Located off the grid of Sharo and in isolation stands the Fortress Lost in Frozen Eternity. Being off of the grid and surrounded by mountains, constant lethal blizzards make traveling by foot to this territory difficult save for the most hardened of individuals. Finally one will find themselves in a mountain formation in a triangle, curving inward to touch one another and having a massive sheet of ice in the center like a crystal. Within this crystal lies the destination that two of the Revolution's finest arrive in, Embera and Dr. Psyche alike.
They found themselves in a dark hallway, torches of blue flames lighting as they stood. At the end of the hallway led to a three-way fork in the road for three other hallways to traverse. They wouldn't need to find out which led to which, as instead they were greeted by a rather familiar voice over a speaker in the fortress itself.
...Psyche had garnered just enough information to have a basic idea as to where the program had taken them, allowing him to draw a few small conclusions. However, not enough to answer any questions. He was slightly surprised at the familiar voice, and immediately felt himself feeling defensive over the unexpected welcome, but felt it best to simply keep his cool and see how it played out. Psyche stands for a moment with his hands beehind his back before raising the hand that holds the program that he'd been given, making it obvious to whatever camera system revealed he and Embera.
Psyche: To be perfectly transparent, I am not sure myself. However, I assure you that we were invited by Rosso for specific reasons.
There was a silence for a brief moment, but it was easy to confirm that it was the geniune article. The Knight's was in that sort of condition and no one would bother replicating that much detail about it.
"I see. Should have known he wouldn't have an issue telling his side of the story to at least you two. Your destination is the Data Storage facility."
To highlight which way they were going, the hallway that mostly went to the northeast had its own torches lit. It continued to light itself until the path led to the left, turning that way. They would find a door that was there instead, but still no signs of their old companion in sight.
Business-like and composed, Psyche nods his head and returns his hands behind his back, standing up as straight as a rod as he begins to follow the lit path to the destination.
Psyche: Thank you.
Literally on enemy territory, Psyche didn't stop to ask the obvious questions or give the obvious observation. No; he was here for one reason, and one reason only. For now, it's best to play by the rules and pray that Embera would follow suit.
*Embera was surprised at just how instantaneous her port to this off-the-grid network was. There was no latency, as if she never left Psyche's office. In fact, she wouldn't have believed it until she heard a familiar voice amongst the blue flames in the corridor. As she stayed by Psyche's side, she was still caught a little off guard.*
Embera: Zerix?! What're you doing in here?! I haven't met you in so long! Please do catch us up when we meet up! We're just heading down the torches? How have you been?
*Not entirely oblivious to the gravity of the current situation, Embera was still nevertheless overcome by comfort in a familiar voice, even if it may be plotting against her. He seemed almost relieved to hear that they were actually invited and that would imply he was here in case there were visitors that weren't. Paying it no mind, Embera's right hand rested gently, yet readily on the blade at her hip, despite her outwardly calm, seemingly playful demeanor.*
Clearly the only answer to continue the path to what you despise most and become the most powerful being on site so no one can beat you so you can play the game fairly. fist pump ~Shast
"I've been great. Just here taking care of business and a few finishing touches."
It was her playful demeanor matched with Psyche's business-like one and his own usual tone. The door opened for them as they arrived, revealing the room that laid inside. There were computers and databases all over, but upon entry something scanned the device that Psyche had for their invitation. And once that was taken care of, they could see that some of the computers unlocked themselves and turned themselves on, something some digital signals that they belonged to Zane exclusively. It must have served as the key to access their individual information that was here too for the members of the disbanded group. Four in total unlocked, which would be a bit much just to hear about his story. There were some corrupted files that hadn't been taken care of, but some that were listed as recordings that could be accessed as well.
Psyche didn't let on, but Embera's casual manner and kind words towards Zerix unnerved him slightly. Being on enemy territory like this was dangerous, and left the hermit Navi outside of his comfort zone. Embera's semi-chaotic nature and friendly demeanor was an unknown variable, and the doctor didn't like having to deal with unknown variables when he didn't have to. Instinctively, he glances back towards Embera... and sees her hand resting on her weapon. This was enough to instantly put Dr.Psyche at ease, as he now knew that she was taking the situation seriously.
Turning his attention back to the console before him. It was obvious that this group had been amassing data for some time, and seeing so many databases at their disposal was a bit unsettling. Here he stood with what could be the full answers to this entire problem laid out before him, yet he couldn't access them. Vexing, to say the least.
For now, Psyche looks through the available files. He first opens the corrupted files and scans through them very quickly before he moves on to the first recording on the list and begins playback.
Checking the corrupted files couldn't display much, but it did look like it had at least something to mention. It wasn't a file most would recognize... except for the Doctor himself, who would recognize it thanks to his close relationship. That was certainly a file that was related to Genesis that was corrupted beyond further viewing. A few other unknown ones, but then the recording was able to play back straight without any issues. The scene played out fine from someone else's perspective first, presumably starting as a first person view.
"You three, make sure to close up. We've got to get going."
There were three people they wouldn't recognize that he was looking at, but the voice of the rather bulky one was certainly the very same as Zerix himself. They were each rather blurry, almost like it was difficult to show even in the recording. It was an unfamiliar place too, a recording that was apparently taken from older memories. There was fire around everywhere, a place laid to ruin before the scene faded out and took them somewhere more familiar, this time being Bayside in Electopia. It was no longer in first person view either, Zane being shown and was minding his own business this time, but he did start to speak now.
"No rest for the weary, I guess. Anyway, if you're seeing this, then it means that I'm still at the indecisive stage moving forward."
He moved and sat down and continued to watch the world unfold around him. It seemed harmless at the time, but after a while the scenery before their eyes flickered. A battle was taken place, a group against an out of control Resonance before it flickered back to the peaceful Bayside that Zane was watching before.
"I managed to help deal with those other problems before because I still think there's a chance. Sure, they messed up with Eon and had to be bailed out, but then they should be able to clean themselves up if they do things properly. The thorns in the world's society are blatant and in the open. All they need to do is rip them out and destroy them. If they do things as they did before then it should be fine even if they stumble here and there, so long as they keep their eyes forward. They can prevent further cataclysms this way."
The scene faded to black again, this time appearing inside this very fortress. He was talking to someone else then, a large navi of about seven feet in height. He was wearing heavy white armor with half a helmet on the left side of his face, where an eyepatch was over his removed left eye, possessing the one eye that was yellow in hue. They appeared to have reached a disagreement.
"I'm heading over to join the Revolution. They have their doubts about me joining up with them I'd imagine, but they probably figure between Psyche and Genesis that even if I stepped out of line it should be easy enough to make me get back in said line."
"And you know I disagree with their stance. If you're going with them, there's no further assistance from me."
The message was pretty cut and dry. Zane wanted to fight for their rights, while the one he was speaking with said there was no reason to do so. Or at the very least that should be how the picture was drawn out, but the recording ended here. They would have to move on to one of the other ones from one of the other computers for it. It was probably alarming that the recording file appeared to be taking up a large amount of data despite how much was shown. There didn't appear to be any altered files, but there was something it was trying to show that wasn't being rendered and shown on file, perhaps relating back to what was shown before and then not referenced back to.
As Psyche watches this video file, he takes his hand and continuously attempts to adjust his optics, fiddling around while complaining under his breath. When the video finishes, he glances up and raises his voice.
Psyche: Zerix; I've been having issues with my optics since my little run-in with Rosso. Since I've been given explicit permission to access these files, I'd like permission to download the files for the sake of later viewing when I've had a chance to fix my personal issues. These files obviously hold much value to Zane, and I feel that it would be a crime to not garner their full message after being given such a magnanimous offer.
Knowing that Zerix would likely respond soon, Psyche makes his way to the next terminal and prepares for the next clip.
*Embera looked intently at the screen as it played back what felt like a memory, frozen in time. To say she was intrigued by the strange white navi was an understatement, as her eyebrow nearly shot off her forehead. Trying to piece together things, it seems that Zane and Genesis were not day-1 allies, but rather came together when the Revolution began. Checking the computers for the next entry, Embera found it hard to see through the files. Trusting Psyche to find the proper order of events, she simply continued to scan the room, making sure nothing would come out to surprise.*
Embera: What brought you out to Sharo, Zerix? You guys never called me. I know you may not think it, but I did worry about you guys something awful. What is this place?
Clearly the only answer to continue the path to what you despise most and become the most powerful being on site so no one can beat you so you can play the game fairly. fist pump ~Shast
"Go ahead and download them. They're meant for you at this point. As for why I'm here, part of it was keeping out the uninvited. For a time at least, this place was our home. We like to keep it in order now that we're the only ones who can."
They would feel a brief tremor, one that ended just as quickly as it began. But that wasn't their problem considering someone else was having it. Opening the next file, it would appear to not be too long after. Some of the scenes that flickered by this time were some that he had while he was with Genesis at this point. They were in the Revolution this time, fending off the Shadow Devil, recruiting Embera, fighting the Armored Destroyer, and then Caliga's encounter soon after. This would lead into Saul Kada's battle and ultimately the ceasefire that came when people decided to end the fighting thanks to Zero's arrival along with some others. Eventually, Zane was off by himself, no longer at the beck and call of the back to back fighting.
"I decided that they shouldn't get their objective this time. The whole fight at Saul Kada reeked of a staged confrontation. The ONB was after the unknown doctor, the Revolution intercept them, which lets the third party, the one who provided the information to the Revolution, to reap the rewards. It was a simple ploy and yet worked so easily thanks to how rattled they all were. They didn't even bother questioning why Gate would refuse to answer or why Caliga would have the information. How ridiculously naive they actually are. They know Gate's a problem but allow it as a necessary evil because they're so fixated on what they consider the higher priority in the license system. Then again, it's good to know that it's easy to make them bicker with each other. I may still be neutral, but it means it's a good starting angle."
He was sorting out his thoughts from the series of events. Considering that the chain of events that set things off this time was in fact them fighting each other, one could say this information was taken at face value and used exactly for what it was worth. Years later and they showed absolutely no growth beyond their past mistakes that day. He sighed, shaking his head.
"As important as that is, at the very least, I suppose I cut things rather close this time. Didn't think Caliga would take an interest in any of us. He mostly wanted to toy with Genesis instead of us, but better safe than sorry is why things are still fine. He should be eliminated too, but their higher priorities are more relevant, so that's another stalemate. And that Armored Destroyer... I have no reason to have it out for him as it is. He's a criminal but nothing special as one, yet my instincts are bothering me. It's been a while since I've instinctively wanted to destroy something and had difficulty controlling the urge. His purpose is probably related, but seeing as he's already earned someone's attention, it's only a matter of time before he drops off the radar. We probably won't even have to do it ourselves. The Revolution's priorities are skewed and thanks to that, they'll be dancing on strings for a while now. I'll see if I can nudge them the right way. Until they get things straight, I'll just have to be a bit more oblivious than not."
It went dark again, transititionng to the next sequence of events. Though it was jarring switch this time, like a static screeching loudly as it halted at the sight of Uranus, now deceased. Genesis and the Armored Destroyer fighting it out, Embera and the others, they were all still shown, but it went back to Uranus again. Almost like it was fixated there... and the scenery started to turn red instead. It was clear why when Zane's eyes reflected the change in scenery, Rammount ablaze and bodies in ruin. The only pause that was had was when he was gazing back in glassed over eyes before that one would be deleted too before his sight returned back to the reality of the situation. They let the Overlord have his way and they parted ways instead. And the recording ended abruptly there, the next one needing to be turned on instead.
...Psyche doesn't respond or begin his download, instead stands in solemn silence for a moment, slightly shocked at what he'd seen, and feeling the pressure of Zane's feelings even through the recording. Turning his head away, he moves on to the next console and begins that video.
It was a scene coated in red as before. It clearly hadn't subsided so easily. It was an empty space that was growing more and more red until it was absolutely blinding. The world and everything in it was bathed in the uneasy desire
"They're all self-centered. Be it their research, their plots, their machinations, their grudges, their vendettas or their hatred. Far and wide they all act in their own self-interest and trample, crush, and cast aside anything that doesn't line up with it. I could have ended all of them then, but nothing would change. They'd be deleted, spawn again, and start again. Because they're incapable of learning or changing. That's why far and wide, each and every last one of them are so easily dismantled. They live in their own little world, laughing at their victories from on high... unaware of how easy it is for the guillotine to crash down on them all. They wouldn't even understand how or why until it was--"
The scene turned back to normal. And it wasn't even an empty space that Zane was actually gazing at the time into. No... he was actually looking at Embera then. It had progressed to the point that even while he was engaging with others it was gnawing away at him.
"...They aren't all hopeless. Her, for example. She's looking for validation in her kicking and screaming and the best way to get it is her aggressive, senseless violence. She isn't acting out of selfishness, but once she obtains that validation, who's to say she won't become as worthless as everyone else? Someone unable to see anyone but their own interests? ...No, she's shown anger for others she doesn't know and sadness for the same. As unhinged as she is, she's much better than all the others who call themselves sane while being monsters."
He even said that they didn't need to fight them and yet it still came to this. Partly because they were all too stubborn to listen with the people that were on his team and the other part were others were at fault as well. The Armored Destroyer was the obvious culprit this time, but he also was just really pathetic when it came to explaining himself to anyone. He could just as easily be framed for it, because that's what he would do if he took down an enforcer. He made an easy target too. It was an excuse to take him down and if he commited the deed no better for him, he'd make sure this was the last time he got to spawn again in this world. He deserved it one way or another. Then whoever actually did it if it wasn't him? Well... it'd be a real shame if they fit a certain category...
"Can't say it's all sunshine and rainbows though. Even Zerix and Zaven have mixed opinions on that one. Zerix says she's a hazard because she's emotional and foolish. Zaven thinks she's alright, but he's less strict about right and wrong as it is. He's not big on being serious enough to cut out cancerous substances. If the world spawned a cancer and liked it, then it may as well go with the flow and destroy itself since that's all cancer is. A bit too carefree but I can't exactly agree with it. For now, stay calm. Simply because the symbol of hope on Earth is a genocidal maniac who would slaughter his friends for a shot at revenge that might not even succeed doesn't mean for me to go all homocidal myself. I'm better than that. ...Or am I really? Not like it would be the first time for me. My scores vastly outnumber theirs put together. Embera wasn't wrong to say that I was just being self-righteous. What gives me the right to preach to others?"
She had said that following a moral high ground didn't mean anything if you couldn't produce results. It wasn't like that creed was foreign to him before. Hypocrisy was in great supply these days as it were, rubbing the bridge of his nose. He had to focus up again. Another fight was about to begin and he had to be focused enough to not slip this time. He knew his target this time. Now just came getting everyone else to get over themselves and work on it. It wasn't impossible because would you look at that? They were there to work together against Samhain. How utterly quaint after their ludricous display earlier as the scene faded to black.
When it came back, it looked like Zane was in Gigamerica. This would be strange, because Gigamerica couldn't be accessed at the time. He was looking up at the tower there, leaving instead of doing anything about it. Next was Sharo, at their ONB that mostly didn't matter here. Again he left without doing anything, though he was looking up at the mountains then. After this, Electopia, this time just sitting in Element City. There was static this time, Zane looking and nodding to something then. Was he talking to someone?
"This downward spiral isn't getting any better. Those in the wrong go without correction and go on their way. Those in the right can't make a difference. Those that can bring change can't bring the proper changes. This world is depressing. All these years and it turns out this is looking to be just another failure. Well then, let's see... how about we give them another shot? They stumbled upon our box, let's see how they move from here."
The box he was talking about, once it was seen from his point of view, wasn't a good sign at all. Because the thing that came out then would be the last major problem they had, Juno. Gate's actions, Juno's actions, and everything that took place here started playing out again. It ended with the satellite crashing down, the world winning the fight and staving off the threat again. But it was clear from Zane's demeanor that he was far from pleased. No, he looked rather disappointed instead. And he had a final parting message on this recording before it ended, even if this wasn't the last one they had access to.
"...And as expected, this is the conclusion. Deal with what's in front of you, ignore the rest, go back about your business. Fine, then. You're only good at dealing with what you can see, is that it? I guess I may as well play this the way you all like it. These delusions are over."
"Look, step aside. We need to dismantle the place before we do anything else. I don't care if he was part of NapalmMan's group at the time, they've been here before and I have work to do. Move it or lose it. The world won't even know you're a martyr if I drop you out of the running here, not that you ever cared for acknowledgement."
It was him and the larger Navi in white armor from before. They had reached another disagreement, this time over the very fortress they were in. He wanted to take it apart and build it from scratch while the other said that was unnecessary. That made sense given the nature of this place, but he didn't have time to listen to him debate it. So they would settle this the old fashioned way instead. Zane would be the aggressor in a rare showing this time, drawing his Purgatory and closing the distance. The fight had faded out, but it faded back in with Zaven's voice chiming in.
"You could have asked for an assist, you know? How's your arms?"
"About as useless as the day the Original Navi skinned them alive. Luckily I didn't need them to win. Get to work and when you're done have the signal ready."
Zane had come out of the fight less than gracefully from the look of it, as both of his arms were gone from the forearm down and his right eye missing. The guy was persistent until the bitter end, that was for sure. He stood back up off the wall he was using to lean on after the battle was over, limping along as he would let Zerix and Zaven get to work. It would fade back out after this, returning later when he had one arm, his left, back at this stage. The static was sounding again, this time Zane responding vocally instead.
"I disagreed with you last time and that's how you got taken out of the picture. Today, I simply can't be bothered to care anymore. Do what you want."
"You sure about this? It's literally your call here. You're the one with the gun."
"And I'm the one pulling the trigger. You wouldn't all be good to go otherwise."
It was a voice that wasn't static this time, but not one that he was speaking to in person. It became a bit more clear why they were hearing static all the time when another figure that looked like akin to humanoid static was hovering by. He placed the tool that Psyche now held on the table as he stood up and tossed his sword over to the being in question, the weapon halting once it grew close enough to it. He left his mantle behind too, turning to leave the room that they were having this conference in. There was a sphere of light and the static being that were there with him at the time.
"As long as you don't regret it."
"I'm done having regrets. All that's left for me is a pat on the back when this is all over and done with and a good, long rest. I won't even need to get involved. Rosso and Nero should be more than enough for you."
"Then what do you intend to do?"
The static had come out as normal words this time, finally recorded properly. Zane looked back to them in question, the one eye he had left practically gleaming. But the only thing it reflected wasn't the usual zeal or life that came with it. Instead, all it reflected was the look of a man filled with disdain. The look of one who was scorned after a large amount of effort was put forth. And one that was through letting others disappoint him further, a smile filled with mirth gracing his face.
"I'll do the other task that I'm good at. I'll watch as the world burns. If they find me, I won't turn them away. If I can be coaxed into believing in their inane false hope, I'll even give them a hand. It's far too late as it is so I'd just be joining a sinking ship. Pretty fitting for a hypocrite, right? For the ones who have been so good at surviving just for themselves and their interests alone...
They best get really good at it."
It faded to black again. But the recording hadn't ended this time, instead as if it was just recording blank space at the time. Eventually it did spring back to life with another scene playing it. This time, it was of the Heap. It flickered here and there to another scene, another old home they had in the Armed Fortress of before. Almost as if they were looking about at the world at large before it settled on this place in Electopia. There was static and the recording was steadily beginning to fade out, almost as if it couldn't record what it was trying to view. But it did manage to get one final message out as it did...
"...So it goes. Time to begin. We've always been good at leaving nothing behind."
And then it ended. It was the last recording that was available from Zane's recorded files.