As agreed, NapalmMan appears in a pillar of fire on the outskirts of the Arbor Woods. The cold had never agreed with him to a great degree, making this a rather... unpleasant... meeting place. In a matter of moments all that he can recall is the Element City tournament so many years ago when Suki had frozen him solid.
However, this less than wonderful memory fades as the Storming Bomber regains his wits, giving the area a quick once-over to make sure that nothing lies in wait for him. Being taken down by a sucker-punch once was enough for one lifetime...
When he looked around he wouldn't see much in the immediate area, save Magnolia who was idly messing around in the snow with her right hand for a bit. Though further off in the distance he could make out several different things. Reaverbots from the time that Juno had arrived, some sort of other machine-like creatures... Mechaniloids? And some other small creatures, though calling them small wasn't quite accurate as they were at least the size of a navi as well. They weren't Reaverbots for certain. They were black and resembled some kind of bug instead, shuffling along the ground through the snow to whatever they were up.
"They just scurry around off and on. Out of sight and out of mind typically. Except since things are heating up they might crop up here and there during the daylight hours."
...the first thought to enter NapalmMan's mind is "kill 'em". A burning desire in his heart tells him that they need to be eradicated, that they are more than they seem....
....but right now, business was more important. Magnolia seemed uninterested in their machinations, so for now they would go ignored.
NapalmMan: What are we here to speak about exactly?
....right to the point. This was in part due to his nature, in part due to the strange beings in the area.... and in part due to the extreme cold that even now leaves him cursing his agreement to meet here.
She stopped her idle play then, having just made some lines in the snow. There wasn't even any rhyme or reason to them as some were bigger than others and the symmetry was all off. What they were there to speak about exactly... well she couldn't just come out and say that she wanted to speak for personal reasons. While it was true and it was also true that the others could speak with him, hers was a bit more personal for certain. So she would start with the actual business first and foremost, standing up and looking up to him.
"Let's start with the world as it is now. Because I imagine no one's given you a real run down yet. After that whole civil war mess that everyone had, it led up to MegaMan Juno. It wasn't very eventful and practically nothing went as he planned it to."
She sounded a tad wistful at that, but dropped it not too long after to explain a bit further. Even though nothing went as planned and it was uneventful, it didn't explain why he happened. Nor the discrepancies that took place during it thanks to various forces at play messing around all at the same time. It could happen.
"His goal was to make a glided cage because of doomsday hanging overhead. Take a chosen few to paradise and let the rest burn? That sort of salvation thing. Paradise is built upon corpses, true, but should also be done with an even hand. How I feel about the whole thing. Anyway, his base, part of Netopia that he uprooted, crashed and he vanished along with his army. The end of the prologue of present day times."
When disaster happened all the time it was easy for folks to brush it off or overreact to everything. Humans would overreact, navis would brush it off. That was about the way the pendulum swung every time.
"The interlude takes us to six months after that fiasco. Humans said navis had too much power, navis wanted more freedom since they clean up their own problems, and some just wanted to work together. This divide grew vast enough to influence Electopia, Netopia, and Creamland. And with that came the ONB's next attempt to do good, the NIA's subtle tyranny, and the Knights that I have still waving the banner of independence. Cutting off connections and refusing to communicate with each other. And setting themselves up for failure."
Divide and conquer was one of the oldest tactics in the book, but it was all too easy when your adversaries advocated it for you. They set themselves up far too well for this, so there was no better time to strike than now. They had been preparing for years and simply hadn't found the chance to act. But after so many setups and setbacks from all sides and the decisions that were being made internally... there were just the right number of people to profit that getting them on their side or out of the way came easy. So now they were here.
"That brings us to our actions. Our opening act is pretty much finished now, but the why and how can't be told just yet. That's a big reveal for later and sadly not for me to say on just my own. But I can explain Netopia to you. When you got there it was in lockdown, our fault and why you couldn't leave right away. I cut through the lockdown after a delay so our bait could spring free since they were trapped too. The lockdown was to prevent others from spreading it, and as they expected, that was the case. But it wasn't one we could just let everyone spread. That was too simple and easy to shift the blame. We picked one vulnerable little catalyst instead. They then made Netopia's problem a global one and also sowed the seeds of doubt for us thanks to his position. Also happened upon Gate and his one base with you while we were at it as a bonus."
And that was the update for the present, including part of their plans there. They hadn't expected Gate to show up that soon, but they were expecting him. It was good to have met him early rather than later, as that sped things up. He was someone they would have to pay a visit to, again at that, pretty soon. And the only reason they hadn't yet was because they had to settle things leading up to it first, namely Element City. And that would be wrapping up as they spoke. She figured she'd get that whole bit out first rather than not. Sharo had been explained already, and Gigamerica... well, that was for later as well. They had to pay someone a visit there. But before that, they had their fourth target to gather up. This one at least should already be ready for them too.
"Which does take us to our next move. We have a target and though we expect success, it doesn't hurt to be cautious. And he's still after you anyway it appears. But before that, any other questions?"
NapalmMan listens with care to Magnolia's explanation, watching her actions all along. In this moment he forgets the cold due to how wrapped up he becomes in analyzing the situation and Navi before him. Much could be said, much was left unsaid. However, this could also be said of both sides...
NapalmMan: First off; you can cut the act. Regardless of your intentions and endgame, you are not a benevolent force here to re-balance or save the world, you're an invading force here to topple the way that things are now and make them the way that you believe that should be, regardless of what that may be.
NapalmMan pauses for a moment, looking Magnolia through the eyes as he does so.
NapalmMan: ...and, as I'm sure you know by the dossier that your group has on me, I don't really care. One thing that Navis never understood about me was my shifting from side to side so often. Some would see me as a great hero, others an anti-hero, others an outright villain. When it comes right down to it, all that I'm trying to do is strike balance. I don't care who I'm fighting with or for, just so long as I can find that balance. That's why I revived the name of the WWW; I was telling everyone that, at times, things that have been bad in the past can be for the greater good now. Just like Wily himself.
Enough with the back-story and motives, NapalmMan re-collects himself and refocuses his thoughts before continuing.
NapalmMan: And something else that your dossier should tell you; I'm not some ultimate Navi design of perfect war machine. I'm an old WWW guard-dog from the Gospel era who later worked with a fireworks maker. Yes, I have a reputation, but at my core I'm not that special. I know it, and I have no qualms with saying it. So let me ask; why is an organization capable of producing defenses as strong as your barrier and Navis as strong as your friend that I met back in the WWW lab willing to have this nice, expositional conversation with me?
NapalmMan awaits a response from Magnolia, still feeling the doubt in this situation laying before him. What type of plan could they possibly have that they'd willingly have a conversation with a now has-been war commander? ....and then one more thought comes to mind.
NapalmMan: ...oh, and I'm not fishing for compliments by asking that. I really don't care if you say that I'm an old wreck of a Navi and you're planning on killing me after you've gotten what you need; which I do suspect, by the way.
She was listening to him, waving her hand sideways especially when he mentioned them being an invading force. It was around here where someone would typically make up excuses to explain why their cause was ultimately just and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. But...
"Oh, no way am I benevolent. Nice sure, but benevolent not at all. We're here to bring change and no one's done that with just benevolence. No matter the cause, force among other things has been the equalizer. So some of the others might call it salvation or something, but I wouldn't. So even if you don't care, we're pretty agreed on that front."
She did nothing of the sort. She was down to earth on what it was that they were doing and accepted what that was without a problem. They could preach that they were good guys when they won sure, but the fact of it was that they were definitely an invading force right now. So it didn't change how she was because she was an invading force, it just meant that she was going to be taking a lot of lives be they directly or indirectly. That was pretty much what they had to do, so it would be done.
"Good can be bad, and bad can be good. You did plenty as a force of balance without being special. Even some among our own ranks were plain janes before we got into the swing of things. So no, we won't kill you after. Though it's not like my word promises anything unless you trust in it."
She knew actions spoke louder still and words were what could be used to assauge doubts. But not all doubts could be put out. Some clung to you and stuck around, which made sense given all of them as a whole. Any person would be in their rights to doubt her rather than believe her. But she would worry about the doubts and beliefs after, he had asked another question after all. So answering that question was next up.
"As for why we're having this talk, I'll agree that you're old and not special, but I'll admit that you're knowledgeable and experienced, two other equalizers. There are things that would benefit from having you around rather than pretending you aren't good because we have very good advantages. Banding together is better than not and our enemies can do it too."
Underestimating your enemy was one of the surest ways to lose. Sure, they still did off and on, but they could hammer down some of the nails that were causing them to do so as well. And that was something that NapalmMan could do. Operation control was another thing they could need if he wasn't keen on being directly on the front-lines, but that would be his call. Forcing him just led to him pulling away rather than sticking around instead.
"And as a personal goal, there's a match that I want to have. A guy that I want to have an even fight with. I don't think he can take me in a one on one, but that's fine if he brings a crew with him. I just want to be able to beat him myself. He's not some rank amateur, plus he'll be against us either way so we'll have to face him. It's a matter of fate at this point."
This was when her cheery tone took a slight shift. It was still cheery, but there was excitement in it. She had a desire to truly face that person in battle. It would be disappointing if one of the others executed him. She didn't mind if he brought others to make it a fair fight or if he came at her on his own. But she wanted to fight him. She knew that validation was pointless, but it was a badge that she wanted to earn rather than be told. Being told that you were the best without any proof... that was just gloating. And she was more than just hot air, something she'd show.
"So I want to bring my best to honor his best. And to stick to Gate one or two more times for which he'll be pretty upset I hope."
NapalmMan: There is more than one way to be killed...
NapalmMan interjects a continuation to his previous point after Magnolia's promise
NapalmMan: ...speak with Epsilon if you have any question of that.
The former darkloid king that had threatened the world decades ago, destroyed and reset to a new Navi form. At this statement NapalmMan can't help but wonder what ever happened to that kid...
No matter for now. After interjecting his thought on that fairly important matter, NapalmMan allows Magnolia to continue, not speaking again until she finishes.
NapalmMan: I see. Obvious fronts and untrusting talks aside, I will say that I respect your up-front attitude.
Despite the fact that she was obviously hiding at leasy 70% of the picture, the matters of motivation and reasoning were largely transparent. Magnolia had laid enough cards onto the table at this point that NapalmMan was willing to release his grip on the situation to at least some degree.
NapalmMan: ...fine. You mentioned this Xanadu place. If the offer remains, maybe we'd be better off speaking there now.
It was true; if Magnolia had wanted to do so, she could have easily forced her hand on matters. Instead, she came across as largely respectful towards the situation and had earned at least this much trust. And besides; her last bit of information stuck a mutual chord, and that topic was best kept away from potential prying eyes.
She visibly flinched a bit at that name drop. Oh man, Epsilon? That was a name that folks didn't even speak of much to this day, if at all. But it did serve as an example for him being right on the matter: there certainly was other ways to kill an individual. So much so calling him a memory wasn't even enough to do justice for it. She nodded her head in agreement, the reason why she wanted to do the discussion there anyway. Even if they felt like they had their own prying eyes everywhere to spot anyone acting up, that didn't mean they had to just lower their guard and let slip potential things that could undermine them. She was glad that he was understanding of things thanks to her being up-front where others would try to be discreet and as a result, drop the ball. Trust, much like respect, were things that were earned.
"Then it's settled! The decor is pretty bland despite the grandiose name, so I'm letting you know now before you're a bit disappointed in it."
As before, it had opened up for them to go through. In Sharo, NapalmMan could feel a rather immense shift hit it too. It was though time was moving faster or something, a feeling that was intensifying by the second greatly and rapidly. Something was happening here, and something was building up at a pace hundreds of times faster than it was before. And it was just in time too... they would have a nice treat for the ones who would make their way here. But to be fair, no one 'should' be present when that went down save one. But in case they were wrong they were prepared for that.
Wackoguy: Hello there, Rego.
Mar 17, 2020 14:38:15 GMT -8