Marine Harbor. Few Navis remember this fact, but this small, unassuming building actually houses the literal core of the Electopian network, and possibly the internet as a whole. It houses the beta servers, and keeps the day-to-day activities of humans and Navis alike running constantly and without issue.
...the network here is eerily quiet. The guards and the workers for this all-important site have been mysteriously sent home for the day under the guise of top-secret maintenance. But the truth runs deeper than that.
Near the entrance, a huge Navi floats down from on High, touching down in silence as he clenches his massive fists and gazes on with his pure white eyes. It was time to begin.
He always wanted to do this more personally in fact. He was disappointed at first when he found out that for everything he wouldn't get the chance to do it himself. And yet history had a funny way of writing itself sometimes now didn't it? it was here that a tear opened in both the sky above and on the ground level below, revealing from the sky one of the fleet ships not unlike what had appeared when New Life itself was under attack. From the ground tear was a series of Preons of various makes just as the first front, but at their forefront was the one who would be leading the attack here at the entrance.
"Guess I drew quite the card on this one."
He saw it as pretty ironic actually with all that they knew. Nero had no qualms against this, but it was something he figured was going to happen one day. He wasn't quite sure why that one knew it had to happen, but he wouldn't bother worrying about it either. Words wouldn't be necessary for either side, they had their objectives already. The ground forces stepped aside rather than march forward as Nero reached for the weapon on his back while his other hand was aimed toward the black vanguard, an air about him that was very different than in his encounter before as steam and smoke started rising up from his very being as an azure blaze was let loose from his hand in the shape of some kind of bird to engulf him.
High-Max doesn't turn to Nero. Instead, he rises off of the ground and begins to float in mid-air with one knee raised and fists clenched and hovers for a moment. With an audible breath, he turns an eye back to see the onyx warrior ready for battle, and proves his assumption that there was no need for words wrong.
High-Max: Are you aware of the history of this place? If you were, you'd not draw your weapon with such abandon. History and the foundations of my world are stored here, and neither of us are willing to allow that to die yet. Come, join me on the path that Hub once took and let us secure and safe-guard the core of Electopia together. Until then, neither of us can fight to our full potential.
History and the foundations of the world... he recalled that kid saying something like that too when he was there. The results of that were... well, that was on a need to know basis. But perhaps surprising enough, Nero didn't draw his blade. Perhaps the legacy that it carried for Electopia was enough to manage to stay even his hand. Perhaps High-Max had even hit the nail on the head that he wasn't willing to allow the history and foundations of the world to die just yet as well. It was difficult to say what drove his decision on the matter with who he was.
"You lot stay here. Unlike the others you'll just get blown away needlessly."
If both sides were going at full potential, then the soldiers here would be pointless. If Deav was with him that would be a different story, but he was assigned to one of the others. They would work best from here too, given they would need time to set up. Doing so without care would be no different than if they started to rampage here.
High-Max just nods and floats along, slowing down to not get ahead of Nero at all. As they make their way into the computer, High-Max reaches out his hand and sends small energy pulses to the code panels, working deeper into the facility.
High-Max: You have my respect. Your choice to work with me on this endeavor shows character, as neither side would benefit from losing such history.
With how often the navis fought each other he honestly suspected that they didn't have the character to care for their own history either. They would do it almost regardless of location or in some cases, because of the location they were in. Then it was up to the more seasoned ones to have to pick up the pieces once again. That was why honestly it was a pity that these two sides couldn't coincide with one another. He didn't think that of others very often.
"Honestly speaking, I didn't really find much value in history for the longest time. One of those guys who said it wouldn't matter at the end of the day. But I had a good partner who kept drilling it into my head that it wasn't something to just brush aside."
She got through to him in the end. After that he started to take time to pay attention to history. And they took it upon themselves to keep quite the various chronicles of the histories they discovered. To especially note would be those that others too would brush aside, lost to annals of time. And there were some who learned from history rather than merely repeat it. Some who took inspiration and pride in it. So in spite of his job, he also endeavored to do the same, even if he didn't quite match up to Rosso when it came to doing so.
High-Max nods as he works his way down the line, adding code after code without hesitation.
High-Max: It's obvious to everyone within the WWW that you've recruited NapalmMan after stumbling upon him, so he's likely given you the basis of what I'm designed after, in part at least. That is one of the reasons that I find history so important; it helps tell me who I am, who I'm supposed to be, and who I don't wish to become.
After a time, Nero and High-Max reach the central area of the network, and the Mother Computer itself. It's here that High-Max finally lands again, staring silently at it for a few moments.
High-Max: ...it's beautiful in its own right. Such an advanced piece of programming, and it's designed to appear as the human brain itself. Such an appropriate analogy.
High-Max reaches out his arm, and a familiar yellow field appears as a wall around the Mother Computer. Nero would notice that it's substantially weaker than what his group had faced in the past, but it's still very much the same. At this, High-Max pauses for a moment... then reaches out his arm as if to stop Nero.
High-Max: ...this was a trap.
High-Max looks on with his cold, white eyes for a moment before he continues.
High-Max: The WWW is deeply intertwined with the Electopian network, as I'm sure you know, and Gate had hoped that you would guard the core using whatever unique defense-mechanism that your faction has at its disposal. This would allow him to analyze it in depth while we fight.
High-Max drops his hand and re-clenches his fist.
High-Max: But you've been worthy of respect since coming here. I cannot allow this to happen. Defend it from your own power however you will, but do not use your strange barrier.
"It's not a bad reason to have among others. Learning who not to become while learning who you desire to be."
It would enable one to understand what mistake to not become. Someone who learned rather than repeat. For Nero himself, he always found it fascinating, honestly. For the people who would create to come up with the idea of creation. What drove them to see so well the road to create an entire world with foundations and all, able to stand the testament of time if left unharmed by others. The marvels of creation would always vastly outstrip the marvels of destruction. Seeing the Mother Computer itself was no different for him.
"The human brain itself is quite the fitting analogy."
He had become quite acquainted with its intricacies. Not to mention that it was that very brain that gave birth to the seeds that would continue to sow themselves to this day. Seeing that the field was substantially weaker despite the WWW's hold on Electopia was curious, but he did halt at High-Max reaching his arm out. It was quite the thought out trap, because if there was ever a time it would be able to have its mysteries unfold, this would be the time.
"I'll admit that I didn't think you had a trap with you thanks to the knowledge we have of you. You've earned my respect as well."
He closed his eyes for but a moment. It couldn't have been for longer than a few seconds at best. But as he did for the first time among them, there was a noticeable flicker. Something that was there no longer was, as the executioner opened his eyes again. With this he made his decision then. It would go against protocol a bit, but it was fine to do so here.
"It's done. I'll respond in kind with what you've shown me."
High-Max nods. He begins to hover once again, but then the barrier that he'd set flickers and weakens even farther. He looks up for a moment as if communicating in silence, but then looks back to Nero.
High-Max: The choice to set the trap was not mine, but the choice to not spring it is. The professor will need to find an alternate route to that knowledge.
High-Max begins to finally power up. As he hovers, a horribly oppressive strength rises, a feeling of pressure and heat, a stifling power that makes it hard to breathe in the presence of this titanic Navi's force.
High-Max: Before we begin, tell me; you seemed pleased that I was to be your opponent. Do we have a history that I'm unaware of?
It was true that while they were commanders themselves that they had others who called certain shots for them. He was in the same boat from time to time as it would happen. But as commanders they always were the ones who made the calls while they were on the field. As long as they provided the necessary results, all was well in the end. Whether they receive those results from a direct confrontation or not. This oppressive presence from High-Max was the signs of how far removed he was from the others he ravaged in Sharo. It was a nostalgic pressure that hammered home that this was a part of the Gigantomachy.
"We've never had to engage directly, no. While we've caught the eyes of one another here and there, the reason I was satisfied with this is because I see something that I can relate with in you."
The smoke and steam started to rise from him as well, as a heat began to well up within the area to match up with what High-Max himself was releasing. It was likely that many that was in the radius of the stifling clash would even begin to find it difficult to move, yet alone breathe as he released the sword from his back, the gem on it beginning to radiate a pale gleam.
"What we are against what others want us to be, among others."
That was as it should be for them. Because in this moment, what they sought was the same. On their paths, for their goals, this would all line up to be a duel of fates.
"So it shall be. Here I come!"
From the weapon came a surge of violent lightning followed by a coat of lava-like flames and at last followed by a swirling wind. And at last, each respective burst came to an end as he held the blade skyward, a blue sphere forming at its tip. It rose up from the weapon as it began to rise upward, bubbling with power before it unleashed an overwhelming array of blasts all at once with catastrophic power behind each. He didn't stop there as his free hand was held forward, a six pilot-lights being lit upon his five fingers and the palm of his hand as he planted his pivot foot down more fiercely to brace himself for the azure inferno it unleashed that felt as if the heat alone would threaten to melt a network itself. That heat, despite its oppressive nature or the blasts before, were finely tuned and controlled, focused and honed entirely to strike but the target of its force.
High-Max clenches his fists, curls in his arms and legs, and then thrusts them back outwards in response to the inferno with a single word.
High-Max: It's useless.
What appears to be two rings inscribed with coding now orbit around High-Max at chest and thigh height. They flash and radiate upwards and downwards in unison before re-forging in their original position and beginning again. Despite their sparse apparent placement, they prove themselves to be remarkably durable as they absorb the hellfire and continue to stand
High-Max: Death ball.
Outstretching his palm, High-Max almost carelessly fires off a tremendous orb of sparking energy, roughly 12 feet in diameter. The gigantic ball takes full advantage of the cramped network, making it particularly difficult to evade as it screams towards Nero. All the while, the yellow field around the Mother Computer weakens farther, turning a pale yellow. High-Max takes note of this, but does not address it or change tactics.
As was detailed, those defenses were quite durable after all. He held out his own hand, a black field appearing in front of him that was almost transparent and crystal clear. As the massive orb made landfall against it and despite the glass-like appearance of it, it held strong against it, rejecting the strike against it and dispersing the energy as he placed the tip of his blade to the ground. Dragging it along the ground as he brought it upward and a geyser of flame would erupt about High-Max, at its apex a ring formed that began to rotate and release what appeared as thin rays of light to fall from above. Appearance-wise they seemed inferior to his opener and his attack following it, but each contained greater speed and penetrative force than those that came prior.