Ace Attorney Wiki
The Cosmic Turnabout
Image Gallery Transcript

Solomon Starbuck
Space is a boundless place. That's why it continues to capture people's imaginations. But the vastness of space shows us how insignificant we are in the scheme of things. The darkness just goes on and on forever, and ever, and ever... without end.

Episode 4: The Cosmic Turnabout is the fourth and penultimate episode of the game Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies. When Apollo Justice's friend Clay Terran is murdered at the Cosmos Space Center, he takes on the case with Solomon Starbuck as his client. However, a deeper plot begins to play out behind the scenes, involving a mysterious "phantom" that Simon Blackquill has been chasing for seven years. Tensions rise even further when Apollo Justice suddenly leaves the agency to investigate the case on his own, leaving Phoenix Wright to handle Starbuck's case.

This episode is unique in that, in the in-game chronology, it is interrupted by the events of Turnabout Countdown to pick up again afterward, and the case is not fully resolved until the following episode. It is also unique for featuring trial and investigation segments but beginning with a trial segment instead of an investigation.

Dec. 15[]

Apollo Justice
The courtroom bombing incident -- a terrible attack launched by the will of a madman. That incident perfectly symbolized the state of the legal world in this dark age of the law. Mr. Wright brought it to a resolution... of sorts. Ted Tonate was discovered to be the one responsible for the bombing. ............If only it were that simple. Somehow, I can't help but think... ...that there's a darker influence at work -- one that's lurking in the shadows, waiting... That's why I want to review the trial that was taking place when the bombing occurred. After all, I've got more than a few personal stakes in it...

The launch of the HAT-2 rocket was interrupted by a bombing, just an hour before launch. Two astronauts made it out, one carrying the other. However, one of them was later found dead, with a knife in his chest.

Dec. 16[]

9:12 a.m.

Apollo Justice was waiting in the defendant lobby, having taken a case that was significant to him. His nervousness caused him to eat a lotus root given by Juniper Woods raw without thinking. His client was Solomon Starbuck, one of the astronauts who had been on the aborted HAT-2 mission. He was accused of killing fellow astronaut Clay Terran, who was also Justice's best friend from middle school. Justice tried his best to cheer Starbuck up, even though he had not had a proper opportunity to investigate the Cosmos Space Center, the scene of the crime.


9:55 a.m.

As the trial began, the judge noticed a strange tension coming from both benches. Justice was wearing an eye bandage, but did not want to discuss it. Simon Blackquill broke his shackles immediately and gave his opening statement. The Cosmos Space Center had planned to launch a rocket on December 15, but two bombs had detonated at 9:28 a.m. Starbuck was on trial for both the bombing and the subsequent stabbing death of Clay Terran. The prosecution had also brought a large case, but Blackquill would not explain what it was.

Dead Clay

Photo of Terran's body.

Blackquill called Bobby Fulbright to the stand, who submitted diagrams of the Cosmos Space Center, the utility knife used to kill Terran, a report of the bombing, and a photo of the victim. One bomb had gone off on the second floor of the main building, while the other bomb had gone off on the rocket itself. Fulbright had apparently removed Terran's right glove and helmet himself to identify him and lift his fingerprints. Also in the photo was a capsule that supposedly carried asteroid samples, though it seemed irrelevant to the case at hand. Justice's only chance to gather information was to press Fulbright on every detail of his testimony.

Cosmos Space Center Map 2

A cross-section diagram of the Cosmos Space Center.

Justice asked how powerful the explosions were, and the detective replied that the one in the main building was weak, but the one on the rocket had covered the entirety of Launch Pad 1 in smoke and flames. Fulbright also mentioned that he had taken part in the subsequent evacuation. Justice wondered what Fulbright had been doing there, but he decided that he would get nowhere on that line of questioning. Fulbright went on to describe the evacuation itself. The power to the elevators and the third floor lounge had gone out, but the security cameras had backup power and the police had managed to get everyone into the emergency shelter.

Justice asked what the supposed motive was, and Fulbright replied that Starbuck had astrophobia from the HAT-1 mission seven years prior, where various life-threatening problems had arisen. He had been taking anti-anxiety tablets to deal with his fear of space. Supposedly, his desperation to abort the mission had caused him to commit his alleged actions so as to abort the mission while preserving his reputation.

Fulbright testified that only the two astronauts had been in the launch pad at the time of the bombing. Justice raised the possibility of a third individual. However, Blackquill replied that the door to the launch pad operated using a fingerprint scanner, narrowing down the list of possible suspects. The director, Yuri Cosmos, was the only other person with access to the launch pad, but he had been in the control room.

Astronaut escape

Starbuck and Terran escaping from the launch pad.

Fulbright went on to testify about the rescue. Justice figured out the prosecution's argument: the defendant had killed Terran in the rocket and carried him as if it were a rescue. Justice also asked who had first discovered the body, and he learned that Cosmos and Detective Candice Arme had been the first on the scene. Blackquill then submitted security camera footage of the two astronauts escaping to Boarding Lounge 1 on the third floor, which seemed to corroborate the prosecution's argument about the fake rescue. Justice asked how anyone could tell that it was anything other than a genuine rescue, but he could not form a solid argument against the prosecution's assertions.

Justice then realized that the prosecution had neglected to explain why the defendant would have bothered to bring the victim back to the boarding lounge. Blackquill simply retorted that it had all been part of the act, with the intent of getting the "rescue" on camera. Blackquill then revealed that the large case was a bomb transport case, which carried a third bomb disguised as a Phony Phanty toy intended for the boarding lounge, which Arme had disarmed. Blackquill also revealed that a remote detonator switch had been found in Starbuck's pocket. As the prosecution summoned Starbuck himself to the stand, Justice realized that Blackquill was intentionally leading him on to break his faith in his client.

Starbuck seemed very depressed as he testified about his rescue attempt. Justice found it odd that he claimed to have used the launch pad elevator, when it had been consumed by the flames. Starbuck said that he had been mistaken, but he also mentioned that he had carried both Terran and the capsule of asteroid samples with him. Justice realized that this made his escape impossible, since his only way down from the rocket was a ladder. Blackquill explained that traces of the anti-anxiety pills had been found in Starbuck's system. Starbuck could not get his story straight because he could not remember what had happened because he had been in a drug-induced state.

Blackquill continued that, if Terran had already died, then Starbuck could just drop the body. He asserted that the spacesuit had protected the body from trauma, but the oxygen tank had ruptured. Justice argued that if the spacesuit could prevent bruises from fall trauma, a knife would not have been able to penetrate it, but Blackquill countered that only an astronaut would have the knowledge of the suit's vulnerabilities and allow him to kill another astronaut by stabbing. All of this information cemented Starbuck was the only plausible suspect.

Attempting to seal the deal, Blackquill submitted a report that had been done on both oxygen tanks. He said that the facts were irrefutable, and he began to convince Starbuck to accept his fate. However, Justice told Starbuck that Terran would always talk about how he would never give up his dreams, no matter what. This helped Starbuck snap out of his defeatist state.

Justice then looked at the report and realized that there was a contradiction. In the video footage, the astronaut performing the rescue had 50% left in his oxygen tank. However, the report on the oxygen tanks stated that Starbuck's tank had 80% remaining. The apparent increase in oxygen was implausible, so Justice provided an alternative explanation: Terran was the one who had carried Starbuck and the capsule to safety. Even if the ladder situation had not been resolved, Terran had clearly been alive up to this point. Justice called the testimonies of Detective Arme and Director Cosmos into question, and so the judge prepared to have Arme take the stand.

Suddenly, Ted Tonate, the bomb squad officer in charge of the bomb transport case, alerted the court that the bomb in the Phony Phanty had somehow been reactivated. The gallery erupted into a panic and almost everyone ran for their lives. Justice did not want to stop the trial, but Athena Cykes grabbed him and made a run for it. The two ran into Woods, who tripped. Justice ran back to her just as the bomb exploded...

Dec. 17-18[]

Main article: Turnabout Countdown

Juniper Woods was arrested for the bombing and the murder of Candice Arme. However, Phoenix Wright took her case with Cykes and got her an acquittal for both charges. Nonetheless, Apollo Justice was hospitalized due to injuries sustained from the bombing and an ambush by Ted Tonate.

Dec. 19[]

3:21 p.m.

The day after Juniper Woods's trial, the mood at the Wright Anything Agency was gloomy despite the victory. Eventually, Phoenix Wright decided to take over Solomon Starbuck's case while Apollo Justice recuperated.

Starbuck and Cosmos[]

Wright met his new client at the detention center and learned about Starbuck's passion for his job, as well as his mentorship of Clay Terran. The utility knife used to kill Terran was part of a kit that was issued to all of the staff. Starbuck insisted that he would never take his anti-anxiety pills and compromise himself right before the launch, so somebody must have slipped those pills in. Starbuck also seemed to recognize Athena Cykes from somewhere, but he dismissed the thought.

Wright next headed for the Cosmos Space Center. At the entrance, he met Director Yuri Cosmos, who refused to say anything about the case until the trial. He did not, however, miss the opportunity to describe the HAT-1 mission, which was to send the Hope probe into the asteroid belt to collect samples. The probe had returned the day before Terran's murder, so there had not been time to analyze the samples. Cykes seemed to know a lot about the GYAXA space program as well.

The boarding lounge[]

Boarding Lounge

The boarding lounge.

Wright and Cykes then entered the boarding lounge, but a policeman told them to get clearance from Bobby Fulbright before investigating. Fulbright was in the Launch Pad 1 Corridor, and he was oddly eager to cooperate with the lawyers. Although he would not say why there had been a police presence before the launch, he did mention that he had been on the fourth floor when the bombs went off. He had had an emergency ladder lowered from a window because the stairs had been destroyed. Moreover, a staff member had seen something important through a window into the lounge while going down the emergency ladder.

Wright and Cykes returned to the boarding lounge to investigate, with a pamphlet in hand. There was a zero-gravity training device in the ceiling, where a piece of Terran's oxygen tank was embedded, proving that it had ruptured in the lounge. The lounge had three doors, with one leading to the elevators, another leading to Launch Pad 1, and a third leading to the control room, which only Director Cosmos could access. The fingerprint recognition systems on the Launch Pad 1 and control room doors had backup generators.

A moonwalk training pad was also in the lounge, beside the door to the elevators. Cykes found something inside a nearby grate, which turned out to be a small bullet fired from a .10 caliber handgun. Wright also noticed a trash chute beside the training pad. Wright then examined the door to Launch Pad 1. Cykes had brought fingerprint powder from the agency, so she dusted the hand scanner to find a single handprint. Cykes also noticed a knob was beside the hand scanner. Wright and Cykes went on to examine oxygen capsules and a mirror.

Wright and Cykes eventually found the buttons that controlled a holographic image on the wall. By turning it off, a bullet hole, that originally looked like a spider's web, was found on the screen. The duo was then interrupted by Ponco a robot that Cykes seemed to know. Wright agreed to have Ponco take them on a tour, and she led them to the Space Museum.

Space Museum

The Space Museum.

Wright was treated to a tour of the Space Museum, and he saw a photo of the HAT-1 crew, which contained Terran and a bandaged Ponco. He also saw a photo of the Hope probe, and he recognized a logo on the probe from the capsule in the crime scene photo. Ponco identified the capsule as the Hope capsule, which contained asteroid samples from the HAT-1 mission. Wright also learned that the Space Museum used to be a second launch pad, and both launch pads could be moved on rails to the launch site.

The phantom of seven years ago[]

Wright and Cykes returned to Fulbright to discuss their findings. Apparently, the bullet hole in the holographic screen had been fired by Candice Arme. Fulbright had compiled a database of fingerprints, and using this, it was determined that the handprint on the Launch Pad 1 hand scanner belonged to Starbuck. Wright asked if there was more to the security footage, but Fulbright revealed that the camera had lost power after the astronauts entered the lounge.

Wright and Cykes decided to press Fulbright on why he was being so cooperative, and Wright saw two Psyche-Locks around the detective using his magatama. Wright guessed that something had happened that went against Fulbright's convictions. Fulbright insisted that nothing out of the ordinary had been going on before the bombings, but Wright pointed out that there had been a heavy police presence in the area. The fact that Arme, a bomb specialist, had been part of this special security detail indicated that the police had known of the possibility of a bombing. Fulbright admitted that Director Cosmos had received a bomb threat by phone a few days ago. However, he had gone through with the launch attempt anyway, and he had the police keep the threat under wraps.

Fulbright also said that he was uneasy about Simon Blackquill and the fact that he was allowed to prosecute. Blackquill had told Fulbright that he had been hunting a phantom for seven years, and that he suspected this phantom's involvement in the Clay Terran case. Seven years prior, another bombing threat had been issued to the Cosmos Space Center by phone, and a murder had occurred soon afterward. It was this murder that had gotten Blackquill convicted. Blackquill seemed to think that Starbuck was related to the phantom somehow, and Fulbright worried that this was clouding his judgment. Wright saw Fulbright's concern for Blackquill and assured him that there would not be a false conviction on his watch. In gratitude, Fulbright informed Wright about a witness hanging around outside.

Aura Climbing

The mysterious figure Aura saw in the boarding lounge.

At the Space Center entrance was the witness, Aura Blackquill, with her robot Clonco. She told Wright that she had been in the robotics lab on the fourth floor during the incident, and she had lowered the emergency ladder like Fulbright had ordered her to. As she had passed by the third floor Boarding Lounge 1 window while going down the ladder, she had seen someone holding a lighter in the left hand and a knife in the right. Although the room had been too dark for her to identify the figure, she had seen the murder occur at 10 a.m. The lighter had an Earth emblem on it. Aura also seemed to have a strong dislike of lawyers and the legal system due to a past incident, and she seemed to recognize Cykes's digital companion, Widget.

Wright wondered what could have happened to make Aura so bitter about the legal system, but he set that aside and headed for the detention center for a final talk with his client. When Wright mentioned the lighter, Starbuck started to remember that he had been conscious for a few brief moments in the boarding lounge. He, too, had seen the mysterious figure with the lighter. This made Wright even more confident that he could at least get Starbuck an acquittal, if not identify the third party.

Apollo and daichi

Best friends.

Wright and Cykes returned to the agency to prepare their case, but Justice arrived early. He insisted that he was fine, and that he had to solve Terran's murder. They started to talk about Justice's friendship with Terran, and it was clear how angry and determined he was. Suddenly, he announced that he would be taking a leave of absence to investigate the case on his own. All he would say on the matter was that he wondered whether the truth he was seeking was the same as the truth that Wright was seeking. Justice then left.

Dec. 20[]

10:15 a.m.

Cosmic lies[]

The trial began with the judge under his chair still terrified from the courtroom bombing and Ted Tonate "self-destructing". After he went over what happened in the trial, Prosecutor Blackquill cursed Tonate for killing Candice Arme, thus eliminating everything she had to tell about what she saw. Yuri Cosmos was called to the stand, he testified that he and Arme had entered the boarding lounge from the control room and had seen the killer. When pressed for more details, Cosmos admitted that the lighter that the figure was holding had been lowered, so that he could identify Clay Terran's body, but not the killer. Cosmos also said that Arme had fired two warning shots at the mysterious figure, who had then vanished. Phoenix Wright pointed out that he had found only one bullet hole at the scene, but Simon Blackquill retorted that Terran's oxygen tank had been ruptured by the second bullet, which he proceeded to submit as evidence. Wright then revealed that he had found a different bullet from a .10-caliber gun, much smaller than Arme's .38-caliber.

Cosmos admitted that the figure had fired upon them before Arme's warning shots. In fact, the bullet had miraculously hit Cosmos's medal and bounced right off. Nonetheless, considering the relative positions of the figure and where Cosmos claimed to be, the grate inside which the bullet had been found was nearly in the opposite direction of its supposed trajectory. Blackquill answered this conundrum by saying that Arme and Cosmos had really entered the room from the southern door to the elevators, cutting off any possible escape for Wright's theorized third person.

However, Wright retorted that one person still could have escaped the scene: Yuri Cosmos. He asserted that Cosmos had arrived at the scene first. He had then fired the .10-caliber shot at Arme when she entered, causing her to return fire. However, the medal had saved Cosmos's life. Blackquill had the medal analyzed and confirmed that the bullet dent matched that of a .38-caliber bullet. However, Cosmos insisted that Wright had it all wrong.

Cosmic emotions[]


Arme shooting at Cosmos.

Cosmos admitted that most of what Wright said was true. He had made it to the lounge before Arme, but then somebody had shot at him. He had hidden to avoid getting shot, but upon looking back into the room, he had only seen the two astronauts, and the shooter had vanished. None of the doors were a plausible escape route. He had entered the room to investigate, and that was when Arme had shot at him. He had escaped into the control room and doubled back through the elevators to where Arme had been, in order to divert suspicion away from himself. Blackquill insisted that Starbuck was still the only possible killer, but Cykes sensed that Cosmos was still hiding something, and she opened up the Mood Matrix to help Wright with his cross-examination.

Using the Mood Matrix, Wright noticed that Cosmos seemed uneasy when he mentioned the launch pad door, and that he did not register any shock when talking about the shooter's disappearance. Wright concluded that the shooter had escaped through the launch pad corridor, and that Cosmos was hiding something about a possible escape route. He pointed out that the shooter could have used Starbuck's fingerprints to gain access to the corridor. When Cosmos talked about Arme, Wright wondered why he had been more surprised by her arrival than by her shooting.

Wright looked at the video footage again and saw that the knob beside the hand scanner had been horizontal on the night of the murder, while it had been vertical during the investigation. Cosmos admitted that the knob was a safety lock to hold the launch pads in place, and he had turned it to move Launch Pad 1, fearing that there would be more explosions. However, the Mood Matrix detected some amount of joy when Cosmos talked about disengaging the safety lock. Blackquill pointed out that Launch Pad 1 was still where it was supposed to be. In light of this, Wright revealed Cosmos's final lie: Launch Pad 1 had been switched with the Space Museum.

Cosmos Space Center Map 1

A cross-section diagram of the Space Center showing the circular rail used to switch Launch Pad 1 with the Space Museum.

Wright unraveled the truth behind what had been uncovered so far. The astronauts had really boarded the replica rocket in the Space Museum, while the killer had gone into the real Launch Pad 1 to set the bomb. Thus, during the "rescue", Terran had simply taken the elevator. The killer had then waited in Boarding Lounge 1 until the two astronauts came out, and then killed Clay Terran. He had then escaped into the Space Museum, taking advantage of the fact that Cosmos would switch the two launch pads back into their original positions. The scanner wasn't required to open the door from that side due to the incident happening during the museum's opening hours. As proof of all this, Wright noted that the floors of the launch pad corridors were labeled "1" and "2", and the security footage showed that the astronauts really had emerged from the corridor labeled "2".

Cornered, Yuri Cosmos punched his scooter in his rage, which caused it to go out of control. After that was settled, he admitted to moving the launch pads and faking the launch to protect the astronauts, but he refused to explain any further. Meanwhile, Blackquill still refused to let Solomon Starbuck off the hook, insisting that there was no evidence that the killer had even used the escape route that Wright had proposed. However, Bobby Fulbright suddenly entered the courtroom with decisive evidence: the killer's lighter. He said that it had been found in the Space Museum and did not have Starbuck's fingerprints, which meant that it was impossible for Starbuck to have possessed it in the boarding lounge.

As the judge rendered his not guilty verdict, Blackquill insisted that something had gone terribly wrong. He demanded that Fulbright give the results of the fingerprint analysis of the lighter. It revealed that the fingerprints belonged to Athena Cykes. The courtroom exploded into an uproar as Wright tried to find where everything had gone wrong. Athena Cykes was going to be arrested for the murder of Clay Terran...

Cultural references[]

  • After Simon Blackquill comments on Wright's theory of a third party during the second trial, Wright thinks to himself, "As long as we aren't punished in the name of said moon..." This is a reference to the Sailor Moon franchise, where the titular character's catchphrase is: "In the name of the Moon, I'll punish you!"
  • After cheering up Starbuck in the detention center, he exclaims, "To the stratosphere and beyond!" This may be a reference to the catchphrase of the character Buzz Lightyear in the Toy Story animated films ("To infinity... and beyond!").
    • Furthermore, during his first damage animation, Starbuck pretends to choke on the atmosphere when his helmet is retracted, much like Lightyear does in the first Toy Story.
  • While using the Mood Matrix on Yuri Cosmos, Wright thinks to himself "Please tell me I finally sunk his battleship..." This is a reference to the game Battleship, where the player is supposed to say "You sank my battleship!" upon having all parts of their hidden ship hit by their opponent.
  • When cross-examining Cosmos about being shot at, Wright silently mocks him by thinking that he himself is the "king of all Cosmos". This could be a reference to the recurring character the King of All Cosmos from the video game series Katamari Damacy.
  • Upon finishing her check of the boarding lounge's doors, Athena Cykes will state, "Well I think that's about it for the Three Muskedoors of the boarding lounge!" This is a reference to the novel (as well as the many adaptations of) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas.
  • While investigating the window at the back of the boarding lounge, Cykes and Wright discuss what it's really for, to which Cykes states "See? It's pointing out the virtual insanity of reality!" This may be a reference to the song "Virtual Insanity" by the British funk and acid jazz band Jamiroquai.
  • When Wright suggests continuing into the Center after his and Cykes' first conversation with Yuri Cosmos, Athena agrees and adds, "Let's make it so!" This may be referencing the catchphrase of Captain Picard on Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Make it so."

References to other cases[]

  • When looking at the GYAXA sign on the outside of the Center, Phoenix Wright and Athena Cykes try to work out what it stands for. Cykes suggests that maybe the designer just liked the letter "Y", to which Wright thinks to himself that this conversation is familiar somehow. This may be a reference to The Stolen Turnabout, where, upon looking at a sign in the Lordly Tailor basement Warehouse that is partially hidden so that it only reads "BUR", Wright's then assistant Maya Fey suggests that it is short for "burgers".
  • At the beginning of the investigation, Wright mentions that Apollo Justice was in the Hickfield Clinic for treatment. He also mentions that he has some experience with that particular institution himself. This is a reference to Turnabout Corner, where he found himself in the clinic after being hit by a car.


  • The opening cutscene is misleading as it shows the inside of the Launch Pad that Terran was walking out of on fire. This should not have been possible since he and Starbuck were actually in the Space Museum, far away from the explosion, but this wasn't revealed until near the end of the case.
  • If the player saves their progress during the first trial day, the image on their save file will be Apollo with a bandaged eye.
    • It should be noted that this case reveals that the courtroom bombing actually wasn't the cause of Apollo wearing it. Although, the Mood Matrix hinted at it as it showed him facing left.
  • During Wright's recap of Turnabout Countdown as well as the judge's flashback, Ted Tonate's breakdown is seen. However, the fake bomb he had with him is absent.
  • This is one of only two cases to date in the main Ace Attorney series in which the defense manages to prove the defendant innocent without having to expose someone else as the true culprit. The only other example occurs in the first trial of Turnabout Reclaimed, when Orla Shipley is found not guilty. Unfortunately, in both examples, the defendant's innocence immediately causes another innocent character to be implicated for the murder instead (Athena Cykes and Sasha Buckler, respectively).
  • The Cosmic Turnabout is the only episode in the main Ace Attorney series that ends without resolving the case at hand by finding the real culprit, instead leaving that to the next episode to do. The only other case that is left unresolved until later is the one in English Turnabout.
  • There are a few similarities between The Cosmic Turnabout and Turnabout Samurai, in that in both cases: the victim was stabbed in the chest through a suit, the victim and the defendant were co-workers, the victim drugged the defendant, and what was initially believed to the crime scene turned out not to be (i.e., Boarding Lounge 1 instead of Launch Pad 1 and Studio Two instead of Studio One).
  • The Cosmic Turnabout is one of only three episodes in the Ace Attorney series with an investigation chapter to begin with a trial chapter, the other two being The Final Witch Trial and The Resolve of Ryunosuke Naruhodo.
  • The Cosmic Turnabout is one of only two episodes in the Ace Attorney main series in which a "Victory!" music track does not play, the other being Turnabout Beginnings. For The Cosmic Turnabout, this is the case despite it ending in a "not guilty" verdict.


  • Before the courtroom bomb goes off, Tonate says "The bomb was diffused" when it should be "The bomb was defused".