The ZERO (Zoning & Emotional Range Omitted) System is a technology for interfacing the brain of the pilot with the mobile suit's computer. It appears in the series Mobile Suit Gundam Wing.
System Description & Characteristics
The ZERO system analyzes a given situation based on the massive amounts of data collected by its various sensors, then transmits multiple possible responses, as well as the results, directly into the pilot's brain. In other words, it shows the pilots the actions necessary in order to achieve victory. However, its predictions usually prioritize tactical victory above all else, ignoring any possibility of collateral damage, harm to the pilot, or the pilot's own emotions and morals. As such, controlling the system requires extremely high willpower, and weak-willed users risk being controlled by it. The system also includes advanced biofeedback equipment in the cockpit, allowing it to scan the pilot's brain activities and control the emission of neurotransmitters, alleviating the strain placed on the pilot by the mobile suit's maneuvers, allowing the pilot to operate at a level beyond human limits.
In order to accomodate the ZERO System, Wing Gundam Zero featured a unique panoramic cockpit, with a three dimensional radar display in the center of the console panel and a data display showing enemy data and the unit's own status on top of it. Target markers showing enemies within range are also displayed on the surface of the cockpit during battle. Gundam Epyon, on the other hand, featured a more standard cockpit design, with a data helmet worn by the pilot displaying various data.
Mobile Suit Gundam Wing
The System first appears within Wing Gundam Zero under the control of Quatre Raberba Winner. Distraught by the death of his father, Quatre's mind is already weakened and the Zero System overwhelms him, causing him to go on the aforementioned rampage and destroying several colonies. Heero Yuy and Trowa Barton are sent by OZ to stop him in the Mercurius and Vayeate mobile suits. When Quatre's attack cripples Trowa's suit, Heero manages to talk Quatre out of his stupor induced by the Zero System. After the two are brought back to OZ custody, Heero is forced to pilot the Wing Gundam Zero and test the suit's Zero System. In doing so, it drives him temporarily insane and makes him believe the Gundam Scientists are his enemy. Knocked out of the cockpit, he falls to the floor and has a vision of Relena before losing consciousness.
The next time Zero System is used is under the control of the OZ engineer who had run the tests, Trant Clark, who has escaped with Wing Zero and fled to L2. Here, he forces Duo Maxwell to testpilot the suit under threat of destroying the colony that he and Hilde Schbeiker are hiding in. Duo reluctantly goes along with the test, but the System too drives him into temporary insanity in which he hallucinates several clones of Deathscythe and destroying the colony, killing Hilde. Awakening from the hallucination to find he has attacked the surrounding suits Trant brought with him, Trant pulls Duo out of the cockpit before attempting to pilot it himself to escape OZ's pursuit. Trant fails, however, and is overwhelmed by the effects of the system on his brain, dying likely from hemorrhage.
The next time the Zero System is seen is within the cockpit of the Gundam Epyon, which uses a modified version of Zero called the Epyon System. Treize Khushrenada gifts the Epyon to Heero, who uses it to defend the Sanc Kingdom. However, the system once again overwhelms him, causing Heero to go on a destructive killing spree and destroying even retreating enemy suits. Meanwhile, Zechs Merquise finds the abandoned Wing Zero floating in space, and takes it to Earth to defend Sanc during the same time. When the two meet, they battle each other fiercely, until both are overwhelmed by their respective suits and collapse from their cockpits. Once awake, they trade Gundams, Zechs taking Epyon to defend Sanc and Heero taking Wing Zero.
Later, when Chang Wufei became conflicted with the Gundams' battle against OZ and White Fang, Heero Yuy loans Wing Zero to Wufei to deal with White Fang reinforcements bent on destroying the pilots before they can join the other Gundam pilots on the ship Peacemillion. It is this battle that the ZERO System shows Wufei a clear path by identifying White Fang and Treize Khushrenada as enemies, renewing his sense of purpose.
An amnesiac Trowa Barton borrows the Wing Zero (while the Heavyarms undergoes modifications to function better in space) to defend the colony where his adopted family lives. The ZERO System jump-starts his memory, bringing him full circle.
During the White Fang conflict, Gundam pilot Heero Yuy and White Fang leader Zechs Merquise developed a modified version of the ZERO system that was derived from their respective Gundams. They were given to Gundam pilot Quatre Raberba Winner and White Fang supporter Dorothy Catalonia so that they could lead their respective forces with their maximum potential strategic abilities. Heero installed his into Quatre's Sandrock Kai (which Quatre would later remove) and Zechs developed his into a helmet for Dorothy to use to control and coordinate the movements of mobile dolls in combat from inside the battleship Libra.
Picking up Wing Gundam Zero on rendezvous to Earth, Heero uses the ZERO System to battle Wufei in Earth's atmosphere. According to the novelization, Heero was actively fighting the ZERO System's instructions to attack using the Twin Buster Rifle throughout the battle, causing Wufei to gain the upper hand. During the reentry, Wing Zero's thrusters become heavily damaged. Realizing that continue fighting would be both impossible and pointless, Heero shuts down the thrusters and plunges into the ocean. Later, the ZERO System seems to reactivate on its own, convincing Heero that they can still fight one more time before rising up again to stop the Mariemaia Army.
In the New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: Frozen Teardrop novel series, the ZERO System has redeveloped into a type of data management software that can archive and review user memories. Preventer agent Kathy Po used this software with a pair of Virtual Reality glasses to view past events of the After Colony era. This version of the ZERO System was also instrumental in restoring the memories of Heero Yuy after being released from the cryogenic sleep. This technology was equipped in the cockpits of these mobile suits: Epyon White, Snow White, and, eventually, the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon. Users of this version appear to be incapable of communication while the system is active.
Gundam Wing Technical Guide Information
The Zero System was developed to be an interactive interface between a human pilot and a Mobile Suit. The system computes the results of possible courses of action, and the pilot considers these and mentally feeds directions back to the system. What this means is that the pilot knows the result of his actions before he performs them.
The system is programmed to think tactically, so that the options that it feeds the pilot might include civilian death or unnecessary destruction. It is up to the pilot to guide the system and lend it a conscience, so the relationship becomes a balance of emotion and logic.
Another advantage of Zero System is its ability to offer physical stimulus back to the pilot, allowing him to feel the strain that the MS is undergoing. This causes great physical and emotional stress on the pilot, but allows the MS to become an extension of the pilot's thoughts and movements.
Due to the extreme mental strain on its users, Zero System could never be used on a wide scale. It can literally tear a users mind apart if they are not strong willed. Also, as the Zero System uses tactical data from all factors, the pilot's own limitability is also taken into account in the results. If the pilot using the Zero System were simply incapable, in terms of skill, of defeating a superior opponent, the results shown would reflect so.
Only the cockpits of Gundams Wing Zero and Epyon were fitted with a built in version of the Zero System, but a modified version of Epyon's Zero System was adapted by Zechs for use as the centralized system of Libra’s MD fleet, and Gundam Sandrock Custom was fitted with a form of Wing Zero's software during episode 44.
Zero System 2.0
This modified version of ZERO System used by XXXG-00W0L Gundam Lucifer provided better and more detailed information than the systems in either Wing Zero or its rival, the OZ-13MS Gundam Epyon. However, these improvements came with a price; just as the benefits were strengthened, so were the flaws. While the original Zero System merely urged its pilot to follow certain courses of action, Version 2.0 actually forced them to follow these paths.
Zero System 2.5
Used by XXXG-00W0S Wing Gundam Seraphim, this system provided much better technical data and information, but had the drawback of taking control of the mobile suit sometimes when activated. It should be noted, however, that Zero 2.5 lacked the mental effects which its predecessors possessed.
- The way in which ZERO System directly relays information from the mobile suit to the pilot is similar to Gundam F91's Bio-Computer.
- In the Super Robot Wars series, the ZERO System is a special ability normally given only to the Wing Zero, and the Epyon if it is in the game. The System has the effect of increasing all of the pilot's stats once a certain morale threshold is reached. Older games provided a flat bonus, while the ZERO System's most recent appearance in The 2nd Super Robot Wars Z Chapter Regeneration instead gives a scaling bonus based on Heero's current morale. The ZERO System's benefits can be upgraded further by fully upgrading the Wing Zero, and will activate more easily if Heero is an Ace.
- In Gundam Musou 3, both Wing Zero and Epyon will activate their ZERO System (Epyon System for Epyon) once they have defeated 250 enemies. In this game, the ZERO System serves as an enhancement for defense stats.
- Whenever Zechs defeats Heero in Gundam Battle Assault 3: Featuring Gundam SEED, Zechs will say that he has more control over the Zero System than Heero.
- In Gundam Extreme Vs Full Boost, Wing Zero(TV)'s movelist is expanded from Gundam vs. Gundam: Next PLUS to add the Zero System as an additional weapon. It has the visual effect of the mobile suit surrounded in a transparent sphere with red lines, mirroring the ZERO System interface. It has the effect of disabling tracking from enemy attacks, similar to Deathscythe Hell's Hyper Jammers.
- Epyon in the same game is also given the use of its Epyon System. It grants both a speed and range boost at the cost of faster boost consumption and causes the machine to glow red. Unlike the ZERO System, the Epyon System has an infinite usage and can be switched on and off at will.
- In Extreme Vs Maxi Boost, Sandrock Kai is given the ZERO System and serves the same function as Wing Zero's, though it is a one-time use, a reference to Quatre uninstalling the system right after his fight with Dorothy.
- In SD Gundam Capsule Fighter Online, the ZERO System is used in both variants of the Wing Zero, Epyon and Wing Zero Custom. When the unit is down to 50% HP, it increases attack speed and search range, displays all enemies on radar and maximizes attack output.
- Encyclopedia of Gundam Wing, p.89
- New Mobile Report Gundam Wing: MS Encyclopedia, p.34
- Master Grade Wing Gundam Zero (Ver. EW) instruction manual
- Dengeki Data Collection - New Mobile Report Gundam Wing, p.74