The Other Side Joel Fagin

Author's Notes

What's most frightening is humans, not monsters. - Phantasy Star 2

Hitler is considered the worst of us, and yet even he had a point.

How can I consider the Earthmen in Phantasy Star 2 as being evil? Irrationally, irredeemably evil. Madmen who would destroy a utopia that they had helped build on an idle whim. The last remnants of a lost race, looking for a new home, somehow prepared to wait hundreds of years to inherit a star system they would eventually try to destroy.

We are not like that. How can I believe that we are? I know a lot of humans, and I do not see this within them.

I've never actually thought of the Earthmen in Phantasy Star 2 as evil. As a race, we just aren't. We can be insensitive, and gullible, sometimes easily led, but not evil. Not maniacal laughter and piranha tanks. Not blowing up a perfectly good planet and gloating about it. I preferred the idea of a tragedy on both sides, and of real people on board the Noah, not James Bond villains.

Dark Force has never controlled entire races, only manipulated individuals. That is how he works.

Most of the idea for this story was developed during a creative writing equivalent of a doodle when I worked out a possible plot for Phantasy Star 5. It was sub-titled "Mother's Eye" and involved the humans, most of whom had been cryogenically frozen on the Noah and had survived, but with no one to defrost them. Well, not until some guy named Seth turned up…

A character named Daniel, an Earthling whose name was deliberately more than four characters, turned up somewhere along the line as part of the party of Protectors. He was the only human who knew the truth behind the events of Phantasy Star 2, the only one who knew both sides of the story. He was added as someone who could reveal Seth's true nature to the humans, broker a peace deal, and thereby provide a happy ending all round.

I've always wanted to stick him in a story. He turned up as a generic human in "The Night Before Christmas (Subjective)". This is something more substantial. Well actually, very substantial. Be warned that this is technically classified as a novel, at about 200 paperback pages.

I have had to ruin the fantasy of the games somewhat for this story. Alas, people from a technological culture such as ours would never truly believe fantasy. They would always try to find the process, the rules, or the science behind it. I have tried to do so here and, as such, this must be classified as science fiction.

Thanks must go to our favourite Musk Cat, Naflign, for help with the Japanese chapter headings, but it is JWL (previously known as The Hatless Dezoran) to whom I am most grateful, as he poked holes in my ideas, argued the toss, contradicted my theories, and generally made a helpful nuisance of himself. He forced me to explain my theories more deeply than I had developed them and, in doing so, was the catalyst for a wealth of added depth. He also checked this monster over for continuity errors and picked up some beauties. Without all of his efforts this story would be far shallower.

Finally, I would like to assure sceptics that this does work. It defies nothing in the Phantasy Star games - well, not the English versions, not that I can find - only the most common perceptions thereof. Most importantly for myself, the humans are no longer aliens, no longer possessed of goals and motivations I cannot accept of my race. They are human once more.

Every story has two sides.