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In The Name Of The Mother

Author's Note

Like a lot of stories, this one pretty much wrote itself.  I first started getting some ideas when I ran into Laya in PS III.  Frankly, I never believed the "little sister" story.   People don't give sisters the same name.  The obvious conclusion was that this was, in fact, the real Laya.  And, for some reason, my next thought was that Laya was a robot.   I don't really know why.  She could just as easily have been a Palman who really had gone into cryogenic sleep, just like Lutz.  One thing that bothered me was the fact that Laya never used high technology like Orakio did.  Why, then, would she put herself into cryogenic sleep?  To my mind, the "cryogenic sleep" was a cover to explain why the robotic Laya had no knowledge of the customs of the present.  Then it occurred to me that the talk of Laya using monsters sounded a lot like the Biohazards.  What if Laya was a systems operator?

However, since you can marry Laya and have children, it's pretty obvious whatever she is, she's not a robot.  Still, the idea stuck with me.  And I soon realized how to solve the problem.  The original Laya commanded a Biosystems, and she could create genetic constructs like Rika and Nei.  The PSIII Laya was intended as the original's replacement.

Thus the story was born.  And the details just sort of...happened.  I wanted to tell the story of the Orakio-Laya war, and I wanted to show everybody that PSIII can be reconciled with the rest of the series.  And along the way, I could clear up some other problems.

I'd always been intrigued by the language shifts over the course of the games, and I decided to let Orakio to puzzle that one out for me.  And he did, too, because while I was writing I suddenly realized (I'm a little slow) that in PS II, all the names are four letters long.  Palm, Mota, Dezo, Algo.  Not to mention SEED, and with a little modification, PLAT, VHAL, and my own LRVA.  And I realized, being a DOS-based kind of guy, that that could easily be because Mother Brain used a four letter system for her files.  And the Palm people must have subsequently adopted it.  First as a kind of slang, then the slang became a reality.  I owe a debt to Orakio for that one.

It was obvious Laya had to work out of Dezolis.  There's no reason an infinitely efficient systems operator wouldn't use combat robots, unless she couldn't.  The network had never extended that far to Dezolis.  And scavenging Dezolisians, who had already moved into Palman towns in PSII, were attacking what little network was left, until, by the time of PSIV, only the actual systems themselves, protected by automatic defenses, were left.  This also gave me a chance to explain Azura and Dahlia.  Laya needed to shuttle large amounts of her biologics to Motavia.

A lot of people seem to feel that PSIII is a sort of alternate story, a might-have-been.  After all, the only real link between PSIII and the rest of the series is the name "Alisa."  But I think you can fit it in to the series just fine, and even keep it in the correct place chronologically.  This story takes place a thousand years after PSII, and a thousand years before PSIII and PSIV, which happen at the same time.

No, no, you say.  You've gone against some Phantasy Star material here in your so-called "story" and that cannot be tolerated.  Well, let me defend myself.  Here's how I see things.  The Earthmen who built Mother Brain were fleeing a world on the brink of destruction.  Arriving in Algol, they fell under the baleful influence of Dark Force.  It twisted their minds until they conceived the Mother Brain plan, to terraform the worlds of Algol.  But Dark Force didn't need paradise on the three worlds, it just needed a tool with which to dominate them.  Once Mother Brain was complete and the networks expanding, Dark Force made its Earthman puppets go completely insane, and took over MB itself.  For more details, see "Madness and the Machine."

So when Rolf arrives on the scene, Mother Brain is most definitely an evil entity rather than a dispassionate machine.  The Earthmen are clearly stark raving mad because first they say they wanted replacement worlds and then they brag about destroying Palm(a).  Their words are not to be taken as gospel truth.

PSIII, in which the incredible Alisa III eventually reaches a perfectly intact Earth, can follow PSII because the Earthmen who told Rolf Earth had been destroyed had been tricked.  Dark Force thrives on fear, terror, and despair.  Why not make these travelers think that they were the last of their kind?   It's also been suggested that the black hole the Alisa III falls into sent it back through time.  Considering that the existence of black holes is pretty theoretical to begin with, I can't argue with that theory.  It, too, says that PSIII can follow II.

The second piece of information I blatantly go against is when, in PSIII, Dark Force says that there were originally four hundred worldships like Alisa III, and he's destroyed all the others.  I consider this a flat-out lie.  You simply can't construct that many ships the size of Alisa III out of a planet, and, if PSIII is a part of the Phantasy Star series, the ships would have had to originate in Algol.  Otherwise why would it be considered a part of the series?  Dark Force told you that simply to impress you and make you fear him.  Again, Dark Forces thrive on negative emotions.  I feel I'm justified in going against these bits of information because (1) they don't really hold water, and (2) they are both Dark Force-generated, and as such, should be treated with extreme suspicion anyway.

And lastly, as I think everybody and their musk cat has pointed out, the label "cyborg" is clearly somebody's mistake.  A cyborg is an organic being with mechanical parts.  The beings called cyborgs in PSIII are obviously robots.  Not only do we have this spelled out for us in PSIV, but when we meet Mieun (Mieu N.  Get it?  And look, look.  LCDN actually means Elsydeon.  If you don't see it now, give it a thousand years.) we can see the robotic head underneath the false skin covering.

I had absolutely no clue about all this "God of Palm" stuff.  I realized that by the time of PSIII, Orakio and Laya had assumed god-like proportions, and the temples to Laya meant that some people regarded her as a god.  So that was one of the many accidents that caused the Orakio-Laya war, the rather cliché idea of people mistaking a hologram for a divine vision.  I was a little embarrassed about being so hack when I suddenly realized that it would indeed work on these people.  You see, there were churches in PSI, and priests or monks in PSIII, but none in PSII or IV.  What exactly was the deal with Palman religion?

Here's what happened.  In a Mother Brain-ruled world, there was no need for religion.  People that have everything handed to them on a platter have no need for religion.  So the churches disappeared.  But when MB was destroyed and civilization started to collapse, people turned to religion only to discover that all traces of whatever god they had worshipped before had vanished.  All the icons and holy books were long since gone.  Only the memory of a god, some god, remained.  So the "God of Palma" idea developed.  A faceless deity.  You can see how it works.  Nobody's really all that religious, but there are priests and monks, and in the back of everybody's head is the knowledge that there is a god out there, somewhere, and because of a horrible mistake, they don't have a clue about this god.  So when Laya appears, they realize that they've been given a second chance.  And when she says there's a bad robot that needs to be stopped, it works out perfectly.  They get to follow the god they neglected, and fight against the technology that made them neglect her.

By the way, some people might wonder how come civilization collapsed when there were, in fact, working governments.  Well, the government is always the first thing to go in times of crisis, and especially when people are suddenly thrust into a hand-to-mouth existence.  By the time this story rolls around, the society is stable enough that we're in the midst of a social revolution, but it must have been touch and go there for a while.  The only way the Palmans survived, obviously, was with the help of the Motavians.

The Motavians are a nice bunch of easygoing people who really only want to be left alone, and they've always gotten along pretty well with Palmans.  Their culture has always been a simple agrarian one, and they must have been the ones who taught the Palmans the basics of farming, and all the other stuff.   The Dezolisians are actually pretty nice guys, too, although it really takes PSIV to prove that, simply because they seem to be fairly standoffish.  Too much bad blood, I suppose, from the days when Palmans pushed them around and called them liars.

It seems weird, I know,  that, having used Palma from PSI, I use Dezolis from PSIV, instead of PSI's Dezoris.  I like Dezoris, actually.  I think it's the better name.  However, Orakio tells Bran that Mota should really be Motavia, thus explaining why it is 'Motavia' in PSIV, and so, since the third planet is 'Dezolis' in PSIV, that should be what Orakio says it is.   That begs the question of why it was called Dezoris in PSI.  Well, remember that in PSI, there are no Palmans on Dezoris.  Yet there is no mystery as to the planet's name.  It seems to me that the name must have gotten passed down through the ages, and along the way, slightly changed.  And it remains Dezolis, after Orakio corrects the mistake in the language, because now Palmans and Dezolisians are in contact with each other.  Palma gets shifted to Parma over the centuries, even after Orakio's correction, simply because nobody has any real need to refer to Palma all that often.  Tricky to follow, I know.  Sorry, but the discrepancy has to be accounted for somehow.

Lune and Alair are the only people in any Phantasy Star game with such amazing hair.  If they were going to be constructs, I figured that could be the Dezolisian restriction.  Of course, it's pretty obvious to everybody that there's a hardwired instruction in Motavia Biosystems to make their Palmanlike genetic constructs have pointed ears.  Rika, Nei, and Neifirst all have pointy ears.  Why?  Well, one possible explanation is to prevent a genetic construct from actually commanding a system.  Palmans are capable of commanding systems, we know this because of Chaz and Wren.  A clever system could circumvent its programming by creating a construct loyal to it who could override the programs for it.  But if the system is unable to create a real Palman, that can't be done.  At any rate, there are no pointy ears in PSIII, so if Lune, Alair, and Laya II were going to be constructs, Dezolis Biosystems would have to have a different restriction.

The Wren of PSIII uses techniques, the Wren of PSIV cannot.  People often confuse techniques with magic, but they aren't the same.  Rune Walsh, in PSIV, proves this.  So what's the difference?  Not much, as I see it, but there is one, and that's the important thing to remember.  So if robots can't use them, but living beings can, it must have something to do with life.  How about bio-energy?  Sounded good to me.  Living beings can use their own energy to enhance certain effects.  They can increase their natural healing rate, or increase other things like heat, moisture, or gravity.  At higher levels they can even project the energy or use it to disrupt the energy (and thus, life) of others directly.

Naturally, they don't have infinite energy, but they can increase it with experience.  So Wrens can't generate this kind of energy.  How come PSIII Wren can use techniques?  He's collecting the energy from others.  Only a few Wrens had this system built in, but it was an obvious move to send all the ones capable of such a feat along with the worldships.  Since they wouldn't have the power of the systems to rely on, they needed an edge.

But my favorite part of all was when I realized that Mieu was a corruption of Myau.  They both fight with claws, see?  Of course, claws are simply the favored close combat weapon of Mother Brain's systems, but the phonetic similarity is just too good.  The language shifts throughout the series really are fascinating.

As one last aside (speaking of language), you'll notice it's a clean story.  This was tricky, because a lot of the stuff that happens would make pretty much anybody swear.  But nobody swears in the game, and I really don't know what they'd swear by anyway.  I mean, Fortune prick me, but shards, only a complete chibihead would think that people on other planets swear the same vulking way we do, verda?

That's about the size of it.  After this story, you can pretty much figure out the rest.  Motavia recovered, thanks to the actions of Nurvus, but the loss of the valuable terraformed soil meant a slow return to desert.  A thousand years later, Rykros appears, or rather, doesn't, heralding the conjunction of dimensions.  Since each system is self-contained, multiple Dark Forces are created to take over each one.  Things are a little tougher on Dezolis, of course, because the systems have deteriorated.  As Orakio and Laya's legacies are corrupted, the Dark Force trapped on Alisa III revives.  Unable to function properly, it is nevertheless in a prime position because of the way Orakio and Laya left things on the ship.  Siren is poised to start another war if Lune and Alair try anything.  Alisa III is one big powder keg, and Dark Force, very subtly, over generations, is able to set it off.  As the Siren war gets off to a rousing start (the kidnapping of Alair was just perfect) it turns its attention to poor, flawed Rulakir, unhappy captain of Alisa III, and drives him virtually as mad as the Earthmen its predecessor controlled.  At the helm, Dark Force uses the Alisa III's defenses to destroy the two other worldships.  Rulakir ordered Siren to fire on them.  Siren doesn't have to take that kind of order from Rulakir, but he does, and when you finally find him, he's realized he shouldn't have.

Unfortunately, the Siren war was nipped in the bud, and in the process, people of Alisa III have learned the truth about their "planet," forgotten over the centuries.  Its position threatened as Alisans seek the controls of their ship, Dark Force gets one last shot to salvage the situation when Orakio's sword is removed.  Freed, Dark Force flees to Rulakir, warning him and hoping the defenses of Lashute will protect it.  Eventually it is cornered and destroyed, even as its lord and master is finally overcome by the Protectors in the place where it all began, Algol.

Congratulations to everybody who made it this far.  I got a lot of fan mail and I'm happy to say it was more or less positive.  I took some big risks with this one but people seemed to like it, or at least they didn't hate it enough to tell me.  I'd like to thank everybody who wrote me, because your comments did have an effect in some way on this.  Astute readers will notice that there is a lot of crossover between this story and others I've written.  For instance, "Madness and the Machine" has some puzzling references you should be able to understand, having read "In the Name of the Mother."  Hopefully, other stories will also have this overlap.  If you look closely at "Mother," you'll see the seeds of some of my other stories.

As always, I'd like to dedicate this story to Carl Macek, the greatest fan fiction writer of all time.

Keep reading and playing!