While still technically under the employ of Avenir for the time being, Neptune and friends are determined to stop them and break their hold over Lastation. In their quest to do so, they learn of a sinister connection between Avenir, the Basilicom, and the recently-cancelled Technology Exposition…
TV Tropes Link – Chapter 6: The Great Tech Expo Exposé
Chapter 6: The Great Tech Expo Exposé
While waiting for her friends in a Lastation park, Compa finds a crying boy. He’s sad and angry at his mother for not giving him a brand new game console for his birthday, and for telling him that he should just get the older system that made the console makers famous. He prefers the new one because it can play movies . Compa tries to tell him that he should listen to his mother, but he tries to talk Compa into buying it for him, first with tears, and then with threats of violence. She decides that she’s had enough, and tries to divert the bratty kid’s attention while she makes a break for it.
Chian gets over the debilitating news about the cancelled Expo. She asks the party to deliver some materials from a shop. Their journey takes them back to the Challenge Cave, near a set of railroad tracks. They get attacked by a hairy sword-wielding monster called Orthrus, whose attacks shave a crazy amount of HP from the girls. IF’s Youth Bandage is able to soak up most of the attacks, but Nep and Compa take a serious beating, forcing them to use an Eject Button to escape to safety in hopes that they don’t run into any more before they can find the exit. For what it’s worth, they manage to come away with a prototype Beam Saber, a weapon for Neptune. (A lot of these hidden treasure chest weapons seem to be tailored to Neptune. Compa and IF get their weapon upgrades exclusively from the shop.)
- Enemies: Vampire Bat, Gyuki, Orthrus
- Treasures: 3x 10 Reflex, 8 Gelatin
The girls limp out of the cave with barely enough strength to reach Chevre’s shop for the supplies. Chevre notes how stressed out Chian’s been ever since she took over Passe from her father, who died in an accident. He used to work with Chian’s father until Avenir drove their business away, and he’s been committed to his own shop ever since, despite pleas from Chian’s mother to continue working for them.
Compa: “So Chian became the president? Sounds really dramatic for some minor story characters…”
Unsurprisingly, Parliament has their hands tied with Avenir, as the company holds a very large voting market on Lastation, makingthem a super-majority and giving them enough support to do whatever they want. (“Corporations as people”? Don’t be absurd!)
As requested by Avenir, the party journeys to a dungeon where an Avenir employee is said to be. Neptune is weary of helping them out again (understandable, considering the cold reception they got when they completed their first job with Avenir), and wonders why they don’t simply blast their way out of trouble with all of the tech they’re sitting on. IF says it’s because their president doesn’t like making weapons available to the general population.
Before they head out, they read from Black Heart’s blog again, and take a look at a few more requests on the quest board:
Client: Sir President Stringer
Ten Automatic Cannons in Massive Storage 3 are going out of control due to virus infestations. Can you please go destroy them before they cause any damage?
Recommended Level: 15
The targets in this mission are small ATW-9 model robots, which the girls have little trouble disposing of. IF sniffs out a Lazer Bamboo sword, which is exactly what one would expect – a bamboo sword with a laser blade embedded in it. Neptune isn’t sure why or how it was made, but she puts it in her arsenal anyway because it glows in the dark. She notices that the Clione in this dungeon (and the one they explored before it) is much more generous than the last few, as it gives out 13,000 experience points instead of 1,300.
- Enemies: ATW-9, Fenrir
- Treasures: 10 Reflex, 4 Detoxin
Client: Lastation resident
Planeptune’s Guild Extremists are threatening that if we don’t migrate 30% of our residents to their land, they’ll spread monsters here. They’ve already proven they’re serious by releasing one monster. We need your help to take care of it.
Recommended level: 17
The monster was last spotted near the entrance of the cave, so they head back there to investigate. They get very lucky and find the Blaze Heart legs in a treasure chest, and the waist part of a Martial processor unit as a random drop (shaped like a samurai’s armor). The monster, a Frog Baby, is a weird frog monster with plant-like tentacles and a lantern tail instead of frog legs. Neptune had no idea such creatures even existed on her homeworld.
- Enemies: Zephyranthes, Giant Rabbit, Diablos
- Treasures: None found
A follow-up quest quickly pops up on the quest board, but as it’s well beyond their current level, they decide to return to it at a later date once they’ve gained more experience.
With their missions complete, the girls head off to the cave pointed out to them by Avenir’s messenger. They find a treasure chest with an Energy Bangle near the entrance, which is said to give its wearer a boost in energy. Compa takes it, hoping that the HP increase will make her slightly less squishy.
- Enemies: Zephyranthes, Giant Rabbit, Diablos
- Treasures: 4x 2 Gelatin, 2 Tuffmil, 4 Reflex, 4 Detoxin
Neptune meets a man named Ganache at the end of the tunnel, who turns out to be much friendlier than she envisioned, considering his employer. He recognizes Compa and IF, but not Neptune, who presents herself to him in Purple Heart form. He accidentally mentions that he and Avenir had been prepping for the Tech Expo for three years, even though it was recently “officially” cancelled.
Black Heart confronts the party again at Windy Wasteland. Neptune (still transformed) demands to know why they’ve got anapparent rivalry going on, but Black Heart only feels the need to fight her to avenge her previous loss. The end result is pretty much the same, with Nep’s team winning again, and Black Heart fleeing the scene just as Neptune drops out of CPU mode.
Everyone tunes in to the radio to confirm some new details they heard from an Avenir employee regarding the Tech Expo. Indeed, the Expo is back “on like monkey kong”, but this time under the direct sponsorship of the Parliament, leading Chian and Compa to worry about the implications. Chian doesn’t understand how Avenir had been planning for the expo ahead of time unless they were the ones that had chosen the theme (“weaponry”). It would also go hand-in-hand with Singe’s desire to replace everything on Lastation with machines, as there are already plenty of them doing all of the actual work at Avenir, with the human employees doing grunt work. In a not-so-uncommon display of Genre Blindness, Chian hopes that nothing bad will happen at the Expo.