*Embera stood stoically as the files played out. She was a little disappointed in how little Zerix had thought about her, though she wished he got to know her now. Seeing all the inner turmoil and anger that Zane was harboring after these years, anger that in a way, she and Genesis were causing, the tears began to flow. Rosso, and this Nero, they were inextricably linked to Zane, no wonder they shared the same face, the same fire...They're Zane. She wanted to smile at his acknowledgement of her capacity, of the belief that she could be the better navi she is today, but she could not move past her own sorrow. Falling to a seated position, Embera finally let herself collapse, and she bawled. She let out a horrid, depressed sob as her worst fears were a confirmed reality now. As the tears streamed down her cheeks, she could only mutter slight whispers in between her sobs.*
Embera: I'm so sorry...I'm so so sorry I couldn't be better Zane. I'm so sorry."
"If there's any solace to take, I could have been more forceful with my approach to try and get that from everyone."
It was a familiar voice to hear after the recordings thus far, a familiar face to go with it as the obsidian form of Nero entered the room. One wouldn't even have been able to tell that he had been preoccupied just before this. Looked like the ones who should hear the message most were the ones who were here. It was good that things turned out this way honestly.
"But that wouldn't make me any better."
He didn't make any moves to go and comfort her. What she was feeling was a result of himself after all. Finding out that in the years that passed his presence of mind continued to degrade until eventually it led to this. And there was no turning back from here. He would cover introductions all the same, looking from the Empress to the Doctor now that this was laid bare for them.
"As you likely know, I am Nero. Whether or not you want to say that I am Zane or not is up to your discretion. You know my place in all of this... but what about your own? If you need time, that's fine as well."
*Embera sat moping, until she heard the familiar voice. Expecting to confront Rosso, she was instead met with the obsidian sheen of Nero's armor. Her eyebrows furrowed with both confusion and contempt. His distance from her ice-cold, in spite of his fiery history. Getting back to her feet slowly, Embera shook her head, in near disbelief of all of this. She spoke with slight pain and confusion.*
Embera: No. Zerix only relayed to us these...these...memory files. They were just vague enough to make us have to ask you directly, and, as if on cue, Nero, you are here. I don't know what you and Rosso are of Zane's. I saw you all separate, sharing his face, but don't know much else, certainly not how I am somewhere involved in all of this. There's not enough time in the world to sort out all of my feelings on this matter. Before I ask for more, I just want to know why you didn't call. You promised me we were family. Right wrong or indifferent...I thought you would talk to me.
*Her feelings slipped again, her throat closing, choking back her tears again. She remembered the time in Rammount, the last time she truly felt Zane's embrace. It was the first time he truly acknowledged her as Embera. What's more, was what came after.*
Embera: You told me "Even if you were the most powerless navi in the world or the most simplistic of navis, a bit simple-minded though you may be at times, I promise that without a shadow of a doubt that we would still be this family." And here you are, the literal shadow of doubt. Was all of it a lie? Did I really not matter? Was I just one more pawn to be used by you?
Looked like she was taking it to heart alright. He opted to not offer her a smile, as that would just be callous at this point. It was a matter that didn't have any joy involved save for them meeting face to face again. The terms of their meeting took that away too, leaving them with the tension that filled the air instead. She was taking it to heart, but she still was shaken from it. Normally he'd make sure she was feeling alright, but he'd feel a little guilty doing that right now. He was on cloud nine because of what he did except what he did would only cause further breakdowns here. So he took the logical approach instead.
"I was going to be waiting here for you when you arrived, but my work came up. It was just a small hurdle, so I decided to take care of it first and then say hey when it was over with."
He'd address his timely entrance first. To him it was untimely, but it lined up well enough considering he took care of that business with time to spare. It just made him look suspicious instead. Not like he could tell Zerix to explain anything to her without him doing so begrudgingly. He could ask Zaven, but then he'd do so... well, his way. So he'd just do it himself. And while he understood she was upset, he was pretty sure the logic she literally used for coming here being relatively safe was that Rosso didn't kill her before. He would bet actual money on it because he knew her so well.
"The reason I didn't call you is simple really. You would get in the way when I kill Genesis and end up in the crossfire. I decided to leave you out of this for as long as possible because of who you are. Figured I'd be done with him before you got involved. Though even if you were a pawn it's not like I would just execute you. Rosso not impaling you makes that clear enough."
Psyche downloads the data from the terminals as Nero appears, but doesn't so much as even respond to him to begin with. He knew that Embera would have words first, and also knew that she would be an unstoppable force at that. The professor heaves a heavy sigh and turns around after a few moments. He stands behind Embera and in clear view of Nero, so all that he does is motion to the poor girl, then turns a hand to the black-clad Navi in a gracious motion as if to say "I can wait until this is over".
*Embera lightly winced as Nero explained his hollow reasoning for keeping Embera out of things. He really believed he held all the pieces of everything the way he spoke. She shook her head slowly as she looked Nero dead in the eyes. Her anger and sorrow being replaced with a dejected disappointment.*
Embera: You are wrong. I had spoke to Genesis after Rosso gave me Purgatory. I told him that I will not raise this blade to you. I will not strike down my family, even if they try to kill each other. You may have developed some truly damning enmity towards me and him, and I know Genesis has no problem fighting people who want to fight him, no matter who they are, but I will not raise a blade to the people I still love, even if both of them hate each other. Genesis hugged me and promised me it was okay that I did that, and that he understood my feelings. Nero, I don't know how Zane you really are, but I thought you knew me better than that, but then again, I don't think you got to see the life I built when you disappeared, and that hurts too. I thought I became a navi Zane would be proud of, someone that he could look into the eyes of and say "You're doing good" But here we are. I know it's just like me to crave someone's validation, but I didn't need the worlds approval, just my brother's.
*Her words packed both the same disappointment, and frustration as before, sighing at times because she never wanted this meeting to happen like this. She supposed this may have been an inevitability given their history, but Embera felt like a lot of this enmity may have been reconciled had they just gotten to talk sooner.*
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
He gives a nod to the Doctor, understanding how she was when she wanted to have a talk. They both knew that all too well in fact, meaning he would be addressing her frustrations first. They were a blend of emotional concerns and valid concerns.
"It wasn't about you trying to fight me. If you saw us at each other's throats with one on the losing end knowing full well that this is the end for one of the other, would you honestly just sit and watch and let us decide which of the other will never walk the world again? That you would let either of us do that with no interference?"
Would she be able to watch them fight and take no action at all at the end of the day? Knowing that would be the last time she saw that part of her family again when the dust cleared? He never had any reason to doubt her picking a side to fight, he just had a reason to doubt her accepting that she was going to lose someone no matter what. As a result, she would step in at one point to at least try to make that not happen. That was the thing that was unacceptable in his eyes. He refused to be halted by her when it was time to put an end to that monster. It made sense that she would still seek some validation at least, like hearing that she was doing a good job. She wanted to know whether or not she had managed to find a path of her own, and she had. She was taking steps that he didn't see anyone else doing and also that no one else ever expected of her even if the world's validation was pointless to her.
"You don't need my validation, nor do you have to seek it from me. I was one of the first to give it to you after all. You've come a long way from the walking explosion you used to be, even if you still throw your boots sometimes. You're already doing what many others cannot."
*Embera paused for a moment, as Nero explained just what was going on, before letting out a defeated sigh and a half-hearted smile at his affirmation of her.*
Embera: No, I suppose you're right. More than anything I would want you two to stop fighting. And...I can hear the contempt on your breath. You'd cut right through me if it meant ending him. I know that contempt. Genesis had it in him in Rammount when....When Uranus was deleted by the Armored Destroyer. It took...It took a lot of talking to get Genesis to shake that kind of poison out of his head. I still remember when Caliga attacked us, he was goading Genesis into cutting everything down to protect Fate from corruption, but he chose me and you instead. It felt like we were all slowly coming to the same page, but clearly we're not, or we never would. You still never answered my question, Nero. Why did it have to come to all of this, and why did you keep me in the dark? I respect your desire to keep me out of the way when you made up your mind, but I saw the files! There were MONTHS that you were wallowing in this hatred, and contempt, and all these toxic emotions, and never once did you talk to me! Perhaps you wouldn't have had to completely ANNIHILATE New Life just to make a point! Did you think I was so behind emotionally that I couldn't understand anger and frustration? I'm ME! for crying out loud.
*She was clearly fed up with the runaround, and decided to confront him more directly.*
Embera: Just what is it that I'm doing that others apparently cannot? If the least of us is capable, surely others can. It sounds like you've passed judgment with no trial, and you're literally a force that the Revolution was formed against. I want REAL answers, darn it!
...this was getting a a bit too personal. Despite his nature as a somewhat cold Navi towards others, Psyche understood that Embera was reaching fairly deep, and that his presence could potentially sway the way that the conversation would go. So Psyche steps forward.
Psyche: Nero, please excuse me for a moment. I need to ensure that the data downloaded correctly, so I'll be at the entrance when you have time.
Psyche excuses himself and walks back to the entrance of the fortress, waiting for this confrontation to end and listening for any sign of altercation.
The Doctor would have no issue getting to where he needed to from here, Nero looking back to Embera after. Her words had caused his neutral gaze to not turn to one of contempt, but his eyes had clearly narrowed some. Because she had decided to come at this head on, he supposed the reality that would hit her later was going to gut her that much harder instead. It had started around the time she mentioned Uranus, another example of their selfish needs and collateral damage.
"Like the time when you wanting to talk involved killing the guards so they would lock you up so you could talk after the fact. I probably wouldn't have had to destroy New Life if it wasn't made by MagnetMan. Suppose the difference in our take was that the only ones harmed in "my point" was some people's pride and the stepping stone in charge of a false hope."
While she was getting fed up, she had sparked something with him just as well. Because he could see that she was living a lie that was going to be quite detrimental to her health sooner rather than later.
"And you think that kind of poison is out of his head? That answer he gave to Caliga was just his last desperate attempt when brute force was no longer an option. But you'll find that out real soon. If you got between us I wouldn't be the cutting through you."
She'd best brace herself for that soon enough. Because she was going to see just how much worth the Overlord's words had whether she liked it or not. He already knew, but seeing was believing. It could have been avoided if they dealt with him sooner, but sentimentality was real annoying.
"You saw my issue with how everyone lacked the bare essentials of decency. Who among you all has managed to do anything to help someone with no benefits to themselves in mind? Who has lent a helping hand expecting nothing in return? Who all among you watch disasters without trying to help because of whatever excuse they fancy to justify their inaction? Who all among you ignore those disasters because they simply don't interest you? How many among you are the cause for those very disasters? Each time you all faced a trial, the decisions you made were out of necessity, yes, but more often than not driven by your selfishness."
She might not have been bright, but her wisdom should more than allow her to see what was happening around her if she took off the rose-tinted glasses. The difference between her and the rest save for a handful, one of which was also among the deceased now, was that they all lined up that row very neatly. Even when she had asked for someone to provide a place of safe haven for others, she was met with the retort of "What benefits do you have to offer"?
"I didn't speak because my words simply had gone unheeded. I'm not a broken record that will keep trying that until it works. Only two of you would even hear me and you're upset because I didn't tell you sooner more than the fact that two wrongs never make a right. You were in the dark because you would get in the way. It's come to this because time is up. If you want to avoid what's to come your options, Embera, are plain and simple. You stay out of the way or you get the ones who are already doing that somewhere out of the way. Because you're right about my contempt. I won't be stopped even if I had to cut through you. Because if it came to that, it would mean you chose to stand up for your family. A family that deserves to burn. And while I'll live with the pain that brings me, you know I don't take half measures."
*Embera gritted her teeth, holding the blazer at her hip with white knuckles, before sighing a defeated sigh and letting the blade dangle by her side once more. What was once intense frustration and anger, just fell away to bitterness and futility. She approached Nero, for the first time, seeing the smokey obsidian armor, the cold, intense gaze, the way his eyes seemed to look at something just a few inches behind her, instead of directly at her. She put her hand towards his cheek, before bending over to hug him, tears beginning to form yet again.*
Embera: I choose to forgive you, in spite of the path you've determined. I forgive you for succumbing to the idea that this entire world must be cleansed in flames, and I forgive you for the horrible things you think you have to do. I've accepted that, perhaps through my inaction, I'm damning this world just as you have, but I love you, even if the you I loved was a fake memory.
*Embera stepped back from Nero and made a small nod towards the hall Psyche went down, awkwardly silent as her head sank low.*
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
He wrapped his arm around her in a half hug of his own. She was holding on to it, a reminder of the Knight that stood by her side as a brother.
"There's nothing wrong with love, whether it be real or fake. It's what we make of it."
The brother who helped guide her to where she was now, even if the choice she would take would be inaction. But at the very least the reasons behind her inaction was still different than those before. For he wasn't that Knight at all. He was the Executioner. And if who he was in the past was but a fake memory she had to hold on to, then that was fine as well. The knight against the assassin, who he was and who he would be. He released her as she stepped back, turning to walk away, but not without looking over his shoulder one last time.
"But I thank you. I hope that love doesn't spill over to hate and despair when hope comes crashing down."
Because she was going to be facing the truth of his words later. And no doubt when it came to pass, he would consider that he at least told her so. That her belief would come hurtling down, torn apart by the family she cherished. How she recovered from there would be up to her, exiting to go down the hall to Psyche now that he was done there.
"Sorry about that, we know how she gets. She's grown up some though."
"I managed to at least make something better over all these years. She managed to grow into something I never imagined."
Of course he hadn't changed his mind that she could be led around by the nose, but it was clear that it wouldn't be as simple as it was before. He offered him a smile and a shrug of his shoulders at the gratitude, as if it was natural for him to lend a hand there. But still, he felt it better to explain than to leave it up as a mystery.
"We were partners in crime for a long time, so I couldn't just let him go all gung-ho for the mission on you. You might be disconnected, but at the very least being removed from the world as a hermit is still better than being connected to the world as a terrorist."
Albeit he didn't entirely approve of that approach, he was at least understanding of it. He still felt that he had to condemn him for putting his research above all else, but the Doctor wasn't one that was deaf to what was said. With how everything laid bare and the gravity of the situation as it was his message would get across to him. Because at his core, stubborn as he was, he still wanted to help people in his own way. As for who he was... well, it wasn't something that he had to hide considering his name was shouted out all the time anyway. He wasn't trying to hide either. Those he was after he wanted them to know loud and clear that their necks were on the line. How they felt about it was up to them.
"In essence I'm no different than Zane. You should be quite familiar with it in a way after all. Recently someone not too different fell as a piece of a whole."
Psyche nods to Nero. If he had a typical face, he'd be smiling knowingly at this point.
Psyche: Yes, I thought that was the case. Thank you for the confirmation. Should you need help with this rather precarious situation, then I'd be happy to offer my assistance.
This also left Psyche wondering just what he was speaking to at the moment....
Psyche: That said, I have to ask; any implied relationship to Arancione's monster in your choice of name, hmm..?
This was small-talk, pure and simple. Psyche wasn't probing for deep information at this point, as he already knew the answer more-or-less. But still, indirectly asking the origin of Nero's name choice was something of personal interest.