The Other Side
These notes explain some of the continuity elements of ‘The Other Side’ in regards to the Phantasy Star series as a whole as well as a few other random bits and pieces. A few here are not included, or even hinted at, within the story itself, as they were outside of the story’s scope, and trying to include them usually seemed irrelevant and forced.
Do not read this before the story. I worked hard to keep ‘The Other Side’ surprising and, by necessity,
had to explain and connect many of the mysteries and incongruous elements of the Phantasy Star series.
Reading these notes before the story will spoil much of what it has to offer.
The Night Before Christmas (Subjective)
‘The Night Before Christmas (Subjective)’ is a very short story I wrote for Christmas 1999. It involves Daniel and Mother Brain, and is wildly incompatible with ‘The Other Side’ on a number of fronts. Ignore the problems it presents. It’s more of a gag than a story anyway.
I assume that Dark Force is created on the millennial boundary, and therefore every Phantasy Star game is therefore set after the millennium is over. Dark Force would, after all, need some time to corrupt Lassic, Mother Brain and Kuran respectively. Also, if you assume it took him longer to corrupt Mother Brain than it did for Lassic, then the Phantasy Star 2 introductory statement "More than 1000 years have passed…" remains true.
To have this work, however, it must be assumed that AW and SC are separate dating systems.
Pandora and Algol
It seemed logical to me that the humans would have a different name for Algol, at least to begin with. I called it ‘Pandora’, because of the multitude of relevant connotations the word has. Apart from the translation of the word and the details of the legend I put in the story, there is also the point that Algol is the lid of a Pandora’s box full of seething evil.
It was not my intention to explain the reference to Phantasy Star 2’s Pandora’s box by naming the Algol system Pandora. Rather, it was a tribute to it, another few layers of meaning on top of what was in the game. Boxes within boxes, as it were.
Originally, the human’s plan for the Natives had no name, but I figured that I might as well throw in a friendly reference to the cryptic Phantasy Star 2 Japanese sub-title, ‘The End of the Restoration’.
It is reasonable to assume some long-term effect from the battle between the Light and the Darkness. Any such incredible release of destructive energies would have to do something. I also needed an explanation to explain the Native ‘magic’ to the humans, who would never rest until they had some sort of explanation.
In Phantasy Star 4, Rune demonstrated that Espers were sensitive to black energy. That made the most sense if it was also what they used, whether they knew it or not. You must have eyes to paint a picture, ears to hum a tune, and you must sense ‘magic’ to be able to use it. There was also, of course, a wave of black energy from the Edge, the interdimensional equivalent of a shockwave from the Profound Darkness punching her prison open. Demi even said that she could detect no radiation readings from the area, which is also consistent with my explanation.
I also understand that, in one of the games, the powerful ‘Megid’ Technique causes damage to the party or user. This can be construed as being an effect similar to the electromagnetic pulse that Nei First caused, in that the spell is too powerful for it’s waste energy to be completely avoided.
I hate stories that say things like "This alien substance is not on the periodic table". It doesn’t work like that. Anything not currently on the periodic table is either so unstable and radioactive that it would never be safe to be around, or not made of atoms at all.
So I made the impossibly hard laconia a ‘pseudomorphic’ metal; silver with a diamond-like crystalline structure. Although I’m not sure about metals, pseudomorphic substances are very real. The choice of ‘real’ silver as being the base element for laconia was not an arbitrary choice based on the name given to ‘low-grade’ laconia in Phantasy Star 4, but a choice supported by my theories on black energy and the unique properties of silver.
Silver has the best conductivity of every metal in the world. In fact, the ability to conduct electricity in every other metal is measured against silver. If anything were going to conduct energy not quite in our own dimension, silver would be it. Over millions of years of conducting black energy radiation, silver changes its structure, perhaps even being pulled by the energy current somewhat into nearby dimensions, thereby forming laconia.
Lagrange points (as I have also heard them called) are real and exactly as I describe them in the story. Gravity having an affect on dimensions is also real, and it is a common device in science fiction to have to jump into hyperspace (or whatever) at a lagrange point. I extended the idea in include all dimensions, which is supported within Phantasy Star by the fact that the Seal is a selection of gravitational masses.
Dark Force hanging from the ceiling
The Phantasy Star 4 Dark Force in Kuran was hanging from the very computer system it was controlling, so I extended that idea to have Dark Force one level below Mother Brain. It was a while before I actually checked the map, fearful it would make a liar out of me, but, as the programmers would have it, Dark Force is exactly level with Mother Brain, but one floor down. I’m biased, of course, but that makes me think that it was actually their intent to have Dark Force manipulating Mother Brain.
There are two schools of thought regarding the date of Phantasy Star 2. There is evidence suggesting both 1284 and 1286. In the story, I had Mother Brain move the clocks forward so that Gerard’s shift would not be suspicious of being woken up back to back with Simonson’s, but not too far forward, in order to lend credence to the ‘crisis’ they were woken up for.
It was much later when I realised that, if I altered it to two years instead of my original arbitrary value of four, I could explain this apparent inconsistency.
Similarly, Forren’s Phantasy Star 4 age of 998, can be explained over confusion with the change.
I kept the Japanese name for Wren/Forren, as it would be consistent with the human need to give things unique designations. It would have been confusing if Darren, Aurren and Forren were all called ‘Wren’…
He probably changed it later in order to be consistent with the odd cultural four-letter-name convention the Natives have.
The biblical flood on which Noah’s Ark sailed is repeated in the myths of many cultures. Every human ship in ‘The Other Side’ is named for a variation on the myth or characters that feature in them.
The three satellites being relays for instructions from the Noah is supported in the games by their proximities to their respective planets and also the fact that environmental control can be exerted from Zelan and Kuran. With each planet and the Noah all orbiting Algol at different speeds and distances, a relay system would be necessary to keep things running.
Gaila’s power core
There should be no way that a teeny little prison satellite could destroy an entire planet. Putting a powerful anti-matter power core on it seemed the only reasonable way it could be explained, but there would be little need for such power on either a prison or a relay satellite. To account for this, I made Gaila a science station that had been pressed into service as a third relay, which also supports the unexpected nature of the Noah’s altered mission.
I liked the idea of the Palmans being a little alien looking compared to us, and so I made them Manga - that is, big eyed, small mouthed, snub nosed and pointy chinned. I also made them short. It is established that once a creature dominates its environment, it will only evolve in that it will grow bigger until the environment will not support it. It happened to the dinosaurs, and it is happening to us.
The Palmans, however, get knocked back every thousand years, and have many intelligent and nasty creatures to compete with. They do not dominate, and are therefore very much shorter than humans.
Of course, Forren was originally a human droid who had a Palman head bolted on - which explains why he towers over the rest of the party in Phantasy Star 4. By extension, it can be assumed that Shirren (the Phantasy Star 3 Wren), who was far shorter, was built from scratch as a Palman model (possibly built by the Palmans).
I also believe that the human sprites at the end of Phantasy Star 2 are, in fact, taller than Rolf’s company, but I may be mistaken.
It was hard for me to believe that Tyler was a pirate in a system without any space ships for him to prey on. His coincidental and casually dismissed timing at Gaila was far too pat, a bad case of deus ex machina, and, to top it off, he both looked very un-manga, and did not have the traditional Palman four letter name.
So I made him a human. Otherwise, the main characters would have little to do between landing on Motavia and their assault on the Noah. True, he looked pretty cheerful, but human or Palman, it was still out of place given what had just happened.
Tyler knowing about the Espers
In Phantasy Star 4, Rune demonstrates that he is sensitive to the very black energy I would have him manipulating. Given this, the Espers would have to have sensed Dark Force’s creation, which is the reason for the attempted investigation by them in the story and also the most logical way Lutz could know where the Noah was.
It also explained something I wasn’t actually going to bother with in the hope that no one would notice: static weapons being inside Mother Brain’s neural core (just don’t ask me why there’s a holographic projector).
Okay, we all know about the evil Star Trek Borg, but ‘borg’ is a reasonable contraction of ‘cyborg’. If cyborgs were common, then a contraction of the word is practically a given, especially in the Military where they use one syllable words for anything they can (grunts, brass, etc).
Nei’s animal and Palman genes
Like most people, I took this to mean that there was some Musk Cat in her. Given my explanation of the Nei project, the most logical explanation was that it was added for the Musk Cat magical ability, or perhaps their more instinctive control over it.
Originally, I was looking into genetic solutions to this rather strange and difficult to explain event in Phantasy Star 2. However, I eventually settled on a mirror to the creation of Dark Force, in that Nei uses magic to attain the separation, converting energy directly into matter. This triggered Daniel’s realisation of what they were dealing with, which, in a way, I didn’t want to happen. It was too pat that he would figure it all out, but I could see no way he could miss it given what I had already written.
(Stories do that occasionally: write themselves. That’s fine by me. It saves me having to work everything out myself. There were actually a few problems with ‘The Other Side’ I couldn’t explain - like the weapons being in Mother Brain’s neural core - but I just wrote the thing anyway, confident that it’ll work out.)
Palmans vs Mother Brain
A neural net computer the size of Mother Brain would have to have incredible accuracy. Medical lasers today have more than enough precision, and Mother Brain is far more powerful than those computers. Given this, Rolf and company would be dead about a second into the fight, as I said in the story. If Mother Brain were to be a ‘real’ computer, something would have to be inhibiting her, making her miss.
Daniel’s trick with the screwdriver will work on an ordinary twelve-volt car battery, but do NOT try it for your self. If you are lucky, you will lose a hand. If you are unlucky, you will get to keep it, but some of the vaporous metals that would have been driven into it will get into your bloodstream and poison you. Even breathing such vapours could be lethal.
And, while I’m at it: Kids! Do not try to take on evil gods in maze-like spaceships at home without parental supervision. It could be dangerous.
Nei First’s ghost
I decided the Numan project was what it was, quite confident that Nei First would have enough Techniques to make it seem plausible.
But, her main claw attack looked like it was not her actual hand, and there was that ghost face above her, so I merely gave her a very particular but powerful Technique in the exoskeleton ghost-form. I’ve always wanted to have an Esper or Technique user who merely used their powers to augment their fighting abilities, rather than casting them as spells. Nei First’s ghost filled that little void (as did Jean-Paul’s cyborg abilities in a way, only on a technological front).
At the end of Phantasy Star 2, the leader of the Earthmen makes a rather disjointed speech about their origins, history and motivations. They admit to being evil, say that Algol will be destroyed, appear to gloat about destroying Palm and make many spelling and grammatical errors.
The entire Phantasy Star 2 script is available to be read on the Phantasy Star Pages. The Earthling’s speech can be found near the end.
You may notice that they actually only admit to being ‘evil’ when they destroyed Earth, although I read it as ‘ignorant, stupid and bloody minded’. They also say that they ‘didn’t suppress’ the evil, which somewhat implies they do, or at least try to, now.
They say they wanted ‘this planet’, which I took to mean Motavia since it seemed to be the planet they expended most effort on, terraforming-wise. Alas, they also say that Algo will be ‘destroyed’, but since they want ‘this planet’, that statement is already contradictory and reasonably attributable to rage.
"Do you think you can stop us, we who destroyed Palm?" means, in any theory, "Look what we can do. You can’t stop someone capable of that."
Capability can be expressed in terms of willingness ("We will stop at nothing to get what we want"), or means ("Our technology is more powerful than yours"). I chose the later. Gerard was half warning them that they were outmatched, and half expressing disbelief that they would fight anyway, probably hoping on some level that they would be warned off, but too angry and driven to put it nicely.
As for the spelling and grammar, well, Palmanian is not Gerard’s first language now is it?
Tyler after Phantasy Star 2
It is assumed by some that the village Tyler founded on Dezoris was initially populated by Palmans he had rescued from Palma when it was destroyed. This is possible, but given that no mention was ever made of others being on his ship when he rescued Rolf, it is more likely that he rescued the Palmans from Motavia just prior to the Great Collapse. For the Tyler in the story, it would be a chance at some small redemption over his failure at Gaila. He then changed the name of his ship from the Manu to the Landale to replace the suspicious English lettering on it’s side (and possibly to disconnect himself from a vanished past).
Demi’s creation is very far beyond the scope of the story. However, I did make it clear that two Wren class androids (or equivalents) would be better than one, which provides the impetus for her creation later.
I find Wren’s statements about Daughter in Phantasy Star 4 to be unclear and confusing. However, "Technicians at that time planned to reopen the project after the environment was stabilised," is fine and is supported by the story, but "Because the environmental deterioration caused by the system crash was greater than initially expected, the effects of the destruction of Parma were calculated prior to the completion of the Daughter Project," makes very little sense if you try to get your head around it. I can’t see environmental deterioration affecting the timing of when the effects of a destroyed planet are calculated. The two have no real connection.
However, in terms of the story, the ‘system crash’ is Mother Brain going down, thereby releasing control over the terraforming systems and causing the ‘environmental deterioration’.
John William Lewandowski
The author of the much quoted but never seen work, The Restoration, is none other than the expanded name of JWL. As I said in the Author's Notes, he gave the story much more depth by arguing with me for, oh, about three or four weeks about my theories. Much of the text of The Restoration came from that argument.