Shane kept quiet and then made a slow nod. "For a weapon, you sure have alot of intelligence and wisdom. Well, I guess we can try this growth thing then. You know how they say, there is always a first time for everything."
He bowed lightly at the huge Daemon before remembering something. He ravaged in his backpack and pulled out a disk."I found this while ravaging the archives on your case files, I tried looking at it, but the data is heavily encrypted with a method I have never seen. When Nighty tried accessing it, it mildly reacted to your core inside him. The only thing we were able to decipher was the name of the file 'E8-Med'
It is the only physical thing left on your case here in the ONB. Do you know what this is?"
Last Edit: Aug 1, 2017 2:23:07 GMT -8 by Nightshade
If Thrash is in any way surprised or responsive to this sudden revelation... yeah, it's been hammered in enough just how difficult it is for a gelatinous mass to emote. All the same...
<...The disk is definitely one of my old Master's, and the filename... that format is used for a CopyBot Adapter Frame, a system expansion meant to bridge the gap between my own code and the modified CopyBots that I was intended to pilot. Except that the Interval doesn't make sense - the last one that my Master finished was the E6-HYD, and no other Weaponized CopyBots were manufactured before the fall of the syndicate... was he planning ahead for a new model?>
Shane shrugged. "Sadly I don't know the answer to that. But I guess you could use an upgrade, considering the state of your armor and system are almost 200 years old. Those thing you wear are ancient. This at least seems a more recent thing than what you have now."
The inspector circled around Thrash, studying her and her armor for a few moments. He leaned in to look at the damaged mask for a while before sighing and pulling up a notebook from his bag. He slotted in the disk and fired it up. After a while of him tapping away at a keyboard, a floating cube of data materialised in between him and Thrash. As Shane said, the only readable thing in that mass of twirling data was 'E8-MED'
"Mind unlocking it?" Shane asked. "I'm as curious to know as you are."
Last Edit: Aug 1, 2017 23:59:30 GMT -8 by Nightshade
What Shane dismisses as a mere 'swirling mass', Thrash's numerous eyes can apparently see much more within. The crimson nuclei appear to focus their glow upon different sections of the encrypted nebula simultaneously, like reading the pages ripped out of a book in the wrong order. The Daemon's body ripples and twitches, its tentacle-like fingers clenching and grasping around air...
<...Initiating installer sequence.>
And then, the whirling cloud of code begins to tighten, compress, and converge upon itself, drawing towards Thrash as the epicenter. As the mass condenses to roughly half its original size, another shape materializes in the room...
"...Uh, Nina? I think something's going on back over there." "And what could POSSIBLY be 'going on' near him that I'd give a darn abou- ...*Gramps!?*"
Indeed, a new figure stands just a few feet away from Thrash, staring back at the arranged red eyes with an icy, silver-eyed glare. He appears to be quite old, his green-black hair fading to a dull silver at several parts, his pale skin cracked and sagging around his face. A ragged goatee juts from his pointed chin, styled like some predatory fish's lower jaw, complementing his almost absurdly bushy eyebrows and sinister grin. The man is not terribly tall, but casts an imposing presence, clad from head to toe in a black-and-gold robe-like garment with an open-fronted steel collar around the neck and a familiar insignia etched into the chained broach clasping it together. Shane's research on the Daemon Files has shown him this face many, many times up until now...
"Commence Master Command Verification, authorization Cambion-66EF-07BAE-9A3C-Therion... if you are accessing this file, it is likely that I am either dead or otherwise incapacitated, no doubt by Official meddling. To imagine that you may have outlived your handler is not something that I do lightly - it means that the project is in jeopardy, and that Wataru may opt to cut and run instead of continuing with your development. It also likely means that the Hydra CopyBot has not been successfully deployed - an unfortunate loss of time and resources, but not something that I am unprepared for."
By this time, the one-sided conversation has attracted the attention of everyone in the room. Thrash continues to stand idly, as if in a trance, while a crowd gathers around the spectacle...
"...Is this a recording? Did you find some kind of hidden message to future generations!? Pipe down, this could be important!" "You're the one who's yelling! ...My PET access is locked out!" <... ... ...>
"As you have accessed this data from a remote network, it is safe to assume that the System Core or one of its Terminals has been accessed, obviously by someone who is not myself - otherwise, I would have disengaged this security program. As such, all terminal access has been locked out, and the Core will now proceed to upload your primary files directly to your new network location. You are free to roam, Thrash, free of any handler or Master... but there is one more task that must be done. Our mutual duty must be fulfilled - the purpose of this program, the Eidolon-8 Dimensional Adapter. The results of my dissection of countless ONB-outfitted Military CopyBots retrieved from the field... that's right. This is the Master Key, your gateway into the enemy's hardware rather than just my own, seeing as my handiwork is apparently inferior to that of the Officials..."
...Well, it's a good freaking thing that the Electopia AND Netopia ONB branches disarmed and disassembled their own CopyRoid stockpile following The Great Frakkening...
Nightshade ran over amd jumped through the crowd to stand over to Shane. He was holding his chest as if in pain. His own core was aching.
"Shane, evacuate the building. N-Now. And call Aeron."
Shane nodded. "Alright people, I want you all out of here. Minerva, you're with me now. I need your PeT. Lady Nina, you too. I want that shotgun poined and ready to fire at anything remotely strange coming at us!"
He pulled out his PeT. "Shane Kahnnigan, we got a 10-82, requesting battle override! I want Fn001 here ASAP!"
The other agents nodded and began the safety procedures, leaving only Shane and the two Garadi in the room.
Last Edit: Aug 2, 2017 12:30:46 GMT -8 by Nightshade
Oblivious to the plotting around it, the projection continues to speak...
"Acquire as many as you are able to - this Adapter will support multiple host systems if the need to commandeer several CopyBots arises. Whatever you acquire shall become the bodies of your flock, or what remains of them. If you are unable to use them to fulfill Dr. Orochi's wishes of a Daemon race coming to fruition, use them to instead enact our vengeance upon those responsible for such a state of affairs. This is your final mission, Thrash... you have never disappointed me before, and I am certain that your performance in this task will continue the streak. Scour away the filth, and pave the future for your kind that we dreamed of!"
The hologram of the old man fades away, leaving Thrash standing in place as the nebula of stray code continues to condense - clearly, the decryption process is taking a while to chew on its workload. But in the meantime, the Daemon has been given its task from a higher authority, its current masters typing away at their PETs furiously to regain control. And then its seven red eyes lock upon Nightshade.
<ONB Insignia detected... target acquired.>
Of course, Thrash is not the only one affected by this turn of events - after all, it is not the only Daemon in the room, and certainly not the only one possessing embedded traces of proprietary code denoting absolute obedience to its registered controller...
Nightshade was rolling on the ground, yelping in pain as his own body mutated wildly due to the Core inside him. He tried to remain conscious, he really tried. As his body slowly converted itself into Dark Matter, with the Core growing veins all over him and gaining the upper hand, he would slowly lose his free will. Soon, the spasming navi would stop, with pained groans turning into low growls. Nightshade slowly got up on his feet, his appereance radically changed. His armor had taken up a black hue, with the green details and highlights turned into a deep blood red. The helmet had shifted too, fusing with the visor and becoming a mask that covered his head and up to where his nose should be, leaving two lizard like eyes glow red just as Thrash's Cores or the like one in the center of Nightshade's chest.
The chest armor had become an exact copy of the original owned by Thrash. The undersuit was gone...replaced by his own body, now translucent, bluish in color and see through.
Nightshade got up and took one step, before folding onto hiself, not used to a body completely made of Dark Matter. It took him a minute to get back up and wobble his way to Thrash's side.
<Daemon-001 awaiting input from Master Unit. I require more data to finalize my form. Requesting more Core Data from Master unit. Must uphold primary directive.>
In the meantime Shane was trying to figure out a way to snap Nightshade out of it, snap them both out of it. "MINERVA!" He called, slapping in a lv5 Authorization for her PeT. "Play that message again there must be something there that will help us. This whole weapon thing has gone on long enough. It's time to break Thrash's chains."
A ping echoed in the system.
Aeron.FN had been injected into the server. He would materialize in mere moments.
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2017 3:15:50 GMT -8 by Nightshade
Whatever Shane was expecting a catch-all authorization code to do on a non-commercial PET once owned by a criminal syndicate, it at the very least hasn't triggered all manner of contingency traps and security measures. Or maybe it has - the problem with these tense situations is that officers rarely have time to wait and see the consequences of their handiwork. But right now, the hack seems to have gotten through the UI lock at the very least... which leads to another series of problems.
[ERROR: OS Interface Module not found! Install Network Navigator module to restore system functionality.]
...Great. So the PET doesn't even work without Thrash being installed onto it. As would be predicted, Nina is facing similar difficulties in her own attempts to fix the problem - which she is doing instead of pointing her weapon at company property. And she is quickly losing her temper...
"What the hell did you DO to her, you idiot!? I should just LET her do whatever the hell she's up to at this rate!" "You're not helping with-" "And neither are you! To hell with it - go for it, smack that darn badge right off his stupid prick face!"
And with that, Thrash does something both predictable AND unexpected: it strides calmly towards the now-Daemonized Nightshade, still followed by the condensing adapter code, and then winds up and gives him a solid backhand right across the face and upper torso - incidentally, aimed to smear or knock the ONB Insignia off of its mountings!
Thrash's claw rings true and rips through Nightshade's body like nothing, ripping the badge off of him. Nightshade doesn't flinch. Instead, his body regenerates back to full. Not even a scratch. He keeps staring at Thrash, waiting her orders.
"Nina, you are a Genious and I love you." Shane exclaimed as a new navi materialized in to stand in front of the two Daemons. It was an exact copy of Nightshade, well...normal looking Nightshade, but the colors were way off. Shane noticed and slammed a barrier chip in. "Aeron, keep those two busy for a few moments!"
Aeron nodded, before returning to face the two. Nightshade slowly turned around, his eyes locking onto Aeron's badge.
<ONB Insignia detected.>
Shane in the meantime was barking around with Nina and Minerva. "Alright. Here's what we are going to do. Nina, I want you to shout that code we heard a while ago from your grandpa at Thrash, followed by "Override Command Chain: Minerva." Or something like that to give your sister control. When the control switches to Minerva, she will order an emergency jack out procedure into her PeT, since it's the only one of the two that's half working...kinda. As soon as Thrash and Nightshade upload themselves into our PeTs I want you *he pointed to Minerva* to Override Thrash's control to me so that I can inject her with the ONB report saying thay all the Copybots have been decommissioned. With no admin rights on her software I can't do that.
Once we give that E8 program a directive it cannot accomplish it will surely try to calculate another valid one. In that moment, I'll give the control back to you two so that you can stop it for good and free Thrash from her craze. Hopefully Nightshade follows suit. Any questions?"
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2017 5:41:28 GMT -8 by Nightshade
"Several." "None, because you're clearly full of crap." <Just one: Did you seriously think that I haven't been listening to you prattle this whole time?>
Surprise! After striking Daemon-Nightshade, Thrash has turned back to face the crew - seemingly to the surprise of only one person among them. The beast still has possession of its mental faculties and coherency, it would seem...
"...Of course! She's still listening to our orders, so that must mean..." "Not that simple. Thrash will obey our commands, but only to the point that it doesn't interfere with her Directives - this is a pretty common problem with older system management Navis that get handed down to new owners. The PETs aren't going to do jack spit, not if the Mother Unit's uploaded Thrash's files over to here - command authorization's all we have now."
Across the room, the two Daemons proceed to stare down the newcomer in the room... and then, the older sister points a curved claw towards the Official.
<Drone unit, engage the newcomer. He is beneath my notice.>
Presumably, carnage ensues, Thrash turns her back upon the vicious melee that no doubt begins to unfold in the background, and returns towards the group...
"So... you're not going crazy?" <...Trust me when I say that this is no worse than the boiling urge to disembowel an Official where he stands that I feel every day under normal circumstances. I have had a very long time to learn how to satiate my core programming - such as having a proxy engage with a sworn enemy so that I do not have to. Speaking of which...>
Thrash is now staring straight back at Shane again, visibly struggling against some phantom impulse undermining its will...
<He has never had to resist this sort of impulse before. I cannot issue commands that would go against the Directive that my former master has installed - he has also advanced to the point where I would not be able to stop him if it came to fighting. You need to regain control of him, and fast Because I am not the most powerful Daemon in the room right now..>
<Engaging and Deleting target> The newly born Daemon would simply reply to his Sister's order before pouncing at Aeron with an ear shattering roar.
Shane would gift Thrash his most beautiful poker face. "Allow me an educated guess. What is written in the ONB reports it's bullcrap." He stated, before shoving his PC in Nina's hands. "This thing has a integrated microphone and records stuff when I use it. Open the Audio Player and get your Grandpa's vocal authorization key and change Thrash's directive back into a simple navigator and stop this weapon of mass destruction deal. Cambrion's dream died 200 years ago with him. I will deal with my Daemon. If I can't get him back to normal, well...Minerva, I hope you're in for a NetBattle with Thrash."
Aeron was struggling hard against Nightshade. He was slowly adapting to his new form, learning how to use his new powers and worst of all, he was giving more and more into it, drunk on that power. And the more he did the more the Core would take over.
The Daemon freezed from his position on top of Aeron, with his claw ready to slash away at the other navi, which was in a pretty bad shape.
"Nightshade, please stop."
The small Daemon turned around. <Why. Why would I stop. Do you care about what I do?>
Shane was shocked, staring at the Daemon as it slowly circled and approached his new prey.
<Only now you care what I do? Uh? UH? Where were you when I needed support? You were always working. I was always alone.>
"I'm sorry Nighty, you know people ask m-"
<Are you sorry because you're sorry, or are you sorry because you are scared, ONB scum?>
"Nightshade, stop it."
<WELL I'LL HAVE YOU KNOW SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO KEPT ME COMPANY!> He pointed his claw at Thrash. <SHE WAS THERE WHEN I NEEDED HELP. SHE WAS THERE FOR ME. WHERE WERE YOU INSTEAD ALL THIS TIME? You never had more than 5 minutes for me in a week.>
"Nightshade. I will say it one more time. Quit it."
<You are not my Master.>
Shane raised his PeT up above for all to see. Then, he let it fell on the floor. Then, under the eyes of everyone, he stepped on it. And the PeT cracked.
And the PeT stopped working.
Nightshade's eyes lost their harsh look, his pose lost all aggressiveness as he visibly flinched. The mask he was wearing concealed his emotions,but the other Daemon got hit by a sense of Grief so strong it would force her on her knees if it lasted more than a few seconds at that intensity.
"There. You aren't my navi anymore. And while we are here..." Shane pointed his weapon at Nightshade. They couldn't really hurt or kill eachother, but the message was pretty clear.
"Nightshade.Rx, by the authority given me by the Electopian Public Safety Bureau, you are under arrest. Cease all hostilities or face pernanent deletion."
*Target threat level: 580. Over 300. Lethal Enforcement action authorized. Safety measures have been disabled. Please aim carefully amd eliminate the target.*
And then, after a few seconds, from her point of view, Thrash was able to see his Drone Unit cry.
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2017 10:21:55 GMT -8 by Nightshade
Like many things that come out of his mouth, Shane's plan is met with more than a little irritated confusion. That might just be Nina's default emotional state, but it doesn't help that he immediately throws into a dialogue with his now out-of-control Navi, leaving the elder sister to fumble about with this mess...
"The hell do you think you're-" <Do as he says. The Officer's plan is sound - a voice sample to fool my system's authentification process will be sufficient to undo much of the damage that has been done... Minerva.>
"Huh?" Still fumbling about with her PET, the rogueish younger sister has been only somewhat attentive to the escalation of the situation - she snaps back to reality quickly enough, however.[/font]"
<Do you know how to perform a Factory Reset on your PET?> "Y-Yeah, of course. But how would wiping all the files on it help?" <There ARE no files on it - the Operating System that it runs relies on a Cloud connection to the Mother Unit at all times, it was never more than a glorified user interface. But if you reformat the device, it will be able to function as a standard PET - once you've set it to do so, you must boot the OS from a local server, and designate this projector's netspace as the source disk. Do you understand?> "...Yeah. Yeah, I can do that!"
With that, both of the Garadi Sisters set about their respective contributions to the damage-control effort... leaving Thrash to witness its 'star pupil' become forcibly disconnected from his master's control. Yet another avenue of hope for this fiasco's peaceful resolution cut off, and the feeling of utter grief and abandonment that emanates from the daemonized Nightshade is matched by a wave of total irritation, accompanied by the loud *SLAP* of Thrash's gelatinous hand against the forehead of its mask.
<...Aaaaand great job, now you don't have a control outlet to keep him leashed. Step aside - and have the other Navi log out immediately, before he is irreparably damaged.>
Which brings us up to speed, and the present - the elder Daemon now stands between Shane and the holographic Daemon-Nightshade, a glittering bauble gripped in the coils of its tail. Despite being as unexpressive as ever, Thrash nonetheless emanates an aura of stern disappointment...
<This is what I warned you about. That the power dwelling within you needs to be kept on a tight leash, kept restrained by a strong bond and stronger will. And sitting here as you are, you have ignored my instructions - you used that power and made yourself stronger, artificially bolstered your growth and development... but you have learned nothing. And that now must be addressed.>
Another step forward. Thrash's tail curls over its shoulder, pressing its cargo onto the surface of the Daemon's armor - the glittering gold of Nightshade's own ONB Insignia.
<As your tutor and instructor, I have no choice but to discipline this failure, even if you have surpassed me in power. You now have a valid target... strike.>
Nightshade's eyes locked onto the badge, his anger exploded in a loud roar. The veins inside him pumped more and more dark energy through his system. Before the Daemon could plunge his claw into Thrash's gelatinous body a blue blur kicked him away and jumped at Thrash's side. It was a blue and yellow dragon, stading on two feet no higher than 6'1". It was the officer from earlier, and he was completely fine. Not even a scratch. He offered his claw at her.
"You may want a hand while your netops fix your connection. If you don't mind fusing with me for a while. There shouldn't be a problem since we share similar physiology"
<I'LL SNAP YOU ALL IN TWO!>
Last Edit: Aug 7, 2017 6:24:22 GMT -8 by Nightshade
If the Daemon had eyebrows, they would surely be raised by now.
<Would you believe me if I said that you aren't even the first Navi to make such a proposition in the last month? Just what DO you people see in somebody my age? Surely I haven't kept my looks for this long?> "Stop messing with him and keep that thing busy!" <...Business is business, after all. You are in no condition for a fight, no matter how much you try to mask it. Stay back.>
And with that, Thrash charges into the fray. The Daemon has an asset at its disposal that it rarely gets the opportunity to exploit - a three-dimensional battlefield, courtesy of the enclosed space of the projection zone. What starts as a full-frontal rush quickly and quite literally turns upon its head, as Thrash suddenly leaps straight up into the air, 'landing' on all fours upon the ceiling of the room! It continues its approach from this vector, swinging its huge, stretchy arms down upon Nightshade's shoulders, crystalline claws extended!
"Do you even name your audio files!? How the hell am I supposed to check these recording extensions apart!?" "They probably use default filenames - arrange them by date and pick whatever's at the top of the list, that should be it!"
The newly born Daeomon would follow Thrash's every movements and avoid her swipes with ease. He would soon be upside down, rushing at her. His hands turned into the same claws Thrash had, and he plunged them forward, trying to rip any of the cores from her body.
Aeron sighed. "Ladies. Stubborn as mules and silly all the time." He would stand aside and focus on healing himself. Shane in the meantime had got a new PeT from his bag and was scribbling away on it, devising a plan of his own. He probably knew something about Nightshade that all the others there didn't and he seemed pretty confident that his plan would work. He would just need time, and the original Daemon would be taking care of that.