AUTHOR'S NOTE (PLEASE READ):
It started as a cracked-out, one-line joke in a discussion about the Phoenix Wright/Gyakuten Saiban/Ace Attorney cast in various other mediums: 'What if it were Phoenix Wright... IN SPACE?!'
Then? It sort of... took off. What if it were Phoenix Wright in space? More specifically, in a sci-fi giant robot "anime"? The wheels were turning, and people started to actually get interested. And contribute their own ideas, plotlines, and even some artwork. What had begun as a little crack project was now becoming a fully-realized Alternate Universe storyline.
So, we come to this.
A GIGANTIC THANK YOU to everyone who's worked on the project thus far, contributed even the smallest of ideas. ESPECIALLY: Kwoiffei, the Website Monkey; The Greg, Master Mecha Man; Urby, crack-adorable-artist extraordinare; Konran, who got the entire art-ball rolling; Busterella, Officially Awesome Character Designer; Gerkuman, who's always been willing to posit an idea; Zizzo, Awesomely New Character Art Person; Dannichu, Coloring Fiend; Empere, Astro-Science Nerd... and of course Musouka and Raelle, my partners in crime, without whom this would never have happened (and who have put up with my questions and ideas ENDLESSLY, far more than they should, and who I will always be indebted to).
I hope I didn't forget anyone there.
Anyway... on with the show!
So, I'm betting that, because you're here, you know Phoenix Wright. Ace Attorney. Gyakuten Saiban. However you choose to call it, you're all familiar with some spiky-haired, finger-pointing, cross-examination ACTION. Probably, you're pretty fond of it. You like the over-the-top-yet-surprisingly-developed characters, the twisting plotlines, and the thrill of finally cornering in on the truth and putting an end to the villain's nefarious plot.
All of that? Is awesome. Totally nifty and super cool and wonderful. Hot courtroom action, baby!
…but is that all? What if you took the characters we've come to know and love, and the overall themes and storylines that we've Investigated, Pressed, and Presented our way through… and put them into a completely different genre? How would it work? Would it still be awesome? What the hell would be going on?
Apparently…? There were those of us crazy enough to try. For your entertainment: Phoenix Wright in a way you've probably never thought of him before…
A New Kind of Turnabout…
The year is 4016.
Humanity, having exhausted the resources of the small blue world once called Earth, has expanded to the stars, gigantic lumbering city-ships carrying millions and millions of people scattering the seed of Homo Sapiens throughout the galaxy in every direction. They found solar systems, planets and moons that were like the one they had left behind, and settled them, terraforming the worlds they could and managing to adapt to the ones they couldn't.
Our story takes place in one of these systems. It's merely a single solar system, to be true—but space is surprisingly big (especially given the impossibility of faster-than-light travel,) and the dozens upon dozens of planets and moons here provide plenty of room for the children of mankind to live their lives.
History is history. For almost a thousand years, the cultures on these planets change and evolve, though humanity is still humanity and it's not all that different than it used to be back on Earth. Cities, nations, even multi-world empires rise and fall over the millennia, because humanity IS still humanity and as long as greed and chaos lurks in the hearts of men, there will always be war and conflict.
Like there is now.
For almost thirty years, a military/political organization that calls itself the Saiban Federation has slowly been consolidating power, winning planets and moons to their side—using diplomacy where they could, but raw military power where they could not. An aristocratic, restrictive faction that desires to place the entire system under its sole control, the Federation is understandably not welcomed by many of the people it conquers.
Where there is discontent and oppression, there is rebellion and revolution. It is one of the fundamental truths of humanity… and here, it is no different. Many different rebel groups have risen in the wake of the Saiban Federation's bellicose march, and many of those separate factions have since consolidated themselves into one unified "Fusegi Alliance."
In any war, there are heroes on both sides. Our story focuses on one of these heroes, a young pilot who initially just wanted to meet a close childhood friend once more. Fate is a tricky thing, though, and he quickly found himself swept up in the current of revolution to wind up dead center on the stage of history. An ace pilot and later commander who would develop a reputation of being able to turn even the most hopeless situation into a victory, the master of the comeback… his name is Phoenix "Nick" Wright.
In the year 4016, justice is no longer fought for in the courtroom—but with giant freakin' robots.
14th, 4001, 9:56 P.M.
Calypso, third moon of Odyssey
A small field about a mile outside of one of the minor cities
Three children lay on their backs in the middle of a small pasture looking up at the nighttime sky.
High above them, the heavens stretched out to infinity, with countless stars dotting the firmament among other specks of light that might have been planets, far-off galaxies, nebulae, or any of the other natural phenomena in the universe. It was a perfectly clear night with not a cloud in sight, and since the only visible part of the bright blue disk that was the planet Odyssey was a small sliver of light near the horizon, there was nothing in the skies to interfere with viewing the spectacle above.
These three boys, not yet even ten years old, weren't quite paying attention to the vast natural universe before their eyes. Some of the specks of light in the night sky were, in fact, very much manmade. These little pinpoints were moving against the endless backdrop beyond—weaving, diving and corkscrewing through the air, and a sharp-eyed observer might notice even tinier streaks of light appearing between them. Ever so often, one of the luminous specks would flare up into a larger burst of reddish light, and then disappear entirely.
To three children lying on their backs in the middle of a small pasture looking up at the nighttime sky, it was a silent, beautiful light show that might as well have been put on just for them on that quiet October night.
However, reality seldom follows fantasy.
"You don't think the Feds saw us sneaking out, do you?" asked one of the boys in a hesitant, anxious tone, not taking his gaze off the dancing lights high overhead. "I mean… it's after curfew. We gotta be careful about these things."
Another of the trio—the tallest of the three, skinny, awkward and lanky with the seeds of what would eventually become puberty—gave a snorting laugh. "C'mon Nick, it doesn't matter. They're so stupid they'd never find us out here, anyway!"
The shortest of the three boys spoke in a quiet, thoughtful voice. "I think they've got bigger things to worry about than us tonight." To punctuate his thoughts, a pair of sparks in the sky flared up and died out silently.
The trio of friends was silent for another brief eternity as the wind hissed across the field. With a shiver, the tallest of them complained, "I'm cold."
"We told you not to wear shorts, Larry," retorted the one who'd spoken first. "You knew it was gonna be cold tonight. You're so dumb sometimes."
"Hey! Why, you—!!" The tallest boy began to stand up, anger in his voice, ignoring the fact that the other boy had been perfectly correct in his assessment (he was prone to doing such things).
"Quiet, you guys," the third child's thoughtful voice sounded annoyed—but also a bit worried despite his earlier statement, because there was a pair of headlights a ways down the nearby road that was quickly approaching. All three of the friends immediately fell silent, flattening themselves on the ground amongst the tall strands of grass as the headlights grew closer. Eventually, they revealed themselves as belonging to a large, box-shaped transport of some sort that passed by the trio with a loud vibrating hum, hovering about two feet above the ground and then fading away into the distance, wherever it was up to.
Once they were sure it was far out of earshot, the first boy sat up, looking at where the twin red taillights were fading into the distance and running a hand through his spiky black hair. "Where do you think the lunchbox is going?" he asked, using the familiar term for one of the Federation troop carriers (which did, in fact, resemble a lunchbox with windows and an attached pilots' cabin rather remarkably).
"I don't know, but it doesn't matter. They're losing the fight up there," the short boy said confidently, pointing straight up at the dancing lights above.
"You sound… pretty sure," answered the spiky-haired youth. "Your dad's up there, right? You think he's okay?"
Both of his friends answered simultaneously, though the thoughtful-voiced child's indignant "Of course!" was drowned out by his taller, skinny friend leaping to his feet, and proclaiming, "You bet, Nick! Ol' Man Edgey's givin' it to the Feds right now! He's all 'WHOOSH,' and then he sees them and he's all 'BWEE! BWEE! BUDDA-BWEEE!' and then? They just go 'BA-BOOM!!' and then he finds a new enemy and is all 'BRAKKABRAKKABRAKKA,' and…" both of the other two grabbed him, one on each pant leg, and hauled him down to the grass with an audible "Oof!"
Though it was dark, you could hear the glare in the short boy's voice. "Don't call my dad that, Larry. And yes, he's absolutely fine. He's the best Captain in the entire fleet! Nobody can touch him! He's unbeatable!"
"Okay," shrugged the spiky-headed boy. "As long as you're sure."
They were silent for another long series of heartbeats, watching the beautiful and deadly ballet above. "So, do you want to be a pilot like your dad?"
"Yeah," the pride in the young boy's voice was audible. "He says I'll be a great pilot some day. He already says I'm one of the best navigators he's ever seen—he asked me to plot him a route the other day!" The short child's voice was practically glowing. "I'm gonna be a great pilot like him some day. Then? It'll be me up there making the Federation wish they'd never come here. What about you, Nick?"
"…well, I really want to be a magistrate," responded his friend with a shrug. "I think that… justice is important. But I guess being a pilot would be pretty cool. We could go into the academy together, right?"
"I guess so, yes," answered the others. "And you, Larry? Do you want to be a pilot?"
The third ran a hand through his unruly blond hair as he shook his head. "Naaaah," he said with a dismissive wave. "Too much work. I think I want to be a chef. Or a painter, maybe. Yeah, I could be a painter. Girls like painters, right?"
They fell silent once more as the battle overhead raged on.
Federation skiff UFS Boulet
In orbit around Muspel
"Flight Officer Sahwit, report," commanded Winston Payne, Second Lieutenant in the Saiban Federation, from the bridge of his small spacecraft. He eagerly leaned against the commander's console, looking down at the gold Lieutenant's insignia on his chest. It was a bit dull, he thought. He'd have to polish it before he got his undoubtedly well-deserved promotion, of course.
Though the Boulet was a small craft, it did have a small flight group of four well-maintained Perseus-series mechs, all of which were currently making their very slow way through the treacherous asteroid belt that surrounded the immense gas giant Muspel. The unfathomably huge scarlet bulk of Muspel dominated the scenery on the forward viewscreen, with only a little bit of black space visible at the top corners of the display.
The voice of Flight Officer Sahwit came back a bit tinny through the speakers in this older-model ship. "Nothing yet, Lieutenant. Other than that brief emission of Garyuu Waves earlier, there's been no sign of them." There was a pause, and Sahwit's voice seemed a bit uncertain. "Are you… sure they're here, sir? Muspel's atmosphere is weird, the waves could have come from the planet itself…"
Payne adjusted the officer's cap that fortunately covered his balding head completely. "I'm positive, Officer," he said, his high-pitched voice terse. Really, he'd have to discipline Sahwit for such a blatant lack of common sense. After all, Garyuu Waves were only emitted from operational Jump Drives—everybody knew that! That one of his subordinates would be attributing such a hard scientific fact to the hocus-pocus and superstition that surrounded Muspel? It was almost offensive.
A confident, smug smirk found its way onto Payne's aging face. They were ambushed above Hobbes, barely managed to escape with their lives… and according to accounts of the fight, their Jump system was damaged. There are only a few planets within reach that they could make it to without detection, and of those, the Muspel Belt is the only place with enough uninhabited cover available to perform Jump repairs! It was so obvious. Clearly, his talents were being quite wasted on such an aging, broken-down ship with such a small mecha force. But this would all change shortly… oh yes, it would change!
his absolutely brilliant deductions, Payne shook his head, that smug
smirk growing wider. "Officer, the Kurain is hiding in the
Muspel Belt. They're damaged, and only have two or three mechs
ready for combat. As Muspel is part of our patrol jurisdiction, and
we are loyal sons of the Federation, it is our duty to hunt those
vagabonds down and bring them to justice!"
And what sweet revenge it will be… added Payne silently. True, the ARS Kurain had certainly been an ever-growing thorn in the High Admiral's side, and eliminating Captain Mia Fey and her henchmen would certainly bring him (and his subordinates, he supposed) huge amounts of glory and honor. But after the humiliating defeat he'd suffered at the hands of Captain Fey five years ago that had led to demotion and disgrace… oh, this was certainly personal.
Her ship had been badly damaged in the ambush at Hobbes, she only had two or so combat-ready mecha, and his four pilots were well-trained and in undamaged, perfectly-maintained machines. Payne's grip on the railing of the commander's chair tightened in anticipation. When the High Admiral heard about his single-handed defeat of Fey and the Kurain? Oh, he'd be rewarded. Given his own, bigger ship. Promoted to Commander! Or Major! Or—dare he imagine it?!—even Colonel. He could imagine the award ceremony already…
"Sir? We're picking up something."
"Keep going, Flight
Officer! We've got them now!" His voice was shrill with
excitement and the thrill of his certain glory-to-come. Your
notorious luck shan't save you today… Captain Mia
"It's gone," said Flight Officer Sahwit, frustration in his voice as he checked the instruments lining the small, cramped cockpit of his Perseus-class mech. "02, did you pick up that blip on the sensors just now?"
His wingman had, but there was doubt in his voice as he spoke. "Yes sir, but… there's lots of metal in these asteroids. You don't think it was just a sensor ghost?"
Making sure that the transmission was private and just between the two of them, Sahwit shook his head, sighing. "Might be. But the Lieutenant certainly doesn't think so right now. He's obsessed." The Flight Officer shifted in his chair, letting go of one of his controls for a second to tap in commands to their two AI-piloted companions. "Spread out, 02. There could be dozens of enemies hiding in this damn asteroid field." Or, more likely, no enemies at all. The Lieutenant's crazy.
There it was again—! The strange blip on his sensors… but as soon as it had appeared, it was gone. It had been behind him, and Sahwit spun his mech around to check visually. There wasn't anything there but hunks of floating rock and the giant red orb that was the treacherous atmosphere of Muspel. Sahwit sighed to himself. They were imagining things. The Lieutenant's paranoia was beginning to get to them all. He really should put in a transfer request.
All of a sudden, 03 and 04—the two AI suits—exploded in twin gouts of flame, and Sahwit briefly saw a crimson stream that looked like a jet of plasma. They were here after all! "02, evasive—!" he shouted out loud, as the mystery blip on the sensors returned… and in his viewscreen as well. It was quick; it was much quicker than any mech he knew, and for a brief instant it crossed Sahwit's mind that it looked almost… avian. Like some sort of mythological red bird. "What is that thing?!"
Then, there was another flash of crimson plasma, and not much crossed his mind at all anymore.
On the bridge of the Boulet, Second Lieutenant Payne stood, a blank stare on his face as he stared at the four lights that represented his ship's mech forces. All four of the lights were red. All four of his mecha were gone. He'd been right about the Kurain… but… he'd been wrong about so much more. Payne could see his promotion fading away, replaced with even more humiliation and disgrace.
He quickly input the commands to Jump back to sector HQ in case the mystery pilot was coming after him, next—and wondered how he could possibly spin this on the report to not go down as his fault…
The four Federation mecha had been reduced to so much space debris, rubble to join the asteroids in their eternal orbit around the gas giant Muspel. There was a twinge of guilt as there always was, but if he hadn't taken them out, many, many more lives would have been forfeit. Outside of the asteroid field, the parent craft gave a little flicker of motion and then vanished into Jumpspace.
Fighting the urge to run a hand through his spiky hair (which was quite impossible due to his flightsuit's helmet, anyway), Lieutenant Phoenix Wright of the Fusegi Alliance keyed his communications unit. "All four enemy craft have been eliminated," he began in as formal a tone as he could manage, "and their control ship has retreated."
"I can quite see that from here, Wright," came the warm voice of his commander through the speakers of his cockpit. "Good work. You keep flying better and better."
From Captain Mia Fey, that was high praise indeed, and Phoenix would have been lying to himself if he tried to pretend it didn't sort of give him a warm, fuzzy feeling inside to hear it. "Thanks, Captain. Permission to land?"
"Permission granted. Come back in and get something warm to eat. It's cold out there."
Phoenix Wright nodded an affirmative, grasped the controls of his mech, and made his way back to the relative safety and comfort of the ARS Kurain.
Gyakuten MECHA, Arc One
The Ties That Bind