Categories > Games > Xenogears2 Reviews
let justice be done, though the heavens should fall. billy, firing fort jasper.
Billy's heart was steady, but his hands were shaking. He had to swallow twice before he could give Bart the all clear.
He told himself it was just a gun. Just a really, really big gun.
Briefly he wished for Renmazuo; so much easier to fire the big guns from something as familiar as the cockpit of his gear. They rode here together, of course, too dangerous to go on foot in the moldering ancient mausoleum with some of Shakhan's men still around. And it was not as though Bart would go anywhere without Andvari, careful of his recently unearthed Omnigear like a jealous lover.
But there was nothing quite so disarming as the feeling of emerging after hours piloting his gear. The synthleather seat was still warm, smelling of his fear and his weariness and his hope; the metal casing tuned to his movements like second nature-- that extension of self, knowing how tall it made him, how broad and how heavy.
How terrifically small he felt, stepping out of the cockpit and stumbling on his own small unmechanical feet.
He might have been grateful for the Element's attack, something to keep Bart occupied, not giving him the chance to be envious. After all, here was his Fort Jasper, this new Fatima treasure, in somebody else's hands, the day-- the world-- depending on the untested beam cannon.
Still, everyone knew that in a question of firearms, the answer had better be a Black.
Even if it was a gun big as a city, and the target half a world away.
Tuning out the chaos of the fight behind him, Billy tried to learn the controls as quickly as he could. Altitude adjustment, atmospheric correction, laser intensity, activation. Right. He nodded shortly. He only needed one shot.
Never mind that he only had one shot. He didn't let himself think about his aim being off (to hit Shevat, disaster; or worse, to hit the Tower, and his friends!). Easy enough solution, something his father would say: Just don't miss.
He shook his head to clear away the doubt. Aim the laser, account for the distortion, the drop factor in the atmosphere. He'd hit his target; there was no other choice.
His mouth had gone dry, his skin gone cold. But he was not shaking, now; his hands as calm and sure as steel. This was it. Bounce the laser off the mirror, strike the--
The first shot went by, past the mirror by a sharl, a hair's breadth away from Babel Tower itself.
"Damn," he swore reflexively, and heard his father's voice instead of his own, appalled at his own vocabulary.
For a long moment he held his breath, quivering in his lungs. But no, the world hadn't ended. Beyond his control room, he could still make out the sounds of Andvari in heavy combat. The sky beyond his window was a shining blue. Were it not for the desert horizon, he might have thought
it just like any ordinary afternoon in Aquvy--
Citan's voice, cool and precise, reached him over the radio, bringing him back to himself. He was, as ever, quite matter-of-fact. "Hm. ...If you do that again, we're done for."
But if you hit it/, Billy's mind was racing, /if you hit it you destroy the-- you destroy--
Bart outside fighting, his own breath coming hard and his sweaty bangs trailing in his eyes, shouted to him. Billy heard his voice as from a great distance. "Billy, don't worry about it. Billy, it's all right. I know you can do it. You've got to destroy the Gate. Just shoot again--"
Billy's heartbeat was thunder in his ears. He wiped his clammy palms against his pants, blinked away the residual image burned across his retina, the laser tearing through the clouds like a searing bullet. He could not will away the picture in his mind's eye: of his Ethos, unguarded and unmanned, more helpless under his assault than any other adversary.
Split second thoughts filtered through his mind-- warm reassuring hands on his shoulders, cool and sanctified water on his brow. A quiet blessing on his head, the Reaper blood still warm on the hem of his coat. A lifetime lived in the reaffirming darkness of a familiar confessional.
...The look in a brother priest's eyes, advancing with intent to kill, and the way Verlaine's eyes shone when he said "defiled."
Billy resisted the urge to squeeze his eyes tight shut and fire blind, but the world was too bright by half and he could not look away. "Forgive me," he whispered to no one, to his hands and the laser cannon latent beneath his touch.
You killed Bishop Stone/, the traitor voice inside his head responded. /Who then will you confess to?
He flinched, his fingers falling away from the controls. "Father... forgive me."
"What was that?" Bart called, barely heard now above the ruckus of his own battles. "Billy, what the hell are you waiting for?"
"Young one, we musn't rush him, though I agree we musn't waste any more time--"
Another voice in his mind was drowning out the rest, unexpected. Something older within him than the teachings, than all the catechism and the borrowed hope, something he hadn't thought of for years. Perhaps, in retreating to silence, the first voice went to its knees to pray.
Line up the sights, boy, tin cans in a row. Easy enough, lift her just a little higher than you mean to aim. Shooting by the seat of your pants, you know how it works. Tin cans in a row. A few inches, to shoot a few feet. Adjust a few miles, to shoot halfway around the world. The principle's the same.
And his hands were doing it, independent of the rest of him; he knew by the prickling feeling on the backs of his wrists that his aim was true.
Been using guns all your life, haven't you, kiddo? You know what you're doing. Never mind the distractions. Never mind the moldy old church. Deserted now, anyway. Destroy the gate. Aim for the ground beneath the wood you're chopping. Don't think about the rest.
Line her up. Let her go.
He held his breath.
Tin cans in a row.
There was a terrible flash behind his eyes, the image of a headquarters reduced to rubble, a faith smoldering, destroyed. Children's voices, clamoring for Uncle Stone; the glimpse of an inhuman face, skin peeled away, eyes crazed like old and sightless glass. Hand-carved wood and
Solarian metal, all twisted and charred beyond recognition, smoke curling up from what had once been the forward ave, evaporating into the sky. Stinging eyes making out, in the senseless smoke, the shape of the Ethos cross--
Fiat justitia ruat caelum/, his heart spoke in a tremulous murmur, unforgotten words, the oath of the Etone. /Let justice be done, though the heavens should fall.
Behind him, Bart was whooping; through the static on the radio a slightly unsteady voice was murmuring the figures on the laser's trajectory, calculating the improbable: a direct hit. Gate destroyed, Elements withdrawing, outcome victorious.
Somewhere, too far away to be heard, his father might have been laughing. Or maybe that was the ghost of his beloved Bishop, the man he thought he knew.
His hands were steady, but his heart was shaking. Slumped back against the console, Billy bowed his head in soundless prayer.