ARKS, short for Artificial Relicit to Keep Species, is the military force of the Oracle colony fleet in the Phantasy Star Online 2 series, playing a major role in all media in the sub-franchise. The player character in all three games is a member of ARKS. ARKS is featured in Phantasy Star Online 2, Phantasy Star Online 2es, and Phantasy Star Nova.
ARKS was founded in AP 0 by the Photoners, an ancient race inhabiting the space colony Oracle. In the aftermath of the war with the Profound Darkness, the remaining Photoners were left crippled and stripped of their ability to wield Photons. Realizing that they would need to create beings capable of wielding Photons to succeed them, the military organisation was thus created by the Photoners as both a means of protecting Oracle and to eradicate the Darkers in their own place, and was the inaugural event that would shift Oracle's calendar forward from Light History to New Light History. ARKS was originally headed by Photoners, but as time passed many of them died, leaving Luther, one of the last Photoners, to lead ARKS in secret.
To this end, the Photoners created the Humans, a balanced race with powerful Photon potential, to build the initial foundations of ARKS. Following this, other races based on the Humans were created to fulfill specific niches, including the Newmans, a race with powerful Photon reception in exchange for physical weakness, CASTs, androids with powerful bodies capable of inhibiting and controlling Photons, and, following a space-time distortion in AP 238, the Deumans, a race created by researching the remnants of Hadred, the Chrome Dragon, who was slain hundreds of years in the future.
In its initial stage, ARKS' battle ability was very weak. Due to poor understanding of how Photons resonated with beings, the aptitude of initial ARKS suffered from massive variations in strength, from the completely inept to potential far too powerful for their bodies to contain, forcing them to be converted into CASTs. The ARKS from this era came to be known as 1st Generation ARKS. Very few ARKS from this era survive to the present day, the majority of the remnants being CASTs such as Regius and Maria.
It was during the 1st Generation that a threat arose: Dark Falz Elder, a being of pure darkness that commanded the Darkers and was borne from the Profound Darkness. The war that ARKS subsequently waged against Elder eventually came to be known as the Elder War. In spite of the odds stacked against them, ARKS managed to successfully repel Elder and seal his essence within the confines of Planet Naberius, albeit at the cost of massive personnel and resource losses. As a result, ARKS underwent organizational restructuring for a second time, and the Three Heroes, a trio of ARKS with incredible strength and leadership who lead the charge against Elder, were inaugurated.
As research into Photon aptitude continued, ARKS was able to increase and control aptitude to a point where beings were able to fulfill niches that were called Classes with high consistency and power. However, aptitude was not developed enough as to allow ARKS to flexibly harness their capabilities, forcing ARKS into a single class. The ARKS from this era came to be known as 2nd Generation ARKS. Many ARKS from this era survive today, and are relatively young.
During the 2nd Generation, it was decided that ARKS needed a party to govern the majority of aspects pertaining to how the organization runs. Using the Three Heroes as a basis, the Council of Six was formed. The Council is a group of six highly talented, powerful leaders and individuals that have leadership over several sections of ARKS, although their power does not extend over certain private sectors such as the Central Research Department.
The current Generation of ARKS is known as the 3rd Generation of ARKS. Research into Photon aptitude has advanced to the point where all members may freely utilize Photons in varying methods and styles, giving birth to the process known as Class Change. The differences in capabilities between the different races has also leveled out to roughly on par with the Humans, making the differences between them virtually aesthetic.
Following the second incident with the Profound Darkness, ARKS underwent organizational restructuring for a third time. With Luther disposed of and Luther's successor Xiao taking leave, Ulc, a Newman with no Photon aptitude, was left in command. Several of the organization's former departments were reorganized, and the Council was dismantled, with each of the Council's members becoming the head of the newly formed departments. In addition, the Guardians were inaugurated in the Council's former place. The Guardians consist of two incredibly talented individuals to whom ARKS owes its existence to; as Guardians, they are not tied to ARKS' jurisdictions and are free to move and act as they wish.
ARKS primarily consists of a handful of major divisions. They are:
Before AP 239
- Research and Exploration Unit: Division dedicated to investigating and interacting with previously-discovered planets. The majority of ARKS' military force is comprised of the Research and Exploration Unit. After the third-organisation in AP 239, members of this unit was reassigned to different divisions according to their strengths and preferences.
- Central Research Department: ARKS' internal research team. In addition to traditional quality of life and military research, the CRD is headed by Luther, ARKS' leader in hiding. Under guidance of Luther, they are alternatively known as Void and additionally perform dangerous and unethical experimentation on living beings to further their personal goals. The latter activity ceased when Luther was killed in AP 238, by the hands of the last surviving member of the original Three Heroes - Regius. After the third re-organisation in AP 239, the CRD was assigned under the General Affairs Division.
- Special Planetary Exploration Unit: Also known as Alter, the Special Planetary Exploration Unit consists of a single ARKS Ship, the Delta Valiant, that scours the farthest reaches of the universe in search of possibly-habitable planets for Oracle to investigate.
After the re-organisation in AP 239
- Headquarters: the headquarters of the ARKS.
- Commander-in-Chief: Ulc. Others: Commander's Personal Aide, Theodore
- Combat Department: The military arm of the ARKS, majority of the ARKS's military force is located in this Division. They took over the Research and Exploration Unit. There is a New Tactics Development Group under the jurisdiction of the Combat Division, which is responsible for testing out new classes and ideas, a 3rd generation ARKS, Stratos was placed in command of this group, and under the request of Huey, counselled by the Player Character in order to attain more recognition.
- Leaders: Huey/Klariskrays III. Other Members: Risa, Fourier, Patty, Tiea, Revelle, Io, Stratos, Azanami and Hans.
- Instruction Department: The instructional forces of the ARKS, majority of the trainers where assigned under the Instruction Division. Their primary focus was to train a new generation of ARKS. It was headed by Regius, and their deputy is Zeno.
- Leaders: Regius/Zeno. Other Members: Echo, Ohza, Marlu, Saga, Katori, Barbara, Jozsef, Lubert and Lottie.
- General Affairs Department: The main administrative department of ARKS, they deal with everything and everyone that falls under their perusal. The Central Research Department was assigned under their division, and according to Sara, the deputy of this division, the majority of their work is paperwork and chores. It was headed by Maria, who left most of the responsibilities to her deputy Sara, and spend most of her time in the Combat and Instruction Division.
- Leaders: Maria/Sara. Other Members: Jean, Afin, Eucrita, Reda, Melrandia, Light and Aki.
- Intelligence Department: Formed after the third reorganization, the Intelligence Division is lead by Casra II, and deputised by Quna, and is concerned with gathering information on potential threats and notable targets, within and outside of the Oracle.
- Leaders: Casra II/Quna. Other Members: Aika and Klotho.
Research and Exploration
The Research and Exploration Unit is the primary division of ARKS. The majority of its members are concentrated in this division, and many are sent here through the ARKS Cadet program. Research and Exploration's first primary job is to visit previously-discovered planets and investigate any anomalies or events that have cropped up on those planets. Research and Exploration also interfaces with sentient native species if possible and attempts to establish friendly relationships with them.
Research and Exploration's other job, and its true purpose, is to traverse planets and contain the Darkers, beings created and controlled by Dark Falzes that oppose Oracle. As ARKS wield Photons, which are capable of eradicating Darker Particles, Research and Exploration members are required to destroy as many Darkers as possible.
All of ARKS' members, including those that are not typically involved in normal battle capacities, are usually required to possess Photon aptitude in case of a critical emergency in which they would need to engage in combat. There are very few exceptions; those without Photon abilities are typically incapable of combating any Darkers.
- Player (PSO2)
- Darker Busters (Gene, Annette, Bruno)
The Intelligence Division is a division set up by Ulc after the reorganization of ARKS following the second war against the Profound Darkness. Following the disbanding of the Council of Six, Casra II, formerly #3 of the Council, was appointed as the master of the Intel Division. The Intel Division primarily deals in secret investigations and information gathering, prying and going undercover into the darkest parts of ARKS' targets.
The Intel Division is not without its own combat units, as their members will personally engage in combat if deemed necessary. However, their members are typically few.
Shortly after its formation, the Intel Division became aware of the Earth incident; taking priority action, Casra II ordered ARKS member Aika to investigate, backed by the assistance of former Council member Quna.
- Casra II
Special Planetary Exploration Unit (Alter)
The ARKS Special Planetary Exploration Unit is a relatively minor unit of ARKS; nonetheless, its existence is vital to the discovery of yet-undiscovered planets in uncharted territory. They are helmed by the Delta Valiant, an ARKS Ship whose functions are solely dedicated to the service of Alter.
Due to the nature of their mission, members of Alter tend to spend extended periods of time in Cold Sleep, an induced form of cryonic stasis within capsules that allows ARKS members to travel for extended periods of time without requiring resource consumption.
Like the main Research and Exploration Unit, all members of Alter possess some degree of Photon aptitude. This includes members who typically do not fulfill combat positions, such as operators. This is to ensure that members are equipped to intercept any potential Darker threats that they may encounter, no matter how unlikely the circumstance.
- Player (Nova)
|Playable Races||Human - Newman - Cast|
|Playable Classes||Hunter - Ranger - Force - Buster|
|Major Characters||Lutina - Seil - Fildia - Izuna - Sharon - Raven - Kisara - Orcus - Calisto - Hyperion - Yomi - Yuno|
|Gigantes|| Agrios - Altios - Alcyone - Defucyone - Eurude|
Vivryud - Gration - Gigadion - Graudion - Gygantia - Riberkente
|Locations||Delta Valiant - Machia|
|Weapons|| Piles - Halos - Swords - Partizans - Knuckles|
Double Sabers - Assault Rifles - Twin Machine Guns - Rods - Talises - Wands