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|That's right. I don't know who I am. I am always living as someone else for my assignments. I don't remember what my face looks like... ...or even what my personality was like. My face, memories, personality, beliefs, emotions, and soul... I left them all behind. I have no... "self." I am no one. I am nothing but an endless abyss.|
The "phantom" is a placeholder name given to a highly-skilled international spy working for an unknown organization whose true name and identity are unknown due to being a master of disguise and impersonation. Remorseless and incapable of experiencing emotions like a normal human being, the phantom has committed numerous terrible crimes, including murder, bombings, and sabotage in their line of work.
Sabotage and murder
- Main article: UR-1 Incident
The phantom's first known job was the sabotage of the HAT-1 rocket launch, which they did by planting a bomb on the rocket that damaged many of its critical systems upon detonation. Finding out that the Cosmos Space Center's Dr. Metis Cykes had been making a psychological report on him, the phantom headed to the robotics lab where she worked and murdered her with a katana she had as ornamentation. In order to avoid the Space Center robots' recognition systems, they covered Metis's face with a handkerchief, put on her jacket with its built-in ID tag, and masked their own face with Metis's ornamental Noh mask. However, as they were searching the lab, the phantom was attacked by Metis's young daughter, Athena, who stabbed them in the hand with a utility knife, causing some of their blood to land on a moon rock sample in the room. Athena's attack also resulted in her mother's jacket being slashed. The phantom proceeded to knock the girl unconscious, but knew they could not leave the moon rock at the scene, as the blood could reveal their identity. Since they could not smuggle the rock out of the Space Center, they hid it inside a capsule in the lab that was due to be placed inside the Hope probe, which would be sent into space with the HAT-1 rocket the following day and therefore destroyed by his sabotage.
The phantom, still wearing Metis's jacket, was then forced to escape the laboratory before they could be discovered. They later revisited the crime scene as one of the first three people to discover the body, using the opportunity to bring the torn jacket in a containment bag to be used for the Hope capsule and planting the jacket back at the scene while the other two witnesses were distracted by the body. Prosecutor Simon Blackquill was soon arrested for the murder of Metis, which came to be referred to as the "UR-1 Incident" by the police, and sentenced to death. However, the phantom's scheme to have the HAT-1 rocket and the moon rock destroyed was foiled, as astronaut Solomon Starbuck managed to safely return the rocket to Earth despite the major damage caused by the sabotage, but not before sending the Hope probe with the capsule into outer space, where it would remain for seven years. Although the phantom kept all traces of his involvement a secret, Blackquill swore that he would hunt him down even from prison.
Six years after Metis's murder, police detective Bobby Fulbright died under mysterious circumstances; however, due to the extent of damage done to his body, his corpse was never identified. Taking his place, the phantom began masquerading as Fulbright, using their authority as a detective to attempt to destroy all evidence pertaining to their true identity.
In the course of the cases they handled while impersonating the late detective, the phantom once again encountered Athena Cykes, who had become a defense attorney working under Phoenix Wright. However, due to their new disguise and the fact that she had subconsciously repressed most memories of her mother's murder, she did not recognize them.
Return to the Cosmos Space Center
- Main article: The Cosmic Turnabout
In December, the Hope probe returned to Earth. The phantom was given orders to sabotage the HAT-2 rocket launch as well, although he would also be able to take advantage of the situation in order to destroy the moon rock that linked him to the UR-1 Incident. He called the center's director, Yuri Cosmos, and told him that there would be a bombing unless the launch was called off. Cosmos, recognizing that the voice on the phone was not Blackquill, took the threat seriously. Cosmos attempted to have the launch cancelled, but the government refused to believe that the phantom posed a threat, and didn't want to give in to terrorists.
Left with no choice, Cosmos did all he could to fake the rocket launch by switching Launch Pad 1 with the identical Space Museum on the other side of the Space Center so that the astronauts would board the rocket replica in the museum instead of the real one. The phantom, posing as Bobby Fulbright, was one of the members of the police standing guard as a security detail. He took the opportunity to plant three bombs at the Space Center: one on the second floor of the main building, one on the rocket in Launch Pad 1, and one concealed inside a Phony Phanty doll in Boarding Lounge 1. Returning to the scene as Bobby Fulbright, the phantom organized the evacuation from the fourth floor robotics lab, leaving a means of escape for himself via an emergency ladder.
The first two bombs were detonated before they could be disarmed; meanwhile, astronauts Clay Terran and Solomon Starbuck were evacuated from the Space Museum into Boarding Lounge 1, where Terran collapsed while carrying an unconscious Starbuck and the Hope capsule. The phantom then doubled back to the boarding lounge, where he caught sight of both astronauts lying on the floor. Using a utility knife, the phantom murdered Terran to silence him, using his transformable lighter/gun for light in the pitch-black room. The phantom took off Terran's helmet and glove, and planted the now dead astronaut's blood and fingerprints on his lighter/handgun to later use as evidence. He also planted the bomb detonator on Starbuck to pin the murder and sabotage on him.
At this point, Cosmos appeared at the scene, forcing the phantom to shoot at him and escape into the Space Museum without the Hope capsule. The door opened without a scanner due it being during its opening hours. He dropped the lighter in the museum, where Athena Cykes lay unconscious. As Cosmos began moving the museum and Launch Pad 1 back into position, the phantom leaped from the moving corridor onto the emergency ladder he had earlier deployed; due to his limited emotional range, he kept his fear in check to make the improbable twenty-foot jump. The Hope capsule and disarmed HH-3000 bomb inside the doll were both confiscated by the police as evidence.
The courtroom bombing
Starbuck was soon arrested for Terran's murder and the Space Center bombing. In order to destroy the Hope capsule and any evidence it might hold, the phantom stole the HH-3000 detonator before Starbuck's trial was due to begin in Courtroom No. 4, while Detective Candice Arme confronted corrupt police bomb disposal expert Ted Tonate over attempting to steal and sell the bomb. Tonate ended up murdering Arme, but failed to see the person who had stolen the detonator. During the trial, the phantom blew up Courtroom No. 4 with the bomb; however, thanks to Tonate realizing that the bomb was about to go off and warning everyone, the courtroom was evacuated without any causalities.
During the subsequent investigation of the case, "Fulbright" was incredibly helpful to Starbuck's lawyers, Athena Cykes and Phoenix Wright, supplying them with plenty of information and evidence. When the trial resumed three days after the courtroom bombing, "Fulbright" presented critical evidence to the court: the bloodied lighter that Aura Blackquill and Cosmos had seen the killer holding at the scene of Terran's murder. The phantom also submitted fingerprint data which identified Terran's bloody fingerprints as Athena's, indicting her in place of Starbuck for Terran's murder.
- Main article: Turnabout for Tomorrow
During his defense of Athena, Wright proved the presence of a third party in the murders of both Metis and Terran. Wright realized that "Bobby Fulbright" organized the evacuation, fabricated the evidence incriminating Athena, "discovered" the body, and escaped via his daredevil jump. All the evidence pointed to a third party at the scene who had the ability to suppress their emotions. "Fulbright" was called to the stand, and his facade as Fulbright was soon broken when Miles Edgeworth revealed that the real Fulbright had died one year prior.
With his cover blown, the phantom attempted instead to pass himself off as a secret agent hunting for the phantom, demonstrating his various gadgets and ability to pose as anyone's doppelgänger. However, using Justice's bracelet and Athena's Mood Matrix, Wright quickly identified the phantom's fear of being discovered, which explained some of his recent actions; he had been trying to destroy the moon rock that held traces of his blood after being attacked by the young Athena Cykes.
With his cover completely broken, the phantom screamed about unknown assailants and began tearing off his masks one by one in a mad panic and questioning who he ultimately was. He was then shot, though not fatally, by an unknown sniper who quickly vanished, leaving the phantom unmasked on the courtroom floor, albeit with his face concealed by shadow. Simon Blackquill, having now been proven innocent of Metis Cykes' murder, placed him under arrest and into the protection of the prosecutor's office in order to interrogate him about the multiple crimes he had committed over the years. The judge also stated that the police were doing everything they can to track down the sniper that shot him.
The phantom is a skilled actor and a master of disguise. Such is his skill that his true identity is unknown to everyone, even himself. He has no personal life and his long career of mimicking other people had made him forget his true identity. He doesn't even know what his real face looks like, his memories of his old life have faded away, and he claims to have no personal beliefs or "soul". Instead, he spends his life living a facsimile of the person whom he is mimicking.
At first it was believed that the phantom lacked the ability to feel any emotion, and that he in fact needs to concentrate in order to fake emotions. However, according to the psychological profile drawn by Metis Cykes, his emotions actually instead rarely fluctuate and he was unable to experience emotions like most human beings. However, his one emotional weakness was a great fear of having his cover blown and his true identity discovered, as it would likely mean his assassination at the hands of his employers. While he proudly proclaimed his lack of identity and humanity as a weapon against being identified or broken, this lack of self became deeply distressing to him as he broke down in court.
The phantom had a number of gadgets at his disposal built into his watch, including a grappling hook, a propeller, and a jamming device that he was able to use to confuse Athena Cykes' Mood Matrix. Another of his gadgets is a lighter with an Earth emblem on one side, which changes into a .10 caliber handgun when the emblem is pressed.
- The phantom is never referred to as such in his text boxes, instead using the name of the person he is disguised as (i.e., "Phoenix?" when disguised as Phoenix Wright, or "???" when changing masks). However, the in-game backlog feature shows the speech bubbles he uses while disguised as Wright still labelled as belonging to the real Phoenix Wright, likely because he uses the same voice clips.
- The phantom is the second person to impersonate Phoenix Wright in court, with the first being Furio Tigre in Recipe for Turnabout. Although the phantom does a much better job at imitating Wright, this instance is rendered much less effective by the real Wright's presence in the courtroom at the time.
- The phantom is the only character in the Ace Attorney series to date to have Phoenix Wright's magatama, Apollo Justice's bracelet, and Athena Cykes's Mood Matrix all used on him.
- During his breakdown, the phantom is shown to have masks of Ted Tonate, Florent L'Belle, Aristotle Means, Jinxie Tenma, Damian Tenma, Hugh O’Conner, Solomon Starbuck, Simon Blackquill, Aura Blackquill, Phoenix Wright, and Bobby Fulbright.
- The phantom appears in five episodes, which is more than any other culprit guilty of a personally-committed murder in the Ace Attorney series to date.
- The phantom is the only culprit in the Ace Attorney series to not have a separate entry in the court record's list of profiles. Any updated information about him is instead reflected in Bobby Fulbright's profile. This was likely done in order to throw into question the phantom's very existence.
- When "Fulbright" holds up his fist during his angry animation, the veins on the back of his hand resemble the "shine" used as part of the Ace Attorney logo.
- Blackquill: The murders and bombings at the Space Center, both past and present... ...the bombing of Courtroom No. 4, and all of his other crimes, as numerous as the stars... Under suspicion of all of these things, the spy known as the phantom has been incarcerated.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies. Capcom. Episode: Turnabout for Tomorrow (in English). 2013.