Photosphere is a 27-page promotional pamphlet for Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere. It was included in the Japanese copies of the game, and provided backstories to the characters and major players in the game, such as Neucom and General Resource. It also provided some information on the world in which Ace Combat 3 took place.
Unlike the game itself, Photosphere was officially translated and provided both English and Japanese text. This article hosts the full English text included in Photosphere.
There was a change of era. The omens of change had gradually manifested themselves from the time toward the end of the last century. But, as is the case in any era, it was to be considerably later before people became aware of this vast transition in the context of their daily life.
What form did this epilogue - epilogue to an age where state-level politics and judicature were at the apex of the power structure - take? How did the economic might of multinational corporations similar to those of today gain effective dominion over this world? The creation of the transnational economic co-operative now known as Eusia [sic] is inextricably linked to these events. In the ongoing cycle of transnational merger and acquisition revelry, as company upon company attempted to ride out a recession or gain access to a new market, the age at length gave life to a corporate monstrosity, General Resource, that was almost a living entity, like a giant assimilating amoeba. Little by little, "it" gnawed away the political and judicial framework throughout Eusia. [sic] You see, there was no meaning to be found in borders and sovereign currencies for a multinational corporation with planetary-scale intelligence networks and economic capacity. In due course, "it" created an internal post aimed at the autonomous defence of Eusia [sic] and employed armed personnel. So it was that the world accepted this new authority, and the transition was complete. Or so it seemed...
But the quickening - of an existence perhaps best described as a new genus of will; a cell divided from the very body of "it" - continued unseen. It was in a world of information networks created by the billions of terminals that "it" had scattered - a space spun of optical telecommunications, which "it" so ironically named the "electrosphere".
The future is now.
There are three players in this beckoning cold war period, set in the two realities of Eusia [sic] and the electrosphere: General Resource, which dominates through its long-established and monolithic economic power; Neucom, which continues to increase its strength through innovate technology and new information capacity; and the UPEO, which has continued, after reinventing itself, to pursue its mandate for peace keeping from the end of the last century.
Meanwhile, one man desires chaos.
Here at General Group, our business ranges from the production of consumables, clothing, major vehicles and household electricals [sic] to global industries such as construction, marine engineering, energy, aircraft and environmental development. General Resource, which forms the core of General Group, is making outstanding advances in all fields, including the electrosphere. Now developed to a stage where it is readily usable by anyone, General Resource, with use of the latest technology, created a world-wide computer network, and was the first to design and establish the electrosphere. Furthermore, at General Resource, we have set up - with an aim to counter crime and a rash of terrorist activity - a subsidiary security organisation and defence corps, which remain constantly vigilant in their monitoring of not just out interests but for global security and the continuance of peace. As regards military aircraft - increasingly in demand these days, particularly as a means to conclude regional disputes - we also supply the UPEO - a division of the NUN, which maintains global security - with aircraft and technical support; our work is very highly rated. The General Group: working for you; walking with you. As the premier business in the USEA, we believe it only natural that we direct our attention to a global tomorrow.
The product of the ATF project to develop an all-round high-performance fighter - one which was capable, through the use of stealth technology and supercruise (supersonic cruise without afterburner), of swiftly engaging the enemy without detection; and which, even at close range, had the highest degree of maneuverability and was dogfight-capable - was the F-22. Nevertheless, because of the decline in radar-guided missiles brought about by advances in ECM technology, and the establishment of anti-stealth radar networks, the stealth technology that appeared towards the end of the 20th century continues to lose tactical relevance. As a consequence of these developments, coupled with the high production costs involved, there was little demand for this fighter to be produced in any great number. Despite the fact that there has been no significant structural improvement in the airframe, it remains even now in the top class of performance fighters. In order to counter Neucom's newly developed aircraft, General Resource is stepping up production.
At some time we all feel the constraints of the flesh. This is not in itself a bad thing. Just that those with the will to overcome these constraints feel no compunction to mention them. You see, life, which is sustained within "flesh" barriers, is bound by desires. And so, we are forced to obtain with currency even the most minor of essentials that sustain life. Mankind has never known a single occasion of release from this curse. These lead us to awareness. That it is in fact his very own flesh - flesh bound by all manner of desire - that limits mankind. Don't these desires we have make for an exemplary yoke? Because, falling short of self-destruction, nobody can elude these things called desires. All I seek is a future that lies a slight jump above that which is called "evolution". Well, shall I leave it at that for now?
This is the time - go and face the lofty skies! How's it feel, that winged coffin of yours? Cherish your solitude! Believe in only those wings, and that instant will deftly take your life. Know this. Challenge the skies, only visible with eyes peeled wide. I reckon I am big enough a man to concede when somebody does have ability. All combat hinges on your capability to make split-second decisions. Follow me? Keep it neat - always! You've gotta know what it is to push to the limit. WILL your vulcans to strike the target! Ingrain into your flesh the knowledge of experience. Use this! Brace yourself straight away, even in the trickiest of situations. Don't be afraid and just take it on the chin. Listen close - remember that those that don't act don't get results!
Time is mercurial; memory, a series of instants. The true meaning of that termed "now" is beyond our comprehension. For it is impossible to stop the "now" and examine it. That's why. The past dissolves; the future is unknowable too. On occasion, it is the accumulation of trivial meaning. Only the void comes to all without partially. People who have mentally stored away as knowledge such destiny – the meaning of their earthly existence.
Escalating conflicts between nations; a growing nuclear threat - those days have passed. However, nations are no longer able to deal with quarrels between the ultra-powerful multinational corporations, malicious terrorism and potential disasters.
Which is why we at the UPEO, as the world's singular peace enforcement organisation, have assembled the latest military hardware - sufficient to cope with any emergency - and established the vocal authority to hold a dialogue, on a level playing field, with any organisation.
In an age of confusion, where talk of borders and territory has ceased being pertinent, we at the UPEO are all that is left for people to rely on.
Come forth, young aspirants!
Neo United Nations
SAVE OUR PLANET
Introducing two core members of the UPEO: highly esteemed, they have undertaken primary roles in the organisation.
Gabriel W Clarkson, UPEO Peace Enforcement Force Delegate, NUN
After studying international politics as a postgraduate at Oxform University, he held a succession of posts in politics - Secretary of State and Foreign Secretary, amongst others.
After the decline in state authority, at the NUN's inception, he was welcomed as an officer for his political aptitude and breadth of contacts. In recognition of his guiding role after joining the NUN in securing a suspension of hostilities in many conflicts through peaceful dialogue, he is currently serving as the UPEO delegate.
His motto: Even the longest journeys begin with a single step.
Gilbert Park, Commander-in-Chief UPEO Enforcement Force, NUN
After joining General Trading upon graduation from Peijin University, he held a number of important positions in the companies of General Group before becoming a young administrator at General Resource. Immediately after the NUN's inception, he received General Resource's recommendation for a senior appointment offered by the public sector, and joined the UPEO. Pressing for organisational reforms of the then troubled UPEO - a great many operatives had lost their lives because of over-reliance on peaceful and conciliatory channels in a number of conflicts - he sought General Resource's co-operation, augmented its military presence and thereby implemented the UPEO's maintaining of a peace-keeping capability similar to that it has now.
A single-seat twin-engine multi-role fighter. The Super Flanker's superagility [sic] is achieved through superior aerodynamic features and advanced turbofans with thrust-vectoring nozzles. In order to avoid further criticism of a hardware monopoly by General Resource, as occurred when the UPEO was formed, UPEO used fighter aircraft from other companies - in addition to the MiG-33 and EF-2000 - as basis for the development of the Super Flanker. The Su-37 boasts the superior performance of all the planes in UPEO's arsenal; due to its large and spacious fuselage, the Su-37 can cope admirably with the whole spectrum of duties, from air dominance to ground attack. The UPEO has introduced numerous upgrades to ensure the fighter's viability: increased engine propulsion; new alloys and composites used to construct a stronger fuselage at a reduced weight; addition of an arrester hook for carrier landings; change of the in-flight refuelling [sic] system; differential canards. The avionics - in particular, the cockpit's coffin [sic] system - have been completely overhauled and replaced with newly-developed units. The result is a fighter with far superior performance over the original. (There also exists an ENSI-driven direct neural interface variant for Rena's exclusive use.)
Today we have an interview with one of the UPEO's ace pilots, Rena Hirose.
1) -What do you do in your spare time?
- On my days off I... can't go for walks, so I watch movies, listen to music - just the usual.
2) -To you, what is it to fly?
- I feel I can truly be myself when I'm in the air. Speaking like this may get me into hot water but... it's like being a child, innocently playing with a toy. A very expensive one, however.
3) -What made you consider becoming a pilot?
- Well...because of how I am physically, I used to imagine, as I watched birds flitting freely across the sky, that I was flying together with them. I just knew I had to be a pilot from the moment I heard that there was such a job.But [sic] when I first mentioned that I wanted to be a pilot, everyone around me was, well, dead set against it. But it was my only dream.
4) -The UPEO provided you with your own exclusive plane, didn't it? And the suit is an original too.
- Yes, that's right. I require a rather special ENSI (the computer-synaptic interface), so both the suit and fighter are a one off for me [laughs].'Even [sic] the fuselage is different in colour from everybody else's. Did you know that?
5) -They say that a gruelling [sic] mission is also a battle with yourself. Do you never feel any insecurity?
- You're on your own, aren't you, when you're flying. Yet, I never feel completely alone. In fact, I feel as if there is someone with me. Uneasiness about what I would have left if I could no longer fly - that's the type of insecurity I suffer from.
6) -Any finally, what is your dream?
- Well being a pilot is in itself like some kind of dream. I hope for that day, someday, when everyone can forget their quarrels and fly free in the sky. Anyway, that's my dream.
This is why I want to continue flying.
It's a habit of mine...Even when thinking "I can do that", "Only I can do that", or "I can't do that", I'd always, quite unnecessarily, go over it one more time before commenting. A quiet girl - I hate the phrase. Incurable habit: that's the only thing she ever taught me as she walked on ahead of me, further and further away. Like, we all find it easy to compare something close to us. So, I always moved along without getting too close to her. So as not to be noticed; so as not to hurt anyone.
The truth is that it was the stars that I always longed after. Nope - wasn't the sky at all. After all, looking down on the town at night from the roof of some skyscraper. Surely that's an experience we all share. And at that moment, didn't the lights of the town on the ground look far more beautiful than any star in the sky? That's when I wondered how this might look viewed from a much higher vantage point. Pretty silly, huh? Nevertheless, that was my motive, if you can call it that.
The electrosphere - a limitless gallery of information
Nano machine technology - particle tempus determination
Space frontier - the lacquered glimmer of eternity
General Resource, an antiquated leviathan that formerly boasted success, has - with it's [sic] single-minded pursuit of nothing other than its own financial gain; mass production and general, large-scale manufacturing - created a society in chaos. Abandoned orphans are all that was left behind.
But we believe - believe that the future is there to be created by advanced and select hands.
Neucom's technology will shape the networks of tomorrow. Turning from micro to macro - from genetic manipulation and sublimation of the self to development in space.
To challenge without prohibition throws open the door to the future; software unconstrained by yesterday's convention swiftly delivers the dreams of your tomorrow.
Mankind's transition is already in motion in a new form. Don't miss the boat! Architects of the new generation, the future is with us!
A new and incredible future - it's unique to Neucom.
The first in the series of Delphinus air dominance main fighters. They will form the core of the "R-numeral" aerial fleet to be built to completely new specifications devised by Neucom. It makes liberal use of Neucom's global technological lead in the aviation and aerospace industries. 90% of the fuselage has been constructed from new alloys and composites; newly developed high-output turbofans; laminar flow control techniques that dynamically manage airflow over the craft's surface - the list is endless. Heretofore the development of fighter aircraft has predominantly centered on upgrading models developed during the last century. The performance of this fighter, which has been developed from the ground up using new technology, is far above that of any current fighter. Since developing this model, Neucom has continued to develop, in an extremely short time span, innovative aircraft through use of advanced engineering techniques and technical skills - craft design conducted by AI; the use of nano-machines - and is expanding it's [sic] product portfolio.
Suppose there is constant danger to be found in our pursuit, with scientific and technical models, of that which we refer to as our 'potential.' In which case, it is only those who accept and acknowledge their own imperilment who are qualified to talk of the hidden potential of the electrosphere as if it were a wondrous dream or somewhat utopian. The coming world to which all shall presently proceed - yet, it is at this time still a domain composed of alien perceptions and feelings, where all is completely new, of which no one has yet experienced. If you insist that this place truly exists, then I would really like to know about it, to see it, to feel it. That's right. Even if the cost would be to endanger my body, I don't mind at all. Think about it. It is actually this flesh, necessary for us to live, that has imposed constraints on an existence so steeped in mystery as the soul and psyche. Have you never felt this? What I want is the ability to prise open the door to this new world. That and nothing else.
How about it then? Shall we start by taking a look here at, say, our human history, and see where it takes us? Ah, I remember now. At the time when politics still held sway, computer technology was nothing more than a human tool. Then, in our imaginary world - of SF novels, movies, computer games and the like - we gave our machines, our computers, personalities, believing that one day the fantastic - robots and cyborgs - would become a reality. But, you see, that idea was fundamentally wrong. God is the only one to whom the power of creating life from nothing is allowed. That's the way this world has been created. However, not in that way,but [sic] if we humans were to become the machines or computers, then there's quite a possibility, don't you agree? I know you do.
This extreme world takes that which forms a human brain, the personality, and converts it without alteration into numerical data, which is then duplicated on a computer. Basically it's a direct brain transplant to the electrosphere. This is the research to which I have dedicated my life - it is my hope.
Now then, I'm going to make it plain and clear here: this isn't one of those wild stories that our forefathers clamoured about.
It looks like the coming age will be on our side. I'm sure that YOU will have need of me again soon. I look forward to that time. Well, then. I'll be seeing you. Have a nice day.