FFXII - Script - Ch 7: Archades - Draklor Laboratories

[The Imperial City of Archades is displayed across the screen... our group has finally reached it after what seems like forever! Granted, it wasn't forever script-wise, but gameplay-wise... it was quite a journey. Vaan runs ahead of the group, gazing intently at his surroundings]

Penelo: You're gaping like a fish out of water.

Vaan: I'm just checking out the city. Even if it is the Empire.

Penelo: You've changed, Vaan. You were always marching to your own beat... impatient, even. In a good way.

Vaan: Maybe it's because I've seen more now. Never imagined I'd ever come this far away from home. Hey, Larsa's here in the city, isn't he? He's a tough one. I wonder how he's doing.

Penelo: You always were a soft touch, Vaan. You know what's amazing? I thought I'd go my whole life without meeting people like the Princess, or Lord Larsa. And here we are in the capital!

Vaan: I know! It's a little over my head sometimes.

Basch: Good, Vaan. You've come to understand the difficulties of serving royalty.

Vaan: Hey, I'm just along for the ride.

Penelo: That wasn't a complaint, was it, Basch?

[Basch clears his throat]

Basch: Right. Let's get moving.

Penelo: Hey, don't change the subject!

Basch: Right.

[In the background, we see Ashe is smiling at this exchange. After the group proceeds a little further into the town...]

Balthier: We go our separate ways here, Vaan. I've some business to attend to. We'll meet again later.

[Balthier walks away]

Vaan: Huh? Hey-

[Oh well, Balthier's gone! They continue through the town, eventually coming across a Cab which would take them to Draklor Laboratories. However...]

Cab Guide: Only those with 9 or more chops may ride this cab, boy. Nothing personal, I assure you.

Vaan: A chop? What's that?

Cab Attendant: If you lack a chop, you pay coin. That's...1000000 gil, thank you.

Penelo: What? That's crazy!

???: Having a spot of trouble, are we?

[Jules is back]

Jules: I've a message from Master Balthier. He's waiting in Central. He says to come quickly.

Vaan: On this? But we need a...a chop. What is a chop, anyway?

Jules: When a boy wants information...that's right... A boy pays. 2500 gil sounds about right.

[Pay up]

Jules: Why, any upstanding citizen of the Empire carries a chop. It's a mark of status sometimes, a writ of transit others. If you were aiming to go to Central, where the gentry live, I'd think you'd need 9 chops.

Vaan: How do you get them?

Jules: Like I've said, the key is knowledge, boy. You do your part here on the street, talk to the right people, you'll earn your chops in no time.

Vaan: That doesn't sound so bad.

Jules: Oh, people in Archades love doing good deeds. Why, if they're helping you out, it must mean they're superior. Understand, boy?

Vaan: Uh... Not sure I do, but I'll give it a try. Thanks, Jules!

[He runs off]

Jules: A friend of Master Balthier's a friend of mine.

[Fran is staring at him]

Jules: (cough)

[Fran walks away]

[Vaan goes around, earning chops from people! How? By listening to someone's story, memorizing it, and reciting it to someone with a tale of their own. They use the story you tell them to learn, and grow as a human being, and give you a chop as a result. After 9 chops...]

Cab Guide: Ah, I see you have some chops, sir. Splendid. To Tsenoble? [Take me to Tsenboble]

[The cab - a hovercab - flies through the air, eventually landing in this "Tsenoble" area... Vaan exits, and sure enough, Balthier is standing there!]

Balthier: Ah, so pleased you could join me. Jules had a morsel for us: a light airship used by Draklor researchers is just up ahead. We'll take that and go in through the service entrance. Let's make haste, shall we?

[In the next area, three soldiers run up to a low-ranking Judge guarding the entrance to Draklor Laboratories...]

Soldier: The complices of the Senate have been quelled, Your Honor. Our forces sustained but light casualties.

Judge: You have leave to withdraw. One detachment will remain here to guard Draklor.

[The soldiers salute and depart... and the Judge walks into the building. Nearby, hidden around a corner, Vaan, Basch and Balthier strategize]

Vaan: Do you think they're on to us?

Basch: It would seem not, though this will make our task more difficult still.

[They try to enter, but the Soldier keeping watch sternly says no one will be allowed into Central - the area housing the Laboratory - at this time. The group backtracks]

Balthier: Certainly took your time getting here, didn't you. Off seeing the sights, perhaps?

Vaan: Not likely. Do you know how long it took to get the chops to get up here?

Balthier: What's that? But I gave Jules some chops...

Vaan: Jules!

[Jules walks on-screen, behind them]

Jules: Tsk, tsk. A squad of Judges has been sent to Draklor. You'll find the service entrance rather a difficult proposition, I'm afraid.

Balthier: Your doing, no doubt. You knew the Ministry of Law would move, so you had Vaan out collecting chops until the Judges could reinforce Draklor. Of course... Tell me, how much did the Ministry pay for word of the prodigal son?

Jules: The Ministry? Oh, Judges make poor customers, my friend. Too many rules, too many laws. Perhaps you didn't know, Master Balthier, that Draklor is a toy box these days, filled with your lord father's conceits... All developed without the Senate's knowledge, of course. Why, not even the Emperor knew the full extent of Dr. Cid's operations. Now, here's the catch: since Vayne had himself declared dictator, nary a peep has come out of that laboratory. I know people who would sell their own mum for the merest scrap of information about the goings-on inside Draklor.

Balthier: People like...Rozarrian sympathizers worried about the Empire's weapons programs, and anyone else who might be opposed to House Solidor hegemony. So, we create a disturbance, and you get your windfall of dirt on Draklor.

Jules: And in exchange for your service, I've spoken to a cabbie. When he asks where you want to go, tell him: "You know where to go." Simple, no?

Balthier: Ah, a deal, brokered in true Archades fashion. Why, it's just like old times, Jules. Brings a tear to my eye.

[Walks away]

Jules: Good to be back, eh? My regards to your lord father, Master Ffamran..er, rather, Master "Balthier." Anon, anon.

[When you're ready, tell the cab guide the magic words, and you're off! Vaan and Balthier appear to have a conversation onboard the cab]

Vaan: So, this Jules...is he some old friend fo yours, Balthier? You two seemed...close.

Balthier: Close enough for fisticuffs... Driver! Faster, if you please. I would be loathe to expend any of the violence in my present mood on my companions.

Cabbie: S-Sir? Yes, sir!

[FMV.... the cab arrives at Draklor Laboratory, a truly towering structure. The group debarks]

Vaan: Where to?

Balthier: Come, this way!

[They're inside... Draklor Laboratory is displayed on-screen]

Basch: It's too quiet.

Balthier: Passing strange. There are supposed to be guards here.

Vaan: Maybe we're just lucky?

Balthier: Maybe you're just optimistic.

Basch: Something may be afoot. We proceed with caution.

Balthier: No time for caution. Step to it! Cid's chambers are on the top level.

[The group proceeds forward... bodies of fallen soldiers line the floor. The group proceeds from the 66th to the 67th, entering a room called "C.D.B."... a bookshelf is toppled over, and papers are scattered on the ground]

Fran: He's had visitors. Ones lacking manners, by the look of it.

Vaan: Someone after the nethicite?

[Balthier approaches a table and looks over some papers...]

Balthier: The Jagd Difohr was it? Six years, and ever since you got back, this... What madness found you there?

[Outside, some soldiers shout...]

Soldier #1: Up! Above us!

Soldier #2: Drop bulkheads five and eight! Be to it!

Vaan: They found us!

Fran: His earlier visitors, more like. We should lie low for now.

Balthier: No, we'll use their confusion. We need to find Cid. Now.

[Group obtains Lab Access Card! They make their way through the Laboratory, eventually reaching the 70th floor... we see Vaan and Balthier exit the elevator, and then Basch... but he suddenly looks to his left, when a dark-skinned man wielding a pair of blades runs up to him and strikes, but Basch narrowly jumps out of the way. Basch stops his arm on a 2nd strike...]

Man: Ah. My apologies. You bear not the stench of Cid's lackies.

Basch: And you are... our earlier visitor.

Cid: Yes, a valuable man, one I'd sooner not lose. Yet he knows too much.

[They turn around, and notice the voice is coming from the top of a darkened staircase... the man grunts, and runs up the stairs. The group soon follows]

[At the top of the stairs, in a gorgeous sunlit room, stands Cid and the dark-skinned man]

Man: Cid! You know deifacted nethicite brought down the Leviathan! How can you persist in this folly?

Cid: And you've come here to stop me? I'd fain see you try.

Balthier: Consider your bones, old man. You're outmatched.

[The group comes into view, led by Balthier]

Cid: Pirate scum of the skies. What brings you here?

Balthier: Treasure. What else would a pirate want? We'll take the Dusk Shard.

Cid: You've come all this way for that trinket? I thought you above this.

[Cid looks beside him]

Cid: Hm? What's that?

[He turns to face the group again, emitting a knowing "Ahhh"... he looks at Ashe]

Cid: The Princess of Dalmasca come to visit? She's not entirely without merit. A test of sorts for our princess?

Ashe: You're a babbling fool.

Cid: A trial for Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca! You lust for the Stone's power, do you not?

[He smirks... she gasps]

Man: Lend him not your ears, m'lady. He means to use you.

[Mist begins to surround Cid, as well as several of his floating mechanical creations. He lets for a maniacal laugh... and in the end, is holding a pair of energy rifles]

Fran: Manufacted nethicite! Like Bergan.

Balthier: How could you do this? How could you fall this far?

[Boss fight vs. Doctor Cid and his 4 rooks. After destroying one of the rooks...]

Balthier: Always hiding behind your toys. Pity if anything were to happen to them.

[He & his rooks get defeated. At the battle's conclusion, he's slumped on the ground, and drops his guns. The dark-skinned man races in with his swords, and jumps in the air... but is sent backwards by an energy barrier appearing around Cid... Cid stands up]

Cid: Venat, you shouldn't have.

[The black-faced white-skinned creature that appeared with Mjrn and Bergan appears beside Cid!]

Balthier: This creature... So this is your Venat?

[The creature fades away]

Cid: Ashelia B'nargin Dalmasca! Just how far will you go for power? Does your lust for nethicite consume you?

[He reaches out, and we see he's holding nethicite in both his hands. She gasps]

Cid: Am I right? I am, aren't I. A worthy daughter of the Dynast-King! You would do well to go to Giruvegan. Who knows? You may receive a new Stone for your trouble.

[He walks away, as one of those hovermachine "Atomos" units descend. He approaches it]

Ashe: Your words mean nothing to me!

Cid: The reins of History back in the hands of Man. I too make for Giruvegan. Give chase, if you dare it!

[The unit flies off with him on board]

Balthier: I hate it when he does that.

Man: Mayhaps you think me remiss! The Lady Ashe of Dalmasca?

[He approaches her]

Reddas: The sky pirate Reddas, at your employ.

[Scene fades out. Time for another Marquis Ondore voiceover!]

The Imperial Senate, powerless to resist House Solidor's brutal purge, was dissolved.

Vayne Solidor reigned supreme over the Empire.

Though this upheaval shook the Imperial bastion to its foundation, these developments were, to say the least, welcomed by her military.

The authoritarian rule of the Judges, in tandem with the impending threat of Rozarrian invasion, served to foster camaraderie among its ranks.

For our part, the Resistance mustered strength in the border-skies, making ready for the task ahead.

A war to decide the doom of Ivalice would soon be upon us

-Memoirs of Mqs Halim Ondore IV
Chapter 17: Through Midlight to Dawn

[FMV; a large fleet of airships - specifically, the Resistance Army Fleet, heading by the Flagship Garland. On the bridge, Ondore and his assistant are there]

Pilot: Squads Flametongue and Ogrenix are away! All ships reporting in. They're breaking to begin ship-to-ship maneuvers against us.

Ondore: All hands, pull ahead flank!

Assistant: We shall make ready to repel their attacks. Counter-air, track them as though they were the enemy.

Ondore: Counter-air, to your stations!

Pilot: A dispatch from Naldoa Command, Excellency. The sky pirate has left Archadian airspace. He makes for Balfonheim with the Lady Ashe and her party.

Ondore: It is good to know the Lady still lives, but what of our bid for the Stone?

Assistant: With or without, our Resistance should prove an even match for the Imperial army. These weeks of training have honed our edge.

Ondore: I pray 'tis sharp enough.

[Scene change; in Reddas' Manse at the port city of Balfonheim, Ashe is looking out a window at the sea]

Ashe: They choose to supply the Resistance, yet raise not a sword in aid. What city could do this?

Reddas: A city of men without countries. Pirates of the sea and of the sky.Few are they who would fain lay down their lives for a friend, let alone a king.

Ashe: The Marquis - he is set on war?

Reddas: The time approaches when he must make his position vis-a-vis the Empire clear. When he helped you off the Leviathan, he spited the Judges full sore. He cannot sit in idleness and expect to avoid a reckoning. The Marquis shares my distaste for war... yet if it comes to it, he will show no quarter.

[Flashback; Reddas leans on the edge of his table. The Marquis walks through the room]

Ondore: For the time being, we will continue to train the Resistance army. Enough power on our side... and even Vayne may see the appeal of the treaty table.

Reddas: Yet Vayne holds the nethicite. What makes you think he would treat when he holds such power? Power enough to sink the Leviathan.

Ondore: All the more reason for me to support your infiltration of the capital. You said it yourself: the nethicite is a powerful weapon. I would have you acquire it for me.

Reddas: I have not said I would give you... the Midlight Shard.

Ondore: If there is no Stone, I would have to look elsewhere for aid.

Reddas: Then you would ally with Rozarria.

Ondore: As I must. Failure is not an option.

[Back to the present]

Basch: It's just what Vayne wants. Lure the Rozarrians and the Resistance to the field, then crush both with the nethicite!

Balthier: I think not. Cid has the Stone. We smash it to pieces with the Sword of Kings. Vayne will be left holding nary a thing. Time is short. We follow Cid. He's heading towards Giruvegan.

Ashe: Giruvegan.

Fran: It is told of in a song of my people. "On the farthest shores of the river of time... shrouded deep in the roiling Mist... the holy land sleeps: Giruvegan. Who knows the paths? The way to its doors?"

Reddas: Then you seek the Jagd Difohr. Deep within the jungle of Golmore, in a corner of the Feywood, a Mist-storm surges and seethes.

Vaan: Then that's it. Let's go!

Penelo: Right.

[The two of them run off. Basch and Fran follow them]

Balthier: Not coming, Reddas? Forget your precious nethicite already?

Reddas: Cid's words rang hollow to me. I will follow another course.

Balthier: Ah, another lead then, is it? You're well informed.

Reddas: I could well say the same to you, pirate.

[Vaan re-enters]

Vaan: Hurry it up, or we'll leave without you.

Reddas: Ah, Vaan! I've had some of my men check on this Feywood. Best ask what they've found.

Vaan: Ok! Thanks for the help, Reddas.

[He leaves; Reddas chuckles]

Reddas: Fly first, ask questions later. Your apprentice is more pirate than you.

Balthier: I don't have an apprentice.

[Balthier walks out. Ashe begins to follow him, but...]

Reddas: Princess Ashe! I would hear your heart. If Doctor Cid has spoke the truth, you may well be rewarded with more nethicite in Giruvegan. Tell me: do you still desire the Stone?

Ashe: I desire its power. I want... yet I also fear. I must protect Dalmasca. I can't afford to fear anything.

Reddas: Do not forget Nabudis. That is my only counsel for you.

[She nods, and leaves. Outside, Vaan encounters Reddas' three associates: Rikken, Elza, and Raz]

Rikken: Ah, our guest. If you've finished talking with Lord Reddas, I suppose you'll be wanting to hear about the Feywood.

Elza: Rikken! Why must we aid these people? They seek only to further their own ends, and care little for our lord's wants, if at all!

Rikken: These people? I see only a boy. And it's by Lord Reddas's command. If you have concerns...

Raz: I've got me a nose for ill intent. I'll take the measure of 'im.

[Raz, a small dog-like creature with a parrot on its head, walks up to Vaan and looks at him]

Raz: Arrr... Aye... Not bad at all! He measures up quite nicely. This one means no harm to Lord Reddas.

Elza: Measure!? You barely measure up to his waist, and that's counting the parrot.

Rikken: Your concern's duly noted. I, for one, plan on following Lord Reddas's orders.

Elza: [turns around] Do as you please! But know that no good will come of this.

Rikken: I apologize. Pay her now mind. Now, where was I? Ah, yes. South of the vast Golmore Jungle in Kerwon there lies a place known as the "Feywood." The Mist there is far denser than most, and even should you make it through that, there's no guarantee you'll make it past what lies beyond.

Raz: Aye, he speaks of the hidden trial of the Feywood, which must be passed to open the gate to the holy land of Giruvegan.

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