The Net wrinkled and fizzled, a pixelated, boxy opening appearing in the air at what was made Ground Zero during New Life's invasion. Joker stepped out of the rend in reality, looking around at the massive desolation. The entire city was a wreck, the ground rent and marred by explosions, the air suffused with the smell of ash and smoke. It was leveled, but it was not because of him.
Joker looked around until he found the large circle he had been searching for. The center point of the massive destruction, caving in at the deepest point. It was very easy to discern from the rest of the wreckage, as all of the devastation radiated out from it.
He walked towards that point, noting the pair of feet planted into the ground. He saw the distance between them, but also felt the consequences of the actions made here more than he could see them. The air was dense with massive amounts of noise generated here, the signs that a massive struggle took place. The raw amount of bugged data suggested that a number of data signatures winked out in a small period of time, their integrity ripped to pieces by far too much power. When more energy is released than necessary to accomplish a task, or when energy is used inefficiently, the leftover code degrades rapidly and creates bugged data, which, when collected in large quantities, condenses into noise. The entirety of the air around him was dense with the data, lingering around, just barely out of the range necessary to group up and crystallize.
Something else was wrong here, too, however. The air was not only thick with the residual corrupted code left behind by their destruction, but the very space on all sides of him shimmered. A massive distortion in the net's Space-Time occurred here. He could feel that, as he had now fought two navis that could command the powers of space, and had also trained a Navi that could control time. The world shimmered where he stood, and he knew why.
He realized quickly that Genesis and Gravity Beetle held a level of power over him that not many others would be able to declare. They, too, were focused upon generating the massive amounts of energy and decimating their foes at all costs, but could raise that energy much quicker, with far more efficiency. He had no desire to go against them at his weakened state; not again. If they could discover the powers of the theoretical elements, then, he could, too. Whenever he recorded the happenings of the entire network, he logged all of the individuals logged into its space, and kept his own eye out for additional members moving in. He had detected when both Resonance and Genesis entered the network, and noted the similarities within their code to the forces he was dealing with against Gravity Beetle.
Put plainly, it was power. Within this world, that meant something could code to give that to them, and even if his creators from the Animus Syndicate lacked that power, Resonance and Genesis seemed to possess it. He doubted Genesis' willingness to obtain the power from the OEL, like he had forced his associate to do when modifying K-358; no, he needed something more direct, less controlled, and, ultimately, purer.
He knew for a fact what occurred right here. With his unique connection to the satellite, the large quantities of bugged data, and his constant access of log after log of archived data to influence his own combat prowess, Joker could practically rebuild the entire scenario, watching as Resonance sequestered a massive amount of energy within his being, watching the ages move forward and the very space warp around his person. No matter the power the Gravity Beetle and Genesis may have held, this little Navi - seemingly insignificant - held the power in its most raw form, unrequited and entirely unlimited.
Joker needed to up his own arsenal if his new employers planned on utilizing him. The longer he remained of use, the longer he could remain alive, and the longer he did that, the easier time he would have figuring out how to overpower them and protect his satellite. He knew the power Genesis and the Gravity Beetle wielded, and knew of a way that he could potentially access it, directly from the source.
He reached forward, his hand coiling with crimson data as he probed the air in front of him. Feeling the air around him quiver in anticipation, Joker forced his data into the very environment, his vision falling away into the grid, and rent his hand into the massive pocket of leftover data. What Resonance and his group had gone through here was traumatic, and the quantities of bugged data had yet to disperse in any meaningful way for his satellite to have collected it. He would be sure to make it his first order of business to liquidate all of this raw data - but, first, he would do what he could to connect himself back to the data that was lost here, push himself into its archival memory, and see what secrets Resonance left behind for him to tap into.
The air before his hand fizzled as he reached into it, his hand disappearing into the space. Rolling his hand around, he progressively increased the size of the hole, being far more gentle than he normally would be when creating these sorts of gateways. He had no desire to sunder the Net before him; he needed to channel and carefully connect the data he was using with the data he was searching for. Each of the connections he made were minuscule backdoors from archival memories of network pathways stored within his satellite. This information was not stored within his satellite, and if it were, it would fizzle away, potentially lost forever due to the dense pockets of noise around him. For once, this job required his more patient, careful and far more attentive abilities.
Joker would find an extremely odd sensation as he tunneled into the depths of the network... the first was something watching from afar; a presence of malevolent and bug-riddled nature similar to himself, yet inherently different. However, this only lasts for a second. The second comes with another presence. This one was strangely dark in nature, yet also far more refined and withdrawn. It feels as though this presence gently guides his hand until at last he can feel something.
In Joker's hand now is a set of small, shattered black shards. On scan they show up as nothing more than background data, no different from the ground beneath his feet. They are semi-transparent like obsidian, and appear to be nothing more than trash.
Joker first noted the strange presences he felt in the net around him, tempted to press the limits of his senses to see what else might be out there. For the time being, however, they kept their distance and observed him. He had no desire to put his attention elsewhere, and kept himself busy where he was. Should they make themselves a problem, he figured he would have to deal with it.
Joker felt the secondary presence, however, shadowing over his hand, guiding him. He growled, trying to push against it, but, figured he was already reaching blindly into a hole in the net. Closing his hands around the black shards, he coated them into a stream of crimson, and gently focused on pulling them out of the hole. With one hand still in the space between networks, Joker scanned the bits of obsidian in his other. To the untrained eye, they were potentially garbage, but, Joker felt like his records had seen something of this nature before.
They were little pieces of shattered obsidian. He tried to flood them with crimson data to begin maneuvering the pieces back together, seeing if the bits and pieces could be arranged into a whole, all the while stressing the gateway he was creating. The ability of crimson data to adapt into almost any conceivable way would allow it to mold itself into the data that could have been missing, little bits of crimson molding into obsidian shards to plug in the holes.
He needed something to focus on Resonance's code. He tried to focus on the power he detected from the Gravity Beetle and Genesis, and what that power felt like, to guide his hand, rather than whatever strange presences were here to let him discover something else. If he wasn't careful, he would uncover something that was surely not meant to be found.
Instantly, Joker would realize that he was right; the fragments in his hands are indeed more than they seem. The crimson reacts with the shards, but they react back violently, spreading a black and silver energy that effortlessly begins to engulf the crimson and disable it. The reaction then begins to reach towards Joker himself, and grows more violent and powerful the longer that he attempts to interact with it.
Joker was so focused in the void he barely noticed until the first licks of the violent energy spread from the shards and onto his hand, causing him to wince. Looking down, Joker saw the energy pervading from them, and saw that it was eating through the cloud of crimson he usually had over his body.
Intrigued, Joker stopped flooding the pieces with crimson and instead tried putting them back together the normal way, maneuvering his thumb to shift the pieces in his hand to see if they fit together like a puzzle. Regardless of the danger his senses told him he was in, if this energy was capable of absorbing his crimson, it could be connected to whatever force they were using to eat up the energy within his satellite.
All the while, his other hand searched, trying to find something to grab hold of to root him to his goal.
As per his expectations, the power rising from the shards falls back and disappears after a few moments of being left alone. They returned to being little more than background data, and didn't do anything as he tried to piece everything back together.
While Joker is focused on the pieces in his hand, he wouldn't notice as a large hammer emerges behind his head from the void that he even now reaches into and proceeds to rear ba-
....Joker was beaned cleanly on the back of the head by the hammer. Not enough to do real damage, but enough to get him to recoil a bit from the start. Inside of the portal, a rather disgruntled face adorned by jagged, green crystals glares out at him.
Vytrex: No rummaging through the official trash bin without a data mining license, goliath.
Vytrex then closes the open portal as if zipping up a coat.
In truth, Joker would sense nothing else in the portal. Whatever the presence had been guiding him to was obviously found in these tiny, black shards.
Busy as he was, he truly didn't notice the sudden movement from the portal, but does notice the intrusion of something within his aura. Glancing up, Joker glared at the cyrstalline navi, the force of his crimson cloud causing the hammer to dematerialize, reducing it to pixels within its presence, before reforming as it retracted.
Meeting eyes with the Navi, Joker reared back a fist, only for it to suddenly scold him and close up the void. Holding his fist steady, Joker took a deep breath to calm his nerves. Curious how he was pretty sure he hadn't been doing anything other than what he normally did for travel - did the distortion through time here mess up his intent? He figured if he accessed that location every time he traveled, the green man with the hammer would have been far more irked with him than this go around.
He looked down at the crystals, still seeing the air around him shimmer with power from the collapse of space-time that was rent here. If this was all that he had, then he would have to make due with what he had. Holding the crystals a good distance away from him, Joker took a deep breath to brace himself -
- and began charging the crystals with his power, anew.
The power flowing from Joker resonates with the obsidian shards, yet none is absorbed into them. They don't move, they don't even seem to react... but for some reason that couldn't be explained, it's as if they're sharing information with the crimson giant; telling him the order and positions that he needs to place the pieces in order to make them whole again.
Joker brought his hand slightly closer to him as the shards did not react as violently as he expected them to. He was slightly perplexed by the way that he knew how to put them back together, well aware of the likelihood that this could be an elaborate trap that he just so happened to spring. Still, he was never one to leave something untested, and his search for answers called him here. He had plenty of other ideas on how to go forward, but decided to take this road where it would lead him, and carefully began piecing the shards back together.
...this goes here, that goes there. It was as though Joker's hand was guided to the correct positions, like a ghostly presence piecing it together as he looked on. The same presence that had guided his hand just moments before.
After a few seconds, the eight or so pieces come together into the formation that Joker had been guided to. As the pieces meet in the proper configuration, they seem to lock together as if two puzzle pieces. This happens even on the shark, straight edges that have no real way to lock together.
And the there it sat. Now before Joker is the final configuration of these bits of trash; a set of black triangles pointed towards each other, somehow meeting each other at the point with no visible connections, yet held together as solid as a rock. The newly reforged emblem sits dead before Joker, still not giving him any actual results beyond being put together.
He looked at the emblem in his hand, feeling the power that he had previously funneled into it dissipating rapidly, until it sat innert within his palm. The sensation of something helping him put it together definitely held him at odds, but, the symbol did not appear to be doing anything of danger. If anything, it was vaguely hour glass shaped, which sung of the temporal power he felt where he stood.
Turning to look at the shimmering space he had just tried to smash his hand through, Joker pressed forward and simply placed the symbol into the shimmering tear, not putting any effort into smashing through the Net this time. He still wanted to be able to see it, and wanted to check if it would react to the temporal flux before him.
Confirming his suspicions, the time-space anomaly left behind by Rosso and Resonance reacts to the crest. But the longer that Joker holds the crest in place, the more he'd begin to realize that the effect wasn't static. If he imagined the tear repairing itself, it would begin to line up and return to normal. If he'd imagine it worsening, the tear would widen and begin to shake slightly. While the extent of the effect is extremely minor, just holding this tiny trinket is enough to make time and space bend to Joker's literal whims.
Without a doubt, he'd found what he was searching for.
He grinned wildly as he watched the tear begin to repair itself, and then watch it worsen, before stabilizing to its previous state. Chuckling, Joker retracted the piece and stared at it, knowing that, for the most part, he had found what he was searching for.
The power was still very minor. Looking up at the shimmering tear, Joker thought about what could happen if he repaired it. The hole would line up, fix itself, and its power lost to anyone else.
If he ripped it open, however, and allowed that power to flood the crest, could he reawaken its true power? There was only one way - and an incredibly dangerous one at that - to find out.
He affixed the emblem to his chest, allowing the crimson within his body to flood over his form as he adopted his finalized state. Feeling his power flow through him, he did what he could to affix the power of the crest within his own, holding forth his hand to rend the hole in spacetime farther open, willing its power to come to him.
...the power from the crest rises, and Joker can feel it. It's tremendous, overwhelming, unlike anything that he'd ever experienced before. However, it was not bending to his will as he'd hoped.
Joker's vision flashes white while his entire body is engulfed in black. He'd quickly realize his mistake in attempting to take this power for his own, but it was already too late. Joker feels his strength and will drain from his body as time literally slows down. His armor flashes between the crimson red and gold that he'd adorned himself with, and a tell tale onyx black with platinum details. This crest was not a source of power, but a curse. And now, Joker was subject to this curse as many had been before; the OEL's greatest hubris and folly, the net's forgotten plight; the Generational.
Seal of the Generational The seal of Eon's power; grants manipulation over time and space. ° Passive: +1 Attack Slot ° Passive: Gain 1 CDR on 3 separate attacks. ° Passive: +1 element level ° Passive: Grants Temporal or Spatial Lv1
...and then came the voice. A voice spoken with absolute authority and cold, calculating tones.
Joker paused. Not because he was having second thoughts, no, but because the timestream around him slowed to a stand still; he literally paused.
His vision left him, but he could still feel the flow of energy coursing through his body, feeling the shift within his code as his appearance changed without his consent. The white within his vision alarmed him, but, what alarmed him even more was the draining of his will and reserves, feeling his power slipping out from his grasp.
Nothing would've gotten his attention more rapidly.
Joker began fighting back whatever alien presence this was within his system, sequestering its influence, forcing a crimson-clad cage around his own systems to try and keep it out of his mind. Feeling the power welling up around him and within him, he knew he didn't have much time, up until -
. . . "Vessel?" he quipped, turning his attention inward. If there was something in his mind, something surging up within his code, then he knew where its force would be concentrated. He turned inward, to that large core of condensed crimson at his center, placing his own mind within that plane of his code. "And you an unexpected intruder. To whom do I owe this pleasure?" He called out into the void, unrecognizable even to him. The patches of red, glitched data that should be his core instead fizzled into this strange black and grey, platinum color, his dense pockets of crimson being overrun. He looked down at his own hands, realizing that the appearance he had adopted was due to this presence.
He simply continued to exert his own pressure, willing his body to listen to his commands, as he tried to get to the bottom of what had happened.