Psyche leans back in his chair again and looks to the ceiling above, releasing a sigh as he does so.
Psyche: The OEL... as you may remember, I was originally designed as an OEL research Navi in Gigamerica. In fact, Gate as well at that time. We were working together on project Eon, when I discovered the potential issues that our plans could bring. I submitted my warnings, but was told to continue my work. For the next five years I constantly voiced my apprehension about the project, but was ignored. We went through 3 Navis and were about to begin the 4th when I stole quite a bit of data from the servers and left. They've been searching for me ever since, and I believe that they may have an assassin on-hand even today for such a job... and I shutter to consider which inhuman project they may be using for it.
Psyche returns his eyes to Rosso before he continues.
Psyche: I have no proof that they're still searching for me in their current, more "family friendly" incarnations, but they are my main reason for going into hiding.
He remembered that Psyche and Gate's relationship began in the OEL as researchers. From his point of view it would be something Gate would pursue and Psyche would resist should he notice the issues. And considering what he knew about Gate's bodyguard, it was pretty accurate still. And their decision to ignore Psyche was their undoing at the time. Of course that didn't change that they were fairly upset with his theft at the time.
"Although they've been quiet, their silence speaks for itself. If you've spurned them, better to stay out of sight. They're still around for a reason."
Often times the reason behind one's silence in the grand scheme was because what happened didn't concern them. It was of no consequence to them. That was when inaction was taken if it wasn't because they could do nothing at all. To him, that meant the OEL was speaking rather loudly quite often. And the "family friendly" show that they put on was no doubt just another way of fitting in after their mistakes of the past. The past had its way of catching up to you in one way or another, whether one liked it or not.
"Next was at least two branches of WWW and Gate. Though I was under the assumption that they were only divided in two, it sounds like there's a much bigger picture there."
Psyche's demeanor and actions don't change much as Rosso asks about the next item on his list, simply flowing into it naturally.
Psyche: And, for all intents and purposes, you would be correct. We have two distinct branches of the WWW; one led by NapalmMan, which has apparently dissolved for the time being, and one led by Gate that you obviously want to have follow suit. However, I also believe that there is a 3rd branch at work in the shadows, and I believe that I have proof.
Psyche raises a hand to show that he's not attempting any tricks and turns to his console, bringing up a file that shows a picture of High-Max on it.
Psyche: A moment ago I said that we had just gone through 3 Navis under the Eon project when I left? Meet number 3. High-Max as he's called now was our attempt at focusing purely on the power of Eon's program, but he lacked the control over that power to actually break open the portal that we desired. One could say that this is simply Gate reviving him, but I'm not entirely convinced of that... mainly because attempt number 3 was outsourced to the Electopian branch and worked on by a professor also involved in projects such as Silence, Dissonance, and Requiem. This was also the point where projects Eclipse, Triad, and Resonance were re-tooled as retainers. In fact, that was the reason that I stole the data; to know who this other professor was. Sadly, the data was too deeply hidden and I never found it, but I still have my suspicions all things considered.
NapalmMan's branch being dissolved would make sense. From what he got of it they didn't work well with the others, but could do it somewhat. Not knowing about them after this long... whoever was in charge of it was really good at this. Because after all this time and the measures taken, they were still an unknown. And that somewhat bothered him. And the description they got for High-Max fit the bill all too well given he was the third of the projects that had failed to accomplish the main objective. And if this professor managed to create High-Max, it meant that they were on the same level of pedigree or more than the other two. And from his experience, the ones in the shadows were the ones working on something else all the while.
"Gate's movements in the past are few and far between, but High-Max wasn't with him very often. I assumed it was because he was confident he didn't need him, but if High-Max has the level of force that we've attributed to him, your theory becomes much more sound that someone else is behind him."
It was clear in his eyes and his voice of his interest in this matter thanks to how much wasn't known on the subject. He thought it was odd that the specifications of High-Max were so high. It was one thing to have them be that way because of loyalty, but even in the case of loyalty many would consider what if it went poorly. That would mean something else entirely if someone else was the one pulling the reins and simply relying on Gate's personality for the rest as they had.
"I would like to further explore this topic like the remaining projects, the portal you mentioned, the data you obtained, and your suspicions. But we can return to that in a moment. What about the jester?"
Psyche's expression grows a bit darker. At this point he lowers his head for a moment before raising his hand again.
Psyche: Now that the pretext for our talk has all but been laid to rest, one moment.
Psyche then reaches over and types something into his console for a moment. A few seconds later, Nightshade's form turns into a beam of light and disappears.
<Nightshade, Forced Logout>
With this done and now alone with Rosso, Psyche sits in the chair at his desk and slides it a bit closer to the cataclysmic Navi before he continues.
Psyche: ...two points of data are coincidence, three are a correlation, so you'll likely discern a pattern here. I'm sure that you recall your old friend Caliga. After his encounter with Genesis, Embera, and...
Payche pauses for a moment, sighing as he does so.
Psyche: ....yourself, I began researching his rather odd nature, being a Navi created of a glitched program. Needless to say, I didn't find out much as I had no direct contact with the beast and no way to analyze him. However, over the years it's been almost as if I've felt his presence. I cannot shake the feeling that he's been searching for me.. that he wants something from me. But, at the same time, he can't actually find me.
Psyche pauses again, thinking about the situation a bit before he continues.
Psyche: Once again, I have suspicion rather than proof. It's strange, though; as of late I haven't felt his presence in the back of my mind. Perhaps it's just the worries of a senile old scientist, but I cannot help but feel that he's lost interest in finding me.
Last Edit: Sept 27, 2018 18:16:24 GMT -8 by Raven8
Lost interest? As of late... Had Caliga found what he would have wanted Psyche for already? Or was the jester ahead of some of the rest already? The Black Diamond... having suspicions were fine here. Better to be safe than sorry because one decided to throw caution to the wind. This had been informative for both of them, and yet he closed his eyes for but a moment. It was about time then.
"In that case--..."
There was a pause instead, Rosso opening his eyes. And it was faint, much like it had been times before. Psyche would notice it then too. There was a presence, however faint it was, that flickered then from Rosso himself. It had been some time since it had happened, having all but disappeared for quite some time now. But it was clear that it was distracting to him. And it was here that when Rosso spoke, his words were likely all but unexpected now.
"...Doctor. You mentioned before that at this point, I've taken your sovereign choice away from you. But there is one thing left I want to ask. There are three roads left for you now rather than the two you said earlier."
He looked over to where Nightshade used to be before he was ejected, then back to the Doctor. And from here, he spoke again. Because all three options had already been put on the table over the course of their discussion. But as far as anyone else would know now, there was only one way this whole situation played out.
"You can move and contact no one until this is settled. We won't pursue you if you offer us no reason to. Or we can fight this out as was originally apparent... Or you can come with me, with us."
Psyche holds his gaze squarely with Rosso as he speaks, betraying no emotion or expression on his nearly gasmask-like face. He does, however, raise his hand to his chin for a moment in thought before he issues his response
Psyche: My, an unexpectedly magnanimous... and familiar offer.
Psyche sits back in his chair for a moment, considering the roads now suddenly set before him.
Psyche: I won't hide the fact that surviving our encounter would be my preferred outcome. But not for reasons of cowardice or self-preservation; goodness no. For myself, I don't have much care as to what happens next. I simply wish to continue my life's work. However, this desire alone does not govern my choice. What does will be two questions of my own...
Psyche's eyes shift back to Rosso as he leans forward again.
Psyche: If you'd be willing to entertain them, that I'd make a more well informed decision, that is.
It only made sense that he wanted to make a more informed decision instead of just going along with it. Making uninformed decisions were often part of the crux of things going sour in the future. But he still couldn't help but scoff for but a moment, a lighthearted one at that.
"I've been willing to entertain you thus far, so I'm fine with doing so a while yet."
Two questions, was it? Psyche was never a coward, clearly so given how his entrance went. But he would save a question that piqued his interest now for later as well, if he would be allowed to ask it that is.
Psyche nods and sits back again, looking upwards as he collects his thoughts for this. Much had to be condensed, and much had to be said...
Psyche: You know that I am largely neutral, but I will not abide by the tyrannical or the unfair. This creates one issue with my accepting your offers; I don't know what your group's plan is, and I would sacrifice myself gladly if it even gave an iota of victory should it be what so many fear right now. However, I'm not going to ask you what you're planning. That would be far too brazen and simple for a discussion such as this. Rather, I wish to probe a bit deeper. You've shown me that the Navi that I once knew is still there, and I am still willing to trust his word, because he's never given me any reason not to. So my first question is not what you're doing, but what your intentions are. Do you genuinely believe that your current crusade will bring about a better and free future for the net, not at the expense of any Navi, program, or human, and not by installing a new long-term rule of your own society?
Psyche then raises a finger as to say "just a moment", signaling that he's not ready for Zane to respond yet.
Psyche: But before you answer that, tell me this;
Psyche leans in again, this time looking Rosso dead in the eyes with a cold, calculating stare. His yellow and black, lens-like eyes flash as he looks as deeply as he can into the very heart and soul of the destructive Navi before him.
Psyche: Which among the two of you is actually extending this offer to me?
He understood too well that they fought together because they had opposed that all too fiercely. The world at large was taking the wrong approach, and they stood against it. Probing deeper, to ask not what they were doing, but their intentions instead. But before he could answer that, Psyche posed what could be an even deeper question than that. Rosso didn't flinch or look away, meeting that gaze with his own. The fiery eyes that were backed by the soul of this destructive menace to the world's society now. He wouldn't look away, because he had no intentions of lying at this stage.
"Nero is. He's the one you all are more familiar with. I'm quite unlikely him in many ways."
The truth of the matter at hand. That Psyche had gleaned upon. That Rosso had hinted at himself today as well. He was set apart from Zane. His actions differed from Zane's. Because he himself... still was not Zane. It wouldn't be accurate to call him as such properly.
"Going into further detail now would be a bit long-winded, but the short of it now is that Zane is here, but is not here. Does that suffice to answer the question?"
He nodded in return to his response. The answer could only lend to more questions, honesty. As for the second question, he once more kept focus on Psyche.
"I have absolutely no doubts about this crusade. From my point of view, it's the only option left for a better and free future. I can't guarantee that it will be at the expense of absolutely no one, but this fight has never been about domination."
Their fight wasn't about setting up a new regime for society in another form of tyranny. But if their intention wasn't about taking over society as a whole and was something that he would fight for, it still would leave the question of what they were doing with this approach.
Psyche nods ad pauses for a moment, allowing his gaze to break with Rosso's and trail off. He's gotten his answer, but...
Psyche: I see.
Psyche pauses again and turns his chair away from Rosso, looking up at the large display on the wall behind him. Not so much looking for any data or information, but rather giving himself a chance to re-focus his thoughts before he turns his chair back to the side and raises a hand in a questioning gesture.
Psyche: Forgive my ignorance, but I am not familiar with a "Nero", beyond the abomination that Arancione once kept at his side. And given that blob's lack of thought, I highly doubt that you're referring to... it.
Psyche finishes the revolution that he'd made with his chair, having obviously worked through his own thoughts a bit more.
Psyche: I loathe idioms along these lines, but "you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs", as they say. As I mentioned before; my issue has been with the way that your group robs Navis of choice, but you've displayed yourself willing to change that, which I can respect.
Psyche lets loose a slight sigh, rubbing his temples for a moment as he does so.
Psyche: Now, despite my self-imposed "two question" limitation, let me ask this: how do I know that Zane, the Navi that I actually know, is truly behind this endorsement? You said it yourself; his role in your plans is complicated, and with all due respect, how do I know that you're not simply holding up his name and likeness as a puppet to sing the praises of your actions?
Rosso stayed silent until Psyche had said his piece. He would call him out on going beyond the two questions, but if he felt it necessary it was because he either desired more information or felt more alarmed by the revelation that this was deeper than he first anticipated with his friend.
"I won't deny that it's unlike that idiom itself. But I'm not an optimist. I can't say 'Everyone will be fine' without inherently believing that I'm lying from the onset. There's no way for a crusade to be without casualties. So I promise my best but prepare for the worst."
Casualties could happen on either side. Being realistic, the moment they took this approach marked that as an inevitability. But it was fair of the doctor to loathe it all the same. Simply because something had to happen didn't mean that it was something that had to be liked or wanted. He wouldn't lie and say that he was doing this for everyone else while destroying them like he would. There was a brief flash of malevolence in his eyes, but it wasn't directed at Psyche. He was clearly thinking of something else then, but it left shortly after. He had better things to do than think about him right now.
"But no, not that Nero. Though both are rather ancient, there's more than one that have the name. 'Zane' was simply one of his names. His more commonly used one. But I don't have any proof to show that he endorses it or that my likeness to him is just to play on the world's emotions of him being a good person before all of this. Not on hand, that is."
He called something else out instead, an old emblem of some kind. But Psyche had enough of a background check on Zane to know what it was at least. It was something he had before he joined the Revolution, back when he resided in Sharo. Where his first 'home' was.
"If you use this, it will grant you access to an old fortress isolated in Sharo. It's one of the few ways to still gain access to their network as is for most. You can find his documents there. He left them for the rest of you to find as is, so we honored his decision. You'll be able to tell if we doctored the footage to try and trick you. And if you think it's a trap, you can take those you trust with you whenever you decide to see his decision. He'll show himself before all of you to tell his tale in person either way, so if you'd like to wait to make your decision, that's fine as well."
...Psyche's demeanor was slightly more cautious at this point. The looming threat of death and the potential destruction that this Navi would bring to the world hadn't phased him in the least from the beginning, but this sudden show of actual trust and good-faith? This was definitely more disconcerting.
Psyche looks down at the emblem for a moment, thinking it over as he examines the artifact.
Psyche: ...this certainly is a magnanimous offer.
Psyche then looks back up to Rosso, slightly less trusting than before.
Psyche: ...but it leads me to wonder; what exactly is the catch, hmm?