Preface

Ordinarily, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. Therefore, one may ask, why did I choose the third generation which sees Ayn and Thea go up in flames together with the entire surviving population of Cille and Shusoran when Azura is destroyed? Drama, sheer drama. Sean's ending is also open-ended (unlike the other three, which all end up with the Alisa III arriving at a planet, Sean's ending has it encounter another Algolian spaceship, the Neo Palm), so that's useful for future scenario construction. But mostly, it's because of the dramatic potential. Sean starts the quest having just lost everything that was important to him—his family, his homeland, and his very reason for being. He's consumed with just one thing: finding and stopping the one who did this.

Sean's quest tends to be equally bleak. The first person he meets up with of any note is Sari, who's basically been fighting a holding action for eighteen years against Lune; Landen has existed in a state of more-or-less permanent warfare. And when you finally make it to Dahlia, you find that Lune has nearly collapsed under the weight of knowing that his war against Orakians was not only contemptible on its own merits, but that he'd been completely mistaken about the cause of the original war and the events behind it. The Kara that Sean (and Crys) get in their party is a hard, driven person, defiant and angry...basically like Sari, only with less self-control and more despair.

Accordingly, the stories I wrote for this generation are largely character studies, which flesh out the various events of the game and give them added emotional content: "Buried Treasure," "Dawnbringers," and "Voices" are literally expansions on what we see on-screen while playing, adding in the impact they have on the various characters, "Heart of Fire" is a character vignette about Kara just before she joins the party, and "Heart of Stone" and "Closing the Circle" flesh out the ending and its impact on the party. There aren't any of the large set pieces like "Murder in Shusoran" and "Steel and Stone," only "Dawnbringers" features any development of fan theories about game continuity, and all of the fics take place during the time-span of Sean's actual quest instead of being prequels or sequels. Ironically, I find these to be some of my most satisfying works among my PSIII fics; perhaps because of their focus on the characters I found more empathy for the third-generation cast than I did with either of the previous sets. For those of you who have followed my "Alisa III Chronicle" collection all the way through, I hope that these stories will satisfyingly wrap things up for you.

GAME INFORMATION: If Ayn marries Thea, they become King and Queen of Azura and their son, Prince Sean, is the PC for the final generation of the game. After years of peace, a laser attack from the seventh (southeast) dome suggests that Siren has made good his promise to take revenge. Wren and Mieu bundle Sean into an escape shuttle while Ayn and Thea choose to go down with the ship. Azura is obliterated, taking all its people with it. Players who grew fond of Ayn now kick themselves twice as firmly for not picking Sari.

Sean crash-lands in Aridia and sets about his quest of figuring out what is happening and whose head is going to roll. Journeying to Landen, he finds that Sari has kept the hordes of the Layan general Lune (who, apparently, was sealed on Dahlia just the same way as Siren was sealed on Azura) from conquering Landen. Now, though, everything is going crazy, with mixed packs of monsters and cyborgs attacking everybody! Sari suggests that the war can be ended with "Laya's Treasure," and that a machine in the southwest world can help Sean find Laya's Treasure.

In that southwest world (Elysium), Sean learns that Laya's Treasure can be found in Aridia where Lune has been searching for it, by using the submarine parts for Wren. Yes, Wren isn't just an android, but a transforming android! In fact, the sub parts do allow Wren to dive into a whirlpool in Aridia just south of Hazatak, which leads to a hidden world. In that world is a shrine, where Laya's younger sister (also named Laya) has been kept cryogenically frozen since the Devastation War. Laya reveals that her last memory of her older sister was that she'd left with a "knight wielding a black sword" and that she wants to learn the truth. The attendants suggest that the castle of Mystoke in the world of Frigidia holds a key to truth. Laya's Mystery Star jewel unlocks the passage to Frigidia.

In the ice-sheathed world, Sean leads Laya to the throne room of Mystoke, the Castle of Silence, and retrieves Laya's pendant, which holds the elder Laya's last message to her younger sister. Apparently, the "knight with a black sword" was Orakio! In fact, a third, evil force had manipulated Laya and Orakio into fighting the Devastation War, and the two of them eventually learned the truth and went to save their people. Since the Alisa III was still there, they must have succeeded, but since they were never seen again...

Guided by the people of Mystoke, Sean heads north. With Laya's Pendant allowing them access, they find that the Laya's Temples scattered through the worlds are actually teleport gates allowing instant access from world to world, which proves the only way to get to the village of Aerone, which apparently serves as the bridge of the Alisa III where the pilots reside. The companions travel from there to the moon Dahlia and meet Lune, who has apparently already realized from the new crises taking place that a third force, neither Orakian nor Layan, has been unleashed and is responsible for the hatred between peoples. Crushed by the fact that he's spent a millennium nursing a worthless grudge and has killed many out of senseless hate, Lune is a broken man, but his daughter Kara is more than sufficiently badass to want to make the ones responsible pay in blood.

The dungeon under Dahlia contains more transformation parts for Wren, enabling him to turn into an aerojet and reach the floating city of Skyhaven in the skies of Frigidia. There the companions meet the Council of Skyhaven, who tell them to gather the five legendary weapons: Orakio's Sword, Miun's Claw, Siren's Shot, Lune's Slicer, and Laya's Bow, and go to Sage Isle, where the Sages can impart the Word of Power to, well, empower them. (It almost rises to the level of metaphor when you realize that, in a game where cryogenic sleep exists, all three settlements in the world of Frigidia—Mystoke, New Mota, and Skyhaven—apparently exist for the sole purpose of passing down bits of knowledge from the Devastation War to an unknown future generation. It's like the reason the world is sheathed in ice is because the entire place is, itself, in cryo-stasis.)

Sean retrieves Orakio's Sword from a sunken palace beneath the seas in Landen (Rhys sailed past it on the way to Lyle's island waaaaay back when, and apparently passed the story down). Unfortunately, pulling out the sword unleashes "Dark Force," the force of incarnate destruction, which had been sealed by it. This does not seem like a good thing, but is apparently all part of the plan. Luckily, Dark Force apparently needs to gather its strength before attempting to kill our heroes, and being immersed within its evil gives Sean the Megido technique. He can't cast it in battle, but hey.

With Orakio's Sword in hand, the next step is Aridia. Miun, still wandering in the desert, recognizes Orakio's Sword and believes that Orakio has come back to her, and she dies happy, leaving Miun's Claw behind for Mieu. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any sign of Siren's Shot anywhere, so Sean decides to press on to Sage Isle, which is back in Aquatica. With good fortune, it turns out that Siren actually washed up there and was taught the truth by the Sages; he then dies and gives up Siren's Shot. With the full set in hand, Sean talks to the Sages and is given the Word of Power, Nei. Mieu is also taught another technique the player can't actually use, Grantz.

The companions return to Skyhaven, where the Councillors empower the Nei weapons and direct the heroes to the seventh world, Terminus, and the floating city of Lashute. Sean and his party fight through Lashute, where the cackling followers of Dark Force reveal that yes, indeed, the kidnapping of Maia was indeed set up by them in a giant, twisted plot by which Rhys would bring the moons back, letting Siren and Lune start another war of devastation, leading to the passageways between worlds being unlocked and, ultimately, Dark Force freed. The head cackler is Rulakir, Orakio's twin brother, who's been alive for a thousand years as an unholy minion of Dark Force. Defeating him opens the gateway to the dungeon under Lashute, where Dark Force is finally confronted and defeated. Consumed by his anger, Sean unleashes Megido reflexively, which blasts apart the entire city of Lashute (and, not coincidentally, all the assorted surviving evil minions, if any). Being caught in a collapsing city...a collapsing flying city...is not really a good thing, so thankfully Mieu reveals that the Grantz technique is actually the Fly spell from Phantasy Star I and teleports the companions to safety in the nick of time.

With the day saved, a new surprise is found: another spaceship, the Neo Palm, approaches the Alisa III. Apparently, it was the only other survivor of the exodus fleet and had come by to lend a hand (I'd complain about their timing, but if you play the Aron's Quest version of the third generation, you find out that they were better off being late anyway...), and the last survivors of Palm are free to continue towards a new, hopeful future...