now are long gone, but Dolores thanks him and James replies that it was Rachel’s song that saved her, so the least she can do is help find her. Back at Kudoshu, the remaining Yans manages to get his battered and dismembered Raptor out of the basin, but he is now floating aimlessly. Remembering the death of his comrade, he screams out into space.

 

Commentary

 

Just before they make it to Mars, the Ender makes one last stop at the asteroid Kudoshu, an abandoned UNSF base seemingly in the middle of nowhere for repairs and re-supply. And at long last, the Links family finds out the truth behind the Deimos Incident, although I find it strange that a base that has been abandoned for quite some time has recorded data on something that only happened five years ago. We, and the Links, now officially learn that Rachel did indeed survive the whole Incident, having been recovered by BAHRAM Search and Rescue. Up until now it’s only been speculated by James, albeit strongly hinted at, and now the Links family definitely have a reason for coming this far, much to their being overjoyed. I wonder if they realize that in the five years since that footage, Rachel could still be anywhere on Mars, though Vascilia is still the most likely place. Then again, learning that Rachel was still alive is probably enough for them to not worry about it. Besides the revelation of Rachel’s survival, our heroes also see footage of the orbital frame Idolo as it tears UNSF Phantomas to shambles, and compared to Dolores, the resemblance is uncanny. Whereas in earlier episodes it seemed like Dolores was seeing images of Idolo at random, you can definitely tell now there is a connection between the two orbital frames, which is rather disturbing to think about since it’s probably tied into Isis. But besides both being designed by Rachel Links and looking similar, what is it exactly? Two new Yans appear to take up the hunt for the Links family (it's really hard to tell them apart), both using Raptors with unique types of armor. Neither of these Raptor types appear in the ZOE video games, although one looks rather similar to a Cyclops close combat type, except this one has beam cannons in its arms rather than clamps. It also seems that these two Yans are related, as the one that was killed called out “brother” before his frame exploded. I’m not quite sure if this means these particular Yan are related by sibling blood or if they are simply two clones that have grown closer to each other than with the rest of the batch. I’ve got a feeling we’ll find out later, and most likely to someone’s expense. And lastly, this is strangely the second time James has used alcoholic beverages as a weapon, the first being the impromptu beer bottle rocket back in episode 1. In this case, he uses Dolores’ newly found energy cannon (which looks like a cross between the After War Gundam X’s twin satellite cannon and Jehuty’s vector cannon from Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner (although the latter came out later)) to superheat the beer cans and make them all evaporate into a smokescreen of sorts. Pretty creative on James’ part, and at the same time amusing. I wonder how Anheuser-Busch would respond to their products being used in such a way.

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Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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ZOE Dolores, i Episode 10 ZOE Dolores, i Episode 10

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