Epilogue :: The First Strike

In an unspecified location . . .

Her breath came in and out uneasily, and she panted as she attempted to claw her way back to the chair. Sweat dripped from her damp forehead and hair. Tears stung at her eyes, another reminder of her failure, but she couldn't think about that at the moment. It was the pain in her head—excruciating pain that took over all of her thought processes—that had emptied her lungs of all air.

"I thought I told you to take it easy." She hadn't heard the door open, but all of a sudden, strong hands were lifting her up, helping her over to the chair.

She shook her head regretfully. "We don't have time for me to take it easy."

"Still can't get through Nadeshiko's coding?"

She shook her head again.

"Well, from what you've told me about her, it doesn't sound like she leaves things half-baked. It's to be expected, I guess."

"Dammit! I didn't go through all of this just to fail at the last marker!" Frustration made her voice crack at the last syllable, her mouth forming the 'r' without voicing it.

He handed her a glass of water, making sure that his gloves had fully covered his hands before daring to set his hands on the cup. "Water. You're tired."

She rubbed her forehead, hoping it would alleviate the stabbing pain. "I need to try again tonight."

"You need to live through the week, otherwise Angie's not going to be happy with you. She's been planning this for nine months now. This is her brainchild."

"I know." Her voice was quiet, alarmingly so. "Just . . . I'm impatient."

He chuckled. "You loved him that much, huh?"

She looked pained at the idea. "I still do. But that's not enough."

"Well, remember Angie before you try to kill yourself again. You're crucial to the plot."

She nodded slowly. "It's not just for Angie. They've already killed two Nomuras; I won't allow them to kill a third." Her eyes were closed, imagining who-knows-what. He had stopped trying to figure her out; she was as large of a mystery now as she had been when they'd first met.

He was silent for a long moment, allowing her the moment. "What's the kid's name?"

"Apollo."

"Hopefully he doesn't screw things up."

She shook her head, eyes still closed. "If he's anything like his namesake, he'll do it right. The Hunter. The Seer."

"And right now, the only sun in the horizon."

She nodded. "That too." Her head drifted downwards of its own accord, and she closed her eyes, chin resting on her collarbone. "I don't see us getting out of here alive."

He patted her back gently and brushed some of the damp hair from her face. "Come on, just think positive. Tess is waiting for me to come back, and they're waiting for you. Mind over matter."

She nodded, rubbing her forehead. "I can't think straight," she murmured in concern.

"It's because you're exhausting yourself. Take it easy."

She drew her arm over her eyes, opening her eyes as soon as she felt stable enough to. "No. I've got to go back in. Nadeshiko had to have left a backdoor in there somewhere. I just can't see it."

He stared at her sadly. "You can't change the past."

"But you can change the future. And that's what I've got to do."

His lips pursed with enough tension to turn them white. "Make sure you have a future before you go on changing it, okay?" When she didn't answer, he merely sighed and walked away.

The door closed behind him as he exited, and she lifted her head, letting it flop back so she could stare at the ceiling. "Give me strength," she murmured in a modified prayer. "Give me strength to change a future that should have never happened in the first place."


The Final Author's Note . . .

Well, as I write this, I'm desperately trying to keep myself from blubbering and making a mess of my keyboard. This has been an incredible journey, from beginning to end. To everyone who has undertaken the trek with me, I thank you so much for your kind words and your faith. This is a much more serious fanfiction than many on the site, and after an interesting start, it has all amounted to this. So, here are some facts:

-This fanfiction officially started with what is now the second chapter on June 9, 2009. I was sixteen at the time. At that point, it was abandoned until 2011, where I realized that the idea for Kiria Nomura's story had never gone away, it just required refining. So, two months before my high school graduation, I picked it back up, working on it tirelessly through standardized testing and the International Baccalaureate program. The First Strike was officially finished on April 29th, 2012, during my first year of college. I am now nineteen.

-The First Strike is around 180,000 words. According to Google, that's approximately the same length as Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's around 400 pages, double-spaced with a standard font. By reading this fanfiction, you have read an incredibly long novel.

-After 45 chapters, Fanfiction counts that this has received 8,690 hits. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 have the most with around 1,500 hits. As I write this, the average amount of hits per chapter is 197.5 hits. With almost 200 hits per chapter, I am forced to conclude that I have the most awesome readers ever. 17 people have marked this as a Favorite Fanfiction, while 13 have it on Story Alert. There are an average of 2 reviews per chapter, which is an excellent amount for an OC-centric story.

-The USA and the UK battle for the amount of most readers per month. Overall, The First Strike has an excellent international following, with an average of 14 countries visiting per month. In April, 23 countries had visited this fanfiction.

As an author, I've attempted to put in some things for my readers to pick up on. Here are the puns, inside jokes, problems, and even some of my favorite lines from it all.

Prologue: This actually wasn't added until September 11, 2011. While adding in the Apollo Justice frame had been in my mind for a while, I was worried about how later volumes would accommodate it. I eventually wrote it to add another layer to the narrative.

Chapter One: Kiria's name is random; it's not a normal Japanese name. However, the Greek word Κυρια (Kiria) means "Lady". It's pure coincidence.

Kiria is described as a Dancer-turned-Prosecutor-turned-Defense Attorney, although the Prosecutor portion was never explained.

"One step for a man, a leap for mankind." This is a similar quote to Neil Armstrong's first words on the moon.

Livia Prince's name was originally Dahlia Prince. Due to the importance of Dahlia Hawthorne in the series, I decided to change it.

Chapter Three: This chapter originally ended with Kiria kissing Edgeworth on the cheek. Because I felt like that would be too out of character for both of them, even as intoxicated as they were, I eliminated it, having him merely go back to his paperwork after helping her to the couch.

Chapter Four: Kiria was originally the one to throw a fit in front of the door after Phoenix's disbarring, not Maya. Also, any of the German that the Gavin brothers speak is all from Google Translate and Apollo Justice. I don't know a word of German beyond one through ten.

Turnabout International: Honestly, I screwed this case up. The Evangeline Illane case was supposed to be the only case during this, but I'd forgotten that the Edward Ross trial was in progress when Phoenix was disbarred. Had I realized this, I might have adapted the Edward Ross case to include Evangeline Illane. It ended up to be a huge mess to plan, and that was before I'd created a Court Record for myself with all of the evidence written out and such. It was more confusing than it should have been.

Originally, Ava Kutsch (who ended up being Natalya Korovina) was going to be Evangeline Illane, and Kiria was going to win the trial. At the last moment, I changed it, forcing Kiria to lose and eventually feel betrayed by Reiko Horiyama. This explains the line in Chapter Five where Reiko is begging Kiria to take her case and says, "Nomura, don't fail me on this. You know I can't be declared guilty; my daughter is having her first child soon. I promised I'd be there."

Daryan Crescend was going to be the Detective on the Horiyama case before I decided that Gumshoe was a better choice because of his disposition.

Calling Kiria a "Warrior of Truth" was originally influenced by my Theory of Knowledge class, in which my Philosophy teacher would call us all "Warriors of Truth." It seemed to fit.

Violet Harmond's name came from Mark Harmond's (NCIS) name. My parents were watching NCIS, and I happened to glance up just when I needed a last name.

Ralph Shiller is undoubtedly my favorite witness in the series.

The ending to the Edward Ross case is my least favorite ending to a case. It's probably my least favorite case as well.

Maya can hear Madeleine Hamarch, but she can't see her. In the original draft, it was the other way around. I thought hearing spirits would be more likely for a spirit medium (don't ask me why; it made better sense in my head that way for some reason).

My favorite line from Turnabout International is:

"Th—That's—That's her! That's my mom! That's Evangeline Illane!" Her finger was pointed out and Kiria could have cried.

"B—But she's Asian! All you could tell me yesterday was that she had dark hair!" Kiria protested.

Madeleine shrugged. "I didn't think it was a detail that mattered."

Chapter Sixteen: I've thought many times about making the conversation between Edgeworth and Phoenix into a one-shot. It's one of my favorite scenes.

Chapter Seventeen: The scene between Maya and Phoenix was completely based off of the line, "You're the Pink Princess to my Steel Samurai." I'd thought of it while planning Turnabout International and was dying to use it in the fanfiction.

Kiria references Hashima City when describing Kurain Village. This is a shout out of sorts to my host family in Hashima.

The Translated Turnabout: I saw this trial as very similar to the Steel Samurai case in the first game. Little did I know that it would turn into a very close second for my favorite case of this volume. I wanted to play with Nathan a little more. The original situation was that Nathan dragged Kiria to Washington DC to defend Sine Hawkins, who had been his mentor when he had studied International Law for his Juris Doctor. However, because we'd just come off of a very attorney-intensive case with Turnabout International, he was changed to an Ambassador. The inclusion of Interpol and the incorporation of GK1 in the trial was a last-minute decision. In addition, Lea Chaudery was never supposed to be in the US; she was originally a girl that Sine and Maks were fighting over back in Cohdopia.

Kiria's ringtone that wakes her up at the beginning of the chapter is Namie Amuro's Girl Talk. This would have been a very old song when the story was set.

Winter Sonata, the K-drama that Kiria watches on the plane to Washington DC, is a very popular drama in South Korea, and its popularity is quickly sweeping into Japan and causing a Korean Wave.

"Grazitaime," the word of thanks that Sine Hawkins says, is not a word in any language. I see Cohdopia as an Eastern European country, where a Latin-based language is less common, but still possible, and so it has the same root as the Spanish "gracias" and Italian "grazi." However, it's a word of my own creation (and as far as I know, the only Cohdopian word to ever be written in the Roman/Latin alphabet). I later categorize the language as a tonal language, which means that the earlier thanks is lacking tonal markings. Oops.

The area code for Cohdopia, 383, is not a real international area code.

Franziska's phone type, the Cranberry, is an obvious play off of the Blackberry.

Mariko's fashion line name is Purimabera. This is a Japanese adaptation of the Spanish word, "Primavera," which means Spring.

The movie that Kiria finds in Sine's apartment, The Girl with the Koi Piercing is a play off of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

The bar that Kiria and Nate hit during the trial, Bar21, is a real bar, although I must have messed up when I researched it, because it's in New York City, not Washington DC.

The nurse that tends to Nathan after Franziska sends him to the hospital was the first draft of a character from an unposted Sherlock fanfiction. Hopefully it'll be up one day, so you can see the differences between Tana and Thea.

My favorite line from this trial is:

"You wouldn't happen to have any alcohol on you, would you?" [Nathan] asked suddenly, hope written across his face in large letters.

Yoshiya cocked an eyebrow. "Sorry. Next time I'll remember to bring the scotch."

"No, no! It's for Dichromate residue, not to drink . . ." His voice trailed off as he realized Yoshiya was pulling his leg again. "Damn, now I can see how you two are related."

"Stunningly good looks? Excellent taste in clothing?"

"No, the inability to stop running your mouth."

The panic that Nathan has when he returns to the hotel room and finds Kiria on the couch with aspirin scattered on the floor was foreshadowing to the drug addiction explored in Turnabout Secrets.

The first flashback was originally written in 3rd Person Limited view. I later changed it to a 1st Person, mostly because I missed writing in it. This will be the pattern for all flashbacks and major testimony in the future.

Chapter Twenty-Eight: The line, "Who knows how many doorknobs I licked when I was drunk?" is an inside joke; my younger brother is constantly getting colds, so we tease him that he licks doorknobs and handrails, and that's why he's always sick.

Turnabout Secrets: This was one of the original trials in the series, and it ended much differently than it was originally supposed to. In the original draft, in order to prove her innocence, Kiria forces herself to overdose again while being monitored in order to gauge her tolerance levels. Because this was so unlikely and incredibly morbid, I cut it, forcing the other ending instead. Also, originally, Nathan was the only one who didn't know about her struggle with the drugs again. In the final version, Edgeworth, Mariko, Yoshiya, and Tessa are the only ones who know, although it's implied that Maya also knows. Also, Hermia Laytonne's plot arc was unplanned until the last moments.

Hermia and Lysander are the original lovers from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This was supposed to mirror the relationship between Hermia and Lysander and how he moved on to her sister, Angela (in AMND, Angela would have been Helena; her name was changed for the reader's clarity). Laytonne is a play off of Layton. Both Layton and Triton are the last names of the protagonists in the Professor Layton series by Level-5. Whitman was named for the poet Walt Whitman, although any relationship to the poet was coincidental.

Franziska's line, "It's more that I've seen people die without the truth being revealed" is a reference to Misty Fey's death in 3-5.

"[Edgeworth] knew how it felt, how it festered under the skin until it was beyond any emotion normal people were able to feel, he knew how it ostracized the person who felt it, like a giant red "A" on his breast" is a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.

Shakespeare lovers should be able to guess Lysander's brother's name from Edgeworth's description, "Edgeworth remembered from the case files that Lysander had a brother, although he couldn't remember the name. It started with a D, and it was just on the tip of his tongue . . . ." It's Demetrius, another one of the protagonists from AMND.

A lot of people thought that Nathan's Trance State was a lot like Apollo's power for some reason. I thought it strange.

I don't really have a favorite line from this one. It was a little heavier than I would have liked, but we were dealing with heavy topics.

Chapter Forty-Three: Crime and Punishment, the book on Kiria's couch, was originally a photo album in the first draft of the chapter. I cut it out because I felt it dragged the chapter down.

Did everyone get all of those? There are a lot of them, now that I write them all down!

I'm wrapping this up with quick announcements and thanks!

Firstly, if you want the localization of GK2 (AAI:ME2, for those who aren't aware of the Japanese names), Operation: Objection at Capcom-Unity is working towards that goal. If you feel strongly about it, I encourage you to sign the petition and get involved. After all, localization isn't impossible; we have a crossover game coming our way!

Secondly, I'd like to extend my deepest gratitude towards Psykit, who has been the closest thing to a beta reader this fanfic has had. Secondly, I believe that Blaze has the record for most comments on this work, which is quite impressive, since he's been involved since chapter 20. Thank you both, and I hope that you both continue to read as the next six volumes come out!

I'd also like to thank all of my reviewers for their kind words (can you believe that I haven't received a single negative review? Something's got to change soon). So, a huge thank you to Psykit, Blaze, KnightofDestiny, BlackWiddow, FeytedintheTARDIS, PopPunkRocker4321, kaitlintheowl, Zorua, Zan, singstar101, TimelessBlade, Blinth, An Anonymous Person, hilariaxd, T0day, JJ334, and Selene! Every single one of your reviews has gone towards making this fanfiction better in some way.

Finally, I now have an Author's Tumblr. I'll post up short stories that don't go on FF, updates on chapters, and other stuff that I like. It's Melodycanta (dot) tumblr (dot) com. So, follow me, and I'll try to keep you entertained!

This author's note is drawing to a close. I'll post up the new volume in a few days, so keep an eye out for it!

The final Comment section (Any comments on this chapter won't be replied to. If you want a reply, you'll have to PM me. But, don't fret; if you post, I WILL read them, and smile the whole way. Remember, your comments have shaped this story, and they've cheered me up countless times)!

FeytedintheTARDIS: Haha, you can praise me all you'd like. I will never get old of it. :D So, keep it coming! I'm not a huge fan, but I've got friends who are obsessed with it. You pick up a thing here and there. I can proudly say that I do have a first Doctor, though. Haha, you'll just have to see what comes!

Blaze: Thank you~ I'm so glad you've enjoyed it so far! Although I can't say that it's gone by quick for me; it's a lot of painstaking hours of work. This fanfic has been a labor of love, and I'm just glad that you've loved the ride as much as I have.

For the final time in The First Strike, Melody Canta signing out!